Gates and Tangles

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sol and Lune are bounty hunters in the 22nd century. They soon find that they travel upon a disturbing truth that may be the doom of the human race.

Submitted: April 27, 2011

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Submitted: April 27, 2011

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Gates and Tangles In 2092, the “Gates” were invented, paving the way for star-travel in the 22nd century, later called the “Star Age”. The Gates in their simplest forms worked by entangling the molecules passed through them with molecules of the corresponding gate, essentially creating instant star travel. This technological breakthrough led to the colonization of planets hundreds of light-years away, and granted instant travel to these colonies. Anyone who had been through a Gate began casually yet pompously referring to themselves as “Tangles”, a sort of pun on the quantum physics behind the Gates. By 2120, 90% of humanity existed as Tangles. “Hey Spark, where’s my stew!” The holoscreen was up showing this week’s bounties. The anchor, a dark-haired fellow in a straw hat and a denim vest, talked in his usual over-excited voice that made this profession seem like a child’s game. “Welcome, bounty hunters! If you’re looking for Jerry X “The Stinger”, you are out of luck! He was turned in this Thursday by a fellow hunter, who shall remain nameless, for 30,000 commons! But, stay in, because we’ve got an exciting new bounty for you—“ “Spark, where the hell is my—“A hand touched his shoulder. “Relax, Sol, I cooked the stew” Lune had a deep, relaxing voice. He handed him a hot bowl of white mush. “Alright, Lune, I don’t care where I get the food from, as long as I get it” Sol took a giant spoonful of the mush, grimaced, and stuffed it in his mouth. “So where the hell is Spark?” Lune squinted his eyes, “He’s fixing the ship you destroyed last week on Centauri. And you know what he was doing before that, Sol?” Sol grunted. “Before that, he was fixing the Sand Bike you crashed into that caravan on Mars!” Lune clenched his fists “And before that, he was welding that broken wall you slammed through while practicing Judo!” Sol monotonously and slowly turned his head to Lune, “So...” Lune went red-faced “So there’s no more dough! This is our last box of stew, which is our last scrap of anything edible in this damn ship!” “Well I was tired of eating this crap.” “Well, you’ll be a lot more tired of eating nothing at all.” Lune threw himself on the couch adjacent Sol. There was a long silence. “I’m on the Bounty Newsline” Sol said, a little apologetically. “It’s all right, I got us a gig.” “Oh yeah?” Sol said. “Three million commons” Sol perked up. “I’ll give you the scoop. The Galactic Bureau is looking for some missing scientist. Some rumor that he’s got some important information and he’s not cooperating. They want him alive.” “So who is this guy? Why’s he so important?” Sol asked. “Hang on, I’m getting to it. This scientist guy was around Pre-Star-Age; his name was Dr. Anthony Tucker. Why’s he so important? He was the leading scientist in the Gate development.” “Like, he oversaw the research?” “He came up with the idea. He invented Gate tech.” “So why don’t I know of this guy. Shouldn’t he be some Trillionare?” Sol scratched his head with the end of his metal spoon. “Word is, the Bureau, before it was big, offered him all the money and fame in the world. Tucker turned it down on the condition that the Gate technology not be used. He said it wasn’t finished. So the Bureau cast him out and took the patent and money for itself. Now, the Bureau’s asking us to bring Tucker to it, alive might I say again.” Sol’s bowl was empty and his hand was on his stomach. “Three million?” he said, smiling.

Sol was throwing equipment to Spark, their hover-drone, in the cargo bay. Lune was fueling the Intra-planetary Shuttles. Sol yelled over to Lune “So we have any leads on this guy?” “Lucky for you, you got a partner that thinks ahead” Lune tapped his head. “Three years ago there was a Galactic Web Forums scandal, with some guy claiming to have been on the Gate research team saying there wasn’t much time and they had to shut down every Gate immediately. The topic was forgotten and ignored, but I went and traced the IP address to an asteroid junk town. If that guy wasn’t Tucker, I can bet you he knew Tucker.” “Well, I won’t object to that” Sol threw a harpoon gun to Spark. “Sol, we need him alive. We need Tucker alive.” “Just precautionary; let’s go.”

Sol and Lune arrived at the location, and “Junk Town” would have been a courtesy to this place. It was really just a cluster of abandoned ships orbiting around each other. “This isn’t a place to be caught alone in. I hear people get lost in places like these and never come out.” Lune said. “Let’s hit it, then” Sol jumped into his shuttle. Lune tethered the main ship to a giant hunk of what looked like an old cargo vessel. Lune jumped into his own shuttle, and they both flew out into zero-oxygen zero-gravity hell.

Sol saw what he knew they were looking for; the biggest ship around, with lights beaming out the windows. They zoomed over to it, tethered their shuttles, and entered what was an olden-day airlock. The door shut behind them and they felt a whoosh of air on their suits, which surprisingly was accompanied by a whoosh of loud music. They looked at each other; Sol started by taking off his helmet. He took a deep breath, and tasted the air. It was truly normal air, with an odd assortment of smoke. He nodded at Lune, who then took off his helmet. In front of them was a hall that connected with a perpendicular hall. They floated down the hall, and the music got louder and the smoke got stronger. They stopped at the corner, guns still in their holsters, and nodded at each other. Both men quickly rounded the corner and were greeted by a symphony of drunken laughter and singing. “Hey man!” a man with naturally grown-out hair and saggy eyes put his shoulder around the two of them “Hey! You two look new here! You want a smoke?” He held out a green looking cigarette. They both waved their hands sideways and shook their heads simultaneously. Sol struggled even opening his mouth in the smoke. “We’re looking for a guy named Tucker. Dr Anthony Tucker.” He wheezed, trying to yell over the music while fighting against the urge to pass out. “Oh yeah, man! We’re all family here, man. Follow me, brothers!” He floated down the hall, taking puffs of the substance in his right hand.

Sol and Lune arrived outside the door they were led to by the man. The guy offered them a smoke one last time, and they denied adamantly. They floated inside the room and were relieved by a rush of fresh, cool air. Four old men surrounded a circular table with a chess board on it. “Check mate!” An old man with a black scarf around his neck said. “Aha! You truly are unbeatable!” “Hey!” Sol filled the room with his voice. “Which one of you is Tucker?” “That’s me!” The man with the black scarf exclaimed. He had skin that looked like chalk and a voice that sounded like it was filled with chalk. He must have been nearing a hundred years old. “Um, Dr Anthony Tucker?” Sol tapped his foot, however useless it was in zero-gravity. “Yep, last time I checked!” He exclaimed with a beaming face. “Either of you like chess, Hm?” “Well” Sol Stuttered, looking at Lune “We can’t, we—“ “How ‘bout a sandwich, I’m starving!” He released a penetrating grin at the two of them. “Tony, you ate a half an hour ago!” an old man yelled at him across the table. “I did? Did I like it?” Tucker turned back around to face his peer. “Hey Tucker” Sol said “You mind telling us what you did in your day?” “Oh sure, I suppose… Actually—“ Tucker began feeling around his breast pockets, humming as he did. He conjured up a tattered brown book and handed it to Sol, grinning. He then turned around “So which one of you is next, hmm?”

Sol retreated to a desk in the corner of the room with Lune. “So” He motioned to the book “how ‘bout we find out what this is really about”. He flipped open the book, which was full of scribbled journal entries in ink pen, something extinct for decades since the auto-scribe. He read the first page aloud

I received a thirty-million common grant from the Bureau along with an entire research team to finally make my research come true. I’ve decided to name the research Gate tech, for the obvious shape of the devices and their intended—

Sol yawned and skipped ahead a few entries.

Research has been at full throttle lately. I truly believe the Gates will lead to the beginning of Star travel, anywhere in the Galaxy. We have a steady flow of money and research from the Bureau—

“Damn this is bleak” Sol skipped to a page in red ink highlighted by various capitalizations.

Research is finished. That’s the bad news. The Bureau will be releasing the technology to the government in a matter of weeks. That’s the worse news. Gate tech is finished to the point that it will serve humanity for A CENTURY, MABYE, but after that, it could be DISASTROUS. The Gates operate by entangling the particles of a human body with particles in a corresponding gate, meaning there are two copies of a human body all the time. The gates also require energy to keep the particles entangled and any slight disruption in that energy can disentangle the particles. I designed batteries that last at most a century, as prototypes, but the Bureau insisted that what I had at the moment was good enough, because they were out of money. I insisted it wasn’t, that I needed MORE TIME. They promised me most of the money gained by the Gates and infinite fame, but I rejected them, telling them the Gates were not ready. So they banished me from the research team and took the patent for themselves. When the gate batteries go out, which they are certain to, every copy of a human will become disentangled and become a new human being. By the time that happens, most humans will have traveled to dozens of planets, meaning they’ll have dozens of clones, meaning the human race will be INSTANTLY MULTIPLIED BY DOZENS. I don’t care how advanced the human race will be in a century, the economy will not have the means to instantly accommodate ten times more humans. After the batteries go out, I can only predict what will happen. Perhaps REVOLT. Maybe FAMISH. Even more likely, MASS MURDER—“

Sol shut the book. “Well…” Lune shut his eyes. “Well, we know why the Bureau wants Tucker” Sol said, glancing over at the old man, eyes steadfast on his chess game. “But as far as we saw, there’s just an old man here who can’t even remember what he ate for lunch”. Lune looked up. “And all they’ll get from this book is a big, giant ‘I told you so’.” Sol said. Lune grinned. “So let’s give it to them.” Sol stood up “Hey Tucker, you don’t mind if we take this do you?” He said, pointing to the tattered brown book. “Do what you want; I’ll play you again real soon!” Tucker said, raising the back of his fist to them. “Let’s go, Lune. And as for this revolt and mass murder, well, we’ll deal with that when we deal with it. No use worrying about the future.”


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