First chapter of my upcoming novel – Theosis Maxima.
It deals with the end of cryptography and the mystical traditions of European Christianity.
Space – that eternal icy nothing that lies beyond the atmosphere. The place of death and destruction by simply stopping to be warm, inconceivable vast distances of nothing punctuated by objects the size of a needle-head moving at mind blowing speeds and piercing everything unhappy enough to cross their trajectory at the wrong moment. Deluding generations of visionaries with those beautiful sprinkling lights making the naive ignorant to the vast emptiness between them and the stars – just to lure them to the cold where space can eat their life. Space – death writ large. Earth – the little exception, the only one we know, place of warmth and life.
It was now up to Catharine to enter death and give herself into the embrace of coldness. She thought back to the place of her childhood, those gently contoured hills sprinkled with dabs of the diverse expressions of life – vineyards, lakes, forests – and the uttermost expression of safety seen at night, the houses and farms on the hilltops that showed their lights over miles and promised comfort, warmth and protection. And even more the presence of people able to love and care and embosom.
Space at the contrary was no place for live. Unless you count things as living that burn their own substance in violent eruptions of light and all-destroying heat. Things moving at incredible speeds for ages before they meet other things like them in fiery explosions of final self-destruction. Space was only for beings like that, self-consuming, hungry, death-carrying and patient in their own hurry. Waiting for millions of years to finally burn their neighbors if their own gravitational relationships did not chose them to be waiting victims. From far away it is a grande show of beauty, but standing next to it would be horror and despair.
Space attracted those things, or maybe it got over with all others immediately, or maybe forming every thinking being into it’s own image when it confronted them with it’s deep eternal emptiness. When you look into space, it’s darkness stares back at you hungry for your most black feelings, planning how to confront you with the decaying dungeons of your soul.
The people living on the border of that most unfriendly everything surrounding of the most friendly infinitesimal smallest atom of life, those that seek the border of life and death were formed into the spaces image – they became like stars, eating themselves up for the illusion of warmth and self-determination, praised as shining heros from down below where you could not see nor hear their agony of death by self-aggrandizement. Space had won, attracting them to itself, yes even have them lure their own kind into the nothingness.
Those were her thoughts when she sat on her seat facing the windows that would not conceal from her the growing distance from life on earth. When the elevator climbed the rope to mid-earth-orbit she cursed herself for not saying “NO”, as she was unable to think clearly after her mind had been intoxicated with the promise of becoming a partner of the firm. How stupid she had been to even think about becoming a partner after just four years without selling her soul and body and future. So they asked her to throw herself in the maw of the dark beast and she cheered and nodded and said “yes, of course” – proclaiming her own death sentence.
Surely, she as well once wanted to be a space worker when she was young and still believed in the innocence of the universe. She grew up during the space boom, when every country close enough to the equator built its own elevator, when fabrication plants for zero gravity assembly were opened on a weekly basis, each accompanied by live-reporting down to earth. The audience could not get enough of space, each new construction, each station, each new elevator had been praised since it proved humanity to finally being able to grow again, to battle new frontiers, to have purpose in the lonely darkness. Countries began to modify their flags to show the “new star”, the new symbol of earth, depicting the view from a few hundred thousand miles away showing the sweet blue rock surrounded by a corona of platforms anchored between earth and nothing. No, not just a corona, more a ring of saturn brought to earth, not even that – a crown! Finally we had made it, mankind grabbing into the void and crowning itself with greatness.
It was just five years after the first space elevator had been built when mankind fell from the newly built thrown, when the forces of space threw them back on earth and made them unwilling witnesses of spaces delicious taste of endless torture. Helpless, unable to look away, unable to conceive what they had to watch. And still nobody could say what really caused it. Some said it was a piece of space debris, others claimed it to be technical failure, still others blamed post-neo-marxist terrorists that wanted space to be profit-free and pristine, or maybe greedy business-cartels that had conspired against the plethora of space to artificially shorten the supply to secure their profits. Some even said that the hand of god had reached from the black depths and ripped the rope himself to punish the pride of man, to destroy that new tower of babel. To confuse their hopes.
Like a stone freed from a sling the platform had shot up into the abyss. After the rope had been broken nothing could resist the centrifugal forces that plunged them into space and away from earth. The velocity was too high to catch up with them and rescue the stranded men and women now on their path to the icy death. Their end took three months, three months in which live television covered it as the most gruesome reality show ever created. Everyone, on earth and on the lost platform, knew that there would be no happy end, that space was asking for a tribute and unquestionably receiving it. There was no way to communicate with them, the rope – when snapping back up to the platform – had destroyed most of the antenna systems for bidirectional communication, all that was left was the passive CCTV system that radioed back every word spoken up there, every sigh and moan, every tear and cry and death. The wide open eyes of those realizing that they would die very shortly, but so far, so incredibly far away from any home. But the sure death had taken his jolly good time, like he was tasting and reveling at the new arrivals. Some of the crew of 32 had quickly decided that they were not willing to wait and had taken their own lives. Some of them in dignity and quiet, but some in a sudden move at the breakfast table amongst their fellow travelers to death. Whatever humanity had learned about space in the last five years, it got the double lesson about itself then. What mankind saw filled them with shame, and with the deep fear of space. Afterwards nothing was ever the same. When the last images of those quickly frozen to death after life-support failure reached earth, the dream of space had become a nightmare. The floating bodies with their stares of unbelief, grotesque grimaces out of a trip to hell. Frozen tears on their cheeks, not even able to say goodbye when suddenly that unbelievable cold air streamed into their lungs. Even with a world that was wrecked by pollution, war and hate, everyone now knew that space was hell, and earth the paradise.
Those still living on the platforms in orbit were the insane adventurers, those that built and kept the solar power plants in space running. Characters of dubious reputation, death seekers, outlaws, cast-aways. But nevertheless those uneducated lowlifes were the backbone to civilization, they were the ones providing the energy, those were the ones still assembling zero-gravity computer chips. There was no living without them, none together with them.
Hoping that she would neither be infected with the self-consuming principle of space-things nor ending up in a best-of reel of the most gruesome space deaths she leaned back, traveling to where people freeze in seconds.