Today, Dr. Li was waiting for me outside the lab, as I was getting off the train. He grabbed me by the sleeve and pulled me aside, even though no one else was there since I’m the only person traveling from the Grade 4 laboratory to this work site.
“Listen very carefully to what I’m about to say,” he said. “Don’t respond. Don’t give me an answer yet. Just listen and think about it. Alright?”
I asked him what he was talking about, and he said, “I’m telling you what I’m talking about, you damned fool: n-dimensional phase shifts outside of n-dimensions.”
He said “outside of” like he’d just discovered the principles of the internal combustion engine or cold fusion or something, something huge and pivotal and revelatory.
I didn’t say anything to that, because what the hell do you say to that? He went on, and I can’t promise that these are his exact words because he was so wild and rambling, but it went something like:
“Yes! You see? So simple and obvious once you’ve heard it, and yet so profound, so revolutionary. Such a small change, and yet it changes everything. It sounds impossible, but once you understand how it may be achieved, all things become possible. Dr. Cranor is a fool. A fool with promise, but no vision. But say nothing! When the time comes, Harper, you will be faced with a decision. Would you be shackled by n-dimensions forever?”
Then he walked into the lab. I gave it about ten seconds before I followed him. As soon as I walked in the door, he said something like, “Ah, Harper. Good to see that you are now here. I trust your journey and arrival were both uneventful.”