I had been one of the wanderers. Not one of the early pilgrims. We never heard from them after they had gone. It was new, and somewhat terrifying in those earliest days. Things changed so quickly – too quickly for most of us. We had forgotten that we had risen out of apocalypse brought on by Science digging further than Wisdom would have seen fit. We had so much energy. It was everywhere. It was cheap. That changed our possibilities. Once again, our ability outpaced out wisdom.
The first wave of pilgrims had no alignment. It was not a collective group with a unified mission. There were scientists, zealots, and mad tinkers. They were united in possibility and in the bubbling excitement of those days. Over the first few years, tens of thousands leapt out from what we had known into the vastness of the infinite night. In that eager folly we split space and time, daring to cross the one at the expense of the other. Our naivety could not fathom the unified nature of these two, of space and time.
In droves we rode across our quaint spacetime concept – or rather through it. In droves we crossed the wrong boundaries. None of those pilgrims returned. Not even a whisper of their passing. Our navigation was based on a failed paradigm. They never found their way home. They never would.
We slowed. In fear and doubt we reconfigured, reexamined, and retooled. We saw that we had been wrong. Wrong on so many counts. The paths we blazed into the sky lead outward only. The paths that had endings and beginnings demanded so much more than we had ever imagined, even in the height of our glut.
Still, we found a way.
More cautiously, we made newer, shorter excursions. We bent and folded what we could to move beyond the bounds of what we knew. We moved without leaving, without going Outside. Then we came back. We left searching, and we came back. Alone..
Our most pressing question, the burn that fueled our fire had always asked, “Are we alone?” Each voyage and every voyager carried the spirit our that era in their hope. We were all searching for someone else, anyone else. We were searching for ourselves in that time.
We never found anything.