A ticket to…
“Is the Einstein Rosen Bridge prepared?” Dalton asked as he perused the myriad of dials and computer screens within the control room aboard the ISS.
“Affirmative,” Sollenson replied almost absentmindedly while making minute adjustments from his pilot’s position on board the shuttle, which was dwarfed by the sheer size of the massively large wormhole entrance it faced, in preparation for the very first jump through time by humanity.
If the whole magnificent structure could have been physically weighed, in effect it would be the equivalent of 100 million solar masses.
“Casimir energy levels appear nominal. The wormhole is about as stable as its ever going to be,” Becky Rawlins, the tiny ship’s other crewmember and chief scientific technician reported in her matter of fact way, from where she sat behind Sollenson’s piloting position.
The sound of Dalton’s voice echoed within the cramped confines of the tiny ship’s cabin courtesy of the loudspeaker above their heads.
“Countdown to jump in 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – execute!”
Sollenson fired the shuttle’s engines for the three second burst needed to achieve forward momentum. The theoretical scientists back at JPL had calculated, or rather surmised, that the wormhole itself would take care of the rest as it propelled them along its entire length like an animal ridding its intestines of a troublesome blockage.
As he attempted to keep the ship in the centre of the hole, buffeted by unseen forces, his eyes took in the strange images reflected back to him by the wormhole’s inner surfaces, none of which he recognised. It was as if he was being given a glimpse of another world, either lost in time or light years away from the relative normality of the ISS and Earth.
What no one knew was exactly where the other end of the wormhole was likely situated, or indeed how far away. Maybe it would bring them back to the Earth in a former time, or in our future? Maybe it would spit them out somewhere else entirely, far across the galaxy. No one really knew for certain. Come to that, no one knew why it had suddenly appeared six months ago either.
The only thing that anyone was agreed upon was that it had appeared either by accident or design. Either way the wormhole offered theoretical physicists a golden opportunity to put their ideas about the highly controversial Einstein Rosen Bridge debate into practice.
The whole hazardous exercise was seen as the answer to the stalled talks over the current problem of deep space propulsion. It was to be a calculated leap of faith into the unknown, fuelled by mankind’s inability to produce some form of workable deep space mode of transport. In terms of propulsion up until the wormhole had appeared a few months ago, the best that scientists across the planet could come up with was either the continued use of rocket propulsion or some form of theoretical nuclear or even solar wind power.
Sollenson’s mind continued to dream and wonder as the shuttle continued on its journey into the unknown. All normally accepted concepts of time and movement seem to disappear here inside the wormhole. It was almost as if they were not moving at all. There were none of the usual indicators with which to judge your motion and speed except for the constant new kaleidoscopic views on the inner walls of the wormhole from wherever their ultimate destination may be.
Both Sollenson and Becky had volunteered for this extremely hazardous and yet exciting exploration into the vast unknown realms of space and time, realising that they may in all likelihood never survive, or be able to return. For the meantime at least they were able to still communicate thanks to the perculiar properties of the wormhole’s construction. But how long that would last was anyone’s guess. No one knew…
Becky continued firing neutrino transmissions of data back the way they came; hoping upon hope that Dalton and the rest of their colleagues back aboard the ISS received them. With the recent discovery of neutrino burst technology, hailed as the communication system of the future, the old two way voice system with its inherent time delay was deemed unusable considering the unknown communicational properties of a wormhole. Utilizing the new technology was at best a calculated gamble. After all, no human had ever entered a wormhole until now. Everything they did and experienced from now on was a first for mankind.
After what seemed like barely a few minutes, the shuttle reappeared somewhere in space once again. In these specific circumstances reliance on any kind of manmade timepiece was useless given the time altering properties of the wormhole. Both Sollenson and Becky watched the rear monitor as the ship drifted slowly away from where they had just exited the other end of the wormhole.
Becky suddenly gripped Sollenson’s head, jerking his gaze away from the rearward view and back to the screen showing the ship’s forward camera view.
“What the fuck?”
“God almighty look, just look!” Becky almost screamed in terror as she temporarily lost her legendary self control.
Ahead of the tiny shuttle with its two person crew lay a wall of wormholes stretching away on all sides as far as the eye could see.
“Christ Becky, take a look behind us!” Sollenson shouted, almost deafening her, forgetting for the moment the close physical distance between them.
Becky turned her attention to the rearward facing camera just in time to see the wormhole behind them evaporate into nothingness. Where to now?