Unicorn Jelly Fan Fiction Submitted: April 12th 2003 C.E.
A Blustery Day In Hyperspace
By Stephen P. Lepisto
Based on the universe of Unicorn Jelly by Jennifer Diane Reitz
Copyright © 2003 by Stephen P. Lepisto. All rights reserved.
"You're daft, old man! I told you six months ago and I'm tell you again: there's no such thing as hyperspace. It's a theoretical absurdity!"
Monahan blinked slowly in the face of Anduri's outburst, controlling his rising anger with effort. He stood up.
"You have the evidence before you, Anduri, fifty years of my life spent in the pursuit of this theoretical absurdity, as you call it. It exists, it is real, and it is dangerous."
Monahan moved toward the door which reacted to his presence and slid open quietly. He turned to look at the young man whose teeth gleamed nearly as brightly as his ridiculously oversized plastex desk. The vanity of the man!
"I have delivered my warning to the Ministry of Science. If you will not accept that warning then let the consequences fall on your head. The danger approaches swiftly and you're almost out of time. Good day, Anduri, we will not be meeting again."
Monahan walked out of the office, calm on the outside, fuming on the inside.
"Fifty years of research and that young pup dismisses it in thirty seconds!" Monahan grumbled to himself as he took the lift to the parking level twenty stories above him. "Who the hell does he think he is and how did he become head of the Ministry? Damn Anduri, damn the Ministry, damn them all! We'll just see who's right, we'll see!"
Monahan inserted his identicard into the reader and shortly his flyer appeared on the landing pad. He climbed in and took off, not seeing the young woman behind him quickly call for her own flyer to follow him.
Monahan fumed as he set the controls of the flyer for home. The flight would take an hour and he knew it was bad for his heart implant to stay so worked up but it still took a half hour's meditation to reduce his metabolism to normal. When he opened his eyes, the scheduled rain for this region was washing over the flyer's windscreen to fall on the farmbots a thousand feet below as they tended the third crop of the season.
Monahan's house was located in the hills north of New Seattle, on the edge of the destruction zone. He found the location gave him a great deal of privacy for his work as few dared the dangers of the lava fields that were the legacy of the massive explosion fifty-one years ago which wiped out the entire city. The official story was a small meteor exploding above the city, much like the Tunguska incident two hundred years earlier but few believed the government was telling the whole story. Monahan certainly didn't. However, life went on despite the cause and the city was rebuilt, bigger and better than ever.
Monahan's flyer quickly dropped down and he deftly landed it on manual on the small landing pad in back of the house, just as a delivery flyer took off, leaving another pile of crates. He set the flyer on park and headed across the crushed lava path to the house, ignoring the trundlebots moving the crates indoors.
The house was of ultra-modern construction, using the latest in plastex and dichromium steel glass to last a thousand years but, in a touch of whimsy, it was structured like an ancient plantation mansion, complete with pillars wrapped with artificial honeysuckle vines. The plastex surface of the house had been tinted to reflect most light, giving the whole house the effect of being made of glowing white light, adding to the surrealness of the image.
Monahan's mood darkened once more as he entered the back door which slid aside for him. But then, meeting with Anduri always caused him to lose his temper like this. He stomped past the other crates crowding the hallway and entered the lift which took him down to his laboratory. He always felt more relaxed there, surrounded by the massive Tesla coils, Herbert generators and the quietly humming quantum computers. The laboratory took up three times the floor space as the entire mansion above, occupying a goodly amount of the space under the hill the house was sitting on. He drew the massive power needed from geothermal reactors sunk into the lava fields outside which gave him complete autonomy from the world power grid.
"Professor, welcome back," a softly synthetic woman's voice called out from nowhere. "I see from your anger level the meeting with Minister Anduri did not go well."
"It did not, Maria," Monahan replied absently as he took a seat the main console. "The young fool couldn't see past his own nose at the evidence before him. Bah!"
"Professor, you must calm down. I detect a forty percent increase in adrenal secretions, giving you a twenty percent increased risk of another heart attack."
"Fifty years of work and he just ignores it!"
"Professor, your adrenal secretions have increased another thirty percent. You must calm down now."
"What? Oh, I'm sorry Maria, I'll behave. It's just when I think--"
"Professor, you must calm down."
"Yes, yes, yes. You're such a worrier for a computer." Monahan took a deep breath and relaxed, letting the anger and tension go. "There, is that better?"
"Professor, your adrenal secretions have reduced to ten percent above normal and are falling. Chance of heart attack is now within acceptable ranges."
"Are the isotronic crystals completed yet, Maria?"
"Professor, the isotronic crystal growth cycle was completed two hours ago and the crystals were decanted as you instructed. They are ready for installation in the sensor array."
"Very good, Maria. Now, where did I put that suit...?"
"Professor, I have detected a flyer coming in for a landing. It is registered to Candice Neiman of Globecomm Industries. Shall I refuse entrance?"
"Globecomm? Yes, of course, refuse her entrance! I'm too busy to talk to any damned reporter. Where's that damned protect-all suit?"
"Professor, she is invoking article eight of the New Delhi Agreement."
"What!? I don't have anything to do with the government! She can't possibly expect me to accept her demand of full disclosure-- Open a channel to the door!"
"Professor, the channel is opened."
Monahan stared at the woman in the visplate. She was perfectly sculpted, a requirement for a person appearing in the media these days, her bronze hair cropped short as per the current fashion. Her blue eyes glowed slightly as her iris implants kept her informed of important communications with the home office. Her tan and gray pantsuit was stylish, yet functional for a reporter in the field.
"What do you want?" Monahan snarled at woman who simply gave him a perfect smile in return.
"Professor Corolus, I'm Candice Neiman of Globecomm. I saw you coming out of your meeting with Minister Anduri and I wanted to speak to about what you two discussed."
"It's none of your damn business, Miss Neiman. Go away, I'm busy!"
"Professor Corolus, you cannot refuse me. As I told your computer, I'm invoking article eight which gives me full access to any government meeting."
"I don't work for the government so that doesn't apply."
"I think it does, Professor. I think you went there to tell Minister Anduri about the dangers you perceive from a hyperspace storm and I think he blew you off as a dithering old fool. Shall we talk?"
Monahan sat back, momentarily stunned. She smiled sweetly into the visplate and it reminded him of a cobra ready to strike.
"Professor Corolus? I'm still waiting for an answer."
"I-I suppose we can talk, at least. Maria, please let Miss Neiman in. I'll meet her in the library."
"Professor, acknowledged. Tea is being prepared. also, the shipment of food and hiking gear has been stowed."
He made his way to the lift and rose to the ground floor, calming his mood once more. He headed down the corridor to the library where Candice Neiman was waiting, staring at the large holoimage mounted above the faux fireplace. It was a high detail color image of the Crab Nebula, slowly rotating in full three-D.
"That was a gift from the Director of Astronomy on Io," Monahan explained as he entered the room. "I never tire of looking at it. It reminds me of just how puny man really is in the universe."
"It is really quite beautiful, Professor Corolus. I've seen only miniatures of it. By the way, are you moving in or out? There certainly seem to be a lot of crates everywhere."
"I'm planning on moving out. Those are just things that I had in storage and I wanted to go through them. Have a seat Miss Neiman."
"Please, call me Candice, Professor," she said as she smoothly sat down on the couch, perfectly poised.
"How did you learn of my theories?" Monahan demanded, ignoring her request as he flopped into his accustomed antique leather chair.
"Ever since your lecture ten years ago at the Science Symposium on Mars where you discussed the theory of hyperspace, Globecomm has been monitoring your output as a possible source. Our own scientists have discussed your theories at great length and they find enough merit in them to warrant my visit."
"I...see," his eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What do you think of my ideas, Miss Neiman?"
"Your theory is certainly well-developed and thoroughly covers every aspect of what hyperspace might be, although I find the idea of random events, what you termed 'weather', in hyperspace a little hard to swallow."
"It is a logical extension of the whole concept of hyperspace. Think about it. On a planet, you have locations that are separate from each other in three physical dimensions yet they are immersed in the medium of atmosphere which connects them. Winds blow and carry parts of one place to another and storms occur that can devastate a location. We can move through that atmosphere in flyers from one location to another. Hyperspace is no different, in that regard."
"But you're not talking locations like a city or mountain, Professor. You're proposing whole universes floating in hyperspace. Universes that can collide with each other, pushed about by the 'winds of hyperspace', as you termed it in your lecture. That sounds a little crazy, if you'll forgive my bluntness."
Monahan closed his eyes briefly and sighed.
"Miss Neiman, one of the most useful talents a scientist can have is imagination. Without it, he is nothing more than a glorified technician, prodding the unknown to provoke a response. A real scientist dreams of what might be beyond the unknown then finds ways to see it."
"Are you saying you can view hyperspace?" Her incredulity was clear despite her carefully modulated voice.
Monahan got up to stand and look at the holoimage.
"That nebula is a the remnants of a massive explosion more than a thousand years ago. I believe that star exploded because of a hyperspace event."
"You must be joking, Professor."
"I am very serious, Miss Neiman. I believe that all nova are triggered by intersection with matter traveling through hyperspace."
"But that's just absurd--"
"Miss Neiman, your flagrant disbelief is unbecoming in a professional reporter," Monahan interrupted with a sarcastic drawl.
Candice sat up straight and closed her eyes a moment. When she opened them, she was perfectly composed once more.
"My apologies, Professor Corolus. But you have to admit that your ideas are very farfetched and ultimately unprovable. And you skillfully avoided answering my question about your ability to view hyperspace."
A soft chime sounded and the library door slid open, letting a four-wheeled valet table roll into the study where it stopped in front of Monahan.
"I see the tea has arrived. I see your published preferences indicate your fondness for Earl Grey, Miss Neiman."
"That is correct, Professor. One sugar, if I may. You have a very efficient computer."
"Thank you, I'm quite fond of Maria, I don't know what I'd do without her. Here you are."
Candice took a sip of her tea. "A perfect cup! My complements to your computer."
"Maria would be pleased if she didn't already know she's so good," Monahan quipped as he sipped his own cup of jasmine tea.
"Professor Corolus, why were you so insistent on seeing Minister Anduri as soon as possible?"
"You guessed it already."
"The so-called hyperspace storm?"
"I know it's coming and I wanted to make sure people were warned so they could take action. But that fool of a minister refused to listen."
"Tell me about this storm, Professor."
"I've reason to believe that there exists in hyperspace a phenomena I call hyper-rain. A swarm of dimensional portals or spheres blown by hyerspatial winds. I believe these spheres can intersect universes at various locations and, I suspect, times, bridging two universes during that moment of intersection. Where those spheres intersect, the physical matter of each universe trades places."
"So travel in hyperspace is possible?"
"So you do see the implications, Miss Neiman. Very good!"
"But this is all theory, surely."
"Ah, not any more, it isn't. Come with me, Miss Neiman."
Monahan set his cup down on the valet, got up and left the library. Candice quickly placed her cup on the table and hurried after. Together, they descended in the lift to the laboratory. Candice gasped appreciatively when they arrived.
"Most of this is of my own construction," Monahan said with a wave of his hand, some shyness creeping into his voice. "But it was necessary considering what it is I'm exploring."
"This is truly amazing, Professor! Are those Herbert generators? I've never seen any that small before!"
"I had to make them smaller, otherwise I couldn't have gotten one into this room, let alone three. Now, come over here."
Monahan moved deeper into the lab and stopped in front of a massive cabinet of silver plastex and rounded corners. A large digital display mounted on the front was configured to show more than a dozen different status gauges. All showed the machine, whatever its function, currently in a standby mode.
"This, Miss Neiman, is my Hyperspace Sensor Array. As soon as I add the isotronic crystals, it'll be fully operational."
"Isotronic--are you mad, Professor?" Candice exclaimed in a near panic as she hurriedly stepped back from the machine. "Those are prohibited throughout the solar system as being the most dangerous substance ever created! They're more toxic than plutonium!"
"Please relax, Miss Neiman. They are perfectly safe if handled carefully. I've refined the technology where the danger is minimized. They are the only material I found that was sensitive enough to peer into hyperspace. Now, stand over behind that shield and watch."
Candice quickly cowered behind the thick shield wall as Monahan donned a protect-all suit and moved over to the chamber which held the crystals. He entered the combination on a tiny keypad and, with a grunt of effort, opened it. The massive door swung open slowly revealing a small room about two meters by three. In the middle of that room was a simple table on which were three pinkish crystals, about the size of a human thumb. The crystals were held upright in a black, carbon alloy frame. Monahan carefully picked up the frame and carried it out and over to the sensor cabinet.
"Maria, open the cabinet."
A half meter square panel below the display slid open and a shelf slid out. Monahan placed the crystals and their frame onto the shelf and slid home the two clamps built for just such a purpose, locking the frame to the shelf.
"Close it," he ordered.
The shelf pulled back into the machine and the panel slid closed.
The gauges on the display suddenly came to life and a quiet thrumming sound came from the box as power flowed into it.
Monahan quickly shed his protect-all suit and tossed it aside as Candice came out from behind the shield, her eyes wide in amazement.
"You really must be mad, Professor!"
"You think so, Miss Neiman? Then why do you stay?"
She looked hard at him then shrugged. "I'm as curious as the next person."
Monahan smirked. "Let's satisfy that curiosity then, shall we?"
He touched several controls on the sensor's display and it reconfigured itself into what looked to Candice like a weather map, complete with a complex series of curved lines.
"Those contour lines are differences in density of the hyperspace ether," Monahan explained with sharp jabs of his finger. "This machine can sense density changes to within about three percent. Now, look at this area here."
Monahan touched the screen by inscribing a circle around one point and the display changed to a close up of that area. He did it twice more and the display zoomed in to reveal a tight grouping of contour lines describing a circular region, a smaller circle was inscribed close by. But what held Candice's attention were the swarm of tiny circles off to one side.
"That circular region in the center is the Earth with the Moon as represented by its affect on the density of ether in hyperspace."
"And those circles over there?"
"Ah, that, Miss Neiman, is the coming storm."
"I don't follow."
"Those are the spheres of hyper-rain that will intersect our universe and bridge it to another place. I've been tracking them for nearly a year and I've gathered enough data to indicate that those spheres will collide with Earth in approximately two days. When that happens, all hell will break loose."
"Two days?! If what you say is true, Professor, and the spheres form a connection with another universe, how will that effect us exactly?"
"Those spheres approaching our planet range in size from one hundred to five hundred meters in size, Miss Neiman. Think of what would happen if one of them intersected downtown New Seattle or worse, the headquarters of the World Authority. Think of the devastation that would cause."
"It would be horrible, yes, but we can survive it. Look at how New Seattle was rebuilt in less than twenty years and the original city was completely leveled--"
"You still don't quite grasp the enormity of it all, do you? Hyperspace is the medium in which whole universes float. We are in one such universe but an infinite variety of universes exist in hyperspace. Imagine a universe that is composed of a single plane that goes on forever in all directions, or a universe filled with plasma that is itself a living organism, thinking cosmic thoughts. Or a universe whose physical laws were so different from our own, the human mind can't even begin to encompass it. What if one of those universes are bridged to ours?"
Candice's eyes opened wide once more, this time as the horror slowly filtered through to her.
"You begin to see the implications now, don't you, Miss Neiman? It isn't just a matter of pieces of our universe going away. Those pieces will be replaced by matter from an entirely different universe. Who knows what wonders or horrors that will unleash, assuming whatever arrives can survive transition to our universe."
"This...this is staggering, Professor! Where will the spheres touch? Maybe we can warn the people to get out of the way?"
Monahan shook his head. "My sensors have been unable to narrow the point of intersection down below a five thousand square meter area. It took me a year of measurements just to figure out they would actually hit the Earth."
"But your sensor can resolve those spheres and you said some of them were only a hundred meters across, surely you can track their movements as accurately?"
"I'm afraid not. Their movements are random within the cloud, only the direction of the cloud can be accurately plotted."
"Then what was it you hoped to achieve visiting the minister?"
"I had hoped to kick his butt in gear on the proposal I made six months ago to build a larger, more sensitive sensor array. With that, I had hoped to be able to more accurately track the spheres and determine who should be evacuated."
"Six months ago? How come I didn't hear about it?"
"It was kept in the strictest secrecy, Miss Neiman, in order to avoid a worldwide panic. But the time for secrecy is over. Even if the minister put every man on the job, the sensor couldn't be completed in time. All we can do now is watch and pray."
Candice looked back at the display and the encroaching swarm with a sinking feeling in her stomach.
"All those spheres...If they all hit at once--"
"Oh, those all won't hit Earth, or at least, our Earth. Hyperspace is outside space and time, time being just one more dimension. Those spheres will touch the planet over a range of time. How much time, I couldn't even guess. It's entirely possible a sphere won't even touch our time frame."
"If you say the intersections occur throughout time, then surely there must be records of disappearances in the past..."
"Perhaps there already are, Miss Neiman. There have been historical and archaeological records of strange explosions and disappearances throughout the life of this planet. From the cataclysms of the earliest dinosaur die-offs to the loss of New Seattle. There's really know way of knowing if any or all of those are caused by the hyperspace spheres."
"So what you're saying is even if you were to build this bigger sensor array, you wouldn't be able stop them."
"Ha! How do you stop a tornado from blowing through a town, and I don't mean that stupid attempt to hit it with a nuclear blast. How do you stop something that is outside our physical frame of reference? The only way I've been able to detect them in the first place is by measuring subtle and indirect effects on our universe at the sub-quantum level. No, the only thing I had hoped to learn was the precise location on the planet the spheres would touch then I could research historical data for any corresponding disaster that happened at that particular location. Two days, Miss Neiman. Then we will know for sure."
"Then there's no hope and this is just a minor story. All my time and effort wasted!"
"Just like a reporter, always looking for the blood. Hyperspace represents an incredible opportunity for mankind, Miss Neiman. By properly using it, we could travel not only to the stars but to other universes! Any place and time would be open to us for exploration. Just imagine being able to step out of your hyperspatial machine and set foot on a landscape which no human had even dreamed of. That's your story, Miss Neiman. The limitless possibilities of travel to any time, any place, and universe."
"All well and good, Professor Corolus, but it won't make the six o'clock news. I thank you for the tea and the demonstration, Professor."
"And so it ends, just like that. Very well, Miss Neiman," Monahan said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Maria, Please escort our visitor out."
"Professor, acknowledged. Miss Neiman, follow the guide to the exit."
"Goodbye Professor," Candice said one last time before following the floating orb that had appeared to the lift.
Monahan scowled and turned his attention back to the sensor. He touched a control and the display reduced to normal scale then zoomed out to its limit, showing the presence of six universes within the vicinity of his own.
"I see the accuracy has been increased with the latest batch of crystals."
"Professor, the efficiency of the sensor has improved to eighty-four point four nine percent. The last set of crystals achieved a level of sixty-nine point three two percent."
"Hmmm, it will have to do." His hand gently caressed one of the universes indicated on the display. "So close, so very close. Just a tiny step to the left, then a jump to the right..."
He shook his head briefly to clear it then quickly marched down the aisle to the main console. He rubbed his hands together in anticipation before caressing the controls before him.
"Professor, should you not have told Miss Neiman where the sphere will intersect?"
"What's this, an unprompted question, Maria? No, it would've done no good. She would have insisted on staying and I didn't want that kind of responsibility. What's the status on the ATV I ordered?"
"Professor, it will arrive tomorrow morning."
"And the modifications I requested be made to it?"
"Professor, the ATV has been equipped to your specifications to run on solar power, battery, and a water-based hydro-engine."
"Very good!" Monahan took a seat at the console and ran the figures once more. The more accurate sensors confirmed his suspicions and told him the exact time to the second when the sphere would arrive. Now all he needed to do was draw it to him with the overpowered Herbert generators.
Two days. His one hundredth birthday.
He closed his eyes, remembering back fifty-one years ago to that awe-inspiring sight from his vantage point above Seattle, the view of a huge sphere suddenly appearing in the middle of Old Seattle. A sphere that, for one brief second, reflected a completely alien landscape before it disappeared, followed moments later by a massive explosion which destroyed most of downtown and cracked the ground almost to the mantle, leveling the rest of the city. It was that event that changed his life forever as he dedicated himself to finding out what that sphere was.
Monahan clasped his hands behind his head and looked up at the ceiling.
"Maria, it looks like we're going on a little trip."
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