A Glimpse is Never Enough, part 2

quantum

Part 1

I sat with Dr. Johannsen in his office and listened, skeptical yet spellbound, as he discussed the history of his project. My skepticism grew with each fantastic claim, but despite my misgivings, I couldn’t deny what I’d seen that afternoon. I kept my mouth shut and my mind open as I absorbed what he wanted to tell me.

In early 1998, a private Chinese technology company discovered a novel method of instantaneously transmitting data across short distances. Within a few months, they had refined their technique and increased the transmission distance from a few inches to a few miles. On December 2nd, 1998, during their first test of a high-powered version designed to transmit from their main lab in Changsha to their production facility in Mexico City, the facility on the receiving end began to receive more data than had been put in.

Dr. Johannsen got up and went to his whiteboard to give me an example.

The first transmission using the new, high-powered equipment, was 0. The Mexican facility reported back they’d indeed received 0. The next attempt was larger: 00. The facility in Mexico reported they’d received 00. Next was 000. Same consistent result.

The fourth transmission was 001.

After a moment, the Mexican facility reported they’d received 001, 010, 100.

Another attempt with 001 was transmitted, and the same 001, 010, and 100 was received. Concerned there might be a problem stemming from the increase in signal power and distance, the main lab in China tried again with a different, simpler signal: 10. Without delay, the other facility reported back: 10, 01.

Technicians checked and rechecked the connections, programming, and whatever else they could think of to determine what could be causing the problem. Their efforts yielded nothing. Only when the transmission power was scaled back to within a range of tens of miles, rather than hundreds or thousands, would the issue disappear.

This was a difficult setback for the researchers. Scaling up the number of bits sent wasn’t difficult. It was clear the receiving end would get it. The problem was, the larger number of bits that were sent, the number of received permutations exploded. It only took a few transmitted kilobits for the entire receiving system to crash as it attempted to instantaneously spit out colossal matrices of combinations.

On March 16th of 1999, despite no progress, the founder of the company was called upon to meet with Party officials. By March 17th, the entire company was owned by the Communist Party of China.

As Dr. Johannsen spoke, I was a bit confused by his claim that the receivers were getting “all” possible permutations of the signals. I asked something like, “but if they’re getting all the binary states of the signal, wouldn’t it be 00, 01, 10, 11?” Dr. Johannsen smiled.

“You found that strange too? So did they. And, eventually, so did I. It took years before anyone knew why some permutations were missing.”

He went on.

Unbeknownst to nearly everyone, aside from spy agencies in countries with the capability of learning such a thing, China had leapfrogged the rest of the world in high-energy physics research.

Unable to clandestinely build a particle accelerator like the LHC, Chinese scientists sought to achieve the same effect using a highly-speculative, albeit promising, theory: wormhole acceleration. Rather than running particles around a ring until they reached a desired speed, the idea was to create infinitesimal, short wormholes, just wide enough for a stream of particles, and send them through. Particles entering through wormhole A0-A1 would exit into wormhole B0-B1, and then reemerge through A0-A1, gaining velocity with each traversal. Impact and annihilation would come from particles pushed through wormholes C0-C1 and D0-D1 set to intersect with A0-A1 and B0-B1 at a particular time.

There was a problem, though. The wormhole construction worked, despite the fact they could only stay open for a fraction of a second before evaporating. It didn’t matter, though; new ones could be opened as quickly as the others were destroyed. That wasn’t the issue. What concerned researchers, especially those familiar with the company commandeered by the Party in 1999, was that if a single particle entered wormhole A0-A1, far more than one particle would come out of wormhole B0-B1.

That discovery was in 2003. The subsequent years were spent poring over experimental data, tweaking parameters and energy levels and system states, and devising entirely new models to help understand how these phenomena were occurring. The connection between the instantaneous communication device and the wormhole particle accelerator was too substantial to ignore. Theories about trans-dimensional space, despite being profoundly speculative, ran rampant. The only one that held up under the weight of experimental rigor was bizarre, yet elegant: a router.

Dr. Johannsen paused here, as if trying to figure out what part he wanted to discuss next. I was moderately disoriented and doing my best to understand everything he was telling me, but despite my excellent imagination and general willingness to set aside my presumptions and biases, I had a hard time keeping my skepticism to myself.

Before he could continue, I blurted out, “what the hell is Black God and what does it have to do with anything you’re telling me?”

The doctor sat back in his chair and crossed his leg over his knee. His expression didn’t change.

“Do you want me to continue with the history of this facility of which you’re now an employee?,” he asked. “Or do you want to know, without proper context, what Black God is.”

“Black God,” I replied. For the second time that day, without knowing it, I’d reached another point of no return. The doctor began.

Following a few breakthroughs, more understanding about material properties for the construction of what would be later called the bulk negator was needed. Dr. Johannsen was brought into the project as a materials scientist in 2005. His expertise in exotic allotropes and their conductive properties quickly brought new life into the stale research, and after a few years, the design was complete. Construction began in 2008.

“What is the bulk negator?,” I interrupted.

“It’s exactly what it sounds like,” replied the doctor. “It literally negates the bulk – the higher-dimensional space – in which our physical dimension exists. It all dissolves into a single field; a wormhole mouth filled with wormhole mouths filled with wormhole mouths. Each mouth terminates at a specific point within one of the potentially-infinite universes.”

“Okay, but what do you do with it?,” I asked, feeling mild irritation starting to grow at the volumes of technical data being talked at me with no discernable, overarching purpose.

Dr. Johannsen smiled. “We pray to it.”

The first stream of communication entered the bulk negator on August 29th, 2014. The reason for this was simple: if a message could be broadcasted to all the possible universes, it should be received by instruments in those universes that were standing by to receive it. And when dealing with infinite possibilities, the likelihood of one of those universes sending something back was pretty damn good.

The message 01 was sent, and, predictably, 01 and 10 came back. Two universes had contributed their own permutation. Testing continued, and thanks to advances in computing technology, more complex messages could be sent and received, with all the difficult permutations being handled effortlessly by a 512 qubit quantum annealer, which analyzed and filtered what it received. Any permutations that didn’t match known patterns were discarded.

On September 17th, 2014, as part of a test of the annealer’s filtering algorithm, an expatriate British scientist sent a plaintext message into the bulk negator. It read:

1234567890 ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ !@#$%^&*()-_=+[{]}\|:;’”,<.>?/

After an instant of processing, the screen on the annealer printed out:

“SEE ME THROUGH YOU TO TOUCH WHAT YOU SEE THROUGH TOUCHING ME”

It was an odd pattern to receive. When an analyst checked the headers of the discarded patterns, she was surprised to see there were none. This was the only pattern detected by the data flow from the bulk negator’s output.

A minute later, the annealer printed out another message. It was unprompted.

“FEED ME THROUGH YOU TO TASTE WHAT YOU FEED THROUGH TASTING ME”

Immediately following it, more came:

“HEAL ME THROUGH YOUR FATES THAT YOU SEAL BY HEALING ME”

“KNEEL HE KNEW YOU WAIT JUST TO KNEEL ON BLEEDING KNEES”

“BLEED WE SMILE AND WE SEE BLEEDING SMILES ON NEWER SEEDS”

“ONE BLACK BLACK ONE”

“WE FEED YOU”

The annealer stopped printing, but blue plasma was licking at the bulk negator’s bulbous housing. They’d seen shimmering around the machine before, but never anything like that. Before the lead scientist could throw the off switch, the plasma condensed into a single bolt, striking the floor below. The main power cut out.

In the dim emergency light, the scientists in Dr. Johannsen’s lab could see movement and hear commotion on the floor below. There were shouts of confusion and fear and muted moans of disgust. As power from the backup generators began to cycle up and lights started to turn on in order of priority, a scene of surreal carnage emerged.

Three technicians who’d been directly below the bulk negator were dead. Their eyes were bulging obscenely and gray matter trickled from their ears and noses. The subsequent autopsies discovered something that should have been impossible. Their skulls had been stuffed with excess brain tissue. Analysis determined it was not random brain tissue, but the same tissue as their own. Genetically, it was no different. The facility’s medical examiner concluded, in her words, that “the skulls had been filled with double, and in one case triple, the normal density of brain matter. Death was instantaneous. Causal element unknown.”

I stared at Dr. Johannsen with my eyebrows raised and a look of disgust on my face. “What did you do?,” I inquired.

“Well, the next day, we reactivated the system. Everyone wanted to try a different message, just to see what would happen. We were afraid, but also excited. Whatever it was we’d encountered, we couldn’t explain it. We needed to know more. One of the dead technicians was related to the project manager, so he was gone and dealing with that whole thing. That meant I was in charge. And I wanted to try to open a dialog.”

“Did it work?,” I asked, leaning forward in my chair.

“Oh yes,” the doctor replied, grinning.

“What did you say?”

“I told it we appreciated the meal.”

Will be continued.

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6 thoughts on “A Glimpse is Never Enough, part 2

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