The End Is Nigh: a short story by: GF Willmetts.

People live with their nightmares. Often not telling other people to spare their lives. Blissful ignorance is better than blind panic. A few of us know but we choose to keep it quiet. Especially me. I hadn’t even intended to discover this. All I was out to do was to create a communication device that could speed up interstellar communication. The old SF people had a device called an ‘ansible’ although no one had any idea how to make one.

My principle was a lot easier. Neutrinos flew at near light speeds all the time all over the place. Latch onto them we had real-time communication back and forth. The channelling device got me my first Nobel Prize amongst others. My team build the device but the theory was mine.

I was more interested in some of the odd side issues. There was a continual flow of neutrinos but although we rode on them they never seemed to come back. All in one direction. It was as if something was attracting them.

Sitting back in my chair, I had a long think. One of the problems with looking up at the sky was we were seeing the light from the stars from millions of years ago. Even more so for distant galaxies. Even their relative position was only that. When sending messages to the colonies, we were sending to where their relative positions not where the light came from. In real-time, we were seeing the far past not the present. If I could adjust the machine readings and make the signals bounce back along the neutrino flow, then we could see the real present. What was out there today. It would improve message sending even more by raising the targeting.

To the tech boys, it was more like creating an amplifier and reflector. The real problem was giving a reflection of the entire sky. That would have to come later. I was happy if we could see a slice of the quadrant a bit at a time.

That’s when we thought we had a problem. The signal that came back showed nothing beyond ten thousand light years. Had there been anything there it would have taken longer to come back.

The original consensus was we had made a mistake but all the local grid star systems were still there. Rather than create a panic, we started working our way through the sky quadrants to build up a complete picture. The galaxies and star systems behind us were still there but wherever we were going there was nothing. Worse, we were able to gauge the velocity of the universe and we were actually accelerating towards something. We boosted the signal in a hope to see what was ahead but the signal didn’t return. There were limits or there were no neutrinos. That meant only one thing. Wherever we were going was probably a black hole. Its size massive considering the number of galaxies it had absorbed. No wonder we were going too much faster. It was closer than we thought.

Of course we had the effects of the missing galaxies. Like light, gravity would still be recorded. It was all in the past. The past! The future was never going to be there. The present even less so. I had to make calculations and work out how long we actually had. With galactic distances, the end of the world wouldn’t happen in our lifetime. People were used to the idea that the sun would one day turn into a red giant destroying all the planets up to and including Mars. Just not in our lifetime. Only now that might be less than we thought. Much less. Indeed not for millions of years when mankind would either be wiped out or travelled elsewhere. Even the latter would be away from the black hole that would be engulfing us. Let people keep their dreams and not know what was to come. If only…

I did the calculation again and kept the program running for several days, continually checking. It was now turning into an equation of increased geometrics. Things were getting faster not slower Worse! It wasn’t going to wait even a lifetime. How do I tell the world that the end is truly nigh and we haven’t the technology to get out of the way? Panic would solve nothing. Any escape would not last. Who would want to be responsible for that?



© GF Willmetts 2017

all rights reserved

ask before borrowing

if we live that long.

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