Love in the Time of Supercolliders

“Look, we know it works,” she rubbed her earlobe, tugging at the bottom of it subconsciously. Such an obvious tell. “And we know it’s safe – you just get the computer to compute how many seconds back you want to travel, punch that into the interface. Push ‘Go’ and let the particle accelerator do the rest.” A time machine. It was so simple, in the end. It was time to take a leap of faith.

Just push ‘Go.’

An argument, as blistering egos and awkward social skills combined with too much seasonal cheer. The faculty Christmas party. Voices were raised, money put down. “If the accelerator can ease a physical object from even a fraction of the Higgs Field, the information can be digitised and transferred between two receivers! I’ll prove it to you!”

Teleportation.

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Just push ‘Go.’

So began the experiments, the years of bacteria, ants, monkeys – all flung twenty-seven kilometres through the firmament to the laboratory in the next room. Cooking ozone, the chilled odour of atomic reconfiguration.  No humans. No distance. The military had taken over, poaching scientists – the second Golden Age of Physics was at hand. Everything hush-hush. Top Secret. Jessica thought she noticed something, an anomaly in the data. Not my fugitive glances, my invented excuses to stand near her. A blip in the time-keeping software, and I told her as such. She was convinced that she alone knew the truth.

Another wager was made.

Just push ‘Go.’

“We know it works,” she said, rubbing at her nose, “and we know it’s safe – you just set the time, push ‘Go’ and let the particle accelerator do the rest.”

Just push ‘Go.’

So began the experiments. A wager made at the Christmas party. A leap across the void to a landing pad twenty-seven kilometres and the next room away. The smell of ozone, of atomic reconfiguration. Humans erased and reassembled. The military took over. “Top Secret,” people whisper in the halls, the sentries check I.D. cards and salute.

Jennifer noticed something: a blip. I struggled to convince her it was an anomaly in the time-keeping software. She was obsessed.

Just push ‘Go.’

She rubbed at her temples, unsure. “It should be safe…” Her hangover unabated. The air grows heavy with the smell of ozone, the fire of atoms torn apart.

Just push ‘Go.’

An acceptance, after ten thousand refusals.

I’m trapped between landing pads, travelling twenty-seven kilometres and seven weeks in a heartbeat. Revisiting each moment again and again. Incremental changes accruing into infinity. My own obsession.

Just push ‘Go.’

Jessica is gone. I tried to convince her it would never work. She haunts me. The memory of her pulling at her earlobe, at her nose. Rubbing at her eyes. Her fingers on my shoulder. Her soft lips pressed hard against mine. She’s gone, her doctor’s hand spidering jagged across the white-board.

“We know it’s safe, Ryan. If you’re not brave enough to test it, I will!”

Just push ‘Go.’

Just push ‘Go.’

Just push ‘Go.’

This short story was first published over on Antipodean SF – but he’s taken it down now so I thought I’d share it with all of you. Yes, I know the science is wrong. Yes, I write CERN fan fiction. Tell me what you think…

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2 thoughts on “Love in the Time of Supercolliders

  1. Emily Anne says:

    This awesome. I love the repetition. It gives it a kind of rhythm.

  2. S. L. says:

    I like it. 🙂

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