Bewildering Stories



Change the color of the text to:



The Electrogravitic Discontinuum: A Saga of Asteroid 56K

C.C. Cheez



PART ONE
The Accelerator Files

1
Zirvaeloic

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the sort of time that was vacuumed somewhere in the space-time continuum, and it was the sort of place that was vacuumed somewhere in the space-time continuum.

It was an isolated galaxy in an isolated part of some universe, isolated from the rest of the universes. Among the many asterial bodies in an isolated area of the galaxy was an isolated star, around which orbited several planets. Near an isolated planet existed an isolated asteroid.

The planet was uninhabited, and it was called Kreisard by the inhabitants of the asteroid. Kreisard was a planet of hydrogen and oxygen. Its atmosphere contained hydrogen and oxygen gas, and its surface was composed of ice. There were many oceans of fresh water, and water vapor filled the air.

The adjacent asteroid supported life. Its inhabitants considered its official name to be Fearenhoivi, but it was commonly referred to as Asteroid 56K. The appearance of the asteroid was typical when compared to its neighbors in the galaxy. It took the shape of a regular hexahedron, and it was about one kilometer in length, width, height, time, and all other dimensions. The oblately spheroidal shape of Kreisard was typical of large planets and stellar bodies but not of asteroids.

There were mountains on one half of Fearenhoivi and plains on the other. Many different types of vegetation grew on the plains. In the mountains were large deposits of red, green, and blue crystals. In the center of one of the faces was the Fezbog, a lake of smoif, a thick green fluid.

Fearenhoivi was inhabited with bacteria, protozoans, fungi, and plants. Intelligent life existed in the form of arthropods only on the face with the Fezbog.

There were two cities on Fearenhoivi. They were Kesnehreis and Ferahouc. Kesnehreis was a hemispherical dome while Ferahouc took the shape of a paraboloid. Kesnehreis, the capital, was larger in size than Ferahouc, which was mainly a scientific facility.

Fearenhoivi was a democratic constitutional monarchy. Its chief of state was the Monarch. The head of the government was also the Commander of the Enforcing Military of Fearenhoivi. The Legislature acted as both the legislative and the judicial departments of the government. All actions of the government must be approved by the citizens of Fearenhoivi.

Kolophon was the science and technology department of Asteroid 56K. It had the responsibility of promoting science and technology and protecting the environment.

Asteroid 56K did not have a large civilization. Therefore, it had a small civilization that used most of its facilities for multiple reasons.

***

Commander Zirvaeloic threw down the book.

Erg, he thought. That was a stupid book. I thought it was science fiction.

He glanced at the cover.

The Accelerator Files by C.C. Cheez, he thought. What a waste of money! I spent 144 cubes on that thing! That isn't science fiction. That's stuff to throw into the smoif! That is a good idea! Maybe I will throw it into the smoif!

He activated the oxygen screen to prevent oxygen from escaping. Then he opened the window and saw the paraboloidal dome of Ferahouc across the Fezbog.

He thought about it and decided, That's a good idea, but it's better if I throw it from the top of Ferahouc!

Zirvaeloic closed the window and deactivated the oxygen screen to save energy. He left his office on the second level.

There is no need for a stupid book like this. I don't need to read the rest of it. It is stupid! I have better things to do. The book says that the Commander of the Enforcing Military of Fearenhoivi was also the head of the government. That's stupid. That's very stupid. The author doesn't know much about the government of Fearenhoivi. The king is the head of the government here, not me. I wish that I had more power than the king. Why can't he die so I can be elected the monarch? This is stupid, thought Zirvaeloic.

He descended to the first level using the flying arthropod tube. He never used the elevator. It was stupid for a yellow jacket to use the elevator. It was too slow.

It was quiet on the first level. There were very few arthropods around.

Zirvaeloic decided, I'm hungry. I need something to eat. Food is good.

He stopped by at the commons for food.

There was nothing good at the commons. Everything was bland to an insectivorous insect. The government had outlawed the use of other arthropods as comestibles.

He asked his CalcoDex to randomly select a meal to eat.

It selected the fruit chunks with plant juice.

Erg! This is disgusting. This is what a harvestman eats, thought Zirvaeloic. There must be something better. There is nothing better. I'll eat the fruit chunks.

He ordered a meal of fruit chunks with plant juice.

A spider crawled by.

"Good morning, wasp. How are you today? Are you new here? I haven't seen you around."

What was that? That didn't sound right, thought Zirvaeloic. Maybe I heard it wrong.

"Excuse me. Maybe you didn't hear me. Are you new here?"

I did hear correctly. What does this moron think he is? Why doesn't he respect my vespid authority?

"Are you new here? I haven't seen you around," said Zirvaeloic.

"I'm not new here. I'm a physicist. I work at the underground lab here in Kesnehreis. It's on level zero, right below this level," said the spider.

What a stupid physicist! I thought physicists were smart. He works for the government, too. How can he not know that I am the Commander of the Enforcing Military of Fearenhoivi? I don't understand it, thought Zirvaeloic.

The yellow jacket faced the garden spider.

Your fangs don't scare me, but your stupidity does, thought Zirvaeloic.

"We are currently testing the reactions of various atoms when smashed by accelerated neutrons," said the spider.

Whatever. My ancestors ate your ancestors, thought Zirvaeloic.

"I need to go now. It's been nice talking with you," said the spider. He left and took the elevator to the underground laboratory on level zero.

Maybe for you, but it hasn't been nice for me, thought Zirvaeloic.

He poked at a piece of fruit that was floating around in plant sauce. The food was disgusting.

He drank some of the plant juice. It was also disgusting.

He picked up his book, The Accelerator Files, and left the commons.

The northern passageway connecting Kesnehreis to Ferahouc was closed. Zirvaeloic took the southern passageway. It was longer.

The tunnel was enclosed by glass on the sides and the top. Zirvaeloic could see the mountains to the south and east, and the Fezbog to the north.

The Fezbog was green. It was filled with smoif.

I hate smoif, thought Zirvaeloic.

Zirvaeloic flew along the passageway, thinking about smoif.

This book is treason, he thought. It's directed toward an alien audience. Citizens of Fearenhoivi shouldn't have the right to publish such works.

The tube ended at the intersection with another tube. South was the red crystal mine. North was Ferahouc.

Zirvaeloic turned right and continued.

He reached Ferahouc. The paraboloidal dome towered above him. He could see the telescope of the observatory on the top level.

I hate Ferahouc, thought Zirvaeloic. It's excessively paraboloidal.

Ferahouc did not have a flying arthropod tube. Zirvaeloic took the elevator. It was slow.

I hate elevators, thought Zirvaeloic. They're too slow.

He reached the top level. No one was there.

That's good, thought Zirvaeloic. No one to stop me from disposing my book.

He flew to the point where the telescope protruded from the observatory. The oxygen screen was activated.

Why is the telescope out when no one is using it? That is strange, thought Zirvaeloic.

He threw the book out. Its path was the path of a parabola. It fell, deflected off the side of Ferahouc, and plunged into the Fezbog.

The book disappeared, devoured by smoif.

***

Kutantruc, Zirvaeloic's assistant, was talking to Zirvaeloic.

"I was looking for you, Commander," said Kutantruc. "Some of the robots are malfunctioning."

Who cares about robots? They're too stupid. I hate them, thought Zirvaeloic.

"I've been to Ferahouc," said Zirvaeloic. "It's very strange in Ferahouc. It's also very strange here."

"How is it strange?" asked Kutantruc.

"It is strange because it is strange. Today, a spider physicist did not recognize me as the Commander. He was too stupid. What a stupid idiot! I know some recycle bin workers smarter than he. He was talking about how he was conducting research using the Kolophon particle accelerator. Something about accelerating neutrons and detecting the reactions of atoms and ions and isotopes and stuff. What a bunch of superfluous pi-meson recyclables," said Zirvaeloic.

Something didn't sound right, thought Kutantruc. There was something wrong. Something weird. Something that defied the laws of physics. Something about the Kolophon synchrotron. It wasn't correct. Something was out of place. Something was not right. It had something to do with the particles. Something about the process of accelerating particles. Something about the particles. Something about the charges of the particles. Something about the lack of charge in a particle. Something about charge being necessary to accelerate a particle using a magnet. Something was not right. A neutron doesn't have a charge. How can it be accelerated?

"Commander, neutrons cannot be accelerated," said Kutantruc.

"Erg?" said Zirvaeloic. His intelligence was slowly floating away.

"Neutrons cannot be accelerated, Commander. They have no charge. A magnet accelerates particles by attracting the opposite charge. A neutron doesn't have a charge. Therefore, it cannot be accelerated," reasoned Kutantruc.

"Erg. I knew something was weird," said Zirvaeloic.

Zirvaeloic's office was empty. It was always empty. There were only a desk and a chair.

The window filled one side of the room. Through it Zirvaeloic could see the Fezbog, a container for smoif. What was smoif? It was so mysterious. Smoif, the green stuff. The green stuff that existed without a reason for existing. It was just there.

Zirvaeloic's mind had left him. No thoughts went through his head.

Kutantruc was perturbed. She was confused.

"Commander? Are you dead?" asked Kutantruc.

Zirvaeloic was not dead. He was out of thoughts.

"Erg?" he said. "Erg. Hello, centipede. What are you doing in my office? Do you have a question for your Commander?"

"Commander, I am your assistant," said the centipede.

The intelligence flew back into his brain.

"There is something wrong about the acceleration of neutrons. It must be investigated," decided Zirvaeloic.

It was troubling to Zirvaeloic to understand why neutrons could not be accelerated, but he was confident that it was not the truth that the spider physicist had told him.

***

"Hey, you!" said Zirvaeloic.

"Huh? What?" said the garden spider.

Zirvaeloic had found him in the underground laboratory on level zero of Kesnehreis.

"Why did you tell me that you were accelerating neutrons? You know that neutrons don't have charges, and therefore, they cannot be accelerated. You did know that, didn't you?"

"Huh? What?" said the physicist. "Huh? That's what they told us we were doing. I didn't know."

"They? Who are they?"

"Kolophon told us that we were accelerating neutrons. We can't tell the difference between a neutron and a pion. They're both in the nucleus."

"'A neutron has three quarks, and a pion has two quarks,'" said Zirvaeloic, quoting a textbook.

"Oh, that's right. Thanks," said the spider.

"So Kolophon told you that?"

"I think so."

"Are you sure?"

"I don't know."

Erg, what a stupid moron! He probably got his opisthosoma stuck in the recycle bin, thought Zirvaeloic.

"Thank you for your help, spider," said Zirvaeloic.

"Huh?"

***

The office of the Secretary of Kolophon was empty, devoid of intelligent life.

"What is wrong with Kolophon? Erg!" said Zirvaeloic.

I hate Kolophon, thought Zirvaeloic. They think that they can do whatever they want to. It's not fair to the rest of us.

"What should we do, Kutantruc?" inquired Zirvaeloic.

"Maybe you should leave a note," suggested Kutantruc.

"That's a good idea! I'll leave a note!" said Zirvaeloic.

He left a note in the office.

***

"I don't feel like working today, but I'll work anyway," said Niblesc, the Secretary of Kolophon.

2
Beyond the Gate of Time

"There you are."

"What? Who are you?"

"Just wait, and you will see...."

PART TWO
The Problem with Fearenhoivi

The frigid nebulous atmosphere swept over the spheroidal dome of Kesnehreis.

There were only two arthropods in the Museum of Fearenhoivi.

"Hey, Gonz! Look at this! The extinction of the trilobites!" exclaimed the first arthropod.

"What? What do you want, Sincostan?" said the second arthropod.

"This exhibit! It's about the extinction of the trilobites!" said Sincostan.

"There's nothing special about it. We need to find some information about the history of calculus," said Gonz.

"Too bad. We'll look at it later. It's interactive."

The museum was not a large one. It was only large enough to accommodate the small needs of the small arthropod population of Fearenhoivi.

The two harvestmen crawled past the geology and astronomy sections of the museum to the mathematics section.

"What happened to the Hall of Mathematics? It was here two months ago!" said Sincostan.

"It's gone!" said Gonz.

"It can't be gone! It's the Hall of Mathematics! It can't be gone! It's impossible! How can the Hall of Mathematics be gone?"

"I don't know."

"And what's that?"

"It looks like a cube."

"It is a cube! A very inaccurate representation of Fearenhoivi. No mountains or anything."

"I don't think it was intended to be a model of Fearenhoivi."

"It says, 'THE CUBE OF MATHEMATICS,' on it."

"No comment."

"That's stupid! The Hall of Mathematics was a lot better than this piece of garbage!"

"What does it do?"

"How should I know?"

The cube was a black solid object. No reflections could be seen on its surface, and it cast no shadow.

The two harvestmen were puzzled.

"I've heard of black holes and stuff, but this is ridiculous!" said Sincostan. "What do you make of it, Gonz?"

"I don't know. Try touching it, Sincostan," suggested Gonz.

Sincostan lifted one of his eight walking appendages and pushed against the polyhedron. His leg disappeared in the cube.

"It doesn't feel like anything. It probably doesn't exist," said Sincostan.

"That makes sense," said Gonz.

The cube had vanished.

"I don't like this. Where did the cube go? It existed a moment ago. It has to be here," said Sincostan.

The cube reappeared.

"It exists if you believe it exists," said Gonz.

"I don't like it. It doesn't exist," said Sincostan.

The cube disappeared.

"It's gone! Where can we find stuff about the history of mathematics?" asked Sincostan. "Where is everybody?"

"Why should anybody be here? You decided to break into the museum in the middle of the night!" said Gonz.

"We didn't break into the museum. There is no law against entering the museum in the middle of the night! This is a public facility!"

"It's better if we didn't enter the museum at night."

"The project is due tomorrow! We can't wait until tomorrow!"

"Maybe the cube can help us."

"The cube? It doesn't exist!"

"It exists if you want it to."

"The cube exists."

The cube reappeared.

"Hey, cube! Where can we find stuff about the history of calculus? And what happened to the Hall of Mathematics?"

The cube was silent.

After a moment, Sincostan and Gonz could perceive a response from the cube telepathically.

The Hall of Mathematics is gone, they perceived. It's gone! All gone! You can't find anything about the history of calculus anymore! It's gone! Everything is gone! In fact, you two are the only living arthropods left on Fearenhoivi. Aliens from the planet Glufaxitor have taken over your regularly hexagonal asteroid!

Sincostan awoke from his terrifying nightmare.

I need to relieve my stress, decided Sincostan. It's not healthy for a harvestman like me.

He stared at the ceiling of his dormitory room. It was boring to look at.

I need some nutriment to calm myself. I think I'll go down to the commons to get something to ingest.

Sincostan left his insipid room, remembering to bring his Fearencard.

The Kesnehreis Commons was four levels below. Sincostan used the elevator.

The elevator descended and slowed to a stop on the first level.

Sincostan crawled to the commons. It was devoid of life.

He pressed a few buttons on the ordering machine and inserted his Fearencard to order fruit chunks and plant juice.

The food was processed and delivered to Sincostan.

"This looks good. I eat this every day. And also every night if I'm awake and need victuals," he said to the machine.

He sat down to eat his food.

I wonder what Gonz is doing. I sent him an electronic mail message, and he never replied to it. I hope he's been finishing up the project. It's due tomorrow, and I don't want to turn it in late, thought Sincostan.

PART THREE
Another Experience

000

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the sort of time that was vacuumed somewhere in the space-time continuum, and it was a place called Fearenhoivi, an asteroid commonly referred to as Asteroid 56K. It was referred to as Asteroid 56K because it was an asteroid, fifty-six was the sum of all integers from six to one, all integers from five to one, all integers from four to one, all integers from three to one, both integers from two to one, and the integer from one to one, and "k" was the first letter of "Kolophon." Six was the number of faces in a hexahedron.

001

Kolophon had built a particle accelerator for Asteroid 56K. It was renowned as the greatest scientific agency ever to exist on Fearenhoivi. It was also the only scientific agency ever to exist on Fearenhoivi. Kolophon had been established to promote science and technology, to protect the environment of Fearenhoivi, and to develop new methods for factoring polynomials.

The particle accelerator was the largest object to be built on Fearenhoivi. It was in the shape of a circle encompassing the Fezbog in the center of the inhabited face of Fearenhoivi. It ran through both the mountains and the plains of Fearenhoivi. It ran through the underground level of the city of Kesnehreis. It ran through all three crystal mines. It was a great accomplishment.

002

Commander Zirvaeloic stared out at the Fezbog. It was mysterious. It was filled with mysterious smoif. Smoif. The word brought fear among the arthropods of Asteroid 56K. No one knew what smoif actually was. It was mysterious.

Zirvaeloic was the commander of the Enforcing Military of Fearenhoivi, established to maintain order on Fearenhoivi and to protect Fearenhoivi from foreigners.

Zirvaeloic enjoyed the hierarchy of Fearenhoivii authority. He was superior to everyone but the monarch. The current monarch was King Cuboit, a crab.

Zirvaeloic was a wasp.

003

The legislative and judicial departments of Fearenhoivii government were an assembly of eight arthropods. They were respectfully called Legislature.

Legislature was inferior only to the monarch and the commander. They were subject to the objection of the superior ones.

004

The city of Kesnehreis was the home of the Archives of Fearenhoivi. The Great Book of Fearenhoivi was displayed in the center. It was the embodiment of the Law of Fearenhoivi, which was constantly amended.

Former editions of the Great Book were archived in a section of the Archives. There were many other materials in the Archives, such as documents concerning governmental projects and deposited copyrighted material.

The Archives also served as a library. In addition to preserving materials, the materials were available to the public.

005

The Great Book of Fearenhoivi contained a section of postulates.

The postulates state that Fearenhoivi was a regular hexahedron, only one face of it was inhabitable, and arthropods were the only intelligent organisms on it.

There were eight postulates, but only seven existed because Postulate Eight stated that Postulate Seven did not exist.

006

Asteroid 56K, being an asteroid, was too small for a large civilization to exist. Therefore, a small civilization existed that reused certain facilities to accommodate several of its needs.

007

The Fezbog lay in the center of the inhabitable face of Asteroid 56K. To the east of it lay Kesnehreis, the larger city of Fearenhoivi. To the west of the Fezbog lay Ferahouc, the smaller city of Fearenhoivi. There were many passages in between, as well as many in the surrounding mountains, connecting Ferahouc to the adjacent crystal mines.

008

The Fearenhoivii obtained their energy from the crystal mines.

There were three crystal mines.

The blue crystal mine was the largest. It lay directly to the west of Ferahouc. It was very convenient to use.

The red crystal mine lay to the south of Ferahouc. It was not so convenient.

The green crystal mine was somewhere to the northwest of Ferahouc. It was very far away and very inconvenient to use.

Energy crystals were mined in the crystal mines.

009

Kesnehreis was a city made up of one building. It was in the shape of a hemispherical dome. It was adjacent to the Plains of Fearenhoivi, where the delicious Fearenhoivii vegetation could be found. Several species of plants were eaten by the Fearenhoivii.

Ferahouc was a smaller city in the mountains. It was in the shape of a paraboloidal dome. It was adjacent to the source of energy of Fearenhoivi.

010

The gravity of Fearenhoivi did not correspond with its mass.

011

Plasma was the main source of energy for Asteroid 56K. Plasma could be extracted from crystals mined in the crystal mines.

Plasma was used to produce blaster discs that could slice through matter.

012

The Kolophon particle accelerator had not been running for decades. It had been many centuries since it was built.

Records probably existed in the Archives.

"There is something odd about that particle accelerator," said Commander Zirvaeloic.

"Yes, Commander," replied his assistant Kutantruc, a centipede.

Zirvaeloic and Kutantruc were the only organisms in the Enforcing Military of Fearenhoivi.

The rest were robots that were stationed throughout Asteroid 56K, especially in the mountains to the west of Ferahouc.

013

Zirvaeloic decided to visit the Archives on the first level of Kesnehreis.

It contained many preserved documents.

He located documents concerning the Kolophon particle accelerator in the back of the Archives.

"This is what I need. Information about the Kolophon particle accelerator," remarked Zirvaeloic.

"Yes, Commander," agreed Kutantruc.

The documents were in extremely good condition despite their age.

"These documents reveal the purposes of the accelerator," said Zirvaeloic.

He paused and reread what he had read twice.

014

"This is disturbing," said Zirvaeloic. "Three purposes. It cannot be. It is impossible. I shall not accept it."

Kutantruc was puzzled.

Zirvaeloic was puzzled.

"I never liked particle acceleration anyway. I don't even know what an anion is," said Zirvaeloic. "I hear that anions are what they used to accelerate in those accelerators. They also accelerated leptons and other particles."

Zirvaeloic was puzzled.

Kutantruc was puzzled by Zirvaeloic's being puzzled.

015

Zirvaeloic read what the three purposes were. He was shocked.

Kutantruc was shocked at Zirvaeloic's being shocked.

"What is a positron? I do not know what a positron is! I do not know what a gluon is! And what is a neutrino?" said Zirvaeloic.

The three purposes had little to do with subatomic particles.

Zirvaeloic was confused with the words.

"Kutantruc, retrieve a lexicon," ordered Zirvaeloic.

"Yes, Commander," responded Kutantruc.

She found a dictionary and returned to Zirvaeloic with it.

Zirvaeloic found the definitions for the unknown terms.

016

Satisfied with the definitions, Zirvaeloic reread the three purposes. He was shocked.

"These reasons. They are absurd! Superfluous!" said Zirvaeloic.

Feeling very alienated, Zirvaeloic left the Archives.

The elevator was out of order.

Zirvaeloic took the flying arthropod tube. Kutantruc waited patiently for the maintenance robots to fix the elevator.

017

"I can do something about those accelerator files," said Zirvaeloic.

"I may do something about those accelerator files," said Zirvaeloic.

"I shall do something about those accelerator files," said Zirvaeloic.

"I must do something about those accelerator files," said Zirvaeloic.

"I will do something about those accelerator files," said Zirvaeloic.

018

Zirvaeloic took the flying arthropod tube down to the first floor.

Kutantruc was still waiting patiently for the maintenance robots to fix the elevator.

Zirvaeloic reentered the Archives.

The Great Book of Fearenhoivi awaited him in the center of the Archives.

It was the newest edition, published one month before.

It was open to the Copyright Law of Fearenhoivi.

He located the index at the back and searched for the section stating the rights of the Commander of the Enforcing Military of Fearenhoivi.

PART FOUR
Similar Occurrences in the Alternate Universe

1
Sincostan

Nebulous atmospheric air masses swept over the spheroidal dome of Kesnehreis on the asteroid Fearenhoivi, equally referred to as Asteroid 56K.

"I like this exhibit! It is very interesting!" said Sincostan, a harvestman citizen of Fearenhoivi.

"What, the trilobites? They were extinct a long time ago, were they not?" said Gonz, another harvestman citizen of Fearenhoivi.

"That is correct, but my project is not going to be about trilobites. It is going to be about the law of cosines," said Sincostan. "I will explore the world of trigonometry. This museum contains mathematics exhibits."

The Museum of Fearenhoivi was a small museum, built to accommodate the small needs of the small population of small arthropods of a small asteroid.

"This museum is very large. It has all sorts of stuff in it, but what I need is something about the law of cosines. If it does not have anything about the law of cosines, I will look in the Archives. What are you doing for your project, Gonz?" inquired Sincostan.

"I don't know. Maybe I will do the law of sines. I don't know much about trigonometry. I will do something about algebra. How about factoring polynomials?" said Gonz.

"That's facile."

"It's challenging for me."

"Do what you want."

The two arachnids followed the posted signs to the Hall of Mathematics.

"We are harvestmen, but some arthropods think that we are spiders. We are not spiders. We are harvestmen. We have only two eyes. Spiders have five."

"Eight eyes, Gonz. Eight eyes."

"Spiders have eight eyes. I don't see why they think that we are spiders."

"We are related to them. Look at that, Gonz. The trigonometry exhibit!"

Sincostan produced his CalcoDex-56K, a portable computer, and entered information about the Law of Cosines into it.

2
Beyond the Gate of Time

"So...who are you?"

"That is for me to know and for you to find out. Now figure out what's wrong with Fearenhoivi's accelerator problem."

"What?"

"The problem, you dolt!"

"Right..."

PART FIVE
Permanent Loan

000
Beginning

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was something. But some of it was vacuumed somewhere in the space-time continuum: an asteroid by the name of Fearenhoivi, commonly referred to as Asteroid 56K.

001
The Eight Postulates

Postulate 1. The Asteroid of Fearenhoivi exists in the shape of a regular hexahedron.

Postulate 2. The Asteroid of Fearenhoivi is the universe; everything else is not the universe.

Postulate 3. The Asteroid of Fearenhoivi is the center the universe.

Postulate 4. Reality exists on one face of the Asteroid of Fearenhoivi.

Postulate 5. Existence on any of the other faces is imaginary and nonexistent.

Postulate 6. The degree of nonexistence is the product of infinity and the square root of the additive inverse of one.

Postulate 8. Postulate 7 does not exist.

003
Quote

"Life is a peach: a peach in the center of a field of pineapples. I do not have any idea what I am saying."

—Queen Kivirjn, Third Monarch of Fearenhoivi

004
Vlip

Vlip, the harvestman, was struggling with his algebra assignment.

"Assignment: 'Exponents and Logarithms.' What is a logarithm? I do not know what a logarithm is. I will ask my friend Sincostan," uttered Vlip. "Sincostan, what is a logarithm?"

"What about my Calcodex 576+?" inquired Sincostan, the harvestman. His portable computing Calcodex 576+ was called Logarithm. Its serial number was 576-2KL-915-93H.

"No, not Logarithm; logarithm," said Vlip.

"What?"

"The word 'logarithm.'"

"Oh, the word 'logarithm.'"

"Yes."

"I understand."

"What does it mean?"

"What do you mean?"

"Average?"

"No, do you inquire about the definition?"

"Of what?"

"Of 'logarithm.'"

"Oh, of 'logarithm.' I see. What is its definition?"

"According to the lexicon program on my Calcodex 576+, the definition of 'logarithm' is 'the exponent that indicates the power to which a base is raised to produce a given number.'"

"What is an exponent?"

"Sincostan and Vlip! No talking! This is your last warning!" declared the algebra instructor.

005
Finluit

The dimensionally challenged wasp flew over to Sincostan to ask him a question.

The wasp was Finluit.

The question was: "What is the sum of one and one?"

"The answer is three, of course," was the reply of Sincostan.

"Thank you."

006
Sincostan

After school, Finluit flew over to Sincostan.

"Sincostan, I do not think that your answer was correct. I lost some points for the incorrect answer," said Finluit. He was disappointed.

"What? You moron! You believed me? You are stupid! Stupid! You idiot! How stupid can a stupid wasp get? Any normal intelligent organism knows what the sum of one and one is!" replied Sincostan.

Finluit was shocked.

He said, "You are not nice! You are mean!".

Sincostan watched Finluit fly away.

"He has a problem!" he remarked to Vlip.

"Problem," said Vlip.

PART SIX
Beyond the Gate of Time

1
Forever

"Please...tell me it doesn't really matter. Please."

"But...no...it's impossible...I can't..."

"But... you have to. It's the only way."

2
After Eternity

"Oh, it's you again! Darn it, how come we meet like this all the time?"

"I don't know."

3
A Repeat Performance

"Weird..."

4
The Solution to All of Our Problems

"Now is the time, my friends. We must go beyond..."

"Beyond what?"

"You don't understand? Well, now you must..."

"Must what?"

"Oh, forget it."

"Why?"

"Listen to this tale of strange and uncertain happenings, and soon you will believe..."

PART SEVEN
Voices from the Realm of Infinite Strangeness

1
A Mysterious Occurrence

"I...I think it's happening all over again."

"What?"

"One bit at a time; it's all coming back!"

2
Every So Often

Fearenhoivi was inhabited with bacteria, protozoans, fungi, and plants. Intelligent life existed in the form of arthropods only on the face with the Fezbog. It was the worst of times, it was the sort of time that was vacuumed somewhere in the space-time continuum, and it was the sort of place that was vacuumed somewhere in the space-time continuum. Among the many asterial bodies in an isolated area of the galaxy was an isolated star, around which orbited several planets.

Therefore, it had a small civilization that used most of its facilities for multiple reasons.

It was an isolated galaxy in an isolated part of some universe, isolated from the rest of the universes. Near an isolated planet existed an isolated asteroid. Its atmosphere contained hydrogen and oxygen gas, and its surface was composed of ice. There were many oceans of fresh water, and water vapor filled the air.

The adjacent asteroid supported life. Its inhabitants considered its official name to be Fearenhoivi, but it was commonly referred to as Asteroid 56K. The appearance of the asteroid was typical when compared to its neighbors in the galaxy. It took the shape of a regular hexahedron, and it was about one kilometer in length, width, height, time, and all other dimensions. The oblately spheroidal shape of Kreisard was typical of large planets and stellar bodies but not of asteroids. The planet was uninhabited, and it was called Kreisard by the inhabitants of the asteroid. Kreisard was a planet of hydrogen and oxygen.

Fearenhoivi was a democratic constitutional monarchy. Its chief of state was the Monarch. The head of the government was also the Commander of the Enforcing Military of Fearenhoivi. Kolophon was the science and technology department of Asteroid 56K. It had the responsibility of promoting science and technology and protecting the environment. The Legislature acted as both the legislative and the judicial departments of the government. All actions of the government must be approved by the citizens of Fearenhoivi. Asteroid 56K did not have a large civilization, only two cities on Fearenhoivi. They were Kesnehreis and Ferahouc. Kesnehreis was a hemispherical dome while Ferahouc took the shape of a paraboloid. Kesnehreis, the capital, was larger in size than Ferahouc, which was mainly a scientific facility.

Many different types of vegetation grew on the plains. In the mountains were large deposits of red, green, and blue crystals. There were mountains on one half of Fearenhoivi and plains on the other. In the center of one of the faces was the Fezbog, a lake of smoif, a thick green fluid.

And beyond that lurked an unspeakable evil...

3
An Impossible Occurrence

"No! This can't be happening!"

"But it is..."

4
Again and Again

The book disappeared, devoured by smoif.

He threw the book out. Its path was the path of a parabola. It fell, deflected off the side of Ferahouc, and plunged into the Fezbog.

Why is the telescope out when no one is using it? That is strange, thought Zirvaeloic.

He flew to the point where the telescope protruded from the observatory. The oxygen screen was activated.

That's good, thought Zirvaeloic. No one to stop me from disposing my book.

He reached the top level. No one was there.

I hate elevators, thought Zirvaeloic. They're too slow.

Ferahouc did not have a flying arthropod tube. Zirvaeloic took the elevator. It was slow.

I hate Ferahouc, thought Zirvaeloic. It's excessively paraboloidal.He reached Ferahouc. The paraboloidal dome towered above him. He could see the telescope of the observatory on the top level.

Zirvaeloic turned right and continued.

The tube ended at the intersection with another tube. South was the red crystal mine. North was Ferahouc.

This book is treason, he thought. It's directed toward an alien audience. Citizens of Fearenhoivi shouldn't have the right to publish such works.

Zirvaeloic flew along the passageway, thinking about smoif.

I hate smoif, thought Zirvaeloic.

The Fezbog was green. It was filled with smoif.

The tunnel was enclosed by glass on the sides and the top. Zirvaeloic could see the mountains to the south and east, and the Fezbog to the north...

The northern passageway connecting Kesnehreis to Ferahouc was closed. Zirvaeloic took the southern passageway. It was longer.

He picked up his book, The Accelerator Files, and left the commons

He drank some of the plant juice. It was also disgusting.

He poked at a piece of fruit that was floating around in plant sauce. The food was disgusting.

Maybe for you, but it hasn't been nice for me, thought Zirvaeloic.

"I need to go now. It's been nice talking with you," said the spider. He left and took the elevator to the underground laboratory on level zero.

Whatever. My ancestors ate your ancestors, thought Zirvaeloic.

"We are currently testing the reactions of various atoms when smashed by accelerated neutrons," said the spider.

Your fangs don't scare me, but your stupidity does, thought Zirvaeloic.

The yellow jacket faced the garden spider.

What a stupid physicist! I thought physicists were smart. He works for the government, too. How can he not know that I am the Commander of the Enforcing Military of Fearenhoivi? I don't understand it, thought Zirvaeloic.

"I'm not new here. I'm a physicist. I work at the underground lab here in Kesnehreis. It's on level zero, right below this level," said the spider.

"Are you new here? I haven't seen you around," said Zirvaeloic.

I did hear correctly. What does this moron think he is? Why doesn't he respect my vespid authority?

"Excuse me. Maybe you didn't hear me. Are you new here?"

What was that? That didn't sound right, thought Zirvaeloic. Maybe I heard it wrong.

"Good morning, wasp. How are you today? Are you new here? I haven't seen you around."

A spider crawled by.

He ordered a meal of fruit chunks with plant juice.

Erg! This is disgusting. This is what a harvestman eats, thought Zirvaeloic. There must be something better. There is nothing better. I'll eat the fruit chunks.

It selected the fruit chunks with plant juice.

He asked his CalcoDex to randomly select a meal to eat

There was nothing good at the commons. Everything was bland to an insectivorous insect. The government had outlawed the use of other arthropods as comestibles.

He stopped by at the commons for food.

Zirvaeloic decided, I'm hungry. I need something to eat. Food is good.

It was quiet on the first level. There were very few arthropods around...

He descended to the first level using the flying arthropod tube. He never used the elevator. It was stupid for a yellow jacket to use the elevator. It was too slow.

There is no need for a stupid book like this. I don't need to read the rest of it. It is stupid! I have better things to do. The book says that the Commander of the Enforcing Military of Fearenhoivi was also the head of the government. That's stupid. That's very stupid. The author doesn't know much about the government of Fearenhoivi. The king is the head of the government here, not me. I wish that I had more power than the king. Why can't he die so I can be elected the monarch? This is stupid, thought Zirvaeloic

Zirvaeloic closed the window and deactivated the oxygen screen to save energy. He left his office on the second level.

He thought about it and decided, That's a good idea, but it's better if I throw it from the top of Ferahouc!

He activated the oxygen screen to prevent oxygen from escaping. Then he opened the window and saw the paraboloidal dome of Ferahouc across the Fezbog.

The Accelerator Files by C.C. Cheez, he thought. What a waste of money! I spent 144 cubes on that thing! That isn't science fiction. That's stuff to throw into the smoif! That is a good idea! Maybe I will throw it into the smoif!

He glanced at the cover.

Erg, he thought. That was a stupid book. I thought it was science fiction.

Commander Zirvaeloic threw down the book.

5
Recursive Series

Kutantruc, Zirvaeloic's assistant, was talking to Zirvaeloic.

"I was looking for you, Commander," said Kutantruc. "Some of the robots are malfunctioning."

Who cares about robots? They're too stupid. I hate them, thought Zirvaeloic.

"I've been to Ferahouc," said Zirvaeloic. "It's very strange in Ferahouc. It's also very strange here."

"How is it strange?" asked Kutantruc.

"It is strange because it is strange. Today, a spider physicist did not recognize me as the Commander. He was too stupid. What a stupid idiot! I know some recycle bin workers smarter than he. He was talking about how he was conducting research using the Kolophon particle accelerator. Something about accelerating neutrons and detecting the reactions of atoms and ions and isotopes and stuff. What a bunch of superfluous pi-meson recyclables," said Zirvaeloic.

Something didn't sound right, thought Kutantruc. There was something wrong. Something weird. Something that defied the laws of physics. Something about the Kolophon synchrotron. It wasn't correct. Something was out of place. Something was not right. It had something to do with the particles. Something about the process of accelerating particles. Something about the particles. Something about the charges of the particles. Something about the lack of charge in a particle. Something about charge being necessary to accelerate a particle using a magnet. Something was not right. A neutron doesn't have a charge. How can it be accelerated?

"Commander, neutrons cannot be accelerated," said Kutantruc.

"Erg?" said Zirvaeloic. His intelligence was slowly floating away.

"Neutrons cannot be accelerated, Commander. They have no charge. A magnet accelerates particles by attracting the opposite charge. A neutron doesn't have a charge. Therefore, it cannot be accelerated," reasoned Kutantruc.

"Erg. I knew something was weird," said Zirvaeloic.

Zirvaeloic's office was empty. It was always empty. There were only a desk and a chair.

The window filled one side of the room. Through it Zirvaeloic could see the Fezbog, a container for smoif. What was smoif? It was so mysterious. Smoif, the green stuff. The green stuff that existed without a reason for existing. It was just there.

Zirvaeloic's mind had left him. No thoughts went through his head.

Kutantruc was perturbed. She was confused.

"Commander? Are you dead?" asked Kutantruc.

Zirvaeloic was not dead. He was out of thoughts.

"Erg?" he said. "Erg. Hello, centipede. What are you doing in my office? Do you have a question for your Commander?"

"Commander, I am your assistant," said the centipede.

The intelligence flew back into his brain.

"There is something wrong about the acceleration of neutrons. It must be investigated," decided Zirvaeloic.

It was troubling to Zirvaeloic to understand why neutrons could not be accelerated, but he was confident that it was not the truth that the spider physicist had told him.

***

"Hey, you!" said Zirvaeloic.

"Huh? What?" said the garden spider.

Zirvaeloic had found him in the underground laboratory on level zero of Kesnehreis.

"Why did you tell me that you were accelerating neutrons? You know that neutrons don't have charges, and therefore, they cannot be accelerated. You did know that, didn't you?"

"Huh? What?" said the physicist. "Huh? That's what they told us we were doing. I didn't know."

"They? Who are they?"

"Kolophon told us that we were accelerating neutrons. We can't tell the difference between a neutron and a pion. They're both in the nucleus."

"'A neutron has three quarks, and a pion has two quarks,'" said Zirvaeloic, quoting a textbook.

"Oh, that's right. Thanks," said the spider.

"So Kolophon told you that?"

"I think so."

"Are you sure?"

"I don't know."

Erg, what a stupid moron! He probably got his opisthosoma stuck in the recycle bin, thought Zirvaeloic.

"Thank you for your help, spider," said Zirvaeloic.

"Huh?"

***

The office of the Secretary of Kolophon was empty, devoid of intelligent life.

"What is wrong with Kolophon? Erg!" said Zirvaeloic.

I hate Kolophon, thought Zirvaeloic. They think that they can do whatever they want to. It's not fair to the rest of us.

"What should we do, Kutantruc?" inquired Zirvaeloic.

"Maybe you should leave a note," suggested Kutantruc.

"That's a good idea! I'll leave a note!" said Zirvaeloic.

He left a note in the office.

***

"I don't feel like working today, but I'll work anyway," said Niblesc, the Secretary of Kolophon.

6
Continuation of the Recursive Series

The office of the Secretary of Kolophon was empty, devoid of intelligent life.

"What is wrong with Kolophon? Erg!" said Zirvaeloic.

I hate Kolophon, thought Zirvaeloic. They think that they can do whatever they want to. It's not fair to the rest of us.

"What should we do, Kutantruc?" inquired Zirvaeloic.

"Maybe you should leave a note," suggested Kutantruc.

"That's a good idea! I'll leave a note!" said Zirvaeloic.

He left a note in the office.

***

"Hey, you!" said Zirvaeloic.

"Huh? What?" said the garden spider.

Zirvaeloic had found him in the underground laboratory on level zero of Kesnehreis.

"Why did you tell me that you were accelerating neutrons? You know that neutrons don't have charges, and therefore, they cannot be accelerated. You did know that, didn't you?"

"Huh? What?" said the physicist. "Huh? That's what they told us we were doing. I didn't know."

"They? Who are they?"

"Kolophon told us that we were accelerating neutrons. We can't tell the difference between a neutron and a pion. They're both in the nucleus."

"'A neutron has three quarks, and a pion has two quarks,'" said Zirvaeloic, quoting a textbook.

"Oh, that's right. Thanks," said the spider.

"So Kolophon told you that?"

"I think so."

"Are you sure?"

"I don't know."

Erg, what a stupid moron! He probably got his opisthosoma stuck in the recycle bin, thought Zirvaeloic.

"Thank you for your help, spider," said Zirvaeloic.

"Huh?"

PART EIGHT
The Universe Works in Strange Ways

"So basically what all this is is that the accelerator's been acting up again, is that what you're saying?" Sincostan said.

"Of course it is," Escapps said, her compound eyes flashing with brilliance. "It's messing with the space-time continuum and everything in it. Nothing's going right."

"I kind of figured that."

"Well, what do we do now?"

"It's time to take one more look at the weird universe we've been able to access. It should be quite interesting, in fact, if my memory serves. Isn't it interesting to see how the universe once was, how it is right now, how it is right now in another universe, and everything else? So amazing, really. You can't get enough of it..."

"Yeah."

"Isn't that amazing?"

"Sure. Very."

"So...want to go get a bite to eat?"

"Sure."

With that, they left the strange viewer they had found when they had dug through the underground chambers of Mezpatar one cold summer morning on Fearenhoivi, where the strange people dwelled underground using the fronds of catastrophe to light their way. Perhaps it was destiny that things happened this way. Perhaps it was not. Either way, they left the viewer where they dragged it out through kilometers of tunnels and across a bleak desert, a place where existence seemed to be a thing forgotten, to the room where they had kept it a secret. Now there would be no reason to keep it a secret. It looked just like an ordinary viewing device; its only special power was the ability to see through and beyond the realm of normal existence. Beyond that, anything was possible.

Sincostan and Escapps left the building and started across the green hills lit by a binary sun eight light-minutes away.

Copyright 2002 by C.C. Cheez.