Short Story: Tale of Mackenzie Zap and the Halfway House
We Travel On
Imagining how far we may travel into space is one of my favorite activities. The story below came about as I asked several questions. For instance, how has dark matter possibly influenced the development of humanity? Can we modify our DNA to become immortal? Mackenzie Zap could probably inform us, but she is incredibly busy.
Mackenzie was inspired by the resourcefulness of all of my students and close friends. But this is an original work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, places or events real or imagined is completely coincidental. However, Lori gets the credit for her stellar photos. My writing friends on Hub Pages are stars, too. Enjoy: Mackenzie Zap and the Halfway House.
Should we continue to explore outer space?
Mackenzie Zap and the Halfway House
Mackenzie Zap was not seen by anyone shifting from her plasma state to solid at her destination. Her temporal calendar indicated precisely a thousand years before the Great Calamity. The Leadership Council told her a millennium was enough time for this group of humans to figure a way off the planet. Mackenzie needed that to happen; her leadership was necessary to convert the dwarf galaxies circling the Milky Way into a magnificent universe traveling vessel, and failure would disqualify her for commanding the Halfway House.
At 19 cosmic years old, Mackenzie was young comparable to others she knew. She had watched seven times as this little planet chugged along the galactic plane, taking 250 million terrestrial years to complete an orbit around the black hole. She knew what awaited this globe about halfway around the galaxy. The blue world will encounter halos of dark matter, obliterating civilization on the planet. Everything will vanish. Mackenzie's mission was to change that outcome by providing data about the dark matter and encouraging these people to leave the solar system, joining other humans on the edge of the galaxy to build the ship from planets and stars.
In fact, humanity had left repeatedly to escape the Great Calamity at the midway point around the galaxy. Mackenzie’s group had expanded their DNA, becoming immortal and reached a dwarf galaxy. Another group perfected mechanical technologies. Still, other bands of mankind had unlocked the secrets to traversing space and time. Crediting the human collective mind, they were all together, determined to explore the universe on their mighty ship.
Mackenzie thought quietly, “The tragedies humankind endure are recorded in our collective mind, and mankind looks for ways to avoid those disasters by coming up with solutions. That’s why the same idea can appear simultaneously in different places from several people.” One of her professors told her the phenomenon had something to do with quantum entanglement, but she didn’t have time to ponder. There were bands of humans waiting for construction to conclude on the magnificent vessel. She chastised herself: “Stop talking, Zap, and get in there with the genius.”
Mackenzie secured her backpack and gear. Examining her black jeans and hair, She grinned. She could not be the stern Voyage leader today; she was a student at the institution where the Knowledge Holder taught. She noticed dilapidated buildings crushed by huge rocks nearby. A young man ran by with stones plastered to his bleeding body. Others ran along the street with sling shots screaming and threatening. She thought violence thrived on the planet. Mission command warned these humans may present difficulties. A worry creased her brown face, but she entered the restaurant, looking like a 19 Terrestrial years old teenager.
The Voyage Leader had read thoroughly. Sandy Quartz pioneered many of the innovations people used based on crystal technologies on the planet. Mackenzie knew this version of mankind perfected the application of crystals in every aspect of life. She took a table facing Sandy Quartz ordering insect milk and sugary tree bark. She muttered, “Regardless of where you go in time, humans always seem to have milk and treats. It must be a collective mind thing.”
She made eye contact and spoke: “Hello, Knowledge Holder Quartz. I’m Mackenzie. I need to speak with you.”
The older lady’s response was cautious, “Are you a student?”
Mackenzie replied, “In some ways, but I need your permission to speak freely.”
A frown appeared on Sandy’s wrinkled face, but she reluctantly nodded.
Mackenzie pressed a button on her temporal suspension unit on her wrist. The waiters, other customers, and even the flying creatures outside, stopped moving immediately. Sandy was afraid.
“Don’t fear. As a person of science you can appreciate what I’m about to say.” Mackenzie reassured. She explained what was to come for planet Earth and what awaited mankind aboard the mighty ship.
Sandy was still for a long moment. “I don’t doubt you. You have proven to me you have unique knowledge. Why don’t you just send a rescue mission?” the elderly woman finally inquired.
“Enormous energy is required for time travel. Also, training on temporal paradoxes takes months. For similar reasons, we cannot bring you technology.” Mackenzie stated.
Sandy said, “Include Earth in the structure of your ship. Why not? We can make granite structures touching the sky, and we destroy cities by flinging boulders. We have invented submersibles carved from stone which can withstand the extremes of the ocean. My only problem is our enemies on the opposite side of the globe somehow know when we create inventions.”
Mackenzie was puzzled. Sandy misunderstood. All of humanity on Earth must escape. She quickly showed Sandy data about when the Earth would encounter dark matter, and her mission was finished. Stepping outside, she released the time stream, and vanished into plasma. Future survival now rested solely with these people for their group.
Arriving eight centuries in the future, Mackenzie found the entire Earth flooded. Cities and people were gone. Huge rocks rose above the waves, and Mackenzie instantly knew what had happened: mankind went to war; dark matter was blameless. Mankind did not travel to the fabulous ship. Saddened, she was certain she would not command the Halfway House.
Mission command spoke to her: “Wonderful job, Admiral Zap! You succeeded and are now in charge." Mackenzie wanted further explanation.
“Although these people did not make it, the collective mind has moved aboard the vessel, ma’am.” A lieutenant told her. “The last group you visited was barbaric. Violence drained the collective mind as well as stress resulting from the coming cataclysmic event. Creativity was dying. The last strands of the human collective mind needed to migrate to the halfway house. That energy wanted a new home. But all segments of mankind required an opportunity to escape, and we provided that."
Mackenzie listened as the lieutenant continued, “As we travel the universe, you will have to make tough decisions. Some of them may cause pain. The Council wanted you prepared by showing you things may not work out even with your best efforts.”
Mackenzie understood and was ecstatic to be promoted to Chief Admiral for the various temporal tribes of humanity. Things worked out for her. She dematerialized and headed to observe the Final Catastrophe, when the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies merge. She chuckled, “The new galaxy should be called: Andromeda has Milk.”