Where you off too? 


Efra stood on the observation desk of Highlight Ascendant looking out over the unfamiliar vista. "Hey buddy, Where you off too?" someone asked again.

Efra was born on Unatu, a comparatively young world; consequently, the intellectual offerings of its burgeoning institutions could not hope to satiate her curiosity. She therefore left that planet on flight "For the Betterment of the Bees : Una-Ino", flung off the surface in a wave of distorted space and compressed time. When her ship was latter entangled in the catch well of Inolian, and the worlds across the Union eventually began their synchronized dance of deceleration as the remainder of "For the Betterment of Bees" arrived at their ports of call, Efra, for the first time in her life, gazed upon a new world. 

"Excuse me, hello! I asked you a question!" Efra heard the increasingly agitated person behind her say. She did not feel like talking. That uniquely serene stress of throw travel always placed her in a particularly uncongenial mood. "Some people, no respect for others." the person behind her said before leaving, she was again alone on the observation deck, looking at the, now slightly larger, scene below her.

A more intellectually stimulating world than Inolian could not exist Efra thought, as she strolled through the university grounds. Inolian, the world of scholars, one of the grand experiments in social organization spread through the plane of the Union. Efra stood on the main quadrangle of the College of Union and  Pre-Union Interstellar History, one of the smaller college in the scheme of Inolian. In the interval between flights she enrolled, studied diligently, and eventually was awarded a degree in stellararchology. 

The Highlight Ascendant flowed through the terminal building's vaulting roof and began to come to a steady halt. Efra gathered her bags and made her way to Planetary Ingress, where, as always, the wait was frustratingly long. 

Flight "For the Remberance of the Beings Who Came Before : Ino-Pek" carried Efra to Pekenolian. There her ship waited, carried around the surface of the planet even faster than it had been thrown off Inolian, for the final ships in the flight to arrive where they might. Eventually, theoretically, all flights had been captured, and the Union slowed, as one, to a more normal time. Efra used the time before the next flight to dive deep into Pekenolian's cold sun, slowly picking away at 4 million nf's worth of accumulated tracers. She made some discoveries of minor note which might percolate about the Union during the next flight; however, she felt she could achieve something more based on some peculiar nagging in the back of her mind.

By the time Efra had moved through all of Planetary Ingress a whole hour had ticked away. Outside, she hailed a cab to the University of Union Stellar Sciences. The cab pulled away from the gargantuan terminal building before diving into one of the structural supports holding Earth together. Efra had forgotten that they could do that here. In a far shorter time than Efra expected the cab emerged from the terminus of the support, speeding along, it reached the University campus shortly thereafter.

Fourteen flights, fourteen new systems, new worlds, new stars, new discoveries. Efra did not find what she was looking for, she did not know what she was looking for, she felt only an inconsistency in the logic which underpinned the throw. In all her sun dives she had not found anything confirming her gut, yet the idea of the inconsistency must have originated somewhere. Efra’s fifteenth flight since leaving Pekenolian took her to Centarus an old world in motion about the star Alpha Centauri. It was here, in a dive to the core of the sun itself Efra found what she had been searching for. 

“Dr. Yayola cannot be so busy that he can’t meet for but five minutes?” Efra asked the attendant. “The doctor is very busy today, I assure you; however, I will see if he has, as you say ‘but five minutes’ ”.  The attendant left and then returned promptly “As it happens Dr. Yayola can see you now”. 

The universe was constructed on the back of a complex web of interwoven space and time. No one fully understood, though many claimed to fully understand, exactly why the coherent patterns which pulsed through the fabric of their reality took on the forms which they did. Efra returned from her dive and waited out the remained of the nf until the flight “For the Purpose of a Joke on the Reader of the Universe” boarding the ship “Cen-Ear”. They entangled, spun, slowed in perfect synchronization with all the Union and Efra left the ship, boarding the Highlight Ascension enroute to the surface of Earth.

“The signal’s I measured can only reasonably lead to one conclusion”. “You say this, and I somewhat agree that they indicate one conclusion as likely, but always be carful of your wording, multiple conclusions, however unlikely, may be always drawn from data”. Efra was exhausted, Dr. Yayola did not clearly see what she saw as so obvious. She stormed out of the professor’s office, out of the science hall, and off the Universities campus.

A throw happened every nf, everyone made their way to the main planet of their system leading up to a throw, after all, waiting for years of subjective time while the Union spun around you was not a fate many craved. During the lead up to the next throw “For the Enjoyment of all Those Watching” Efra did not stay on Earth, she did not board a throw ship, instead she fell further into the gravity well of Sol. She dove to the core of the sun and she plucked the fabric in the exact way she had calculated. And the simulation reached its halting condition.

Thomas Boudreaux