Peter woke up at 6h45. It was Wednesday and he had to go to work. Bathe, shave, dress up, drink coffee and leave.
He drove a red Citroën ZX which, despite being almost as old as him, had been well maintained. It had his gimmicks but it was a trustworthy vehicle... Most of the times. His morning commute took 6 to 8 minutes but it was clogged with 30 minutes of heavy traffic on average. The traffic usually didn't bother him much and today it was on the light side. Something was bothering him though. Time was passing slowly and life seemed faded and colorless. There was a smudge on his windshield and he bent over to grab a cloth on his glovebox.
A strange object fell on his empty passenger seat's leg space. It was colorful and bright, but it's color wasn't remotely the strangest feature it had. It's shape was indescribable. Familiar but alien, obvious but impossible. If you squinted really hard you could almost see it as a cuboid.
Suddenly, here wasn't where it was before. Nothingness. Pitch black, everlasting and all encompassing.
Slowly one could start to notice it was hot, not because it was getting warmer, but because it was getting cooler.
Light then arrived, blinding at first but soon showing beauty.
Gas became clouds.
Clouds birthed stars.
Stars joined into swarms.
Swarms clustered as galaxies.
Galaxies themselves clustered and danced like stars.
Here was in the eyes of Peter Ferguson and it was grand.
In the horizon his eyes were seeing there was a city. A city built on white marble and light. No single surface left unpolished or dirty. No object touched the ground but pedestrians and architecture. Vehicles glided on magic and a stream of monorail permeated the midrange heights. Automatons with varying sentience merged with an already varied crowd with no xenophobia or animosity. There was an all around good vibe in the air. Everyone was having a great morning, happy with the present, with exactly where they were.
From a distance you could almost miss the cord connecting earth to the heavens. Carbon nanotubes were the name of the game, as engineers confirmed last century. An ant trail of inbound and outbound shuttles covered the cable, the pumping blood of a Class 1 civilization.
One particular vehicle way up high is on its final leg of the ascent. It took a quick toll stop at the geostationary station. Orbit was a hop away here. With the gentleness of a feather's touch the vehicle ventured into open space. Three brief bursts gave it a slow spin pointing its lone window to earth and moon alternately. Space was pennies away these days and loafing around in zero gravity was a common hobby. This pilot had other plans though.
A bright flash foreshadowed the swift arrival of an industrial fleet: 43 ships porting in almost simultaneously. A heterogeneous group of cargo and passenger ships with varying functions and destinations. Countless lights flicker to life in the station and a swarm of mostly drones appear to aid delivery operations.
A departing spacecraft picks up our small vessel carrying it on its jump someplace far away. With no bright tunnel or delay we arrive someplace new: A large green world with a thick atmosphere. An unwatchful observer could probably miss the second and third suns but, given the distance, there was something more one couldn't miss: A world ring circling the planet's equator and hovering at geosynchronous orbit, connected by space elevators like spokes in a bicycle wheel...
went the car behind Peter, complaining about the obvious 20 meters of negative car space that had formed in front of them. He grinded in first gear, reluctantly moved the 20 meters and stopped again. When he looked back at the object it was no longer there. ETA was 15 minutes now but the traffic seemed to move slower than ever. A small accident was now visible at a distance, partially explaining the queue. On his left Peter noticed this drainage channel with an old and rusted grill.
A glimmer caught his eye again and his attention drifted into the sewer pipes. Down the rabbit hole he went, catching partial images of iron bars and access ways, soon arriving to a subway line. Warning lights and emergency signs flashed by at high speed before entering an open area supported by pillars. Focus adjusted and one could see it now through the passing openings, the dark city underground. Dancing lights against a matte sky.
"A new city we'll build" - we said at the turn of the century. A virtual place where no judgement could be cast. A metropolis of misfits and outcasts, celebrating the differences in their similarities. Through the floating buildings he flown as a free conscience, passing through art and advertisement. With a movement he grabbed hold of a handful of minds, briefly conversing or acknowledging their wills and tastes. The concentration of thought increased with height and at the top of the highest building one could see the center of it all. A concert was erupting with bright spotlights and fireworks. Rock music flooded the air and the virtual crowd around pulsated with each beat of the music. This was life in the current future, a hyperconnected graph of intelligence interacting at lightspeed.
Feeling happy to be alive, Peter wiped the tears from his eyes and went on to face the rest of his day with a big smile on his face.
Luis Eduardo Reis