Out in space on the other side of our galaxy there is a unique section of blackness. Astronomers near the border of our galaxy can not see into this section of their search span. Even the most powerful telescopes merely showed that it was free of any light source and free of any reflective surface.
They tried sending spaceships to get a closer view but this space location was too far away from normal routes. This meant that a special exploratory mission would have to be funded. So for a considerable age this section was left alone. Finally a powerful and rich civilization decided to map all the "no galaxy" areas that were between our galaxy and other galaxies. Now the funding was provided for a complete exploration mission to complete this task. But it was going to be tedious and protracted. So a robot exploration space ship was designed for this mission.
The robot exploration computer program was loaded up into its mainframe. The prime directive was to explore all the space in between our galaxy and its neighboring galaxies. This involved a mission so drawn out that its original proposers moved on to other missions. Largely forgotten, the robot ship began to complete its mission. There was only one problem. No matter how hard it tried the robot ship could not enter one section of space in its exploratory mission. Yet the prime directive had to be obeyed to the digit. So it kept trying. Meanwhile the mission control computer assumed the robot ship had finished and produced its mission results. No one noticed the small gap in the resulting outputs. Then everyone forgot about the robot space ship.
This would have continued until the robot ship was destroyed by traps out in deep space. But a higher being got bored and decided to make some mischief. So the next time the robot ship tried to enter this section of space it felt itself being given outside help. Suddenly the robot ship was surrounded by absolute darkness. Its sensors recorded the presence of an inert mass of dark matter. Then nothing. It could not do any recording as all its signals disappeared never to return. The only sound it detected was some sort of maniacal laughter. Then it was outside this section of space powering up from a sudden burst of star light. Its arrival back at mission control went unrecorded on a world destroyed by global warfare. The robot ship merely followed its program and splashed down in a wide ocean. Then it waited to be rescued. Finally it sunk to the bottom of that ocean. The secret it had discovered was lost with its inevitable destruction.
Out in deep space the laughter continued. But there was an all powerful being who was not laughing. It went to its favorite part of space. That part it had created to be a time free zone. Only now that zone was infected with time events. These events were purged from that zone and the time extinction barriers rebuilt. With its pet zone restored, a vengeful all powerful being went after the vandal that had tried to destroy his quiet zone. Coming across the vandal still laughing, the all powerful told it a few home truths then left it to stew. The punishment imposed was to ban this being from every entering that section again. No matter how hard it tried it could not get into this zone ever again. It spent eternity having this unique exclusion eating away at its confidence. Then it saw a devious way to breach the time extinction barriers. Using the inferior beings that occupied a certain galaxy it was able to manipulate their space research agenda. Finally he had rather inferior space research ships powering towards this no go space zone.
At Galaxy Central the assignments were being handed out to Investigators. Given names were not used here. With over one billion solar systems with life forms there was too much to learn. So the galaxy wide translators defaulted to a being's title. Leaders were just called by their official titles. Ranks were used for military personnel. Civilians were called by their job title. Those who made food were called Food Technicians. Those who served the food to others were called simply Servers. Transport workers had their own internal job titles.
Apart from the powerful galaxy politicians, some of the most powerful officials were the Investigators. These would be sent to solar systems when there was big trouble with civilian matters. Their rank entitled them to protection, so they would be transported on a galaxy space warship. The marines on that ship would be under their direct control. All solar system governments that were part of the galaxy wide federation had vowed to cooperate with all Investigators. Often these Investigators would find that after detailed evidence was collected, they had to arrest officials from a solar system. Such accused beings would be removed to galaxy central for trial.
Now one Investigator looked at his assignment with total incomprehension. As was his right, he went to the Galaxy Central Head Prosecutor to clarify his mission. Opening up with a bit of flattery the Investigator asked,
"Is there some mistake with my latest assignment? It says in my hologram that I am to be placed on a research ship. Then it says I am to facilitate some intellectual with her work. But my question is, where is the case I am supposed to investigates?"
Looking at this still young Investigator with cold eyes, a much older being said via the translator,
"You have ascertained your mission perfectly. The Director of Space Research asked for you personally. He sees you as some sort of brother geek. You are being seconded to his section for the foreseeable future."
There was a very strict code of obedience in the investigator branch of Galaxy Law. So the investigator had to accept this curt dismissal.
Leaving this unsatisfactory meeting, the young Investigator made preparations for his mission. He was not happy about "wasting" time on soft research projects. If he had only known the outcome of this unusual mission, the Investigator would have been racing to be first onto the space research ship.
The galaxy class ship that was to transport the Investigator was waiting at Galaxy Central Space Terminal. This was located on one of the moons and could be accessed by shuttle from the surface of the central planet. Waiting nearby were the scientific ships. They were somewhat bigger than the military ship but much slower. Herding such a fleet of 'bulky space junk', as they were referred to by the captain of the galaxy class ship, was going to make it a tedious journey.
The Investigator was used to quick trips to other solar systems. This was going to be a slow trip to the nothingness of space. Examining a space drone imaging video of their destination he became certain that his superiors had gone insane. As far as he could see there was nothing there to examine. Yet his pre-flight brief was headed
MOST TOP SECRET !
The Captain and the Investigator were waiting for the head of the scientific party to arrive at their flight plan meeting. As the Captain caught up on his copy of the mission brief, he began to shake his head. The Investigator could guess that this wizened space warrior was even more perplexed than he was at the absurdity of wasting a galaxy class battle ship on such nonsense. So he said in a sympathetic tone of voice,
"I know what you are thinking. When I read it I thought it was a sick joke."
The Captain looked at this much younger being with doubt in his eyes, but then he read the contempt that the Investigator was directing to his own copy of this unbelievable mission brief. So he joined in with equal contempt when he said,
"In all my years as captain, too many to relate I can assure you, I have never seen such a pointless mission brief. Did you scan the space drone footage? There is nothing there? A total waste of my time, my crew's abilities and this fine ship."
All the Investigator could add to this rant was a nodding of his head. The Captain was now in full voice as he said in outrage at this wasteful use of the military hardware she had at her command. He said in disgust,
"My ship and my crew were at the border wars. We fought the real enemies of the galaxy. What is our reward for risking our lives to save our families from invasion? A baby sitting job for a bunch of star gazers. Can you tell me if that makes any sense to you because it looks like madness to me."
Again the Investigator could do little more than shake his head as he shared in the disbelief of this battle hardened veteran. They were both reflecting on what they could have done wrong to merit such a mission, when a new voice broke into their fuming reflections.
"Perhaps I can explain to you both the real importance of this mission. Will you listen as I outline its vital significance to both the defence of our galaxy's way of life and even to our freedom?"
Still angry, the Captain spun around to fix this intruder with a cold stare. He spoke in a heightened tone of voice,
"Just who do you think you are coming into this top secret meeting? Who let you past my security? I will have their rank and binary number before this cycle is over."
The new entrant did not quail before the obvious temper of the Captain. Instead he said,
"Well my rank is Head Scientist of this mission. I have an up link hologram from you calling me to attend your 'top secret mission'. That means that you let me past your own security. My binary number is 10000111001000100001111000001111001110. If that is any help? Now can we get on with it ? I am a busy man."
The arrogance of this last statement took the breath out of any retort from the Captain. The Investigator had a better sense of humor so had to refrain from laughing out loud. Instead he used sarcasm to get the better of this third member of their leadership group. He said in a depreciating tone of voice,
"Can I just call you 10000 or would you prefer your title. I am just called the Investigator. I would have to check my own credentials to give you my binary code number. If you can make any sense of our mission, I am sure we would appreciate your input."
The Head Scientist was a bit put back at the tone of voice he was hearing. Internally he was shocked that neither of these two top leaders had heard of him. After coming from the science team meeting where everyone was in awe of his every word, it was a real come down for his ego. So he said in a plain tone of voice,
"I am considered to be the best scientist in the galaxy. Believe me when I say that I would not be wasting my time on nonsense. But your friend was right, we are travelling across the galaxy to study a zone of nothing. And I mean that literally. This zone is reported to have NOTHING in the extreme sense of that term. No light, no formed matter of any kind, no anti-matter that can be detected and, most amazingly of all, no limits of TIME itself. How is that for a mission? We will all be famous! That is if it is true. Of course the space drones never made it back to their science stations. That is very worrying....."
Both of the other occupants in the room looked at each other and mouthed the words
The trip was uneventful. Captain and Investigator bonded together due to their shared reservations about the mission. The science ships largely kept to themselves. There were no more sessions with the super bright leader of the science staff. The guarding of civilian ships obviously grated with the Captain whose veteran status made it even harder to bear. As for the Investigator, he was still totally in the dark about his own role on this mission. Granted he did outrank the Captain, but he was a guest on his ship. Nothing about his orders made any sense.
Finally they arrived at their time-space coordination. To say that the visual scanning of the area to be studied was disappointing as far as the non-scientists were concerned would not be overstating the case. As far as the Investigator could see they were examining and analyzing nothing at all. Visuals on the area concerned showed no lights, no planets, no moons and no space debris. Scans failed to indicate even any primitive life forms. They were exploring what could only be called dead space. Fed up, the Captain called for another 'progress' meeting.
Waiting for the Professor to arrive the Captain said in a disgusted tone of voice,
"We travel half way across the galaxy to study what exactly? It looks like nothing to me. Our own scans have nothing to show from extensive sweeps. What is the point of all of this, Investigator?"
The Investigator was nonplussed about how to respond. Finally he said in a harsh tone of voice,
"I could not agree with you more Captain. This is a total waste of time. Yours and mine. I will certainly be lodging an objection when we return, which should be soon given we have nothing to study here."
At this point in their mutual moan fest, the Professor entered the meeting room. He said in a hearty tone of voice,
"Sorry for keeping you gentlemen but we just had yet another amazing discovery. This place is a full of wonders."
Neither the Captain nor the investigator had changed their first impression of the Professor. Their look now said it all. But the Professor's next words shocked them out of their contempt. He said in an excited tone of voice,
"Oh yes this latest discovery just reinforces my earlier research. I have constructed from first principles the preconditions for non existence. We are witnessing here and now the greatest discovery in space physics since the first test of faster than light travel. I can safely say that our findings will completely change Space Physics theory. I have actually never seen the like in all my many years of research. This has the potential to give the galaxy an unlimited source of power. If we can only learn how to harness what we have just discovered."
Both the Captain and the Investigator felt they had been thrown into something way over their heads. As the Professor tried to "simplify it for the non-academic mind", they realized that they were not understanding a word that was being said to them. The Professor did not notice the glazed look in their eyes, so said in an excited tone of voice,
"...... so you can see now that this 'no time zone' existence must be caused by the two massive black holes at the opposite poles of the ...."
But his audience of two tuned him out as they sought a way to hold on to some dignity.
When the Professor stopped to get a breath, the Investigator seized his chance by saying in a mock tone of understanding and comprehension,
"Fascinating stuff Professor. Simply fascinating! But I would not say anymore until you publish your findings. You don't want a 'non academic mind' to inadvertently give your competing Astro Physicists a clue to your discovery now do you?"
This proved to be a very astute ploy on the part of the Investigator. Too many times than he carried to assimilate into a working predictive model did the Professor get one of his discoveries stolen by less intelligent colleagues. Suddenly seeing 'hidden spies' everywhere, the Professor did the zip move across his mouth.
Giving the Investigator a look of pure gratitude the captain said in an official tone of voice
"Are their any military applications for this new discovery of yours Professor?"
A look of shock and revulsion played across the intelligent features of the Professor's face. Suddenly he looked like a frightened adolescent. Once again the Investigator saved the meeting by interjecting before the Professor said to the captain what was clearly written over his now angry face. In a conciliatory tone of voice he said,
"Now Professor you know it will be the first question that Galaxy Central will want answered after your publication of this wonderful new discovery. The captain is just warning you that less scrupulous individuals may also think there is a military application. It is his job to safeguard the galaxy's cyber security."
Mollified ,the Professor took a deep breath before answering in a purely icy tone of voice,
"I suppose there may be some way it could be used offensively. I must admit that I had not thought about that area of application technology. I will give your question some serious thought."
With that the Professor walked out of the meeting with a deflated look to his whole body language.
The Captain turned to the Investigator and shrugged his shoulders. He said in a naive but honest tone of voice,
"What did I say to make him so angry. I did not know those cold blooded species even got that angry."
Not happy with the captain's reference to species in such a derogatory manner, the Investigator found himself defending the Professor. He said in a sharply sarcastic tone of voice,
"Probably recalled what the military did with that discovery he mentioned...."
Seeing the total look of uncomprehension on the Captain's face he contnued in a less sharp tone,
" Remember he talked about the discovery and successful testing of faster than light travel. Well some evil intelligence used that to create a light weapon that could destroy even armed space ships. His father probably had to live right through the Light Wars. Their species was right in the firing line if memory serves. You and I are too young to have lived in the galaxy at that terrible time."
The Captain now recalled his galaxy history lessons or at least the part about battles. The Light Wars had almost wiped out whole species. The species cleansing of solar systems was a horrible war crime that had only been stopped by the development of galaxy class starships. Galaxy central had sent brave crews out to hunt down these war criminals. With a new more powerful shield system that blocked out light weapons, these galaxy ships had won a bitter struggle. Still that was a long time ago. Now that the galaxy space engineers had designed and built universe class starships such weapons were no threat to any solar system.
The Captain showed his insensitivity by saying in a dismissive tone of voice,
"The Professor will just have to get over that memory. We have all lost loved ones in battle. This is no playground for geeks out here near the border systems."
Nodding to show he shared some of the captain's sentiments, the Investigator closed out the meeting by saying in a warning tone of voice,
"Yes, I agree we cannot live in the past. However if this discovery does result in a new type of offensive weaponry then maybe even our universe class ships may be vulnerable to destruction. Have you thought of that future horror?"
Clearly from the look on his face the Captain had not. He suddenly became as thoughtful as the Professor had been, but on a military level. If universe class ships could be destroyed then the whole security of the galaxy may be at risk. Now determined to impose a total security blackout on any news about this discovery, the Captain went off to brief his cyber security team.