The Einstein Projector

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Next stop, the future.

Submitted: March 03, 2017

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Submitted: March 03, 2017

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The truth is, when I was in school, I made lousy grades in any kind of science class.  So when people ask me, “How does the Einstein projector work?”, I shrug and say, “I’m just the pilot.  I don’t need to know how it works to steer the bubble.”

 

It’s a little awkward when I wiggle through the tiny opening, into the spherical chamber, then help the four passengers climb in.  There’s no seating, you just get as comfortable as you can on the curved floor.  After the door is sealed from the outside, I push the button to activate the projector.

 

Steering is actually quite simple.  The remote control the engineers designed is similar to the Xbox controller I used back in the day.  That is not a coincidence.  The person who invented the projector also gamed on my machine.  My little brother, Kevin.

 

While I was majoring in basketball, girls, and video games, Kevin was becoming an uber-science geek.  If I had known how things were going to turn out, I would have been a lot nicer to him.

 

My name is Billy Janowitz.  I’m Dr. Kevin Janowitz’s not famous older brother.   When I played basketball for the Thigsville Panthers, I set the Idaho high school record for most consecutive free throws.  I made 96 in a row during my junior and senior years.  Not many people know that.  

 

By now everyone has heard of Kevin’s contribution to the world of science:  Spectral magnetic particle physics.  The science behind the Einstein projector.  The coolest invention since the airplane.

 

There is a brief hum, then total silence.  A force field surrounds us.  It has a spongy feel, but becomes as hard as steel if you try to push against it.  I say “Here it comes!” and move the joystick to the left.  The bubble leaves the chamber and is flooded by daylight.  The passengers gasp or scream when they realize they are hovering 15 feet off of the ground.

 

The bubble is a chunk of space/time that seems to be able to violate the laws of physics, most notably, gravity.  Kevin gets excited when he talks about all the potential applications of projector technology.  The internet is buzzing with speculation of what is to come.  

 

The next thing Kevin won’t stop talking about is using the projector to place a frictionless buffer between a train and the railroad track.  He says he can do it with the science he already has.  Once the many engineering hurdles are overcome, trains will be able to travel almost as fast as an airplane, and consume a fraction of fuel they use now.  Beyond that, Kevin thinks the bubble can be used to manufacture new medications, and take the human race to distant stars.  

 

I don’t pay much attention to the talk.  As far as I’m concerned, the best thing that will come out of Kevin’s work has already happened.  That was when he hired his big brother to be the first bubble pilot.

 

Due to the amount of electricity required to make the projector work, the ride only lasts about 30 seconds.  I don’t fool around.  I steer the bubble directly into the furnace of the garbage burning steam plant.  We pass through the thick wall and the bubble is surrounded by intense flames.  The furnace burns at 1800 degrees.  Inside the bubble, it’s a comfortable 72 degrees, same as in the projection sphere.

 

Kevin wasn’t satisfied just being a brilliant and innovative physicist.  He holds somewhere near a thousand patents.  It took a lot of technology to translate his theories into a functional device.  The business he started, Janowitz Industries, employs 2000 people and is the fastest growing corporation in the Fortune 500.

 

But my little brother is not your ordinary three piece suit and briefcase kind of guy.  He rides an electric bike to work and has hair down to his waist.  Everything about his corporation is green.  There are solar panel arrays, geothermal heaters, and windmills all over the place.  

 

On the edge of the property, next to the projector building, is the garbage burning plant.  Kevin worked with the city government to build the facility.  All of the local garbage is burned there.  Heat from the furnace boils water, and the steam spins turbines that generate electricity.  

 

The facility makes enough electricity to power Thigsville.  We pay the lowest rates of any municipality in America.  Depending on sunlight, we also get four to six bubble rides per day.  

 

Hovering in mid-air and being completely surrounded by intense flames takes some getting used to.  We learned not to let people ride immediately after a meal.  Everyone is given a barf bag after they climb in.  

 

Kevin says the current version of the Einstein projector is just a crude prototype.  The bubble can only be sent a short distance, about the length of a football field.  He says the technology is extremely inefficient.  It takes too much energy.  It’s easy enough for me though.  I can steer the bubble with one finger.

 

We travel through the furnace and come out the other side of the building.  The intense flames are replaced with sunlight.  I touch the joystick and the bubble reverses direction, for another pass back through the inferno.  There is no sensation of slowing down and stopping, or accelerating in the opposite direction.  One moment, we are moving east.  An instant later, we are moving west at the same velocity.  Inertia is one of the physical laws that the projector seems to disobey.  

 

Tickets for bubble rides are not for sale.  You have to go through what I call Boot Camp Kevin to earn a ride.  It starts with a bunch of classes educating you about green energy and sustainable farming.  Then you have to spend a week working in the fields.  Janowitz Industries is located on a 500 acre farm.

 

The week of hard labor must be worth the short bubble ride.  Boot Camp Kevin is booked solid for the next three years.

 

Some of the food we grow is given away to less fortunate folks who live in the area.  The rest is sold at our local coop store.  At highly competitive prices.  We made the front page of the Wall Street Journal when the Thigsville Walmart decided they couldn’t compete and closed their grocery store.

 

In case you were wondering, the Einstein projector has nothing to do with the famous physicist whose first name is Albert.  When Kevin talks about it, he uses the term spectromagnetic time/space projection.  But that doesn’t fit into a headline very well.  At the first press conference, the journalists could barely understand the technical jargon Kevin was throwing around.  

 

They didn’t have any trouble understanding me.  Decades before, I had given my brother a nickname.  He’d made the mistake of lecturing me about how rainbows were formed.  I thumped him in the ear and said, “Thanks for the education, Einstein.”

 

I’d been calling him that for years and when I told the story at the reception following the press conference, the device became known as the Einstein projector.

 

I don’t trust Kevin when he says, “It doesn’t matter where the bubble is when the energy runs out, you’ll end up back in the projection sphere regardless.”  I always make sure the bubble returns to the sphere before the 30 seconds is up.  The look of astonishment and child-like awe on the passenger’s faces never gets old.

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I know I have the coolest job on the planet and I did absolutely nothing to earn it.  Being related to a genius is totally a lucky break.  There’s a downside though.  I miss the days when I could give Kevin a wet willy or a tittie twister when he went off on some scientific rant.  You just can’t do that to your boss.


© Copyright 2017 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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