After finishing 2013 with the five-week, five-part Flash Fiction Challenge (which was a ton of fun!), followed by a couple of weeks off for the holidays, Chuck Wendig this week has given us this task to start the Flash Fiction Challenges for 2014. I rolled a 16 and an 18, so the title of my “1,000 words or so” will be “Spiral God.” As always, comments and constructive criticisms are appreciated.
The being that was a starship which was the starship that was a being had taken its time approaching the tiny world, sniffing, watching, tasting, probing.
For an epoch which was merely the blink of an eye it had been near this star, first touching many tens and dozens and thousands of the cold, sterile, icy balls and lumps far out from the heat and light. Deep in its belly it had grown millions of different strains of organisms, all ancient, all new, all rare. On each frozen shard it had deposited a diverse assortment of organic colonies to lurk, to hibernate, to wait for the warmth of maybes and the glare of possibilities.
Moving patiently and steadily inward, the being the starship had visited cold and cloudy worlds, screaming winds churning their atmospheres, hemorrhaging away what little precious energy there was out in the deep dark. Here it chose and built, picking and choosing, making new organisms from a vast catalog of suitable organic building blocks, designing airy lifeforms to dance and float in the frozen, hellish hurricanes.
Millennia later, now close enough so the star was at last more than just a bright spot over there barely moving, gas giants wrapped spacetime around themselves and tortured the æther with blistering radiation and gargantuan gravity wells balancing dozens of smaller cosmoses on the abyss. The starship the being worked slowly to craft hardy and vicious organisms that could survive in such hells, weaving carbon into diamond for protection and strength while thriving at pressures and temperatures unheard of except for in the souls of the stars themselves.
Fulfilled and satisfied with its gifts for the gas giants, the being the starship turned toward the many moons swimming in the electromagnetic soup and warming themselves in the tidal torture. To each one it gave a custom designed cornucopia of seed cells, trillions upon trillions of lifebits created with the wisdom and experience of a billion years of experimentation, all scattered for the sole purpose of eating the sulfur rains or swimming in the dark oceans under the ices.
Approaching the rocky inner planets, the being the starship found a dying world, its feeble gravity unable to maintain its tenuous grasp on the life preserving atmosphere. Without consideration for the long odds because in the end all life was fighting uphill against the only painful and incredibly long odds allowed by an uncaring universe, cells were crafted to thrive and grow in brief and transient periods with water and warmth before sleeping patiently for an aeon when extinction hovered near.
Methodically continuing down into the star’s gravity well the being the starship detected something new as it approached the next planet. An anomalous taste followed by an enigmatic sniff triggered subroutines and memories long dormant and engaged protocols only used twice in hundreds of star systems past.
Here there was something unique, something precious beyond all measure.
The starship the being began to test and retest, to sample, to question, to analyze, to categorize. Meticulously it disassembled the evidence it found floating on the solar wind and skimmed off of the most uppermost layers of the atmosphere. At long, long last it was convinced.
The highest priest of a religion based on facts and not on faith, the being the starship now believed that it had found that most precious and rare of all objects in the universe, a new form of life which had arisen spontaneously and unbidden out of the mathematical probabilities of necessity.
With infinite gentleness and love the starship the being gathered and dissected the tenuous wisps of this new and precious life. It found the enzymes used and the complexities embedded within as it teased out every secret and nuance of this biological treasure. It marveled at the complex yet flexible structures in the helical spirals that this new life used, so different from the various crystalline and geometric structures that all other life in its experience had utilized since the ancestors and creators of the being the starship in the far, far distant past near the beginning of time.
It practiced reproducing this new life on demand before it ran experiment after experiment to verify that the fruits of its creation were accurate and compatible with the miracles which had preceded it.
When finally the being the starship had examined and sampled and tested millions of samples from all locations on this verdant and fertile incubator world, warm and wet and soft and blue and white and brown and green in the ebony depths of the endless distances between the stars, it backed away from this world of gods, giver of new life, mother of infinite generations to come.
Blessed to be in the sacred and divine presence of such a god world, having received the beneficence and loving grace of a new solution to the eternal problem of creation, bringing being into existence from mere chemistry, the starship the being began to sing across the interstellar depths, telling its far-flung kindred of the new miracle. It shared and taught and spread the benediction of this newly found state of living grace, setting the stage for all of the beings the starships which were part of itself and itself a part of the whole to spread and use this new life as the backbones of billions of new experiments on warm and wet worlds throughout the galaxy.
Singing its song of creation and discovery and sharing, the being the starship spread its immense gossamer wings and sails and began the slow and unfaltering journey outward to the next star surrounded by barren and sterile balls of rock and ice and gas and gravity, spinning patiently in anticipation of the starship the being’s promise of the gifts of life.