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Short Story: Mackenzie Zap and the Halfway House: A Dark Matter


Tim Truzy is a poet, short-story author, and he is currently working on several novels.

Will we go beyond our solar system?

Will we go beyond our solar system?

We Travel On

Imagining how far we may travel into space is one of my favorite activities. The story below came about as I asked several questions. For instance, how has dark matter and dark energy possibly influenced the development of humanity? Can we modify our DNA to become immortal? Mackenzie Zap could probably inform us, but she is incredibly busy.

Mackenzie was inspired by the resourcefulness of all of my students, writers, and close friends. But this is an original work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, places or events real or imagined is completely coincidental. However, Lori gets the credit for her stellar photos. Enjoy: Mackenzie Zap and the Halfway House: A Dark Matter.

A town like where Mackenzie Zap visited.

A town like where Mackenzie Zap visited.

Mackenzie Zap and the Halfway House: A dark Matter

Mackenzie Zap was not seen by anyone shifting from her plasma state to solid at her destination. Her temporal calendar indicated precisely a thousand years before the Great Calamity. The Leadership Council told her a millennium was enough time for this group of humans to figure a way off the planet. Mackenzie wanted these people to escape; her leadership was necessary to convert the dwarf galaxies circling the Milky Way into a magnificent universe traveling vessel. The ship would ride the currents of dark energy to uncharted parts of the universe, but failure would disqualify her for commanding the Halfway House.

At 19 cosmic years old, Mackenzie was young comparable to others she knew. She had watched seven times as this little planet chugged along the galactic plane, taking 250 million terrestrial years to complete an orbit around the black hole. She knew what awaited this globe about halfway around the galaxy. The blue world will encounter halos of dark matter, obliterating civilization on the planet. Everything will vanish. Mackenzie's mission was to change the outcome for these people by providing data about the hazardous dark matter. By encouraging the population to flee, Mackenzie hoped they would join other humans on the edge of the galaxy to build the ship from planets and stars powered by miniature black holes.

In fact, humanity had left repeatedly to escape the Great Calamity at the midway point around the galaxy. Mackenzie’s group had expanded their DNA, becoming immortal and reached a dwarf galaxy. Another group perfected mechanical technologies. Still, other bands of mankind had unlocked the secrets to traversing space and time. Crediting the human collective mind, they were all together, determined to explore the universe on their mighty ship.

Mackenzie thought quietly, “The tragedies humankind endure are recorded in our collective mind, and mankind looks for ways to avoid those disasters by coming up with solutions. The same idea can appear simultaneously in different places from several people because of our connection to one another.” One of her professors told her the phenomenon had something to do with quantum entanglement, but she didn’t have time to ponder. There were bands of humans waiting for construction to conclude on the magnificent vessel. She chastised herself: “Stop talking, Zap, and get in there with the genius.”

Insect milk and cookies, anyone?

Insect milk and cookies, anyone?

Mackenzie secured her backpack and gear. Examining her black jeans and hair, She grinned. She could not be the stern Voyage leader today; she was a student at the institution where the Knowledge Holder taught. She noticed dilapidated buildings crushed by huge rocks nearby. A young man ran by with stones plastered to his bleeding body. Others ran along the street with sling shots screaming and threatening.

Mackenzie felt violence thrived on the planet. Mission command warned these humans may present difficulties. She considered survival of these people an even darker matter. A worry creased her brown face, but she entered the restaurant, looking like a 19 Terrestrial years old teenager.

The Voyage Leader had read thoroughly. Sandy Quartz pioneered many of the innovations people used based on crystal technologies on the planet. Mackenzie knew this version of mankind perfected the application of crystals in every aspect of life. She took a table facing Sandy Quartz, ordering insect milk and sugary tree bark. She muttered, “Regardless of where you go in space and time, humans always seem to have milk and treats. It must be a collective mind thing.”

She made eye contact and spoke: “Hello, Knowledge Holder Quartz. I’m Mackenzie. I need to speak with you.”

The older lady’s response was cautious, “Are you a student?”

Mackenzie replied, “In some ways, but I need your permission to speak freely.”

A frown appeared on Sandy’s wrinkled face, but she reluctantly nodded.

Mackenzie pressed a button on her temporal suspension unit worn on her wrist. The waiters, other customers, and even the flying creatures outside, stopped moving immediately. Sandy was afraid.

“Don’t fear. As a person of science you can appreciate what I’m about to say.” Mackenzie reassured. She explained what was to come for planet Earth and what awaited mankind aboard the mighty ship.

“I don’t doubt you. You have proven to me you have unique knowledge. Why don’t you just send a rescue mission?” the elderly woman finally inquired angrily.

“Enormous energy is required for time travel. Also, training on temporal paradoxes takes months. For similar reasons, we cannot bring you technology.” Mackenzie stated, undeterred by Sandy's strong emotions.

Example of how a temporal unit might look.

Example of how a temporal unit might look.

Sandy calmed down and said, “Include Earth in the structure of your ship. Why not? We can make granite structures touching the sky, and we destroy cities by flinging boulders. We have invented submersibles carved from stone which can withstand the extremes of the ocean. My only problem is our enemies on the opposite side of the globe somehow know when we create inventions.”

Mackenzie was puzzled. Sandy misunderstood. All of humanity on Earth must escape, and the world could not be moved because many beings would suffer. She quickly showed Sandy data about when the Earth would encounter dark matter, and her mission was finished. Stepping outside, she released the time stream, and vanished into plasma. Future survival now rested solely with these people for their group.

Wading in the water

Wading in the water

Arriving eight centuries in the future, Mackenzie found the entire Earth flooded. Cities and people were gone. Huge rocks rose above the waves, and Mackenzie instantly knew what had happened: mankind went to war. Dark matter was blameless. Mankind did not travel to the fabulous ship. Saddened, she was certain she would not command the Halfway House.

Mission command spoke to her: “Wonderful job, Admiral Zap! You succeeded and are now in charge." Mackenzie wanted further explanation.

“Although these people did not make it, the collective mind has moved aboard the vessel, ma’am.” A lieutenant told her. “The last group you visited was barbaric. Violence drained the collective mind as well as stress resulting from the coming cataclysmic event. Creativity was dying. The last strands of the human collective mind needed to migrate to the halfway house, and it did. Yet, all temporal segments of mankind required an opportunity to escape, and we did our job."

Mackenzie listened as the lieutenant continued, “As we travel the universe, you will have to make tough decisions. Some of them may cause pain. The Council wanted you prepared by showing you things may not work out even with your best efforts.”

Mackenzie understood and was ecstatic to be promoted to Chief Admiral for the various temporal tribes of humanity. Things worked out for her. She dematerialized and headed to observe the final catastrophe, when the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies merge. She chuckled, “The new galaxy should be called: Andromeda Has Cookies and Milk.”



Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on September 04, 2020:

On May 30, 2020, humans went to space on a commercial rocket for the first time. SpaceX carried astronauts to the International Space Station aboard the Crew Dragon Rocket. It will take time before we can colonize other worlds, but we are making progress. I wonder if a character like Admiral Zap notices us. I appreciate your visit.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on July 31, 2020:

Can you imagine harnessing the power of a pulsational paired-instability supernova? In a galaxy nearly 5 billion light-years away, astronomers spotted such a beast in 2016. The supernova radiated 5 sexdecillion ergs of energy. At its brightest, the monster was brighter than all the stars in our galaxy. I suppose such an object would be useful to Mackenzie and her mighty ship. Thanks for reading.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 28, 2020:

As we venture into space as a species, real or imagined, we name things – halfway house, for instance. Selecting from a large number of names, the new Mars rover to be launched in July will be called: Perseverance. NASA intends to land the vehicle in a dry area on the Red Planet near the Jexero crater in 2021. The rover will explore, looking for signs of life and storing samples until they can be collected. Mackenzie, in my fictional story, isn’t the only one trying to figure out where we are going as a species. We will persevere. I appreciate the visit.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 28, 2020:

Mackenzie Zap would certainly tell us our Milky Way is vast. In fact, recent research indicates the Milky Way is approximately two million light-years across. The brightest portion of our galaxy, where we live, is about 120,000light-years across. Although there are about 60 known Milky Way satellites, scientists expect to find more. Maybe these tiny galaxies could power a ship like the one Admiral Zap used if stripped down and reshaped. Thanks for reading.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on November 19, 2019:

On Octg. 18, 2019, history was made when Christina Koch and Jessica Meir became the first all-female team to carry out a spacewalk for seven hours outside of the International Space Station. Some research suggests women tend to respond better to space environments. For this reason, in my sci-fi story, I chose Zap to be the main character. We have to think of space as a place where all humankind is welcomed. There are heroes in every gender and villains, too. Thanks again.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on November 16, 2019:

Using the MeerKat radio telescope while conducting real life research, scientists have detected two bubbles extending from the Milky Way’s center. These bubbles of radio waves expand hundreds of light years from the plane of the Milky Way, Researchers suspect these bubbles are a result of a feeding frenzy of our galaxy’s black hole, when nearly 100 stars were consumed. Apparently, the good Admiral Zap would want to steer clear of that wreck in her ship if she existed. Visit appreciated.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on October 06, 2019:

Researchers are still examining dark matter. Recent studies, however, suggest dark matter particles can only be so big. Otherwise, we would be vaporized. Basically, the study said we are probably safe. I appreciate your visit to my sci-fi story.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on September 22, 2019:

Science fiction is a very speculative genre. There are many unknowns which we haven't gathered enough evidence decisively for or against. Such is the case with ongoing research pertaining to dark matter, dark energy, and black holes. Science fiction usually takes a scientific concept and imagine the possibilities because that's what we do as humans. But there is serious research going on about these topics. I'll simply continue in the tradition of great sci-fi authors--apply a "what if" to the research. Thanks for reading.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on August 12, 2019:

Many scientists believe the numerous intellectual and physical abilities of mankind came about because of breeding between various hominid groups. Evidence seems to suggest a Great Leap Forward occurred approximately forty thousand years ago. These groups probably shared knowledge and resources like the place where Mackenzie came from. I appreciate the visit.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on July 14, 2019:

Although our galaxy has an enormous black hole at its center, the monstrosity is small compared to others in the universe. Scientists have taken a picture of a black hole, but they also believe now these objects are involved with tiny (dwarf) galaxies. The Milky Way is circled by a few dwarf galaxies, and I wonder if a fictional being like Mackenzie would use black holes as a fuel source. The Halfway House needs go-go juice anyway. Thanks for reading.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on July 06, 2019:

Genna, your thoughtful words and observation means much to me. Visit any time. Sincerely, Tim

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on July 05, 2019:

Wow! What a well written, captivating and imaginative story, Tim. It's one the best I've read on the Hub. Dark matter poses a mine field of possibilities. Well done!

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 29, 2019:

Hi, Nell, I'm glad we share the Nerd Kingdom. An author who inspired this tale was James Rollins and his fascinating Sigma Force novels. Sigma Force is described as "killer scientists," and frankly, they are. These books are where Indiana Jones, GI Joe, Dr. Who and Sherlock Homes all come together. I just read one about dark energy called: The Eye of God. You might enjoy reading a few of them. I always appreciate a visit from you, friend, across our wonderful Atlantic Ocean. Respect and admiration

Nell Rose from England on June 29, 2019:

Loved your story, and the poll made me smile. I am a dork where Space, Physics etc are concerned so I love that you put all my 'likes' in this! dark matter fascinates me. Purely because we know its there, 98 percent of the Universe I believe, but we just cannot figure it out.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 27, 2019:

Scientists have recently debated if other creatures besides mammals produce milk, according to a Science News article. Indeed, the tse-tse fly and even the roach produce substances which resemble milk in their composition. But I'll pass on milk from insects. Thanks for reading.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 25, 2019:

Interestingly enough, some scientists do believe our awareness of reality is indeed associated or "entangled" (at the quantum level. This is why we know when the phone is about to ring or can sense things about to happen concerning others we are involved with in some way. However, none of this line of reasoning has been substantially proven, but scientists have entangled particles, meaning two particles a great distance apart can carry the same charge simultaneously. I'm glad you read and hope you enjoyed Mackenzie's adventure.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 23, 2019:

Ms. Dora, I've always figured His Will drives us, and love will outlive the worse of our faults. The idea I present is just part of eternal love. I always welcome your kind thoughts. admiration

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 23, 2019:

The idea of the collective human mind is intriguing. More so, that it outlives the people. Your story is interesting not only for the plot, but also that it stretches the brain. Thanks for the exercise.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 22, 2019:

Thank you, Assad. Sincerely, Tim

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 22, 2019:

Much appreciated, Sean. Mackenzie has spunk, and she may show up again. Respectfully, Tim

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on June 22, 2019:

Masterpiece, my dear brother, a true masterpiece! I am proud of you! Philip Dick at his best! You've balanced fiction and science so well while you were so kindly profound! Thank you for this excellent read!

Let us fill our collective mind with Love!


PS: You are next on my list... :)

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 21, 2019:

Yes, sci-fi is one of my favorite genres. Appreciate the visit, Assad.

Asad Dillz Khan from United Kingdom on June 21, 2019:

A very interesting and great article Tim! A very mature concept and writing. Great Job Tim!

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 20, 2019:

Hi, Mary, I'm glad you stopped by and left a comment. These ideas show up a lot in science fiction. Admiration

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 20, 2019:

Researchers have recently suggested we could modify our DNA at some point to create immortality. Maybe Mackenzie's group knew what we might know someday. Thanks for reading.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 20, 2019:

Eric, this comes right out of my love for Star-Trek and such shows. Appreciate your visit and kind words.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 20, 2019:

The concepts you highlighted here are really intriguing. You have encouraged me to read more about this collective mind.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on June 20, 2019:

Interesting enough. Scientists do believe that there may be an enormous amount of dark matter near our galaxy. Dark matter makes up 90 percent of the Milky Way. Although scientists do not know what it is, if we encounter it on our trip around the galaxy, it could have terrible effects. Appreciate your visit. Tim

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 19, 2019:

I like it. Right up my alley so to speak. Sorry to say, maybe, much of this is in my thought lexicon.

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