Phaethon's Legacy

My entry for the 'new' (create something fresh/original) terraspace competition, inspired by 2 stories of a guy named Phaethon.

The Phaethon of Greek mythology was the son of the sun god, Helios. His friends refused to believe this, so Phaethon travelled to Helios' palace and explained his plight to Helios, who in turn swore to grant Phaethon anything to prove that he was his son. Phaethon asked to ride his father's chariot (the sun) for a day, and although Helios strongly advised against it, Phaethon would not be swayed. When the day came, Phaethon couldn't control the powerful horses drawing the chariot, and so caused destruction wherever they went, burning the Earth in places where they went too low. Zeus was forced to intervene, and so threw a lightning bolt down upon Phaethon, killing him and sending his body into the Eridanus river.

I first came across the name of Phaethon as the main character of John C Wright's The Golden Age novels. If I remember right, Phaethon's wife Daphne entered some sort of dream-weaving competition, in which contestants had to create an elaborate dream universe. Daphne's entry started-off rather mediocre, but then evolved to follow the actions of some nameless protagonist (whom I dubbed 'Phaethon' for my own convenience) who sought freedom above all else. He took to the stars and was initially content, up until the point that he discovered that even the universe had edges. Towards the end of this dream, 'Phaethon' heads towards the edge of the universe, ready to break it apart, citing that even "...a universe-sized prison is still a prison."

The dream ends there, but I always wondered what would happen next. The picture above is my interpretation of what might have been if Phaethon succeeded in breaking free from his prison: the fabric at the edge of space-time being shattered like glass to reveal a whole new unknown. And the consequences of his actions: tearing apart the stars, causing them to spew their hot plasma fires onto nearby planets.

Much like Phaethon of Greek mythology fame.

Much like anybody who disregards the potential consequences of their actions.