a sense of obligation
A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.” - Stephen Crane
Poets aside, the universe is not indifferent. It runs on love and hate. Attraction and repulsion. It has a physical obligation to bind or repel. Sometimes both.
Which explains my relationship with Enth. Like orbital and subatomic decay, we clung to one another, attracted and repulsed, in a pan-dimensional death spiral.
Sorry. That’s the heartbreak talking. Though not indifferent, the universe is far from sentimental. Life, not matter, invented the struggle bus. And I’m obliged to crash it. Drive it right over the cliff.
Or in this case, straight into a gravity well. A big ass gravity well in the Black Eye galaxy which got its nickname due to a dark band of dust surrounding its bright core. Likely the result of a cataclysmic collision with another galaxy eons ago.
Just like Enth and I were on a similar collision course.
Remember how the universe is all about love and hate, attraction and repulsion? Yup. That’s how it was. Enth telling me I’d never get it, never understand Enth’s planet, Enth’s family, Enth’s dreams. All the while, I was risking my life to save Enth’s planet and everything Enth cared about.
Which, at the moment our little jumpship entered the aforementioned gravity well, didn’t seem to include me. Enth’s planet was facing a runaway wafuco: wave function collapse. In essence, that’s a quantum identity crisis that messes with consciousness. In this particular case, the collective consciousness of Enth’s entire planet. Not something from which most relationships can recover.
So, we were diving down the gravity well trying to achieve a relative point of decoherence that would, in theory, cancel the wafuco and keep everything peachy on Enth’s planet. I was also hoping it might help reset our relationship. You know, stop us from chasing our tails, our impulsive actions, our general snarkiness—all seeming to be what the universe and my inter-planetary relationships were predicated on.
Anyway, the plan looked to be working. In our little ship, things were becoming less coherent. Enth’s sharp words became soft glances. Gravitons pushed us ever closer and we were not repelled. Heat created less friction. We melted together, our beings bonded, as we finally achieved relative decoherence.
Enth’s planet became mine. Enth’s family became mine. Enth’s being became mine.
The great swirling vortex no longer sucked. It wrapped. It surrounded. It embraced us.
Equal and opposite. Enth and me.
The universe sighed. Then exploded, obliged to see what would become of us.