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THE PLANET THAT LOVED PEOPLE - PROLOGUE (standard:science fiction, 3268 words) [1/18] show all parts
Author: Danny RavenUpdated: Mar 05 2016Views/Reads: 713/498Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)



*            *             *             *              * 

50,000 AD. Space travel is common. Vast sections of the Universe have
been explored. No alien life-forms have been encountered. Many planets 
have been colonised from a unified Earth which now rules the known 
Universe. Humans, mutant-humans and clones are the only planetary 
populations. English is the common language. Near one of the Universe's 
rare static boundaries, a Black Hole has been discovered. There is a 
Corridor inside the Black Hole. Earth is determined to find out what 
lies through the other side. 

*            *             *             *              * 


“Battle Cruiser Zenon, this is Earth Control. We last have you logged at
space co-ordinates 4.65, 217.3, in Sector 901. Report your present 
position. Zenon this is Earth Control.” 

The voice had been calling constantly for the last thirty minutes and
whoever it was sounded tired. He may as well have given up because he 
wasn't going to get an answer from the Zenon – the Bridge was deserted 
and it looked as if the crew had left in a hurry. Half eaten sandwiches 
were lying around, cups of coffee had been spilled over consoles, seats 
were overturned and space charts had fallen from shelves and lay strewn 
on the floor. 

Space co-ordinates clicked on to the Drive monitor but there was no
Pilot to respond to them, scanner reports streamed unheeded on to the 
screens in the empty Navigator's corner and some warning lights on the 
instrument panels flashed on and off but there was no Engineer to 
assess them. 

“Zenon this is Control. Fleet Control to Zenon. Do you read me?” 

The Ship dipped slightly and the Captain's seat creaked eerily in the
dimly lit Bridge. The Ship swung back sharply and the seat rolled down 
the Bridge, smashing against a wall and overturning, its wheels 
squeaking loudly till they slowly spun to a halt. 

On the Observation Screen directly in front of the Captain's console was
the reason for the deserted Bridge – a short distance ahead behind some 
wreaths of innocent looking pinkish nebulae lay a Black Hole. 

It was like a dark satanic stain against the velvety blue of space and
its surface constantly undulated and heaved as if there was something 
trying to burst free from it, something malignant. Here and there, the 
dull glow of a minor explosion erupted on the black mass but instantly 
the light and energy were trapped and sucked back in. Nothing ever 
escaped from a Black Hole and it constantly evolved, sucking the life 
from everything around it like some malevolent growth in space. 

The Zenon continued to drift aimlessly but all the time the space tides
were edging it closer to the drifting nebulae which marked the boundary 
of the Hole's gravity field. A reverse thrust from the Drive would 
easily have cleared it, headed it to safety in the opposite direction 
but none came. 

“Earth Control to Fleet Battle Cruiser Zenon, your space co-ordinates
please. Control to Zenon – respond.” 

A fresh burst of figures clicked on to the Pilot's monitor and it was as
if the Ship seemed to try to alter course slightly but it was too late. 
Already it was nosing its way into the nebulae, the wreaths caressing 
the sides of the hull, the black force beyond beckoning, pulling. 

Momentarily the Ship seemed to fight the pull, bucking and shuddering
and scattering the drifting nebulae then it surrendered and seemed to 
allow itself to be drawn forwards. The nebulae settled round it again 
and for a few seconds it disappeared, swallowed up by the pinkish 
clouds then it burst through. Ahead of it, twenty space miles away, the 

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