The inside of the cabin of the Copernicus was dimly lit. The red and blue glow of the instrument panels provided as much illumination as the small overhead dome lights, which shined off-white.
The main source of attention was the huge curved window at the front of the cabin, and the low light levels accented the view. Never-before-seen star clusters, swirls of cosmic gases, and bright suns of galaxies which, until this time, no human eye had ever perceived, were showcased in the window which spanned from side to side of the ship.
Tension and wonder hung in the air. The ship had just crossed through the first wormhole that humankind had ever discovered.....
Oberlin was firmly strapped into his seat, as ordered by the captain just a minute earlier. Automatic emergency systems had kicked in as the radiation hit the Copernicus, and additional straps had appeared, across his chest, and on his arms. A cloud that appeared like fine gold dust swirled slowly around him.
Oberlin was the only one not affected in a hideous fashion by the pink radiation bombarding the ship. Johnson wept at his station—deep, gut-wrenching sobs that caused spasms in his diaphragm, and shook his entire body. Every few seconds he would claw at his hair, scream out loud, and smash his head into the radio-spectrometer.
All the members of the crew were thrashing about, falling on the floor, running into equipment, while having what appeared to be grand mal seizures.....
The wall behind Oberlin’s seat opened up, panels folding away, revealing a glass chamber. Oberlin, his seat, and everything attached were quickly pulled into the wall. The panels did not close, but a glass shield rolled in front of him, completely sealing him into the see-through tomb.
“Oh my God!” Oberlin thought. “The cryogenics!”
Part of the emergency protocol of the autopilot sequence was to freeze any crew members who were seated at their stations. This would allow any non-fatal injuries to be suspended until doctors on Earth could deal with them.
Oberlin felt the sub-thermal gases flood the chamber. He shivered as his body approached shock, and icicles began to form on his face, around his eyes and mouth.
And then he fell into unconsciousness. The doctors told him in training that he would experience a dreamless sleep, and would only experience a moment or two of thought before they thawed him out, back on Earth.
But this isn’t what happened to John Oberlin.
Flash! A bolt of lightning startled his inner eyes, the ones people see with when they dream. Dark storm clouds rolled like a hurricane through the sky. Flash! Again the lightning struck.
He could see the face of a man. Deep in pain and anguish, the man had a crown of thorns jammed down upon his head, and red blood rolled down his face from where his skin had been pierced. Flash! The lightning struck again.
Oberlin saw the man again, but this time he was on a dirt road, speaking to a small group of men.
“It is better for you that I leave, so that I can send The Holy Spirit,” the man said.
Again, the lightning struck three times, and the third was louder than any sound Oberlin thought was possible. The bolts lit the sky like the sun.
And then Oberlin saw it. Even in his unconscious state, he could not deny it—he saw it come straight out of the chest of the man on the cross.
It was pink. And it looked like water of some kind, but also something more. It did not fall to the ground, but instead seemed to almost shine from his heart. It was as if the water was alive. It danced in small waves, and foamed slightly at the edges.
And it radiated out from the now-dead man—out ten feet, then twenty, then as far as the eye could see.
Oberlin then saw the planet Earth, hanging so lonely in the darkness of space. The pink wave came out from just north of Africa, and continued to grow until it covered the whole globe.
And then, though there was no one there to see or hear it, as the Copernicus approached the horizon edge of the wormhole that would send it back to Earth’s solar system, it happened.
There was a sound. A small sound at first, but it repeated louder and louder.
…voooomph. Vooomph. VOOOOOOMPH.
A small pink river of radiation appeared to emit from the heart of John Oberlin....
We tested your DNA, and charted the changes that we saw in it. And we were able to monitor the areas of your brain that were responding as we did things like shine light into your eyes.”
“The real testing starts now.”
Oberlin was slightly nervous as the last layers of gauze were unwrapped. What had the doctor meant about his DNA changing? How did they think that his senses might be broadened?
And as the last of the bandages came off of his head, he saw it for the first time.
It was yellow, with streaks of white. It had the slightest hint of red around the edges. And it was shining straight from Doctor Small’s heart.
The light was small, perhaps extending six inches or so from her chest. When she turned around to throw away the bandages she had removed, he could see it from her back, too.
He looked at the two nurses in the room. One was a man, and the other a woman. They, too, had small patches of light radiating from their chest area, on the left side. Slightly different shading, and fluctuating in intensity, but still it was there.
John Oberlin could see the radiation from their hearts.
And ever so slightly, as if a machine was running in a nearby room, he could hear it.
Voooomph. Voooomph. Voooomph.
Oberlin looked up at them, amazed, puzzled and slightly afraid....