The capsule blasted endlessly upward, moving at a velocity well above the 320 kilometers per second required to leave the Milky Way. In reality, up was no longer up at all, but an arbitrary direction that could be down or sideways or any number of diagonals jutting off at an angle.
We traveled through space, and space somehow turned, warp-like, into time.
We zoomed through Aristotelian cosmology, Ptolomaeic spheres, Nahmanidean expansion, Copernican heliocentrism, Bradeleian aberrations of light, Olberian paradoxes, Poeian expansions and collapses, Einsteinian relativism, Slipherian redshifts, Hubbesque galaxies, Lemaîtrean vacuums, Alpherian coolings, Gamowian cosmic microwave radiations, Schmidtian quasars, Hoylean lithium abundances, Dickean flatnesses, Starobinskian inflations, NASAean blackbody spectrums and other phenomena with correspondingly complicated adjectives.
Somehow we made our way through andromedas, dark energy and red shifts, pressing ever on.
We passed the moon, whose markings seemed a divine hermetic writing. Luciano, the ex-chauffeur trained on video games, calmly helmed the craft. All of us floated, our heads like giant bubbles in our helmets. We kept our faces pressed against the glass, although our faces were no longer really faces, the glass no longer really glass.
All my questions had been answered, I was fairly sure. If there were loose ends, the calm I felt made any previous anxiety about tying them off seem silly. Those questions no longer seemed important, or even real questions.
What I knew was this. The men and women brought to the complex had arrived because of their attraction to a specific object, which corresponded with a psychological interest of the queen. This structural similarity of the participants’ brains in turn had its equivalent in the structural analogy of the parts they carried with them. And these objects had all been useful in the construction of the Vostok capsule.
The phosphorous from the matches I swiped from the Alvear were used to fuel the engines. The synthetic fiber lining from the anorak was used as flame proof wadding. The enormous sign for jam was used in the body tube. The washer from the north of the country was the necessary special connection between two tricky parts.
All the pieces formed a necessary part of the craft’s construction. Personal attraction and utility could be combined — the desires of each individual had its analogue in the wishes of our small community, as well as in the structures of the universe.
Outside was a faint glow I imagined to be a gorgeous nebula, a cloud of gas and dust that would soon condense into stars. The colors were different from the ones I’d seen flipping through the pages of Discover magazine as a child. But instead of color, there was some other sense I couldn’t quite name. My eye — was it still part of me? What was an eye? Was I still I?
Nearby the presence of L. could be felt, drawing everything he saw into his orbit of intelligence and affection. Somewhere there was also the presence of the queen, a corpus mysticum, always more than just a mere person, benevolently overseeing the workings of her capsule, which even without towers or ramparts could well be called a castle.
Now we are moving so unbelievably fast everything seems totally calm. Change, but with a mathematical constant. Nothing is as it used to be, all has evolved naturally. Grand ideas about time have long given way to subtler ideas and things — color, sentiment, experience — fluttering birds, invisible networks, flowers in bloom, data loops — strange fruits, algorithms, asteroids — infinite marvelous visions of what was and may be.
F I N
Jessica Sequeira is a writer and translator living in Buenos Aires.