The Outer Rim [science fiction]

The Outer Rim  ©2018 Garrison Clifford Gibson

There are galaxies such as the Silky Way that have existed in various forms since near the inception of the Universe. Some of the stars; fewer than 30%, are remnants of that early age when the Universe was less than a half billion years old. Red dwarf stars burn slowly and fade away at a pace less than the time required for the black hole called Sagittarius A would need to consume all of the remaining stars of the galaxy.

The Silky Way resembles in form, a starfish with four main tentacles and a few lesser that are irregularly structured with fractals of millions of stars about which most often orbit planets from gas giants to small rocky worlds. Sagittarius A is like a mouth at the center of the tentacles drawing its arms back into itself for destruction. That is, it is a masochistic self-hating nihilist bringing about its own destruction, though it may well be that it envisions itself as a kind of auto-immune disorder that will transform all normal mass into something else, something greater, after it consumes and annihilates everything that exists. In some ways a black hole is a role model for the Aristarch class of human.

Because of Newton’s inverse square law of gravity regarding distance and force, or better put in terms of Einstein’s curvature of space expressed in general relativity, the spiral arms of the Silky Way swirl around the horrendous hungry mouth at the center of the wonderful whirlpool drawing every bit of matter in the galaxy to destruction; it is a predictable wheel of fortune with a predestined end; unless the galaxy is lucky enough to be disrupted by collision with another galaxy drifting into its path bring millions of stars in wrenching whipsaws tossed into reorganize like anarchic union remnants placing themselves in new alignments of convenience. Yet destiny may slingshot individual stars into extreme orbits beyond the edge of the galaxy, and even through the galactic halo into the darkness of true intergalactic space.

Humanity’s search for sentient alien life had existed for several thousand years already and none of that was ever found, for a simple reason. Sentient life forms that were smart enough to reach beyond their own biological nursery soon realized that the primary role of primitive life that is the consumption of other life for its energy and tastiness made concealment of their awakened intelligence from other advanced species a priority if they were to survive. The latent characteristics of all biological life may not disappear when it achieved an advanced form of intelligence.

Species that gambled with their existence and broadcast their development loud and clear for the galaxy and Universe to encounter were soon snuffed as rival sentient beings. Sometimes they were actually consumed as new species of ate on alien menus. Sometimes the newly awakened species camouflaged their presence from the Universe and had a good chance for survival. Though the Universe appeared devoid of alien, sentient life, it was not. Many lived within double-hulled spheres surrounding red dwarf stars that burned at 4000 degrees Fahrenheit for eleven trillion years- fairly cheap and sustainable batteries for warming worlds.