HTT and Airtificial invested a total of 21,000 engineering hours and 5,000 assembly hours to create Quintero One, a five-ton capsule made of 85 percent carbon fiber; or, as HTT puts it, 85 percent Vibranium. The material that covers the capsule takes its name from the Marvel universe, but it doesn’t come from Wakanda: it is a double-layered patented-design that uses 82 panels of carbon fiber and 72 sensors able to detect problems related to the structural integrity of the vessel, which at close to the speed of sound is especially interesting. The capsule is 105 feet long, half of which are used for the passenger cabin, which has space for about 30 people.

The name Quintero One honors Andrew Quintero, a space scientist who founded JumpStartFund along with Dirk Ahlborn, but died in a swimming accident in 2014. JumpStartFund is a collaborative incubator where people from all over the world can help you build your startup. HTT was born when Ahlborn uploaded Elon Musk’s white paper to JumpStartFund and more than 800 volunteers, including engineers from NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing, started working together on the first Hyperloop. From their homes, in their free time, they carry out simulations and share ideas about the materials to work with, but they do not get a salary: they are paid in stock options. “It’s an incredible model to build the companies of the future,” says Gresta. “A model that’s taught at Harvard University since 2017.” It is also an insufficient model: in addition to the volunteers (officially called “contributors”), HTT has a central team of employees with traditional contracts.

When I finally arrived at Airtificial, which had just taken down the Carbures logo from its facade, a couple of policemen inspected me with their eyes. It did not take me long to find out why they were there: several politicians attended the event, including the president of Andalusia and some representative from the Ministry of Industry in Spain. Is there any public money involved in the manufacture of this capsule?, I asked. “No,” said Dirk Ahlborn.

Hyperloop One announced in August that it had chosen Antequera, a city in the neighboring province of Malaga, to establish its first test center. It will do so with help from ADIF, the railway infrastructure manager of Spain, and a request for a subsidy of 126 million euros in advance. If building a train is expensive, building the first Hyperloop in history without public funds seems impossible, so the executives of HTT and Hyperloop One go from country to country trying to make agreements with their governments. The first stop for both companies was the United Arab Emirates, where nothing is really impossible. Then came South Korea, Ukraine, and China. In contrast, the half-hour journey between Los Angeles and San Francisco announced by Elon Musk sounds far, far away, especially because of the price of land in the US and, according to Bibop Gresta, “because countries like UAE are more visionary than the United States.”

But, again, we are talking about the future. In Cadiz, the only thing that was unveiled is the skeleton of a promise. There was a countdown, there was some epic music played and then a curtain fell. Before a crowd of politicians, investors, and journalists, the Quintero One appeared, a silver capsule with a more austere design than the drawings made by PriestmanGoode. Maybe because I waited five years for this moment, maybe because its interior was empty or maybe because they are making a windowless magnetic levitation train instead of the unrealizable concept introduced by Elon Musk, I felt a slight disappointment.

The company neither allowed me to take pictures of the empty cabin nor talked much about its future design. When I set foot inside of the capsule, instead of the “fifth transport revolution” I felt I was inside a tube of toothpaste. What will the interior of Quintero One be like? Gresta told me that they had been thinking about safe and comfortable materials like Kevlar, Priestman said that it will be a “completely different experience” from what we know. Will it be comfortable for passengers? I asked. “It should be comfortable, yes,” the designer replied. The user experience is in such an early phase of development that Dirk Ahlborn told me the tickets would be free, supported with advertising, and Gresta talked about a payment system using blockchain and biometric sensors. “In any case, if the ticket costs 30 dollars we would recover the initial cost in eight years,” Ahlborn explained.

Quintero One will now move to a development center in Toulouse, where the rest of the capsule will be assembled. HTT says it will be ready in 2019, but the capsule itself is only a small part of the system. The real difficulty will be building the low-pressure tube where the capsule will travel; not only because it will take hundreds of vacuum pumps to extract air from point to point, but because the morphology of the terrain will rarely be a straight line. There will be turns, there will be climbs, and they’ll have to make the accelerations and decelerations smooth enough so that passengers do not vomit or lose consciousness along the way. This is where one of the great myths of the Hyperloop comes into play: the capsule will not travel at the speed of sound, nor at any other similar speed; they’ll have to adapt the speed to the morphology of the terrain or the capsule may fly away.

I pictured a flying Hyperloop while traveling back to Malaga. “It’s like a plane without wings,” they said during the event. Airplanes travel at high altitudes to overcome wind resistance, but the Hyperloop will do it at ground level, so companies like HTT will have to develop a system that overcomes seismic movements and even the smallest rivet out of place or the result may be catastrophic. If they succeed, they would have created a more efficient transport for the future. Will they succeed? For now I can say that the real Hyperloop is quite different from the initial concept introduced by Elon Musk that had air bearings, supersonic speeds, and solar energy. But the brand remains. A brand that politicians find appealing—so maybe they’ll help make it a reality.

The morning mist disappeared and now there was a blue sky, but my doubts about the Hyperloop were still there. There are still safety concerns, and the unveiling of a carbon fiber capsule really means nothing at all yet. The Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, which is the longest railway tunnel in the world, took eight years to complete and is only 94 miles long. With Hyperloop we’re talking about hundreds or even thousands of miles—a tube that in order to be built needs the consent of hundreds of farmers whose land lays in the way. I’ve seen the pointy, sleek “face of Hyperloop,” as Priestman called it, but appealing or not, the actual tunnel will have to adapt to reality.