This story was first serialized in 30 daily parts during April 2021 via the @MoveablePress and @InternetofWords Twitter feeds [9am and 5pm GMT respectively.] It is now reproduced in a complete form, a number of small edits and corrections made to improve narrative flow and maintain correct continuity.
I produce fiction bi-weekly on Ko-Fi: this includes flash fiction (250 words) which is being put together to form a long-form narrative, plus a bi-weekly full novel presented in episodic format.
Some people are collectors, others crave the thrill of the unexpected or joy in being part of a collective experience. I’m not like them, never have been. There’s only ever been one goal in my entire existence, and after almost four decades, that reward is close to being claimed. Everything has been sacrificed: my partner left last night, will not be returning. He called me a selfish bitch and was utterly correct because to get here meant a calculated destruction of his particularly fragile ego. There are no regrets, not any more: this work is mine alone.
As he left, there was one final attack. ‘This is way past a joke. What’s now begun, the consequences of this arrogance… it isn’t something that can be taken away any more, is it? Here is the point of no return. When this thing finally consumes your humanity: what happens then?’ It’s way past that point, of course, but he was always too narrow-minded and cautious to grasp the point. All he cared about was bettering the existing laws of physics, creating a tangible means by which theories could be disproved. Testing an experimental idea was too dangerous.
Time travel is irrelevant when you understand that linear time is simply a construct created by idiots refusing to hand control over to anybody else but themselves. Once that truth is wholly embraced, it’s not about trying to go back to a point where you can change your own past. The truth remains our choices made in the moment, and the multiple Universes those decisions create, splinters of the same space where time is only seconds behind or ahead of a schism. In the beat it takes to decide action, two worlds imagined, one’s activity instantly destroyed.
For everybody else, that process changes nothing except themselves. After tonight, the first choice made on waking transforms existence, opening brain and body to the idea of another World, existing inside this one. It is too late to turn back, too much of the compound ingested. My partner inevitably will take credit for this, because he was the one who shone ultraviolet light on the specimens. I was the botanist who found the seeds in the permafrost, duplicating their original habitat, spending a decade nurturing this ancient moss back from extinction.
To discover they excrete a compound that is only visible in the ultraviolet spectrum was undoubtedly the game changer for so much of what has now happened. There would be no grants, our unit at Heathrow would not have been affordable: but it was only me with foresight to push… It was inevitable that, because Compound 28AR was invisible, there would be an accident in those early days. I was scrupulous in clean-up, but my partner wasn’t. If I’d not watched him partially vanish before my eyes, none of what has been achieved since would have been possible.
Knowing this was possible after skin contact, our entire focus shifted. Instead of civil use we considered going to the Government advocating military ideas. That was the first of many conflicts, understanding that ethics would only get us so far: my partner was afraid to even then. However, he was the one to first ingest the compound: the effect immediate and almost fatal. We couldn’t take him to a hospital, of course, the questions asked would have ruined everything. I spent time testing blood samples, comparing cell reactions, and planning my next move.
The toxicity of this substance was nature’s own, significant warning: do not ingest until there’s proper understanding of exactly how it affects body chemistry… so I programmed possibilities via simulation. The point I thought my modelling had broken was when the truth emerged. Scientists have theorized the possibilities of Splinter Universes, that certain decisions could create alternative timelines which we never see but still exist, just out of phase of this one. My modelling was suggesting something even more radical: an entire world existing in UV.
At first the assumption was that my calculations must be incorrect, but the more data I was able to sample using lab mice as partially invisible avatars, confirmed that the World they’d travel to after ingesting 28AR was crucially either seconds ahead or behind our own existence. None of this could be proved empirically: after a brush with death, my partner insisted we dump our project on the military, leaving them to deal with. I didn’t share the findings with him, or that I had found the means to render myself invisible without ingestion becoming necessary.
With this new ability at my disposal, some might have simply stolen their way to greatness. The smarter criminals soon grasp you’re not the one who does that dirty work, there will always be a bigger prize if you’re willing to play the longer game… and so I began placing pieces. Our funding did not come about by accident, quite the opposite. The individuals waiting for my transformation are well aware of what they will be getting, but I have been careful to withhold certain details from them, ensuring they do not hold complete control over my project.
What I need is an ability to provide lab animals: in my case, human volunteers who will test the ability of this compound to transform their brains as mine has been in the last six months. What was theoretical in mice will become unethical in human subjects, but I do not care. This world is at the precipice of self-extinction: humanity’s greed and avarice driving humans to undoubted Armageddon, and those who will survive the carnage will leave this planet a charred wreck, before moving on to other worlds to undoubtedly wreak destruction upon them too.
Except I am certain there are parallel Earths to inhabit. If I can prove this to be the case, that these splinter spaces are intrinsically linked to the flora and fauna we continue to wantonly destroy, perhaps a chance remains to stop ceaseless deforestation and natural depletion. The next step therefore is both obvious and, as my partner clearly believes, suicidal. When he discovered I’d been injecting microscopic amounts of 28AR into my bloodstream, revulsion was not at my action, but that I’d not automatically assumed that he should be the test subject.
My sensitivity to light radically altered over that month, and I began to crave the compound as food. That first 28AR meal was a revelation, and it almost destroyed my sanity. The range of both human sight and sound allows us to ignore so much, that would otherwise be crippling. Earplugs and blackout goggles started as essential, are now unnecessary, adaptation to the spectrum of light and sound far faster than anticipated. I am almost totally invisible to the naked eye, and were it not for the constant purple throb of my heart, I would be non-existent.
Injecting the compound plus the ingestion has fundamentally transformed me at a cellular level, and if my calculations are correct this next dose, plus tonight’s injection, will render me fully invisible to the naked eye and, I hope, allow me to shift fully into a parallel Earth. As a result, I have left extensive instructions for the group who have offered to assist me, unbeknownst to my partner. They have spent the day conducting experiments, wiring me to sensors and taking samples for analysis. I am confident they will treat my work with utmost respect.
They have given me an opportunity to leave testimony, should it become apparent there is no way back from that which I have willingly accepted. As a result, I assert again that this is the only way forward not just for me, but for the planet. I embrace what I fear: this unknown. Only by taking risks will any definite progress be made. Only by rejecting tyranny from those determined to profit for their own ends will humanity endure and continue their dominance. This will be my greatest moment, and undoubtedly will begin a new age of scientific revolution.
Some people are afraid of change: unable to move past their own beliefs and familiar comforts, easier to die in ignorance than live enlightened. This path has called to me since childhood, that my history held more purpose than becoming a nameless cog in another’s machinations.
I am willing to become the World’s first interdimensional traveller, to demonstrate my theories are correct. It does mean I may never return, a chance that is more than worthwhile to prove the validity of these actions.
If you are reading this, then I am probably lost forever…