The Birth, Life and Death of Objects in Space
In a newly formed solar system, there is a hypergiant star around which everything revolves.
Many millennia after his lowly beginnings as space debris, Castiel, at the expense of other debris that wandered too close, grows to be a small solar system body, then eventually a dwarf planet, and finally a proper planet: one that that other planets in the solar system at long last recognise as actually mattering, even if he is only on the very edge of the system, barely in sight of the hypergiant that gives them all life.
Castiel is torn, because a tiny dwarf star – so much smaller in volume than most of the planets in the system, but infinitesimally greater in mass – has managed to draw a variety of objects in to its gravitational pull, stealing them from the hypergiant's solar system.
Castiel, at the outer edges of the hypergiant's system, can see the dwarf star is closer and more reachable than his star will ever be. Castiel also sees that due to its great density and small radius, the dwarf tends to swallow up any object that strays too close.
If Castiel gets too close to the alluring source of radiance that is the dwarf star, he will be unable to escape, and will be burned up like so much rubbish - but he can't help craving the light that is there, just within reach. It would be so easy to just stray from his path, to quietly leave his system, and become part of a new system revolving around a tiny but brilliant white dwarf. It would be so easy.
The white dwarf beckons beguilingly and Castiel, unable to withstand the pull, breaks free of his solar system, breaks free of the rules that bound him, and hurries to the glowing embrace offered by the dwarf. He rationalizes that he hasn't lost sight of the hypergiant that has given him everything, he's just moving away from a star he would never get close to anyway, and replacing it with a far more realistic goal.
The light of the hypergiant is still warm, even outside its system, and it makes up for the gradually cooling light that radiates from the dwarf.
Castiel reasons that is only natural, as the white dwarf is only young. It has potential; just because it is in a cooling phase now does not mean it will not become just as bright and hot as the supergiant in his old system. He has watched some small part of the universe, and knows that things are ever-changing, ever-growing, ever-expanding.
For some time Castiel is pleased with his choice, the dwarf is so close to him, and it seems to appreciate his company. Castiel grows to believe in his new star, believes it better than his old one.
The white dwarf becomes hungry. It burns colder and colder, and its light is fading. Castiel, with growing anxiety, tries to feed it fuel - he casts off rocks and shaves off mountains and pushes them to the path of the dwarf.
The dwarf hungrily and thankfully gobbles them up, but the warmth brought by their ignition is momentary, and its light continues fading.
Desperately Castiel considers that deserting the distant hypergiant may have been hasty.
If he turns back now, the light from the his old star will keep him warm until he returns to the system, but Castiel is not ready to give up on his new star. Something has to work, it has to. The universe is ever-changing, after all.
Frantic to keep his source of light going, he draws nearer, no longer wary of incineration. Something has to work, it has to.
In sudden bitter understanding, Castiel knows why this dwarf called to him. It wasn't lonely. It wanted a companion, alright, but not to exist forever together in this wide open world.
The dwarf wants to grow by absorbing Castiel.
Oh, it uses pretty words – we will be one, forever together - but Castiel knows what that means - you will be dead like those rocks you gave me, the rocks which formed you, and I will live on in glory.
Castiel's core bubbles furiously with betrayal, but he recognizes that he has strayed too close to his star, that it will pull him in and cremate him regardless of his desires at this point.
He takes one last look at his old star, the hypergiant, and in desperation calls out save me or maybe avenge me. He has almost no hope of being heard from that distance, and even less of being listened to, but he does it anyway.
As Castiel feels the white dwarf lazily flick out a part of its corona to slide across his atmosphere, he feels rather than sees the hypergiant flare, far off in the distance. Castiel thinks the giant is probably laughing at his ex-subordinate's well-deserved misfortune.
His alarm grows as his seas start to boil, and the hypergiant once again flares, brighter this time.
Castiel begins to think there is something reassuring about it. He knows the giant won't come to save him – no not him, not the deserter – but he is glad of the show of camaraderie. Perhaps the giant understands why Castiel did what he did; perhaps it sympathises and wants him to know it forgives him, that he is not alone.
Castiel's core quietens even as his surface screams in agony. He is at peace.
With the absorption of the little planet that wandered into his grasp, the white dwarf rearranges himself. He is fully sated for the time being, and he wants to get used to all this new mass. It is a new feeling, to command so much power. His core feels warm, warmer than any part of him has felt in a while.
The white dwarf stares out that the giant whose little planet he thieved and he grins in delight. The giant does not respond with words, but it does change the trajectory of one of its planet's moons so that it is heading right for the dwarf.
The dwarf laughs in glee as he communicates I'll just eat that too! to the hypergiant, who again remains silent.
As the tiny moon approaches the dwarf gets ready to swallow the rock whole. Come here, sugar, I won't do anything awful to you. We can be together forever, you and I.
Shivering in apprehension but unable to change the course its master gave it, the moon draws closer to the dwarf. The dwarf readies itself, drawing itself in smaller and denser.
The poor little moon is caught by the dwarf's orbit, and begins to approach in ever tightening circles. Finally the moon, already mostly burnt up from the dwarf's heat, collides with him and the dwarf thinks to himself that this has been a more rewarding venture than he had every hoped.
As the last shreds of the moon are soaked into the small star, he begins to feel even warmer inside. His core is heating up at an uncontrollable pace, and the first traces of panic enter his mind.
This isn't supposed to happen-! but it is happening anyway. He turns his attention towards the hypergiant, wondering if there was something poisonous in that little moon, but the giant merely sends a wave of regret his way. It didn't have to come to this, it says.
It did! the dwarf snarls, as he feels the heat spread out to his outer reaches. He hasn't felt this hot ever, and it isn't comfortable at all.
What have you done to me? What is happening? he demands of the giant, but receives no immediate response.
After a pause during which he feels his outer edges crumbling, the dwarf finally hears a reply.
You took the ambitions of my child and twisted them against him for your own purposes. For that you deserve everything you will get. You have consumed past your mass limit, and your core has heated up enough for carbon fusion to occur. Within a short amount of time, you will detonate, creating a bright and colourful display as your parting farewell.
The white dwarf, in dawning horror, begins to scream, but his scream is cut off as the promised explosion destroys him.
The supernova that results is the most beautiful display seen in this section of the universe in a long time.
A fitting memorial, I think, to my young and naïve child, the hypergiant says.