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Star Trek and Science Photos Forum RM Tremblay L'Anarchiste Couronné Relativité Universelle


 


   

I lost my mind the second I was born! - RMT

The Relative Universe

 

The Science Fiction Novel (previously called The Shrinking Universe)

By Roland Michel Tremblay

 

Based on the new Shrinking Theory and

Universal Relativity by RM

(Please read a more updated résumé at: www.crownedanarchist.com/relativity.htm)

 

 

RÉSUMÉ of the Novel

 

     Recent discoveries about the real nature of the Universe made it possible to understand new mechanics of science and brought a new range of inventions. The most important ones made it possible for a ship and its crew to go far beyond any distance ever imagined and to communicate with Earth instantly wherever they are. Simply because in the Relative Universe distance is relative (as stated by Einstein) and therefore the size and speed of objects as well (as stated by the Shrinking Theory). Universal Relativity brings together the infinities (size is relative and changing), destroy the illusion of distance (objects only shrink when they go away) and breaks the light speed barrier. Now even the speed of light is relative since you use both time and distance to calculate the speed of light, and both are relative and change with acceleration. If you go 20 times faster than the speed of light, though you would still calculate the speed of light to be constant because distance and time are changing proportionally when you accelerate, the real value of your speed of light would be different than mine. You can go faster than the speed of light, and when you accelerate, you are only shrinking. If you go fast enough, you would not only reach the stars, you would reach the atomic world at the edge of the universe, the edge that is very close to us like very far as distance is relative. 

 

    In less than 2 years funds have been made available by the European Space Agency (ESA) to put this ship online and send her to the confines of the Universe which is essentially here on Earth in the infinitely small. New propulsion system, new communication devices, new equations, virtually a whole new science has appeared to fit the new Universe pictured in a mission drew to test how close to reality this science is and what more we can discover through this adventure. This experience is to redefine the true nature of time and space, of matter and energy in our relative Universe.

 

    The new universe pictured has a distance that changes depending on the frame of reference. A stick metre is different here on Earth than closer to the Sun, or a stick meter on a ship going at high speed. The very large is the very small, the stars are atoms composing Earth. The experiment is to send a ship in space by shrinking it instead of propelling it in the distance. The ship will reach the confines of the very large, the farthest stars ever seen, by shrinking as small as the Planck length without ever leaving Earth. For Earth to always stay in contact with the crew, new communications devices will be created, considering the time and speed difference between Earth and the crew. The faster the ship goes in space, the more she shrinks and through a telescope it seems like if time has stopped. But this is only in a certain frame of reference. Actually the more the ship shrinks, the more time on the ship goes faster then time on Earth. Millions of year should pass on Earth whilst the ship goes into space reaching almost the speed of light. But in reality, millions of years will pass on the ship whilst time on Earth seems to have stop. All this is only perspectives, and this experiment is to test what kind of time difference we can expect and if contact can be maintained. The mission has been described as a suicide mission. The astronauts sent will never come back, more likely communications will be impossible and either Earth or the ship's time will go much faster than the other.

 

    The propulsion systems used until now could give the impression that a ship was sent into the distance. Really, what we call speed is in fact the rate at which the ship shrinks. With this in mind, scientists have been able to develop not a propulsion system in order to send a ship very far in the distance, but instead a machine that artificially shrinks the ship in a laboratory by creating a small singularity like the ones we find at the core of a black hole. What happens in a black hole is that gravity is so strong that the fabric of space defined by gravity curves the space to a point where time and distance is really different from ours here on Earth. So we cannot see anything, as light takes forever to get out and reach us. But having a different time and different measure of a stick meter, does not mean that in reality you would get crushed or that you would stop frozen in time (though this is what people on Earth would see). You continue your life as normal and when you do look at the Earth whilst going in the black hole, the Earth appears frozen, or in a black hole. Only if you decide to go back to Earth you will see it suddenly going much faster in time than you. So our crew can come back at the same they left.

 

    The novel will start with the scientists putting together the mission, the environment of theory coming into practice, ideas becoming reality. All the problems to solve in order to reach the point of launching the ship. Then it will become more concrete and the biggest questions of all time about the universe will be posed and answered as best as they can. Problems of communication, propulsion, shrinking process, the states of the quantum theory. Considering the implications of the laws of motion of Newton and the relativity of Einstein. Beyond this, what is there left to conclude?

 

    The second part will involved the crew of the ship preparing themselves for the biggest space travel ever proposed. This part will be intertwined with the first part. We will see them in their environment, not a scientific one, but in more general problems of life, trying to conceptualise the new science and theories involved in the project. Skepticism, competition, secrets, relationships, etc.

 

    The third part will be the launch of the ship and all the initial problems and discoveries. The implications on the new philosophy surrounding the new universe and multiverse. We will be following one ship that will be destroyed. But then we will come back to a ship that has not been destroyed. And discover that the communication system established give the possibility to all the ships on different timelines to communicate with each other.

 

    The fourth part will be the discovery of an inhabited planet in the very small scale and the discovery that this planet is in fact part of our space in the very large, but very far from earth. Time difference will be studied, speed's rate, etc.

 

    The fifth part will be the comeback of the ship and the possibility to travel through time since shrinking or expanding very fast has the power of playing with spacetime. Will the ship comeback at the same instant it went, millions of years later or earlier? What is the effects observed on the astronauts?

 

    The final will be the return of the ship and the conclusion to be drawn from the whole experiment.

 

 

Time of the novel

 

    WAS: 2050 (Fifty years from now) Why? Because we need to be able to utilise the energy contain in a small electron and to be able to see beyond the Planck length. Another 50 years should be enough to have achieved that in the actual state of science.

    CHANGED TO: Now. Because the new theories bring the answers to what we are looking for.  

 

Place

 

    THIS WILL CHANGE, I HAVE CHANGED MY VIEWS OF THE UNIVERSE: The Infinities converging in one single point in the universe. We are living in a singularity, where everything in the universe converge into one single point. Yet, inside the singularity, there seems to have space, distance, speed. These are only illusions, a perspective. We can create a new singularity, a smaller one, inside the one we are living in. Then we are not travelling anymore in our singularity, our universe, but in the very small scale composing our singularity. We are travelling very far in our own singularity. The universe is not seen anymore as stars very far in the distance, but like a black hole with a singularity at its core. We are shrinking through time and space at the moment. The experiment is to make the process even more successful. It is a way to foresee our future. The universe is like a cone in three dimensions where everything in it just shrinks and shrinks toward the singularity. We are sending a ship right through the singularity, to go where all the stars converge in one single point. But never the ship will reach it, it is always possible to shrink more and more, and always we will see the stars around very large the more we approach them. The atoms being stars as well. When the ship shrinks, is it going smaller in one single little point on the whole universe? Trapped in such a small little point forever? Or is it a more global phenomena and actually the ship shrinks in space and actually reach the singularity of our universe and everything that shrinks in the universe, wherever in the universe, will actually get to the same point which is where our universe, the stars are converging? The experiment will try to answer that. If there is an infinite amount of the same universe, perhaps it can be explained by the fact that where you shrink, you will always reach one particular point of the universe, one specific reality or timeline. If you expand, you go over all the timelines, and can choose which one you would like to be in.

 

Characters

 

    A group of scientists in a laboratory on Cavendish Square, right in the heart of London. A crew going to experiment the infinities of the Universe by never leaving the laboratory in Central London.

 

 

Energy utilised

 

     The energy of the very small, contained in one single little electron. Then you have coils all around the flying saucer, turning and creating a gravity field capable of creating a distortion of space and time, instantly shrinking the ship, or moving, or whatever, changing its location in the universe. Size being relative, an atom can be bigger than our solar system. We only see it small from our relative point of view. Therefore that atom is reachable because distance is relative. We can draw huge amount of energy from it.

 

 

The kind of protection

 

    An Energy Field capable of sustaining the ship in a void inside a bubble (the kind of Inertial Dampers in Star Trek). No, I change my mind. This is not necessary since a distortion of space and time prevents you from any particles that could through time damage your ship. Gravity amplifiers kind of shield you from anything (I hope?).

 

 

The way of travelling

 

    A shrinking process of the ship, the equivalent of sending her through space and propelling it with liquid hydrogen. The technology involved: how do you shrink something? Well, we already know how. You just have to walk in the distance and you will shrink. To instantly shrink at a much higher rate, you need basically to alter your molecular structure. Create the machine that will get all the information about the atomic structure of the ship and reproduce it at a smaller scale. That is one solution, using the energy contained in one electron alone. The second solution, you do not put the ship in a laboratory, but in space instead. You use this new energy called Quantum Fluctuations to propel the ship at almost the speed of light using the energy contained in the atomic structures in the void of space. But then, it takes forever for the ship to get anywhere near the infinitely small. Third solution, we could use a black hole, the singularity inside. Better, you create a singularity in the laboratory, a small black hole. The ship then reach the single point zero where all the stars and atoms are converging in one single point.

 

 

Instant Communication

 

    If there is no distance, wherever the ship is, communications can be instant. Now, the way of achieving this has something to do with the time difference, the shrinking rate and the how shrunk is the ship compare to its original size on earth. If we can create such a device, everything is fine. We can communicate with the ship, even if it is in the past or in the future. Or another solution is the deploy a bunch of satellites (or beacons, relays) shrunk at different degree from the very small up to the very large. Both communications systems will be deployed.

 

 

Problems

 

    The ship's location is impossible to pinpoint. Moreover, it seems to exist in a lot of different quantum states. How do you keep track of the ship when it virtually exists in all possible probable states you can imagine? How do you communicate with this… those ships? This experiment will uncover the Schrödinger's Cat problem and the multiverse within our universe.

    We cannot observe the speed (the rate of Shrinking) or the location of the ship, if we do, we destroy the experiment. Communication will be of utmost importance, but how many ships will communicate with us? One or millions?

 

 

***

 

The Relative Universe

 

Detailed Plan

 

1.0  The discovery of the shrinking theory

1.1  (Intro) The shrinking theory

1.2  The storm - worldwide collapse of all known science

1.3  The decision of the International Board of Scientists

1.4  Meeting the working team

1.5  Arguing over theoretical physics

1.51 Shrinking that thing

1.6  Propulsion - quantum fluctuations

1.7  Communications - quantum communications

1.8  The mission -where are we going?

1.9  Survival (form & ? for extended mission)

 

2.0  The launch.  A disaster, the ship explodes

2.1  Reporting the failure

2.2 Quantum mechanics mystery

2.3  The ghost ship.  The ship is there but not ?  What is happening on board, what happened ???  But as soon as a measurement is done only one ship is observed.

2.4  Establishing communications with all the ships, the...

2.5  London, we’ve got a problem, drifting in space at accelerated speed, going through stars getting smaller and smaller, empty space not so empty after all.  If they they shrink too much, we will lose them.  We lose them all.

3.0  Exploring another solar system, going around the planets

3.1  Identifying life in the system, a satellite orbiting each planet at last

3.2  Ending the planet with life, massive destruction

3.3  Identifying life on an island

3.4  The landing

 

4.0  Alien culture

4.1  History

4.2  To the discovery of the past

4.3  Ending the means to go back, the wisdom and advances of the new culture

4.4 Discovering another kind of knowledge

 

5.0  The perfect return.  They really saw through the reality of the universe, that most of it is shrinking

5.1  Worldwide recognition

5.2  The Board of scientists, what happened to the others

5.3  Conclusion.  We will be preparing a new mission

 

 

 

    OK, let's try to start this novel... it needs to revolutionize the world of Science Fiction. How does one do that? He lights a cigarette, opens a beer, gets comfy on the sofa, gets the book of Rama II of Arthur C. Clarke, he turns on the electric blanket so the three cats go directly there and get their energy drains completely without bothering the author... Hey, that sounds good!

 

 

 

THE RELATIVE UNIVERSE!!!

 

 

Prelude

 

    The old man took his grandson’s hands in his and they both looked at the sky.

          - Is there anybody out there, Granddad?

          - There must be.

          - Are we ever going to find out?

    The old man looked at the sea all around the island.

          - And what about out there? the child said, pointing at the shore in all directions.

          - Maybe.  Probably not.

    Far away, another piece of land, no bigger than England, was ? itself over watch (??)  The trees were starting to grow again on what had been devastation.  Some years ago an advanced technological society grew proudly there.

          - Will you tell me again the story of the other land?

    The old man was pensive.  He put his hand on his grandson’s shoulder and decided to look at the sky instead.  Far away, a ship was just entering their solar system at the outer limits.  They had just encountered the first planet: cold, completely circular, smooth, a unified blue-cream all over.  History was about to change.

          - It is more probable that the first people we will ever see will come from out there, answered the old man, pointing at the sky.

    Meanwhile, somewhere on Level 10 of a parking lot in Cavendish Square, central London, a countdown had started.  At zero an incredible light blinded all the cameras watching a flying saucer, not exactly what NASA had been sending into space since the beginning of the space mission.  The cameras just had the time to register an explosion.  But not harmful for mankind.  The explosion of a shrunken ship.  And that was the end of the journey through the universe.  The last chance for men to go beyond the solar system.  All systems were registering failure.  There was no doubt that the ship would never go anywhere.  A second attempt was not possible in the near future: too much money had been spent.

    But suddenly one of the greatest computerised telescope ever built registered something.  There was not one but a million ships, those that had been sent to the edge of the infinitely small.  At the first adjustment of the microscope all but one ship had disappeared.  The launch was a success after all.  The history of quantum mechanics had just revealed its most weird characteristics.  The mission was a success despite a ship that was never launched.

 

I

 

    Richard just sat on the sofa. How a terrible day that was! Always worried that the bell at the door might ring. He never answers the door usually... afraid that it could be either the government or the police. But today, thinking it was the post man so early in the morning, he opened the door! It was a bailiff. As planned in his destiny, he had to open the door that time. He turns on the electric blanket on the other chair so the three cats will go there and hopefully stay there whilst their energy is somehow getting sucked out of them, he gets comfy on the sofa, opens a beer, gets his computer on his lap, puts an audio CD in it, lights a cigarette... finally, he is breathing. Recuperating from the worries of the day. 

-Are you Richard Wakefield? the bailiff asked.

-No, I do not know him, he answered. What is it?

-Oh, it is private, I can only give that to him in person.

-And what is it?

-It is an order to appear in the court of Richmond. Are you Richard Wakefield?

  

    Richard looked at the papers... he finally said:

 

-Hands up, I am Richard Wakefield. Give me that.

 

    Richard could see the smile in the face of the bailiff. He had won. He would have only come back over and over, there was no reason to not take the papers. Soon it would all be over, only a huge bill would come through the door, perhaps in a year, perhaps next month, Richard thought. But at least it will all be finished. At 26, Richard thought he was very good looking, still capable to go get the best people in town whenever he felt like having a nice night out. Only this new girl at work, Jane, had made him think twice about that. He was getting a little bit flabby, a big slob according to his wife, like all the men past 25 as recorded by the statistics, except the ones on drugs he thought. For the first time, where he works in Cavendish Square, in front of this youthful and gorgeous 26 years blond girl, he felt like a fat pig that people try to void at any given time. He had no reason to think of himself as a fat ugly bloke, still, he could feel he was getting there. All his trousers were getting too small, even his shirts were so tight at the neck, he had to open the top button after the tie was in place. This incredibly stupid idea of wearing these ridiculous outfits to go to work every morning, these ties all more disgusting one compare to the other... all that was just killing him. His job was to produce conferences. A year ago he thought he could not even write one programme since English was not his first language. Now, after eight huge conferences in the marvelous world of Telecommunications and Broadcasting, he could not bare the idea of producing another one. It had become so easy, he was now virtually falling asleep on his desk everyday at about the same time. Sleeping while he could was becoming his whole life. At least 20 minutes in the bath every morning, to make sure he would miss his train at Isleworth Station, then 20 minutes on the Underground starting at Osterley Park on the Piccadilly line, and all the way back in the train from Vauxhall to Isleworth. At least he was not alone, the whole train was falling asleep after Clapham Junction. That is, until the ticket officer comes in and says: Tickets please! Well, tonight is the night. The first in months where he can just sit down and relax. Open his computer and plan what is coming next in his life.

 

    He was not made to live a life in the world of European Conferences where the stress eat you all alive, until you give up or they get rid of you. He was a poet, a philosopher. Playing with concepts was taking all his time before he decided for god knows what reason to pursue his studies at the University of London two nights a week. That week had been a terrible week for his studies. Never in his life he had suffer such a blow in a class. He had two presentations to do in the same night on Wednesday, he blew them both out. He can still remember how the teacher stopped him after three minutes to say that he was totally out of track about talking after those five books that he obviously did not read, she wanted him to talk about those other books that he did not read as well. For a second he could see again how for 20 years he had been wasting his time producing papers and essays and all these things which never contented any of his teachers. His psychological problems were even more deep than that. After his father, he was supposed to be an engineer. So as life's go, he seems to have done everything else but engineering. He kept out of science as much as he could, only feeling guilty to have failed just about everything else. Law at the University of Ottawa, French Literature at la Sorbonne in Paris, even his re-admission in Electric Engineering all over the place.

 

    Strange enough, he could not just get rid of the science. As a philosopher, well he thought he was anyway, he only tried to understand what exactly was man and his situation in the universe. What was all that about? Where was he living exactly? These were the only questions that accompanied him through his useless journey in life. All his life he had written the weirdest books ever, considering his huge existential crisis, and never he got anywhere with it. Many nights before he sat down in front of his computer, drinking and smoking until he could feel he was not himself anymore, until, as he was saying, he could finally see the universe as it really was. Something beyond imagination, since imagination is not that great according to him. It had to be true, the essence of the existence had to be something else. In fact, the essence and the existence could not even exist. At least this is what he felt like every time he was too drunk to remember all his courses in philosophy at the University of Ottawa. Already Richard was putting back into questions every single philosopher who came before him. That was all very nice, all his life he had developed the way of saying black every time someone said white, and the most interesting thing, to say white every time someone said black. He could justify any colour, in fact, he could argue that there was as well all the different shades between black and white and that overall, there could be no colour or shade at all. He had to admit that it was a family trait. Never taking anything for granted, always putting back everything into question. Even the reality of life, especially the reality of life.

 

    After a while, Richard had to read every new scientific theory there was on the market, eating every single little idea still on paper or on the network about the smallest thing. He quickly started to think differently from even Newton and Einstein, that was enough to get him crucified. He was too far from the scientific world to worry too much about talking through his hat, so he spent enormous amount of time reconfiguring, redefining the universe until he came up one day with the worst:

 

-There is no speed in the universe! There is no distance in the universe!

 

    That day, he realised he should have just not woke up. To live in his dreams, in his fantastic world should have been enough. Already at work they had found out about his ideas, read his new born shrinking theory of the universe. He had suffer a couple of months of being ridiculed, but most of it was happening behind his back. So he could go back home every night, still thinking and watching the planes getting down at Heathrow Airport over his head. There was something fascinating about it. About the movement, about the perspective. Something was wrong! Somehow he thought he could change all that, all reality. To reduce it to a virtual world, this reality that was making so many people suffer every day. He did not think he could do anything about the suffering, but he thought that if he was capable of living only in his ideas, already he would suffer much less. This is where it all started.

 

 

II

 

    The mother of Richard always thought her son was different. It was much easier for her to be proud of him whatever his situation, unlike his father who could only be proud if his son had a great social situation, a great high paying job and the respect of his peers. Richard was different, so different that it was like if the father had to pay for the sin of wanting so much that his son could never be. At last he had a daughter who did succeed to be a mechanical engineer, but she was too suffering from a great existential crisis. Like if wanting to be so much to please her parents at one point everything crumbles and one starts to wonder, whatever if we have succeeded or not, if life is really worth it in those conditions. Suddenly searching for another reason to live, something so different, so great, it would prove beyond doubt that everything else was useless, so useless! At that point, happiness can never be found, because never anything would be enough. Something greater and out of reach will always be hanging there on the horizon and the need to achieve the impossible will still be there. At that point, to be Einstein and celebrated for many centuries to come will not bring happiness, will not even bring satisfaction. Only this great emptiness of space becomes attractive. Science fiction for a start brings this evasion where someone could still see light after the failure of a life that could not by definition be successful. 

    So Richard was not looking for appraisal or recognition, he was just living his great existential crisis. Who knows where that would bring him? Well, he had these wildest ideas, beyond any book from Arthur C. Clarke, obsess in finding life somewhere else in the universe. That was not enough for Richard. The mystery could still keep him hanging on to these incredible books, but he thought more discoveries in science in the next following years will wiped out any science fiction book into existence. Like Jules Verne, where every single one of his book finally became real. There was no need to call it science fiction after that. Still, Richard thought his whole life was a fiction. Moreover, he was convinced that the whole universe was just fiction. And that no facts would ever change that. Unlike Arthur Charles Clarke, Richard did not believe in god or a supreme intelligence somewhere creating the universe and the beings in it, whatever how autonomous they were. In fact, Richard could not by principles believe in god, because his principles were to not believe anything, no matter how proven it was by facts or science. Always he could come back years later and find other hypotheses. He had spent a great deal of time thinking about his new universe, still he was convinced he would be proven wrong through time, if even such a concept existed. 

    His mom just lost her lover. Richard had to stop and think twice about death. First it took him a long time to realise that the man he saw once in his life at Christmas time was actually dead, a month after he left Canada to return to London. It was the first time someone had died around him, in 26 years, and even then he was insignificant in the scheme of things. He had seem him once. Nicole, his mother, cried until there was nothing left to cry, that hurt Richard. He lived the death a being through the suffering of another one. He did cry, because his mom cried so much. She was telling him that it was destiny, that god came to get him because he had done everything he had to do. That now Gaetan would help him much more now that he was dead then before when he was reconstructing the whole house filled with pensioners that Nicole was taking care of. She truly believed in god, it helped her so much in accepting the hell of death that Richard could only be pleased to see his mom believing so much. He was trying to think about how his father who never believed in anything except himself as his mom always said would react if he did lose his lover. Would it have destroyed him? Humans can always think they know everything, experimented everything, even death because they suffered so much through it. Richard was realising how little he knew about anything. Having not even experiences death in all that time he was alive made him realised how much more there was that he never truly understood or even start to think about. Worse was the idea that his sister always said that all his life Richard only wrote about death. His own death that is. Surprisingly still alive to write about it. So Richard was turning to the stars, thinking, how many years has it been since we started exploring the space of our little solar system? How much of it have we truly understood? Still, he thought how easy we just forget about the strange fact of these planets, suns and the void of space to live of our daily life. Isn't that bizarre the universe we live in? How come nobody mentions it at work? How come they laugh as soon as someone think a little bit more and tries to see further?

    Richard was only looking at his CD player software on his computer, looking at the number indicating how much time was reaming before the track was over, and already he had to concentrate to understand was all that was about. 1, 2, 3, these are Arab numbers he first thought. Then he realised that he could easily forget what they means, as soon as he drinks a little bit too much. Still, most part of his job in conferences was depending on these numbers. His whole life is based on these numbers. The whole science was just a succession of these numbers and if ever he finally gets into space, it is because of these numbers. Is it not just a convention? His computer screen was pixels with a little number on it telling which colour it should be, all this through a bunch of binary language composed of 0 and 1. Open or close. Then he looks around him, the three cats on the other chair, to think the same thing about reality. His brain is like this computer, it is electric, it learns to interpret pixels with 0 and 1 and distinguish the cats in the background. It is a another level, still, it is the same thing. Beyond that, what is really reality he thinks? Again he is not so sure about anything. And at that point Richard becomes too drunk to even think about the universe. And it is usually where everything finishes.

 

 

III

 

    Oh what a great thing life can be once one is so drunk that he can barely see life in front of his eyes! Richard was overboard. Not that he was on earth most of the time anyway, lost in space somewhere, as usual. He had so much energy tonight, he could not bare the idea of seeing his portable computer crashing again. Too much he had experienced that lately. Oh, what the heck he thought, having the perfect machine at once, wireless to the bones, with every little piece of equipment there is on the planet, enough to make him think humanity was finally getting somewhere with all this new technology with unlimited space on the worldwide network, was getting to him. Still he was patiently waiting for the day he could work with a computer capable of not crashing every minute like his. He had good reasons to believe it was almost over, after receiving this little e-mail from the British Government. They were to invest the whole next year budget accorded to science on his ideas, the weirdest ever, in the biggest enterprise ever created until then. A space exploration, without leaving earth. An experiment beyond life. They were to put in practice theories almost not proven yet, actually not proven yet. 

    The very next day he was on his way to the most important meeting of his life. To prove he could get this money worth, proving his ideas at the same time... 

     Richard was stuck on the Victoria Line between Victoria and Oxford Circus.  As usual the train just stopped in the middle of nowhere (but hopefully near Green Park) and this time he was getting really worried.  He was getting pushed into the door by a very tall black man who was sweating enormously inside his leather coat and a fat woman was angry that so many people were squeezed into the train.  Richard could smell all the wonderful latest French perfume mixed with sweat.  He sneezed at least five times and couldn’t reach the kleenex in his back pocket.  He was desperately trying to see he time on the watches of other passengers hanging on to the metallic rail, but it was just impossible.  He was in such a panic over just how slow these trains can be that he barely realised he was complaining out loud:

          “For God’s sake!  I’m about to cross the whole galaxy in less than a second and I’m stuck in an Underground incapable of doing one mile per hour!”

          Remembering the secrecy of his mission, he stopped momentarily.  But then:  “This mission has cost billions of pounds.  I’m really beginning to think we should have forgotten about it all and invested in signal failures on the London Underground.”

           The fat woman at the back tried unsuccessfully to turn around.  But she asked,  “Perhaps you should have taken a cab, darling?  We’d all be breathing right now if you had, you lunatic scientist - if you truly are about to cross the galaxy today!”

          Richard realised he had spoken too much.  At the same time he realised that it did not change anything.  These people did not care about anything.  They were only worried about getting from point A to point B within London, and would be happy to reach B today.

          Another man at the back was now questioning Richard: “What’s that story?  That you’re going to cross the whole galaxy in less than a second?”

          Richard answered, “Mind your own business”.

          At which the black man answered, “You haven’t stopped complaining out loud about it for the last twenty minutes.  It is our business now”.

          The man at the back holding an old copy of The Observer asked, “Is this something to do with this huge enterprise between the American, Canadian and European space programmes that the newspapers have been talking about?  

    Before entering the building on Cavendish Square, Richard passed his hand in his hair. My god, they are so greasy, he thought. On the verge of the most important moment in history, Richard could only think of how much wax he had put in his hair two days ago, that made is hair looks so dirty. Again last night at three o'clock in the morning he was still playing on his computer when he realised how important the very next day would be... he had only one shot at this, he had to convinced the whole board that his single new Shrinking Theory was worth spending the whole next year scientific and spatial programme budget on it. No simple task, for someone who has no ideas of how to market an idea. Perhaps he should have hired a PR woman, beautiful, freshly started, ready to do anything to sell one single idea, powerful enough to put to the garbage bin every single scientific idea there is on the market in this day and age. When he was finally accepted in front of the board, again Richard was only worried about insignificant details that would have had no meaning to any real scientist presenting his new theories to the most important board on the planet, the British Spatial Agency one (as America did not want to hear anything about his new theory). His lips were dry, dry blood could be seen on them, he was completely dehydrated from alcohol, trying to finish his last cigarette in a building obviously smoke free. How fat have I become, he thought, at the very moment the main question was asked. What was the question again? Richard was so nervous, he could not hear anything. One of those days where you forget you ever learn English, even forgetting which language you usually think in.

 

-Mr Wakefield! Did you hear the question? asked the chairman, the president of the committee.

 

    Richard was at a lost. He could only remember the fat woman in the Underground. He felt the urge to justify himself:

 

-I am sorry, apparently someone was dead under the track at King's Cross station, the train was stuck! was his answer. I am even surprise they will admit that this was the reason for the train to not go anywhere!

 

-Mr Wakefield! The board does not care in the slightest if you are forty-five minutes late at this meeting. Can you tell us if what we are proposing is possible? Worth of holding every single project we have in store for the next couple of years?

 

    Richard did not hear the question, did not know what they were talking about. He could only hear the beat of the only song there was on the new kind of CD there was on the market that he had tried to record last night... but he knew how to bullshit his way through whenever it was the time, and this time looked as good as any other.

 

-Of course! Go for it! Whatever you want to experiment, I will collaborate. As anyone seen a cup of coffee around? Oh, yes, I know we are in Britain, but I prefer coffee to tea. At least, of course, we are not in France... they have such disgusting coffee, you have to go to McDonald to get something respectable, which is weird don't you think? I mean, I was born in Canada, coffee there is like...

-Mr Wakefield? Are you ok? Do you need a recess to think about what we are talking here?

 

-Euh, well, perhaps you could repeat the question?

 

-For God's sake, Mr Wakefield, we are talking about finding applications derived from your new Shrinking theory of the Universe, meaning, sending a ship through the infinitely small, creating a small quantum singularity, using energy never before thought possible... are you with us? This is very serious, if it fails, we are stuck to justify ourselves forever to any new government in Britain, which is no easy task. The Americans are not interested in this project, we still have to convince the rest of Europe to follow us, can you just concentrate at the matter at hand?

 

    Richard was suddenly in such a panic, he had some kind of a blockage in his head. He got to his pack of cigarettes, everybody in the room seems to freak out for a second, it was a none smoking building, was he going to light that thing? Richard said:

-It is Silk Cut Ultra, it ain't a cigarette, it is wind, believe me!

 

    The whole board was astonished, stunned will be the word. Small talk was growing in the room, everybody thought they had the craziest guy on the planet in front of them, not worthy of spending the next budget for many years, when Richard added:

 

-I have been sacked form a coffee bar in Covent Gardens... do you really think I am the man you think I am?

 

    The board, for the first time ever, went out of control. Like one of the worst day in the Common at Westminster, like chickens desperate to react to nothing, everybody went berserk. They just could not believe how stupid a human being can be, forgetting the kind of stress applied to someone who failed everything in life, as Richard thought so about himself, could feel like in a situation where all his ideas were going to be put to the test, with a budget of millions of pounds, if not billions.

 

-Does anybody know I was the first page of both the Independent and the Daily Mail today? Are you responsible for such a conspiracy behind my back?

 

    Suddenly, all talks stopped. Everybody in the room seemed to understand instantly what the word Daily Mail meant, especially to make the cover. They all laugh in unison and sat quietly in their place while Richard was still showing all the signs of someone ready to lose consciousness, the result of a nervous break down.

 

-Well Mr Wakefield, said the president, welcome to Great Britain. We are about to send you into the quantum singularity of a small black hole, using the energy of quantum fluctuations, I guess the Daily Mail can have some pictures of you on the front page... please do not worry about it, since this is how humankind is, in Britain anyway, in this day and age.

[...]  (put here the conversation on paper I prepared about this board... hopefully I did not lose the pad...)

Conclusion...

 

 

IV

 

   Richard was walking quietly on Oxford Street, still thinking about some unanswered questions like the one concerning energy linked to quantum fluctuations. He knew that in one electron there was more energy than in the whole visible sky ahead, still he did not know how far were the scientists in using this quantum fluctuation energy. Still, the committee seemed to be talking about it like if they found how to use it. Surely this kind of discovery would have been in used long ago, like the breakthrough of all time. Nobel prizes would have been given and petrol, electricity, liquid hydrogen and all these kind of energies would have been declared obsolete. Soon he will know al about it, top secrets research on the way, infinite possibilities to achieve just about anything. He thought for a second that such a discovery could lead to the worst weapons ever, therefore it would have to be keep secret. Still, they were talking today like it was understood that such power was at hand. Unless the scientists would have to research this forever before any kind of project derived from his ideas could go on. He had been warned against any kind of people trying to get from him any kind of secrets. He had been bound by the secrecy of the mission, he did not like it. What else did they know that he did not? At least he was about to discover all that. They felt safe with him, he barely knew anything. Still good that they wanted him on the project, his theory spoke for itself. He thought that perhaps he was the only one to fully understand his complicated ideas, therefore the only one to develop it further or adjust it depending on any new problem coming in the equation. Richard felt the urged to read every science book there was on this planet since the beginning of time, including all sort of philosophical ideas whatever how crazy they were. Only some sort of electronic connections right to his brain could insure such knowledge that quickly, since he could only read a book every other day. He was still thinking about these questions when an Indian dressed like some kind of a religious figure bump into him. Nobody seems to notice him, but on Oxford Street, anyone could be incognito because of the diversity of the people walking around. 

-Mister Wakefield?

 

    Richard was surprised to see the guy knew his name.

 

-I know you are about to board the ambassador from earth, the fire bird of destiny. Have you fully understood what it means for our people?

 

    Richard was already on his guard. He was after all first page of some newspapers in London today, he could have easily been recognised. He was not in the mood of wasting his time talking to a degenerate religious person talking about apocalypse. But he had always been curious in nature, and could not walk away. He needed to hear the words of that monk, even if it was irrelevant. He proposed to go in the first pub they saw, and the religious figure accepted. Once in the pub, Richard got a pint of beer for himself and a glass of water for the other. 

-My name in English translates as the illuminated. Yours as well. As you have been chosen to see through everything and will reach my people far from here. The god of destiny provided you with insight and the power to be recognised as a suitable carrier of ideas worth pursuing. You are engaged in the biggest role ever for all humanity, to link between my people and yours. You are blind now, but will not be anymore. You will see clearly, even deeper than you could have imagined. You will be aware of the multiplicity of yourself, you will provoke all that is necessary to reach my people.

 

    Richard was listening. Aware that his theory was opening many new avenues. Nothing at this point could have been crazier than his ideas.

 

-You have proven that time was not what it is thought. Therefore, past, present and future has no meaning. We do know about your destiny. One of your infinite you will reach us, because it is in the probability of such enterprise you are conducting. Billions and billions of you will be observable, and only one will reach my people. It is all scientific, nothing magical here. You will become many, and one of yourself will accomplished the link. It is crucial that this one, the illuminated, reach its goals. Are you ready to know more? Or should we have another meeting at a later time?

-Well, have you given me enough to think about? What do you mean by many of myself?

 

-Read your theory again, Mr Wakefield, you will understand the potential of your ideas. Do not dismiss the quantum theory so easily, it is strange theory, but close to the truth than you think. You cannot make a mistake about the consequences. I am talking to the only one right now, but only a small fraction of you will understand the meaning of our conversation here. It is a great pleasure, believe me, to speak to the whole one that will be split in many. You will have to be prompt and intelligent to make them understand that you are one that matters, the signal has to be clear before you embark on your mission. That if one of yourself says that this particular mission is of the utmost importance, that you will be heard. I can already say that your computer will not be able to see that message. We have known all our life about that particular computer capable of processing all the information received and I will be grateful if you can somehow get on board a special device worthy of its use. I do not see why this request could be refused, as it is the most powerful machine on earth. In due time we will provide you with more instructions. For now, here is a map of where you will find the computer, as you call it, and I suggest you get your people involved in retrieving it. Unfortunately, you will need the service of one of your satellite to pinpoint its location, as the only clue we have is that you will find it several kilometre under the land, in one of our ancient communication site. Good luck, but I know you do not need such a thing. You are the illuminated, at least in part. You cannot fail.

   

 

 
Meeting the Team

 

        Richard left that morning for another very important meeting.  He was to meet the team in charge of his project  He decided, as he walked down Osterley Road and the Great West Road on his way to the station,  to take a taxi, this time all the way to the centre of town.  He was panicking again.  What would he say to them? After all, he did not know anything himself, despite his sudden vision of the universe.

        He arrived at Cavendish Square and went into the same building where he had had his first meeting with the board.  And again he held his breath.  When he went into the small conference room in the basement he realised that once again he was late, but this time nobody seemed to mind. 

Everyone was silent.  Richard assumed he had to speak.

          “Well, did anyone watch the Royal Wedding yesterday?  And the pizza tastes good on Shaftesbury Avenue”.

         All the scientists, technicians and engineers around the table looked at each other as if Richard had already come from another planet.  So Richard tried to take control:

          “Well, it’s very simple.  We’ll build a ship, we’ll shrink it and send it at once to the other side of the universe”.

          The team had been briefed already and had some kind of idea about the project that sounded quite serious, but simply put, the way Richard had just put it, it sounded like the biggest joke or hoax ever in all history of science.  They all looked at Richard for ten seconds in silence.  Then they all started to laugh to the full capacity of their lungs.  Right in the middle, Richard was at a loss.  In his opinion, he had not said anything funny.

          The laugh was cut short when two women came in.  They sat at the two remaining seats and the young one started distributing some booklets.  She was rather nice and beautiful, thought Richard, until the monster beside her started to talk:

          “I’m Alison Partridge, director of this project, reporting to the board.  And this is Nicole Orsi, Project Manager of the shrinking mission.  Well, it’s very simple...  We’ll build a ship, we’ll shrink it and send it at once to the other side of the universe”.

          Richard was stunned that she could repeat his exact words and thought she probably heard him say them in the first place. And still, nobody laughed.

          “You’ll see that we really are starting from scratch”, said Nicole.  “We have incredible problems to solve but you are the best in the industry and I trust we can achieve something here.”

          A young man stood up at the end of the conference table, flicked through the reports and said:  “You must be joking!  You’re asking us to create a small asshole, sorry, black hole, shrink a ship, give it a propulsion system that no one has ever heard of and find a way to develop a communications system good enough to reach ants in their holes, I mean, to reach the end of the universe.  In my opinion, it’s a waste of time, money and talent”.

          At once everyone at the table started to speak.  It was chaos until the director brought back order with one word:  "Silence!" Then she continued: "The board has raised the same questions as you, Mr Vepsalainen, and I would like to assure you that we would never have considered a project with so many uncertain variables in the picture in the first place.  We know what we’re doing.  From the moment you signed your contracts, you were all bound to secrecy.  We can now tell  you more about the black projects of the European space programme.  We have with us an engineer from Lockheed Martin.  Mr Aslam, please tell us more about the new breakthroughs on propulsion”.

          “Thank you, Mrs Orsi.  Yes, you might have heard about quantum fluctuations, tampering with the energy contained in particles composing the void of space.  We have developed this technology as one of our black projects with the European Space Agency.  Even NASA is aware of our research.  And we’ve never had the money before to launch a vessel outside the solar system.  It’s only now we can get to put all the tests we did into practice.  The only problem is that we never got the chance to test it in space.  Too many people would have immediately become aware of such technology and we were afraid of what this breakthrough would have meant for the Superpowers and other dodgy organisations.  The near infinite energy that we can get from such technology is beyond imagination and could easily become the most horrific weapon in the known universe.  I can assure you, we can create a small singularity powerful enough to shrink that ship and to propel that ship at incredible speed once it  has been shrunk.  We still have to find a way not to crunch the ship in the process.  And I really hope you’re as good as Mrs Orsi has led us to believe. Of course, none of you will be allowed near the plans of the propulsion system”.

          “Thank you, Mr Aslam”, said Alison.  “Now, about the integrity of the ship, let’s hear from Mr Matthew Borg.  Mr Borg?”

          Two or three people answered.

          “Yes, no jokes, please.  I’m from Sweden.  It’s my name.  I’m sorry if some writers on Star Trek lack the imagination to invent new names for their alien species.  Still, almost like the Borg themselves, we have been working at Caltech in America on some new force field capable of sustaining one ship in a void.  Our astronauts shouldn’t even sense a G-force”.

          “My God!” said Verpi Vepsalainen, the same young man who had stood up earlier.  “So much potential already exists and we’re still sending astronauts into space to suffer those G-forces and years of travel to get to the planets of our system?”

          “Yes”, answered Mrs Orsi.  “And now, Mr Vepsalainen, what can you tell us about the latest developments in communication systems?”

          “Well, if we’d known that so many other organisations had already reached that level of technology, we would have invested much more.  Let’s say we can produce a workable ? system for the circumstances as long as our friend here from X finally tells us about those new quantum computers.  With a computer processing at quantum levels, we should be able to develop our quantum communications that we hope to commercialise afterwards”.

          “One thing at a time, Mr Vepsalainen”, said Mrs Orsi.  “We’ll discuss the rights of the technology developed here after the project.  Of course there is no way that quantum fluctuations energy will ever be commercialised.  You’re not even allowed to tell anyone of its existence”.

          For a while Richard tried to follow the conversation.  Never before had he been included in the secrecy of all that was needed to achieve something out of his ideas.  He even wondered why they had him there, since this whole project could have been developed without new data about the universe.  None of these breakthroughs had happened because of him.  And he hoped that it would make a difference.  He could not really justify his presence.  They could still produce a singularity, shrink a ship, try to communicate with it in the infinitely small, whether or not Richard had found that there was neither speed nor distance in the universe.  He was there somehow as a theoretical physicist.  So why were they calling all this his project?  Well, at least he was the one to come forward with the idea of shrinking objects in the first place.  To discover that  in everyday life each time someone walks away from you, this has nothing to do with moving but with shrinking, and the rest being perceptions of your brain.  This makes it easier to plan shrinking an object radically in order to send it very far in space, wherever that space may be.

          “I don’t understand”, said Vepsalainen.  “If we’re just shrinking the ship, we’re only reducing its scale.  We’re not sending it anywhere in space!”

          “We’re sending it somewhere, though.  We’re sending it at the Planck length level . . “, said Orsi uncertainly, looking at Richard for any insight.

           This was when suddenly Richard smiled and grew in confidence.  They might need him after all since only him appeared to be crazy enough in his head to have the new configuration of the universe all pictured out.

          “Whatever our speed, light travels in front of us at a speed of 300,000 km an hour.  Whether or not we ourselves are almost reaching the speed of light.  It has been observed that at these speeds an object shrinks in the direction in which it is accelerating.  The shrinking theory of the universe states that we never move and everything is at the same point in the universe.  We are all in essence sharing the same space at this very moment - only our brains perceive it as distance and speed.  The only way somehow to find ourselves somewhere else in the universe is to find a way to shrink a lot.  You’ll never go faster than the speed of  light, since you never move.  But you can go anywhere you want,  provided you have the energy to shrink”.

          "And how do you propose we do that?", asked Vepsalainen.

          "At the moment, a ship in space is spitting propellant in order to shrink from our point of you. But other means exists to get that ship to shrink. You can push it for example with a catapult, or using radiation from the Sun. Well, we propose to do the same thing, we will use infinite energy to push that ship instantly at such a speed many times over the speed of light that it will instantly get somewhere else in the Universe very far from here. No need to place it in space, we will be able to control the experiment better in the closed environment of a laboratory. We will be able to locate the ship that will still be inside the room and communicate with it."

          Richard was proud of himself, he thought he had just proven to everyone that perhaps he was intelligent after all. Unfortunately Mr Vepsaleinen and the rest of the room did not seems to grasp any of his concepts. They were looking around the room as if asking: is there someone else in this room who understands this, or else, why is it that we are investing so much in this. And Richard again thanked the fact that some of new adjusted equations of Einstein could not be proven false, otherwise nobody would have ever believed or tried to understand his ideas.

          So Richard continued: "Even Einstein talked about the relativity of distance, has anybody ever stopped to understand the consequences of the relativity of distance? The implications are that size and speed are also relative! The whole universe is all relative to you, to your perceptions and your point of view. If distance is relative, if space is relative, an object when it takes some speed does not go anywhere, it only shrinks from your point of view. And the Equations of Lorentz proved that speed was relative at the beginning of the last millennium and it is about time that people understood that it meant that the speed of light has never been a barrier. (get here what I say in my theory...)

          “All right, all right, says Vepsalainen impatiently. Let's talk about real life now, the ship, what about expanding it back to where it was?”

          “That’s irrelevant.  You shrink back the ship again from where it is, from the point of reference it is at...“

          Orsi  interrupted:  “Sorry?  If I understand correctly, once the ship is smaller than the Planck length, we’re not expanding it back to where it started?”

          “No.  You shrink the ship again from the Planck length until it’s back where you can see it”. 

          “But that’s enlarging its scale”.

          “No.  There’s no such thing as scale.  You perceive something as very large or very small but it is only very large or very small from your point of view.  Once that ship is there in the infinitely small, how large do you think it will see these small particles?  Very large.  And how large will the Earth be?  Very large?  No, because of “distance” the Earth will be infinitely small.  We’ll have become their quantum universe.  They’ll need a powerful microscope to see the Earth, as no telescope will ever be powerful enough to see the other side of the universe”.

          “Do you mean”, said Nicole, “that looking through a microscope is the same thing as looking through a telescope?”

          “Exactly.  The infinitely small is the very large.  Those small particles are stars far away in the sky”.

          “That’s crazy”, answered Vepsalainen, “how many billions of pounds are we spending on these crazy ideas?  What can possibly justify spending so much on this?”

          “I know this is hard to accept, even to understand”, said Richard.  “I’m always doubting my logic myself until I go back deeply into it and see that I can’t find a problem.  The logic is all there.  But hey, I’m not that crazy or far out.  For how many years now has science been saying that the kind of warp speed of science fiction is theoretically possible?  Warping space, meaning that a ship going straight to Alpha Centauri does not go to Alpha Centauri but, rather, brings Alpha Centauri to itself ?  How can that be unless speed and distance are not quite what we think they are?“

          “But surely you can’t prove Newton and Einstein wrong?  Not even a genius could do such a thing!”

          “I don’t say they’re wrong.  On the contrary, their equations will be a great deal of help to us in this project.  I’m only saying that, despite their great powers of observation and explanation, they were wrong in the way they visualised the universe and that their equations were not as static as we first established.  Like those people inventing the first ever calendar.  Despite taking the Earth as the centre of the universe, their calculations were still OK.  Because it doesn’t matter whether the Earth is at the centre as long as all your points of reference are well established and you can compare data.  There are perhaps a dozen ways to calculate a certain variable.  In the end, whatever the means, you can always reach the answer because it is just comparing known data to other known data.  Well, all that’s just to say that, whether or not there are such things as speed and distance or just the illusion, Newton and Einstein are still valid”

          “That’s philosophy, not science!” said Vepsalainen.  “We’ll have to burn you alive if all that’s untrue!”

          “OK, folks”, said Mrs Orsi.  “You already have something to look into.  I need a report after more meetings from each of your teams.  In three months we’ll start at the new factories being built in Osterley Park just outside London.  I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the day”. 

          “One more thing”, said Borg.  “Are you sure, Richard, that you haven’t been abducted by aliens and come back with all these weird ideas?”

          “Not that I know of . . . 

           “It’s a pity.  I’d have been more likely to trust this project if you’d been abducted by a UFO”.

          Freed from his responsibilities, Richard was once again walking down Oxford Street [in the centre of London].  He was worrying.  Were his ideas so hard to understand?  They had all had the full report.  Had they not understood it?  Some people somewhere must have given it  more thought since the project was happening.  But it wasn’t comforting.  Like if [what if?] this bureaucratic decision had been ? by bureaucracies somewhere who had never had any idea about science?  Like if any kind of breakthrough or theory had to be tested in case some other people somewhere decided to do the same.  We need to be ready, to know the technology, to know all the possible ways a weapon can act: the strange surprise this universe is reserving for us every day of our lives.  Still, Richard felt more, isolated in his ideas.  The only true proof he was really there.  Existing.  Breathing.  If I am weird and don’t make any sense, so be it, he thought.  But this was not comforting.  Maybe it was the  true nature of a genius to think so differently from anybody else.  And only through verification of one’s theory can we truly recognise the potential of that one being.  Still, it’s lucky, thought Richard, that I’m not linked in any way with any religion or cult.  They would never have tried to listen to me in the first place.

 

Developing the Technology

 

        Richard arrived at Osterley Park in a car: it was idyllic with tress, horses, chickens and a little farmhouse selling vegetables and fresh eggs.  Turning the corner there was a nice little artificial pond with ducks all around. [Can’t read next sentence]  Osterley House was in the background with the stables on the left.  The car stopped in front of the house, many journalists took pictures and he walked up the steps to the main lobby.

          The architecture and the furniture were as they were when the house was built four hundred years earlier.  What a strange choice for this project, he thought.  But once he had been directed along some corridors in the basement to a newly installed lift which seemed to serve fifty levels, he understood the  place had been well-chosen.  The experiment would take place far underground.  Incredible laboratories had been set up and in the  middle of it all there was a huge metallic sphere.

          “What, you already have a ship?” Richard said to Nicole who was coming towards him.

          “We haven’t been wasting time, Mr Wakefield”.

          “What about all these problems of propulsion, communications and ?  Have they been working hard on those too?”

          “£Oh yeah, this sphere is ?  Please rest assured that we are almost ready to send the ship”

          “I feel like I’ve been left out?”

          “Not really.  Everybody has been working all round the world in their own labs.  They only moved here last week.  This is where we’ll prepare the mission more thoroughly.  Come and meet the familiar faces”.

          Richard and Nicole walked around the place and ended up in another room sealed like a bunker.

          ”This must have been built during the war.  Or a war”.

          Inside the director, Mrs Orsi, was watching the BBC News on television . 

          “The Daily Mirror has been able to get a picture of the probe that will be launched in “space”.  Despite the fact that it’s several miles underground under Osterley House.  The most expensive project ever for the European Space Agency is under way.  The black project is called the shrinking mission and is about to send a ship called Explorer into the very small world beyond the smallest particle ever selected.  The details are not clear as to how to shrink the ship.  It looks like most space shuttles NASA sends into space.  Apparently many new breakthroughs in energy and computer processing are at the base of the success of the  mission, the new shrinking theory of the universe.  But Mr Richard Wakefield is also at the heart of this project.  A theory that almost nobody understands unless they are a theoretical physicist.  That states that there is no speed or distance in the universe, only the perception of it.  And everything in the universe is at the same point.  [We know all this already!]  The probe should be launched any time now, before the ? shuttle follows some time in the next ten months”.

          Mrs Orsi turned off the TV.  “Well, Mr Wakefield, am I glad to see you?  The whole project has been leaked from just about everywhere.  Those journalists from the Daily Mirror must have bought everyone on the project.  I’m sure you’ll ? to see the most expensive microscope ever.  It looks like a telescope to me.  Just right on the ceiling of the main room, as you can see.  Nicole will show you around before getting in a lot of details.  Are you ready to go?”

          “I beg your pardon?” said Richard.

           “Nobody told you yet?  You and Nicole have bee chosen to go in the shuttle.  You’ll start your extensive training, both physical and technological, next week.  What do you say to that?”

          Nicole looked at Richard with a smile.  Richard laughed happily.  He was not expecting that much.

          The director seemed relieved.  She did not want to go through the whole process of finding someone else if Richard said no.

          “Come, Richard, I’ll show you around”, said Nicole.

          Later that day Richard and Nicole were walking in the large park.  There were green fields all around with cows grazing the grass.

          “Do you realise, Nicole, that we’ll probably never come back?”

          “Yeah!” Nicole answered a bit too loudly.

          “Is that supposed to mean that you don’t want to come back?”

          “No, it means that this project is worth everything - even our lives”.

          Suddenly Richard became serious: “Have you got any family?”

          “No!  That’s the best of it all.  My parents are dead.  No brothers or sisters, some lost cousins somewhere in the world.  No children and not even a boy friend.  What about you?”

          “Oh, parents and a sister lost in Canada, but apart from that . . . 

          “Careful, we might be the Adam and Eve colonising the rest  of the universe”.

          “Yes, that’s what I was thinking about”.

          “Well, no time to think about that now.  If we survive, stranded in space or on a weird planet or electron, we’ll be advised”

          “I suppose you’re right”.

          “Come, let’s go eat.  There’s a restaurant in the stables”.

          “Is there . . . ?”

 

 

Launching the Probe

 

    Some months had passed.  Richard knew what every machine on the site could do.  He had lost some weight and was in a very good physical state.  All the engineers and technicians were in the control room, ready to see the sphere go only God knew where.  Nicole was beside him, looking at a monitor and the director was giving some orders at the end of the room, a mobile phone and a walkie-talkie in her hands.

          “All right, everyone, the countdown has started.  Mechanics, are you ready?”

          “Yes”.

          “Electrics?”

          “Yes”.

          “Vision, how does space look?”

          “Perfect!”

          “OK.  Nicole, I need you here!”

  

 

Shrinking Theory: things to think about

 

        As seen in the movie, The Day After, a nuclear bomb vaporises, humans almost at another level.  Funny that the impact of an asteroid with Earth would have the same effect.  Vaporising people as of matter was lost in the ocean of particles.  Is it because this is what happens with any explosion, whatever its cause or is there more to say about that?

 

 

After the Probe Test

 

        Richard took another vacation on a boat on the Canal du Midi in France where, the year before, all his new shrinking theory came to him for the first time. He looked at the sky, the stars, in wonder: is it really where I am going?  Running  his little motorised boat on the canal ? with magnificent lines of trees, Richard was trying to find that right spot between ? and Castelnaudary where he  had  sat on top of the boat and looked at the horizon.  This place where for the first time he did not take the light, or whatever he saw in the distance, for granted.  The street lights far a way were sending jumpy, squeezed images.  The sunflowers in the field were now falling downwards as the light of the sun disappeared.  Sending a distorted image of paradise at dusk.  And the humans . . . Richard could see they were in the distance.  He could estimate how long it would take him to reach them: about two hours, maybe.  But had he been on the moon, he could not have established such things.  Without an atmosphere you see the universe completely differently.  You cannot feel distance.  You see any mountain like a two-dimensional picture.  The farthest mountain does not come to you as a blurry image.  It is as clear as the closest one.  Like in space.  Meeting an asteroid in space, thought Richard, does not tell you its size in any way.  You could think it was as big as an orange or as big as the Earth.  Only calculations and the use of instruments could give you the right idea.  Suddenly Richard looked at the water.  Under that it is the complete opposite.  You cannot see farther than a few metres in front of you.  And, depending on which environment you’re in, if you look at an object in another environment, often this object is not really where you see it to be.

          Richard reached a bend and saw his favourite view.  It was dusk again, so he stopped the boat, jumped out and attached it to some trees.  He then sat on the boat and looked at the horizon, hoping to prise out some more truth about the universe just being a perception of our senses.  Then he saw what he had forgotten: bats!  Dozens of them flying in all directions with their internal sensors.  Eating as many as a hundred bugs a night.  And he thought: They certainly have a different perspective of the universe.  They send some kind of signal, much as radar does, to sense what the big picture looks like.  Oh. thought Richard, how nice the scenery is!  The French people here, I hope they realise they’re in paradise.  Life is not worth anything without this peaceful environment.  Yet, look at where I’m going in a few months.  I’ll never see any place like this again.  I’ll die somewhere on a grain of sand, finding my way between the stars composing it.  And Richard took up some sand in his hand from the roof.   He was trying to see beyond what his eyes were telling him. 

          There’s life in there, he thought, and this is what I’m going to find out.  No need to go into space and never reach the next system . . .   They live here inside us.

 

        Richard was now on the TGV taking him to Paris at 300 km per hour.  The scenery outside was passing so fast that even a blink of his eye could make him miss something of interest.  The train was passing cities and storms so quickly that Richard always found a clear sky.  Then a cloudy one, then a clear one again, in a matter of minutes.  Planes are flying over the clouds, he thought.  Hard to feel speed then, he wondered.  This train could be going at almost the speed of light and still he would find it normal.  Why not then go from A to B instantly?  Paris to London in the blink of an eye.  That was what  his theory was all about.  There ought to be other means of travel apart from those mechanical engines.  They had their limitations.  He could not see . . .  How could one instantly makes day to day life easier than this?  Closer to Paris he saw a Concorde.  Those planes doing three times the speed of sound.  What kind of propulsion system, other than creating a small singularity, could propel this plane to a much faster speed?  If everything is at the same point in the universe, there must be a solution, other perhaps than using the powers of mind over matter. We still need to get something out of the ship, or have something push the ship. Or something suck it out of here, the role of the Quantum singularity. As God apparently did with the creation of the universe. Could thinking about something create that something?  And Richard ? fell asleep on the Eurostar to London.  He had a dream.  He was in empty space without an astronaut outfit and was looking at what he described as a cosmic phone ringing.  He could not answer it but was trying hard.  He thought he would understand everything provided he could pick up that phone.

          He finally reached it and said “Hello?  Hello?”  There was no answer.  Everywhere in the universe around him a white line of waves was rushing in every direction.  He could hear his voice everywhere in the silence: “Hello, hello?  Is anybody there?” 

          On a far distant planet an old man was looking at the sky with his grandson beside him.  A fine ribbon came on to the world.  A voice came from the sky: “Hello, hello?  Anybody there?”  Astonished, the old man answered: “Hello?”  He did not understand what the voice was saying but was trying to repeat it.  At the other end of the line Richard heard “Hello?”.  To which he answered: “Who are you?  Where are you?” 

          And the passport inspector woke Richard in the middle of the Channel tunnel, as usually happened on the train from Paris to London.  Richard was looking, perplexed, at the man, while being on another planet.  The old man and his grandson heard: “Who are you?  Where are you?”

          Richard found his way to Osterley Park, looking at the big ? in the ceiling that also served as some kind of satellite dish.  He thought of his dream, of that old and ugly phone he had picked up in space.  That experiment, triumph of the latest technology, seemed even harder to believe than his dream.  And it could bring such a signal from another world where he could be himself in the next few months.  The probe had been a success despite the unexpected that was now providing new changes in his plans.  Soon he could expect another answer.

 

 

Atlantis

 

        On this world the oceans were green.  As a result of the reflection, the sky was green.  During the day two stars warmed the planet, which was completely covered with oceans except for an island on the surface.  There was no night in this binary system.  The green planet was always orbiting the suns in such a way that light was always in the sky.  On the small island that Richard and Nicole would christen Atlantis, Kepek lived alone with his daughter Mirta and his grandson Tay.  They looked like humans but slightly different.  On Earth, in Oxford Street, you could have looked at them and thought they were from some other country in the world where a whole race looked like that.  They slept very little.  The 24-hour cycle the Earth followed had no meaning for them.  No night influenced their  bodies, asking for a regeneration period.  They had no concept of time, though they would sometimes talk in terms of  the movements of the stars.  They preferred not to keep count, not to complicate their existence with talking about time, days, months and years.  They never quite understood its relevance in the universe they lived in because the sky was always so bright.  Not another star apart from the two in their system was ever seen, since none of them ever saw a night sky.

          They were alone on the island.  Incapable of understanding where they came from, why the land was so small and why they were the only ones on it.  There were small animals on the island.

 

 

(Continued from The Probe Test)

 

        The big sphere was ready to be launched - more precisely, to be shrunk.  Nicole was explaining to Richard that while the technology capable of creating a small singularity is [usually?] attached to the ? shuttle, this probe was to be launched without such a device.  It was a one-way trip.  Three, two, one . . . A gigantic white cloud of energy appeared on the monitors, blinding light as bright as the sun.  In the sealed room the probe disappeared in a huge burst following the detonation of a bomb. 

          “All right, folks”, said Nicole.  “It’s still there somewhere.  Are we tracking  it?”

          “Yes”, said Borg.  “It’s sending signals.  As soon as  it stopped, it crashed on a particle”.

          “Let me see on the screen.  Reduce the speed to a level comprehensible to us”.

          The electronic microscope had followed the probe.  The whole journey had taken a fraction of a second.  What took longer was the processing of the recorded information.  Without the quantum computer this would have been impossible.  Instead of using electrons representing 0 and 1, depending on the amount of energy they contained.  Quantum computers (See Magazine)

        So the microscope followed the probe very quickly, recorded the fraction of a second of its journey and turned that fraction of a second into a recording lasting minutes, hours and years.  Since on this scale everything goes much faster than on Earth, time was at the forefront of all equations.

          The images on the screen were showing a dot getting smaller and smaller until it disappeared on a bigger particle.  That particle, which was much smaller than the usual electron, was immediately given a name: Atlantis, because it was covered with water.  Now new signals were coming in, images taken from the probe.   Again, after processing and adjusting, the images came on.  Everything was spaghettified, like long white tubes composing a strange universe, and finally everything came to a stop with enough velocity to reach this green planet called officially Particle Atlantis 1.  There was just time to see an island before the sphere entered the green ocean.

          “There’s an atmosphere?  Incredible!” said ?  “It’s suitable for life - good enough for us!”

          “Now”, said Director Orsi, “this is what I call luck!”

          “Or is it?” Richard added.

          “What do you mean?” said Nicole, pushing some buttons.

          “I mean that I’ve been told about this planet and most likely we’ll be going there.  But really millions of probes have been sent and most of them never reached anything... all right, let’s talk about that another time”.

          “Yeah, there are so many interesting things to analyse.  This is the first time ever that humankind has discovered that life can be sustainable not only on a planet but on an electron!  Or sort of.  Since we have gone at least three universes down”.

          “What do you mean?”

          “Well, the probe has landed on a particle, part of a system composing another system composing our world of elementary particles composing us!” 

          “My God, added Richard, I  wonder what the News will sound like on the BBC tonight!”

          That same night the reporter on BBC 1 television was ecstatic: “A group of scientists, using the latest technology, were capable of sending a probe far into the world of particles.  The very small.  And registered a planet suitable for life!  They are proposing to send NASA cosmonauts as soon as all the data collected are fully processed”.  The images were now being shown.  “Now this proves beyond doubt, or so they say, that life must exist outside our system - if not in our universe, in the universe composing us.  They used an elaborate system of quantum communications and a new propulsion system, creating a small singularity using quantum fluctuations energy to achieve this sensational  - “

          “We’ve heard that twice now.  Please turn it off.  We need to celebrate”, Richard said, opening a bottle of champagne in their little apartment at Osterley House.

          “Now”, said Nicole, “tell me about the person who told you we’d be going there”.

          “This weird religious monk came up to me in Oxford Street shortly after the meeting with the board.  He told me about this and, even better, about the multiplication of the - “

          “Could he have been referring to quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle stating that a system exists in all possible configurations at the same time?  The technology that our quantum computers are using?”

          “Yes”, said Richard, “that’s what I thought.  Could it be applicable to us as well?  After all, we’re made of billions and billions of particles, an infinite amount.  How could we be existing an infinite amount of time?

          “My God”, said Nicole, “what an adventure we’re having.  You know, if that is truly the case,  by observing the probe we isolated one configuration of the universe, destroying all the others”

          “We have not destroyed anything, and I am not so sure about this multiverse anymore. It is all a question of perceptions, and particles going faster than the speed of light, this is when things look weird to us. But the most puzzling of all is that someone from a universe composed of our planets and sun was watching us in the same way.  He could isolate the Earth and hence destroy all the other Earth “ (I have here to read about Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and decide once and for all if I will have a multiverse or not according to the shrinking theory and the Universal Theory of relativity. Is it compatible? Can we still have one particle being at many places at the same time without this being a problem related to the fact that this particle going faster than the speed of light and sometimes not could appear at many places at the same time though it is the same damn particle in the same universe. As well, could it be just that our instrument to observe that particle is not accurate enough and because it jumps fractions of second when it observes, it register the same particle at many different times and locations, getting fooled by its own limitations. But we have a machine counting how many times and by which door the particle goes through. And it goes through both doors, the same particle. So I am wrong here.)  

          “You mean the Earth could exist in an infinite amount, an infinite possibility of configurations of ourselves?”

          “Yeah, suddenly all one’s problems seem so small . . . 

          “Or, all your problems just took on infinite proportions if repeated in all those parallel universes”.

          “And they wouldn’t even be parallel.  They would all be at this place at the same time, like this particle Atlantis 1 with its island.  It’s part of our universe”.

          “Yes, it’s in the very small”.

          “No.  I mean, if you could go far enough in our universe, I believe you would find that this particle Atlantis 1 is a planet as big as the Earth”.

          “Impossible!”

          “Nicole, how can you ignore the shrinking theory and be the project manager?  This planet is there somewhere in the sky, and it’s also here in the cellar of Osterley House.  But I doubt if the most powerful telescope could ever see it.  There is no very large or very small.  Everything is at the same point in space.  Why do you think we were able to reach that place in a fraction of a second?”

          “And we’re going there?”

          “Well, see the bright dot there?  If you ever reach that planet, millions of years will have passed since the probe landed”.

          “Yes”, said ?   “And then, everything indicates that it will be more hospitable”.

          “What a day!”  said Nicole.

 

 

Description of the Probe

 

        “As you can see, Richard”, said Nicole, “the probe is doughnut-shaped”.

          “Looks more like a turbine to me”.

          “But it is!  It uses nuclear energy.  Don’t look at me like that.  So little is used.  Through cold fusion it gathers the energy of quantum fluctuations that activate the coils.  They turn so fast, creating a large magnetic field, that eventually creates the singularity needed for the trip”.

 

(Go back, see this article on the net about American scientists and Reaching the Sky.)

 

          Now showing a picture of the ship itself on the monitor, Richard asked, “Who thought of giving it the shape of a classic flying saucer?”

          “Practicality”, answered ?  “We needed something in the shape of a doughnut for the purpose of creating our magnetic field.  After putting a cockpit on top and thinking of aerodynamics, the flying saucer shape turned out to be the best!  You wouldn’t imagine all the possible breakthroughs that much energy gives us.  We could reshape the whole universe, if necessary”.

          This idea horrified both Nicole and Richard.  And yet he was right: they could move stars and planets.

          “This ship is so silent, you won’t believe it.  And it can quite easily land on any planet using the magnetic fields and the basic physics of Newton’s law's?]

 

 

The Launch of the Ship

 

        A huge flying saucer filled more than half the room.  All the external rim [=on the edges part] was already turning.  On top a crane supported a bubble of heat resistant Plexiglas where Nicole and Richard would sit while controlling the ship.

          “If the people of London could see that, they’d think it was an invasion from outer space”, said a technician.

          “Yeah!” said another woman, “Isn’t it wonderful?  You know, this ship can travel through time.   Surely that might explain all those UFOs people claim to have seen?”

          “So you think perhaps all those UFOs are just visitors from the future?”

          “Who couldn't contact us in any way because of the danger of changing the rules!”

          “But some of them would have broken the rules.  It always happens”.

          “Maybe it did.  But then again some sort of government agency could find out and correct it”.

          “And what do you make of all those weird aliens these people claim to have seen?”

          “Perhaps they were in disguise.  It would have been quite a shock to know that humans were in those ships.  It would have been proof that travelling through time was possible”.

          “Mmm . . . not convincing...“

          In the background Nicole and Richard were putting on their uniforms and checking some gears.  Mrs Orsi was almost crying with emotion.  She had been fond of the couple.

          “Oh, I hope everything goes well!  I promised myself not to show any emotion as the director.  But, what the heck, I can’t help it”.

          “Don’t worry, Mrs Orsi.  In technology we trust.  We’ll be back and if not, we’ll colonise a new planet”, said Nicole.

          “And this means so much for the future of  humankind, since we know we’re not here forever.  Humanity has an end.  Perhaps it will be even better not to come back at all”, said Richard.

          Both Nicole and Mrs Orsi looked at him with big eyes.  Mrs Orsi was shaken and Nicole said, “You can be so insensitive sometimes, even though you’re speaking the truth.  Let’s go into the cockpit”.

          Seated in the glass bubble, they both suddenly seemed to realise what was really going on there.  The door had been sealed and the crane was going down.  The bubble sat on top of the ship, connecting to other compartments below.  Some metallic poles were attached to the bubble and Nicole confirmed with the control centre that the procedure was complete.

          “My whole life on Earth is coming back to me now”, she said.

          “Me too.  Time for the last reckoning.  A new chapter, if not a new life, is beginning!” said Richard.  “Do you regret anything?”

          “I regret everything.  But no time to think about that”.

          “You mean you regret leaving?  Knowing the odds of never coming back, of dying out there somewhere?”

          Mrs Orsi, who was monitoring the conversation, stopped them there.  “Hey, you two, stop this talk now or I’ll invent a good reason to cancel the trip and replace you with monkeys”.

          “What great ambassadors of Planet Earth they’d be!” said Richard.  “Aliens might spend years trying to understand how a civilisation made of monkeys was able to build a ship like that to go across the universe in no time!”

          “Everything’s all right, Mrs Orsi”, said Nicole.  And she added to Richard, “I don’t regret leaving.  I regret the insignificant, very stupid little things I’ve done in my life.  Some words spoken, some actions.  You know.  Don’t you feel the same?”

          “Well, my motto is never to regret anything.  Everything we do made us what we are.  It is necessary experience to reach the point we’ve reached.  Don’t you feel sometimes that it was your destiny to be part of the greatest adventure of all time?”

          “No, I'm afraid I can’t even remember how I came to be here in the first place”.

          “We’re almost ready”, said Control.  “We’re starting the other coils.  Tell us immediately if the magnetic field becomes uncomfortable.  The slightest detail is of the utmost importance”.

          “Everything’s fine so far”, said Nicole.

          They could feel the coils turning faster and faster.  Still, it was not making much noise.  It was scarcely even vibrating.  Suddenly they could see a bright white light around the ship.

          “My God!” said Nicole.

          “Everything is reading fine”, said Richard.

          “Five out of five”, answered Control.  “Another two minutes and you’re off”.

          “Good luck, you two!  We expect great data!  And if you’re not back, please do honour to your planet!”

          Nicole and Richard looked at each other and she kissed Richard on the cheek as soon as the ship disappeared from the room in a big explosion.  Big chunks of the ship went everywhere in the room, blasting the walls.

          “The ship has been destroyed!” said Control.

          “What?” answered Mrs Orsi.  “What happened?”

          “Not sure.  We’re checking”.

          “Oh, my God!” said Mrs Orsi.  “We killed them!”  She was looking at the only monitor that was still transmitting the horror in the room.  “Most of the ship has gone through”.

          Still in a state of shock, Mrs Orsi tried to analyse the situation, looking at every piece of data there was without finding anything significant and finally admitting that they had lost.  She asked everyone to give her as much information as possible for the urgent meeting of the board organised in extremis.

          In Central London, when she was walking the last steps before reaching the door in Cavendish Square, a religious figure appeared. 

          The monk who spoke to Richard before came to her and said, “They’re not dead.  Look more closely”.

          She was a bit embarrassed and hurried into the building.  She got her mobile phone and quickly called Osterley.  She told Vepsalainen, “Keep tracking the particle where the probe ended.  Listen to the void.  We might find something”.

          “All right, but why?  Do you think they might still be alive?”

          “Who knows?  Maybe.  Just a feeling”.

          Then she went  into the room full of judgmental people and remembered why she had not wanted to be director in the first place.  Her job now was to take the blame for the mistakes of her team.

          The first question from the chairman was ,”What happened?”

          “To be honest, we don’t know.  It might take days to find out.  Everything went as planned and suddenly there was the explosion.  Maybe it was some sort of imbalance in the coils or a badly oriented magnetic field.  We’ll be able to give you more details as we go along”.

          Please tell me this is a dream, Mrs Orsi thought.  Everybody in the room was looking at her as if she did not deserve to exist for being so incompetent.  But what seemed to be the key, how much wasted money had gone for such crazy ideas.  And Mrs Orsi was quick to respond to that like a good director: “The mission, despite this tragic end, is a success.   We did send a probe out there.  It did reach a particle identified as a planet.  We did break every speed limit there was by basically rendering speed and distance obsolete.  We have use quantum computers and invented quantum communications.  The commercial impact of this, I mean, the impact for humanity at this level will be eternally changed, starting with this powerful new source of energy.  There will be no more hungry people on this planet.  And all the developed technology can be applied to many other areas of society.  This is just the beginning!”

          The plea had produced a great effect.  She was right, she was intelligent, she certainly made a difference.  People seemed for an instant to have forgotten about the ending of the first episode.

          “And it might not be the end just yet”, she added.

          “What do you mean?”

          “Sorry, I wouldn’t want to give you false hopes . . .”

          At this point her mobile phone rang and she picked it up.  “You’ll never believe it!  They’re alive!”

          The voice was so loud that everybody in the room seemed to have heard it, but nobody reacted, not sure what to make of it.

          “Are you sure?” asked Mrs Orsi.

          “Positive!  You’ll never believe what happened!”

          “Wait, I’ll plug the phone into the speakers of the Assembly,” said Mrs Orsi.  “OK, continue”.

          “It’s Schrodinger’s cat.  You know the experiment at the source of quantum mechanics.  The theory stating that a cat in a box with a gun to its head that could kill it at any moment exists in all possible states at the same time: dead, alive, and an infinite possibility between alive and dead.  Well, this is what we recorded.  For a fraction of a second the instruments recorded an infinite number of our ship!  Only when a better adjustment was made, closer to the particle Atlantis, did we register only one ship.  Exactly like if you open the box, the cat would then have ceased to exist in all its possible states, but will be either dead or alive or dying.  Well, our ship is just at the beginning of the solar system of Atlantis and we’re hoping to receive data and communications any time now.  So rush back!  Like if the ship exploded everywhere at the same time and because we were looking exactly where it had the highest possibility to be, we found it. Basically, if we’d looked somewhere else, we could have found you another one somewhere else.  Provided that there some probability that there would be one where we were looking. The only thing I can say now, is that I am not sure if we have the same Richard and Nicole on board that ship, they could have had a slightly different life, but most probably very similar if they were out there”.

          The chairman asked, “How do you explain the explosion of the ship in the first place?”

          And the voice from nowhere on the line answered, “There is only one explanation possible.  We’re not the only ones who launched a ship and it’s entirely possible that Richard and Nicole down there didn’t leave from our universe but from a parallel one!”

          And with a big smile, Mrs Orsi unplugged her phone and left the board completely stunned.

          On her way to Osterley House Mrs Orsi saw Emilie walking down the path.  She opened the window and screamed, “They’re safe!”

          “What?  They’re alive?”

          “Yes, come in!”

          In the control room a conversation in real time had been established.  Nicole’s image was appearing with Richard in the background. 

          “Mummy?”

          “Emilie?”

          “We thought you were dead”.

          “We thought that about you too.  According to our readings, none of you should be alive.  We recorded the annihilation of the whole laboratory”.

          “Well”, said Mrs Orsi, “everybody is alive and healthy.  That’s what counts.  And I’m damn glad we can have this conversation in real time.  So, where are you?”

          “We’re at the beginning of Atlantis’ solar system, just as planned. We’re doing a survey of all the planets.  We’re aiming for Atlantis, should be there next week”.

          “You realise that as soon as we’ve processed our data, we’ll already know your future.  According to this monitor here, the sun is reaching the end of its life.  It’s now so big that its perimeter goes beyond the orbit of Atlantis.  And I’m afraid to say you’re not back yet, so where the hell are you?”

          “That doesn’t mean we won’t be back.  But, talking of interesting data, it says here that the Earth is now so small that it’s part of our infinitely small world.  Our solar system is merely a bunch of particles and they too run faster than us.  I haven’t reached your Doomsday yet, but it’s coming”.

          “So,” said Orsi, “we’re both imagining weird things about each other”.

          “Yes, it’s just perception.  Just as my shrinking theory states.  What you see in a black hole, also called a frozen star, is far from being frozen.  While you see everything going very slowly, the black hole has already turned into something else”.

          “All right, Mr Einstein”, said Orsi, “but our instruments are recording our illusion.  So, until the data are processed, we’ll have to take your word for it”.

 

 

(Goes before)

 

“And look at what we’ve found around this planet that can’t support life”, said Nicole.

In the control room they saw the planet and suddenly the image showed something orbiting.

“What is it?” said Orsi.

“An artificial satellite!  And we’re picking up another one around the next planet”.

Mrs Orsi said, “But that can only mean one thing.  There is life somewhere in this system!”

“Correction, there is or there was life”, said Richard.  “But it’s promising because the satellites are still functional.  You’ve guessed which planet is receiving the signals?   Atlantis.  We’ve sent signals too, but no answer, which is rather worrying”.

 

 

Communications, Shrinking theory. Everything at the Same Place

 

Richard and Nicole and vision of the launcher

 

        Vepsalainen was very proud of the achievement of this team.  The communications system was working well. 

          “Can you believe that they’re light years from here?”

          “What do you mean?  They’re in the next room but shrunk!”

          “No, they’re not.  Yes, they are but they’re still light years from here.  At least this is what it would take them from the next room to reach your nose.  And if they were to go through space for a very long time, they’d eventually arrive here without need to be shrunk or expanded again.  But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.  The fact that they’re over there,  that we have proof that thousands of years are passing every second for them.  We can still talk in real time”.

          “Then”, said Borg, “you have to admit that the only way is if Richard was right.  Everything in space is at the same point.  Things only shrink or expand in front of our eyes.  That’s why instant communication is possible in real time, even with an alien on the other side of the universe”.

          “Exactly!” said Vepsalainen.  “Seti (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will have a lot to do now.  They’ll be able to listen instantly to anything anywhere in the universe and the layers of particles composing it.  We couldn’t have developed that without Richard.  His first basic law was that if everything in the universe was at the same place, then instant communication is possible from wherever you are”.

           “So what did you do?”

          “Well, we realised that signals can be sent and picked up differently.  If you can reverse a system capable of recording a noise lasting less than a fraction of a microsecond, and expand it or shrink the frequency as stated in the shrinking theory, to adjust to your own running time, you can pick up anything, everything, whenever and wherever it is.  All the frequencies, the bandwidths in the universe are here right now, even the ones from the past, the ones we transmitted years ago.  Now, if you adjust your instrument, you can pick them all up!”

          “It’s quite an achievement at every level, this little theory of Richard’s”, said Mrs Orsi.  “It’s the opening of a new era for the whole of humanity, if not the universe.”

          “How did he come to these conclusions without being a scientist?”

          “He just observed the universe”, said Orsi.  “He took back Einstein and realised that if the speed of light was always constant, then we never moved - only shrank and expanded to the eyes of the observer. And that it was time to push the Relativity of Distance to its real implications”.

          “I think he must have spent too much time in front of his adventure games in 3D on his computer”, said a technician.

          “Yeah, probably the Pixels or the screen moving gave him some ideas.  Apparently nature acts no differently.  Still, you need to be quite the man to come forward and state that the universe is only virtual and you can change the programming and the configuration of it all”.

 

 

(Goes somewhere else)

 

    The countdown had barely finished when all the instruments went out of scale.

    “Adjust!  Adjust for the time difference, otherwise we won’t record anything”, said Nicole.

    Richard pushed one button and said, “OK, it’s fine”.

    The images were incredible.  It was not as instant as they thought it would be, though it was fast enough.  They were seeing the end or the beginning of ?, the air or whatever the void of the lab was made of, an infinity of particles composed of particles, and they could see all that as if they were in space, travelling at x times the speed of light.  The planets, the stars, the galaxies, merely electrons and atomic nuclei, were going out of view to be replaced by an infinite amount of matter.  The colours, they were going through everything, melting through what once was structured.  Then all the particles were passing them as white lines instead of dots as they could see them at rest.  An incredible image appeared out of those lines.

          “Look, Nicole”, said Richard.  “This is a structure, a pattern is appearing out of those lines, another kind of universal map of those lines”.

          “It’s like a city seen from the sky”.

          “Yeah?”

          But as soon seen, as soon gone.  And the ship came to a stop in an explosion of another ? of the universe. 

          “We picked up strange readings, I can tell you.  Maybe in this kind of universe, it can only be seen if you travel fast enough to see it.”

          “Could it be those other dimensions they always talked about but we could never see?”

          “It could be.  Oh . . .  too much.  Could there be people living in a world made of strings or spaghetti made from particles moving through space but leaving tails like comets?”

          “Less like comets, but more from the infinite multiplication of particles”.

          Suddenly Nicole and Richard realised they were in a system much like that of Atlantis.

          “Is it Atlantis’ system?”

          “Confirmed”, said Richard, “and over there is the furthest planet of the system.  It looks like a whirlpool.  The blue ? on it”.

          “I’m picking up a signal”, Nicole said.

          Richard pushed a button many times to enhance the image until a machine of some sort, orbiting the planet, came into full view.

          “An artificial satellite!” he shouted.

          “Impossible!  There’s intelligent life in the system?”

          “It seems to be sending data to Atlantis.  What kind of data is the satellite registering?”

          “Observation, it seems.  Look at this image of the planet.  Atmospheric conditions . . . Not an inviting planet”.

          “I’m trying our communications system.  We need to establish contact with Earth.  We got quite strange readings while shrinking, some sort of a city built out of lines made of particles seen at faster than the speed of light”.

          “What!” said Mrs Orsi.  “You must be joking.  Tell us more”.

          “We’re sending the data and images now.  It’s very impressive”.

          “Ok, Control”, said Nicole, “we’re continuing to Atlantis.  Let’s see if your magnetic quantum propulsion system can move us as slowly as it moved us so instantly”.

          Richard reactivated the controls and the top of Ambassador moved swiftly in the direction of Atlantis.  The coils were producing a magnetic field coming out from under the flying saucer and were now propelling Richard and Nicole towards Atlantis.

          “Not too fast, Richard.  We’re missing some planets”.

          “Well, let’s get used to recording as much as possible quickly.  We can analyse later.  Atlantis is waiting for us and I’m eager to meet the aliens”.

          “All right, but at that speed, we’ll be there in five minutes.  I hope you remember the simulations.  We’ll have to land that thing.  Any idea what you’re going to tell the  inhabitants, if they’re still there?”

          “We’ll need the portable computer with a databank of images in it.  I’m afraid communications might be our biggest problem”.

          “First, we’d better give them gifts.  We don’t want to frighten them”.

          “I’ve a feeling that they know about our sighting and that they’re waiting for us”.

          “Another one of your visions?”

          “You could say so”.

          “Must be very strong to act at such a distance”.

          “There is only the illusion of distance in the universe”.

          “Oh, sorry”.

          And Nicole offered a big smile to Richard.  Five minutes later they were orbiting Atlantis.

          “Such a nice planet”, said Richard, “with green oceans and atmosphere”.

          “Oh look, there are two islands, exactly opposite each other, on either side of the planet”.

          “You’re right.  Shall we go down?  I suggest flying over the near island first”.

          “OK.  I initial the procedure.  Let’s calibrate with the magnetic fields of the planet.  I see the current, let’s go in here . . . “

          And she pointed at the screen, where co-ordinators appeared.  The flying saucer ?? turned and entered Atlantis’ atmosphere.  Fire could be seen all around, but that was to be expected.  They flew over the first island.

          “Can you see that, Control?” Richard said in the ??

          Mrs Orsi’s voice came back, saying, “Yes, we’re following you”.

          And in the laboratory on Earth she was observing with the others.

          “Look at this level of destruction.  They must have discovered some sort of explosion and annihilated themselves”, said Mrs Orsi.

          Below they could see a large city in ruins, with no appearance of life. 

          “Let’s hope it looks better on the other island”, said Richard.  “Otherwise, we’ve certainly chosen the wrong time to come”.

          And the Ambassador took the path to the other side of the planet.  The large, green and inviting ocean of the planet was ? through the window.

          “How beautiful”, said Nicole.

          “I see the island now”, said Richard.  “The moment of truth has come.  Let’s see if we can be good ambassadors from Earth”.

        On Atlantis the natives were running in every direction, when usually there was peace and quiet.  Today they could have thought war was at hand.  The great village made of stone, with its palace at the centre, stood high in the sky.  People were all going to the shore to see the prophecy come true.  The great religious ?  An old man with his grandchild beside him had announced the return of God from the sky.

          Meanwhile in the sky Richard and Nicole were approaching the second island.

          “Can you enhance that image?” asked Nicole.

          “Here it is . . . oh, my God!  Look at those constructions”.

          “It’s beautiful!  Look at that elevation.  I wonder what the architects tried to ?”

          “These people seem to have survived the blast.  It seems we have a welcoming committee”.

          “More like the whole village, I’d say”, said Nicole.

          “So what do we do?”

          “Well, nobody seems to be armed.  I say we go down.  There seems to be a nice solid platform over there, luckily for us”.

          “All right.  I’m descending”.

          The flying saucer went down and landed on the platform under the eyes of the whole population of Atlantis.  Richard and Nicole looked carefully for any threat before opening the door.

          “Get the computer.  We might be able to communicate through images - as planned”, said Richard.

          Some guards pushed the population aside to let pass what seemed to be the two leaders of the world.  They were dressed slightly differently but could have been recognised in any world as a political leader and a religious one, though sometimes their tasks were the same.  Their arms were open as a universal welcome sign.  And the conversation was going nowhere.  Richard thought about saying something that could go down in history like those famous words of Armstrong  on the Moon:  “One small step for man, a giant one for mankind”.  But all he found to say without his language and his professional speech markers was: “We come in peace!  We are from another world far away in ‘space’.”

          This was enough to settle and resolve the situation.  The response was not contro? but it seemed to be similar, or at least not threatening.  Then Richard turned on his portable computer and nobody, except one person, seemed to react.  The religious leader appeared astonished.  His jaw dropped almost to the floor and immediately he said something to the crowd.

          Now everyone seemed stunned and showed ? respect and admiration.  Nicole clicked on some images summing up their journey, showing Earth, humans, cities, the ship, everything.  The two leaders watched attentively and were exchanging words.  Finally they made a sign inviting Richard and Nicole to follow them into the palace.  They climbed the steps, went inside until they reached an impressive spiral staircase descending into a crypt.  A huge door, electronically locked, was opened before their eyes.  Looking at the surroundings, it did not seem as if this was opened very often, as if all the secrets of the planet lay hidden behind that door.  An incredible temple had been built under the actual palace and inside other security procedures had to be observed.  Finally, in what seemed to be the central room of the temple, the leader invited Richard and Nicole to enter.

          On a podium lay the probe, which had arrived millions of years earlier.  The Little Rover was on another podium and on the other side, some objects which had been inside the probe.  Universal greetings, CDs, disks, books, messages and a computer very similar to the one Richard had opened [?] in front of the crowd. 

          “My God, Richard, that’s something incredible!”

          “I’ll say!  I can’t believe it’s still here.  It must have been preserved in some kind of airtight environment or something”.

          “Moreover, they seem to understand that this is special, from another world”.

          The leaders approached and were moving their hands in a certain way from themselves to the probe, to Richard and Nicole.

          “I think they’re trying to explain the connection between us and the probe”, said Richard.

          “More than that, Richard.  I think they think it’s their own origins that are in question.  They look too much like us.  And I don’t know if they had an evolution with dinosaurs, but maybe the microbes necessary for life on this planet were inside our probe”.

          “No . . . you think it’s possible?”

          “Why not?”

          “Again, this is too much”.

          Back in the ship Ambassador Nicole was communicating their discovery and sending images and data of their first day  on the planet.  Nobody back in Osterley could believe it.  They were overawed by the possibilities.

          The next day Richard and Nicole were shown everything and were considered like gods. 

        In some sort of a huge conference room.  Richard was now showing images of the other side of Atlantis.  While everyone was highly interested no one seemed to recognise what was being shown.  Soon after an old man came into the room accompanied by his grandson.  Richard recognised his voice and the man also seemed to know Richard, for some inexplicable reason.  He knew about the other side of Atlantis and seemed to be the only one, along with his grandson. 

          They were explaining to the leaders what they knew and the man seemed to describe some sort of huge explosion responsible for the destruction of the other side.  When Richard showed the image of a nuclear mushroom, the man showed positive signs.  The other side seemed to have been technologically more advanced, to the point where they destroyed themselves.  Still, nobody on the island seemed to know about it and even the old man appeared not to have seen the other side first hand. 

          The people from Atlantis were using ? fishing.  ? decided to bring a party to the other side.  The speed was so fantastic.  The natives were frightened.  They observed the destroyed world without saying much, trying to understand this vision from another world but on their own planet.

          Suddenly the grandson saw something interesting.  He pointed to the ruins of a  place very similar to the one they had on their island.  So Richard landed there.  Inside an old spiral staircase descended into a crypt and ? thought everything was open.  The same security system as before seemed to have been in place.  Another temple lay inside, still standing like the ? on Atlantis.  But in the central room emptiness was all there was to discover, except for a huge b? in the middle and the paintings on the wall.  Both showed representations of the probe and equipment.  But, astonishing as it may seem, the same images Richard had shown on his computer.  Someone had been able to retrieve the data and build this temple to hide and keep it all.  These revelations were beyond anything Richard, Nicole and the leaders from Atlantis could have thought and hoped for.

          Back in the laboratory on earth, the scientists started to think that Richard and Nicole were inventions.  Still they were impressed by the level of sophistication their sort of descendants were capable of achieving in only a week.  Millions of years of history that was the perfect mirror of what the history of humanity could have been. 

          Richard noticed that none of the natives were uninterested in picking up some object of technology from the other side.  Even the child picked up some kind of device, pushed two buttons and put it back.

          “They seem to have an understanding that all this, the technology, was the cause of destruction here”, said Richard, “but it seems to be in their subconscious: they look uncomfortable, like animals who are born with some pre-destined fear”

          “Yes, you’re right.  I think we should go back.  I wonder about the sort of impact this will have on their community.  Only the old man knew about this world which is after all their world”, said Nicole.

          “Funny we had to come from so far away to see all this instantly and let them see it for themselves”.

          “Yeah, it makes you wonder what someone outside our own galaxy could show us on the other side of our planet”.

          “Or even to show us what is really there with us that we can’t see”.

          At that point an alarm started to buzz and red lights were flashing.  Everyone started to panic and were ready to run.  Nicole was the first to spot what looked like a camera.

          “It roves”, she said.  “Do you think . . . ?”

          “Well, we’ll soon find out, I suppose”.

          “If anyone survived, they certainly went through hell”.

          “Unless they were able to live underground for a while”.

          By then everyone was indicating to Richard and Nicole that it was time to leave.

So they left without knowing if the alarm system was just working on some sort of automatism or if someone was really there watching them.

          Back on the island a big meeting was organised in the middle of the big plaza to announce to everyone what had happened.

          “Poor them”, said Nicole, “now they’ll have plenty of reasons to worry instead of continuing their ignorant and happy lives”.

          “Well, sorry, but I see another side to all this.  I see this as the age of discovery, a new era.  A  mysterious world on the other side of the planet to conquer, to explore.  They just entered a new era”.

          “Speaking of exploring, Richard, when are we going back there?”

          “I was going to say tonight, but there is no night in this binary system.  Have you got a plan or something special to do?”

          “I sure want to follow that camera’s cable.  There’s something there that we missed in the temple”.

          “Let’s assume that both temples have been built with the same configuration.  Let’s see what we can find here”.

 

After asking the leader to go back into the big room

 

        Using instruments, Richard and Nicole were able to determine that the base where the probe was standing led to some sort of passageway underneath.  The question was, how to activate  it?  One of the instruments was picking up some signal.

          “Richard, I believe this is activated with some sort of remote control.  I’m picking up a signal that seems to work with ultrasound”.

          “My God, Nicole, for us this is somewhat old technology.  Have we got anything that could send an ultrasound?”

          Nicole laughed.  “Of course we do!  I have just the instrument I need”.

          “But surely . . .  How do you intend to trigger anything?”

          “I’ll take just about every kind of sound, all wavelengths, and hope for the best”.

          “It sounds too simple”.

          “Have faith!  I already have alive [??] the signal.  I’ll send back the same signal”.

          As she did, the probe went down into the rock floor.  A staircase descended in a spiral.  Below they found many corridors.

          “Who built that?” asked Nicole.  “It’s very impressive.  It reminds me of the Paris catacombs in Denfert-Rochereau”.

          “Of course!  These galleries are where they took the rock from to build the temple and the city.  Well, it could be huge.  We’ll have to do a survey of all the corridors”.

          They went on until they reached a bigger room filled with machines.

          “Look at this alien technology.  Isn’t it wonderful?  I wonder if . . . “

          “Don’t touch anything”, said Nicole.

          “Too late!  I pushed that button”, answered Richard.

          “We have to try to figure out what it is before doing anything.  Who knows what the consequences could be!”

          A panel of lights went on and suddenly a hologram image took shape in the middle of the room.

          “My God, they have quite a technology here.  They were really advanced”, said Nicole.

          Little planets and stars were turning around and an image of the probe leaving Earth was reaching Atlantis.

          “It’s even worse than you think.  They figured out our probe, where it came from and how”.

          Now the image was showing Richard and Nicole’s ship leaving Earth and reaching Atlantis.

          “That is beyond belief!” said Nicole.  “They could see the future.  Still, with such knowledge, it’s hard to believe that this civilisation annihilated itself”.

          “So they were more advanced than us.  They truly understood my theory and made it a reality.  Listen, if there’s no space and everything’s at the same point at any given time, you can see anything anywhere you want”.

          “It seems that the knowledge contained in the probe was understood and they had some time to think it over, unlike us”, said Nicole.  “I wonder about the other buttons.  Let me press another one”.

          This time the Ambassador stopped during its shrinking process and all points of light became lines.

          “Richard, this is what we saw.  The kind of other universe while in transit”.

          “Let me turn that”  But, turning a circular button, Richard was changing the angle of the stopped image.  “Nicole, they even saw what we only glimpsed.  There is definitely another universe made of ours seen at many times the speed of light . . “

          “Different layers of the universe made out of our own”.

          “Seen in another dimension”

          “We’ll have to explore that one day.  But impossible on our return trip.  We’ll have to find a way always to shrink and explode at that kind of speed.  Or find a a way to stabilise ourselves in this dimension.  Not easy!”

          “I wonder if these galleries exist on the other side of the planet”.

          “They must.  They had to find the rocks to build that”, said Richard.

          “Well, it’s time to go to the other side.  If there is anyone alive, they must be down there”.

          Later on Richard and Nicole were on board the Ambassador on their way to the other side of Atlantis.  They made a large computer plan of the city, using the mapping system on board and tried to see beyond the constructions.  They had some kind of an idea before going down to the second temple.  They opened the second vault and discovered exactly the same configuration of galleries.

          “Amazing how they were able to do something astonishing like that twice - with a great sense of symmetry”, said Nicole.  “I wonder if there’s a reason for that, you know?  Symmetry isn’t just for beauty.  It’s important in Physics”.

          When they arrived in the room where all the machines were, there was nothing there.  But another alarm started up and they could see some sort of camera moving.  A door opened and a man came out.

          “You?” cried Richard.  “Impossible!  How in the world did you . . . ?”

          The man in front of them was the same religious guy who had talked to Richard in that pub on Oxford Street.  The visionary, as Richard came to call him.

          “Welcome to my world, or should I say Atlantis, as you called it millions of years ago?”

          “Nicole, this man talked to me in Oxford Street before this whole thing started.  How in the world did you arrive here?”

          “Much as you did yourself, but without the flying saucer.  You see, if you take your theory further, you see that you are as much on Earth at the moment as you are here.  All this relativity of time could have given a great clue about the possibility of all this.  But it takes time for humankind to think further.  And thinking is all that’s needed for me to be here.  And the temple you saw, I created it myself alone, by the power of thought.  You can modify the configuration of the universe, if needed.  It’s quite easy to understand, and you’ll forgive me if I remain silent  about how to achieve it.  Humankind will never be ready for that.  Certainly not now anyway”.  

 

To be finished...

***

 

Read The Shrinking Theory of the Universe / Universal Relativity

 

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Theoretical Physics: Universal Relativity     Sci-Fi Novel: The Relative Universe     Star Trek Exhibition and Science Expo Photos

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