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Submitted on
March 29


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When the Maaheseum wore off, Onteia knew she was close to death. Her hair had gone white, her eyes were sunken and glassy, her flesh had receded. Those in her pod were the same: decrepit old men and women, none of them older than twenty-five. Outside, the blueshift had pushed every black hole, every brown dwarf, every burst of cosmic radiation from every pulsar in the Galactic Center into visibility. In hyperspace, even someone who never saw the shining beauty brought out by Maaheseum could see what lay beyond the cursory glance that was their lifelong perspective.

The pod was nearing its final destination--the spectacular, unmatched glory of a collapsing star. This was what all Travelers longed to see before their inevitable early death from the drug. Onteia reached into the small container at the center of their pod, where there were enough green-tinted black shards to last a hundred Travelers a decade. She took a piece just over an inch long, and set it on her decaying molars, and bit down just as the pod left hyperspace.

First, there was the taste of blood and dishwater. Then the bones of her body all seemed to be rubbing against one another, scraping away--only the sensation, without pain. As that ebbed away, her eyes filled with cascading waves of electric colors, and she could see the life-force of her fellow Travelers, their aura that radiated, now further than ever. And then, the event filled the pod. A million holographic projectors the size of pinheads replaced cold steel and sterile white paint with stars, nebulae, nova, and the event.

She could see radio, infrared, ultraviolet, microwave, and cosmic radiation. All at once, hundreds of thousands of color shades that had never existed, that had been incomprehensible to her before biting the shard, they all radiated off the superdense core of a star in its final seconds of self-destruction. She could see the event horizon of a newborn black hole as it shredded the supernova from inside-out.

She wasn't aware, but her brain had begun to hemorrhage--as had those of all her fellow Travelers. She wasn't aware, but their bodies were finally overloaded, and they had only minutes to live. She wasn't aware, but she didn't care either way. The universe was so beautiful. So much more than what she had seen before that first shard, years ago.

And with this glimpse into what lay just beyond soaked into her psyche, she passed into death.
This is a small aspect of an entirely different sort of science fiction story I'm writing: Maaheseum is a drug that allows the user to see into the infrared, ultraviolet, and so on, along with some hallucinogenic properties, at the expense of their life within a short period of time--people who use it regularly rarely survive longer than a couple of years. The small aspect that actually ties into the story is that there are these people who call themselves Travelers (better name pending) who go around the galaxy taking this stuff and observing celestial events with their remaining time. It might tie into assisted suicide, where charitable societies fund people to do this if they are near death or would simply prefer a pleasant way to go rather than living on. 

Anyway, I wrote this mostly to keep the idea in my mind, and thought ya'll might like it. Lemme know what you think!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-07-20
Maahe by SgtPossum is a rich, intriguing glimpse into a new world. ( Suggested by Vaahlkult and Featured by neurotype )

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JJGestapo Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014
This is really cool, it seems like a very unique concept. :)
SgtPossum Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
Thanks! I thought so, too.
saevuswinds Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Student Writer
Congrats on the Daily Deviation!
gladius212 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014
This is a really interesting idea. Good job.
saevuswinds Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Student Writer
Congratulations on the Daily Deviation!
SparrowWrightheart Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Very sad, but I love how descriptive it is. :D So much to be seen in so few words. Great job.
SgtPossum Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014
Thank you!
C-A-Harland Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Student Writer
Great piece. Really evocative, I can picture everything they're seeing. It's a great concept as well, that the drug lets them see these amazing things, but they die afterwards.
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