Prose Header

A Twist in the Universe

by Bertil Falk

A Lecture to Remember
appears in issue 590.

Karl Indranil Reilly was invited to a meeting at the Exobiological Institute in New Jersey. Behind the invitation was Jessica Smith, an astrobiologist, who postulated as many possibilities, abilities and opportunities as possible based on the probable fact that there are at least 1078 to 1082 observable atoms in our universe.

In other words; the amount of atoms is not endless, which makes it possible that the same organization of atoms could happen more than once, explaining the possible existence of doppelgangers. And, when it came to Karl Indranil Reilly, the actual existence of doubles.

Jessica Smith had read Karl Indranil’s thesis “The Mind of Bilocation,” and when she realized that his project studying bilocation, teleportation and related phenomena had been scrapped, she immediately understood that here was an opportunity to be grasped before someone else seized it. That realization was enhanced when she got the report about Karl’s lecture on bilocation.

Karl Indranil knew that Jessica Smith had been involved with Billie Occasion in connection with Billie’s bilocation to Mars in a distant future. But now that Billie stubbornly refused to use her ability to bilocate, he had no idea what Jessica Smith wanted from him.

It was a beautiful day at the end of the summer. The Exobiological Institute was basking in the early autumn sun, an impressive building situated between a highway and a park with maple trees.

“I heard that you got very little opposition recently when you lectured about bilocation, though it has been reported as a most sensational performance,” Jessica Smith began.

“On the contrary, there was a lot of opposition from the audience,” Karl Indranil replied and he smiled at the good-looking woman on the other side of the table. “Much more reaction than during more ordinary lectures.

“When I asked if they were ready for a demonstration of bilocation, I heard a lot of ‘no’ mixed with the majority of ‘yes’. Why was that so? I have the feeling that the naysayers were not ready for a demonstration. They wanted to hear more about the phenomenon before they were ready to say ‘yes’. You see?”

“Oh, come on. A few ‘no’ are not much of an opposition.”

“At least it was a reaction. And there was more to come. Ronald Mason, a retired physicist, argued vehemently against my statement that Billie Occasion had bilocated into fiction. I agree that this is something that is difficult to swallow. But she did it. Do you know him?”

“Of course I do. Before he retired, Ronald was in charge of this institution.”

“Really? Well, he was not the only one in the audience who reacted. When I intimated that I’d had experiences of my own but did not want to speak out about them, a woman in the audience shouted that if had said A I should also say B. She more or less forced me to bring up my ancient Egyptian doppelganger.”

“That’s what interests me most. I have asked you to come here because I think that those who scrapped your investigation into bilocation did the wrong thing.”

She leaned forward towards him and smiled. “We want you to continue the research at the point where they suddenly pulled the carpet from under your feet, but...”

She stopped speaking and just looked at him. When he did not say anything, she continued. “To begin with, your DNA is exactly the same as the DNA of that mummy who lived thousands of years ago in Egypt. That is terribly interesting, for it sort of confirms the fact that there is a limited amount of atoms in our universe and consequently also a limited amount of elementary particles. ‘Confirms’ is maybe going too far, but it could perhaps be explained by that theory.”

“I know what you are hinting at.”

“I am not hinting. I seriously suggest that since there is a limited amount of elementary particles in the universe, the same combination could by chance come up explaining your doppel-being. “

“I have thought of that, of course, and the longer our universe lasts, the more coincidences like this one will probably emerge in the long run. But even if that could be true in my particular case — and I am not sure it is — another theory is more probable.“

“I guess that you are talking about the capability of elementary particles.”

“Yes, since the electron can be at two places at the same time and we consist of elementary particles, the ability to be at more than one place at the same time could — or actually should — be inherent in us, though in a dormant way. Something — we don’t know what it is — could trigger that ability and activate it.”

“What about the two theories being connected, sort of different sides of the same phenomenon?”

“Possible but there is another problem.”

“And that is?”

“Every part of our bodies is replaced after seven years,”

“You mean that you and that mummy twin of yours should not be exact copies of each other?

“Yes, but no!”

“What do you mean, ‘yes, but no’?”

“Even though everything is replaced every seven years, one thing is always the same: the DNA you were born with is the same DNA you have when you die. It suggests that DNA is an important requisite for bilocation. The mummy and I are exact copies of each other in a different way than, for example, Billie Occasion.”

“And what is the difference?”

“She is her own double. We are not. Actually, we are different from each other. Only our DNA is the same.”

“What’s the difference? Aren’t you the double of the mummy? Isn’t the mummy your double? What’s the difference?”

“The difference is in what we’ve just said: Billie’s double is Billie. My double is a mummy.”

“But how...?”

“I don’t know, but even though I am not him, we are in a strange way connected with one another because of our DNA. It makes it possible for him to be drawn to where I am in time and space and me to where he...”

“Don’t you tell me you’ve been to Egypt in the past,” Jessica Smith screamed and got to her feet.

“Yes, I have, but sit down, for heaven’s sake, sit down. Take this as the coldblooded scientist you’re supposed to be. What we are facing here is the fact that quantum phenomena and biological phenomena are connected in a way that we don’t really know much about. We have hardly scratched the surface of this enigma.

“And...we know the four dimensions, but what if there are more dimensions. What if life, the phenomenon we call life, is a part of the universal structure, an integrating dimensional part of the set-up.”

“A brave thought. How do you mean?”

“If the dimension of time did not exist, nothing would happen. If one of the three dimensions we call length, breadth and height did not exist, we could not exist, for the universe would be flat, like a pancake. And if just one of those three dimensions existed, the cosmos would just be a line.

“But now the four dimensions exist, and within them things exist. But you must add something in order to get insects and flowers and people. Life.

“I think that life is the fifth dimension, one of five prerequisites for the world as we know it. And that thought is more exciting than Don Quijote or Harry Potter. And I would like to investigate this hypothesis. Do you still want me to continue my research?”

“More than ever.”

She stretched out her hand. He grasped it. She said, “Welcome to the Exobiological Institute in New Jersey, Karl Indranil Reilly.”

At that very moment autumn’s first maple leaf came floating down and landed on Scott Joplin’s gravestone in Queens.

Scott Joplin's gravestone

Copyright © 2014 by Bertil Falk

Proceed to Challenge 599...

Home Page