The planet Xaonides was owned by the enigmatic Enigma Corporation. It was much like Earth, the home planet of the Terrans, lush forests, massive oceans, a whole planet teeming with life. Xaonides is used as a training ground for various employment positions: Security, Accounting, Maintenance and the sort. A simple test explained which position was best suited for each person. A group of students, meant to eventually be medics were gathered around a small electric torch. The illumination pointed ceiling ward so that eerie shadows were thrown around the dank metal room with its several bunk beds. The small dorm was coed, boys and girls, all under the age of ten. They were all dressed similarly, in blue jump suits, blue brimmed caps on their shortly cropped hair. Even the girls hair was buzzed down near to the scalp. To prevent the spread of lice was the excuse.
“Have any of you heard the ‘Legend of Poseilora?’” Asked a small boy. He looked small for his age, no more than six, but there seemed to be something in his eyes that made him seem older, as if he possessed an old soul. The boy’s name was Tyler Pettington, and he was actually the oldest of all the children. He had been there the longest at nine years old. Once he turned ten he would move onto his next round of classes until he was 14, and then again another round of classes until he was 18 and then assigned to some space station or planet colony or even a starship meant to explore worlds for humanity to spread.
“Poseilora? Never heard of it,” replied a small girl, well she was larger than Tyler and younger. She had brought shoulders and pigtails before she’d been enrolled in medic training. It wasn’t training to much as school. Her name of Debra O’Leary but everyone called her Doubting Debbie. The other children almost hated her in class. She questioned everything! The teacher would be int he middle of explaining how the body’s secondary and tertiary immune defense worked and she’d raise her hand, “But Miss Dreja, what does C mean? What happened to C1 thru C3?” If anyone tried to tell her anything, she always doubted that is was the truth.
“Pettington’s mother is the daughter of the CEO of Enigma Corp,” someone had said to her.
“Nuh uh, if Pettington was related to anyone is upper management he wouldn’t be in med school. He’d have a cushy tutor explaining how business works,” Doubting Debbie had replied.
“It’s a planet doofus,” Tyler explained and Doubting Debbie punched him in the shoulder.
“Don’t call me doofus!”
“Do you want to hear about the legend or not?” Tyler asked and Debbie nodded.
“What’s the legend about?”
“Well its about how the first gravity drive was tested and how it an entire planet disappeared because of the testing,” Tyler explained.
“A planet can’t just disappear,” began Doubting Debbie interupting again. “There has to be some logic explaination as to where it went, and planets don’t just wander out of their orbit.”
“Debbie, one more word and I won’t tell you the story.” Debbie looked shocked and drew the univseral gesture across her mouth that her lips were zipped.
“Now everyone knows that gravity drive is based off wormhole technology,” Tyler stated a long well known fact. “It folds space and time, making travel that would take hundreds of years to only take a few seconds.” Once again this was stuff they taught to preschool toddlers, everyone still nodded. “We call it a wormhole, but back when the gravity drive was first being built and tested they were trying to create blackholes.” Tyler said the last word as spooky as he could and Doubting Debbie scoffed.
“So they created a black hole and the planet got sucked in,” she rolled her eyes, “See the planet went somewhere!”
“Debbie will you shut up!” The girl who had spoken was small like Tyler, but she was young, six years old, and had just entered this level of schooling. She had once had long blonde locks.
They were gone now, but she was still adorned with huge blue eyes that almost seemed too large for her face. She had a smattering of freckles across her nose and was definitely going to be a looker when she grew up. The girl would most likely wind up being a breeder. Exceptional beauty was still prized by some and a great deal of money would be paid for her eggs. The little girl, Georgia Rose, looked nearly afraid by the idea of a blackhole being on a planet.
“I’ve heard of the legend,” She managed to squeak out. Her outburst had brought everyone to sharp silence. Georgia Rose was normally nearly mute, only rarely speaking when needed to. She was exceptionally bright, had the best scores in her level. “It’s sort of a story passed down through my family.” Tyler’s eyes widened.
“Then you should tell it.” Georgia shook her head.
“No, you should tell it.”
“Well correct me if I get the details wrong,” Tyler said kindly to her. Georgia nodded and seemed to be enthralled by Tyler’s story. “It is said that it wasn’t the planet at first that got sucked into the black hole, it was the people,” his voice grew quieter as he talked forcing the other children, there were only five of them, to lean in.
‘The scientist who created the gravity drive was living with a colony of maybe thirty families on Poseilora, and he created the first black hole with the drive. Rather than send anything to test the hole with, he suited up in a pacesuit and stepped through the portal, and disappeared forever… or did he?’
‘The colonists searched far and wide for him, but couldn’t find any trace of him. Finally a few brave men decided to go through the black hold after him.’
‘They were gone only for hours, but search party it seemed years. Dark hair had gone gray, smooth faces had grown long beards, and smooth skin had become wrinkled. Not all of the search party had returned either. The oldest of them, a man of sixty had come back just a skeleton in his spacesuit. The women tried to welcome them back, for they had worried, but the men just pushed past them and when they walked into the sunlight they put down their visors as if the light was too bright for them.
They just walked to their homes where they all seemed to be disintered in everything including living. Once they were finally coaxed out of their suits their bodies showed scars and bruises as if they had been badly beaten, repeatedly, for years. Just think about it. The black hole was Hell, where they were tortured and aged. What was hours for those on Poseilora, it had been decades for the the rescue team.’ All these faces were staring at Tyler now, he had them.
As for the scientist… He had returned and he brought Hell with him. It began with nightmares, and then creatures attacked the colonists, they were dragged from their beds, flesh shredded with claws that seemed more shadow than flesh. The colony was full of screams.
To save the universe from the nightmares beyond the black hole, the remaining colonists overloaded the scientist’s machine and it swallowed the whole planet.
“That wasn’t that scary.” Doubting Debbie stated. “You can’t survive going through a black hole. The gravity would’ve crushed them in on themselves.” Tyler gave a shrug.
“That in itself is a pretty scary ending.” He looked down at Georgia. “Did I get the story right?” She slowly shook her head. “No? I thought I told you to correct me.” She shrugged. “Well tell me the story that really happened.”
“Hell didn’t come to Poseilora, it was already there when the colonists landed. Hell was in the oceans. My grandfather says that Poseilora was a Class O planet, only a few spotty islands and then only a few that were large enough for a colony.” Tyler was now curious. She spoke like Poseilora was actually real. He had heard the story from the preschool class, the oldest boy had told it to them. Tyler had lain awake nights worrying over what had the scientists and rescue party seen that had aged them, that had drove them insane. Some had said that it wasn’t the rescue party or scientists at all that had returned but something evil wearing them as suits, just as they wore the spacesuits.
There were footsteps down the hall and suddenly the electric torch was extinguished and the children scrambled for their bunks. Not always, but on some nights there would be a bed check. In the darkness the door hissed open, throwing a square of light upon the middle of the room. A flashlight scanned all the faces in the bunks. Many squinted as the light hit them. The teacher knew they were awake, when they had run for their bunks they hadn’t been exactly quiet, he’d heard them from the hallway. The walls, though metal, were hardly soundproof.
The next day, Tyler was curious about Georgia Rose. He looked up her personnel file. It wasn’t hard. He’d been hacking the system since preschool. Tyler was bright, Georgia was a genius, but Tyler had always been good with electronics which he never understood why he was in med school. The test administered to determine your career was given at birth. Somehow they could tell from your DNA what you were best qualified to do. Tyler didn’t get it, but at four years old he was sent to Xaonides as a med school student. Georgia Rose’s family was actually from Xaonides, they were long time family of instructors, and as far as he could tell they went as far back as the school was first installed, Georgia’s great, great, great, grandfather was actually one of the engineers who built the school. The odd part was that Georgia Rose’s ancestor Brett Smear, had almost no history other than he was mentioned in a photo taken when ground was broke at Xaonides.