Chapter 28

Send a message to the people whose existence he hoped so much, was a great event for Georg, but it didn’t affect the running of the time. The latter didn’t stop even for a second because of this case. Only the gravity and what looks pretty strangely, the velocity are able to slow it down. But the occurrence, whether it is outstanding or ordinary, didn’t affect the time flow. Just during such indiscriminate and unstoppable walking, in one usual blink, the time silently took away Georg’s life, as it commonly does it.
The time continued to flow further and since on Earth it approaches simultaneously everywhere, in South Africa it caught the date very important to Georg’s favorite granddaughter Ellen. It was her special birthday, the one coming of which denotes cessation of the last links with the youth. Ellen got fifty years old.
Pre-holiday rush covered the house. The guests were gradually gathering and, of course, first of all, they were congratulating Ellen with her anniversary. Who had conceived it, they made present to her, others counted that their visit is sufficient gift itself. So far the whole society was situated in the yard, sitting in the pergola on the long wooden bench with back and there had hello-greetings. Others just walked around and enjoyed the view of the fine flower-bed, appreciating its beauty. About thirty persons gathered here in total. Time was approaching when all these people would have to enter the home wherein the spacious hall the table was almost laid for them.
In addition to adults, seven or eight kids were flickering underfoot of women and men. Some of them were neighbors’, others followed the guests and two kids were Ellen’s own grandchildren. As much she glanced at babes, as many Ellen conceived how far away took time’s flow the day when she, yet child herself, was asking her grandfather about robots and space ships.
That feast was special because one more reason: by that time Ellen and Georg calculated together that their ancestor’s, Iase Bilikadze’s rocket will reach its planets exactly today, in her fiftieth jubilee. They were amazed then, how it happened that the grandfather’s and the grandchildren’s birthdays coincided with different missiles achievements. Georg’s day coincided with the first expedition, Ellen’s one with the fifth one. But the point was that these two dates were separated by ninety-eight years and no one of them: grandfather or grandchildren witnessed both events. By the time of first ship’s arriving Ellen had not been born yet, by the fifth one Georg didn’t exist already.
Later, with age, Ellen, of course, realized that those calculations Georg conducted for her funny because he knew their results long before, from the day the girl was born.
Despite the ostensible identity, these two events were still very different from each other. Then, like today, the fact that ship attained its destination, was known only from the schedule. Till the confirmation by a message came from a planet was still another forty years ahead. But in those days no one knew the ineffectiveness of this expectation — that at the surface of a celestial body in Eridanus constellation the deadly radiation is raging. The humanity was filled with hope, no one had doubt that the colony founded by the first expedition already exists and soon somewhere between the stars the people will be born.
But today this, in many respects probable date, was perceived quite differently. The media still religiously informed the society that the last vessel had arrived at its goals, but this time without any admiration or romanticism. The collapse of all previous expeditions without any exception so far naturally affected the attitude to the project SQP.
At present, the society firstly took into account that it isn’t yet known whether the fifth starship really arrived at the planet. There was the main point too: who knows what will tell its report fifty six years later? Maybe the surface of that celestial body is a continuous stretch of water. Or the ground is imbued with strong radiation, or volcanic carbon monoxide soaked up the atmosphere? Or maybe the planet has a weak magnetic field, unable to detain the cosmic radiation and the latter reaches planet in lethal amount…? In a word, today people only comprehended that joy is premature.
Such thoughts didn’t entirely conform to festive humor but fortunately, time has come to sit down to table and Ellen cast them off.