落日(The Fall of the Sun)

鄧曉炯 (Joe Tang)

Macau, 2016

Every three months mART invites a group of artists from Macau and Lisbon to showcase their talent in our online gallery, by creating an art piece inspired on a topic provided by us.

Sun is our third edition’s theme.

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報告,陽-10(SUN-10)已抵達預定位置。”太空艦隊最前方的探路飛船內,船長正在向後方旗艦的司令官報告進度。“請指示。”

啟動激光砲,先作試探性發射。”旗艦內,艦長按事先佈置好的作戰計劃下達了命令。

-10”前方的遮陽板緩緩打開,露出隱藏於船身內的砲口,對準了遠處那顆小小的星球,“呲──”砲口閃耀出刺眼的光芒,“呲──呲──呲──”激光脈衝連續向遠方目標發射。

怎樣?”通話器中,傳來旗艦司令焦急的詢問,雖然他還遠在七、八光年的距離之外,但“陽-10”的戰果,對於這次遠征行動的成敗,將至為關鍵。

嗯……”“陽-10”的指揮官也在同樣焦急地等待掃描數據,“……收到了,數據顯示──”指揮官難掩興奮地揮舞著手中戰報,“非常成功!目標星球表面溫度果然提升了1.8度!”

從“陽-10”傳來的好消息,在旗艦指揮室引發了一場暴風雨式的歡呼,而這股興奮情緒,也很快透過網絡傳到“陽-2”、“陽-3”、“陽-4”、“陽-5”
、“陽-6”、“陽-7”、“陽-8”、“陽-9”等另外八艘太空戰艦裡,距離預定作戰位置較近的“陽-8”和“陽-9”號戰艦更是加快了航速,希望能比預定時間更早抵達目的地,以儘快加入這場振奮人心的戰鬥。

這支太空艦隊並非一般的作戰部隊,它是人類文明的最後希望──長年累月的消耗,加上自然和地理環境的改變,人類已無法在自己的星球上居住下去,全球各國合力打造的這支太空探索艦隊,肩負著延續人類文明血脈的重任。

歷經多年令人絕望的搜索,他們終於找到了這個幾乎完美的星球──唯一的問題只是,這顆星球表面溫度太低,不適合人類居住。但好在這支太空艦隊裡人才濟濟,在地質學家、植物學家、動物學家、化學家、物理學家等大批跨界菁英的合作下,終於攻克了這個最後的難題:如果利用太空船的艦載激光砲向這個星球表面射擊,只要提升其地表溫度1015度左右並維持約一年時間,就可以改變這個星球的地表環境,裝載人類移民的運輸艦隊也差不多剛好可以抵達,簡直是一個天衣無縫的計劃。

報告,陽-9抵達預定位置。”“報告,陽-8抵達預定位置。”“報告……”

另外八艘太空戰船紛紛抵達作戰位置,而最後抵達的,就是戰力最強、體積最大的“陽-1”號旗艦。

安坐於旗艦指揮艙的司令官,清楚地觀察著一切行動都順利地按計劃進行──“陽-2”至“陽-10”號太空船,呈弧線狀散開,包圍了那顆星球,九艘戰船的強烈激光,將漆黑太空裡的那個小圓球照耀得閃閃發亮。

司令官滿意地看著眼前景象,就像是在欣賞一幅自己剛完成的曠世傑作。他端起咖啡杯,啜飲了一口,仿似一次小小的慶祝儀式。然後,他向一旁的通訊官揮了揮手,該是時候向地球總部報告成果了。

陽太空艦隊司令官向總部報告,我們已經完成預定……”

當第一聲爆炸響起的時候,竟沒有太多人注意到──畢竟,在死寂的太空,沒什麼能引發令人注目的喧鬧,更何況“陽-10”這種體積較小的探索型飛船,在太空來說,它的爆炸不過是火堆裡的一個小火花而已。但爆炸並未就此停下,“陽-9”、“陽-8”、“陽-7”、“陽-6”、“陽-5”、“陽-4”
、“陽-3”、“陽-2”……九艘太空船在暗黑的宇宙中依次爆裂,像一串無聲的煙花,短暫的燦爛之後,又復歸永恆的沉寂。

但此刻旗艦指揮艙已變成了混亂的大本營,沒有人知道究竟攻擊從何而來,也沒有人知道應該如何應變,此時此刻,一切的反應都源自人類的本能,無人理會司令官徒勞的叫嚷,大家紛紛鑽進逃生艙,一個接一個地彈射進虛空無盡的宇宙,將自己交付於萬分之一的求生希望。

失去控制者的太空船,孤獨地懸浮在距離那顆小星球一億五千萬公里的位置,甚至就連它的極光砲都還保持在發射狀態,看起來,就像是黑暗宇宙中的一只小燈泡──在任其能源自然耗盡的情況下,這“燈泡”大概還可以再亮99999年。

堯時十日並出,草木焦枯,堯命羿射十日,中其九日,日中九烏皆死,墮其羽翼,故留其一日也。

──選自《楚辭‧天問》之注文

The Fall of the Sun*

Inside the leading space ship, the captain was giving information about the procedure to the commander of the ship behind. “Commander, Sun X has already arrived to the destination” — he said. “Please, give us instructions.”

The commander issued his order according to the war strategy previously designed. “Start preparing the laser beam; prepare for launching.”

Sun X’s brise-soleil opened slowly, revealing the hidden canon, which was pointing straight at the small planet. “Crrr…” — the canon started firing powerful beams. “Crrr…crrr…crrr…”, the laser continued firing at the distant object.

“How was it?” — an anxious voice was heard, coming from the speaker. Even though the commander was 7 or 8 light-years away, Sun X’s results would be decisive for the success of this expedition procedure.

“Er…” — Sun X’s commander was also waiting, anxiously, for the results. “We received information, and the data show…” — the commander couldn’t hide his excitement, shaking the war bulletin — “… a big success! The planet surface temperature increased 1.8 degrees!”

Sun X’s message generated strong applauses in the control room, and the euphoria soon spread through the Internet to the other eight space ships — Sun II, Sun III, Sun IV, Sun V, Sun VI, Sun VII, Sun VIII and Sun IX. Sun VIII and Sun IX started moving faster to arrive closer to the predicted position, anxious to arrive to the destination in advance.

This is not a regular armed force. The space fleet is the last hope for human civilisation, since, many years from now, with the climate and environmental changes, men will no longer be able to live in our planet. So, combining world efforts, this space fleet aims at avoiding the end of civilisation.

After years of intensive expedition, they finally found the almost-perfect planet. The only problem was that the surface temperature was too low, and was not suitable for the human beings to live in. Yet, fortunately, this space fleet included numerous talents. With the collaboration of a multi-disciplinary elite, among which there were geologists, botanists, zoologists, chemists and physicists, it became possible to overcome this problem: by aiming the laser cannon of the space ship against the surface of this planet, you would be able to make the temperature increase from 10 to 15 degrees and, if the temperature is kept at this level for approximately one year, the environment will be changed. And this would be enough to ensure the arrival of the space ships that are carrying the immigrants (the human beings). It was almost a perfect plan.

“Commander! Sun IX has arrived to the position. Commander! Sun VIII has arrived to the position. Commander…”

The other eight space ships arrived first at the location, and only later did the most powerful and biggest ship arrive: Sun I.

Sitting quietly in the driver’s booth, the commander was observing very clearly all the completed actions, in according with the designed plan. From Sun II to Sun X, all space ships were surrounding the planet, arranged in an arc shape, illuminating the small ball, that was seen amid the darkness in space, with a strong laser.

The commander was satisfied watching the moment, as if he were in front of his master-piece, just born. He took his cup and sip a bit of coffee  to celebrate. Then, he waved at the communications officer right beside him. It was time to report the results to the headquarters.

“The Commander of the space fleet Sun informs the headquarters that we just finished the planned…”

When the first explosion came up, almost no one was paying attention — even though there was absolute silence in space, very few things could be heard, especially considering Sun X was a very small space ship, with mere exploration functions. For the universe, this explosion was just a spark. But the explosion didn’t stop there. Sun IX, Sun IX, Sun VIII, Sun VII, Sun VI, Sun V, Sun IV, Sun III, Sun II, the nine space ships, kept exploding one by one, amid the darkness of the universe. It seemed a series of artificial fires, without any sound. After the instant shine, we were again overlooking the eternal silence.

But now the control module of the commander’s space ship was chaotic, since no one knew from where did the attacks come from nor how to defend themselves. The reaction was instinctive and there was no one answering the orders of the commander. Everyone was entering the emergency capsules, to be launched in the empty and endless universe. They were moving forward looking for the minimum hope of survival.

Alone, the space ship that lost control was suspended in the same location, 150 million kilometres of the small planet. Its laser beam was still on transmission mode. The space ship looked a small lamp in the dark universe — probably, it would still have light for more 99999 years, in case its energy finished naturally.

During Yao Emperor’s 1 period, there were ten suns at the same time. So, all plants died.

Emperor Yao ordered Hou Yi 2 to shoot at nine suns and nine crows that were living in the suns also died.

The wings and feathers of the crows fell.

And only one sun was left in the sky.

—————— Comment by Chu Ci·Tian Wen3

1 Emperor Yao: In Chinese it’s. One of the three sovereigns and one of the five emperors in ancient China.

2 Hou Yi: A mythological chinese archer.

3 Chu Ci·Tian Wen: Chu Ci(楚辞) is many times translated as Chu’s Verses, which is an anthology of Chinese poetry traditionally thought of as being written by Qu Yuan and Song Yu. Tian Wen(天问)is one of Chu Ci’s verses.

 

* Translated to Portuguese by the students of the MA in Translation Studies, University of Macau, Carla, Sofia, Shuang, Rafaela, Inês, Zora, Vanda and Linda; Translated from Portuguese to English by Luciana Leitão

 

The work:

The story is inspired by an ancient Chinese myth, but the author tried to put it into a different scenario — a future world — to see how it looks when the past crashes the future.

The artist:

Joe Tang (Macau)

A writer, reader and day-dreamer.

iamleer@gmail.com

Note: The artist has authorised mART to publish this work.