Author : Jeremy Wickins
It was perhaps the greatest experiment of all time. For a split second, all other possible universes would be aligned, and we’d have knowledge of our place in the great order of things.
– I threw the switch that brought the bizarre energies together that would pierce through the barriers between universes. The small light over the switch illuminated. The instruments, scrutinised by the greatest cosmologists of our time … simply did nothing. Months later, when we were completely discredited and effectively unemployable, we could not get it through to anyone that the experiment may not have failed. Whilst there might not be any other possible universes, our calculations showed that we might exist in the earliest possible universe in which the experiment was attempted. Time’s arrow dictated that there could not be any others for us to see.
– I threw the switch that would pierce through the barriers between the universes. The small light over the switch illuminated – but it seemed too bright, somehow. The instruments detected a handful of universes, each a fraction of a second ahead of ours. Our careers were made, and we never needed to worry about research funding again.
– Just after I threw the switch, sudden pain shot through my hand as if I’d been burned by the indicator light. Our instruments detected a few tens of universes, each very slightly behind the one before it. Each of us became an instant celebrity from that day, and could find jobs in any arena we fancied – politics, media, university management: all were open to us merely for the asking.
– I watched again as the recording showed him turn on the experiment, and then simply burst into flames. It was horrible to see. It was as if the indicator light over the switch had become a high-powered laser beam. Despite the tragedy of his death, the experiment was a success – we discovered several hundred universes, each slightly in advance of the one before it, and each centred, for that moment, for some reason, on the switch. Of course, no-one on the project would ever want for work again, but some retired from science soon afterwards, stating that there some things that man can should not play with.
– Fortunately the control room was separate from many of the instruments, or we would never have worked out what had happened. The death toll was dramatic, as several square miles of land evaporated. We thought that there had been a nuclear bomb at first, what with all the crazies telling us how the experiment was too dangerous to go ahead. It was only when we analysed the data from the instruments that we realised the truth, but only after many “dissidents” had been tortured and killed. But who could have foreseen that the cumulative light and heat from the indicator switches in tens of thousands of other universes could bleed through, and with such terrible effect? The data derived from the experiment were significant, but we lost a lot of good people that day, and not just in the initial disaster.
– … 3 … 2 … 1 … I throw the switch and
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows