The fourth corner of the Universe.
Dave was about to embark on the greatest journey ever taken by a single human being. He knew he would never be returning and just as well, as the human race had completely gone to hell in a hand basket. The last of the major obstacles to launch this incredible journey had finally been overcome with the successful acquisition of T.E.D. or Transempirical Existential Deliminator. That was a mouthful, so the short name was simply TED. An AI program that seemed almost human and would be Dave's only companion on this very long journey. Sure, there were better and smarter programs, but it was doubtful any of them would retain any semblance of sanity, given the duration and goals of this mission.
Dave thought back to when this had all started. That was in 2012 when the field of Cosmology underwent the great revisionism. This led to the invention of instantaneous transmission of entangled electro-magnetic power over any distance and the conversion of that power to Ion Stellar Drive Engines. That, plus the Zero Mass Field Generators and Ultra Vacuum Matrix Converters made real space ships possible. The discovery that the super thin space-time density between the stars and galaxies permitted speeds to appear to far exceed the speed of light constraints, had made inter-stellar and even inter-galactic travel a feasible proposition.
It had looked like the Universe had just opened up to mankind's expansion into the great Cosmos. Then Quantum Computers became a reality and the complexity of virtual reality went through the proverbial roof. The human neural interface offshoot from implanted cell phone technology permitted humans to jack into a new artificial reality. Each person became a virtual God in the new electronic social network. There were no rules and everyone could live out their greatest fantasies. You could design your own perfect Mate and give them the most desirable physical traits. Being jacked in allowed one to feel all the pleasures that virtual life had to offer and with none of the pains. With the automated synthesis of life extending proteins and sustenance, almost everyone had given up their physical life to the Bio-warehouses. Thus Mankind had ultimately turned inwards, rather than outwards, to new horizons.
Fortunately, having invested in the new technologies at the right time, money had become the least of Dave's worries. The biggest challenge had been the logistics of parking a power transmitter in orbit around a fairly local black hole. Dave knew he would be needing a very long term power source, if this mission had any chance of success.
Ted's voice interrupted Dave's musings with a formal announcement that all systems had checked out and all that was needed was a word from the Pilot to launch. Dave issued the order and watched his screens as the planet Earth receded into the distance. Dave knew this would be the last time he would ever see his home world.
Dave prepared to put himself into Bio-Stasis. He had no idea how long he would be asleep but confirmed with Ted that the ship was to maintain a straight line course out of the Milky Way Galaxy and into the void on a path that would not pass close to any other galaxies while en route. That Dave was to be awakened at E-Minus 30 minutes or if the first goal had been achieved. The ultimate goal was to reach the end of the Universe.
Dave fell into a dreamless sleep that was suddenly interrupted. It was Ted's voice stating that the primary goal had been achieved. Ted informed Dave that over 7 Billion years had passed since the trip had begun and the clock now stood at E-Minus 16 Billion years approximately. Dave briefly wondered about the fate of the human race but was too excited about what lay directly in front of the ship. Ted had been instructed to travel until all of the Universe had fallen to one side of a demarcation line and then approach cautiously using Photon flares to feel the way, until the end of the Universe had been detected.
Dave donned his spacesuit and exited the spaceship as quickly as possible. Using his thruster Pac to move about space, Dave started in the direction the ship was headed. Looking about, Dave noticed that the whole Universe was a complete black void. Dave kicked on the image intensifier in his Helmut and suddenly had the most breath taking view of the Universe that any man had ever had. Countless Galaxies had sprung into view but were all on one side of him. The other direction was pitch black from the extreme left to the extreme right, as he spun to face the dead void ahead again. Dave fired a few rounds from his Photon flare gun and saw the burst of impact light just a few meters in front of him.
Slowly Dave approached the points that still glowed from the electrically charged gas flares. He touched it. It was a real Wall! Dave had found one end of the Universe. A quick series of pre-planned tests indicated the wall was indestructible and flawless. Dave pushed off from the wall and headed back to his spaceship. The second phase of the plan now seemed to be a distinct possibility. Dave wanted to know if the wall was flat, or encircled the Universe like a giant ball. Of course the curvature would be too shallow to know this answer if it turned out he was inside a giant ball.
Dave entered the spaceship and prepared himself for another long sleep. Ted was instructed to follow the wall and awaken Dave at E-Minus 30 minutes or if another wall was detected, while traveling parallel with this wall. Dave hoped he still had enough time to know, one way or the other, if the Universe was a big ball that we existed inside of, or some other shape. Again, Dave drifted off just to be awakened almost immediately.
Ted announced that a second wall had been found and that it seemed to lay at a perfect right angle to the one they had been following. Dave asked and Ted replied that this latest leg of their trip had lasted almost 9 billion years and the clock now stood at E-Minus 7 billion years, more or less. Like before, Dave exited the spaceship and found the corner fairly quickly. It seemed true that the corner was a perfect 90 degrees and the new wall seemed identical to the one they had been following for the last 9 billion years. After a few more tests and such, Dave returned to his spaceship and flipped a coin. Ted was instructed to follow the intersection of the two great walls and once again, awaken Dave at E-Minus 30 minutes or if they found another deviation. Dave knew that he would be extremely lucky if he had picked the right direction to travel, given they would run out of time in about 7 billion more years.
For the third time, Dave entered stasis and as before, was awakened with no sense of the passage of time. Ted made a startling announcement that it had taken the liberty to delay waking up Dave until the clock had read E-Minus 30 minutes. That the ship had been on stand-by for nearly 1 million years, at the intersection of the third wall. As before, Dave quickly suited up and went outside to explore. Dave's Photon Flare gun helped him to locate the new intersection quickly. After some brief tests Dave concluded that all three walls of the Universe were at perfect 90 degree angles with each other and he was now at the extreme corner of the Universe.
Dave turned himself around and using his thruster Pac in continuous mode, backed and positioned himself into the absolute corner of the Universe. Dave placed one foot on the lower wall or floor, the left hand on the left wall and his right hand on the right wall. Turning up the image intensifier on his Helmut, Dave now had one of the most unique views of the Universe that was possible. He was touching three of the six physical walls that enclosed the entire Universe. So his quest was almost over. He had discovered the Universe was a giant cube and not a giant sphere. Dave asked Ted for a final countdown.
Ted began counting down at E-Minus 40 seconds. Dave only had to wait now for the 4Th corner to arrive. It was funny how the scientists for so long thought the Universe would die a long slow cold death of energy loss or perhaps collapse in a reversed big-bang. But the Universe started full sized in one instant and would complete in the same manner. Dave wondered how many civilizations in the Universe knew what was about to happen shortly? Had planned their futures while being clueless about the nature of time as a true geometry. But Dave's calculations, the goal of his whole life, was to prove the Universe was a completely symmetrical 4D cube and in just a few seconds, his theory should prove to be true or false. Dave wondered if there would be any sensation as the whole Universe came to...
By Dave Oblad
Thank you for reading.
Best wishes to all.
Sep 8, 2009 11:29:31 amby Silkylady Homepage »
This is terrific, unusual, interesting and unique Dave. I'm really impressed. You did a great job. Really one of your best. You put in a lot of work. A very interesting and entertaining tale. Next time you take this trip, I would like to go. Hee Hee. Huggs... Silkylady...
Sep 9, 2009 8:26:41 amby coolcatcom Homepage »
Dave in the third person, must be a new action hero that I wasn't aware of. He has great potential. A true adventurer of the cosmos. I would like to see him. Might just serve as the backdrop to your next write up. Bye, the Bye, as they say in Newfoundland, Canada quite the read, "young fella" really enjoyed it. The world going to "pot" it's been going for years and we've reached our goal. Three cheers for humanity. CCC
Oct 8, 2009 4:15:53 pmby Burpee Homepage »
I don't know about a great movie (because I like sweet endings) but it definitely is a great piece of writing. I hope Daven't theory is all wrong but it looks like Dave never got to finish his sentence so perhaps he was correct. Well, I'd rather not know. Always thought I would and that I'd go buy a carton of cigarettes (quit 20 years ago) and some Bacardi Limon and diet cola and go watch the sunset but I don't think that would be possible. I think my mother would be crying and family members all wailing and at a loss so it would be chaotic and hectic. Nope, not knowing and going out like a light would be my option.
Your nebula is beautiful.