Given the kind of activity going around me over the shifts, I followed Blueneck’s advice and focused my thoughts and attention outwards, staring more and more into the inky blackness of the Dark Cluster in order to escape the level of conversation happening around me. And the more I looked, the more there seemed to be something in the deep blackness.
Now I am a typical species in terms of visual range, so the sort of infrared visualization some species might use to get some imagery from the utter blackness, so I was left to try to make something from it.
There are a number of types of Dark Clusters in the galaxy, I know, I’ve almost worked in several of them, although most that I knew about weren’t nearly as dark as this one, nor as isolated. Not only were there black holes lurking in this space, but there were also a number of black clouds of interstellar dust and a large amount of dark matter which block out most light in the visible spectrum. Here, there was not even the odd super giant not quite ready to join the local Black Hole Association, to at least break up the swath of utter darkness.
And, according to everything I have read and experienced, the blackness is all that is supposed to be there, as nothing consentient could possibly evolve in such warped and dark space.
What was out there, I reasoned, wasn’t going to be nearly as dangerous to my psyche as my two co-workers. And, considering I still had a hundred work shifts to go and they were already getting me in trouble with my midbrain, I knew there was only one thing I could do.
So I was comfortable as I gazed into the blackness and shift after shift it became clear to me there was some sort of dimension to it, some sort of pattern to the blackness I was seeing. At first, I thought it might be imperfections in my own perception, but as I’m not any more susceptible to delusion and hallucination then I considered there might be something to them. And my own species visual acuity was in the galaxies top ten percentile in the visual light spectrum I’m proud to tell you. You don’t’ start a career job scrubbing dark matter if you can’t tell what you’re doing, and you don’t keep it if you can’t see those microscopic specks most species can’t.. And with these eyes I kept watching the patterns in the dark, and they did not fade. Not only did they persist, they moved, altered their form, shifted across what must have been thousands of kilometers of the bent space beyond the station.
And I thought to myself. Hey, that’s different. Had they been there all this time?
“Hey Blueneck, do you think there’s something out there.”
“There’s always *blank*something out there,” he replied amiably while resetting a filter over a quivering glass tendril.
“I mean, outside the station,” I tried being more specific. “Near the station.”.
“What the*blank**blank*you*blank*talking about.”
“When I look the void, I see something out there.
“*blank*nah, not *blank*possible. There’s nothing *blank**blank*out there for *blank*millions of kilometers. You must be*blank**blank* imagining*blank* things.”
“That’s some pretty boring thing to imagine,” Because offered while he sopped the tendrils secretions off the floor.
“You *blank*bet, now if you*blank**blank* want *blank*something to *blank**blank*imagine, then *blank**blank**blank*imagine this,” and he started transmitting again. I quickly returned my focus on the blackness.
None of them had suggested I shouldn’t keep looking, even if they thought I was seeing things, or my natural eyes needed to be examined. Blueneck would have certainly laid into me with his best cursing if he’s found a speck on the filters after I’d cleaned them.
And then I began to experience something altogether different. Impressions, alien, new, were drifting into my trance. Intermittently at first. Yeah, that’s how it always starts. Nothing to disturbing. Just a flash. A glimmer. A foothold. By the time I differentiated them from my co-workers' noise, it was too late. I’d let them in. There was nothing I could do to get them out. And, neither, I’m afraid would Blueneck, Because, or even the Siliconoids. We had no way out ourselves, either. Something had come. Something had come to play. And it needed things to play with.
<<Several deeps pace colonies on the Magara Rift were discovered to be completely empty of consentients. Not information on the whereabouts of the colonists were found but a hastily scrawled not on a bulkhead requesting: ‘the last one to leave please turn of the lights’ The Rift’s Electric Utility is currently engaging several relevant organizations to locate the consentients, as they were several cycles in arrears with regards to their power bills.>>