Monday, January 28, 2013


It was the call to join.  At the center of the spherical hall was a smaller sphere, glowing with intense, alternating shades of silver and blue.  It was the ancient Galacticum Artificial Intelligence, capable of displaying, combining, and guiding images of thought and reality.  

Its systems tied the minds of each Conjoining Representative together.  It sorted and directed every issue that was to be debated.  It served as the impartial arbiter between the great minds of the great races.  

That day, it began processing what was already being considered the most incredible incident in history.  Shirra tied his mind into the joining, listening to the side conversations already in progress.  They would quickly turn to him and his contingent, since they were widely considered the closest to humanity in dealings and endeavors. 


Shirra listened to the AI announce the meaningless date.  Even after millions of years of evolution, many sentients stuck to calendar structures.   The Inter-Galactic year was built upon the physical center of expansion of the known universe.  It was forever linear and even among the eldest races was considered to lack emotion and color.  

It was boring. 


Immediately the thoughts of one of the elder races from Nexus-Prime emerged.

“Humans have evolved to the level of Elders in the Inter-Galactic schema, Elders with considerable power and influence.  They have been and still are involved in many of the most important matters of the Conjoining.  Even now they and the Trantken are negotiating trade with the new race from the fourth quadrant of their own galaxy.  Their sudden disappearance is a matter of the utmost importance.  All the considerable might of the Conjoining should be put towards discovering what has happened to them.  The Humans must be brought back.”

Shirra knew this one; she could be long winded, but her thoughts rang true.

“I have prepared to dispatch my races entire fleet in the search,” came the thoughts of another Andromedan, a sentient whose people could be considered middle aged, but possessed of the largest, and most powerful fleet in the entire Local Group.

The Galacticum agreed to this as one.  Orders were drafted as soon as the combined thought was completed and the AI dispatched them to the appropriate destinations.  The resources of entire star systems were being mobilized.  Great Fleets were on the move.  

It would not take long for them to report back with their first findings.  In the meantime, the debate would continue in other directions.  Shirra sat back and relaxed, letting his mind ebb and flow with the thoughts of the others.  When the minds of the Galacticum were brought together in such a manner, there was no telling how long the debate might last.  Shirra had been linked for months at a time, he and Randolph both.  This Human mystery could go on for years.  But of course, that would be totally intolerable.

As time passed, many questions were posed to Shirra.  It was quickly being affirmed that he was the immediate expert on Humans.  It was an appellation, which was probably not far from the truth.  Humans were pervasive on a great many worlds.  They had contact with almost every race in the Conjoining.  In the time of their evolution they had mated with several other races.  

The minds of the sphere quickly explored this avenue.  It was just as quickly verified that no sentient born of a Human/Non-Human mating had been affected.  They were still present in the Galaxies, many in Nexus-Prime.  The Galacticum dispatched agents to question those that might have any pertinent information.  

Many lines of thought were traced and discussed.  At times Shirra felt the debate become unwieldy, which is when the Galacticum AI would intervene.  The debates were toned down and the lines of thought showing promise, and consensus ushered forward.   This was when an errant thought straying through Shirra’s mind was grabbed by the AI and brought to light.

“It has occurred to me a festival of Human passage was being celebrated in my own Milky Way Galaxy during this time.”

Thoughts bombarded him asking about the festival, wanting to know the importance of it and how did it tie into what was now being called the Great Vanishing.

“Please fellow sentients,” Shirra urged.

The sphere of the Galacticum AI toned down the tumult.

“I didn’t think it was of importance, but nothing should be left to chance,” Shirra said.

He paused to pull the attention of all minds upon him completely.

“My fellow representatives, among many of us our birth worlds have long been forgotten.  Perhaps some members of our great races easily recall their planet of origin.  The locations of these planets are of course a matter of record.  But for sentients such as ourselves, who call the trillion stars our home, the birth planet is even less than a memory.”

The minds of the Galacticum listened to Shirra in earnest.  He was well respected and many of them felt if anyone could solve this mystery he could.

“This was the case for many of the Humans as well.  They didn’t know or care where their homeworld was.  But this was not so for Minister Randolph, an integral member of this body who at this time is sorely missed, he knew of my fascination with his race, and often indulged my questions.  Only now do I recall him telling me the star Sol was due to go nova.  The birth world of the Human race, a world called Terra, or Earth by some, was to be or rather has been destroyed.”

The Galacticum measured his thoughts and then posed its questions.

“What is the importance of this event Minister Shirra,” asked a Trodosian of Andromeda.  “Stars go nova.  It’s a simple fact of existence.”

“This is true, but I feel it is something that should not be overlooked.  Though Randolph and the majority of Humans felt no emotional ties to their race’s ancient birth world, some of their species did.  As I recall, there was to be a festival among the worlds of the Sol sector.  A commemoration to the star system that gave life to so much.”

Suddenly a physical presence appeared in the minds of the Galacticum.  It was an avatar representation of an intelligence agent of the Fleet.  He requested an audience and it was granted.

“Ministers, so far we have not found any trace of the Humans.  Whole planets are devoid of them.  There are no signs of their passing through any levels of Hyperspace.”

“Dimensional migration to an alternate reality?”  Asked an Umiate.

“Not so far Minister.  However, we have dispatched vessels to further investigate this possibility.

“I don’t think they would have gone that route in any case,” said another Trantken, who Shirra recognized as Doosa, his races’ transportation and navigation representative, a very capable and highly intelligent sentient.  

“Why is that?”  Asked the Umiate.

“We’re talking about the disappearance of an entire race.  One hundred sentients, two hundred, even a thousand could escape our watchful navigational sentinels over dimensional bridge wormholes.  But if anything above several thousand beings tried to jump through the multiverse at once it would create too large a disturbance.  We would know of it instantly, violently.”

The Galacticum quickly agreed.  However, the Fleet would continue to search along the many pathways to alternate realities.  The Great Vanishing was an impossibility in itself, who knew what other impossibilities could have accompanied it.

“Ministers, I have one other item to report.”

The Galacticum gave its consent as one to proceed.

“There was a tremendous gathering in the Milky Way Galaxy near the Sol system, from where I have just come.  The event is registered with administrators at Nexus-Septum as the Last Day of Sol.  Sentients had gathered to observe the sun as it went Nova and many are still there.” 

The thoughts of the Galacticum all directed towards Shirra.  The timing of the agent’s announcement was lost on no one.  

“What word from the sentients at the festival?”  Shirra asked the agent.

“We are currently interviewing Minister.”

The Galacticum felt a decision being made in Shirra’s thoughts.

“I sense the death of the star Sol may somehow be involved in the mystery we now face,” he said.

An Umiate minister’s thoughts surged to the front.  “Minister Shirra, I see no connection.  What is to be gained by following this line of thought, by diverting resources to investigate with action.”

“Minister, we can rule out nothing at this point.  Please bear in mind trillions of sentients have suddenly vanished without a trace, seemingly overnight.  We must follow every thread of thought, no matter how dubious.”

Consensus could be sensed following Shirra’s wise thoughts. 

“I and my aide will accompany the agent back to the Fleet.  There we will use due diligence in the acquisition of facts and report back to the Galacticum forth with.”

Once again there was consensus. 

Shirra pulled himself from the combined mind of the Galacticum and rose from the rapture chair.  He took a moment to gather himself and turned away from the mighty sphere of thoughts.  Kantootha was seated in his chair at the aide’s rear support position. He was looking at several floating holo-screens at once reading excerpts of the debate.  As an aide it was the only way he could participate in the joining of minds. 

“Come Kantootha, we are off.”

“We’re off Minister?”  Kantootha said looking from the screens.  “But the issue … we’re no were near close to a true decisive action.”

“So your excerpts may tell you, but I feel we are closer than some believe.”

“Minister?  Dispatching a fleet, jumping down dimensional bridges, scanning the multiple layers of hyperspace?  These are all prudent actions but….”

“I know Kantootha, but what else would you recommend?”

Kantootha said nothing.  He was quite brilliant, which was requirement for the position in which he served.  Shirra could see all he was advocating was more mental debate on the issue.  It was the way things were supposed to be done according to precept.  Galactic civilization placed a great deal of faith in the combined mind of the Galacticum and it was not unfounded.  The combined mental power of the sentients and the artificial intelligence had solved staggering problems in the past.  But what Kantootha was missing from his training was that fact that sometimes issues required a more hands on approach.

“Come, let us be off.”

“Yes Minister.”

They walked through the disc of light and appeared once more on the beautiful plains of Nexus-Prime.  The agent was waiting for them.

“Where are we going?”  Kantootha asked as the starry brilliance of a portal closed in.

“To the death of the origin of humanity, and perhaps a clue to this mystery.”

All three vanished in a burst of light.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013


From their vantage point, as they exited real-space, they were rising into the ether.  They passed the constructs in the sky and moved outward into space.  The world they had just left was spread out before them, vast, planets connected, curved in some areas, flattened in others, an intricate dance of planets and pieces of planets connected by various atmospheres and living machines.  It was a marvel of local, sentient technology, completed during the time of the Trantken, the Humans, and a myriad number of other local races’ rise to prominence. 

It was old, but not as old as the mode of travel they were now employing.  The portals were actually controlled wormholes, artificially created by a race of beings that strode the spaceways eons before the Conjoining.  A race that had left civilization in a great exodus to explore the far reaches of the universe, beings whose name was so ancient it is no longer remembered.  However, despite the fact their name was forgotten, their exodus was not. 

Many extreme elder races recalled the time when the unnamed left the Galaxies of the Local Group for places unknown.  Departure took many a year.  Some of their kind were rumored to still abound in quiet corners of the still vast and unexplored regions of the Galaxies.  For even though the universe beckons, there are still places far beyond the view of great sentients.  It is from just such a corner of the Milky Way Galaxy the new race with which Shirra was negotiating had come. 

As he spread his tentacles against the supple walls of the wormhole, hard mathematics given physical form, he wondered if the Humans had retreated to such a corner. 

He thought not. 

A race in exodus does not simply vanish overnight.  It isn’t possible, especially not for a race as pervasive as Humans.  There was a Human presence on a majority of the worlds in almost all of the civilized Galaxies. 

They came into galactic prominence about the same time as the Trantken.  Though the Trantken had not struggled so much to achieve as had the Humans, they felt a mutual kinship with each other, as the youngest races on the Galactic scene at the time.  Over the past millions of years that relationship had not changed, which is why Shirra would find it so hard to believe Randolph would not have told him of such an event.  They were like brothers. 

Shirra looked down on the point from which they were ascending.  The majesty of the Nexus lay before him.  The sentients of the Milky Way Galaxy had come together at the Great Galactic core to create Nexus-Septum, in accordance with the Trans-Galactic precepts of the Conjoining. 

It was the seat of governance amongst the member races of the Milky Way Galaxy.  However, all races did not belong.  Some were not yet advanced enough, others simply chose not to be a part.  Rather, they preferred to remain totally independent, dealing with the sentients of the Conjoining at their leisure.

Those who did participate enjoyed membership in the most profound union of sentients among the many Galaxies of the Local Group.  It made races like the Trantken, Haossus, Umiate, and Human quite proud, but not arrogant.  All truly advanced species knew the universe was still a place of wonder and mystery.

Apparently in response to this belief the universe had seen fit to present the Conjoining with the greatest mystery of all time.

Shirra watched as his beautiful home receded and the wormhole carried them far across intergalactic space.  Though gated travel was very routine, it would forever hold a wonder for him.  He never tired of the awe-inspiring view.  The tremendous distances covered in hardly any time at all translated through the physics of the gate to be perceived by the mind as a relatively short jaunt. 

Ahead of him his destination came into view.  The supposed sister galaxy of his own, but one that had spawned galactic governance far before his.  It was the true seat of power in the Local Group.  The place his friend Randolph had referred to reverently as Great Andromeda.  To Shirra it was simply the Great Galaxy.  His race attached no mythos to their ancient name for the wondrously bright collection of stellar matter.  At the core of the Great Galaxy was a governing capital much like the one he had just left.  It was there to which he was now speeding. 

As he entered the Great Galaxy, passing the stars of Andromeda at the speed of thought, the capital came into view.  It was much larger than the capital of the Milky Way simply because it came before.  It was not the first and surely would not be the last.  But for now it was the center, that which held the rest together. 

It was Nexus-Prime.

A collection of star systems filled with the million million accomplishments of billions of sentients, worlds crafted in between worlds, tying worlds together in a majestic work of art that could be seen light years away.  The wormhole angled towards this regal place, towards the grand capital of the Conjoining, the center of the Great Galaxy in Andromeda, and all her sister galaxies. 

The bright, bursting light of approach blocked all vision.  When next he opened his eyes he had arrived.  Nexus-Prime greeted him with surreal majesty.  He looked up and the conveying wormhole was vanishing off into space.  Nexus-Prime looked much like his own home Nexus-Septum, just larger by many orders of magnitude.  It too was constructed according to precept. 

Before him, off in the distance, a silver sphere the size of a city loomed.  Directly in front of him was a glowing disc of light, a gateway of a different sort.  Two guards, humanoid in appearance, stood watch.

“Minister Shirra of the Trantken,” one of the guards said.  “We welcome you.”

He bowed deeply and gestured towards the gate.  Shirra bowed back, as did Kantootha.  Then, Kantootha grabbed the minister’s tentacle and urged him on.

“Come Minister Shirra,” he whispered.  “They’ve probably already started.”

Shirra walked with his aide into the disc of light.

“Patience Kantootha.  Representatives of our race are no doubt already in attendance.”

“Yes Minister, but you must be there as well.”

Shirra smiled as they appeared on the other side of the light.  Transport allocation and planning was down to the last sentient.  After a voyage from one galaxy to the next, the system controlling the wormhole provided a dimensional thruway to the meeting hall inside the sphere.  Shirra and Kantootha appeared in their waiting room, right behind their allotted spaces in the Great Hall of the silver sphere.

“Come Kantootha,” the minister gestured.  “We are finally here, you may take your seat.”

Shirra heard the younger Trantken sigh, a very humorous act, something not customarily done among a race so old.  But Shirra did have to concede that it was a time for sighing.  The mystery before them was great and he had no idea how ardently it would tax them all before revealing its truth.  The walked from the waiting room into their assigned slots for the hall.  Kantootha took his seat behind the minister.  The minister sat on what appeared to be a glowing patch of light and his mind went into rapture.

“THE GALACTICUM IS CONVENED!”  Came the booming voice of the Galacticum AI into the mind of every sentient there gathered.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Minister Shirra!  Minister Shirra!  Oh my!  You won’t believe it!

Kantootha, with elegant violet tentacles waving, burst into the luminous quarters of the Minister, a place of modern wonder, factually existing in two realities at once, but occupying one space.  Interspersed throughout the collection of rooms were pieces of ancient, archaic Terran furniture.  Shirra was a collector of antiques and Terran was his favorite.

“Calm down, Kantootha,” said the Trantken Minister.  “I’m sure whatever it is cannot be that urgent.”

Shirra, a luminous being himself standing nearly twelve feet tall with blooms of tentacles where humans would have arms, rose from his sixty million year old oak wooden desk, a gift from his friend, the Human Minister.  He removed one of his left tentacles from the liquid sphere hovering two inches above the desk’s surface and turned to face his aide.

“Now Kantootha, what is it?”

“Many pardons Minister Shirra, I did not know you were working so late.”

Shirra glanced back at the sphere, an informational tesseract used by the members of their order for research.  It was essentially a link to a vast library.

“No pardons are necessary.  I was looking for precedent in the upcoming negotiations with the newly discovered race of sentient beings.  Randolph and I are to present our case for contact this very day.”

Kantootha passed a tentacle over his furrowed brow.

“That is the problem Minister.”

With his perfectly round eyes still exhibiting the calm of an elder, Shirra looked at his aide questioningly.

“Your meaning Kantootha?”  He asked.  “Has something happened to my good friend Randolph?”

“No Shirra, not just Minister Randolph, but every Human.”


“Minister, as far as we can tell every mainline Human on every world throughout the Conjoining has vanished.”

A look of incredulity spread across the face of the Trantken Minister.

“What … did you say?”

“Yes Minister, every last one.  They, they’re all gone.”

Ripples, small undulations of wonder and fear worked through what would have passed for the Trantken’s stomach eons ago, waves of urgency, waves of fear, and concern.
“Are you certain?”

“Absolutely, Minister.  It’s being broadcast Conjoining wide.”
An unprecedented event in the history of the Inter-Galactic Civilization of the Conjoining had occurred.  One of the elder races had completely vanished from existence.  Younger races had passed before, usually through self-destruction.  This was expected, something that occurred from time to time prior to, or just after a younger race was contacted by a stellar race.  But never in the annals of trans-galactic history, even before the creation of the Conjoining had a stellar race, especially an elder race, simply winked out of existence.

“Call us a portal Kantootha.”

“It is done Minister Shirra.  One awaits us just outside your quarters.”

The magisterial minister moved swiftly through his quarters, gathering luminous floating data structures, absorbing them into his being as his readied himself for travel.
“Current status of the crisis?”

“The Galacticum is preparing to convene.  You were very deep in your research.  I’ve been trying to reach you for some time.”

“Yes, I was indeed deeply absorbed in the realms of the tesseract, searching the various possibilities of our collective future with these sentients based on precedent.”

“I thought as much, that’s why I rushed over.”

The Minister touched a glowing pentagonal hovering just above his head.  It seemed to bristle with dancing numbers and symbols.  “Interesting that this … happening should occur as I’m so deeply involved in research to plot our futures.”

“We still cannot predict with certainty,” offered his aide.

“No Kantootha, we cannot.  We are not in control of everything just yet.”

“Indeed Minister.”
“Have all our brethren departed?”  Asked Shirra.

“They are either already there or en-route.  We will not make a late appearance if we leave now.”

“Then let us be off.”

The two Trantken stepped though the glowing entryway that served as the door to Shirra’s quarters.  Outside was a vast hallway, illuminated from either side by bright dancing colors.  It was almost fifty yards wide and open to the sky.  The sky itself was a dance of colors, full of glowing clouds, dotted with massive curved lattice structures that looked as thought they were made of gossamer.  Behind the clouds was the great expanse of stars that Humans had long ago named the Milky Way.
The two Trantken looked into the southern sky and saw a distinct set of pointed lights heading directly toward them.  The lights were like stars, elongated and stretching as they fell from the sky.  Their appearance, a function of space and time, made them seem as though they stretched across the universe, approaching the Trantken on one end, connecting to a cluster of light and stars on the other end, a faraway galactic core.   The stars entwined as they fell, a manifestation of quantum/mental entanglement queued only to the Minister and his aide, visible only to their eyes.  The light like stars made contact, and the two Trantken appeared to wink out of existence.