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.
Stan felt his body coming apart piece by piece, dissolving like a cookie dunked in milk. Atom by atom, the split was taking him apart but he was not afraid. In fact, he was ecstatic. The more often he entered the split, the easier it became as well as less painful. It also gave him a greater incentive to reach his ultimate goal, reach the center, and achieve ultimate power.
A graduate student working on his Ph.D. in quantum physics, Stan had discovered a loophole in Einstein's math. The math wasn’t wrong but had leapfrogged over a step that intrigued him. Why would he have done it since everything else was so meticulously detailed? Once he found one, his searches began to find others. Steps skipped in places most people wouldn’t notice. Academics of his time hadn’t noticed and had moved on to other areas so no one was actually looking at his work now, no one that is, except Stan.
Light travels in waves and just like the ocean, there are peaks and valleys but what wasn’t explained was what exists between the peaks and the valleys. That was a blank area, an area no one had ever explored. The area Stan now inhabited.
Energy waves travel at the speed of light across vast distances and are modified only by interactions with other forms of energy or gravity. Gravity can change its direction but not its energy level. That was Stan’s only real concern. If he entered the split and stayed too long, he might not be able to re-establish himself. He would just be atoms blowing on the winds of the universe and be gone forever, cosmic death, but if he jumped in and then out quickly, the energy gained became his to possess and that was his goal. Ultimate power.
His initial experiments at the university proved he could send things into the energy wells easily. Retrieving them whole was the main issue. He wasn’t sure what happened when they were in the well but only pieces came out. After almost a year of trial and error, he finally managed to retrieve the ‘cookie’ as a whole unit. Tests showed the cookie was more than what he had sent into the well. It was both the same and not the same. What was different? Energy levels. The emerged cookie had a higher energy level than the one he had sent. Repeated insertions and extraction added to this energy until finally, the cookie structure couldn’t hold anymore. It rematerialized glowing and then dissolved in a burst of energy.
Stan immediately moved everything off campus into the basement of his parent’s home. The cookie’s atoms were like little buckets, buckets that could hold more energy than needed to exist. Once the buckets were full, any additional energy overflowed causing the structure to break down. Stan began sending other objects into the split, retrieving them, measuring energy levels, and repeating until they also broke down. Metal objects held more energy due to the packed nature of their atoms, so what would living items do in the split?
A mouse was his first live traveler. Micky survived 11,357 jumps. The neighbor's cat was next. He had hated it ever since it had scratched his face one day. It survived over 23,000 jumps. Stan figured the additional mass contributed to its longevity. A large stray dog lasted for over 50,000 jumps.
Tests revealed the animals didn’t seem to be affected by the jumps or the accumulating energy until it reached its upper limit. The final tests were to be with Stan himself. He was nervous but knew it would work. After setting the first cycle interval to 1,000 jumps, he pressed the initiate button and waited for the countdown to occur. He would later journal, “It was like an explosion of light in my head.”
After each interval, he ran tests to see how much energy he had gained. His first fright came after 347 iterations. When he reached out to disable the system, he felt a burst of energy leave his body. He watched in awe as the control panel melted and then dissipated into the atmosphere.
“What have I become?” he asked himself. “Nobody said this was going to be easy but how dangerous am I?”
He quickly found he could power the house with his energy. He then left to test other theories. His local bank had an outside ATM. Walking up to it, he basically pushed his hand through the outside walls exposing the cash inside. He started to grab some but realized it too would go up in smoke as soon as he touched it. Next issue, how to touch things without destroying them? Faraday gloves would work. He would use his power to initially dissolve the armored safe, don the gloves, and then touch things as necessary. He looked like he was wearing a chain-of-mail suit but smiled when he opened another ATM and then emptied the cash drawer. He also knew that as soon as he had touched the ATM, all the electronics protecting it and the bank were fried as well as everything within a block. He had only felt a slight jolt.
His days became an endless string of exploits. Jump to recharge, drive to an ATM, and take the money. After all, he had to pay for all the electronics needed to jump, then repeat. This went on for several months before things went wrong. One of his electrical spikes caused changes to his control system. It malfunctioned, and instead of 1,000 jumps, he did 10,000. When he returned, he was glowing and knew he was in danger. In attempting to discharge, he began feeding the electrical network but it couldn’t take it. There was a major feedback and his whole body began to sparkle and then exploded into millions of pieces; atoms dissolving into the ever-expanding universe of his last jump. He was home.