Day 80. 161 pages, 58,131 words.
So. The ground is impossibly vast, but the sky is infinite. This is what you need to remember. And yes, you can travel to altitudes so horrifically great, the light of the ground has not yet reached them and you find yourself drifting in the primordial blue nothing-yet-ness.
Not that there’s much to see of the ground at an altitude of a billion light years. It’s a tint, a fuzzy layer providing some sort of division, a floor to the sky, something towards which you can fall. Physics, as I mentioned, refuses to play nice at these ludicrous scales.
But, most interesting of all, in that place – in that universe, the universe of the forever sky – there is a cusp. The ground is visible, and is visible at an ever-increasing altitude, crawling up the universe at the speed of light like a great tawny beast clawing its way to the surface of an endless ocean.
Just as you can watch an exploding star, then fly away from it faster-than-light and watch it explode again, you can fly up into the sky and look down upon the moment of creation itself.
It’s a long way up. A long way, and getting further all the time. At high registers of faster-than-light travel, it can take years to get there, years to get back. They’re always finding tweaks and shortcuts, but the distance is truly phenomenal. Too far up, and you’ll wait a trillion years for the light to arrive. Too low, and it will be past you, and you will find yourself looking down at the distant hypothetical construct of the ground as if it had always been there.
The creation tourism organisers take sightseers up, up, to a point perhaps a light week above the ascending wave, and then they set up, and they have a bit of a party, and they wait.
The main event is, of course, nothing less than the moment of creation itself.
I’ve never seen it, but it’s said to be underwhelming until you actually think about what you’ve seen. The vaguely-distressing formless pre-Word sky, the vaulting blue unsullied by any trace of solid matter beside the vessel you arrived in, is divided by a faint and fuzzy discolouration. A pale beige smudge that fills the lower half of the universe. It’s not until you actually realise what has happened before your brief and mortal eyes – the moment at which the Infinite created the practical urverse – that it really hits home.
You had witnessed the most profound moment that has ever, and will ever occur in the history of existence.
And your first reaction had been meh.