Tilda stared out the airlock at the gaping nothingness before her. She was really, finally, going to do it. She was going to jump.
Now that the fruition of her long journey was within her grasp she wondered at her lack of second thoughts. Everyone had warned her about them: the Jumper’s clubs, the message boards, the scant few people that she’d managed to talk to in person.
She turned and glanced at the crowded room behind her. The small orbiting travel stop was filled to the brim with tourists, the group that she had arrived with. The place hovered tantalizingly close to the event horizon.
People traveled light years to stand in front of the large viewport that spanned the back of the establishment and have their photographs taken with the black hole. And some of them jumped.
She’d had to spend hours filling out forms, consulting with both the resident attorney and the resident counselor before finally being pronounced of sound mind and judgment.
Now she stood in her requisite suit, the hiss of oxygen tanks filling her ears, and waited for the outer door of the airlock to slide open.
And then it did.
Tilda stepped forward and then she was out, floating, weightless, as the airlock sealed shut behind her. She pushed off from the small outer platform, propelling herself forward toward the event horizon – that unseen boundary from which there was no return.
It was a useless distinction. The forms she had signed stated clearly that no rescue effort would be mounted. Once she jumped, her decision was final.
Tilda was fine with that.
When she had signed the forms she’d had to give a reason for her jump.
She’d written: Curiosity.
Wasn’t that the driving force behind all exploration – the undying curiosity and the desire to know?
As she fell closer to the event horizon the stars around her glowed blue, their blazing intensity seemingly mocking the approaching darkness. Would she find that the black hole was simply matter that was clumped so densely that not even light could escape? Or would she find a wormhole, possibly leading to far flung reaches of the cosmos, or even to other dimensions? She didn’t know but she was going to find out. She wouldn’t have the means to report her findings to anyone else, but she was okay with that too.
As far as she was concerned life was meant to be experienced, not viewed from the sidelines, and she was doing just that.
The event horizon was imperceptible from her vantage point but she was aware when she crossed it. It was a subtle shift, but suddenly everything changed.
“Oh wow!” she said.
Thank you for reading; I hope that you enjoyed it!