Eldrich Engineer Book 1:Quantum Conjurations
You never know when a portal to another dimension is going to open. However, when working with quantum physics, you must know it is a possibility.
Quantum Conjurations –
My foe’s blade sliced down, and I pivoted to one side, barely avoiding the edge. The wind from its passage whiffed through the holes in my visor. I riposted and almost tagged him, but he parried the blow in the nick of time.
“You’re getting better, Adam, but you’re still not quite good enough to beat me. Not yet, anyway.”
“Less talk, more action, old man.” Adam grinned as he launched into a series of strikes, pushing me back.
Old man? I was still two years shy of thirty! I’d show him old!
I fought back, parrying, feinting, and lunging. We were evenly matched, and Adam’s movements showed me that he enjoyed the fencing match as much as I did. He improved progressively with every bout, and I was proud to have helped him reach such a high level.
Finally, after an intense exchange, I got a point.
“Well done,” I praised. “That was a great bout. You’re really improving.”
Adam grinned and bowed. “Thanks, Professor. I guess I need to keep practicing.”
I clapped his back. “Yes, practice makes perfect. Keep at it, and soon you’ll give me a proper fight.”
We returned to the sidelines, where I spotted my other students. They were all hard at work, trying to hone their skills as best they could. I was proud of them and satisfied that my little fencing club was turning out some excellent fencers.
Maybe one day, some of them would become world-class athletes. If they didn’t, they were still learning important skills and having a great time doing it. That was enough for me.
“All right, everyone, that’s it for today. I’ll see you all on Thursday for more practice, so be sure to come prepared and ready to learn. Have a great day!” I clapped and sent them off with a smile.
Adam thanked me again before leaving, and I waved goodbye as he walked out the door. As soon as everyone was gone, I gathered the equipment to put away until our next session. After everything was tidy, I grabbed my bag and headed out the door, eager to return to my research lab for some well-deserved time alone with my work.
First, a shower was in order. Adam might not be able to beat me yet, but he was getting closer all the time, and I’d broken a sweat during that bout.
My work could wait until I got cleaned up, excited as I was. It wasn’t going anywhere, and the longer I waited for the power to build up in the capacitors I’d built, the better my results were likely to be.
I stepped into the shower, the warmth of the water cascading down my body like a soothing massage. My tension melted away as I let the stream slowly wash off all traces of fencing, leaving me free to ponder the experiment that had consumed my thoughts for the past two years. Trying to build a sonic analog of a black hole was a daunting task. I’d come close in previous experiments and knew I could do it this time if only I had enough power.
The experiment would take everything I had—money, time, and energy. In return, it promised something magical—a peek into an otherworldly phenomenon with more accuracy and clarity than anyone else had ever seen. It was a risk worth taking.
I toweled off and threw on work clothes. My stomach grumbled. It was close to dinnertime, and lunch had been many hours ago. I wasn’t ready to call it quits for the day until I’d flipped the switch on my creation.
My lab was a short jaunt from the field house where we held fencing practices. I set out into the crisp autumn air, hopeful and excited.
I was less thrilled when I arrived to find one of my students waiting outside my lab door.
“Hey Triss, what are you doing here?” I recognized her as one of my less able electrical engineering students. She was behind most of the class but was trying, and I admired that.
Triss nervously shifted from foot to foot. “I had some questions about the assignment you gave us in class today and hoped I could get some help before the deadline.”
I sighed inwardly but nodded and opened the lab door for her. She followed me inside, and I checked my equipment while answering her questions.
Although I was admittedly annoyed at being interrupted, I truly enjoyed my role as a teacher. Clarifying things for my students was part of the job. “Of course. What’s the problem?”
Triss cleared her throat. “Well, I’m a bit confused about the math involved in calculating the charge capacity of the capacitors. I don’t understand how to get an accurate result.”
I smiled and nodded, although the math wasn’t that difficult. “Once you break it down into steps it becomes much more understandable. Let me help you walk through it so you have a better idea of what’s going on.”
I grabbed a piece of chalk and diagrammed on the blackboard as I explained each step in detail. After patiently walking Triss through the process, she finally had a better grasp on the problem.
Then Triss caught me off-guard. “Wait, what is this?” She had turned and was peering into the back half of the lab where I had built my sonic black hole contraption. On a nearby shelf were several capacitors. Their sleek metallic surfaces gleamed in the light.
I smiled and went to them. “Ah yes, those are much more complex than the basic stuff you’re used to from class. These are specialized capacitors developed for this experiment specifically. Come here and let me show you how they work.”
I pointed out each part of the capacitor and explained how it interacted with the other components to store energy efficiently and release it quickly when needed for the experiment. Triss intently watched as I spoke, her eyes wide with wonder at all the intricacies involved in such a simple-looking device. By the time I finished talking, she seemed thoroughly impressed—and so was I. I hadn’t expected such an enthusiastic response from a student!
“It’s all ready to go then?” she asked.
I nodded. “Yes, the capacitors are charged and ready. All I need now is someone to trip the switch, and we can see if all this work has paid off.”
I looked at Triss questioningly, wondering if she wanted to stick around and see the results. “Want to watch?”
To my surprise, she nodded with an eager smile. “Absolutely! I’d love to!”
With a grin, I gestured at the switch on the wall. “Then flip it whenever you’re ready! This should be quite the show.”
Triss eagerly reached forward and flipped the switch. Power surged through several large cables from the capacitors into special speakers designed to create powerful, carefully crafted sound waves.
The speakers hummed and vibrated as they emitted a low frequency that gradually increased until it was loud enough to feel rather than hear. The sound waves reverberated throughout the room, causing objects on small objects around the room to vibrate. I couldn’t contain my excitement as we stood there watching in awe. I was entering brand-new territory with this experiment, which made it an event full of wonder and possibility.
The sound waves slammed into a thin pair of glass plates suspended horizontally above the floor, like a window to nowhere. A thick fluid mixture between the plates began rotating as the sound waves struck it. The fluid swirled faster, spinning like a horizontal whirlpool.
“It’s working!” I exclaimed. Soon the liquid would move faster than the local speed of sound, which would cause an effect similar to Hawking radiation—the stuff theoretically produced by black holes. This experiment’s whole point was to create a sonic analog to a black hole. It had been done before, but I was attempting to make a closer analog than my colleagues had managed.
The nearer we could get to the real thing, the more reliable our results would be.
“Whoa.” Triss stared. The liquid swirled ever faster, and the sound dropped deeper in pitch. She backed away, some instinct telling her she didn’t want to be too close.
She was about to stumble over the power cables. I tried to warn her, but she slipped and fell before I could. Sparks flew from the capacitors.
“Shit!” I rushed toward the switch, hoping to shut everything down before it fried all my work. Her fall must have caused a short.
The capacitors sparked brighter, and the lights in the room flickered. A glowing spot appeared in the center of the swirling liquid, growing brighter with each passing second as if some unknown force was drawing out all of its energy.
Triss and I stared at each other in shock before she rose. We both knew this had gone far beyond what either of us expected. It was time to shut this thing down before it hurt someone. I flipped the switch.
I flipped it back up, then down again. Still nothing. The speakers poured out noise like there was no tomorrow, the liquid swirled inside its glass barrier, and the light that had no business being there grew brighter.
“Triss, get out of the lab. Quickly, now,” I instructed. Safety first. I needed to ensure the girl wasn’t in jeopardy. Then I could take more drastic measures to shut this thing down, maybe yank loose one of the power cables or something.
She started for the door. Before she reached it, the panes containing the fluid matrix shattered, sending tiny shards of safety glass in all directions.
The fluid didn’t drop to the floor like it should have. Instead, it kept spinning in midair. Impossible? Yeah, I knew it was. It didn’t change that it defied all the laws of physics I knew.
“Out! Now!” I shouted.
Triss made for the door, but before she could reach it the light in the center went out, turned jet black, and began sucking in everything nearby. We were totally in fantasy land at this point. There was no way my experiment could have generated an actual black hole, but this closely resembled one. I grabbed a bolted-down lab table, but Triss fell, and the thing dragged her toward itself. I had to save her!
I rushed forward and pulled my student back from the darkness with all my might. It tried to pull me in too, as if some unknown force was trying to drag me into whatever this thing was. Triss was what mattered. She was safe—for now—and I wouldn’t let go until I knew she was safe for good.
“Hang on! I’ve got you!” I hollered.
She nodded. Her face was pale. It took a monumental effort, but I got her on the leeward side of the lab table, away from the hole in spacetime I’d somehow generated. Holy crap, this was crazy. I was either going to get instant tenure or fired, and I wasn’t sure which yet.
“What do we do?” Triss asked.
“Make for the door. Stay low so you don’t get knocked down by the wind or flying debris.” The hole was sucking in air from the room and beyond. It whistled around the door. I had to find a way to close this thing.
Triss raced toward the door and started to pull it open, but the force of the air pressure yanked it toward her, ripping the handle from her hands. It slammed into the wall with a bang and air rushed in, almost bowling her over again. I froze, ready to help her if she stumbled, but she retained her footing and got into the hallway.
I had to act fast. I didn’t have much time. I scanned the room for something that could help me close the hole. Then it hit me. Capacitors! My device used several high-capacity capacitors to contain and control its power output. If I could yank one of those, maybe I could use it as a makeshift plug.
I ran to where the capacitors were stored, grabbed one of the heavy machines with both hands, and threw it toward the hole with all my strength. As it flew, I noticed a strange ripple in space around it as if its passage distorted time itself.
I’d forgotten to unplug it before I threw it.
The heavy cable caught on my leg, tangling me. As the capacitor slid into the hole and vanished with a flash, the cord remained in the lab, wrapped around my leg. Then the hole began pulling the rest of it in after the capacitor.
The first tug sent me tumbling to the floor. The steady pull that followed yanked me across the tiles toward the hole. I was helpless to stop my slow slide into oblivion. All I could do was watch as one meter after another of cable vanished into that nothingness.
In desperation, I grabbed onto a large cabinet where I stored assorted lab tools and supplies. It stopped my progress, at least for a moment. Things from all over the room flew into the abyss, only to vanish from sight. I had no idea what was on the other side, but I didn’t want to find out the hard way.
With a groan of distressed metal and wood, the cabinet slid away from the wall. I reached higher on the thing, trying to get on the far side of it, but it tipped over and flew forward. With nothing to keep me from falling toward the hole, the cable dragged me in.
The last thing I saw was Triss’s terrified eyes staring at me from the hallway. Then I was gone, and everything went black.
Triss got a lot more than she bargained for when she came to the lab that day. Find out on October 19th if Adam is happy with the results of his experiment when Elrich Engineer Book 1: Quantum Conjurations is released.