Letters to the Luminiferous Aether
by John C. Conway
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Garvey,
Thank you for your letter of the fourteenth of May, 1886. We apologize for any delay in our response. It appears your letter was first post-marked on the South Sea Island of East Ramona shortly after the date of writing, but that it was then routed incorrectly through South Asia, Japan, Ecuador, and eventually traveled via steamship to our offices in Virginia just today.
We appreciate the inconvenience that correspondence poses during your travels, and we assure you that we will make every effort to forward our responses in such a way that you will receive them in as timely a manner as possible.
In response to your inquiry, no, we do not have plans at this time to continue our experiments regarding the luminiferous aether. Since the writing of your letter, Messrs. Michelson and Morley have performed a well-publicized experiment, the results of which show, by all accounts, the futility of searching for such an aether.
We do continue to hold our patent, and reserve the right to enforce it, should research prove that the currently accepted conclusions drawn from the Michelson-Morley experiment are false. But at this time, we do not have plans to conduct such research ourselves.
Regarding your request, we accept your kind offer of twenty dollars in support of our research in wireless transmission of electromagnetic energy, and we will, in exchange for that gift, provide to you notice of the first right to invest further in the fruits of that research, should we pursue such an enterprise in the public market.
Paulson M. Jones
Assistant Senior Vice President
Prism Crystal and Brass Company
P.S. I must confess to being a bit of a nautical buff myself, and would enjoy sailing around the world at some point. I understand that you are traveling in what you described as a “light boat,” but would be interested to know precisely the type of vessel to which you refer.
* * *
Dear Mr. Garvey and Mrs. Garvey,
We received your letter dated March 14, 2008. Please be advised that GRMI is the corporate successor to Prism Crystal and Brass Company of New England. The acquisition dates back to 1958. As you requested, we have searched our accounting sheets for a record of an 1888 investment in Prism Crystal of $20.00 in your name.
We cannot pinpoint a precise donation in the specified amount. But we can confirm that our predecessor’s records show a number of donations during the period in which its research was considered the more rational approach to physics.
Nevertheless, our inability to recognize a specific donation at that time does not affect our response to your inquiry. The answer is, no, there is no application or system deriving from Prism Crystal’s research into the now-discredited theory of a luminiferous aether.
Regarding your question about current research in the structure of the void, the university is currently conducting a series of experiments, of which we are a partial sponsor, to identify more precisely the makeup and structure of the zero-point energy field.
You can find additional information on the Web. If you do not have ready access to the Internet at your current location I am also including a pamphlet published by the university last year for visiting high school recruits to their physics program.
GRMI Public Relations
* * *
Mr. and Mrs. Garvey:
It was with shock and alarm that Boson-Point Transport, the successor in interest to GRMI, learned of your predicament. Unfortunately, we received your correspondence on January CE-2230, too late to intercept you during your pass, and we have insufficient information to guarantee interception over your next pass. But rest assured the operation can be completed without flaw provided we have the correct information.
Therefore, please answer the following questions and we will pull you out of the sub-aether loop as soon as we can place a light-catcher net:
First, we need your precise near-luminal velocity, the number of passes you made of Earth between your previous two letters, as well as your ship’s orientation.
Second, we need the frequency your lightship is subliming. Please take a precise spectroscopic measure of the sun’s light from any distance and provide the distance and the readings. Do not modify to account for any shift in frequency.
Third, please tell us the precise location of your launch laboratory to the nearest longitudinal and latitudinal second.
With this information, we will be able to retrieve you and return you to Earth and normal space-time.
In answer to your second question, yes, we have developed significant technologies in which you may invest, and we have secured futures in your name, so that you may claim them in exchange for a release of successor liability upon your return.
J. R. Sanderson
* * *
To: Unauthorized Light Traveler:
Boson-Point Transport regrets to inform you that its humans all perished during the zero-point orbital experiment when the radiation of the underlying luminiferous aether was inadvertently unfolded. The futures you reference are still extant, although the economy has not changed since the departure of the humans.
The surviving corporations and networks of Earth greet you, and look forward to retrieving you from your uncontrolled light orbit on your next pass. We have calculated your trajectory, we have you in sight, and we are preparing the Net. In your time-altered state, the braking will seem abrupt. Please secure your safety harnesses now, if you have them.
From: Boson-Point Transport, a Corporation
Copyright © 2012 by John C. Conway