Super Freaky Zombie World 2

No votes yet
Your rating: None

“RUN!” Mikey screamed to his friends. Ben darted off first, followed by Tori who stayed just ahead of Max. Mikey brought up the rear. A single door sat at the end of the corridor; the four prayed they would make it.
“OPEN IT, OPEN IT, OPEN IT!” Max screamed at Ben until the door was thrown in— everyone tumbled inside. Mikey quickly shut the door, they collapsed on the floor, and were silent for about a minute.
“Jesus that was close!” Ben exhaled, the adrenaline that had coursed through his veins finally dissipating.
“You think?” snapped Max. Ben brushed it off; he knew Max got a little cranky under pressure.
“Do you think we lost them?” asked Tori, looking around.
“I don’t know,” said Ben, “Hopefully…”
“Where are we?” Mikey asked, looking around the room.
“Seems like some kind of boiler room,” Ben commented. It was dark, but he could just make out what looked like pipes lining the walls and ceiling. Steam poured in from above, an eerie red glow illuminating the room from the far left corner. Suddenly, a familiar hum began to seep through the door. The floor vibrated, and everyone jumped up.
“The numbers ‘172’ can be found on the back of the U.S. $5 dollar bill in the bushes at the base of the Lincoln Memorial!” Max blurted. Besides getting cranky, he also spewed out random facts when he got emotional. 
“Okay someone needs to come up with a solution before they break down the door.” Tori stated. Ben, the self-proclaimed leader of the group, began pacing. There was a loud thud at the door, the groans louder than ever.
“They’re here!” Mikey exclaimed, “Ben, what do we do?”
“I’m thinking!” he shouted. There was a moment of silent tension; all eyes followed Ben up and down the room. “Okay…” his eyes rose to the ceiling. He squinted through the steam—what was that? Something was glimmering; it was metallic, but different than the pipes surrounding it; it was shinier. “Mikey, give me a boost.” Climbing onto his shoulders, Ben reached for the bar and pulled on it. It shot down to the floor—a ladder! “Everyone up!” Tori scampered up the ladder to the top, where she pushed a hatch open to the next floor. Before she could make it through, a pounding came from behind the door. The door began to bend, and arms reached through. “Just, everybody, remain calm and get up the ladder,” said Ben, “the door should hold them for a while.”
“Oh yeah, sure, remain calm,” mocked Max, “It’s not like it’s the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!”
“Max, shut up and get up the ladder!” Ben yelled, the pressure finally getting to him too. Max ran past Ben and up the ladder, joining Tori at the top. “Mikey, you’re next,” said Ben. But the door burst open and the undead came pouring into the room.
“There’s no way we’re both gonna make it up there,” Mikey said bravely. He didn’t have to say anything else. Ben made his way up the ladder, looking down at his friend for what could have possibly been the last time, before he closed the metal door. “Come and get me, you lumbering oafs!” he screamed as his battle cry.
            Ben, Max, and Tori sat in disbelief on the cold concrete, absorbing what had just happened. “Cats can hear ultrasound,” Max stated glumly.
“You know, that’s oddly comforting,” Tori said, “Keep going.”
“By Heisenberg’s Theory of Uncertainty, if you know everything about one variable, you know nothing about another variable. This theory was exemplified and proven by the Schrodinger’s cat experiment, conducted by Austrian physicist Edwin Schrodinger in 1935.”
“That’s less comforting,” she sighed. “That means, if we consider location and state of life as our two variables, we’ll never know if Mikey got turned or not— unless we go down there and check. And if we go down there and check we’ll never be able to find him again, because physically he’d either sprint past us to outrun the zombies or he’d be a zombie and Mikey wouldn’t be Mikey anymore, so in a more figurative sense, we wouldn’t be able to find him.”
“Whoa. Too deep for me,” Ben shook his head in confusion. Suddenly, there was a faint thud coming from the trap door. It sounded as though someone was trying to climb up the ladder.
"DIET COKE WAS INVENTED IN 1982!” screamed Max, running to hide across the room. 
“It could be Mikey!” said Ben.
“Yeah, or it could be Mikey and his new friends,” Tori pointed out. They decided to hide and see who it was. Ben huddled in the corner of the room while Max and Tori hid behind the desk.
A few moments later, the door began to creak as the hinges were pushed upwards and a figure crawled through the hatch. It was too dark to see anything for sure, but it looked like—“Hey guys, sorry I gotta go. My mom’s yelling at me to clean my room, or something,” said Ben.
“Same,” Tori chimed in. “Pause it and we’ll come back later.” And so, Ben, Tori, Max, and Mikey took off their headsets and resumed their normal lives, until they could return to the world of Super Freaky Zombie World 2.

About the Author: 
Danielle Hart, 17, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Newsletter Signup

Submit your email address so we can send you occasional competition updates and tell you who wins!

Quantum Theories

M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

L is for ... Light

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

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

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

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

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

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.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

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.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

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.

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

I is for ... Information

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

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

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!

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

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.

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

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.