Original Writing: 20,000 Leagues of Space: Prologue

20000L Shea looked up into the light. Eyes blinking, pupils shrinking, hand brought up to shield their delicate blue lightning pattern, she studied the cold and fiery ball of gas and energy as the ship sat in a ball of nothingness, within inches of it.
Out in the cold depths, 20,000 leagues of light years into empty Space, there were Pockets of mystery that left Earth-ish forces like gravity and other such scientific gospel looking life fairy tales. If a sea could exist within the ocean, distinguished from its parenting waters by forces undetectable to human kind, but fully accepted and revered by other animals less inclined towards the prejudice of things they do not understand, that would be the best analogy to explain it. Small stars the size of your tea cup spun and hovered in these Bubbles of Space, larger ones too turned in their own mesmerizing dance, all in harmony with one another, while space dust, pieces of planets long decayed or smashed to oblivion by colliding asteroid giants, float in between, resulting in fine mists standing in belts and streams, creating lines between the halos of light cast out by revolving spheres of coolly burning gas. And around all that mighty heart, the Space lies still.
Pockets like these were a beautiful haven of silence and safety. But only while they lasted: Space has a way of pushing, shoving and driving all within it, always moving, shaping and separating. The question was, when would Space turn its marble eye to Shea’s bubble?
The ship had been stranded in an unmoving pocket for nearly 48 hours. It was hard for Shea to think of time passing in any other measurement: she had grown up on Earth, and carried a pocket watch, an Earth artefact from ages passed which kept track of time as it was in New New Liverpool. She had set sail with a crew of twenty from the Albert Space Dock exactly 700 days previously. If completed to schedule, her expedition will have taken exactly 1000 Earth days, round trip. She missed the food, the air, the smells, but most of all, the man she loved: Dean. Shea took comfort in the fact that to Dean, she had been gone merely weeks, and by the time she returned (assuming she caught the embrace of an actual moving strip of Space sometime soon), she will have been gone a total of 3 months in Earth time only. On top of this, in this part of Space which was usually very fast moving, she didn’t physically age quite as much as she would on Earth, lucky for Dean. But her mind did. Nothing can change the way experience changes you.
Shea wrenched her eyes away from the hypnotizing sphere mere inches from her nose, and looked longingly at the sails of her beloved Legacy II. Perfectly still. Impatience was not the word. She had a mission, a task to be done, and action was needed.
Her watch ticked onwards: 50 hours stranded, 54, 57, 60. It was unbearable. Now was the time for action.
“Officer Pikes!”
A clash of plates, the smash of glass, a yell: “Ma’am!”
“Get the Defluxxor, and fire up the engine!” Shea commanded. Her voice was greeting by an absolute absence of sound. “Pikes! Step to it!”
“Wouldn’t that be dangerous, ma’am?” Pikes answered finally, his ruddy face appearing from behind a large cabinet in the dimly lit cabin.
“Yes, Pikes.” Shea Confirmed.
“Shouldn’t we avoid the dangerous courses of action, ma’am?”
“Under usual circumstances, yes, Pikes. But these are not usual circumstances.”
“Oh no, ma’am?”
“No.”
“Why is that, ma’am?”
“Because the aspects of being out here which usually make it so enjoyable are fast becoming absent the longer we do nothing. And I have a migraine from not expending enough energy on the task I was charged with. I did not come out here for my health or for a relaxing pleasure cruise. Not that we’re doing much cruising.”
“I see, ma’am. Shouldn’t we just wait for the next surge of Space Flow, though, ma’am? Defluxxor’s emergencies only, ma’am…”
Shea sighed, “And how much longer do you think we should wait? Is our situation not becoming more or less insanity inducing by now?” She was sick of humouring his apathy towards simply getting stuff done, one way or another. There was no reply from Pikes though, so maybe he was bored too, both of the conversation and of his fifth house of cards standing resolutely just behind him in the cabin. “Get the machine going, start the engine, wake up the crew. We’re bursting this Bubble.” Action, wonderful action.
Instantly sounds of bodies moving, feet finding their shoes, voices stirring from mouths that had run dry of things to say, began to wake. The smell of coffee wafted up on deck and made Shea’s stomach purr. Lanterns were lit, people dodged each other in the narrow hallways of the creaking vessel, barking commands as they went. This ship only really needed a crew of about six to man every station required to get things going. The surplus were here just for such an occurrence as this: using the Defluxxor, a device which drew energy from the very fabric of Space itself, and concentrated it into one great spearing bolt of mega force, powerful enough to displace the invisible walls of the Space Pocket long enough for Space Flow to rush in, powering the ships’ engines, and allowing it to force its way out into the open again.
The unfortunate, and dangerous, part was that bursting a Space Bubble caused the fabric of Space which created it to collapse in on itself, filling up the Pocket with ‘normal’ Space and compressing all the Pocket Space into a single, tiny point of Space Matter. This either grew unstable within seconds and exploded, which was the best option, or it sat there, enveloped by the crushing, compacting arms of Space until eventually, the pressure gets too much, and it implodes. This is how Black Holes are created. And Black Holes suck everything down into its depths of unknown darkness. Nothing escapes, not even ships sailing at full speed away from their one-time haven of stillness.
Shea stood on deck as the Defluxxor rumbled into life and set steady vibrations purring along the veins of the ship. The sails rippled. “Aim for the Dionne constellation!” She instructed, donning a pair of goggles. The rumbling below instensified.
If Space could have a horizon, Dionne would always be sitting astride it. Unseen from Earth, it was the farthest point of the universe that had ever been explored. Shea’s destination was the planet Tyran, right on the edge of the map, at the farthest tip of Dionne. They would have to race there, away from the wreckage of the Bubble.
The vibrations grew steadily, stronger and stronger. Crew members who were not busy with the dials and cogs below strapped themselves to the masts, the stairs, any fixed object. Shea herself sat on the top deck, at the helm of her wheel, and busied herself with complicated knots in thick Space-Approved rope, looped around herself and her steadfast ship. She raised a pair of binoculars to her eyes, handed to her by a nervous looking Pikes, who seemed to have his duvet taped around him for protection, and who was now proceeding to tape himself down at the helm of the ship, right beside Shea. Tyran winked and glistened in the distance through her binoculars.
Suddenly, the vibrations became a series of violent jerks and spasms and the ship drew in more and more energy; the sails stretched, an invisible wind filling them.
“Defluxxor fully charged and ready on your command, Captain!” A Commanding Officer’s voice filtered up from below deck.
“Ready on my count!” Shea couldn’t help but get excited, her hands shook with anticipation, but her voice remained steady. “3, 2, 1—Cast us off!”
Total stillness of the bubble, disturbed only by the flurry of the ships activities was rendered obsolete in the vacuum of power suddenly created by the mass of surging energy spearing out towards the back of the ship, propelling the ship forwards at warp speed, the ripples of sudden all encompassing energy rendering the walls of the Bubble to the strength of nothing more than the Earthly soap bubble.
Ears popping and ringing, pinned to the wall behind her by the force of movement, restraints biting into flesh, air whipped from lungs, surroundings vanished in a fraction of a blink, leaving shadows, wisps of what they were, tricks of the eyes as they struggle to believe what is happening.
And then, The Rushing. Mildly comparable to riding in a convertible car on Earth, while driving at around 90mph on a windy day. Only out here, your skin ripples with the speed of your motion. If goggles aren’t worn, your eyelids would flip themselves inside out in an instant. There is no time to look back, back at what was just effectively destroyed, because now it could be about to destroy the ship and everyone on it.
Raceracerace, movemovemove. Faster. Faster. Until the universe is rushing by so quickly, you think it might have actually stopped.
In The Rushing, Shea smiled. Action. Wonderful action.

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