Above the Surface

By Bob Evans

A/N: The science mentioned in this story is mostly fictional, and is the product of the author's imagination. The characters and places are fictional, and any real places are used fictionally.

Prologue

A Look Ahead

To predict an outcome, one must know all the factors involved. To predict how a certain situation will turn out requires one to know specifically what they are dealing with. Of course there are many factors involved, and it all depends on the type of situation, whether it involves predicting the stock market or predicting the weather. Then there are certain things like predicting orbital patterns of satellites around Earth. Those can be predicted with great accuracy, unlike predicting the outcome of rolling ten dice, and knowing what the exact numbers will be. That domain is controlled by probability and chance.

Up until about a century ago, classical physics dictated that everything could be predicted uniformly. The universe was a giant machine running smoothly. Then Quantum Mechanics was introduced, and classical physics was turned upside down. Now physics dictated that what happened in the universe was purely up to chance. While things still had a certain degree of predictability, everything had a level of probability whether it could or couldn't happen.

To this day, quantum mechanics still defies common sense, and gives theorists big headaches. Many have a hard time accepting its reality, and believe that quantum theory is an incomplete theory. However, this didn't stop industries and other scientists from using the benefits of the quantum, and creating the modern world that we live in. Without quantum mechanics, we'd still be in the medieval ages.

So, a decade into the twenty-first century, a new theory was proposed that would help making the unpredictability of the subatomic world predictable. Naturally, the theory was called Quantum Predictability Theory (or QPT for short), and dealt with events that occurred around dense gravity fields (such as that around a star). The technology didn't exist to actually work physically with a dense gravity field, so all of the aspects of the theory were done mathematically. Unfortunately, for the first two years there was little success. It seemed that QPT would fit in with the same group as String Theory, just beyond the human limits of testing.

Then a group of new theorists made their appearance on the scene, and saw a different type of potential for QPT. Instead of using it on the quantum level, they suggested using it on the human scale. Instead of predicting quantum interactions, what about predicting everyday interactions? In essence, they suggested using the theory for predicting the future. The old notion of using a dense gravity field was brought back into the picture, and it was decided to use the Earth for the experiment.

Five more years down the road, the technology to start these experiments became available, and a company called Milestone Technologies was formed. The company president, Ralph Milestone, brought the funding together for these theorists to do their experiments. Apparently there was enough credibility in their work that three other Asian companies, and one European company began researching the same project. But Ralph had a head start.

His group of theorists had been doing research into this field for many years previous, and headway was beginning to present itself. While they couldn't actually predict the future, they were beginning to develop a device that would use the Earth's gravity to peak ahead along the time line. But of course, things were still slow running, as working with quantum mechanics can frustrate even the brightest of people.

And then I made my appearance. My name is Greg Anderson, and I had been doing the same kind of research, but had been doing it in my spare time. I was actually a professor at Flagler Collage, Florida teaching basic quantum principles. Specifically, those involved with affects in the world around us. However, it was just a side job, as I was working on the aspects of this newly developed QPT. About a year after I began working on the subject, I was accepted on to the team at Milestone Technologies.

It's now been twenty years since I was accepted on. The work has been tedious, and twenty years is a very, very long time. But it seemed as though each year I was one step closer to the answer. I had been working alone, believe it or not, and wasn't with the other teams. My main job was the theoretical work. I was just making sure the machine worked.

Just as summer started, the equipment was finished, and we began testing it's capabilities. It came as no surprise to everyone when nothing happened on the first try. All we got was a blank screen. So we recalibrated the instruments, and tried again. This time we got about two lines of data.

The machine worked by firing an extremely sensitive laser around a dense body of matter. The experiment relied heavily on needing lots of gravity. In my mind, that's what took so long. We had to make the devices sensitive enough to work with what little gravity we had on our small planet. There were two or three nights I thought about quitting the experiment just because we couldn't overcome that problem. But we did.

The first device was placed in northern Canada, out in the wilderness. We had to have as little interference as possible. Of course we had the magnetic fields from being so far north, but it was a small price to pay for being far away from any other man-made equipment. The device fired a laser that was received by another device further south, to prevent the laser from going straight into space. If went from there to a third device, and so on until reaching our facility in southern Arkansas. From there, the laser was already warped enough by the gravity of the Earth that it naturally bent the rest of the way, until reaching our final device in the southern most mountains of Chile.

From there, the laser was lost from our detectors, and, in reality, left the known universe. Depending on how well the system works, the laser in theory should come back around the Earth, and be received by our device in Arkansas. This device is the only one sensitive enough to actually detect the laser once it returns to the known universe.

The first few times we fired the laser, we got back either nothing, or very little bits of code; things such as different elements (mostly hydrogen, occasionally carbon or oxygen) and the location of various geographical points in space around the Earth. While these first bits of data were small and insignificant, they provided us with one crucial piece of information; the system worked. We were receiving information from an alternate point in time.

This discovery was published, and the company received increased funding. We had now attracted the attention of the scientific community and the world. It was a prime time in all of our lives. All these years of sacrifice and work had finally paid off. Of course, little did I or anyone else in the company know that we had attracted the attention of more than just curious onlookers and scientists.

Looking back now, I'm surprised that events didn't transpire sooner than they eventually did. It would have happened sooner or later, but I guess it took a little fuel to start this fire. In my case, I did more than just fuel the fire; I burned down the house…so to speak…