The Barrier
(science fiction)

A nearby world. Unsatiable curiosity, a NASA mission, tragic consequences. A classic sci-fi story with an unexpected twist. Guaranteed.


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THe Barrier

I admit to being nervous. It wasn’t everyday my old professor called me to his chambers for a meeting, and this time, a meeting of some importance. An old song came to mind, the soothing song everyone had learned in childhood:

Protect us from the falling sky, embrace our world, we ask not why… Eternal rampart of destiny, we praise thee, forever on high…

“I put you in charge of this project.”
“Me?” I asked, feeling both surprise and disbelief.
“Of course. It was your ancestors who began it… their idea in the first place. Who better?”
“It’s too much responsibility for one person.” A chill went up my spine.
“Nonsense. No one is better qualified. Assemble your team and get on with the task.”
“The council has approved this?”
“Of course. I still hold some sway with them.”
“I expected a chilly reception, or a tepid response at best.”
“Their passion now burns for completion.”
“And resources will be allocated?”
“Anything you need,” he assured.
“Still, it may take some time… a long time… perhaps another lifetime. There is no way of knowing.”
“Such has been made clear to the council. They’ve promised to be patient.” My elder, my mentor, put his hand on my back with a certain affection. He had been my teacher at school for a good many years.
“Patient? Hmm… how patient?” I paused to wonder.
“Long ago, all speculation concerning the barrier was heresy,” he began in his practiced academic tone. “To mention it, let alone study its nature, was forbidden. Such ideas went against the flow. The barrier was inscrutable, immutable, impervious, and impenetrable.” He let go a laugh and his whiskers bristled. “Archaic dogma…” he said with emphasis and laughed again. “New thinking has spawned over the countless years, and now, the truth of it all can be discovered— largely thanks to your efforts.”
“I echo this exact sentiment, of course,” I replied rather cooly.

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