Behind the dreadnought Philip H. Sheridan, P. Sheri as its affectionately referred to by its crew of two thousand and three, lay the dark vastness of open space, the nearest star a hundred and some odd light years away.
Before it was The Wall, extending to infinity in a perfectly flat plane in two dimensions, an entity that remained undetected before the concept of C.T.S. (Circular Time/Space) travel was finally realized. Silver-gray, it was as smooth as glass, no irregularities but for a door. Unusual enough, but the door was a wooden frame and panel affair typically found hung in pre-22nd century Terran dwellings. A squad of Constellational Marines were returning from a precursary probe of the phenomena.
With the rest of the Marines safely inside the airlock, Sergeant Reggie Zorn actuated the outer closure behind him. Over his helmet communicator came the voice of the officer in charge, Staff Colonel Williams.
What did you find out? crackled the voice in Reggies ear.
Well, it was the strangest thing. After I went through the door in the Wall, I found myself in a small room. At the other end was a tube with a message written above it.
What did it say?
See the other side of the Universe. Two bits.
It said, See the other side....
I know what you said! It doesnt make any sense. There was a moment of silence. Then what did you do?
I didnt have two bits, so I...
What the hells two bits?
An old Terran twenty-five cent piece. Never had one myself. Heard about them watching an obsolete eight track holo-crystal. It was a good movie...
Reggie, get on with it!
Sorry sir. Anyway, I had some extra disc batteries that were about the same size for all I know so I thought Id slug the thing.
The airlock chamber was completing its phases and the sensors indicated that the space was nearly oxygenated. The Marines began to remove their gear.
Reggie continued. I felt there was nothing to be afraid of so I took off my helmet, dropped the slug in a slot and looked into the tube. It was pretty much like an old telescope eyepiece.
What did you see?
Nothin at first, just black. Then all of a sudden I was mooned.
It was like somebody, or something pressed their gray, wrinkled behind up to the glass. It disappeared and another one come up. That one disappeared as well. Then things went black again..
I said the heck with it, jacked my helmet back on and left out the door. I felt kinda screwed, sir. That battery had to have been worth a thousand times more than two bits.
Dont worry about it, Come on in and well get you debriefed.
Thank you, sir.
A bell chimed and the inner door slid open and the squad of Marines filed in through. Reggie was twisting his helmet off as Williams stood at the chamber door.
Sorry I couldnt find out anymore than I did. I really wanted to see what was on the other side of the universe.
Dont we all, Son. Dont we all.
Williams twisted his face, staring at Reggie.
Is there something wrong, sir?
Oh nothing, nothing, I dont think, Williams said, puzzled. Say, where did you get that brown crap around your eye?
Inside the Galaxie Cruiser 5000, Smrz and Grpt laughed their poonyas off. They hadnt had this much fun since they left that burning bag of Gorlian yog excrement at the entrance of the Pleiadian worm hole.