Copyright (c) 2018 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.
By R. Peterson
Alvin Sullenger scrutinized the group of theoretical and experimental physicists as they toured the Gravitron research complex floating half a mile above the Nevada desert. Selected from more than five-hundred applicants from around the world, three of the twelve remaining scientists would be awarded internships and given the opportunity to work inside the research facility for two years. They were walking past a massive observation chamber where four globes, of unknown composition, rotated like tiny moons. “Gentlemen can anyone tell me,” Alvin stopped next to the plated glass. “Which is faster … light or dark?”
Doctor Howard M. Bisen from the Molecular Design Institute was the first to answer. “Darkness is simply the absence of light, and therefore has no velocity.”
Lewis Somató III, Doctor of Applied Physics from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, shook his head and put both hands in his trouser pockets. “The speed of light is an indissoluble constant set at one-hundred eighty-six thousand miles per second. It is impossible for any type of matter or energy to exceed that threshold rapidity.”
Martin Liston, Associate Professor of Applied Physics from the University of Cambridge, pressed both his calloused hands against the glass and stared at the rotating spheres. With his unruly corn-husk hair sticking straight up from his head and his reported penchant for gardening Alvin thought he looked like a Smurf. “I’ve often considered,” Liston said, “that darkness must always come before light or light would not exist. To get there before anything implies a superiority of quickness.” His eyes grew brighter, as if inside his head a light had been switched on, and he turned. “We all know that matter has weight and occupies what we’ve always referred to as space and that Dark Matter is, for lack of a better word, the levitating cogency that creates more of that space. With the Dark Matter threads that form the fabric of space time being woven outward into four dimensional webs at an ever increasing velocity it makes one wonder what the Hell kind of arachnid is doing the weaving? I would have to say …” His voice became a reverential whisper filled with sanctified awe, “that is one very fast spider!”
Alvin smiled at Martin as the group erupted into a volcano of fact-based argumentation. It was going to be hard to pick the three … one of them most assuredly would be an undercover agent from the Central Intelligence Agency spying for the United States Government. But which one?
Alvin stood next to a glass wall that faced west and gazed across the Mojave Desert. Dozens of transparent US Blackhawk helicopters appeared to shimmer as they passed through the exact area where he was standing. To the soldiers in the helicopters the entire complex looked like some kind of hologram. Alvin often wondered if dying-of-thirst travelers crossing a desert experienced mirages or actual dark matter realities. Gravitron City had become his sanctuary.
A protracted legal battle of unprecedented proportions had been going on ever since he constructed his floating city using DM technology high above the Nevada desert. The United States Government, especially the military wanted to control the knowledge he was developing. Alvin was determined that his discoveries should not fall into the wrong hands. Since the dark matter he was using created space, instead of occupying it, an ongoing legal argument defended by hundreds of lawyers insisted that Gravitron City was its own sovereign domain. The military presence at his research facility was nothing more than a siege of epic proportions. That he was able to smuggle scientists as well as supplies in and out at his leisure was a testament to the supreme power of his technological advances.
It was now time to see how the three additions to his scientific staff were doing. Of course one of them was a spy, but which one? Alvin was sure the CIA agent was one of the three chosen, but he had to be sure …. the safety of the entire world would depend on it. What they were doing here and what they were after was a whole different story …. Alvin had no idea. Each of the scientists had been given a different project to work on. The first four elements of dark matter were named after the sixties singing group the Marvelettes, thus the entire DM periodic table was sometimes referred to as the Black Sisters.
The first Black Sister was George-Anna, an abundant and free-bonding material that shadowed Hydrogen. Howard M. Bisen was on the space fabric level experimenting with different types of dark matter weaves. He wore shielded clothing and stood with several technicians next to a Gluon loom combining particle streams of dark and light matter while they were temporarily converted into energy. “This is amazing,” he stammered as Alvin walked in. “By combining GA with lead we are able to create particle shields that can be applied as a weightless vapor. This discovery alone will revolutionize the world’s x-ray technologies.
“Or perhaps a missile-proof mist that can be sprayed over a military aircraft?” Alvin suggested. Alvin looked for a subtle difference in the man’s eyes or posture but there was no change. “How about a policeman who feels fifty pounds lighter when he accesses a bullet-proof vest from an aerosol can?”
Doctor Bisen ignored Alvin and diverted all of his attention to the Gluon loom where the technicians were replacing the lead weaves with titanium. “The possibilities are endless!” he raved.
Lewis Somató III was on the energy level working with Gladys. The second dark matter element was what the scientists at Gravitron called inter-dimensional. Gladys which shadowed the element Helium had the ability to pulse between this reality and the next, sort of a quantum physics traveler visiting several alternate universes for less than a billionth of a second each. Lewis took a bite out of a ham sandwich and placed what was left on a special plate. The sandwich was covered and placed inside what the technicians jokingly called a Gladiator arena a special type of convection oven bombarded with Gladys particles. A timer was set for one minute. When a tiny ding sounded the plate was removed and two sandwiches appeared. One of the sandwiches was whole while its identical counterpart had a large gaping bite. “Gladys pushes the object inside the arena back a preset period of time,” Lewis explained more to himself than to the others, “to a point of differentiation.” He lifted the plate with the two sandwiches and studied them. “While I took a bite of this sandwich my counterpart in the parallel universe obviously did not and we are left with two distinct and tangible realities.” Lewis closed his eyes and appeared ready to faint. Two of the workers grasped his arms. “We are on the verge of being able to thwart fate …. and decide what happens to every tiny thing in our world,” he gasped.
“Deciding which soldiers die and which don’t?” Alvin suggested but Lewis was already being loaded onto a stretcher and rushed toward the medical level.
Martin Liston was working with Wanda the fourth dark matter element. “You seemed to have skipped a sibling,” Martin said as Alvin entered the room. The Marvelettes’ song My Baby Must Be a Magician was playing softly over loudspeakers. “I was expecting to dance with Katherine.”
“I’m afraid you’ll have to take a rain check.” Alvin smiled. “Although we know Katherine exists and can see her imprint in the cosmic sands of time she is now and for the foreseeable future a lost sister to the others.”
“If she turns up while I’m gone please let me know,” Martin sang the off key words to an old Beatles’ song. Two Gravitron workers were fitting him with a special dark energy helmet. “To tell you the truth Wanda frightens me a little,” Martin said. “Imagination might be best left inside one’s mind,” he said. “The ability to think of something and have it become reality is too God like a power as far as I’m concerned.”
Alvin smiled. “Somehow I can’t imagine you wishing for a million dollars and then holding it in your hand or a diamond as big as a baseball and trying to fit it in your pocket.”
“You might be surprised,” Martin grinned. “Most of the doctors I know at Cambridge wear the same suits for at least four years. The taxman in Britain has webbed fingers and nothing slips between them.”
“This experiment is simple really,” Alvin told him. “You think of an object in your right hand and Wanda makes it a reality.”
“Sounds like magic,” Martin said.
“Many particle scientists think the entire universe might be nothing more than a giant hologram,” Alvin told him, ‘with our experiments so far … I tend to agree with them.”
The technicians finished adjusting the helmet and Alvin had them dim the lights. “I’ve often found that the period right before sleep is the most conductive to imagination,” Alvin said, “relax and imagine an object in your hand.”
“Any object?” Martin asked.
“Within reason,” Alvin laughed. “We don’t want a hippo running around in here!”
Martin appeared to struggle for several minutes. Alvin was glad to see him relax. Suddenly Marin stood up removing the helmet from his head. The Glock 17 pistol in his hand wasn’t there before. He smiled again but this time he looked reptilian. “I’m sorry old boy, but you make this too easy.”
Alvin was astonished. “You’re the spy? I don’t believe it!”
“Why not?” Martin said. “American money can be spent just as easily in London as it can in Chicago.”
“What is it you’re after?” Alvin motioned for the technicians to move back.
“Everything, I’m afraid,” Marin said pointing the gun at his benefactor. “The United States Government has decided that no one man should have so much power and so you are being eliminated. Once you’re gone, Gravitron and its labs will fall under the control of corporations loyal to governmental needs and obligations. We went to great lengths to smuggle a weapon inside that I could use …. That wasn’t supposed to happen until a week from now. You made it too easy!”
“I don’t suppose you imagined a loaded gun did you,’ Alvin said taking a step forward.
“I’m sorry but I wouldn’t let any thought enter my mind that was not fully functional,” Martin told him.
Martin pulled the trigger and the automatic pistol fired six shots in less than two seconds. Alvin spun around. His over-large head make him look like a marionette with broken strings. Blood poured from holes in his chest, neck and stomach. Alvin collapsed into a heap on the floor and Martin pumped two more bullets into his swollen head for good measure. Martin saved the last seven rounds for the fleeing workers. None escaped.
“I was thinking about a diamond … I really was,” Martin mused as he walked toward the exit. “But what would that have done to my integrity?”
To be continued …