He struggled forward–one step after the next–as he absentmindedly wiped his hand on his spacesuit’s pants. The blood had long since wiped off and the bodies were far behind him but all he saw was his goal. It was just in front of him. At this altitude, distance from the starship and without backup equipment, he doubted he would make it home anyway, not that this mattered much to him.
After Jefferson had proved the theoretical existence of inter-dimensional wormholes, he had sought to recreate them in the laboratory. Unfortunately, they required such vast amounts of energy that he could not achieve quantum states of sufficient mass.
That is what led him to search for these enigmas in the cosmos. Theoretically, under just the right conditions where there was a Newtonian Equilibrium between two Black Holes’ Event Horizons, space would be thin enough and the energy dense enough to potentially open such a wormhole.
He could feel his blood thinning as his heart struggled against the lack of gravity. His suit protected him from the worst of the environment but prolonged exposure meant that enough had gotten through. Micro-tears in the fabric were beginning to risk the suit’s integrity, anyway. Behind him, there were piles of bodies. Some team members had died on the voyage out. Others had died traversing this super-large asteroid–megatroid–left spinning on its own axis in space-time.
The landscape was harsh red with shimmering dust as space bent slightly like ripples in a pond. He could not feel it bending but its effects were everywhere. From the aggressive hyper-cancer that had consumed his last few team members and was eating at his own body to the fractal dust from a shaken reality that slipped through his suit and clogged his lungs.
It had taken billions of dollars of funding and teams of scientists and supercomputers all scanning through every know data point in known reality to locate only one such potential site. It had taken inventing cryogenic stasis to traverse the distance between the populated cosmos and this older, darker part of the cosmos. It had taken three hundred and fifteen scientists and a full engineering crew with a military-grade starship and cutting-edge equipment to arrive at the megatroid.
But Jefferson felt it had all been worth it.
Despite being ravaged with cancer and struggling to breathe while on his last round of equipment and with three-hundred and fourteen bodies behind him, he was smiling. His face was lit up with wonder and his eyes sparkled.
He pulled himself up the last ledge onto the pinnacle of the megatroid’s largest mountain range. And, as his head cleared it and his vision stopped swimming, he stood and focussed on the swirling light before him.
It was beautiful.
Before him, on a parabolic-Cartesian plane, spinning between two equidistant black holes on their event horizion’s, floated a small tear in space-time that pierced into our nearest parallel dimensions. It had a peculiar golden glow, perhaps a side-effect of the cold fusion occurring at atomic-level, Jefferson thought?
He blinked and his eyes adjusted slowly to what he was seeing. Beyond the golden swirling form that silently rippled space around it, he was sure he saw something.
Could it be? Could he be looking through into another dimension? Could light from that other dimension be penetrating ours?
He had fantasized about this moment his whole adult life. What wonders would he see? Was there life or alternate geometry? Did new, undiscovered colours exist in that dimension? Would he peer through and see God? What incredible wonders would he see there?
His hands were shaking as he strained to see what lay beyond the golden swirling form. Something was definitely there. It was small and dark but the longer he looked at it, the clearer it became.
His oxygen tank’s warning light had been flashing for a while, but it began to beep. He was on his last breathes. This did not matter much, as the cancer was metastasizing in real-time and his lungs began to collapse as micro-tears in his inner-suit began to equalize with the vacuum of space and the blood in his veins began to heat in the dropping pressure.
Jefferson fell to his knees but kept his vision straightforward. Even if he could never tell another living soul, he was going to be first to actually see into the next dimension. He had lived his entire life for this moment and he was not going to die before he got to see it.
The black shape was solidifying in the rippling golden light, but his vision began to blur. Oxygen deprivation and dropping pressure in his suit were converging, and he began to fall forward slowly in the low gravity of the megatroid.
Just before his vision slipped, his head fell forward and the last ounce of life left him, the black shape solidified and Jefferson saw what–or who!–was peering at him from another dimension.
It was a middle-aged man, pale-faced and wild-eyed, dressed in a military-grade deep-space cosmonaut’s suit with blood down the left leg and micro-tears releasing precious oxygen and pressure into space. The man was on his knees and collapsing forward in the final moments of his life. Partially faded, and splattered with blood and space-dust, a small name tag across the man’s chest said something quite familiar: “JEFFERSON”.