He finally docked. Shimmering, like the old Earth myths, the ship re-appeared into the familiar dimensions of Space. Making it the only matter in a near infinite ocean of nothing-ness. In the end, the decision to dock into the hellish Nothing somewhere outside the Ur Galaxy hadn’t taken time. An effort to manage the parallel realities of space-time in multiple dimensions had meant the Ur Species weighed out as many ripples as predictive ‘telling’ allowed.
But ever since he went offline from the Ur, Shva was experiencing that ancient, forbidden joy – self-determination. He knew he didn’t have much time. Already the nano-scanners and flow monitors would be scrambling for a feed and going into statis. Which meant his biological age of 531 Ur years would end as suddenly as the connection he had mentally severed. He could potentially re-connect, but the Ur would force immediate Cryo, until his fate was determined. Until every ripple of his actions had been accounted for.
His rebellion was a faint one, but in a civilisation as vast and advanced as the Ur, even a faint rebellion is unthinkable. The ripples were incalculable. So he went offline. The emotional waves assaulting him for just thinking the act would have been unbearable had it not been for what was making the rebellion possible in the first place. His strange free will, discovered too late.
He left the ship, enclosed in his bubble and started drifting. The sentient robots blinked blankly at him from the ship, helpless, unable to do anything without a decision by the Ur. The anguish on their faces was almost painful. He could almost hear their voices “What is it that makes Earth borns so hard to ‘tell’. Who would have thought the great Shva, only the third Earth born left, would go offline just as the Ur were at the cusp of their greatest victory – finding a way across the Nothingness.
Strange that in a mind as connected as the Ur, and as self confident of its mapping, Shva was still the only neuron cluster who still remembered what the Others had spoken cryptically of. Cross the Nothing into Nothing. In the early hedonistic days of discovering hyper dimensional travel, the Ur had wiped out the gentler, ancient Others. There were some who wondered why it was so easy to take from ones so ancient and powerful. And then we discovered the Ripples. But the Other never forgot. And they never forgave. But with the Other gone, we were the new Overlords. Except we became them. Locked in permanent inaction and discussion.
The Nothing had become an obsession with Shva, one he could not let the Ur discover. But now, he let his fading, but still immensely powerful mind take over. It spread across the empty sea, searching. His sectors started shutting down, draining one by one. Memories rushed in an out. Realities fused. But still he spread out. Searching not for matter, but for ripples in Nothing. When suddenly, Shva ‘saw’ it. And he knew, finally he knew that the sacrifice of the other ancients had not been in vain. Just before he lost consciousness he was only conscious of tears.
Spread across the infiniteness of Nothing, were the memories of the Other, in all their complexity, beauty and pain – rising to Shva’s mind like the skyline of an immense city. Layer after layer his mind penetrated, meeting language and dialects and words never discovered. Histories and tales never unraveled. Floating memory ‘Cities’. But more alive to his mind, than the Ur were today.