by Bruce Meyer
Aidan Scelestus wished like anything that the hidden dimensions really were places with length, width, and height. Then the stellar laboratory at Atraville College wouldn’t tower so high above him. Then no one would know he didn’t get the dimensional calculus. Then he could keep up with his lab partner, Emma Drommel.
Emma was more than just hot; she was Atraville’s top physics student. Although she wore a jumpsuit that inspired his imagination, her attraction was definitely her intellect. She stooped over the console of the stellar lab, her long black hair tied behind her head so hard she might have pulled out some strands. Once finished, she waved her hands across the controls. The pitch of the cannons rose, firing streams of white energy into a swelling fireball at the center.
Watching the churning plasma, Aidan couldn’t quite put his finger on what was wrong. Discovery of other dimensions had revolutionized the radiated electrical power industry. Using titidium antennas, electricity skirted the boundaries of spacetime. But the ancients had forbidden opening of the extra dimensions.
“We’re just supposed to observe them. You can’t open one!”
Emma smiled. Under different circumstances that would have caused Brownian motion in his stomach. “Yes I can. I reconfigured the cannons.” When she manipulated the controls again, the energy grew so high the vibrations rocked their control house like that of a fry pan.
“Hidden dimensions are not places like length, width and height,” she said. “They’re pockets of pure energy. The ancients called it dark energy. It’s the energy that makes up over seventy percent of the universe.” When Aidan tried to back away, she grabbed him by his shoulders. “Dark energy doesn’t just accelerate the expansion of the universe. Once you’ve opened a hidden dimension, it does more than that. Here, you try.”
Emma grabbed his hand and pulled it over to the controls. Aidan thought to resist, but was soon glad he didn’t. The fireball exploded with streaks of colors in rapid succession. It was breathtakingly beautiful, like the northern lights all rolled into a sphere. There were colors he had never seen and sounds he had never heard. He wanted to immerse himself in all, as if it was the doorway to heaven.
“We can change everything,” Emma said. “Dark energy is the portal to a new world.”
Aidan felt his face flush. Hand-in-hand, they approached the lookout window with reverent awe. As they watched, the colors of the fireball turned dark as if burnt by overexposure. Out of the darkened ball, a black stream appeared, like a snake hatching from an egg. It spiraled out from the ball until it filled the entire stellar lab.
Aidan felt hot burning as if the sun’s energy entered his body. It started in his chest and gushed into his arms and legs, tingling his fingers and toes. His muscles burst with strength and his spirits soared.
His mind, too, was quickened. He found he could work the dimensional calculus in his head. Now he could keep up with the best of them, even Emma. But when he turned to her, cold horror replaced the warmth in his chest. He knew by the expression on her hideous face that he must be the same. They both screamed at the same time.