The Pandora Paradox By Rolf Luetcke
I had gotten the idea from a mixture of several scientific fields. In just about an hour I would know if my theories were correct and I would create a new source of power.
I had been a particle physicist with the U.S. government for nearly twenty years, loyal to my country of birth. Over the last five years my precious projects had been gutted and my ideas laughed at by my colleagues. I had literally been laughed out of my field.
When the funds for the biggest particle accelerator had been pulled I had enough and stomped out of the Senate hearing in disgust. It was the last time Senator Judabe would pull the plug on one of my projects.
I had been corresponding with Yuri Krokanin for some time now and he promised me the tools I needed to carry on my research. It wasn’t in my home country but then I had been pounded down by my homeland that I looked elsewhere to work.
There were a lot of research facilities, which were unused since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
I shipped all of my notes to Germany and then to Russia, closed up my house in Dallas and left the U.S.
Over the next two years I had worked like a maniac. I had never had so much leeway with my research or the use of advanced equipment.
Apparently Yuri had a lot of pull and my name was well known in his circles. I had been given the use of one of the government’s research labs in particle science. A particle beam accelerator with the magnetic coils of proper strength had been disassembled and rebuilt for my project. The labor force they had and much of the equipment was still there from their more formidable days so I had what I needed.
To put it into lay terms, I was building a compact particle accelerator that created enough speed in a mass of gases that I hoped to create the acceleration and gravitational pull to manufacture miniature black holes.
I had worked it all out on paper years ago and had half a dozen of my co-workers shoot down my ideas as totally ludicrous. That was where my design and use of material came into play and I was convinced it would work.
Only half an hour and the first test of my theories would be conducted.
I was checking and rechecking the equipment. The power supply had been the hardest to achieve. I needed enough to supply a small city but Yuri assured me it was manageable. After nearly six months of delays the special transformers I needed were installed.
The magnets were being cooled down to the proper temperature. The inner chamber had been polished to the shine of a mirror. The necessary electricity was ready. The lines were being checked by men in white.
I inspected the holding chamber for the hundredth and last time. It was the most crucial. Built from a special layered metal and cooled to near absolute zero, it was the most vital component to my experiment. If I couldn’t hold the miniature black hole I produced, it would be of little value and possibly dangerous.
I cleared all the men from the various parts of the equipment in case anything went wrong and closed the door to the control chamber with its ten inch laminated glass window.
Yuri was already at the console and I greeted him warmly as I sat down next to him.
“Ready?” he said in his broken English.
“As ready as we’ll ever be with what I had to work with!” I said. Yuri realized my frustration with Russian bureaucracy.
The clock ticked down the seconds.
I turned to Yuri and gestured for him to flick the switches.
The speaker in the corner transmitted the whine of the coils as the giant metal ring started to gain speed in the magnets. The jets of ionized gas opened inside the mirrored inner chamber and the cloud began to swirl like a small tornado. These were the particles that would make the mini black hole. If it worked it would create a new kind of power.
The new power was already spoken for in the Middle East, if everything went according to plan. Omar Kala Akmin wanted control of Iran and the power was to fetch six hundred million and Yuri looked forward to plunking down most of it on his bosses’ desk. He had pulled more strings than I knew existed and I had gotten what I needed. The gases swirled faster and faster in the chamber and the chairs we sat in started to vibrate slowly in fact, the whole building was beginning to tremble.
Electric sparks leapt between the mirrored chamber and the racing ball of gas at its center. The whole scene took on another-worldly look. It was like looking through a window at the birth of a tiny sun.
The electric discharges were nearly constant and the gauges in front of me were peaked into the red zones. It was mere seconds before we would know if everything worked.
Suddenly there was an odd scream coming through the speaker. It reached painful levels and the speaker blew out.
It sounded just awful, like the screams of a thousand tortured souls.
Various alarms started to sound and as I looked up at the chamber, there was an odd flash of light and all hell broke loose.
The chamber was quivering like a heat wave over a dry lake in mid summer and slowly, the chamber started to dissolve in front of our eyes.
There was a deadly silence as the chamber dissolved and the thick glass in front of me started to quiver. Yuri just sat and stared in a frozen stupor. I jumped out of my chair and headed for the door.
“Yuri! Yuri! Get out of there!” I yelled but he didn’t move.
My hand was on the doorknob as the wall started to dissolve and Yuri finally moved. It was too late. His hands reached out to keep the advancing edge of dissolution from him. He was pinned by the chair.
His hands were instantly dissolved and he pulled away and the stumps spurted blood. He screamed, an unearthly scream, which was quickly silenced as Yuri was completely consumed.
My God, what had I created? I tore open the door and ran from the deadly force.
There was only silence behind me, the eeriest silence.
Where would I run? How far would this horror go? All sorts of thought crossed my mind as I headed for the Mercedes out in front of the building.
I started the car and headed out onto the road leading away from the facility.
As I looked in my mirror, I saw other people running from the building. The thing I had created was expanding in a slow sphere and had already cleared the roof.
The one thought that kept coming back was the warning that Brutrand Mohs had given me. “You’re messing with forces that nobody really understands. You know what black holes do? They consume anything and everything. What makes you think if you create one, you can control it? You’re opening the lid on Pandora’s Box,” he’d said and the mini black hole in my stomach was starting to scare me to death.
It was less than twenty four hours later and we were finished! Everything was over with. Man was finished, the Earth was finished and not even the history books would carry the name of the man who had created the end of the world.
There was nowhere left to run and I no longer cared. In the last day I had seen enough death that it overwhelmed any feeling I could now have.
The advancing wall was only a few yards away and I turned to face it. I stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon. I had only two choices, jump or face the wall.
I had created it. I steeled myself to face my creation and walked back and right into the wall.
The biggest surprise was that I walked right through to the other side.
It felt cold and a bit like receiving an electric shock but I stood there looking at the odd wall receding into the distance.
I don’t know how long I stood there but the jubilant yells of several people a few yards away woke me from my shock.
What the heck had happened? Nothing was different.
It seemed that if you went straight through, nothing happened. Only if you put an object into the wall and pulled it back, the part that had gone through stayed on the other side.
It was six months later as I sat in the small booth of bulletproof glass and listened to the prosecutor lay out the charges against me. TV cameras pointed at me from many sides.
The list of charges was taking days to read. Why didn’t the just kill me?
The scientists had studied the strange thing I had created and come up with several likely conclusions. Somehow I had torn through one dimension and broken into another plane of parallel dimension. Our plane had somehow lost out.
There had been subtle changes and they had thrown everything man had ever known and done into chaos!
Atomic structure was subtly different and the tall skyscrapers of the cities had crumbled and collapsed. Cars no longer functioned, planes no longer flew and everything was being blamed on me.
Several attempts had been made on my life and I could see why. Thousands of people had committed suicide because they assumed the wall of advancing terror meant a horrendous death and took a known way out as opposed to the unknown. I had ruined multitudes of lives and had single-handedly changed the world forever.
For myself, I knew I had found a door into another world that even Albert Einstein hadn’t found. History books would carry my name, if they ever figured out how to make a paper again that didn’t crumble.
I sat and listened absently to the absurd list of charges against me.
Yuri had come to see me. He has survived, barely. The mistake he’d made was to try to pull back once he’d passed into the transition. He had nearly bled to death but some of his team had kept their wits once through to the other side they had saved him but his hands had been lost.
He hadn’t held it against me and had even started experiments with a team of the world’s best minds to try and reverse the whole situation we were in.
His call yesterday had taken my mind off of my present situation. They were ready to attempt the reversal and I watched the clock for the time it was set to occur.
At 3 p.m. I started to get nervous and it didn’t take long for the news to reach our courtroom. A new transition was triggered and we would be transformed again in just eight hours. The court was adjourned and I was led to my cell, to meet the change alone.
When it came, I wasn’t prepared for what was on the other side.
This time, it hadn’t just reversed the first change. This time we were in an entirely different dimension.
There was a dim red light coming from above. There were no walls, no cell and no bars. I lay on a warm, moist surface and looked at an entirely alien sky. The sun was large but low in illumination and there were few stars.
My lungs began to ache as I realized that the air was not suited to humans. I thought again about what Mohs said about opening Pandora’s Box. Yes, I had opened the lid and looked in but Yuri and his team had thrown the lid open and let the demons out. As I started loosing consciousness I saw several large creatures circling above me. They looked eerily like vultures. If they were I hoped I would be dead before they started on my flesh.
Little consolation to know you had only loaded the gun and someone else had actually pulled the trigger, one was dead just the same.
The “bird” landed on my chest and its grotesque beak leaned over my face and I closed my eyes and hoped the end would be swift.
When I awoke, there was a diffuse light but it was white light.
Where was I? I turned my head slightly to the light. A window!
Rain pelted on the window and I heard its drumming on the glass.
I heard voices nearby and I turned to look at Yuri standing next to two doctors.
“Gus, you’re awake. We thought we’d lost you with more voltage than it takes to kill a horse. You’re a tough nut! We have fixed the problem and we can do the first run as soon as you are able to get around again. The coils weren’t damaged but the ---“. I drifted into my own thoughts.
My God, it didn’t really happen, none of it. I was still on Earth, in my own time, my own dimension.
A tear ran down my cheek and the doctors asked if I was in pain.
“No, oh no, I’m not in pain, I just realized we can’t go through with our experiments. We have to stop the tests.” I said in a hoarse whisper. “We can’t open Pandora’s Box!” I closed my eyes and thanked God it had only been a bad nightmare, probably due to the voltage I had received.
I drifted back into sleep.
Yuri had no intention of stopping the experiment. He walked straight to the control room and booted up the computer to start the test. I wasn’t needed now that the unit had been built and he was damned if I was going to keep him from getting his hands on the Arabs money. His career depended on it.
He reached for the switches and flicked them on. Yuri watched in fascination as the gases spun into a tight ball and the electric arcs jumped between the wall of the chamber and the spinning ball. A slight shudder started to shake the building and I awoke.
I screamed “NO” at the top of my hoarse lungs but it was too late!
Copyright Rolf Luetcke