Brian W. Antoine
May 13, 1993
I was sitting quietly in my chair, trying not to disturb Kal, as she was examining my eye to see how it had been healing. I had been helping it a tiny bit to try to retain as much of the correction from the first surgery as possible and keep it from becoming infected. The doctor would have had fits, but what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him. Kal was just checking the incisions themselves when Tan let out a whoop and all hell broke loose.
The next few seconds were pure chaos. As I turned to see what had happened, I felt the containment field flash into existence and heard Penny begin to scream about a radiation leak.
"Shit! Hey boss, we have a radiation source and boy is it hot! I've isolated it and the containment field is holding, but something is going to be glowing for awhile." Then she began to give me readings about the strength of the radiation source.
Kal and I ran to where Tan was working and as we ran I could see him staring at something with a puzzled look on his face. He had been trying to teleport an object from one test stand to another. It was the same exercise we had been working on for almost a month now. "What the hell did you do?"
"I don't know. The block disappeared and that bright light appeared where the block was suppose to be." He pointed over at the second test stand. The center of the stand was now a glowing mess from the energy that had been released when the block had reappeared. "I still wasn't having any luck trying to do what you do, so I decided to try an idea I'd had."
I looked at the mess inside the containment field. Something was familiar about what had happened, but I couldn't put my finger on it. "Ok, describe what you did."
"Well, I built up a mental image of the destination just like you said to do. But instead of then adding the block to the image and twisting to get it to appear there, I imagined a tunnel from where the block was to where I wanted it to be. When I had a solid image built up in my mind, I pushed the block into the tunnel."
Damn but this sounded familiar. "Ok, I think I follow..." and it hit me. "Damn, Penny?"
"He was using a standard test block right?"
"Yes, I was monitoring him and saw him place it on the test stand."
"Run a quick calculation using the mass of the block. Assume that the block is inserted into one end of a hyperspactial gate and figure out how much energy we would get. Compare that with the readings you got from that mess over on the other test stand."
While I'd been talking, Tan had been talking to Kal. Now he was getting all excited again and reached behind him for another test block. "I think I know what went wrong, watch this" and he placed the block on the test stand.
I hadn't been paying too much attention and focused on what he had said just in time to feel the release of the magic he used to teleport the second block. "Hey, wait until...," but it was to late. The block disappeared from in front of my eyes. This time though it reappeared intact on the other test stand. Then things started happening all at once.
"Your right boss, the energy release matches to within about 3 percent."
* * *
"All right, it worked! Now I can go anywhere!"
* * *
"Nice going apprentice. It's about time one of us managed that little trick."
* * *
I stood there and stared at them, my mind racing. "Penny, you said it matched the profile, right?"
"Close enough. The measurements I took of the energy release were not as exact as I would like, but the energy distribution matches the one we developed for the hyperspactial power tap almost exactly."
I turned to look at the second test stand, then back at Tan. "What did you do different the second time?"
"I didn't follow the block all the way to the end the first time. This time I mentally guided it through the tunnel until it reappeared on the stand. Its simple, watch!"
Kal and I didn't even have time to wonder what he meant before he vanished in front our eyes. We didn't have time to even begin to yell before we heard him call out to us from the other side of the lab. We both however had the time to turn and scream before he did anything else.
"FREEZE! Don't do ANYTHING!"
"Do you have any idea what might have happened if that hadn't worked? You have enough mass that you would vaporized the entire lab and about half the mountain we are buried in."
He just stood there for a few seconds looking at us. "Oh ..."
"Just stay there and let me think for a moment."
A couple of years ago, Penny and I had discovered how to access hyperspace. We had to use the brute force of technology because magic, or at least Terran magic, had been unable to break through the barrier. When we had succeeded, we had discovered that only energy could pass through the barrier. Any matter introduced into hyperspace was converted to raw energy and released out the exit point of the link. As a result, we had developed the communications link and the energy tap, but had all but given up on using it for transportation. What Tan had just done threw all our assumptions right back in our faces again. It sure appeared that he had passed though hyperspace as solid matter and had emerged intact.
I looked up and Tan and smiled. "Tan, I'm going to be making your life miserable. I don't know how you did that, but I'm going to find out if I have to take you apart one atom at a time." I might not be able to duplicate what he had done using Terran magic, but I'd damn well try to duplicate it using Terran technology. If this panned out, the Sunbeam would become a true starship, and not just something limited to interplanetary flights.
Tan looked at me in shock. "Don't worry kid, I didn't mean that bit about taking you apart. You are going to have to teach me just how you did that though."
The smile returned to his face. "You mean I'm not in trouble any more?"
I looked at Kal who had just stood there watching us, then back at Tan. "Nope, you did great kid. I couldn't have asked for a better student. Now get over here and show me how you did that."
Now Kal did speak up. "Not yet. First I want some of the chili I've been smelling all evening. Are you going to feed us or starve us to death?"
"Oops. Ok, food first. But I still have a few questions ..."