The power to create a world, solely from the words written by your own mind, is a gift that should never be hidden.

Eternal Escape

A haze filled his vision as Alex fought his way to consciousness. The blinking red light was ever persistent in the corner of his perception. Alex stared at it a while, slowly concentrating on forcing air back into his lungs. Its persistent intrusion helped Alex focus his thoughts. As he slowly came back to the land of the living he also heard the alarms that worked in conjunction with the still steady red light. With a sudden snap Alex remembered where he was. Pulling the emergency handle, he opened his life support chamber and lunged out. Falling to the floor, he knocked the air out of his lungs that he had labored so hard to bring in. It was then, too late of course, that Alex remembered that sudden wake cycles always left your muscles sluggish and weak. With only slightly less gusto, Alex moved toward the control panels. It took only a glance at the vast assortment of lights, dials, and gauges to know that something had gone seriously wrong. Slamming his fist down on the control top, Alex pushed a single button placed off to the side.
"Location!" He practically yelled at the computer.
"Outer space" Came the mechanical response. With a slightly feminine lilt to the voice.
"Of course  I know I'm in outer space." Alex yelled at nothing in particular. "Where in outer space am I? And what has gone wrong!"
A few blimps and bleeps proceeded, as well as a chugging sound that was very close to laughter.
"You are very close to the Orion Cluster. On your current trajectory you will collide with a black hole in less than two hours."
"What do you mean?" Alex's face turned red and his hands curled into fists. "According to all these instruments we are right on course. The warning alarm came on only because it was programmed to do so."
Alex's face dropped. "Wait a black hole... how can that be on the right course? I was heading to Earth... to...get away from her."
Alex paused to collect his thoughts as the light in the side of his vision continued its steady blink.
"I was on this shuttle, I took the first solo flight to Earth I could get. Her guards had no idea where to find me and even less idea that it was me taking this shuttle. There was no way they could have got through my security in the time they had. This just cant be happening." Alex went over all the dials to make sure that what the computer had said was correct. As he neared the end of his data search, a look of shock came over him as the color drained out of his face.
"Wait a minute, your voice! Behind the computerized style I know that voice, you are her!"
More mechanical chugging resumed and this time the laughter couldn't be mistaken.
"Didn't take you as long as I had hoped but the response was very close to the same." Came the reply from the speakers.
"How did you do this? You didn't have any time, and there was no way you could have known which shuttle I was taking." Alex spoke as he slowly slumped into the only chair in the small ship.
"Alex, you of all people should know that as good as you are with computers, I was always better then you were." the voice came back to him. "You thought you were smarter then me and could take me for everything. I do have to admit Alex, that you are very smart. However you should have been smart enough to know that there is always someone out there smarter."
Alex lunged at the panels working frantically trying to bring a response into there lifeless state. After getting no response from the panels he tore into the wiring underneath splicing blues with yellows. Silently cursing himself for being so dumb and muttering under his breath the whole time "Stupid, stupid,stupid."
The red light blinked steadily on, pulsing away the precious minutes that were left. Finally Alex came to the realization that there was nothing he could do to change his state as he dejectedly climbed back into the chair.
"Did I really deserve this?" Alex spoke into the air, again at nothing in particular.
"Well, only time will tell." came the feminine response. "My father wanted you beheaded but I intervened on my promise that my punishment would be .... Worse."
Alex reached over and pressed a button opening the view screen. As it slowly slid open a vast field of stars filled his vision with a hole in the middle. The hole was growing larger by the minute as the stars became less and less.
"We were past the point of no return when that light came on weren't we."
"Yes... came the response, I had to make sure there was no way out for you. At least I did show you some mercy, more than my father would have anyway."
"How do you figure that?" Alex snarled "I'm going to die here in a few minutes and I have no hope of escape. These small transports don't have any escape hatch and I'm meant to be in stasis for the whole trip so there is no food or water even if I did live."
"Well that is all true, in a way, but no one really knows what happens in a black hole. So in theory i'm sending you to the unknown as much as to your death"
"It's all the same to me." Alex mumbled "What about you, are you on a remote talking to me or what?"
"Actually I am a little project that I was going to introduce to you, but you decided to try and steal what you had seen instead"
"You are the project?"
"Yes, I’m the prototype for artificial intelligence. I've been programmed to be here with you while you make your journey. Everything is being recorded of course and sent back, as long as we can anyway. My father wanted a record. I wanted to know how well it worked."
Alex glanced up at screen again, there were only a few stars left in the corners. "I wasn't that bad to you."
"No, you really weren't, and I did enjoy some time together. Your biggest mistake was when you crossed my father."
Alex flinched as those mechanical words were spoken. "I was afraid that would come back and bite me one day. So what is going to happen now?"
"Well, there is a theory that says when you cross the threshold of a black hole you are basically trapped in one moment of time."
"One moment?" Alex pondered that "So that would be forever."
"Yes, eternity, can be a very long time." came the reply once again.
Alex turned his head and looked at the blinking red light that would be his companion for a very long ti...