I started this book in the summer of 2012, as I was preparing to finish my undergraduate degree in English Literature.
Having failed a class during what would have been my final semester, I had to stay on for the fall. Most of my friends were making plans for their careers and moving on to adult life, while I was waiting to go back to school.
During that summer, I lived with my sister, who spent most of the summer out of town with the rest of my family.
In short, I felt isolated and in a literal limbo — floating between what I thought my life was going to be and what my life had actually become.
It is a feeling I have grown intimately familiar with over the past four years.
Continue reading “Into the Silence — Author’s Note”
They picked me up out of deep space, floating in an impossible pocket of air sealed inside of a room aboard the ransacked Farseer battlecruiser. A search and rescue crew of some kind had been dispatched several months earlier, after the battlecruiser went missing, and they finally tracked it down, with me aboard it.
I was held for questioning. But ultimately, they determined I was just another victim of whatever unknown force assaulted the battlecruiser in the first place.
The only thing they found of any consequence about my person was a large egg. They told me I was clutching to it when they found me, wrapping myself around it as if to shield it from harm.
After picking me up out of the battlecruiser, the Farseer crew shipped me back to their starting base. Velann II. Seems we weren’t too far away after all. Tragic, really. That this one trip was destined for so much grief. So much that the entire crew should go mad and jettison themselves into open space. Miracle I survived long enough to find that pocket of atmo.
Continue reading “Into the Silence – Epilogue”
I stood up and looked around again. Beach of stars. Waves of light. Nothing else to see. Except for the rift, perhaps. Where was it? That opening torn in space. Surely it would be around here somewhere. It’s what I came through, wasn’t it? I mean, how else would I have gotten here?
But there was no rift. At least, none that I could see from where I was. And the beach was featureless. No cliffs or dunes or islands to speak of. None of the usual beach accoutrements.
Except for that umbrella. Sticking out of the starry sand, shielding its occupant from the darkness of the sun. Now where did that come from?
I trudged toward the umbrella. It was more difficult to move through the sand and the waves than I’d anticipated. Each step I made seemed to drag and I had to lift my foot high before I could make any headway at all, as though I were pulling it out of a muddy patch that just sucked my steps in every time I put my foot down.
Finally, after much effort, I reached the umbrella and looked down on its occupant, glowing from the light of the sand.
Continue reading “Into the Silence – Chapter 56”
When I joined the magbooters in the Altrun Collective’s special forces, they told us over and over again in training about the extreme disorientation that sets in when you vent out into space. Directions don’t make sense. None of the usual means for identifying your surrounding world have any meaning: all you can see are stars and the occasional piece of debris, all you can hear is the sound of your own breathing, all you can feel is the fabric of your synthskin padding you against the armor.
It isn’t like being underwater, despite what all the training exercises try to imply. It’s like being dead. Dead, and buried.
Continue reading “Into the Silence – Chapter 55”
There was some debate. Nothing serious. And nothing I contributed to. I think, by that point, we were all a bit too tired, stretched a bit too thin, worn down a bit too far, to put up much resistance to what was fast presenting itself as an inevitability.
Cap directed us to our stations. But w all ended up in the cockpit before long. There wasn’t anything left to do but stand by and watch our fate. Scrub the decks? Why? Check the engines? Why? Secure the cargo? What cargo? We were all merely drifting about the ship, tending to what little preparation we needed before diving into the belly of the whale – both literally and metaphorically.
So even though Mearr, Gator, Sys, Cap, and Guhle were the only ones who really even needed to be in the cockpit – and really, the ship can get by on half that number – T’Vosh and I joined them as well. The ship’s just a bit too empty to wait below while your crewmates guide you toward oblivion.
Even Mearr was more a passenger than a pilot on this leg of the trip. Clutching our child to her chest, as she was, she was little use at the controls. But she sat by them anyway, purely out of habit.
It was Guhle – stern, reserved, terrifying Guhle – who gripped the reins and gunned the gas when Cap gave the order.
Tally ho. Off we go. Into the belly of the whale. But this time, we might not come out.
Continue reading “Into the Silence – Chapter 54”
Guhle and I returned to the lounge, where the rest of the crew still waited in horror and concern. As I entered, they all flinched back in their own way. Cap scuttled to face me. Mearr held our child close. Sys stood up. Gator folded his arms across his chest.
But T’Vosh did not pull away. He stepped toward me, arms held at his side, and glowered – at least, I have to assume he was glowering from within his armor – down at me.
“What do you have to say for yourself?” he said. “One of my Vigilant Sentinels is dead because of you.”
“Back off, Farseer,” said Guhle, placing a hand firmly on T’Vosh’s shoulder and pushing him away. “For all of hatchling’s faults and mistakes over the past few weeks, I think we can all agree that he’s no murderer. Not in this case, anyway.”
I shuffled meekly away from T’Vosh and stood to one side of the room. Away from Tic-Toc and his pile of useless tranisium ore. Away from Mearr, Sys, and our child also.
Away from everyone. The shadow had placed another veil between me and the crew. It seems like every time I tore down one barrier, another slid into place. Would I ever belong anywhere? Would I ever have some place to call home again?
Continue reading “Into the Silence – Chapter 53”
How does a human describe the Dark?
Back home, growing up, we used to tell stories about things that go bump in the night. Make fun of kids for being “afraid of the dark.” Huddle together when the power went out in a local storm. We raised each other on horror stories alongside tales of adventure and heroism. Champions who rose to face the darkness and dispel shadows with the light they carried.
All very poetic and inspiring to a child living on a backwater homestead, dreaming of unseen worlds and the adventure to be had there. Fame, fortune, and glory.
But once you get out there, into the rest of the galaxy, and start to really meet the people and see the places that exist out there, well, you start to realize that the stories had it wrong. Instead of looming darkness, overshadowing freedom and humanity – pardon the xenophobia for a moment – you find a mire of stagnation. Suffering didn’t come from a wellspring of evil, but from the muck that weighed people down, causing them to grow inert in their complacency. There’s no great demon working behind the scenes to bring about death and suffering. Just people. Making mistakes.
But I’ll be damned if I didn’t feel like that little kid again, staring in wide-eyed horror at the images of shadowy monstrosities conjured up in my mind around the campfire. Except, these weren’t just in my mind. They were pouring out, in full reality, from the rift in space. A great gash across the stars. A wound in space and time.
Continue reading “Into the Silence – Chapter 52”