Science Fiction Fiction Adventure


Journal entry 2197/4/13

You know the old saying about how a man would never stop and ask for directions if he were lost? Well, it’s true in space as well, except you can’t exactly pull up to a space gas station and go inside; if a man were to actually do such a thing that is.

Usually, if we did happen to get lost, it was because I read a star chart wrong or had the map backwards(inside joke), I would usually say “Houston, we have a problem.”, which would in turn make my wife shake her head and then take control of the situation and get us back on track. 

As you continue to read this journal entry, I’m sure you’ll wonder why my wife didn’t just push me out of an air lock and leave me for dead. I guess she really did love me.

My wife and I are in scientists, which gave us the ability to own our own spaceship. It wasn’t just your average spaceship either. Because we were classified as ‘scientists’ and had the papers to prove it, we were allowed to have a few extras that a lot of other ships didn’t have.

Where I went wrong was that I liked to tinker. Some of my tinkering led to some pretty cool stuff, but as I sit here and write this journey entry, I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t have left well enough alone this time.

I had developed this new warp engine fusion technology that looked to be promising. The problem was that I needed a test subject and I knew my wife would never agree to it; not when our only ship was also out only home, at least for now.

I couldn’t pass it up though. This new technology was supposed to enable us to open wormholes faster and travel through them even faster than before, and not only that, but send and receive long and short range signals through. We would no longer be tied to such things as gravity slingshots or warp rings.

The day came when my wife was going to see her mom for a couple of weeks, which worked out perfectly because I had to finish some work for the Council, but what I didn’t mention to her was that most of what I needed to do was already done. I just needed to do a couple more tests, add those results to my latest theory, then do a final read through. It was the tests I wasn’t sure about. Oh, and did I tell you the work I needed to get done was on my warp engine idea?

“Enjoy your visit with your mom,” I said as my wife stood trying to stall her departure.

“I will. I just hate leaving you like this. I know you have projects to finish and I’m usually the one to give everything a second look, but…” my wife started to reply.

“It’s okay. This is actually a perfect time to see your mom. I know how much you hate this part anyway,” I said.

“True. Okay, well, kiss me so I can leave,” my wife said. As if just kissing her was going to get her to her mom’s any faster.

It did though. She stepped back and closed the airlock, then waved goodbye. I gave her a few minutes in case she wanted to turn back and postpone her trip to her mom’s again, but she didn't. She stayed the course and headed straight to Io station where her mom would be waiting.

I flew the ship to the far edge of our solar system and began my calculations. This was going to be the hardest, most important part of the whole thing and with there being open space, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to hit anything. Or anyone.

At warp, I could get to the edge of the solar system in a matter of minutes. I mashed down on the accelerator and I was there before you know it. Now for the fun part- the test.

I had spent weeks running simulations, but I needed to run actual physical tests on the warp engine. I now had the time to do it. 

I ran one last system check, went to the bathroom, and stowed anything I didn’t want floating around the cabin. Why the bathroom you might be wondering? Well, to be blunt, I didn’t want to run the risk of something happening and me shitting my pants; that was a real thing ya know.

I gave the internal and external cameras one last look and then I started entering the spatial coordinates for my first of many wormholes that I was going to attempt at opening. As I was about ready to enter one last line of code, the unthinkable happened- Astral, my wife’s cat comes from God knows where and lands on my head. 

It’s not that my wife’s cat scared me, it was the fact that I accidentally hit enter on the keyboard and a wormhole opened and my ship went through. My wife was supposed to take her damn cat with her..

Once on the other side of the wormhole, I checked all of the readings and it was then that I realized that my cat was actually a genius or should I say had perfect timing. You see, not only did I preemptively open the wormhole, but it took me to an uncharted area of space, which was okay, because that meant I got to drop a beacon and claim it as an official ‘discovered space’ and I could put my name to it. Of course now I had to plot my way back through the wormhole I had just come out of.

There was just one problem- when you are at a known set of coordinates, there is usually another set that goes along with the set you were currently at. When you are at a brand new set of coordinates, you have nothing to go off of. Nothing.

I decided to take a moment and breathe. I turned on the radio and scanned both wide and narrow band frequencies. There was nothing. The other thing I could do was what I termed ‘pinging the stars’, which meant I send out a blast of data and then wait and see who or what comes back. I decided to try just that, but it meant staying stationary for at least twenty four hours.

I opted for a small data packet with just enough data that it wouldn’t reveal who I was, but would definitely raise some questions with whoever received the data burst. The data packet I sent was a Morse code signal. The famous S.O.S. signal.

It was about sixteen hours later, while I was half asleep and suddenly my comms started going off. I jolt upright and switch on the cabin speakers. 

I didn’t understand the garble that was coming through at first, but then I realized it was a series of dots and dashes hidden in some noise. I turned on the signal capture software and started recording what was coming through.

I stared at the screen for what must have been fifteen minutes or so, when Astral meowed, causing my attention to be called back to the here and now.

The message that I was seeing was a ‘Hello!’ message from an Earth satellite that had been launched over one hundred years ago. It was then I realized I could capture the satellite and bring it onboard to do a little digging in case Earth’s scientists decided to leave a calling card.

I managed to find what I would call a little black box and after swear words and almost kicking the cat, I managed to get into the black box and find exactly what I was looking for- the coordinates back home.

I decided to copy all of the info on the satellite’s system, then put it back on it’s course. Now that I had all of the data I needed(and then some), I stowed Astral, checked everything just as I did before, then of course went to the bathroom for the same reason I mentioned earlier.

I entered the coordinates and then officially hit the enter button and watched as the wormhole opened up. This one I actually got to enjoy. It was a swirling black mass of light and dark. Honestly, it was a little lackluster, but what was phenomenal was how fast I traveled through the wormhole.

Almost instantly, messages started coming over the radio. I checked the sender info and found that my wife was the one who had sent a few of the messages.

I checked the time stamp on the message and nearly felt my heart leap through my chest. It was six months ago. How far had I traveled? I did the math and took into account I was using an experimental warp engine. I had traveled plus or minus fifty light years!

I immediately sent a message on the same channel that my wife used. The message I had sent was this- Houston, we have a problem. As long as she was still okay, she would know it was from me.

I immediately got a return message and it was from my wife. The message said that I needed to prove my identity, which meant video calling her.

“Hi babe, it’s me.”

She stared at the screen for a long minute. It was as if she was trying to decide if I was an alien or not. She finally broke down in tears.

“I’m sorry honey. I am. Let me explain what happened though, but I‘d like to explain in person if that’s okay?”

After she stuttered the answer ‘yes’, and wiped away her own tears, I told her I loved her and had one heck of a story to tell her when she got back on board. She told me she loved me too and would see me within the hour.

The hour that it took her to get up to our ship felt like an eternity. I was nervous and had cold, sweaty hands. It was almost like when I first asked her out thirty years ago.

Her ship docked and as the air locks opened, we stood staring at each other, then she ran to me and collapsed into my arms crying harder than I had ever seen her cry before, of course that was after she slapped me harder than she ever had before also.

I apologized profusely and then was finally able to explain what happened. She sat with a confused look on her face, moreso, shocked. She explained that the chances of coming back home the first wormhole try was astronomical. Wormholes was relatively a new mode of travel and the fact that I got it correct on the first try meant that my warp engine was a success. So, not only did I manage to mess things up, but I managed to ask for directions so to speak and then wind up back home where I started. 

The Council was going to have a field day with all of my data. I could not wait to present to them my proposed warp engine fusion technology. 

I did add that if they were going to attempt their first wormhole trip with my warp engine, that they not bring any pets and only bring their spouse. 

Someone had to stop and ask for directions if they got lost!

February 08, 2023 01:21

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