Black and White


This is it… all it takes is one shot. Fraeia's words hurt more than I'd like to admit. I don't know how we're getting out of this alive. Is it selfish that I don't care?   Fray knew what was going to happen, how far I'd go. They're here by choice, and yet I'm left wondering why it's so hard to pull the trigger. My hand shakes, gripping the side of the pilot's chair so hard the faux leather creaks and cracks.   "Amber? I'm waiting for you." Fray's voice is so quiet, hopeless even. "Target is locked. We should fire before someone notices we're here."   "I know," I whisper. My mind races, scanning the panoramic view for some sign of an easy escape. Within moments the only thing I can see is the empty black void that is The Fever Breach. The blue radiates from it like a beacon, as if to say, "Here I am."   My grip loosens on the chair as I stare into the abyss. It's so inviting, and in truth, always has been. Wait…   I take one last look at Gibraltar before giving the order. "Fire." One missile leaves the silo, a prison containing a spoonful of hell itself. "Prepare for warp."   "What?" Fraeia replies. "If communications are jammed then I assure you, there's an interdiction field in place. Where would we go?"   I turn to face them and smile. "No where."   A bright flash illuminates the void. I turn and see the damage we managed to inflict. I see black fluid spew forth from the mass of tendrils, a direct hit. It's a shame we can't hear it scream.   As Gibraltar's body slowly falls into the Breach, I turn to Fray. "I need you to get to the engine room and connect the reactor to auxiliary power. There should be enough to keep it going."   "Why?" Fray asks. They look out through the panoramic view, to the singularity that inches closer and closer. Their eyes go wide. "Amber… you can't be serious. Have you lost your mind?"   I look down and see the Eden vessels racing toward us. The other creatures do the same. "Do you have a better idea?" They stare into the Breach, frozen in fear. "Fray?"   "Okay," They whisper, turning away and storming out of the cockpit.   I watch the mass of tendrils, my enemy's body, as it slowly passes into the event horizon. I look down and press the big red button on the console before me.   In seconds, I find myself in darkness. The ship passes through the event horizon as well. It's easy to tell when it happens. The metal starts to warp, groaning against the conflicting gravitational fields.   I wrap myself up in my own arms, my heart racing. I wonder if this would be easier if it wasn't so dark. The metal continues to cry out as if in pain. The darkness seems to get thicker, but… no… not entirely.   I see flickers of light as the ship descends. I look and see the viewport, the light seeping through the side. I slide it open and find myself out of breath soon after.   I see the void fretted with flecks of light. I see flashes, massive explosions that appear and fade soon after. Stars, galaxies, everything dying and forming only to die again. The lights go out, one by one. Millions, no, billions of years unfolding before my very eyes.   No. How did I miss that? Time is different here. It's been less than two minutes. I stare in horror, watching the universe die in record time.   Damn. That's it then. I guess I'm never going back…    
      Fraeia connects power to the engines, the sounds of metal bending and warping around them. They stand and navigate the dark, stopping only to address another sound, one they didn't expect; whispers.   Fraeia turns around and sees the figure of an eden soldier. It isn't just any eden. They come face to face with themselves. This vision, whatever its source may be, chose to look exactly as they do, silhouetted in the darkness around them.   Fraeia's skin crawls when it speaks. It's uncomfortable to hear their voice spoken by another.o "This is it. Are you ready?"   "Gibraltar? How-"   "It's how I remember it. It had to be now. Are you ready?"   "This Is it? We're going to die?"   "Well… she dies."   Fraeia's eyes go wide. "What do I do? Help me."   "We all die. We can't change what happens in the end. I tried. Don't waste your time. You're only given so much."   "I thought you loved her."   "Always." Gibraltar replies. "You're angry, but I can't remember why. Is it the fact that now you know you'll survive. Or the fact that you won't be able to muster the will to tell her she's going to die?"   "I thought we were meant to keep her safe."   "That is the goal, and it won't be easy."   Fraeia's face lights up, a hint of hope. "Is? Can I fix this? Tell me what I need to do."   Gibraltar speaks in a flat tone, "Nothing at present. Just enjoy the ride."   "What happens? Why is she so important?"   "I never said she was." It laughs. "She isn't. She's not a messiah. She is not the chosen one meant to do great things. She's just…" Its voice softens. If it wasn't so dark, the smile could be seen as well as heard. "She's worth it. It was nice to see her again."     Fraeia screams, "I don't understand. If you won't give me answers then why are you here?"   "No one wants to die alone, though I imagine this is a bit of a technicality. It's the best I can get."   Fraeia opens their mouth to speak but the statement makes them reconsider. After a moment of silence, Fraeia turns and walks away.   They take care as they step through the ship, the doppelganger never far behind. Before reaching the cockpit, Fraeia turns and shouts as loud as a whisper can allow, "Am I to bear your presence until you die?"   "Won't be long now," it replies. "Don't be in such a hurry."   Fraeia chuckles in response. "I'm happy to be rid of you, creature."   "I know. I remember."   "You keep saying that. What does it mean?"   Gibraltar ignores the question. "I can feel it, the singularity breaking me down, atom by atom." It lets out a laugh. "It doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would. This is it. This is when we disappear."   "What do you mean we?"   Fraeia can feel its stare in the dark. It raises a hand, the silhouette slowly fading in rising plumes of dust. The form fades until nothing remains, leaving Fraeia behind with a sinking feeling in their gut.   Amber's voice calls out from the cockpit. "Fray? Please don't play around, I'm freaking out."   Fraeia turns and slowly inches forward, their mind racing as they unravel a simple truth, and all its implications. This is how we disappear…   Amber calls again, her voice shaking. "Fray? We can get out of this. I think we can-"   Fraeia tries to find the words to say. There's no way out of this, they think. I can't tell her she's about to die. Then again…   Amber reaches out into the dark and screams, a desperate call for hope, comfort, anything. "Fray, are you there?"  
    Fraeia reaches out from the darkness and takes my hand. The sensation sends me me into a brief panic, but then I hear their voice, "Always."   Always? I barely have time to register the word before burying myself in their shoulder.   "I'm sorry." My tears fall with fury. "I messed up."   "We're alive, aren't we?" I can't see them but Fray sounds so happy. Why? "No one has ever done this before. I did as you asked. Let's get out and be the first."   So many things start happening at once. A blinding flash of white light fills the ship, and all from the tiny viewport I left open. I hear a sound, a deafening roar vibrating through the hull.   The ship shakes, a violent tremor that sends us to the floor. I feel a weight on top of me, one that gets heavier, and heavier to the point where I cant even lift my hand from the grate.   Is this what dying feels like? Is this what comes after? I feel myself drifting in and out of consciousness, until finally the force on my body becomes too great. The last thing I hear before passing out is the symphony of bells, drones, and chimes; alarms echoing throughout the ship.    

Cover image: by Vectorium


Author's Notes

reminder: I am not able to work from a computer, so if you notice something strange, do let me know. Thanks so much!

Please Login in order to comment!
Apr 1, 2022 11:24 by TC

I am on the edge of my god damn seat here. I don't even wanna try and guess where its going, I'm just enjoying the ride too much- god I cannot wait to see how this all wraps up, and then re-reading the entire world again!

Creator of Arda Almayed
Apr 1, 2022 15:42

OK, so now we're in a black hole. That's OK. It's all good, don't panic. Too much.

Jun 4, 2022 08:12 by Grace Gittel Lewis

Sorry ,no time for a coherent comment I gotta read the next one!

Powered by World Anvil