Friday, October 17, 2008

Space, Hyperspace, pt. 1, 334 words

The captain tells us to prepare, and we prepare. We are all here on the bridge of the SS Terra, those of us who are not absolutely necessary elsewhere. We're here to see what there is to see when one jumps from sublight speed to faster-than-light speed, aided by this "tunnel" or "highway" network the astrophysicists have found threading the stars in an infinite web.

Each star system, they say, is like a miniscule bead of dew hanging on a spider's web early in the morning. The paths of hyperspace are the web. I cannot help but ponder, then, if this web is as fragile as the gossamer of a spider's web, if like those beads of dew we can be shaken or evaporated off the web. But I'm probably carrying the analogy too far, I conclude, and let it go.

We belt in, all of us, and wait with varying degrees of anticipation the initiation of the jump drive. Finally, everything is ready, and we go.

And everything... goes.

It is difficult to render into words. An infinite point of white light that engulfs us all for less than a second, for just long enough to have happened -- the length of a moment, the time it takes for now to pass into now, what an old English author called the tick of the universe. And my mind opens up instantly to that moment, that infinite instant, and I feel everything pass through my head. Everything. Too much for me to even comprehend, to retain for more than that moment, a memory of a memory of remembering afterwards.

The shock is thrilling, stunning, impossible, almost knocks me back into humanity, while drawing me away at the same time, away from the world of material substance and such crude barbarism as quantum physics. It would be the effort of a thought to drift away, disintegrate upon the astral winds, but even as I comprehend it that moment ends and we descend back into darkness.

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