We had some really cool results at work today.
Well, cool looking. I kind of hesitate to call them “results”, since in theory we’re doing a scientific experiment here but I have no idea what our hypothesis is, much less what kind of data we’re getting here.
But it looked neat.
Today when the arcing streams hit our crystalline sample, they sort of… refracted. Which you don’t really expect to happen with an arc. It was like each beam split into four separate arcs which jumped away at right angles for about half a meter before they bent in mid-air. They kept making right turns until they’d traced squares in the air.
But then I moved to the side and saw that they were cubes. And then I moved to the side a bit more and saw that they were… cubed again. I walked a slow semi-circle around the experiment, not taking my eyes off it for more than was necessary to avoid falling off the platforms. Every step revealed new facets, another layer of cubic recursion.
“It’s like a tesseract,” I said out loud.
“But not,” Dr. Li whispered, uncomfortably close behind me. “Of course you would spot that. If a cube is a square in three dimensions and a tesseract is a square in four dimensions, then this time/space manifold represents a square in n-dimensions.”
I nodded, because it made a surprising amount of sense. And anyway, nothing that he said could be stranger than what I was seeing. In the space inside each square shape, the image of the lab around the apparatus was repeated, though distorted in a way I can’t quite explain or even call to mind.
I became aware that the machine had been running for longer than any previous test. Usually it shut itself down amidst a shower of sparks, or someone threw a switch as soon as the beams started arcing out of control or the sample of the day exploded or melted down. This wasn’t out of control and our current sample had endured every test without any permanent change.
“Shut it down, people!” Dr. Cranor called out, and I watched as the graceful geometric transformation of space collapsed in on itself.
“We are close, so close,” she announced, as much to herself as the team, I think.
“Closer than she could possibly imagine,” Dr. Li said, still uncomfortably close to me.
This job would be great if I could just fire my boss. But I guess that’s pretty normal.