The Machine

PART FOUR: THE EXPERIMENT

For several weeks following Dr. Clarke’s hypothesis to use human subjects to try and access Alternate Realities, the project had come to a close. Dr. Clarke and Aurora were then reassigned to other Space-Time Division duties.

However, after another couple of weeks, Dr. Clarke and Aurora were called to the Director’s office and she informed them that she and an elite task force she had formed a few weeks prior, had rounded up as many Reality Benders as they could find from across several timelines in the hopes of them being tested for the project.

Both Aurora and Dr. Clarke were surprised that the Director had had such a dramatic turnaround but were grateful to continue their scientific breakthrough work. With the human subjects Dr. Clarke and Aurora were then tasked with finding a means to use their unique capabilities in finding a way to connect to Alternate Realities’ Universal Consciousnesses.

More resources were expended and work began in teams with Dr. Clarke and Aurora overseeing the work of each team. There was really no information to go on other than Ash’s own determination of what each reality potentially contained and leaving up the rest to human imagination to determining how to get there.

After testing for several hours each week, it became abundantly clear that something was still amiss. The Reality Benders were unable to connect to the Universal Consciousness they were assigned to despite how hard they tried.

Special consultants on Reality Bending and its limitations were asked to weigh in on what could have led to the benders not being able to connect to the alternate Universal Consciousnesses and the leading theory was that each of the benders present had the ability to shape and alter reality to their liking but, alternately, they were only able to shape and alter their present reality.

The benders did not possess the ability to create entirely new realities but like alternate timeline creations, were able to make alternate versions of the current reality they resided in. The realities they warped were still interconnected to and therefore a part of, the current reality.

“This means that we have still not gotten the perfect candidate to fully explore alternate realities because the benders’ minds are still fixed to our reality albeit more flexible than ours,” Dr. Clarke offered up in further explanation to the Director.

“What you are saying is you need a Reality Bender who can create alternate realities and not just bend them?”

“Yes, Director. We need a bender who can not only bend reality but can also create entirely new realities altogether,”

“I am afraid it is the end of the road for our project then. We presently have no benders befitting this description in our database,” the Director stated.

“This is perfectly understood, Director. At least we can say we tried,” Dr. Clarke stated before leaving the Director’s office.

For several moments, Aurora and Director Shaw simply just observed each other but it was clear that they were both contemplating the same thing.

“Aurora- we can’t… How could we sacrifice our own grandson? It is absolutely out of the question…”

“Absolutely, Director. It would be ethically wrong in addition to being morally wrong as well,” Aurora stated nodding.

The Director nodded.

“Well, perhaps… when he is old enough to consent to it- maybe we could ask him. If he said no, we’d totally understand of course…” Aurora suggested after a while.

“Oh yes… The age of reason- at 21 at the very least,” the Director stated.

Aurora nodded.

“Thank you for everything, Aurora. You and Dr. Clarke did incredible work. And who knows, maybe in the next few years, we may find someone like Blaize,”

Aurora smiled and nodded. “I’ll use my Time Machine to find Reality Benders in addition to Travelers… If we are lucky, we can find someone else for the job,”

Director Shaw nodded. Aurora bid her goodbye and left the office. The Director knew she would never be able to go to sleep peacefully especially knowing that the solution to what was the most important scientific project in all of history was right under her nose all along. She wondered whether there was some other way around it and got in touch with Avery just as the latter was about to call it a day.

“You asked to see me, Director Shaw?” Avery asked her.

“Yes, Avery, I have a proposal to make of you,”

“A proposal, Ma’am?”

Director Shaw nodded and briefed Avery on the Secret Project that she, Aurora and Dr. Clarke had been working on. She also presented the unique challenge they were faced with and what she thought was the solution.

“Of course I’d never ask you to sacrifice Blaize. That is out of the question but… I wonder if you could…”

“You are asking me for my consent to become your lab rat in the place of my son?” Avery asked bluntly.

“You need not put it so bluntly,”

“Let’s skip the sugar coating and call a spade a spade, Director,”

“Yes, Avery. I am asking you to take your son’s place as a lab rat,”

Avery thought about it and then nodded. “Fine, I’ll do it.”

“What?” Director Shaw asked in shock.

“I’ll be your lab rat. Anything beats sacrificing Blaize for any reason. I’ll do it,”

“You may very well die- or- or who knows what fate lies ahead,”

“So be it. I’d rather die than watch my son die. I’ll do it,”

“If you die, who will care for your son? You are his mother!”

“He has his father to look after him now. By the way, I’d rather we keep this a secret from Emre. He will not consent to me risking my life like this but my life is my own and I am doing this to protect my son so, I can live with Emre’s eternal scorn at me if it spares my son from lab testing,”

“Very well, Avery, I shall inform Dr. Clarke and Aurora at once,”

The Director informed the two scientists and Aurora immediately voiced her objections to it even going as far as to threaten to tell Emre about it but eventually, the Director and Avery were able to reassure her down enough to give her consent.

After getting Aurora on board, all that was left was to test Avery. Dr. Clarke was surprised she had a new subject whom she knew had no reality bending abilities but she went along with testing anyway and when Avery was asked to sit in the middle of a Sacred white circle, surrounded by all the necessary spiritual enhancements and protections such as sacred herbs and magical crystals, the unexpected occurred….

Avery’s consciousness was lost from the present reality and it connected to an Alternate Reality almost instantaneously once her mind was completely focused . What’s more, she generated some sort of energy despite the fact that to the naked eye, she was not moving at all. Her vitals spiked only so often but her mental activity had increased several times over.

Little after five minutes later, Avery’s body began to jerk rather violently and she regained consciousness for several moments before passing out for several hours on end. Once healers were assured she was alright and a Mind Upload was successfully concluded, Avery was asked to recount her experience.

Avery confirmed that she had indeed connected to the Universal Consciousness of another Alternate Reality. It appeared that she had experienced time differently and she had thought that she had spent several months in the Alternate Reality rather than the five minutes that had passed in the present reality.

“At first, I couldn’t see a thing- it was all darkness and then- well, I was blinded by white light. It was so bright that even when I closed my eyes, it still burned me and then things settled down and I began to see colors- at first, just primary colors but then slowly, they began to evolve to more complex colors…”

“I then was able to perceive the Alternate Reality fully. The rules were different here and it’s like, it felt natural somehow. I… I kind of can’t really tell but something was very different about it… There’s a different level of gravity there like it’s less, I suppose… And… everything there is so vividly colored and… the air is different too- there’s like less oxygen there and there’s other gases I haven’t ever encountered before in the air. I could smell and even taste the distinct gases…”

“Incredible! Let’s have Ash analyze data from Protector Alison’s latest Mind Upload,” Dr. Clarke mused excitedly.

The Artificial Sentience Construct was able to obtain meaningful data from Avery’s mind and was able to determine that the Alternate Reality had appropriately 3/4 of Earth’s gravity, had less atmosphere (due to an estimation that it had a less sophisticated Magnetosphere as compared to Earth) and contained less oxygen and more gases that were entirely unique to the Reality itself. Furthermore, the length of a day in the planet and time itself was much faster in that version of Earth than in their present reality.

Ash was also able to determine that the reason Avery had been ejected from the Universal Consciousness of the Alternate Reality so quickly was because she had run out of the necessary psychic energy to maintain the connection.

Ash estimated that in order for Avery to connect longer with the newly established Alternate Reality, she needed a boost of psychic energy and suggested that the team consider pairing Avery to a powerful telepath with the ability to increase psychic energy.

“So, the experiment was a success after all and you’re still here, thankfully,” Director Shaw said to Avery.

“I guess so. And yes, Director, you have my permission to conduct further tests with me as the lab rat,”

“So eager to die, Protector Alison?”

“What can I say, Director Shaw, my interest has been piqued and besides, anything is better than chasing after my parents’ knockoffs and those three super soldiers,”

“Ah, so there’s the kicker- this is a way for you to escape active duty but there are so many unknowns, Avery. Who knows what these experiments will lead us to,”

“I guess we just have to take a chance, right?”

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Machine shall be back. In the meantime, enjoy the previous entries in the tale so you don’t miss a beat. Enjoy;

  1. The Machine Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3

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