“Doctor Wolfgang?” I never managed to convince Hiro that he can call me by my name, not by my title. Old habits die slowly.
“Yes?” The mecacar has been moving for a while in a straight line, speeding up through what it could have been a XX century highway or a II century roman road. I have no way to find out our speed, but I trust we will reach our destination as soon as possible. The landscape is boring: whoever built the area between the kernels didn’t do it paying attention to the beauty of it. Even so, I was able to appreciate some smoking chimneys here and there, so the terrain was not fully inhabited.
“Do you know if all the roads are built over minimal paths?”
“Good question. I can only speculate about it.” As usual, before speculating, I look at my student. It is not always the case he is expecting my explanation. “We don’t know yet how old is this City. Let’s assume is as old as mankind on Earth, or even older. You know it’s not uniform in architecture, so you can say it has not been homogeneously populated.” Hiro nods, but then he turns his face to the views from the window again. The steam engine cracks, the vehicle bumps. I look at the pressure of the boiler (I was said it should be monitored) and nothing is different, so I continue my monolog. Monologues are a powerful tool to clarify your thoughts, also. “We have remarkable examples of outstanding architectural achievements on our Earth before the Industrial Revolution. Take the Pyramids. Or the gothic cathedrals. How did they achieve that?” I love to leave the questions floating in the air, even knowing the answers can be easy, or that there is no answer. I simply love the power of it. “I will tell you, in most of the cases, even if not proven, by trial and error. By trial and error, in a new land, like here, you can find out that the animal you hunt has a lot of meat but its taste is horrible. Or viceversa, that the horrible animal is really tasty.” I don’t know why but at this moment the image of a big, fatty pork crosses my mind. When was the last time I saw one? Do they have porks here? They do have bacon, but it’s probably coming from our Earth…I continue. “So, how do we know what’s the best way to go from A to B on Earth if we have no maps? We ask the people about it. Someone needs to be first, then there will be a second, then somebody can think about making a road. Therefore, I could say we will find a road on the minimal route, if there is enough people flowing through it.”
“Then why we go by mecacar? We just need to hit the road.”
“Hiro, you can answer that question yourself, I think. Anyway, I will please you: we’re ourselves not sure the roads are stable. Our spacetime, the old we were considering before the fall, was expanding at a constant speed, after the Hubble constant. Don’t make me explain you that, I’m not the right person to speak about it. But it is not clear something similar is happening on this set of dimensions we’re now. What if , by mistake, we fall into a minimal path that is leading us, I don’t know, to a road that ends up in a land with zero time? ” Hiro looks at me. His face reads: please explain. “I mean, if nothing is constant, if the spacetime is some kind of chewing gum, there’s no reason to think we can end up surrounded by it, in a 3D bag, so to say, or worse things. A topological nightmare, somebody called the Universe we’re living now.” I look at Hiro, that is looking at me with the face I associate with an understanding. To no more questions. I don’t know if that is good, or bad, but I give a sip to my tea, as indicating the subject is over. We’re running steady. I have the feeling we’re going to reach Seville soon. “Does my talk answers your question?” Hiro nods to confirm my theories about his inscrutable face. “Very good. Then be a good boy and hand me another of these delicious onigiris you prepared in such a lovely way. Thank you so much! “