Chapter Five. Dream Flight.
Sogwa slept, and as she slept she had a strange dream. She dreamed that she herself was the Crystal Cuddle Ship, that she saw with the ship’s cameras, and heard with its antennas, and smelled with its spectrometers. She dreamed that she boosted with her rockets, faster and faster, until she sped through space at ninety nine point nine nine nine six percent of the speed of light. She dreamed that on ships that fast, the clocks tick-tock so slow that one second on the ship lasts six minutes on Earth, and one day shipboard is worth a year Earthboard. And all of this made perfect sense to Sogwa, for she was dreaming, and dreams have strange logic.
Sogwa dreamed that she hurtled thirty thousand lightyears straight towards the giant spinning black hole at the center of the galaxy. The trip took eighty-five years, shipboard. She dreamed that the center of the galaxy was so spangled with stars that midnight there was as bright as noon. Dead ahead lay the giant spinning black hole. It was blacker than night, as oval as a frisbee, and so heavy that you could hardly even look away from it.
Sogwa dreamed that she flew right up to the giant spinning black hole, way too close to the inner edge; and she zoomed once around, against the direction of the spin, and she dumped ballast just before the black hole swallowed her up. She whipped around the black hole again, and again, and again, twelve times in all, each time against the direction of the spin, each time dumping ballast at the last second. And each time she whipped around, the Nerdlings aboard her screamed WHEEEE!
And because of General Relativity, and Gravito-Magnetism, and Arglebargle Blah Blah Blah, this made the giant spinning black hole act like a Time Machine; which is why she left the black hole a hundred and twenty thousand years before she arrived.
And all of this made perfect sense to Sogwa, in dream logic.
She dreamed that she flew to Fanac, a trip that took forty thousand years, Earthboard time, but only a hundred and fifteen years, shipboard time. She dreamed that she entered Fanac approach orbit; and that was when she woke up.
Sogwa told the Nerdlings her dream, and they said, “That was no dream, but our radio transmissions, which you must have tuned into. Everything you dreamed actually happened to us, just like that. What you call dream logic, we call everyday life.”