The astronaut woke up after a sleep of more than one hundred years; although for her body and his mind, plunged into the no-time of hibernation, only an instant had passed.
He was reaching his destination: Esqueria, the first extrasolar planet visited by a human being. A planet similar to Earth and relatively close, about twenty light years away.
It landed near what looked like a ruined city overgrown with vegetation. He emerged into the breathable atmosphere, entered the dead city, came to a wide and desolate square, and in its center he stopped before a statue that, without a doubt, represented himself.
He thought it was a hallucination triggered by an unconscious desire for glory (expressed by the statue) and fear of failure (symbolized by the surrounding ruins); but the details of the scene were too minute and stubborn.
He thought that, due to a navigational error, he was back on Earth; but he had checked the spatial coordinates before landing and knew that she was trillions of miles from the solar system.
He thought that a powerful alien intelligence had prepared this strange reception for him.
He thought that the planet itself was a living being capable of materializing on its surface the dreams and nightmares of its visitors.
He dizzily thought of many other things under the impassive gaze of his own statue, as before a stone mirror; but in the end he made his way into his consciousness the least implausible explanation:
“Some time after my departure, he thought, they discovered the way to navigate through hyperspace, and the journey that has taken me more than a hundred years was made by others in a few days, perhaps in a few hours… The terrestrial settlers arrived here , they built the city and, as a consolation prize, they honored with this statue the pioneer straggler to the useless relic that they had made me… After a while, the settlers had to leave the city and return to Earth. Or maybe they were wiped out by some unknown force. And so, I, who expected to be the first to arrive on this planet, have been the last. I, who intended to travel to the future of humanity, have reached a lost corner of its past.
The texts in this series are brief narrative approaches to that “great game” of science, technique and technology -three inseparable threads of the same braid- that is transforming the world faster and faster and in which we all must participate as players, if we do not want to be mere toys.