Novellas: Works in Progress


Beyond the Origin
Howard Beck

I want to go home, I keep saying this over and over in my head. But where is home, I have no clue. It's not where I am, it's not where I was, I don't think there really is a home anywhere. But here I sit on the toilet staring at the wall, the third time today, sighing over and over again and thinking, I want to go home. I get up from the toilet, turn and look inside the bowl, nothing.

I wipe my ass and see a couple smears of shit on the paper, guess I really didn't have to go after all, but it felt like it.
Good thing the cleaning station is next to the toilet, I can wash my hands in the cold water and stare at the mirror while flicking my long graying hair off my face. Good thing I shaved the other day, otherwise my hair would be sticking to my face from all the stubble.
I stare at my aging face, I once was a young man, now, today I'm turning into a senior citizen. Where did the time go, I have nothing to show for it really, anyway, time to go back to the main cabin and join my fellow crew members on our journey to a newly discovered black hole deep in the Splinter Galaxy, 15.3 megaparsecs from Earth.

Months we've been heading to this destination, scientists on Jason Richter 4 gave us the coordinates and said this is the "one". The black hole of all black holes, the one that will lead us to new dimensions and new worlds. But they've been saying that since 3120, nothing came of any of them.
"Jahn, it's about time you got back, we need ya man." Tristan Olsen says to me as I enter the cabin. Tristan is the captain of the ship, the leader of the pack, the main dude, the head honcho, you get it. "Yeah, well, you know us old farts, always going to the bathroom." I replied taking my station.
The main screen had a view of what was in front of us 40 million kilometers away. All I saw was blackness and a few stars, is that what a black hole looks like? This was my first black hole trip, I only stayed around clusters near home, there's that word again, home.

Mary Jane Poole was sitting next to me, she was the main science officer on this probe, she had more knowledge of black holes than anyone on Jason Richter, she was a genius, studying these phenomena since she could walk, literally, she started out as a toddler learning science. She was young, blonde and well endowed, my lecherous old man was coming out of me, I secretly glanced in her direction periodically daily just to keep my juices stirring, they were withering up just like my face, gotta keep young somehow.

I look at the clock, it's 2:27, seriously, why do I keep looking at this clock for, we don't really go anywhere, anywhere of significance, just empty space. I know, I keep bitching about everything, if I didn't want to be here why was I here. Well, because, I might be a bug up someones ass, but I was good at my job, a great navigator, just something I was born to do, like Mary Jane, I always had a way with directions.

But now that I'm getting old and have been to a lot of places, I'm starting to get bored with it all. I'm hoping this trip, my first long excursion will be exciting and memorable. A black hole, come on, that has to be a freaking fun ride. The whole idea of this trip is to actually journey into the hole, not just record and witness it, but actually penetrate the damn thing, see where it leads. And yeah, it could be dangerous, but I'm getting old I need some excitement other than Mary Jane's body, which I'll never really get to, well, you know. I give out another sigh, look down at my hand all scaly and blotchy, withering and wrinkly, damn, I'm getting old. I turn the knob next to my right hand, just a smidge, the ship turns right three degrees, the main screen has the same view as before, three degrees isn't much, but that's where the next heading is for finding the hole. "Jahn!" Tristan yells out after I made the adjustment, "good job!"

Ah, a pat on the back, for doing my job, awesome, love my job, love the people I work with. I'm such a schmuck, and I still want to go home, wherever that is ... sigh. "Course 1, 4, 6, 9.0, relative bearing 4, 6, 2, 9." I let the captain know the coordinates so he could tap them into his personal log console. "Cool Jahn, got it, thanks bro, you're a god send."


443 Inglewood

Howard Beck

Alone, isolated from everything, longing for substance to his life, Nathan Lee Jackson sat on the edge of the northern rim of the Grand Canyon 3 miles west of the main cabins and tourist area. He found himself here haphazardly while programming his Freeform Energy Pod or pod, to travel some place other than the inner cities of The Americas.

Being raised in Inglewood, California, Nathan never quite understood where he fit in. His mother and father were both members of the Inner City Core (ICC), all in tune with the modern technology and brainwashing segments of the fringe elite in charge of The Americas. He wanted something other than what his family and frankly the rest of The Americas were accepting as real life. So, he chose to go to the edge, sitting on the edge of the cliff not afraid of the height or the fear of falling, why should he fear death, his world was pretty much dead in a way. No one was really living anymore, they all just droned around in their fake world of tech and bullshit philosophy.

Standing on the edge overlooking the magnificent scene before him, Nathan let out a sigh of relief after traveling hundreds of miles in the pod over all roads and barriers set up between LA and the North Rim. Having found a little relief finally after all the years of torment he felt in the inner city and the oppression that society was dealing him. He just wanted some time to forget all the bullshit, all the contaminated feelings and struggles of daily life, and hanging out at the edge of the rim was quite satisfying.

He gazed out in the distance at the sunset and shadowing formations from the chasm before him, letting the sunlight soak into his dark skin, the warmth of the sun made him feel warm and fuzzy with all of its complexities of enlightenment that basking in the sun can give you. Suddenly he felt his footing slip and fear gained his soul, “Whoa”, he silently spoke, the fear of dropping 8000 feet to his death scared him. He wasn’t here to die, but live. Fear subsided and he regained his footing, took a breath and stepped back from the edge of the chasm and noticed in the distance something flying towards him, a drone? fuck, dammit! I can’t get away from anything! He saw the glittering object draw closer to him, the glimmering of the shiny metal reflecting the suns setting light, it was pretty in a way, but also ominous.

Fifteen seconds later the drone was on him, peering into his face, making calculations and sending back information to its internal systems and relaying them back to the home server for confirmation. Nathan slowly back away from the drone and it followed silently in the same pattern and speed as his withdrawal. “Damn you!” Nathan shouted at the drone, “leave me the fuck alone!” The drone sat there at the same level and distance, not moving, not doing anything just peering into his soul. Thirty seconds later the drone backed off and flew quickly away.