Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor



Originally published in Perihelion Science Fiction. Free science fiction stories, science articles, comic strips, reviews, and more, on the Internet. Every month, Perihelion presents solid stories with strong plots, intriguing characters, with a sense of wonder reminiscent of the classic science fiction pulp magazines from the ’60s and ’70s. Artwork is by award winning illustrators. Articles are by experts in their fields. Established in 1967, originally as a print magazine, by Sam Bellotto Jr. and Eric M. Jones, the magazine was revisioned in 2012 as an online publication, and has been published regularly every month since. For the best in entertainment and information, bookmark Perihelion on your favorites list.

Shorter Stories

In the Maze of His Infinities

By Henry Szabranski

I DON’T EXPECT YOU TO UNDERSTAND, Ariadne. But I’m doing this for you. For us.

Ryan says there’s no such thing as infinity. That it’s only a mathematical abstract. The real universe, he says, is quantized and bounded, and everything has a limit. He says even time has an end. Well, Ryan is a fool. He spouts the measure of everything but he knows the value of nothing. My love for you, Ariadne, knows no bounds. After what I’ve done today even you must recognize that.

Hey, now. Shhh. Don’t struggle. You’ll only hurt yourself.

I’ve learned a lot today. Not just about you and Ryan. See that blue glow? It means this transline is powering up. Soon it’ll be ready.

Don’t look so surprised. I’m not just some dumb space jockey, ferrying you scientists back and forth between The Construct and the base. Or an easy lay you picked up at the spaceport bar. I do my own research. I speak with everyone who visits.

The explorers always warn me to stay away. Say it’s haunted. That the Builders didn’t abandon it, only got lost inside their own maze and couldn’t find their way back out again. They say infinity isn’t something human minds can cope with. Say if we stare too long into the tunnels or venture too far down them we’ll go mad. Well it doesn’t stop them. Or you and Ryan. And it’s not going to stop me.

It all seemed so different this morning, didn’t it? Life is full of surprises. That’s another lesson I’ve learned today.

I admit I was excited. Not just about entering The Construct again—although it’s always a rush, even after all these times—but about us. About our future. Or what I thought it would be. I believed you, Ariadne. I believed all that stuff about how I was the one for you. How we’d be together forever. I was really looking forward to showing you around.

Had to ruin it, though, didn’t you? By bringing Ryan.

Awesome. That’s what you kept saying. You and him. Staring around, all wide-eyed, like little kids. “The things we’ll learn,” you said. You smiled at me, but I saw that look. That little frown. Micro expressions, isn’t that what they’re called? And I saw you hold his hand, when you thought I wasn’t looking. I didn’t believe it. Not at first. He was just a colleague, I thought. Your nerdy workmate.


But then we reached Grand Central. I know you got some fancy name for it: Aleph Nexus, Cardinal Prime, Cantor’s Cathedral ... whatever. We pilots call it Grand Central. You can see why. All the translines converging, reaching out to infinity. Beautiful. Awesome. I guess you forgot I was there. You and Ryan, holding hands. Spouting nonsense.


You scientists. Always so sure of yourselves. What was that crap Ryan came out with this morning? How if The Construct was really infinite inside it would collapse upon itself, form a black hole? Idiot.

I’ve been coming to The Construct for years now. Longer than you think. Exploring it, mapping it, bit by bit. Whilst I waited for you researchers to finish your rotations and ship out again. I’ve probably been inside longer than any of you. There’s stuff only I’ve seen, Ariadne. I couldn’t wait to show you. You think Grand Central is awesome? It’s nothing compared to some of the places I’ve seen. I’ve got it all here, coded in. A map I’ve made of the infinite.

Oh, yeah, I know all about the translines. How they whisk you away. How you can travel for years and never reach a destination. How some people arrive before they’ve left. How some people never return. And I know about the sleep pods the explorers use, how they keep you in stasis until the sensors pick up a region of interest. Oh, yes. Sorry about that one over there. It’s a bit dented. Ryan was stronger than I expected. Maybe he saw me coming. Didn’t matter in the end, though. The wrench settled it. I didn’t mean to use it so hard, but he gave me no choice.

Yeah, he and that pod won’t be going anywhere soon.

Here we go. The transline is ready. Beautiful, isn’t it? Wait a moment whilst I get inside this pod over here. Stand back. They’ve got cutting lasers, did you know that?

Jeez. Tight fit. Guess it was meant for you, huh? Let’s see ... this button here, and that one. There you go. Green. All systems go.

I had to bust up the external comms link on the shuttle that brought us here. When you get back to it you won’t be able to call for help. But I’ve set the return route on the nav computer. Clever girl like you should be able work out the instructions and return to the base on Pluto. I’m pretty sure you can.

Don’t look at me like that. I’m not crazy. I know exactly what I’m doing. Like I said, I don’t expect you to understand. Not this version of you.

I believe in perfect love, Ariadne. That you can love someone an infinite amount. You were perfect for me. I was perfect for you.

Until you messed it all up.

The Construct, the translines, they’re a fast path to the infinite. It’s why the Builders made them. A direct line to all the possibilities the universe has to offer. In the infinite, everything that can happen will happen. Is happening, right now. An infinite number of times. And if this map I’ve made is right, I’ll find you again. The real you. The one that loves me back. The one that never met Ryan. The one that would never touch him. It’s a mathematical certainty she exists. Out there, in this maze of infinities.

The power is beginning to fade. It’s time for me to go. To say goodbye.

Have a good life, Ariadne.

Until we meet again. END

Henry Szabranski has a degree in theoretical physics. His fiction has appeared in “Beneath Ceaseless Skies” and “Daily Science Fiction,” amongst other places.






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