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Satellite at the End of the Universe

May 15, 2010

“The god of love,
That sits above,
And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve”

—Benedick,
Much Ado About Nothing,
Act V, scene ii

“If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall…”
—Ben E. King

“I’ve been told that you’ve been bold with Harry, Mark and John.”
—Lou Reed

 

Whether or not it was still spinning was impossible to determine. Rolled up into an impossibly massive ball, the Universe had simply become the proverbial BB in what had once been a very large boxcar. There was nothing left and no one, nobody, not a single soul, to observe the last bits of matter flowing down God’s great bathtub drain.

Except there was. Though in time they too would become one with everything that had ever existed and ever would, the two were perhaps the unluckiest of beings, though relatively speaking there wasn’t anyone else in this Universe to be luckier.

They were left behind. Countless other beings, some perhaps long-forgotten eons ago had ancestors known as human beings while still others came from other worlds until such differences as what building blocks their original programmings were based on no longer mattered, had tranmitted themselves into another Universe, a younger one. In that place, they’d be gods to the younger lifeforms, perhaps ideas, thoughts with lives of their own.

Not so with the two castaways. Though they could take the form of whatever the situation called for as quickly as thinking it, there was nothing that could withstand the eventual pull of Oblivion. Before the End, they could take the form of a cluster of electrons and visit a White Dwarf, hitching a ride away with light pushed out by the dying star’s reactor. Stuck far between two planetoids, they could take the form of a floating rock and choose their direction and velocity, mastering the gravitational strings like a master violinist of eons past. The last cosmic ballet was the only artform now, though every bit as beautiful and moving as anything the goddess of dance and tragedy did on a good day.

So it was that the last two sentients in All-That-Is found each other on the last outpost, an artifical moon created to resist the intractable pull of gravity as long as possible. It was the launching point for those other beings to watch entire galaxies whirl and disappear into the black mouth at the center of the Universe. Now, only the pair of custodians remained without the ability to leave. Two such finding each other in a young universe would have been impossible, but since this was the last outpost, there was simply no where else to go.

Yet they did not panic. They stood (without the need for legs, they rather floated) silently watching what no other beings would get to observe. Restless or whimsical, they began a duel of transformation.

It began with ancient history, things they hadn’t even thought of in the lifetime of the last stars to fall. There were forgotten beasts, each more terrible than the last, as one poised to gobble the other, like a pair of ancient magicians trying to outdo each other’s enchantment. They were heroes and mythic creatures, opposing generals, warring species of old, whose purposes were long ago irrelevant save for their universal grappling with love and fear, joy and rage, hope and despair, flashed impossibly fast, faster than thought, faster than light, as the dueling dance intensified.

As the last—if time is linear—cosmic song played, beauty, hope, passion, defiance and nothing-at-all confounded the pull of the Great Black Vortex, slowing it down, as if even that gaping maw were no longer swallowing What Remained, but instead stood agape and watched in awe.

The forms came faster and faster, dazzlingly quick even to beings as advanced as these, until they became everything and nothing at once, unified as two atoms combined in one by fusion, hydrogen and hydrogen forming deuterium. A tiny point of light shone, weightless but blinding in an otherwise dark dimension of existence.

Whether or not the point of light was finally absorbed and extinguised by the leviathan at the center of all, or, if somehow the light was a catalyst for a new Universe, for the process to renew itself, a brand new one, or a fresh start was, of course, unknown since there was now no one…nobody to observe it. Would it all end, and that be that? Or would a great unrolling in another Big Bang reuse the matter now packed into an impossibly tiny space?

No one knows. The rest of us may take comfort or be afraid. The choice is ours.

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