Author : David Stevenson

“Come in, come in. Have a seat. Mind the filing cabinet. You wanted to speak to me?”

“It’s about my black hole paper.”

“Remind me.”

“Well, In theory, I have a way to generate black holes here, in the lab.”

“Really? Do we have room for massive degenerate stars? Might have to get rid of the filing cabinet!”

“No, that’s exactly the point. We’re not talking about black holes formed from collapsing stars; I believe that I can create a stabilisation field which means we can use essentially arbitrary mass. You could have one weighing a kilogram and carry it around in a box. The heaviest part of it would by my apparatus.”

“Don’t black holes give off all sorts of radiation? That’s not a problem?”

“Again, my stabilisation field. If we didn’t stop the radiation the black hole would evaporate to nothing. We can stop it radiating which means not only that it’s safe to handle, but it maintains its mass.”

“Forgive my ignorance, but what stops it just falling through the bottom of your box?”

“It’s electrically charged, so we can manoeuvre it.”

“And again, I’m sorry to have to ask this, but what on earth would we do with a little black hole in a box?

“What could we do with it? Why the opportunities for research would be practically unlimited!”

“I thought you would say that. Just to remind you: this is a business. We make things. One of the things we make is money. How does this thing make money?”

“If you won’t build it then there are plenty who will once I’ve published. Some things are more important than money!”

“Yes, I was afraid you would say that. Calm down and listen to me. I have some good news for you. Our engineers agreed with you. We could build this device. In fact we already have built this device. That was the easy part. Turns out that using it to make money wasn’t too difficult either. This business, like many others, has a lot of secrets. We can shred our paper and hard drives, but there are agencies out there who will put all the pieces back together. However, a small black hole takes care of this problem. Any information we put into it ceases to exist. It’s theoretically impossible to recover any information. That sort of service is worth money.”

“You’re planning on using my creation as a glorified paper shredder?”

“Firstly, it’s not your creation, it’s my company’s creation. And secondly, it can destroy a lot more than paper. That sort of service is worth even more money.”

“I’m not following you.”

“Ah, you theoretical chaps always need it spelled out. Bodies. You put bodies in, and you get money out, metaphorically speaking. We figure that the government will pay quite highly for that sort of service.”

“I won’t be any part of this!”

“Do you want to see it?”


“Do you want to see the prototype? Just step over there and open the drawer on the cabinet. That’s the one. You’ll notice a bit of a blue glow.”


“You didn’t notice me press this switch, or the electromagnets which moved the microscopic black hole right in the middle of your centre of mass. Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible for you to have noticed the next bit, where we released the shields for a nanosecond and all 80kg of your body was sucked over the event horizon, making a rather impressive noise, but also hurting my ears. And you can’t hear me talking to myself, so I’ll stop.”


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