“All systems are go, repeat, all systems are go.”
“This is mission commander. Recheck all systems and calibrate time keeping devices.”
“T minus 4 minutes and forty-five seconds…mark.”
Time. The only commodity we cannot buy or sell. The most precious aspect of life. The one thing humanity cannot manufacture. Yet some are not satisfied with the time they are given. They must claim more, or even take time from elsewhere. Trying to beat the immutable law of time opens a gateway. A gateway that leads to… The Event Horizon.
“T minus four minutes… mark.”
Glenn Kasner adjusted the electrode on the right side of his chest. He knew the monitoring was essential for the mission, but it was just plain uncomfortable. Actually, sitting in the chair for another four minutes before they threw the switch is what made Kasner squirm.
Why couldn’t they just get it over with, thought Kasner. As a physicist at Recalcitrant’s Applied Physics Division, Kasner explored a possible glitch in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. He developed a way of not changing matter into energy to transcend time.
His experiments were proven somewhat successful. He sent several inanimate objects through time. He was able to send his paperweight two weeks into the future. He even sent a couple laboratory rats with great success. Of course, it was now time to try it on humans.
“T minus three minutes… mark.”
He alone sat in the cubicle. All of his bodily functions were being monitored. The room was sealed tight; air and temperature were tightly controlled by the most advanced Eniac computer to date. All calculations were tested, retested. All he had to do was wait.
Despite the chill, he felt sweat bead up on his brow. He felt the pressure, not from just the test, but also from his career. In less than..
“T – minus two minutes… mark.”
… his career would either warrant advancement to senior physicist, or he could be fired. Death was not really a fear for him. Looking stupid would be much more devastating.
He tried to concentrate on his breathing. Slow and steady, he reminded himself. A new world will open up soon. No need to rush into it.
“T – minus one minute”
Kasner’s mind went to the checklist. He replayed every step in his mind. He knew the techs in the outer room would monitor everything. Two senior physicists were on standby. The mission commander, Dr. Willard Baxter was second in command to the mysterious Dr. Z, owner of Recalcitrant Laboratories. Kasner knew he was in the big leagues.
“T – minus forty-five seconds.”
“This is the mission commander. Start auxiliary generators. Bring all systems to full operational levels. Wait for my command.”
Kasner heard the windup of the electrical systems. It reminded of the new engines they started to use on airplanes. Turbines, he thought they were called.
“T – minus thirty seconds.”
He saw Baxter’s face appear in the observation window. There was no sign of emotion in his eyes. I might as well be a lab rat, Kasner thought.
“T – minus fifteen seconds.”
Here goes, thought Kasner.
“Engage all systems.”
Kasner took a deep breath as he awaited the surge of power. He felt a strange tingling and then a vertigo-like sensation. He blinked to re-orient himself.
Everything was wrong. He couldn’t see any of the scientists. He took off the monitor pads and rose from the chair.
“Commander, we’re losing contact with subject.”
“Shut all systems down!”
Baxter rushed into the room. The chair was empty.
“Where did he go?” one of the techs asked.
Baxter walked to the door and asked the monitor systems engineer, “How far did he go?”
The engineer pulled out his slide rule and scribbled out his calculations.
“It appears from the power drain and system surge, we’re talking about three seconds, sir.”
“Three seconds!” Baxter said. “But where?”
“The future?” the engineer asked.
“Are you sure?” asked Baxter.
Kasner knew he was transported. He wondered how far. If it was far into the future this room would probably not exist. He examined the equipment. All was how it should be, but the room was deserted. Where in Time am I?
“Let me see the calculations Kasner gave you,” Baxter demanded.
The engineer handed a sheaf of papers. Baxter pursed through them. Chaos reined in the room while all the techs rechecked their equipment.
Baxter closed the papers. He looked at everyone to make sure he had their attention.
“How much did Kasner weigh?” he asked.
“We weighed him in at exactly one hundred and eighty-two pounds, Dr. Baxter,” the reply came from the second row of desks, those responsible for monitoring life signs.
“Did that include the monitoring equipment placed on Dr. Kasner?”
The silence in the room was deafening.
Baxter took off his glasses and pinched the upper portion of his nose. He paused with an audible sigh. Replacing his glasses, he once again scanned the room to make sure he had the full attention of everyone.
“Gentlemen, I know you did your best. I know this was our best hope of time travel. The calculations were flawless, you all preformed admirably at your stations. I will tell Dr. Z that he can be proud of the Applied Physics Division.
“However, the 2.7 pounds of the monitoring equipment Dr. Kasner wore may have skewed the experiment. It may be that Dr. Kasner was not sent three seconds into the future. He may have been sent three seconds into another time line. At this point there is no way to tell.
“I ask each of you to look for signs of Dr. Kasner. It may be a ghost image, it may be misplaced equipment. Be aware of the next few weeks. Perhaps we will see a sign and have some way of getting Kasner back. Thank you all.”
The dimension of time is unassailable by mortal men. It has been a paradox, a myth, the Holy Grail of physics. But Father Time is a worthy opponent, one who has never lost. Meanwhile, another lost human seeks to find his way out of… The Event Horizon.