Just to see what happens

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“Dr. Singh, I don't see anything”

“Give it just a few more moments” the elder explorer replied, but already the darkness was being pierced by pinprick-sized lights and they grew brilliant as the universe resolved around them. It was space. The vision before them became clearer as if someone were adjusting the resolution on a giant television monitor.

No television had resolution like this. The magnificent image before them wasn't a projection or a reflection, it was real. The Eagle Nebula stretched out before them from horizon to horizon in all of its glory. Massive columns of gas millions of years old, star nursery and the inspiration of the title “Pillars of Creation”.

“Impressive isn't it?” the older man asked. His answer was awed silence.

Let the grease monkeys and rocket jockeys explore Mars, the old man had declared decades ago, the real exploration will begin with the conquest of the Quantum universe.

“The biggest problem left is to name everything we find” Dr. Singh said, with humor in his voice. Gregory had been brought here to be one of the “Quantum Disciples” who had spent the past decades being derided as such. Of course they came to accept it with honor.

As the particles moved through space they came upon one of the stars that had been formed in the cluster but had been discharged. For a hundred years it had been moving away from the nebula at high speed for such an object but considering to the giant nebula it hardly seemed far at all.

“What do you see?”

Gregory wondered what he was supposed to see for a moment before gasping. The escaping star had taken some of the gas, dust and rocks from the nebula with it. Of course, it had its own gravity after all. The orbiting particles were already starting to flatten out into a disk. Someday that star-stuff would form into planets.

“So soon after leaving the nebula?”

“So soon” the old man asked, sounding tired “So soon we must leave our encounter”

Like a rubber band he snapped back to the laboratory in Singapore. Two others were assisting the old doctor, giving him water once he was sitting up. Dr. Singh tried to wave off his concerns “Missed lunch, shouldn't have done that”

Gregory followed the doctor and his two assistants to the next room where he sat on a plush chair. “Don't you have more to say after such an experience?” the amused old scientist teased.

Gregory had found the experience exhilarating, of course, but saddenng. The future had arrived, dreams had come true. Man had reached out and colonized the moon and set down on Mars, harnessed the resources of the asteroid “belt”, but it could not stifle its own primitive natures. The vast majority of the world simply did not care and would not understand. To them the exploration of the universe through the Quantum MFI was like a Hollywood illusion or maybe magic. For all intents and purposes much of the world was populated by a bunch of spoiled children.

He knew better than to try and drag the whole human race with him to the future but he was a generous and caring man by nature. He wanted them to know, to understand, to experience what he did. He found it sad they would rather wallow in their trivial pursuits and pleasures.

“You want me to join the Society” Gregory said, breaking the quiet as they drank their tea “You want me to become a disciple and help acquire and retain knowledge that the human race doesn't know it needs or wants yet”

“Like a monk in the Dark Ages when Europe had fallen back to a more primitive time. Someone must keep the flame of knowledge alive as we slide into a new Dark Age” The old man said “An age of fantasy and desire take the place of reality and the possible. We think along the same lines, you and I”.

“Yet, I have no idea what you plan for me” Gregory answered “You already have disciples, Mr. Chang and Miss Koh are already running the foundation on a day to day basis. So what do you need me for?”

“You must go out into the world and teach it” Dr. Singh said “You must keep it simple for them or they will tune out. You must fight the darkness that is on the horizon. So, how would you explain the Quantum MFI to an audience of... those people?”

“The Quantum Multi-Field Integrator allows our probes or ourselves to be in two places at once, here and any where else in the universe” Gregory said “In a way this allows us to compare a place like the Eagle Nebula as it is now and the way we see from Earth, 7,000 or so years ago”

“What would it cost the foundation to hire you as its missionary?” the old man asked, amused about something again. It was as if the old man already knew.

“I would want to use the Quantum MFI on a regular basis, do my own research, my own exploration” Gregory answered “I want to be able to see everything there is to see. I want to see life on other worlds, I want to travel to the farthest star and see the void on the other side.”

The old man nodded and smiled. He was like a genial old Buddhist monk in the old martial arts films who seemed to know everything. They became quiet again, Gregory mused that he might be meditating. “Every fourth month, you may use the Quantum MFI as long and as much as you like”.

“What will you do in retirement?”

“Travel” the old man answered “I will cease being in two places at once, I will no longer be here but there. I will die in the Quantum MFI, just to see what happens”

About the Author: 
Floyd G Looney, 41, is an avid consumer of science fiction and would be a writer if he ever finished a story.

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Quantum Theories

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

K is for ... Kaon

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X is for ... X-ray

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T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

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W is for ... Wave-particle duality

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S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

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G is for ... Gluon

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P is for ... Planck's Constant

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I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

R is for ... Radioactivity

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R is for ... Reality

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L is for ... Light

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V is for ... Virtual particles

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N is for ... Nonlocality

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U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

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A is for ... Act of observation

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M is for ... Multiverse

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B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

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R is for ... Randomness

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A is for ... Atom

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P is for ... Probability

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Z is for ... Zero-point energy

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U is for ... Universe

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C is for ... Cryptography

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C is for ... Computing

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D is for ... Dice

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Q is for ... Qubit

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Q is for ... Quantum biology

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G is for ... Gravity

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I is for ... Interferometer

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O is for ... Objective reality

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A is for ... Alice and Bob

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Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

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T is for ... Teleportation

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F is for ... Free Will

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J is for ... Josephson Junction

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H is for ... Hawking Radiation

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M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

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L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

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E is for ... Entanglement

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W is for ... Wavefunction

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