Pineapple Bill

[WP] You’re the first person to enter a black hole and discover a new universe on the other side. from WritingPrompts

“Commander Williams, the people of Earth will not think any less of you if you have a change of heart,” a male voice said over the radio. Bill sat in his shuttle at the edge of the gravity well. “For all intents and purposes, this is a suicide mission. This is your last chance to step back.”

“Thank you, Sir. I understand, but I’m honored to have this opportunity. Commander Bill Williams, signing out and going in,” he said. He turned the radio off, stared at the abyss before him, and activated the ship’s propulsion. As the ship moved forward, he felt the hole’s gravitational force grip the ship to pull him faster. He maximized thrust and shot forward, still gaining speed.

Bill felt alone in a sea of black, his inner introvert loved the quiet darkness. He turned off all non-essential lights in the cabin and reduced the brightness on the displays he needed on to enjoy the solitude. He stared at the void and smiled. To him, it felt like coming home to a warm bed on a cold day. The trip to the center was the best 15 minutes of his life until that point, and he felt content. The moment he reached the center his ship rocked violently for several seconds, then it was still again. Blue light began to glow in front of him, he was flying straight towards Earth. He turned the radio on.

“Uh.. Mission Control? Are you there?” he asked

“Unidentified Spacecraft.. identify yourself,” a youthful, female voice responded.

“My name is Commander Bill Williams. I traveled through a black hole on a peaceful mission of exploration from Earth.”

“Your name is William Williams?” the voice replied carrying an obvious smile.

“It’s Bill Williams,” he corrected her. The response was a reflex at this point.

“From Earth? Which Earth?” the girl asked.

“Earth One I guess?” Laughter erupted through the radio. Bill felt insulted as the laugh carried on, it felt intentionally dragged out. After nearly a minute her laughter died down, then she asked him a random question.

“What’s your favorite fruit?” Bill flew through a black hole and was now approaching Earth, but the mystery voice did not seem the least bit surprised. He shrugged and decided to go with the situation.

“Pineapple,” he said.

“‘Kay, hold on.” After several minutes, each one drawing closer to the Earth, the voice came back.

“Okay, your home Earth is registered as ‘Pineapple’. Head towards North America,” she said. “Oh wait, do you guys call it that?”

“Yes Ma’am,” he replied.

“When you get close enough we’ll land you, and the medics will meet you on the runway.”

“It sounds like you’re well organized for this kind of thing. Can I ask how long I’ll be in quarantine?” As the Earth grew in front of him he felt his ship lurch forward like his run at the black hole, and he let go of the controls. They were guiding his ship now.

“Nah, no quarantine. It’s just a quick scan. Since you asked, I’m guessing our tech is totally better than yours. By the way, what’s your favorite number?” Bill shrugged in his seat.

“Never really had one I guess.” His ship shook as he re-entered the atmosphere. Bill sat up eager to see what this Earth looked like.

” ‘Kay,” she replied. He passed through the clouds, and his jaw dropped. The first thing he saw was a tall, crystalline spire. It seemed to be made of purple quartz. He followed the spire down to see a large purple castle made from the same translucent material. He looked across the landscape and saw several other castles dotting a lush green plain. Something glimmered in the air and called his attention. He thought it might be another craft, but he saw sunlight reflecting off the scales of a golden dragon. The dragon appeared to head in his general direction, but Bill did not think it was coming to him.

“Um,” he spoke into the radio but paused to gather his thoughts. He called on his years of military training to keep a level head. “I see a dragon. Is that normal, and am I in any danger?” A soft giggle replied, followed by a more direct answer.

“Yeah, it’s cool. That’s just the guild leader headed out for his dailies,” the voice replied. The purple castle drew closer. Bill’s ship headed towards a long, glassy white stretch of land. His ship slowed, and hovered over the smooth runway, and landed gently. He spotted two figures in white walking towards his ship, and he stood to lower the boarding ramp. He walked down the ramp and stopped in his tracks. He assumed the two figures were human, but up close he realized both were orcs. A light grey male and a mint green female, the pair smiled at him, and he realized he was staring.

“Sorry. I was expecting..,” he half gestured at himself, “humans.” The female orc nodded.

“It’s gonna take some explaining,” she said. Bill recognized her voice as the one that named his Earth “Pineapple”. The male orc made a gesture in the air and a smokey translucent slate appeared in front of him. Then, the male brought both hands to it and began moving his fingers as if typing on it, but Bill could not see anything.  He assumed he was being scanned.

“So, where am I? Does this Earth have a name? And is there anything I can do to change mine from Pineapple?”

“Aww man, you should’ve asked that before the scan,” she said. She shook her head but gave a faint smirk. “Now your frequency is in the registry, and it can’t be changed,” she shrugged. “Sorry. But yeah. This Earth is called AlterNet Server: Violet.”

“All set,” the male orc said. He made another gesture and the slate disappeared. He waved at Bill, then turned and walked away.

“Awesome,” she smiled at Bill. “Let’s go make your character.”

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