General Science Fiction posted January 15, 2014


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Short Story

The Waters Off Rigel Part 2

by michaelcahill













But it wasn't about age; it was about questing for the light. He instinctively sought out his own kind. Sure, there were older people that held his interest. But more young people view their lives still ahead of them. Most old people reflect. When you reflect you have to look back. Doctor Trent looked forward, as if what had passed before was a warm-up. His own kind embraced him heartily.
 
Most people, especially older people, thought he was foolish. But, really, they were just a little bitter because it was; in fact, their own failure to go forward that bothered them. This group loved him as one of their own.
 
So was his good friend, Laura. Brilliance described Doctor Lauralee Genomare better than it did a diamond. She was probably the most purely smart of the entire group. She laughed beautifully when she laughed. They had met at a terrible play that they were both dragged to by some well-meaning companion, trying to impress their date by going to a play.
 
The name of the play, long since forgotten, should have been- "This is Really, Really Deep!" Have you ever been to a play that tried desperately to be thought provoking? This fit that bill perfectly. Of course, people that didn't make it a practice to think found it mind blowing. On these two, this served as the perfect vehicle to bestow with sarcastic and witty remarks spoken just loudly enough for all to hear.

A particularly revelatory scene unfolded and in stereo the phrase "Oh, I get it!" reverberated in all its disingenuous splendor throughout the theater. Two voices burst into wonderfully inappropriate laughter simultaneously and rose from their seats to find each other. They made for the exit together staggering like drunken emus cackling insanely all the way, as a disapproving audience sat in unrequited silence. They have been dear friends ever since.
 
Their age difference made no difference to her. He delighted her in every way. He enthralled her intellectually. He made her laugh hysterically and often. He had dashing good looks and she felt safe and protected in his presence. She felt pride being considered his dearest friend and confidant.
 
He, simply put, felt the wildest and deepest love for her that he had ever experienced in his life. Anyone that knew Doctor Lance Trent could tell you, love and the good doctor knew each other quite well. His feelings for LauraLee transcended any he had ever known. Terms like, worship, cherish and adore became part of his attempt to describe his "affliction" as he called it with a twinkle in his eye.
 
LauraLee had no problem committing to Doctor Trent. Strangely, the Doctor saw more drawbacks and problems then she did. "Who is your father?" presented no difficulty for him and he found it highly amusing. He didn't want that for her even though she found it amusing as well.

What of the children if they were to have them? How would they explain the old man at their graduation ceremony? Out of true love for her, he vowed to keep their relationship as friends. Never had he undertaken a vow so difficult to keep. But, so far, he had. LauraLee could easily cause him to break it. He could not resist her if it came down to it. But, she loved and respected him and his wishes too.
 
"Bolts" was a woman the Professor on Gilligan's Island could have used. She probably could make a radio out of coconuts and seaweed. She had that deep beauty of a "Mary Ann" that the "real men" preferred over "the movie star". The Movie Star might make for a fun evening, but only a Neanderthal would prefer her to a life raising a family with Mary Ann.

I make this point to illustrate two things. Number one I have the nerve to admit that I watched Gilligan's Island. And number two, I watched intently enough to understand the complex deeper dynamics involved considering the psychological ramifications of the male psyche concerning their physiological response to the opposite sex.

In any case, Toni Wimberly took the term mechanical genius and made it a subset of her abilities. It secretly delighted her that everyone showed surprise upon discovering Toni "Bolts" Wimberly to be a woman and a pretty one at that.
 
There are many other team members to introduce and I will as time goes by. Were this a movie, I would introduce some conflict between the dark forces of evil and the altruistic powers of good. But that rarely happens outside of the movie theater.

I can't say these are ordinary people. It is clear that they are not. They are people with special skills and special mindsets that are suited to an undertaking of this nature. History has seen them since the beginning of recorded events.

The best term to describe them would be explorers. Consider an unchartered ocean where one might sail off the surface of the earth into a great endless abyss. That might have been a possible destination for Christopher Columbus.

In that same vein, an eternity drifting in the vast void of endless space millions of miles from anything familiar might await these people at the end of their journey. The willingness to risk that to find out what might be at the end of that journey is what makes these people explorers.
 
Individuals of a superior nature often feel awkward in a general way when interacting with the world. They often feel that they are not understood. They tend to doubt their own gifts. Talents that come easy or with little effort are difficult to place a value on.

When meeting one with a similar skill set there is an instant validation that occurs. There is a thrill to being in the company of others that share one's abilities. There is mutual admiration and a ready bond. There is no envy or jealousy for there is no need for any.

This became a close-knit team that celebrated each other and truly enjoyed each other's company. There existed a strange sense of acceptance when it came to being potentially exiled from earth forever. In their mind's, considering the company, it wouldn't be the worst fate that could befall them.

Humor rose in their interchanges as a special form of communication that excluded outsiders and existed between them alone. "Well, Doctor Trent, whatever out mission might be, it is just going to be dandy being marooned for eternity with you and that hot babe you have with you. Man, you must have some big bucks in that wallet!" So said Bolts to her good friend.

An outsider might consider those fighting words. For them they were words that they couldn't stop laughing over. Laughter reverberated on a regular basis whenever the team congregated.
 
The scientific testing of the wormhole continued around the clock. Its location had been determined to a pinpoint location just outside of earth's atmosphere and easily accessible by space shuttle. The recently abandoned shuttles and support equipment remained readily available and required little work to bring them up to flight capability.

Not only sound could be transported through the wormhole. Objects traveled through and returned nearly unchanged. The term "nearly" worried the scientists greatly. I will spare you the technical jargon, as I do not understand it anyway. But, concern over what miniscule alterations in a human might mean, caused great debate.

To the team members it merely meant delay. Going through to the other side did not require a question. They were going through. The scientists could and would debate all they wished. 


Recognized


Part two. Continuing to introduce characters and go off on tangents. Comments, input, suggestions? I can't really alter the story to the point where each posting is self-contained. I do apologize for that. It basically has about four thousand or so words and I am splitting it up about four ways. Hope you will try to view it as one piece. My dog ate my best editing pen.
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