edge of the space

Fic: Convention Exclusive

“I’m interested in commissioning a sketch,” Iron Man said. He leaned forward, edging into Steve’s personal space, splaying his gauntleted hands on the table. “I’d like you to draw me wearing only a tiny thong, with Captain America staring at my nearly-naked body in horror.”

(Or: Steve Rogers, former artist for the Captain America comics, is signing autographs at a comics convention when he meets his biggest fan. Not an AU.)

For Cap-IM Bingo, the square “occupational hazard,” and also in honor of the convention I am not attending this weekend. Please enjoy some secret identity fluffy fluff.

Read Convention Exclusive on AO3 (5545 words)

Humans are Weird - Pastimes

Humans becoming selective about which activities they share with certain alien species and this confuses their crewmates constantly. 


Tramuis encounters Human Pam in the corridor and they seem especially excited about the brightly illustrated box they have in their possession. 

“Hey Tram!! I just got a package, wanna come put it together with me?”

Having been advised on the importance of bonding actives with the ship’s human and possessing the time to spare they agree to participate. Excited, Human Pam leads them to an empty conference room with a large table.

“This’ll do. No one should bother it here if we don’t finish today.”

“What device are we assembling?”

“It’s not a ‘device’,” Pam laughs opening the box and spreading hundreds of small oddly shaped multicolored pieces on the table. “It’s a picture.”

“I am confused. What is the point of this activity?”

“It’s called a puzzle. We just need to reconstruct the image on the box using these interlocking pieces. There’s only one right way to do it, but the size, shape and color patterns are all designed to make the task difficult and time consuming.” Pam states with a smile. “It’s tons of fun. My family did them all the time in the winter.”

Knowing that this is an activity associated with the harsh freezing cycle of the terrain home world makes Tramuis a bit nervous and in want of another crewmate or two in case of the unexpected. A fairly wise precaution given a human’s loose definition of the term ‘fun’. “Maybe we should invite Commander Schrimnex to join us, their people are know for impressive visual acuity.”

“Nah, not that guy.” Pam states as they start manipulating the pieces.

“I am surprised. I was under the impression that your bonding level with the Commander was rather high.”

“Oh don’t get me wrong, Nexie’s great. Best sharpshooter on the ground team and I wouldn’t have anyone else watching my back.”

“Then why do you not wish for them to join us?”

Pam arches up the facial hairs above their eye. “Listen Tram, my nanna didn’t send this ten lightyears just to have a dude with sixteen eyes finish it in five minutes. Now get in here and help me find the edges.”

2

One of my favorite parts of The City on the Edge of Forever. 

Jim quickly jogs across the street forgetting that Spock is either unaware of 20th century vehicles or believes that the driver would be polite enough to stop. Jim has to run back into the road to rescue Spock who seems bewildered about the situation (and the driver’s irritability)  but doesn’t say no to Jim taking his arm and leading him to safety. Spock glances back at the car in such a way you can see that he just wants a moment to study the strange vehicle and discover all its secrets, whereas Jim is apologetically protective, like “You’re my favorite person Mister Spock, so let’s not lose you to your own scientific curiosity, okay?”

It’s like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it’s dense, isn’t it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you’re a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don’t feel that we’re still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually–if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning– you’re not something that’s a result of the big bang. You’re not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as–Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so–I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I’m that, too. But we’ve learned to define ourselves as separate from it.
Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.
—  Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
9

Ask Ethan: What does the edge of the Universe look like?

“If the universe is finite in volume, then is there a boundary? Is it approachable? And what might the view in that direction be?”

When we look at the nearby Universe, it looks a lot like we, ourselves, appear. Nearby galaxies are similar in structure to our own; the stars inside them have the same properties, masses, ages and distributions as our own. But as we look to greater and greater cosmic distances, we find that more distant galaxies appear younger, bluer, smaller, and less evolved. If we go back beyond a certain point, there are no more galaxies at all. What’s going on? Does this mean that, if we go back far enough, there’s an edge to the Universe? And if so, what does that mean? What lies beyond it? And what would someone living on that edge see and perceive? It turns out that there is a boundary to our Universe, but not in space.

Instead, there’s a boundary in time, and once we understand that, we can finally understand what the true answer is. Come find out what it’s all about on this week’s Ask Ethan!

“I love you to the moon and back” isn’t nearly enough distance. I love you to the edge of space and back (which is a very large distance because the universe is ever-expanding and does not have an edge)