Story: World without end

Take One: HK

Aivyne took her phone out of her jeans pocket, checked the time and noted that she should hurry to make it to work on time.  Yet the forest whispered to her with the fresh earthy smells of moss and vines, of dew-covered soil and newly budded leaves.  Mist was rising from the ground where the early morning sun caressed it.  She put her phone back and gave it a pat on the outside of the pocket, to reassure it that she would be back soon.

An adorable fluffy squirrel paused briefly on the path in front of her, big bulging black eyes pausing to examine her with leasure, backlit from the sun, making its fur seem to sparkle.
With two fingers, she slowly peeled the phone back out of her pocket to attempt to freeze this moment, but the squirrel - reacting to some unheard noise - straightened, then sniffed the ground and bounded away.
Aivyne sighed.

Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glint of something else sparkly, a few meters away.  Holding on to the phone, she took a few steps into the forest and off the path.   When she thought she must be pretty close to where she had seen the sparkle, she knelt down, and held still.

It was then that she heard the music. Unlike any music she had ever heard before.  There seemed to be no beat, yet it had rythm.  No tone, yet there was a languid sunkissed tune.  It made her skin feel like she just had the best sex in her life.

And almost close enough to touch, she saw a glass globe, lit by the rays of the early morning sun, cradled on the ground.  The globe held a creature that seemed to her older than the end of the world and yet younger than her baby sister. Her eyes locked with the creature's blood-orange jeweled eyes. 
The music filled her head, interrogated her, challenged her, transposing her observations.  She had already started to rise to her feet, to get back to the path, to get to work, to be on time, to follow the plan...  

"Wait a minute" she whispered.  "hold on, now just wait one bloody-orange coloured minute"   Her face showed the same determined look as when her mum tried to convince her she had promised to baby sit her sister this Saturday when she bloody well knew she hadn't on account of a promising opportunity to spend time with Jessica whose parents were also attending the performance that night and might have the house to herself.  Her spine tingled in anticipation and her hands rubbed up and down her arms with awkwardness and hope.  Her head sang with the sound of Jessica's voice the way whispered, when she would look up to her with her nostrils flared ever so slightly, eager to drink in her presence...

She clenched her jaw and tried to clear her head.  The glass ball held the creature and encompassed the world.  With a certain amount of urgency, the creature seemed to work with the pink tentacles in front of it, its expressionless face looking at Aivyne.  The globe disappeared and reappeared, stuttering into existence.  
Aivyne reached out her hand and the ridges of her fingers touched the ball.

As she later described to Jessica  "I know this sounds weird... but when I touched the globe, it seemed as if I was looking at myself towering over me.  The music now held words that I could understand... "
Jessica kissed the tips of Aivyne's fingers one by one "you are such a poet, babe" 
Aivyne took a deep breath.  "It was like I saw with a million eyes, from a million globes, this world, and many many more worlds, worlds without end, each observed by blood-orange eyes".  She rolls over and raises herself on her elbows, looking down at Jessica "and the music, the music, it spoke of purpose, of beauty, of ...  like you were listening to a god, you know?"

Aivyne gently traced her fingers along Jessica's jawline and kissed her.   "This sounds crazy... but in that moment, I knew I needed to be late for my job.  My boss would be upset, and I would loose the job.  I would go back to school.  Because ... I can't remember why.. there was a reason... "
Jessica looks up with eyes full of impish worship "because you are brilliant.. because you will do something big for this world, if you go back to school and quit that stupid job.  Anyone could've told you that!  And next time you'd better share your stash with me before you go off wandering in the woods and enjoying the sparkles!"  

Aivyne puts her finger onto Jessica's lips and then pokes her gently on her naked stomach "shush, you silly!"  "I took a picture, I'm not making this up, I'll show you later!"

Briefly, Aivyne feels herself looking down on both of them, feeling the love and curiosity of the orange-eyed creatures, hearing their siren song of purpose and intent, a small speck of life among the multitudes.

She bends down to kiss Jessica's stomach and the intensity of joy on hearing Jessica's sharp intake of breath crowds out any other thought.


Take Two: S

World Without End



My voice sounds far more confident than I feel. What the hell had possessed me to dream up this crazy idea anyway. I glance up at the iridescent minimal surface surrounding me.

"I must be crazy" I mutter, realizing the mic is still open a moment too late.

"Say again Major?"

"Nothing, nothing... All OK here."

My thoughts explore a variety of expletives seeking those that would best describe just how 'OK' here really is.

I feel the usual slight wobble beneath me.

"You may feel a slight wobble."

"Roger." Thank you, captain obvious I think. As if I haven't traveled by bubble before, they always 'wobble'.

I find myself reviewing theory in my head, running over the usual bits of foundational physics. It relaxes me.

I recite to myself: 'a spherical soap bubble is the least-area way of enclosing a given volume of air' Schwatrz's theorem. Two merged bubbles provide the optimum way of enclosing two given volumes of air of different size with the least surface area. I have to hold back a laugh at the proper scientific name of the 'double bubble conjecture' Then, Otto's use of bubble films to determine the geometry of a sheet of least surface area that spreads between several points.

I shake my head, if only I had not been such a stupid dreamer. But it was too obvious. After extending Otto's procedures into networks. The early bubble-motive hypothesis. Those first ill-fated tests. All those poor Ochotonae such sacrifice. It all led to the now ubiquitous Bubblenet and of course, life was never the same after that.

"Quantum flux at 78%"

"Roger control."

But I knew there was more, it was so obvious. The implications so... monumental. All we needed to do was to extend into relativistic space. The Bubblenet was amazing and allowed rapid transport with barely any energy or waste, but I knew there was so much more. It was still limited to the existing network. Planned in advance and tethered.

"I'm observing the predicted shimmer, control." I was seeing exactly what I expected to see at 80% flux. Distorted slightly by the surface. The next bubble in the new quantum network was beginning to interact with my superposition. It will happen soon.

"Roger. Advise before transition if possible Major."

"Roger." Those bastards! they had to throw in the '"'if possible'"' as if I need something else to give me the jitters!

"Flux at 83%"

I can clearly see the super-positioned bubble now... and... perhaps more.

"I may be catching glimpses control."

"Roger Major. you're at 85%"

85%. Everyone knows 87% is the hard-line. After that you must not stop or both positions may collapse.


It comes as a relief that they are going to count it. I have no other indications and welcome the information. Anything to distract me.

"87%" the voice is serious but also relieved and excited.

"Roger control 87%. Bubble committed." I recite the litany exactly the same as every one of the practice simulations.

"Roger Major, the bubble is committed."

"89% Flux"


No matter how much I want to be the consummate hero, stoic in the face of the unknown. I'm shaking. Thank god nobody can see me.


The wobble is more of a shudder now. The shimmer much less opaque. As I watch I can clearly see the film of the next bubble start to square off against my own.

"Transition imminent." I truly hope my 'you know just where you can stick your if possible' tone comes across as intended.


I don't hear the end of the transmission. Instead I feel the all too familiar sideways tug as my bubble pulls me across the film of the next. But it's different. Faster, further, so much faster and further. I had not known what to expect so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised but it's almost too much. I watch a whirl of lights and shapes blurring past, always spinning and flipping as my bubble traverses the films of it's neighbors. From one to the next, the film of my bubble slingshot-ting along a string of other bubbles, just like the Bubblenet; but at the same time nothing like it whatsoever. With the Bubblenet you at least know exactly where you are going. Me, I have yet to find out.

Everything stops. I have arrived. It takes me a moment to get over the spinning whirl of colour that I experienced during transit and take in my surroundings.



I do not really expect a response, but it's procedure.

It's confusing. Is the surface distorting my view? Clearly I can see trees, or what look like trees. But it's all so very different. No Pluphle-moss or Sparkle-bugs, I would have expected at least those... and the trees seem so... gigantic. I try pivoting my view around to gauge if it's a distortion. No. can't be. It's a forest all-right. But easily 100 times larger than any I have ever seen before.

"Control? This is Major Snuffle-fuzzlet, I have arrived, come in please?"


Again, no surprises. Nothing to do now but start documenting everything and hope to hell that return beacon works. That and continue to curse myself for volunteering to test my own theory.


Tags: Story


Made me believe it and want to know what happens next.

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