Virginia Marquez-Pacheco

It’s the end of an era here at Bandersnatch, as our Editor-in-Chief, Virginia Marquez Pacheco, unfortunately lost her life at around 4:30 P.M. GMT on April 22nd. After designing and manufacturing her own rocket, she strapped herself to it and launched it towards the night sky in an attempt to move to the moon and observe it using her newly assembled space telescope. Though this is not confirmed, it is believed that she went to such extreme measures because she had grown frustrated with the perpetual delays of the JWST.

Armed with her favourite collection of books (i.e. most of her house) and some equipment the Space Club lent her, she rocketed skyward in accordance to her calculations and in the shroud of the new moon. In an act that provoked Virginia’s supreme vexation, however, her rocket was suddenly knocked off-course by a previously unnoticed Tesla Roadster. Lucas Galand had been taking his new car for a ride across orbit with Elon Musk and Joe Rogan, in an effort to prove to him that the earth is round. The trip was unsuccessful, as they observed the earth to be dinosaur shaped.

            This collision veered Virginia’s path towards the endless expanse of space, and towards the final frontier. Contact with Tesla technology somehow propelled her rocket into speeds surpassing 60 000 m/s, and though she lamented not being able to live on the moon she enjoyed sight-seeing the solar system and watching the earth slowly grow smaller in the distance. She observed the polar ice caps of Mars, awed at the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, narrowly avoided the rings of Saturn, read a few chapters of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on her way past Uranus, at last saw up-close the diamond rains of Neptune, and finally gave a solemn farewell to the dejected Pluto.

            On her way out of the solar system she pondered over the true nature of the universe and asked herself:

            “Wait a minute, why were all the planets aligned?”

            But before she could begin to answer the question she realized she was not alone in her flight across the cosmos. Beside her were otherworldly beings whose true forms and names were asked to be kept hidden in this article, though it is known that they could communicate basic thoughts to Virginia. The exact nature of this exchange can’t be known for sure, though intel gathered by our space agents report it went something like this:

            ‘What are you and why are you flying on a stick outside the really boring solar system?’ they asked.

            ‘I’m done with it and I’m kinda lost, where are you guys from?

            These strange beings took a moment to think and silently talk to each other, but eventually answered:

            ‘Can’t tell you the name, but I can take you to the nearest black hole.

            Virginia’s face lit up at the prospect of finding out what’s really on the other side of one, and she was nodding before she knew it.

            ‘Here, have a comet.’ they told her as they transferred her to a nearby fast-moving asteroid, and suddenly she was going so fast that other solar systems flew past her like street lamps on a long road.

            Beyond that, her whereabouts are unknown. Unfortunately, nothing can escape a black hole, and so the mystery of what she may have discovered will remain beyond our reach. Virginia will forever be missed for her astounding contributions to Bandersnatch, the JAC Space Club, and the Double DEC program. Her friends and comrades will no doubt spend many sleepless nights wondering where she is now, and most will probably struggle to understand their textbooks and teachers without her. Legends say her trademark Cabbie hat remains floating somewhere in the vastness of space, denoting the path towards the secrets of the universe.

Originally Published on Vol.49 Issue 14 on April 29th, 2020