Floated, in outer space. Tranquil and slow.
Dogu was alone. Twisting, curling spirals of a nebula spread before him. Crimson, blue and the whitest white, they greeted him. Ethereal, eternal and endless, drifting through outer space.
“Hey, nebula.” He smiled, behind a golden visor. He thought the voice was gentle and calm. Funny, because that’s how he felt. Did the voice sound gentle and calm because of his state or in itself? “How’re you doing?” A radio voice. “Mr. Radio Personality”, he said with a low, booming bass and snickered.
A light blinked in the infinite finite cluster of stars; just once, but it was clear enough.
“He-hey, star!” He waved his hand in a wide motion. There was no reply. He drifted on.
There was only the still, ever-lasting present moment. He did not know else. Drifting in the outer space for so long, you tend to forget things. Like, how was he still alive? He had not pondered on that one for ages, for there was nothing to ponder. Truth be told, he had been on his journey for half a millenium. Jettisoned from the back of a punctured cargo freighter, Dogu had gone one way and stayed to course ever since. The space is kind of annoying that way. You go one way and, safe for using a rocket or pushing against some other object, you will stay the course forever. But living forever, too? That part takes some explaining.
In the meantime, Dogu was having another slow, sluggish line of thought.
“Would you, beautiful miss Nebula, like to dance with me?”
The being wrapped in a space suit was set against the intensively colorful backdrop of the nebula, which swung one of its arms. While it was not a fast, explosive movement, but one of peace and gentleness, it did move irregardless. Then an arm on the other side swung up and down in a similar fashion, which was followed by a repetition of the first movement. Dogu smiled, drifting. And the nebula danced to a beat only they could hear. All along its glittering, specled body, stars blinked, increasing and decreasing in intensity.
Moving right next to one of them, to a time far in the past, we can observe its white hot surface, which momentarily turns dim as death, then reaches its maximum intensity in a blink of an eye, blinking us with ease. As we travel several lightyears, back to the lone, ever-drifting Dogu, our eyes adjust slowly and we begin to see again. In a different time, Dogu greets the star with a demented, muffled “Hello”. You see, even light is bound by time. The star had to pulsate in the past for our hero here to receive its greetings.
“Hello.” A slow, tired smile. He waves like a celebrity, paraded before a cheering public.
The ship’s name was Pnapateth and it originated from the twin star Yi. A routine job of transporting star dust from a refinery to manufacturers, they had been on the trip for fifty or so years with another fifty or so to go. They hibernated most of the way, except for the last month of each year when the ship woke them up. They’d spend that time talking, eating, exercising and having intercourse. And in hibernation, their minds could live in a timeless virtual reality, talking, eating, exercising and, it so happens, having a lot of intercourse.
“You cheated.” A brown fellow insisted. Dogu still did not know what to think of him and his one head. He had met three-headed and four headed variations at times, but nothing like this. “How boring it must be to have only one consciousness?” he thought.
“Abigam”, Dogu sighed, his other set of brains certain the pronunciation was incorrect, “we did not cheat. You can review the game’s progression and see that we only played well. Perhaps..” he thought better and paused.
“Perhaps, what?” Abigam was beginning to turn purple with agitation. In the edge of his vision, Dogu could see tense, but amused expressions gathering around them.
“Never mind, friend”, he said and smiled. Ugod did not manage and wore a spiteful smirk on his face.
“It’s with the heads again, isn’t it? I must be really dumn with one set of brains. Can’t match the performance of two, can I?” He complained, crossing three limbs across his chest.
“It’s not that. You played great! We were lucky.” Dogu was that kind of a guy. Amicable. Ugod, on the other hand, burst out with laughter. The oxygen flow to Dogu’s brain took an instant hit and he felt confused.
“Say it.” Abigam stared at Ugod with fury in his eyes. One in the crowd coughed, another shifter from one limb to another. The intense atmosphere in the room was delicious to their bored, hibernation-dulled minds.
“Say what?” Ugod, on the other hand, was a confrontational personality.
Hate flashed on Abigam’s only face and, with incredible speed, he reached for a pocket in his suit. The crew let out a collective gasp and took a step back, but Ugod did not even flinch. At that moment, Dogu came back to his senses and rolled his eyes between the two, one of which was attached to his body.
With a flick of a wrist, Abigam produced a golden pistol and lined up its long nose with Ugod’s eye.
“No!” Dogu hollered, scared and crying. “No!” But, the smirk on Ugod’s face widened with recognition. Abigam pulled the trigger.
They had a deal, Dogu and Ugod. One would sleep, while the other was awake. The idea had been Ugod’s, for Dogu liked to talk and he did not. Ugod said that he could not think with Dogu’s stupid, fat fingers playing with his thoughts. Their nervous system, along with the brains, were wired together and, whatever the other thought, the other knew as well. That is, unless Ugod wanted to hide something from Dogu. He had learned the trick of enduring multiple simultaneous thoughts, which would drive Dogu’s simpler, more peaceful mind into a corner of its own.
And now, as Ugod was sleeping, Dogu played with the stars. He would ask them to move and most of them would happily cooperate. From what the stars had told him, he knew it was a lonely thing to do. You’d be born, of course, with a lot of excitement, but after that, you shone from one year to next. And a star had to shine for a loooot of years before it could transform into something more exciting, like an explosive supernova.
Dogu pointed his stubby finger at one of the tiny lights and moved his arm in a big arch to his other side, with the star following the motion perfectly. He moved three more stars until he had constructed a square, a blinking light in each corner. He asked them to blink in sequence and so they did. “One. Two. Three. Four. One ..” Dogu chuckled.
“Bibrain, wins, monobrain – loses!” The recording ended with a manical cackle. Dogu looked at Ugod disapprovingly and shook his head as Abigam turned off the recorded and, as fast as he produced it, slipped it back into the pocket. He smirked and the crowd dispersed, mubling phrases like “How immature!”, “What a waste of my time!” and “I’m hungry.” It was a long hall with narrow tables attached to the walls, with stools of a variety of shapes and sizes under them. The trio was standing in the middle of the room, which was surrounded by fluffy, pale green sofas from all sides. Abigam turned on his heels and headed for a meal dispenser, shaking his only head.
“I can’t believe you, Ugod”, Dogu thought. “You promised not to say these hurtful things to him!”
“I cannot alter the past any more than you can form a coherent thought”, came the reply. “It was a recording.”
As the excitement and tension wore off, he observed the environment once more. Soothing music played in the background and the crew was already engaged in a meal, oblivious to the argument a moment before. The tables were lined up with bibrains, tribrains and even quadbrains, who carried two brains in each huge cranium. They were creatures from low gravity worlds, where their frail necks could support the huge loads of gray mass with ease. He, in the ship, a soothing zero gravity reigned and, while many chose to strap themselves to tables, many floated high above, sailing from one surface to another, engaged in one or more of the aforementioned activities. Intercourse seemed like the most popular activity of today, as several clusters of two or more creatures were floating as a slow mass, moving against each other rhytmically. Liquids of many color had spurted from their orifices, levitating in tandem in their midst.
The loud, obnoxious singing awoke Ugod, who cursed the noise and shook his sleepy head.
“Oh, I was being too loud. I am sorry, brother Ugod”, Dogu apologized and produced a smile, unbecknownst to Ugod, who had his visor closed.
“Forget about it. I think it is your turn anyway, dogbrain.”
“Ok”, Dogu replied in a monotone. Ugod opened his visor and gasped in horror.
The ship was delicate construct. The outer shell and the things it sheltered, including machinery, the crew, cargo and several parks with gardens, formed a finely tuned ecosystem. While it was an autonomous, tiny world in itself, the ship had to simultaneously juggle with numerous modifiers, systems and possible future scenarios to maintain itself and its cargo. And the crew. While insignificant to its operation and the transportation of its goods, the crew entertained the ship with the drama that all living things have in common. Concepts such as life, death, love, fear, envy and lust were but theoretical constructs to the ship, who, in its inbuilt curiosity, made careful observations of the crew’s inner interactions and had already written several empirical books in the course of the journey. One had already been published in the galaxy wide info field network.
That moment, cruel irony of galactic proportions took a big swing and struck at the ship, ending its noble quest once and for all.
As one of the humping and heaving clusters of sweaty butts neared a one of the hall’s edges, its surplus of sperm and egg matter made contact with a crack in the surface. Instead of bouncing back, escorting the levitating orgy, a globulet of this jizz seeped into the crack, making its way ever so deep into the deepest depths of the ship. Its gravity-free journey came to a halt as it stuck onto a controller chip. Unfortunate to all aboard, the chip did not control the condom dispensers. That moment, the ship was torn apart by a tiny, miniscule black hole and its contents spread to all directions, like an enormous box of cereal torn apart in outer space. Each tiny bead of life, star dust or the ship heading to a unique direction, soon to be separated from the others forever and ever.
“All except for us multibrains”, Ugod finished. Now, he insisted to envy Abigam. Said that he would have preferred to spend all eternity alone, instead of listening to Dogu’s inane babble.
“And this! I can’t believe you messed up my work!” Dogu, during Ugod’s decade of slumber, had arranged a grandiose, intergalactic piece of art into a grid of squares and triangles. Ugod, in his last cycle, had recreated, out of his brilliant memory, a scene from the Ubi galaxy’s creation myth, in which alien gods of unimaginable might condense star dust into blazing beacons of light, bringing forth an era of prosperity and holy multibrain’ness.
“Sorry”, Dogu blurted and produced his demented, slow smile, which Ugod regretted to see.
“Uh”, Ugod grunted, “just go back to sleep.” A finger pointed at a star and they moved, together.