by John Taloni
The entity hung in space and monitored the area around itself. Vast swathes of almost-vacuum cooled slowly. Megaparsec upon cubic megaparsec approached absolute zero.
Clumps of matter persisted in isolated regions. Former stars that no longer radiated energy. Black holes sitting mute. The Universe approached entropic heat death. Even atomic particles ran down.
Still, matter might persist endlessly unless forced. The entity pushed a single proton below the necessary energy level for cohesion. The proton changed phase, triggering a chain reaction. Matter buckled, dissolving, taking spacetime with it.
The Universe collapsed. Time and space unflattened, curled up, and pulled together into a ball, a sphere, a point. Compressed, temperatures rose to unimaginable heights. The ball was stable, then unstable, over a moment or perhaps an eternity. Time had little meaning under these conditions.
The entity allowed the instability to grow. The point could not hold. Finally it was ready to give the command.
“Let there be light.”
With a vast explosion that was also an expansion, time and space lay flat again. Particles gathered together, became hydrogen, and gathered into suns. Life was sure to follow.
And it was good.
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John Taloni has been reading SF/F since he was eight and stumbled across a copy of Alexei Panshin’s Rite of Passage. His major influences include Anne McCaffrey and Larry Niven. He is a long-time attendee at SF conventions, and met his wife while dressed as a Pernese dragon rider. Their daughter asked at the age of four if they could watch more of the show with “the robots that say ‘exterminate,’ and the entire family has happily watched Doctor Who together ever since.