“Among us there will be a person who was born at the moment the Tungus meteorite fell.”
And I realized that Kulik had accepted me on the expedition only because of this. Everyone turned toward me with curiosity.
“Where were you born?” asked Trifonov.
“About thirty versts north of Petersburg,” I answered.
“Kilometers, kilometers, young man!” Kulik corrected me. “Your mother heard the thunder during the birth?”
“She did hear it. And she wasn’t the only one,” I answered.
“It was heard all over Russia that day,” the glum geologist Yankovsky spoke up.
“And what else were you told about the day of your birth? Was there anything else unusual?” asked Kulik, staring intently at me.
“Unusual...” I thought a minute and suddenly remembered. “Of course. There was something. My family said that there was no night at all. And the sky was lit up.”
“Absolutely right!” Kulik raised a long finger. “This phenomenon was noted along the entire coast of the Baltic Sea, in the northern parts of Europe and Russia — from Copenhagen to Yeniseisk! An anomalous luminescence of the atmosphere!”
“Which Torvald Kohl and Herman Seidel wrote about,” nodded Ikhilevich. “A bright dawn and dusk, a massive development of silvery clouds...”
“The mass accumulation of silvery clouds...” Kulik repeated in a loud voice. He grew thoughtful and suddenly banged his fist on the rostrum. “This time we are obliged to find the meteorite!”
“We’ll find it! It won’t get away from us! That’s why we’re going!” Everyone began talking at once.
“Sasha, Sasha, it’s so wonderful!” Masha turned her reddened face toward me. “Find it, find the Tungus meteorite!”
“I’ll try,” I muttered without much enthusiasm.
I just wanted to travel somewhere. To travel and travel, as I did back then.
Vladimir Sorokin’s Ice Trilogy imagines that the ice of the Tunguska meteor, which fell in Siberia in 1908, was in fact an emissary from the prelapsarian universe, sent to reunite the 23,000 perfect souls on Earth as one. Here, Bro (aka Sasha), who will become the leader of that unification movement, embarks on a scientific expedition to uncover the meteorite for the first time.
The photo above, of the damage done by the meteorite, was taken by members of the 1927 expedition that Bro is fictional member of.