The house was still quiet and Judith climbed into bed and lay there wondering how she could possibly live like a normal human being again. There were those who would have asked her when she had ever lived life like an ordinary person, but Judith didn’t know that. She had never been one to wonder what others were thinking about her anyway, but since her parents’ death she had been too preoccupied with outer space to care. She had always been fascinated by cosmology and now it was almost an obsession. Somehow it seemed that if she could spend enough time out in space, she would run into them somewhere. The day before they departed on the plane that crashed and left their dead bodies lying in crumpled heaps on the ground, Judith’s parents told her they had something very important to talk to her about when they returned. Judith couldn’t get over the feeling that she had some unfinished business with her mother and father and must find them somehow.
Mike woke Judith up before he left for the day and reminded her they were expecting guests for dinner.
Judith went through the day in a daze. She cleaned house and went shopping, and all the things it takes to prepare for dinner guests, but her mind was on the stars.
During the morning Paul dropped by the house to leave a contract for Mike. Judith didn’t hear the bell ring until it was accompanied by a loud knock.
“I’m sorry I didn’t hear you. I must have been very deep into my thoughts.”
“Dreaming about the stars?”
“Well, yes, I was. How did you know?”
Pail laughed. “It seemed to be a reasonable assumption. I dream about them a lot myself. It makes me aware of the greatness of God.”
“God? What does God have to do with the stars?”
“The Scriptures tell us that God has all the stars named. The stars Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades are named in the Bible. It also says when the foundations of the earth were laid that the morning stars sang together.”
“Like the music in the wind?”
“Like the music in the wind.” Paul took the cup of coffee Judith handed him and looked at the Zodiac sign printed on the cup. “The stars are for signs and seasons. The story of salvation is written in the stars.”
Judith laughed. “What are you talking about? I certainly never heard of any such thing.”
“Well, the Virgin Mary is represented by Virgo and the Southern Cross is a symbol of the cross of Calvary. Leo is a picture of the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”
“The Messiah. Jesus.”
“The Jesus who walked through a wall to talk to his disciples?”
“Yes, that’s the one. The King of David who will return to the earth someday to subdue all things unto himself.”
Judith coughed and pointed to the sign on the cup. “What about Scorpio?”
Paul smiled. I’m glad you asked. Scorpio is a type of Satan who is forever fleeing from the lion and angry with God’s people. The last book in the New Testament says he is cast out of heaven and makes war with Israel because she brought forth the man-child – the King who will rule on the throne of David.”
They talked until the sun was high in the sky and were interrupted by the mailman. Paul left then but his words stayed and intruded themselves into her thoughts all the rest of the day. And what was that Scripture Captain Largo quoted? Judith decided she would have to hunt up a Bible – did the library have such a thing? – and read it for herself if she could find it. Captain largo was expecting her to be able to answer his question too. She didn’t think to ask herself why she thought it was important to have an answer for someone she would probably never see again.
“It’s all ready,” she told Mike that evening. “How soon will they be here?”
“Not for another half hour. We have time for a relaxing drink and a talk before they get here.”
Judith got a cold drink from the refrigerator and handed it to her brother before she picked her own up and sat next to him on the couch.
Mike picked up the book from the coffee table Judith had been reading earlier while the oven did its job. “Amazing World of Nature. Hmm, , so your interests are maybe plummeting to earth?”
Judith flipped it open to the place where the book mark lay and dashed his hopes. “Arthur Clark said that interplanetary travel is our only for of conquest and empire left and that without it we’ll stagnate. He says if we insist on staying on the earth and never enter space it’ll be as bad as though we’d never left the sea.”
Mike grinned good naturedly. “There’s always the chance that if we leave the environment that’s been so good to us to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the road, we’ll be left out in the cold with nothing.”
Judith put her photographic memory to use and answered, “As this author says, no one can doubt that space travel will give us an expanding stream of information and viewpoint imprints, or the utterly new types of encounter and reactions that will stimulate us.”
Her voice rose to such and excited pitch that Mike had to laugh. “I believe that’s what Eve told Adam just before she gave him the apple. But seriously, Judith would you really like to live your life out in a space suit? And how are you going to get up there? We don’t have the resources to keep the earth powered in the manner we’ve become accustomed to.”
“Well, what about that forth state of matter, plasma? If the Aurora Borealis and lightening are an example of plasma, and most of the matter in the universe exists in that state, why can’t we? If we did, how would our lifestyle change? Couldn’t we travel to outer space as plasma?”
Mike sighed. “If we were a boiling mass of hot, furiously energetic, positively charged ions? Drastically. We would no longer be human beings. Were you thinking of becoming part of the Aurora Borealis so you could see the stars at close range. You wouldn’t relate to them in the same way, believe me.”
Not willing to give up so easily, Judith leaned forward. “No, but if we could trap that much energy we wouldn’t have any trouble fueling a space ship, would we? Isn’t the laser an example of a plasma container that could be used for rocket fuel? Since more light comes from laser, wouldn’t it move faster as well as further and brighter and more compact?”
“I don’t believe we know the answer to that.” Distract her from plasma, Mike. Why is the nature and propagation of light such a puzzling and contradictory phenomenon in the known universe?”
Judith sighed. “Man’s comprehension of the universe isn’t absolute – I’m sure of that.”
“Well, aren’t all natural laws models of likelihood?”
Judith stood up and turned to her brother. “But wait, I have another theory. If analog signals can be changed to electrical impulses as digital signals traveling along conductive wire and converted back to sound waves at the other end, why can’t matter, in any form, be converted to energy and reconverted back to matter? Isn’t that what the law of the conservation of energy states? So why can’t human beings be converted into energy and travel into the universe extending beyond the limits of human corporal experience; and then be changed back to matter upon returning to the earth?”
Mike shifted his weight and looked keenly at Judith. “Let me ask you this,” he said quietly. “If the theory of relativity has to do with space and time and the speed of light; and if matter and energy are the same thing, how is the conservation of matter into energy related to time?”
Judith’s brow furrowed for a moment. “I suppose they’re related by the second law of thermodynamics. As matter is consumed, the measure of chaos increases till it reaches its maximum value at the expense of ready energy. I see what you mean. In a universe ruled by entropy and drawing closer and closer to ultimate disorder, where will the order to change energy into matter and being come from? How is the process to start all over again? Is it possible there are more stable laws, undetected by finite beings, which govern all four worlds of our modern physics, and maybe more?”
“I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head, little sister. After all, doesn’t the microcosmic universe of transistors and laser beams, where wavelets move so fast that the position and momentum of particles can’t be measured, relate to our finite universe? And doesn’t the macrocosmic universe of galaxies so vast and crowded with matter, yet so empty human minds can’t define or fathom it, include our universe? And doesn’t the sweeping continuum of space and time, the rationalistic universe, link to all three in a way the human mind hasn’t been able to grasp yet? Doesn’t the limitation of speed and light bind them together?”
Judith had lines in the forehead again and she sat down on a nearby chair and leaned forward. But can we be sure the speed of light is fixed through space at six trillion miles a year? If so, why is it unaltered and not mutable? Is the quantum theory that light can behave both as a particle and as a wave correct, and if so, wouldn’t that change its speed?”
Mike leaned back. “Well, while you’re wondering about, here’s another question to ask yourself. Why aren’t we comfortable with infinity, and can time or light be infinite?”
Judith sat back for a second. “Okay, I’ll think about that.” She leaned forward. “But listen; gravity, inertia, and mechanical principles of leverage all give us the ability to walk around and do whatever it is we do, so why can’t we use these same principles to fly, walk on water, or transport ourselves in time and space?”
Mike smiled. “It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention, but even necessity seems to be relative to the perception of the individual observer. The Egyptian Pharaoh, I believe it was Cheops during the first dynasty. Felt compelled to have a large tomb constructed for him that called for massive stones to be cut and transported over the desert. The slaves who did the work found it necessary to discover as easy a way as possible to do it. To the man who uses his head as a guide instead of his ego, it is not necessary to construct anything with so little value that would take so much work. Think about that too.”
The doorbell rang then, announcing the arrival of their guests, so Judith was left to speculate on Mike’s last question all through the meal.