The Bridge: a New Beginning
by euhal allen
Chapter 1: Starting Over
The people of Earth have rejected the Galactic Council’s offer of aid in qualifying for membership in the Galactic Union, but some Union sympathizers have taken refuge on Dreamer’s World. Katia Harrigan, the Dreamsinger, is elected to be humanity’s representative to the Galactic Council, where she hopes to save Earth from being completely ostracized. Meanwhile, Katia’s children Sean and Olga pursue academic careers, while her granddaughter Me’Avi turns to politics.
Me’Avi von Schweinfurt was in her room, twirling. Today was to be her first day in school and she was looking forward to the excitement of being around other children, something the daughter of Johannes von Schweinfurt and Olga Shapirov, (who had kept her maiden name) and granddaughter of Katia Shapirov had little experience with in her short life.
Her father and her mother, astrophysicists of renown, were constantly on the move to keep to the top of their field. to give seminars, and do visiting teaching stints at the most prestigious universities in the galaxy. And that made it difficult for Me’Avi to gain any true friends. And her grandmother, the Dream Singer, the governess of her people, and Minister of Dreamer’s World to the Galactic Counsel, meant that that other important adult in her life rarely saw her for more than a minute or two.
Her only real companion, an old computer person, which mother, for some perverse reason had named Hal, treated her in a stilted and very formal manner. He was only a tutor, never a friend.
But this morning Me’Avi was going to school and the thought of spending the day with others of her own age was delicious.
* * *
Takeshi Kurihara looked up at his father and, grinning, said, “Now I get to be all grownup, like you, father. Today I, too, go to school.”
Kenji smiled down at his son and replied, “Yes! It is an important step for you. Let us hope your instructors are less demanding than Professor Melichson. You must do your best and make your grandfather Denzo proud.”
“But grandfather Denzo died when I was four. How can I make him proud?”
“He is not dead in my heart, Takeshi, just as I hope to be alive in your heart after I join my father’s ashes. The part of my heart that honors my father can be made proud if you work hard at school and do well.
“Someday, when you are old enough, and if Earth is available to us, you and I will go there and fish in the same waters that he fished in. Then your grandfather will become more real to you and you will be able to honor him with a place in your heart.”
* * *
Rondol da Laich stood on the steps of the Galactic Council Space Science building and wondered how his new job would be of help in the search his people of Qwell had been conducting for so long. Still, his father, the First Head of the Family Heads of the Qwell-Na insisted that being involved in the Department of Galactic Science would someday be of great importance.
It had been in the past, for it was Galactic Science ships commanded and crewed by the Qwell that had discovered the current candidate for the people the Qwell-Na had been seeking. It had been a discovery of such great importance that his father had left a much more prestigious career path in order to be the et-Sharma of that world.
Also, his father had insisted that the Bridge assigned to that world be fitted with the latest personality circuits. There had been some resistance to that request, because those circuits had not been thoroughly tested. No one had known just how the new and highly advanced computer would react to a people as diverse and independent as those of the candidate planet.
* * *
Kalvin thought it a little strange that all of his really close friends were dead. That didn’t seem too normal in the world around him, but then he was only six and already his schedule was pretty full. And the requirement that he practice one hour for each minute he was to play did make it a little hard to go and find someone alive to play with. “So,” he thought, “I shall have to be content with Chopin and Beethoven and those other greats in the music world as my friends. At least they don’t demand, outside their music, very much of me.”
* * *
Katia, lounging in the control/living area of Alexei’s Pride, thought over the events of the past few years. How Cyr had shielded the people until the ships were able, cloaked, to come and get them for transport to Dreamer’s World. How the different villages around the world, the safe ones, had been deconstructed and cataloged by Galactic technology, loaded into fast transit vessels, shipped to their new lands and then rebuilt on their new world.
It had all been done painlessly, and the people’s villages were there waiting for them when they arrived. The transition was a gift from the Galactic Council to repay some of the pleasure that the peoples of the galaxy had gained from Earth’s mastery of music.
Perhaps that was the biggest mistake. The immigrants from Earth received their new world already tamed. It ready for them to start living again with little or no challenge to bring a little excitement to their lives. And they had loved it, telling one another that they had already had enough excitement in the last months on Earth. Now, they thought, they had earned their peace.
Soon, all too soon, that was all they cared about. Their almost idyllic lives undercut their former selves and allowed them to become just a bit lazy.
Katia, seeing the danger in their giving up the quest for zest in life, had begun to push a little here and shove a little there in an attempt to create new goals for her people. Loving her as they did, the people let her create a new governing council for them and sent all those who still had some semblance of ambition to work with her. Then, having given them something to do, they went back to their idyllic lives, in peace.
Katia went about her new role as Governor by building an education structure; advising Cyr as to the best places to reconstruct the Bridge on Dreamer’s World; creating a modern and efficient transportation system so that goods and services could be everywhere. Then there was the communication grid and all the other things that now made Dreamer’s World the equal of any world in the known galaxy.
Then she saw that all that she had accomplished, as requested by her people, had just made their lives even less challenging than before. Humankind had lost its edge, and nowhere could you see it more plainly than in the new music being fashioned. It was only pretty, never beautiful. It was only shallow and insipid, never exciting with anger or mirth or any other real emotion.
Katia had just about given up on those goals for her people when she had received the invitation that started her in the direction she now traveled, to be the first Minister to the Galactic Council for Humanity.
Perhaps there she could do something to wake her people up again, bring them to life as they had been alive on Earth.
* * *
Kran Xhelsher was finally where he never wanted to be: he was the Minister from Graszhni to the Galactic Council. Brol Zhilzhten had been a young person, as his people went; he had no right to die and put Kran into the spot he was now in!
At first Kran was sure that he would only be Minister from Graszhni until the government at home sent another, more mature, diplomat. Then Kran could settle back into his invisible slot as an assistant and everything would be peaceful for him again. Instead his government had just confirmed, based on Kran’s record of scholarship and experience, that the appointment was permanent and that Kran just needed to accept that he was now Minister.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Kran had already turned down the position at least three times and accepted an assistantship only when he realized that he would not be left alone until he did. Now Minister Zhilzhten was dead, and Kran was the new Minister after all. It was almost as if the universe were in collusion against him. Now, because of the oath he had taken as assistant, he had no choice but to go on in the job he was now stuck with.
* * *
Dr. Melichson, looking at his class’s blank faces, understood the frustration of every teacher who had left a class behind in a confused muddle.
The people in his class were all very bright, but even very bright people could get lost when given too much too soon, and Dr. Melichson realized that, in his enthusiasm for his subject, he had gone further than they were ready for. Now he had to go back far enough in the topic to get them situated again in a familiar part of his subject.
“Mr. Shapirov, you look least glazed in your eyes. Perhaps you can open your text to section seventy-two and read Dr. George Bennett’s explanation of String, or Membrane theory as it was known in that time?”
Sean picked up his compu-slate, selected the Sub-Quantum text, and found section seventy-two. Then he began to read:
Now the theory has ‘evolved’ into membrane theory. That’s because multi-dimensional modes of vibration give more freedom for different harmonics.
Think of a violin string. Beautiful sounds, harmonics of each other. Now think of a piece of sheet metal. When you hit it, vertical and horizontal motion can proceed independently, or it can lock up in subharmonics depending on the relative sizes, the support, etc.
So we start with m dimensions, proceed to n dimensions, then (because O is easily confused) we then go to p dimensions. From which modern physics derives its name for ‘p-brane theory’ (I not you kid).
A doughnut (toroid) shape can vibrate radially, axially, and around the shape.
How to go down the dimensional scale:
Start again with a string. One dimension. An ant, walking on that string, also understands along and around (two dimensions) the circumference of that string. The string thickness plays a part too; the mite on that ant gets off, and understands (in his little mite brain) that he can burrow through that string, giving it depth — yet a third dimension.
So the smaller one goes, the more dimensions one sees.
Quantum weirdness is due to such reductions in scale. What starts out as a simple x y z becomes a 12-dimensional matrix. Since the commutative property of multiplication doesn’t exist in matrix algebra, it matters in what order the operation is performed. There is, for instance, a left-multiply and a right-multiply. Thus, the rules change in multiple dimensions, but they still follow the mathematical structure we know so well.
One can traverse dimensions. One slides down in size from one dimension, and at the Planck limit, one cannot go beyond the minimum dimension allowed by quantum mechanics. Apparently, when one drops below this limit, growth in another dimension...
Dr. Melichson watched as the students began to recover from his earlier overwhelming enthusiasm and started to tune in again to the class. “There is,” he thought, “hope for these kids, after all.”
* * *
The crowd at the concert hall in Shapirov village, a replica of a village that had once been on a coastal area in a place called Oregon, grew restless as it waited for the star attraction of the evening to appear. The concert hall was so small that the little village was not often honored in such a manner, and everyone wanted to experience the event.
Then the master of ceremonies finally came out and began his introduction. “Fellow Dreamers, it is our pleasure to welcome to our little stage the pre-eminent musical sensation in the entire galaxy. Please show your appreciation for our guest pianist as he entertains us this evening. Welcome, please, Maestro C of the Galactic Conservatory.”
Thunderous applause echoed in the hall as six-year old Kalvin came out and took his seat at the specially modified piano and began yet another concert.
* * *
Sean Shapirov and his sister Olga were lounging around her living room, watching Me’Avi play when Sean mentioned the thought that Dr. Melichson had for some sort of instantaneous transport. If one could just find a way to control the sub-quantum forces...
“You mean like we always thought was happening when we would somehow jump to Dreamer meetings on Earth? I still remember when we would get a signal and then we would be there. It was the same thing going back.
“I asked Cyr about it once, and he just said that nothing of Galactic Council science spoke of such a thing, so we must not be remembering correctly.”
“Really?” replied Sean, “He told me the same thing. Still, there are a couple of things about that time that want to come to the surface of my memory and that agree somehow with your memories. I just can’t quite force them to come out.
“I suppose it really doesn’t matter. We were just kids when all this started anyway, and who can trust the memory of a kid?”
* * *
Franco Hernandez sat in his old chair sobbing, feeling the emptiness that comes with the loss of a loved one. Before him lay his beautiful wife, Maria. Why she had died, why so many in his village near Mexico City had died, he did not know. Some said that the birds had brought the sickness, while others said it was in the pigs.
He had tried to get Dr. Alvarez to come and help, but when he got to the doctor’s home the man was already in his own coffin. Dr. Alvarez’s wife told him that it was the same all over the area. Most of the doctors were either sick or dead. There was no help to find, Maria would have to fight the disease on her own.
“Is there no medicine you can give me? Just a little medicine to help my Maria? Please, God in heaven, bless you, please!”
The doctor’s wife just looked at him and, shaking her head, said, “Franco, I am sorry.”
* * *
To be continued...
Copyright © 2011 by euhal allen