Aphelion Issue 281, Volume 27
March 2023
 
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Galactic Seed

by Denny E. Marshall





A little more than six billion years ago, somewhere in a classroom room on Earth, all the students were in their assigned seats and science class was ready to start. Mr. Severson began the discussion with the solar system. “Jenny,” he asked, “can you name the twelve planets?”


Stage 1

This was her third pregnancy. The last one was three billion years ago. Tessa had traveled this long voyage before.

Moving at light speeds across the universe brought back memories of journeys past. Seeing some of her favorite friends and galaxies along the way made the long journey seem shorter. Still, even at these great velocities, it would take quite a few light months to get there.

The space being and others like her lived and traveled in space for eons undetected. They called themselves Orlogens, Orlogens had made this same voyage for billions of years. All traveled to different parts of the universe, depending on their birthplace.

Tessa could hear a low humming. It was an incoming message from her family. She communicated for about an hour, and then went to sleep. It had been a long day and she was tired. She found a gigantic green-and-crimson solid planet and dozed off there.


Stage 2

(Months Later) It was beginning to look better. She felt she was close now and looking for the galaxy she would head towards. After months and months of travel and seeing some amazing sites, she knew it would be soon.

If tired, she would rest. If hungry, she would eat. Meals consisted of small planets, asteroids, dust clouds, or space debris. She stopped off along the way and visited with her friends, the nomadic Raluions.

The closer she got to her destination the more worried she became. What if the bacteria had not formed? What if they did not take to the dark liquid? It was fine the last time, but mothers always worry. At sixty-two billion years old, she was not getting any younger. She’d likely only have one more child.

Tired, she decided to sleep. The whole night in her dreams, it was, “Have the bacteria formed?” and “Will the dark liquid be consumed?” repeatedly until she awoke the next space day. She cleaned up, ate, and then proceeded on her way. Heading out once more, she increased speed. About a week later, she could barely make out her destination. Not too much longer now.


Stage 3

Tessa could easily make out the spiral galaxy. Soon she was passing many stars, and could see the solar system that was her final destination. She quickly passed some giant gas planets and could recognize the blue planet from many years before, and its one satellite. She completely devoured that.

Upon arrival, Tessa knew that the bacteria had evolved and used all the black liquid. Her offspring could not be born if the bacteria did not consume the nutrient.

She could feel the low rumbling, starting slow and continuing to build. It would be a while yet.


Stage 4

After a long growing period, the vibration and cracking increased. The noise and rocking escalated to a fever pitch. She was close to the planet completely covered by darkness--the shadow of Tessa. The crust of the planet started breaking up.

The gap in the crust grew larger and larger, cracking the planet in two. When the break was almost complete, the offspring inside was visible and slowly jetted away from the planet. The infant moved to her mother’s side. Sections of planet multiplied. Just before the fragments could fly into space, Tessa completely surrounded and consumed them. Only small pieces of planet, some saltwater, and some of the bacteria escaped into space.


Stage 5

Tessa moved her infant behind her and held her there. She needed to leave her seeds, even though she thought about skipping this one and waiting for the next cycle.

She carried both female and male material inside of her large body. She pointed the tail of her body toward the same area as the planet had once occupied. From her body, large amounts of material shot through space. The space of the former planet filled with a large, glowing, molten ball. A large projectile extruded from Tessa and dipped into the fiery ball. She extracted enough material for a new satellite and placed it in the same area as the former. She placed the projectile back into the molten sphere and injected male seeds. The new planet and satellite were about the same size as the previous ones.

She turned her attention to her child. All the material Tessa had consumed was meant for the offspring. The materials and saline liquid were needed for the newborn’s growth. She would nurse the infant here, get a bit of rest, and then begin the return journey, more slowly, at first, with infant in tow.

Stage 6

Starting the return voyage, Tessa noticed some bacteria floating in space, Orlogens had two pairs of eyes that adjust to near and far vision at will.

As billions of bacteria floated by, Tessa had a thought. She said it aloud, “I wonder if the bacteria have feelings?” She smiled and thought about her friends back home. Most would laugh at such a silly notion. As she and her newborn left, she said, “No, the life form is too small.”

Looking up, she noticed the last two planets of the solar system. She made a snack of them both and continued onward. A nice couple of cold ones hit the spot. Soon both mother and newborn exited the galaxy, passing many more on their long journey home. Tessa would return in another three billion years.


Post-log

Almost three billion years later, somewhere in a classroom room on earth, all the students were in their assigned seats and science class was ready to start. Miss Lewis began the discussion with the solar system. “Jeremy,” she asked, “can you name the six planets?”


THE END


2017 Denny E. Marshall

Bio: Mr. Marshall has had art, poetry, and fiction published. Some recently. See more at www.dennymarshall.com. His last piece at Aphelion was Truck in our December, 2016 issue.

E-mail: Denny E. Marshall

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