On sale now…
And here it is: the conclusion to our original story A Standard of Deviation. And here’s our weekly spiel to A).Start back on chapter 1, B). Read the story in its entirety, and C). Read others like it as well.
This also brings us to the end of every story we’ve written and published thus far… we’ve got another Solar Winds tale in the works, but first, a question: do you want to continue seeing these Friday freebies? If so, leave us a comment on this or any other story, and a review on Amazon of any of our tales would be great!
A Standard of Deviation
by David Dickinson
What would become my final stop on this run was a world that I looked forward to most of all; the Van Takcrafans of Navi Prime. They were almost frighteningly advanced. How these sentient flying spider-snakes hadn’t stumbled upon quantum transport technology is a small wonder in of itself. Stranded in this remote corner of the Milky Way, they had instead enshrouded their host star in an enormous Dyson Sphere to capture every available erg of energy it produced. If you were to encounter a Van Takcrafan with no prior warning, you might run off screaming… their visage looks more like a primordial ‘devil’ than any creature humanity has ever encountered. As if to complete this demonic illusion, they even aspirate clouds of pure ethane that re-condense on their wings and scimitar-shaped horns. But as the old saying goes, to know them is to love them. I’ve written several treatises on their history and culture, and can tell you that they were highly advanced and an accomplished spacefaring culture when clubs made of antelope jawbones represented the very latest in human technology. Their levels of engineering are simply stunning; you’ve never understood what staring off into infinity might actually look like until you’ve witnessed the seemingly infinite interior of a Dyson sphere. Right here, within the confines of their home system, the Van Takcrafans have effectively created more livable land surface area than the entire Confederation of human space combined. So much of their technology almost appears magical, and believe me, I’m a gal who’s seen it all. They’ve not only been able to conquer disease, something humanity’s never quite done (Lila’s a case in point), but they are also able to use viruses to their advantage and have even been able to establish a dialogue with them. Why fate hadn’t blessed them with the ability to decipher quantum entanglement and instead bestowed the ability on a tribe of hairless apes is beyond me. What random mutation at the end of Earth’s last Ice Age spared us from extinction and instead sent us out conquering the cosmos? And yes, I’ve seen that old flick were monkey men dance around the monolith… but I don’t think for a second that another alien race picked us to be the Chosen Ones. But when you look at the Van Takcrafans and see the level of peace and wisdom they’ve achieved…
All of this didn’t, of course, help the bitter mood I’d found myself trapped in. As I approached my usual quarters high above the polar sector of the Dyson sphere, I hated that Cybelus, my usual Van Takcrafan liaison would have to see me this way.
I wandered out to a small hilltop on the periphery of the outer shell beyond town. The Van Takcrafans had graciously pumped in an Earth-climate atmosphere, as they always did for me prior to my arrival.
“How your species can tolerate so much oxygen in its atmosphere amazes us,” Cybelus called out through his respirator as he approached me. He fluttered his wings and set down next to me as we perched under the single swaying Black Spire Tree that shared the summit with us.
“The Colony has grown since I was here last,” I pointed out absently.
“Many human migrants,” Cybelus agreed. “It’s been fascinating to share the cosmos with them.”
“You would say that,” I said, almost laughing under my breath. It seemed like every year, more and more human academics were making their way here if they could. The Van Takcrafans were a very forward thinking and open species. The Terran Confederation tolerated the “defections” as the flow of data shared with the Van Takcrafans allowed them to keep close tabs on this enigmatic species. But I knew as I published paper after paper on their atonal muse poetry, or their process of gilding custom-made planetoids, that Terran agents would do their usual perusal looking for only one thing: the development of quantum tech.
“What bothers Miss Jovejoy so?”
“It’s the weight of the cosmos, I guess…” I thought about telling him of the plight of the Leviathans, or the wars we fought with the Von Neumanns, or of the exploitations that my species had carried out on a thousand different worlds. It didn’t have to be right that the game of survival extended right up from the jungles of our ancestors and into the sky; we were just doing our best to win. But even if you were forced to play the game, I told myself, you didn’t have to like it. I suddenly felt very alone in the universe, just another quaint and improbable collection of atoms that had been cursed to understand the weight of things. Was it a joke? An aberration? I looked up, hoping and failing to pick out the fleck of New Seattle and Lila that I knew existed towards the star-crowded core of the Milky Way. My Minder would finally catch up with my latest adventures and we would return there tomorrow, to have the reality of Lila’s illness come crashing down and tear apart the happy niche we’d built for ourselves in our corner of the cosmos. No respite from chaos and entropy would be afforded to us.
“Perhaps,” Cybelus continued “All is not as lost as it seems…”
It was then that the Van Takcrafans did nothing short of changing my life, and if you’re a loyal citizen of the New Galactic Confederation reading this, yours, too.
Because, in a very fundamental way, those tiny fleeting seeds can still grow, and the universe has a wonderful way of righting itself.
It was a truly remarkable and courageous proposal that some of those retired quantum scientists turned expatriated bleeding hearts had proposed via the planet-molding wonders of the Van Takcrafans.
The quantum gates will be closed, but only for a short time. Oh, I’m sure that it will throw the galactic economy into chaos, and frustrate to no end those invested in the status quo. When they re-open, it will be upon a New Order, one that will find an equitable place for the Leviathans, Van Takcrafans, and all sentient species in the galaxy, even humans… Maybe even the Von Neumanns will find employ. I won’t install myself as Empress of Humanity, although future generations will make what they will of my move to finally give the Standard and quantum tech to the citizens of the cosmos. And hey, humanity might just benefit from the super-science and medical know how of the Van Takcrafans… What a deal, right? Perhaps together we can even find a way to replicate life-forms sans malignancies via quantum replication, and use it to heal instead of exploit. Perhaps soon, a new day will dawn where we’ll respect a primitive intelligent species of alien flying tree-squirrels as much as our own.
No change comes to the universe with strife, that’s for certain. Maybe I am being just a little bit selfish in my own very human way. But my only hope is that Lila and I will live to see and share this new day together.