“But this doesn’t make any sense!” Assistant says, backing toward the ship with an eye on the sky, “You’re the one who said this was going to happen!”
Professor doesn’t listen to the demands that he board the ship; arms already crossed and feet dug into the ground, he doesn’t move at all, just continues to stare.
“There’s nothing heroic about what you’re doing. This is suicide; is it really so important that you see the star die?” Assistant takes a step toward Professor then, after hesitating, two steps back. “Are you trying to kill me too?”
An eyebrow raises over the black lenses obscuring Professor’s eyes.
“Sorry, I know that’s not true – wait, why am I apologizing to a dead man?!” Assistant gestures toward the sky, “There’s videos, countless studies – “
Professor shakes his head.
“All of a sudden academia isn’t good enough for you?” Assistant, standing on the ship’s ramp, gives the command for the metal to withdraw into the hull. “After all we’ve done together, you’re not even going to leave me with a word? Not one single word as to why?”
The deep orange sky shifts to red – Professor blinks to readjust, and sees that the ship is gone, undoubtedly somewhere very far away – he smiles, trusting he trained Assistant enough with the teleporter to guide himself and the crew to safety.
Contrary to what Assistant had insinuated, Professor wishes him the best. In fact, Professor, in full acknowledgement of how painful their split could have been, acted distant to spare his longtime colleague from the shaft of the spear of sentimentality, as the tip itself, separation, was unavoidable. He at least owed Assistant mercy for all the help received in realizing his life’s goal.
It hasn’t been a straight path to this end; acceptance is final, a dot that cannot exist at the end of a line. One must trap oneself for it to be found, for instance, on a planetoid next to an end-stage star. Finality doesn’t have to be an explosion, but momentum makes embracing reality that much easier.
Something in the supernova will shift and in nanoseconds everything will be gone, burned, not to a crisp, but to nothing.
‘It’s about time,’ Professor thinks to himself, settling cross-legged, disturbing long dormant dust, ‘My body catch up with my mind.’
The only thing Professor knows is the star. His astigmatism splinters its light, it alone is responsible for all of his curiosity, ambition, and fright. Once it blows, everything that makes up Professor goes with it.
Leaving, living, would’ve meant grieving, but no matter the amount of time that goes by, a body torn from its soul can never be whole again. Is he supposed to give himself up, just to keep going? To be a husk?
His answer is no – the star explodes.