Through A Black Sea: An Introduction to The Void Between

"What's that?" I asked. "I was so lost in those brown eyes, I failed to hear."
After sharing a laugh, the child spoke, "Earth. What was it like?"
"Oh," I mused, "it was beautiful. The oceans, the fields of green..."
"What happened to it," he asked, "why can't we live there?"
I stopped, the memories forming without consent. The chaos, the horrid screams, all flooding to the front of my mind from a deep, dark well. I fought back tears, looking down at him before speaking, "You're a little young for such a sad story..."


The Void Between takes place in our future, though records are hazy when it comes to just how far ahead we're talking. Humanity isn't a beacon of prosperity. It's been a few generations since leaving earth, but there are still those who remember what earth used to be. They don't talk about what happened, or why. They dodge the question, or make excuses. It's almost like they want earth to be forgotten.

Something happened on earth, something bad. Those who remember are deeply scarred by it. They will do anything to change the subject, anything to avoid reliving those horrible memories. These people in particular make excellent narrators, in my mind.

Some articles will be told by a narrator, a character within this world. They offer direct insight in what living in the world is like. Some have the fate of entire worlds on their shoulders, while others might as well be passers-by you meet on the street. One thing is universal: they are all human. All is told from a human perspective.

Scratching The Surface

Before going any further, I want to be clear: I'm not here to get the science perfect. Mistakes will be made, and in some cases intentionally. I want to make certain elements as scientifically feasible as possible, whereas others may feature a few bent laws, or maybe some that are completely broken.

The galaxy is big. I don't need to go on about just how ridiculously and unfathomably big the galaxy really is. The variable differences between planets, even ones claimed by the same species, are far too vast to pin down in an article. Taking earth as a good example, a single planet could produce thousands of distinct cultures throughout its history.

This is one major reason why I have chosen to make articles written from one perspective. It's a narrow view of the whole, a whole that could never be written. More importantly, it's always the human perspective. it's not the most knowledgeable, moral, nor the most objective perspective.



A Dark Time

Humanity isn't looking too good. It's seen better days. Whatever cataclysm destroyed the earth forced those who survived to venture out among the stars. We were not welcome out there. It would take many more years for us to even be noticed among the chatter. Human lifespan is longer, but life expectancy is not. There are threats aplenty in the void.

There are so many others, so many species, no one ever bothers to count. Humans working on distant space stations went untold years without seeing another human being. Officially speaking, humanity is an endangered species. No one is sure how many are left. Eventually, humanity did find a new home, Safeharbor. They colonized, and hunkered down for a long, dark age.

Humanity wants to be noticed, to be elevated beyond the likes of a backwater species. After scavenging the husks of ships left behind after battles, they learned how to compete. They can build ships of their own now, and can finally fight for their right to exist.


He heard Lauri's voice on the speaker, waking him from a light sleep, "Commander, I'm picking up something, a beacon. It looks like an SOS."
"Looks like an SOS?" he asked. "Distress beacons are pretty standard, ensign."
"Not this one. Two signals, one ship. One is calling for help, and the other is calling for a wide berth."
Silence followed before his eyes widened. He stood and ran across the grated floor. He reached the CIC shortly after, "Let me see, Lauri." he studied the screen, unsure of what to make of it. The ship looked functional. He sighed. What if he was wrong? What if all was well, and they only needed repairs? "Sir?" Lauri chimed.
"Could be a plague ship." he replied. "Don't answer it."


The call of the void

The universe is as wondrous as it is terrifying. Every expedition dedicated to exploration could be rewarding, but is equally risky. The galaxy has not been completely colonized, nor completely explored. Civilizations have risen only to fall and be replaced by another over millions of years.

Cities are built only to be demolished and rebuilt again when a new civilization rises. The technology left behind can be valuable, or completely useless, as some were more advanced than others. There's a sense of dread that comes from this: picking the bones of the dead so you don't end up like them. Did it help them when the time came? When you find ruins built on top of ruins, it really puts things in perspective.

Life on a vessel is dreadful in its own right. It's best not to think on it. The moment you realize your position, the dread never goes away. The fact that you are always one tiny misstep away from an unfortunate end is enough to shatter the mind.

A Universe that hates you

First contact with another species did not go very well. If a species wasn't trying to kill us, they were spending much of their time ignoring our very existence . Calls for help were ignored, and with good reason. A new species emerging can cause all kinds of trouble for the galactic community. A new species means a new facet in diplomacy. It can mean a potential rival or a new threat. It means new ideologies, new cultures, but most of all, new germs. Species do not like to talk to one another if they do not have history, or research needed to determine if such engagements are safe.

When the galactic community first started forming, unintentional genocide was committed by all parties involved. Old diseases ravaged any and all who so much as stepped foot on the same planet together for a chat. Plague ships drifted, lifeless in the void like time bombs. Upon investigation, it was determined that the crew died of some unknown contagion, a new threat to those unfortunate enough to stumble on the ship in the first place.

Ups and Downs

Humanity was being carefully watched. Many species did take notice of our emergence. They stayed back. They studied us, our physiology, our technology, and even our customs. They evaluated our worth, and found us a potential ally.

They seek to lift us from our dark age, offer us a place among the stars, so long as we alone are able take it. As bleak as the universe can be, there are many flickers of light in the darkness. It's a special feeling to be allowed on an alien world, to walk among species completely and totally different from your own. The medical procedures needed to do so may be a high price, but most claim its worth it.

Safeharbor, our new home, was once a capital world of a long dead empire. The planet was unknown to the galaxy, a place with earth like atmosphere and gravity. Humanity wandered the ruins of the planet's alien cities, then built their own cities out of the bones. Humanity persevered, but it was the first small step of many to come. Once humanity knew which species were safe, allies were made. Humanity could prosper, or continue its slow death, a footnote in the galactic record.

Technology

Technology has a long, bloody, and complicated history with the galactic community. Technology between species, systems, and sometimes between individual planets can vary so much it looks a bit like a game of rock-paper-scissors. Your vessel may be adequately equipped in your mind, but there will always be doubt if you engage a vessel with no recognizable characteristics. You may get lucky and the enemy ship will be outfitted with technology that has been obsolete for some time. Then again it could be a cutting edge military vessel, as well.

Technological progression, particularly with military technology, depends entirely on what you know, what you encounter, and how to counter what exploits your weaknesses. The moment a powerful new form of light based weaponry circulated through the void, scientific communities nearby were already seeking ways of denying the advantages this new weapon provided.

Reverse engineering, espionage, and sabotage are remarkably difficult to track and punish due to the sheer amount of distance between controlled systems. Scavengers are usually done and gone by the time a military fleet can arrive to reclaim the wreckage after a battle. For this reason technology is an endless, tedious foot race. Falling behind has led to extinction for some.

Unity in Chaos

The galactic community maintains what they refer to as a "peaceful anarchy." There's no way to police the size of territory the galactic community inhabits. Moreover, it's equally difficult to handle the minuscule problems of individual planets and even individual systems.

Space has its own laws, agreed upon by everyone in the galactic community. Individual systems have their own laws that either tighten or loosen those laws. Individual planets are left to their own devices, able to handle law as they see fit with little to no involvement from any other party.

These worlds are free, but are also responsible for their own defense, progression, and diplomacy. Some are lawless while others are practically Utopian. Some are militant technocracies while others are religious havens. Some are feudal star systems, Republics, or dictatorships. Everywhere you go will be unlike anywhere else.


The Galaxy

Exploration is a common pursuit of humans in The Void Between. Humans yearn to step foot on new worlds. This has given them quite a reputation among the galactic community. Life on Safeharbor, a planet missing from most star charts, likely led to this. With all eyes watching, humanity took it upon themselves to map the stars, one at a time.

The Galaxy is filled with all kinds of strange worlds, some filled with equally strange people. Safeharbor, itself, was once an ecumenopolis, a planet wide city. Most of the city is long gone, only a select few regions densely filled with skyscrapers like steel forests.

Nature and wildlife preserves were maintained, and nature simply waited. Most of the city is gone. Still, it's not uncommon for perfectly preserved sections of this once massive city to emerge from a landslide, or shifting sand dunes.


Strange World

Humans know little of the galaxy. They try to learn more, both as a species and individually. Other species try to avoid them. Everything needs to be explained to humans before work can be done, if it can be done at all. This doesn't only pertain to humans, as any new species would be in the same situation.

Humanity struggles to understand the universe they have found themselves in. There are potentially thousands of species in the Galaxy that are capable of traveling through space, and each has a different set of pieces to an infinite and complex puzzle. The history of the Galaxy is only written in small chunks, save for more recent events. Humans had to get used to an entirely new economic system, new laws, and new technology. Some of this tech defied previously understood laws of human science.

Ignorence is another major theme of The Void Between. Imagine learning that the science we've built our existence around is flawed? What if we're not nearly as right as we think? It makes sense that we would be driven to learn. As such, like with my other worlds, discovery is an equally important theme.
 

   

 

Would you like to know more?


   

Cover image: by Vectorium

Comments

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17 Oct, 2020 21:38

Love it. An interesting new setting, gorgeous CSS, and a great concept. Glad to see you back at it :)

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
17 Oct, 2020 22:47

Great to finally be back at it. Thanks so much! I hope you enjoy it!

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17 Oct, 2020 23:48

CSS Suggestion: Increasing the left-side padding on your quotes so that it has equal padding from the page either side. Right now, the right side is large padding while the left is virtually no padding.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
18 Oct, 2020 00:34

Oooooo great idea. Thanks so much. I'll fix that.

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18 Oct, 2020 03:07

Your main page made my heart stop. Oh my goodness, what an incredible hook and introduction.   To make matters even better, your theme is top-notch. Is this custom CSS?


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Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
18 Oct, 2020 03:24

Thank you so much! I appreciate it. Yup, custom css. It took ages. I'm glad it's so we'll received. Again thank you very much!

Check out my work | The Web | Expedition Demeter
18 Oct, 2020 05:40

I didn't know you'd started another world! I'm here for it!   Also, this is the best iteration I've seen of the Area 51 theme so far!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
18 Oct, 2020 07:31

Indeeeeed, I'm still trying to adjust it, but some of the theme is just too good to change XD thanks so much! I love how it's turning out. Hope you enjoy it!

Check out my work | The Web | Expedition Demeter
18 Oct, 2020 12:15

I really love the aesthetic of this article and some great content too!   There are some parts which are a little repetitive and I believe a word missing from one sentence under Technology: "Technology between species, systems, and sometimes between individual planets can so much it looks a bit like a game of rock-paper-scissors." Should there be a "vary" in there? But overall a great article that is split up nicely too!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
18 Oct, 2020 13:02

Ooo thanks for that. I'll fix it. Yes the repetition is something I noticed as well. Could definitely use a little condensing. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much.

Check out my work | The Web | Expedition Demeter
25 Oct, 2020 19:41

You've really driven home the concept that, in an infinite universe, nothing is controllable or predictable.   All of your worlds give off a sense that humans aren't special; they are, in fact, only one small part of the grand equation of the universe, and none of your worlds do that better than this one so far. This is a universe that has been burned one too many times, and so everyone is cautious about sticking their hands into the fire again.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
26 Oct, 2020 05:22

Oooo very well put, my friend. That's exactly what this one is going for. It's also a little experimental. I plan on having character's benin charge of certain catagories, narrating their articles, some depicting events that are misunderstandings, or where the world building is sounds, but the events that occur in the article, the story, is a dream, like in Safeharbor. Idk if it'll be any good, but it's fun. I plan on doing some voiced articles as well. We shall seeee.

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