This poem is spillover from the November 4, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from westrider. It also fills the "bio-engineering" square in the public card for the Science Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by westrider. It belongs to The Blueshift Troupers project.
Everyone knows that
going through a jumpgate
is a gamble -- you may
emerge the same, or
changed in some strange way.
There are gates that
seem to sleep, rarely if ever
making noticeable changes
in those who pass through them.
Most are erratic, unpredictable, enigmatic,
making travel a dance with fate.
And then there is the Open Gate.
Located in the Salpinx system, it lies
between the Laceum and the Fimbria,
with connections to other places
both known and unknown.
The one thing that is known for certain
is that if you go through the Open Gate,
you will be changed by it.
Alone of all its kind, this one is honest
about what it does, consistent in its crafting.
The mind of a jumpgate is difficult to grasp,
even for a hiveship, but the contact
is always gentle, secure, and forthright:
to touch is to be transformed.
The ones who go there are already strange,
it is said, people who dislike the bodies
they were born into or the lives they have made,
who yearn to leave it all behind for worlds
so utterly alien that to embrace them
is to abandon all that has gone before.
The Open Gate is known for this tender intimacy,
so powerful it can fling ships far across the galaxy
yet so delicate it can comb through DNA
without damaging a single strand,
reweaving the tapestry of each passenger
to fit the planet that is their destiny.
It is this benevolent interpenetration,
as much as the physical shifts, that
alters the the Salpingians so utterly:
for having been held and known
beyond even Biblical precision
restores their faith, not in God,
but in science:
that everything broken
can be made whole again.
* * *
Bio-engineering uses the concepts and materials of biology with the principles and processes of engineering to solve practical problems in the everyday world. Biotech is equipment made out of living creatures, appearing as "organic technology" in entertainment tropes. These aspects underlie the whole setting and culture of The Blueshift Troupers.
A salpinx is a type of tube or trumpet with a flare at the end; the adjective is salpingian.