The Vortex

By Brian Robinson.

Standing on the clifftop overlooking the bay I felt transfixed but perfectly safe. What looked like some form of vortex was way out on the horizon. Besides, I wasn’t chasing tornadoes. I was merely watching the sun go down on what had been a perfectly normal day.

I knew I had to take a picture though. This was too good to miss. I cursed because I had left my phone in the car. I turned to step away but found I could not. I was being held; drawn. I tried to swear again but it felt as if my breath was being sucked to the back of my head.

Being a scientist, my first thought was that I was being sucked into an anti matter vortex and I would soon be annihilated. However, I dismissed that idea because the force was being mercifully kind. Whatever it was, I knew it wasn’t out to harm me. At least not yet.

The next thing I knew I was being spat out in Zurich five years earlier. It took me several seconds to put two and two together. I had never seriously questioned the idea of discovery. If it was out there, then as far as I was concerned it was just waiting to be found. Scientists don’t have to ask permission to find things out. I’m sure Einstein never felt guilty about the discovery of his now famous equation. But considering what it led to, perhaps he should have been.


This made me seriously wonder about my own research? Was that why I had been sucked into the past? Had I poked my nose too far into God’s business?

At least I knew what I had to do in the immediate future. The force that had brought me here was still with me and I wasn’t about to go against that. I headed straight for Professor Altermatt’s office. I passed through the security of my old stamping ground effortlessly. The mere mention of my name and sight of my passport lubricated that process.

The professor was pleased to see me just as before. I remember his excitement. Expectancy was in the air. We had been given the grant. He had the experimental knowledge and access to the equipment. I had the mathematical know-how and powers of interpretation. Our conversation wasn’t exactly as before. After all, I was five years down the road. But the flavour and outcome were the same. But we both knew instinctively that our understanding of Dark Energy was about to radically advance.

My old quarters in the facility were exactly as before. I remember wondering why the clock on the wall didn’t have a cuckoo housed within it. The scientist inside wanted to explore this deja vous reality. But the human in me knew this would be a gross self-indulgence. I watched the sun go down on that day from a different perspective. And I knew I had some thinking to do. I allowed myself one stiff whiskey but only one. My head had to be absolutely clear.

The universe is all about relationships, at a fundamental level, and at a cosmic level. Put two dissimilar metals together, and you get a reaction. They dislike proximity. Put similar metals together in a vacuum, and they weld themselves together. They become one. So they obviously enjoy close proximity.

The particles that make up atoms have special harmonious relationships too. Split them up and you get a reaction. Poke around with them too much, and you end up with a big reaction: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Was Einstein aware of what might follow from his discovery of the relationship between energy and matter? I don’t know. What I do know, is that he should have been.

I realised that had been a fool. And yet, I had to be that fool. I had to find out for myself. It is human to be human, I was a scientist, and I had to find everything I could about the relationships of all forces; all matter.

I remember the feelings of elation when I finally constructed the mathematical proof of what our experiments had been suggesting. Between us, we had discovered how Dark Energy, Dark Matter and Ordinary Matter are connected. However, between us, we had discovered the means to destroy the universe.

Before, all I wanted to do was break free of this vortex and return back to my normal life. Now I didn’t care about any of that. I knew what I had to do. I had to destroy all my notes; and I had to destroy all my calculations. But that could wait till later. If indeed there was to be a later.

Professor Altermatt was the only other human being on this planet who was aware of our findings. And nothing of our discovery had been noted down at the facility. We had been very careful about that. However, I knew I couldn’t trust in his silence. I was sure about that. That’s what the vortex was telling me.

I wasn’t going to have to kill Professor Altermatt: but I was going to have to let him die.

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