The End Of All Things (Preview)
Acacai had not seen her great grandfather Nordlund since he left, on her fifth birthday, when he gave her a model of his Neutron Ship, Reacher 5. It was the fifth generation of ships using Neutronautical technologies derived from the fabled Ephesian Engine which had been discovered at Earth’s core over five hundred years earlier. With its quantum tethering technology, the vessel was able to skip through space like a stone skipping on water. When Acacia was born, the previous Reacher vessels had already exhaustively mapped all galactic filaments within lifetime range of explorers. But still, non-humanoid sentient life had never been discovered.
As a child, Acacia never could have understood her great grandfather’s passion to disprove the Diaspora Hypothesis. But as she approached her twenty-first birthday, the loneliness of an empty universe began to set in, and she started to wonder what his discoveries meant in light of the exhaustive exploration of our universe in the intervening eons since space travel began over four thousand years ago. If there is no life but Earth-born life, then how are we, as the sole sentient inhabitants of the cosmos, to respond to our apparently infinite significance? If there are no others to be discovered, then what mystery is left to give meaning to our existence?
These are some of the documents she inherited. They include news blasts, certificates, and ship’s log entries, which had not previously been released on the Multi-Galactic Nets. Of particular interest are the logs, recorded by Captain Sokian himself, which were received from transmission beacons, designed to relay navigational data and new discoveries back to deep space outpost Rapa Nui, via quantum string signals. Captain Nordlund and his crew had launched a total of seven beacons during their voyage to the end of all things. Beacon 04 was missing from the original archives. Many people have speculated about the fate of Beacon 04. Even more have theorized about the fate of Reacher 5. Both the fate of the beacon and the fate of the vessel are likely to be uncommon.
This cache of documents begins with the seventh and final quantum string signal, relayed from Beacon 07.