Κυριακή, 2 Ιουνίου 2019

Runneth Dry

Published in Schlock! Magazine



"Hole's dried out"
"What do you mean, 'dried out'? It's not filled with anything, it's just...a hole."
"Yeah, um, it's still...out, though."
"Did you check inside?"
"Yes, yes we did."
"You need to go way in there, you know. Past the elbow."
"We did that, yeah. Came back with nothing."
"Did you try a drone?"
"We tried drones, we tried clamps, we tried perispopic robot arms. We even brought in Kevin, that weird guy from Logistics..."
"Kev the Noodle? Did he get anything?"
"Not a damn thing. So we got to digging. Sent in a few boys with jackhammers, then a couple of excavators, then we blew the rest of the way down and we still got nothing."
"Did you ask Kevin to try then?"
"He was the first one in, last guy out."
"Good man, Kevin."


"Point is, there was nothing don there. Nothing but a whole load of dust and empty air. There's still a deeper, narrower point, but we haven't had a chance to get a depth reading yet."
"Can't you just...make it wider?
"Not unless we want the government to get a whiff of what we're doing. Besides, one of the guys in the prospecting  team thinks we're about to hit a sandstone bank. If we keep going, the sinkhole could swallow up HQ in the blink of an eye."
"What if we made a new Hole?"
"What in god's name are you talking about?"
"Simon and I, we didn't...find this hole. We dug it, you know. Back when we were kids. It's how we found the Perpetual battery prototype. If we could just..."
"I don't think you made the Hole, sir. Or if you did, I don't think that's the reason why it kept spilling out all those artifacts for the past 60 years. Sir, I think we...what are you doing?"
"I'm ringing Margaret. She ought to know where Simon's kept his toy shovels. He loved those things to bits, God bless his soul..."
"Sir, I think it would perhaps be best if we just...came clean."
"No. No, no no no..."
"If you will let me finish..."
"No. Out of the question."
"Sir, if we make the first move, we can control the narrative. We can spin this in our favor."
"Spin this in our favor? What the hell is so favorable about 'fraud finds tech in Hole'?"
"Try 'young dreamers stumble upon the future'."
"Try 'high school dropout steals tech he dug up and hires nerds to reverse engineer it'."
"Try 'tech giant proof of Many-world interpretation'."
"And how are we going to spin this to the auditors exactly? When they decide to contest our patents, or start looking into where those R&D subsidies really ended up? Unless you think I bought the board all those Bermuda vacation homes out of my own pocket."
"Oh."
"Damn right, oh. So if you don't want to end up penniless and afraid in a prison cell for the rest of your days, I suggest you get digging."
"Unless..."
"No more of this narrative nonsense, please."
"Unless it's not just a Hole."
"Of course it's not just a Hole, damn it. How many Holes can do what this one's been doing?"
"What if it's a wormhole? An Einstein-Rosen Bridge? "
"Uh..."
"What if it's traversable? I mean, where the hell else did all those thingamabobs came from, if not from another universe?"
"Then how come nothing else is coming through? How come no-one else came through, these past 60 years?"
"Could be, whoever's on the other side was treating this like the Voyager. One-way communication, real slow-like and now they're waiting for some sort of confirmation...made it so only living things could cross through, God I don't know but it's worth a shot, isn't it?"
"So what, we just slip on over and ask politely? What if they refuse?"
"We'd still have proven the existence of parallel worlds, maybe get a Nobel and live off the book royalties. And if push comes to shove, we can always just let the board buy us out."
"DeVries was a bit eager to see me off this company last quarter...you think he'd make a good fall guy?"
"The best, sir."
"How soon do you think we can get a man down there?"
"Kevin should be good to go; should take a couple more hours if we fit him with an EVA SUIT, for good measure."
"No, might as well rip the bandaid. Get our man down there so we can get to the bottom of this."
"Thank you sir. To be honest, I'd taken the liberty of doing so before reaching you. I was hoping you'd agree to this."
"So Kevin..."
"He's crossed the threshold an hour ago, contacted us through his attached tether. He made contact, sir. Kevin made contact with another universe!"
"So reel him in, then! Let's see what our boy's got for us! You think they want to discuss terms? Set up a contact post?"
"Site-team says Kevin's come back with a message."
"Well, what are you waiting for? Send it over..."
"Sir, site-team hasn't even had a chance to quarantine this yet..."
"Then get a damn picture, send it to my phone, beam it to my damn brain, just do it now goddamn it!"
"They're sending it up as we speak...bringing it up on the conference monitor and...oh."
OUT OF FREE STUFF. BRING VIRGINS.
"Get DeVries on the phone."


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