Worlds of Probability
Chapter 1: The Discovery

Jason Fowler liked to tinker and he especially liked to build electronic gadgets. Lately he'd had a strong interest in unusual and complex magnetic fields. Jason had recently received a small inheritance, which would allow him to experiment on his own for a while without the need of being employed or earning a living. Jason was determined that he would make the most of the opportunity that had just come his way.

He found a house in a small town which sat on a 5 acre parcel of land. Originally, the house had been the farmhouse on a much larger farm, but most of the land had been sold off separately years ago. The remaining land contained the house and the barns, shops, and garages where the farm equipment had been stored and repaired. It seemed to be a good layout for conversion to his workshop so Jason used part of his inheritance to purchase the place.

There was one building on the property that had formerly been used for repairing farm equipment by the previous owner. Jason felt this building was perfect for conversion into his workshop. He spent more of his inheritance repairing the building and installing his work benches and equipment. He spent a little more of his funds on fixing up the house to make a cozy living space for when he wasn't working.

It took Jason a few months of work on his new place before everything was ready for him to start working on his ideas. In addition to his electronics workbench, he also put in a small machine shop, and refurbished the garage spaces so that he had a clean and dry space to work on projects which were larger in physical size.

Jason picked up a used flat bed truck, one of the kind used by tow companies for hauling cars, very cheaply from a towing company that went bankrupt. He used this truck for hauling materials to his property while he was rebuilding. Jason thought the truck might be useful even after all of his construction work was completed.

When everything was ready Jason began construction of his first circuit module and the big coil that would be powered by it. He spent more than a week carefully soldering the parts and connecting wires onto a breadboard and then another week winding the coil. He spent a few more days troubleshooting the circuit, fixing a number of shorts and wiring errors.

Finally Jason was ready to start testing the unit. It was set out on the workbench, connected to an external DC power supply. With all the shorts and wiring errors fixed it was time to apply full power to the unit and see what would happen. He moved the unit across his work bench until it was sitting next to the DC power supply. Jason connected the power leads from the power supply to the appropriate terminals on the unit.

Jason watched the meters on the power supply carefully as he flipped the switch on the power supply to apply power to the circuit for the first time. The current meter quickly moved toward the middle of the scale and then suddenly dropped back to zero again. This was puzzling, since it didn't seem like the circuit had shorted, so the current should have risen to some level and then remained constant at that level.

He turned to look at the unit and was surprised to see that both power wires had somehow become disconnected and were lying on the bench. This was a surprising development since the power leads were supposed to be soldered to the controller inside the module. Jason still remembered soldering the wires into place only a few minutes ago. He moved over to inspect the module more closely and was astonished to discover the wires had not become disconnected, but instead had been cut a short distance from where they entered the module. Bending down to look at the offending leads closely he was astonished to discover they looked as if they had been neatly severed by a sharp edged blade.

With a sigh Jason spliced together the two severed wires and prepared to repeat the power on but this time he would be watching as well as recording what was happening with his video camera. He moved the power supply slightly so it was in a position which would make turning on the power easier while watching the unit. He turned on the video camera and made sure it was recording and then reached over and turned on the power switch again.

The unit seemed to flicker for a fraction of a second, almost as if the lights had suddenly been turned on and off really quickly. At the same time the power wires again parted and fell to the table. He found himself staring at the unit and wondering what was happening and most especially what was cutting the power loads to the unit every time he applied power to the unit. Several repeated subsequent attempts to apply power to the unit after repairing the wires had the same result.

Convinced he could learn no more by further attempts to power up the unit he rewound the video recorder and carefully watched the video. Except for one attempt the video did not show anything unusual but in one case the unit seemed to quickly flicker. He rewound the video to the point just before the flicker and then replayed the video, one frame at a time. He was astonished to discover that in one frame of the video the unit had disappeared! And in the next frame it was back again. Further, in the video frames after the unit disappeared, the power leads now appeared to be cut.

He would later learn that what was happening to the unit is when he applied power to the unit it would begin translation to a different probability level. However the power wires severed before the unit developed sufficient energy to completely overcome the probabilistic potential between levels so it was immediately bounced back to its original level.

Thinking about what he had observed he decided to modify the unit. Instead of using an external power supply he would attach a small battery to the unit with a timed switch to apply power from the battery 30 seconds after the timer was activated. He used the timer because it didn't seem safe to just reach in and push a switch with his fingers, it might be a good way to lose a body part.

With the changes made to the unit complete, he reset the video recorder and activated the power timer on the unit. He watched carefully as the timer counted down the waiting period and then activated. He watched with surprise as the unit disappeared as soon as the timer activated the timer. The unit suddenly disappeared and he was never able to find it after that. Later he learned that the unit had continued receding away until the battery inside was exhausted, so far that he had lost it completely.

Jason spent the next week building a new unit, one with more room for a larger battery as well as a more sophisticated control circuit. The new control circuit had the capability to reverse the polarity and spin after a pre-determined period of time had elapsed. He did this to test his idea that reversing the polarity and spin might cause the unit to return if the reversal was the mirror image of the initial polarity and spin. If he could find a way to have the unit return then it would be possible to explore whatever the place was the unit had gone off to.

Once the new unit was complete he set the on-board timer to activate for five minutes and then reverse and operate in reverse for another 5 minutes. The timer he was using was accurate to within a millisecond so he felt there was a chance the unit would return. It was only an educated guess that the unit would return under those conditions but it seemed reasonable and worth a try.

Jason carefully programmed the controller with the parameters for his next experiment. Again there was a time delay for the power on to allow him time to get his hand clear of the unit before it activated. There was no way he wanted the unit to activate with his hand still inside it, the result of that was sure to be bad. He turned on his video camera, flipped on the switch on the unit and sat back to watch what happened.

Just like the last time the unit suddenly disappeared as soon as the timer applied power to the circuit. He waited with impatient curiosity for ten minutes to see if the unit would return as he expected. He found himself checking his watch impatiently as the minutes seemed to drag by. Finally he was delighted to see the unit suddenly reappear after exactly 10 minutes had elapsed since its previous disappearance.

Jason decided that he wanted to test the repeatability of the disappearance and return of the unit so he again programmed the timer for 10 minutes, and then activated the time delay on the power again. The unit disappeared once again and Jason was left to wait again for the unit to return. He was relieved when the unit reappeared once most after exactly ten minutes. He repeated this experiment several more times until he was satisfied that the timer would cause the unit to return from wherever it had gone every time.

For the rest of this story, you need to Log In or Register

Story tagged with:
Science Fiction /