Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

“I’m sorry, if I’d have realized you were coming tonight, I’d have prepared a more substantial demonstration.” The Professor addressed the Investor nervously, moving piles of notes and abandoned test equipment out of his way.

“Your message stated there had been a significant development.” The Investor stood unaffected amidst the chaos, collar turned up against the chill of the room, gloved hands clasped behind his back.

“Yes, we’ve made an exciting advancement.” The Professor ceased his tidying, and strode to the corner of the room, hefting a small wooden shipping crate from a half full pallet of the same. Stepping over the clutter, he carried it to the middle of the curved array of alloy beams that seemed to be the focal point of the laboratory. The structure itself was easily half again as tall as he was, resembling a giant sectioned orange, exploded and suspended in mid air. He deposited the crate at the approximate center of the array, and stepping beyond its perimeter he began to key noisily at a terminal while he spoke. “We had spent all of our efforts initially trying to find a way to accelerate a mass through spacetime, and quite honestly, it had us stymied completely.” He paused for a moment, thoughtfully. “So we reinterpreted the question.” The Professor alternated between keying instructions and monitoring the feedback on several attached displays. “If we didn’t ask ‘how do we accelerate matter through spacetime’, but rather simplified the question to ‘how do we move matter through spacetime’, we discovered that we could apply our theories in a different way, and we were able to successfully move matter through spacetime by decelerating it. Like this – watch!”

The Professor, satisfied with the data presented on the displays in front of him, stepped to a panel off to one side and pushed a pair of levers all the way forward, watching the crate with palpable excitement as it seemed to come into sharp focus for an instant before fading slowly from view, to disappear completely a few seconds later with an audible snap.

Pulling the levers back to their starting position, he turned excitedly to the Investor, who had stood motionless and silent through the entire demonstration.

“We’re not exactly sure where the crates are going, hopefully they’re not falling on someone’s head in another dimension, but the physical properties of the matter making up the crate remains completely intact the entire time, or at least as far as we can monitor it. In fact, we’ve…”

“You reinterpreted my directive?” The Investor’s voice stopped the Professor cold. “You wasted my time, my resources to build a matter decelerator? I know how to decelerate matter through spacetime.” He was shouting now, eyes smoldering on the verge of inferno. “I. Know. How.” His words sharply punctuated, delivered in coarse staccato. “If I had wanted you to recreate what I know, I would have specifically instructed you to do so, wouldn’t I?” His voice boomed as he closed the distance to the Professor, forcing him backwards through the steel tines of the array.

The Investor stopped to lean heavily on the control panel. “You were supposed to make me an accelerator.” He sighed deeply, in sudden resignation, throwing the levers forward again, and not watching the horrified features of the Professor pulled into vivid focus, face contorted in a silent scream as he faded and snapped out of his own plane of existence.

“You were supposed to find me a way to go home.”

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