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Spiral Nebula Excerpt

What was he? What had he been?  Although his mind was clear, it was impossible to recall what happened countless millennia ago. If he had had a brain, that portion that recorded events during its tiny lifetime, would have deteriorated to the extent that memories and memories of memories would have been obliterated. Somehow, the synapses of thought still functioned without the meaty matrix.

 One concept persisted, E=MC2, a beautiful piece of mathematical poetry. Odd how this little jingle was retained in the memory after such an incalculable passage of time. No matter that to accept it one had to contract distance, change the very nature of time, and subtract a few lambdas. Would it not limit his speed? Not necessarily. If his mass was zero than E would likewise be zero. His speed could be limitless. He must be traveling at billions of times the speed of light.

 Stars moved visibly across his sense of awareness, coming closer, rushing by. Whole galaxies seemed to be slowly moving aside or expanding at his approach. It seemed as though the macrocosm was becoming the microcosm. One did not move aside but kept growing larger, not altering it’s bearing. He was on a collision course. As he passed through touching nothing, the stars rushed by dopplering as they came and went. How could they Doppler? Were not the myriad of changing colors alien to the colors he had once been able to see?  No matter; these were exceedingly beautiful and he was grateful for the milieu.

 His speed was such that his passage via the curvature of space produced a centrifugal force that elongated his being ever outward. The unrelenting pain was excruciating.

 As he sped he repeatedly asked himself: “Where am I? Whither am I bound?  Who am I and who have I been?”  He had a hazy recollection of a planet whose name he could not remember, but he recalled clouds, blue skies and warmth and comfort without pain. Last but not least, there were others like himself with whom he could relate in groups or on a one to one basis.

  For how many millennia, he wondered, had he been traveling thus, bodiless, careering to who knows where, for God knows what purpose?

Am I the only one left in the cosmos?  If I am, why have I not gone mad? ... Or is this madness? he thought; Madness would be a blessing! A greater blessing would be nothingness. Suicide? Yes of course, but how can one kill a thing that has no body?  He tried prayer: “Merciful oblivion please. Whatever, whoever you are who created the cosmos, have pity, uncreate me. I must have peace! I want to die!” “An interesting condition, death, ”he mused. “One moment equals all eternity… unless, of course, there is a hereafter.” He was ready to accept either alternative.

 On and on he went. Eons past; still he sped. Gradually, the galaxies became scarcer and further apart as he approached the very fringes of space. Finally, he was really alone. The last of the discernable galaxies had winked out. The nearest lay some trillions of light years behind him.  Still he retained his ability to reason.

 He began to long for the past of which he had complained so much. At least then, there was something to observe. Now there was nothing. This was a hell that could only have been conceived by the devil himself. What had he done to deserve this, the worst possible fate that could befall anyone? He did not know but a vague sense of guilt touched his awareness.

 Eons upon eons past. Still he hurtled on. Was it eons? He had no frame of reference except the outward pain of centrifugal force. He now welcomed the pain. It was the only thing he had. “Without it,” He reasoned, “I would have no way of knowing whether I was moving or not. As long as I am moving I can hope that I can come to a place where there is something besides eternal nothingness.” He could have been blind and not have known any difference or for that matter the same would apply for any of the other senses. He realized that since he was exceeding the speed of light that light as a medium of observation was of no use whatever. What he had observed was seen with a sixth sense of some kind that had nothing to do with light as he knew it. However, his ability to see had once been optical and what he had witnessed he had mentally translated into images of light. Having seen nothing for so long, it became more and more difficult to visualize anything.

 He no longer concerned himself with whether or not he was alone in the cosmos. He now wondered if a cosmos still existed. But ... but, wasn’t that something up ahead? ... A speck of light? Yes ... YES!! A spark of beautiful, magnificent, delicious light! And it was getting larger! But slow down. Could this be just something dredged up from his starved imagination? Now it was resolving itself into some kind of geometric form. What was it, a spiral? Yes, a tiny spiral, slowly, rotating and growing larger. He was overtaking the thing. Could he have synthesized an imaginary milieu to feed his starved senses? No matter, he would take what he could get.

 Nothing else existed, only he and the spiral nebula. It rotated hypnotically, seemingly alive and ever converging inwardly into a bottomless vortex. Or was he rotating? Not likely, since the nebula did not wobble as would have been the case unless his alignment with its axis was perfect. How exquisitely beautiful it was. The sight of anything at this point would have been beautiful, but this was magnificent!

 He suddenly felt a sense of urgency and fear. Was this what it was all about? Was it for this he had journeyed so long? But what was it he was expected to do? Had he come all this way for some awful purpose only to fumble and fail? “Please ... send me some sign ... some instruction.”

 Suddenly, from nowhere and from everywhere, exploded a mighty voice that permeated all space and all eternity with the command: “SPIT!!!!”

Spit? ... He did not understand. Why? How? From Whence? How could he?

He had not the wherewithal. The terrible voice came again reverberating against all creation, more insistent, angry, threatening: “SPIT!!!!”

 Stark terror drove him. Was not matter nothing but frozen energy? He would, he must try! From somewhere within his frenzied being he managed to synthesize a mixture of blood and saliva and the necessary apparatus. With a mighty spit he spat in the general direction of the nebula.

 His universe was brightening now and in addition to the nebula he began to discern several parallel streaks of yellow and here and there a touch of red. As far as he could see, the streaks persisted almost all the way up. They assumed a horizontal orientation relative to his position. Familiarity crashed into his consciousness. Why they looked just like...


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Page was last edited on 11/11/10 04:44:34 PM




Bob Nadel

September 15, 2001 - September 15, 2003