It always did this. Time after time and time after time. Well, it was time. That was problem really. Dr Karz Flembold took his hand out of his pocket and poked it out of the temporal bubble; he saw a second immediately tick past on the clock face of his Casio.

He whipped his hand back in, feeling the sting of the present like a burn on the skin of his fingers. The watch immediately froze again. 15:04:21. It always was. But yet, he knew, time was still there. He had seen the world around him crumble and fall away,...

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It was midnight in the Temple of the Light, the sun was shining, and the Guru Akiva was smiling up at the man with the gun.

"Go ahead, child. Do it."

The man glanced around. Nobody to see him, tall, trench coat, barrel of the revolver pointed at the serene little monk as he sat, lotus-style, in the pavilion.

"Nothin' personal, old-timer." he managed to grunt. He didn't usually speak to the mark, but this guy, well, he figured the old man deserved an explanation. "The Council wants war, you see. The Temple, yer planet, it's... uh..."

"Sacred. Yes. You...

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He sat right at the front, but would never once look up at the board all while knowing full well the snippy teacher would think him rude. He would only doodle inside his beat-up notebook he'd kept since seventh grade, and I would never know what exactly it was he was so intent on drawing.

It's a project, he would say.

He is not here today. He and I do not interact much, but I know he is beautiful. He is beautiful and I have loved him since I laid eyes on him. I have loved him and loved...

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Most voids were black. Or so he thought. In literature. in movies and television. When there was a void, one saw a large blackness that stretched into infinity, broken up only by the colors of whatever object the story placed in the middle of said void, in order to enhance its enormity.

But he stood now in a white void. Had it shone brightly he may have concluded he was dead, or dying. But it was just a whiteness without a brightness. A dull white, if such a thing were possible.

The woman had not walked into the space. Rather...

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It came out of nowhere. A rock. A killer.

It was bigger than anything I'd ever seen since breaking orbit, but that wasn't saying much for a rookie like me. My console alerted me to the spinning asteroid and woke me from the warmest blanket of a dream. Of course, that's how it always happens, right?

I make my way up to the cockpit, though it's only on the other side of the thin partition of my shuttle. The Gen-Mark II was designed to hold four and that's how it was filled when we left dock last year. Now mine...

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The world was so close to perfect, he hated having to point out the flaws to the designer. It was his least favorite part of the job; they always took it personally. Months to design each reality, thousands of hours of effort by the design teams, but it always came down to the lead designer to take responsibility for the deliverable.

Clients were, of course, unreasonable in their expectations of what kind of world they would live out the rest of their lives. They were clients, after all. The health and happiness of a hundred thousand subsequent generations would depend...

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Dave turned the dial up to 11. Maximum. There were only a few seconds left until the next jump, he needed to be prepared. He rembered back to basic training, all you needed was to get your stance right, place your hands either side and...

The clackson pearced the air. This was it. The heavy metallic doors slowly collapsed revealing the dark bluish purplish redish swirling void that streamed past the opening.

Dave lept.

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The disco ball was turning. The lights were spinning, flashing, pulsing. The speakers were pumping noise into the atmosphere, waves of vibration that shook the air, slammed into the walls, broke back in upon each other, collided and crashed.

Outside in the street, I stood and gazed at the stars, what few of them I could see through the neon glare, the fluorescent pollution.

On one of those faint white specks in the inky, bleary sky, I was sure, another mind gazed back at me, and wondered, "Do they have problems like mine?"

What were their struggles? What did they...

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"Sweetie, Daddy is trying to work, OK? One more picture and then you go play with your dolls, OK? You can do a fashion show and take pictures of them. Wouldn't that be fun?"

*click* *click* *click*

"OK, that's enough now. Honey? HEY, HONEY! Can you come get Penny? I need to finish this report! Honey?"

"She can't hear you."

"Why not? Where's Mommy, sweetheart? Is she outside?"

"The woman is in my capture device."

"What? Your... Penny, what's wrong? Why are you looking like that? Where's Mommy?"

"The woman is in my capture device. Along with the pre-reproductive...

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"You can count me out. There's no way I'm gonna do this." Lewis strode to the door, coat in hand. I rose up from my chair, hand outstretched.

"Wait! I'm sure we can work something out." I cried. Lewis turned his head.

"Look, I don't want to be on your silly venture, and that's final." The brilliant star light shone in through the window, casting deep shadows along Lewis' face.

"Hey! It is not silly. It's an exploration to the deepest part of this world! They say that there's treasure and fortune awaiting for those who discover it."

"So how...

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