Dark Heart

A shockwave raced around the sun.

For light-years around the dying star, celestial bodies glimmered and sparkled in the light of the rolling fire. In the gulf of deep space the detritus of civilisation lit up momentarily like Christmas tree lights; dead satellites glittering; rotting spacecraft dancing; entire spaceports, long abandoned, flickering to life with shadows and ghosts and echoes.

Then all was cold.

In the tiny splinters of time that followed, destruction gripped every far flung nook of the galaxy. In most, the super-chilled winds swept unmet through the abandoned planets and ghost cities, across the arid farmsteads, around the defunct power stations, into the hollow cathedrals and silent monuments of mankind’s pride and power.

In the shabby bolt-holes of the system where the last stubborn rashes of civilisation had refused the salve of repatriation, death waltzed through the morbid party as an uninvited guest. It danced through the ghettos, the saloons, the prisons and the asylums, caressing the unfortunate and the unwanted with fingertips of absolute zero.

On his observation deck on the rim of space, The Captain stood alone and watched as the sole witness of The End. In a millionth of a heartbeat all that he had known had frozen, shattered and fallen to silence.

Behind him, shadows descended over twenty billion sleeping faces as the star faltered and darkened. As the galaxy collapsed into its diminishing crystalline spiral, not one of them blinked. Not a single tear. Not one gasp. Just the dreamless, noiseless sleep of suspended animation.

The Captain powered down the array and the dashboard dimmed. He looked for a second at the button: a simple chrome oblong the size of a postage stamp that had depressed with a satisfying click before it swallowed the sun. His fingerprint, greasy and black from sweat, glistened accusingly on its silver surface.

One by one the planets, moons and asteroid seas began to fall into the gravity well, swirling into the newly forming black hole like bubbles being sucked down a plug hole. The Captain eased the reverse thrusters up to full capacity, sending creaks and shivers throughout the hulking metal bones of the enormous ship which began to teeter on the lip on infinite dark.

As the fathomless black raced to fill the huge glass expanse of the observation window and the ship’s cavernous engines screamed to resist the siren song of the abyss, he fed in coordinates that had taken mankind’s brightest minds and fastest computers millennia to calculate. As his screen filled with churning waves of code, The Captain stared into the void and allowed himself to picture what lay beyond the wormhole.

A short, impersonal bleep cut through the silence of the bridge, announcing the completion of the navigation cycle. The Captain took his seat and buckled the pressure harness. As the chair moulded around him and enveloped his ancient limbs the ship began to turn, lining up with the black hole with clinical, mechanical precision.

A second bleep announced that the ship was aligned. The last, vast ark of humankind now faced its future for better or worse. The Captain held his breath for a second then pushed the second oblong button which glowed red on the dash with solitary fire.

The button blinked. The engines quietened. Twenty billion- and- one hearts skipped a beat.

And with that the Ark was slung into the blackness.

Towards infinity.

Towards hope.

Towards the dark, broken heart of the star.

Dark Heart

Nick Lockey

Joined May 2010

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Artist's Description

My first stab at doing some sci-fi.

Artwork Comments

  • AlienVisitor
  • Nadya Johnson
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