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by aicat
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2026823
Scientist Daniel Preadon travels through a wormhole and arrives in scientific heaven
Chapter 1.          THE NEW WORLD

         Jeremy Grodane crept down the cave path breathing lightly. From time to time he felt nauseous and unbalanced. It must be this weird mixture of alien air, he thought. From his point of view, he was the first person in history to embark on a journey through a wormhole on to what the scientists working for the National Security Agency (NSA) thought was a different planet. Despite the trepidation he currently felt, this thrilled the eighteen-year-old kid who thought about the possible fame that would embrace him when he returned home from this New World, and accept recognition of being the first human being to do so.
         At this point, Jeremy felt uneasy. He had not expected to end up in a weird smelly cave. His expectations were more along the lines of encountering strange landscapes with alien creatures flying and scurrying about -- the sort of thing a young teenager reading sci-fi novels would expect.
         He wore no oxygen mask or pressure suit of any kind. A risky situation, but since his entry into this realm was self-directed and not approved by NSA management, they had not apprised him of the risks of entering a strange world with possible different life forms and a precarious environment. Why the hell did I come dressed like this, he asked himself. He wore knee length dark green shorts and running shoes in this chilly cave on a far-away world. Even when working as a NSA file clerk, this clothing was inappropriate -- good for playing basketball on the street with other teenage kids though.
         One thing about being the lone human being in this world, it would make him this planet’s tallest person. The last time he checked -- on his seventeenth birthday last year -- he was five feet five inches in height. Don’t worry, said dad; you’re still growing. The mop of hair on top of his head must have added another inch.
         He had enough foresight to bring a light source with him. It was an app running on his iPhone that lit the place up. The light reflected off the walls in strange ways. Sometimes, he felt this light wasn’t needed since there appeared to be other light sources. When he turned the light off, he noticed that some of the vegetation growing up the wall emitted light. He assumed it was vegetation, but how would he know; he was on a different planet after all. Who knows, it might be electrical wiring supplying power to hidden technology on the outside of this cave or enclosed structure. Maybe this wasn’t a cave. The so-called lit vegetation progressed up the walls and onto the curved ceiling, so he couldn’t determine whether it covered rocks or a constructed wall.
         One characteristic did allow him to think it might be a natural environment, and that was the rocky ground he walked on. There was such a large variety of different sized rocks and stones that it was difficult maintaining his balance.
         More possible illusions and weird thoughts seemed to disrupt his mind to the point where fear became the predominant emotion. After several minutes of walking, the cave at this point was nearly ten feet above his head and about the same distance from both arms.
         Then he saw a distant light indicating a possible opening to the cave’s exterior. As he proceeded forward, the cave widened considerably, and a rumbling sound could be heard. His viewing angle to the opening changed, allowing him to discover the noise’s source. It was a waterfall coming from the ceiling smashing onto the ground and heading outside. It had a bizarre appearance -- he was on a different planet wasn’t he? There appeared to be two currents of water associated with it, the normal current going down and somewhere in the middle, a smaller current going up. He was able to see this because objects moved up the waterfall’s center and traveled to its source. Man this is bizarre, he thought. As he approached this descending cascade, he considered that strange upward flow in the middle might be a life form.
         Then he heard a noise -- a high frequency pitch or screech having random patterns to it. He turned towards the distant cave opening and detected enough light to allow him a reasonable view. As fearful as he had become, the shock increased even more as he saw one of the strangest looking things he’s ever seen in his life.
         What the hell was I thinking coming here? In front of him were three fear-provoking creatures appearing to take turns producing these bloodcurdling noises that could be heard over the sound of the waterfall.
         One other object Jeremy had brought with him was an item shaped like a small narrow football, about six inches long. His pant pockets were not large enough to hold it, so he hung it around his neck by forming a loop with a necktie he happened to have. He kept his iPhone in his pocket allowing both hands to be free for any possible actions.
         Suddenly, one of the creatures moved away from the other and jerked towards him. Jeremy couldn’t determined whether it was looking at him since he wasn’t too sure about its visual anatomy. It had a spider like appearance about the same height as Jeremy -- but with five legs -- of which the middle one would occasionally be removed from the ground and held up. Maybe it also functioned as an arm; it was hard to tell. The creature’s color was a yellowish beige, and it had no clothing.
         There were other strange things about it. Little round balls on three-inch stems stuck out at the top of its body. He couldn’t count them because they were surrounded by octopus-like tentacles. The legs were spider-like except for the elbows. Large foot-long sticks stuck out from these elbows. Jeremy had no idea what they could be used for, but overall, they were so weird looking, he couldn’t imagine any science fiction motion picture company developing a creature like this.
         Jeremy looked back over his shoulder off in the distance at the cave’s rear and couldn’t see any evidence of the portal he had emerged from. He wasn’t sure what to do, other than curse himself for not having brought a weapon. The creature in front of him was about twenty feet away, intimidating, and frightening. It appeared to stare at him as if it wasn’t too sure what he was. Then strangely, it meandered towards him, and with that one arm-like appendage, pointed to the spheroid object hung around his neck. The other creature noticed it as well. Their demeanor became somewhat deferential -- assuming Jeremy could tell what alien deference resembled.
         Jeremy removed his iPhone from his pocket and snapped a picture of one of the creatures with the built-in camera.
         Suddenly, he heard human shouting coming from behind him. Just before he turned around to examine its source, he looked at the picture he just took.
         The creatures were weird enough, but what he saw next really surprised him -- humans looking like medieval soldiers? At first, he felt relief and maybe he was the victim of a hoax. All three of them were scruffy looking and wearing what he thought could be peasant clothing. This included a type of vegetation rapped around their feet being used as shoes. They all had long scruffy hair almost touching their shoulders. Maybe these people were actors on a movie set. Otherwise, what would human beings be doing on the other side of a wormhole in a never before explored world carrying swords and wearing peasant clothing.
         The soldiers approached him. Then one of them grabbed his iPhone and looked at the picture he had taken. At this point, Jeremy almost expected him to rub his thumb on the iPhone screen and run another app. What really happened?
         He dropped to the ground and while staring at the picture, began to pray in a strange language with a stunned look on his face.
         Another soldier took a sword from his sheath and waved it at the creatures. The creatures moved forward aggressively, attempting to intimidate the soldiers. In a panic, one soldier killed one of them with his sword and attacked another one, but for some reason, Jeremy mistook this alien slaughter as a possible attack on him. Suddenly, he had the urge to rescue and protect the other two live aliens by standing in between them and the soldiers. A bizarre feeling motivated him to do this, a rather unnatural frame of mind to defend an alien creature he had never seen before.
         Out of respect for this iPhone toting eighteen-year-old dude, the soldiers backed away, but something else happened. More soldiers suddenly appeared and began to converse agitatedly among one another, apparently trying to get themselves riled up at the creatures.
         I wonder if they understand English, thought Jeremy. “Do you guys speak English?” After that little statement, an argument began amongst themselves trying to figure out what he said. One of the soldiers, maybe the leader of the group, pulled his sword out of its sheath and waved it in an aggressive manner, shouting at the top of his lungs, causing the aliens to turn and run.
         At this point, panic crept into Jeremy’s mind, triggering horror and fear as he wasn’t quite sure whom that soldier was being aggressive towards. What were these soldiers going to do? Kill him? Take him prisoner? His pulse increased dramatically as he felt compelled to follow the creatures. The aliens then led him deeper into the tunnel towards the lab where he had emerged. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, the lab had disappeared, and all he could see was more tunnel. It was lit up by natural light emanating from the alien vegetation on the walls.
         Jeremy noticed that the soldiers had not bothered following them -- almost as if they were too frightened to do so. As Jeremy stood in the exact same spot the portal had appeared, more creatures arrived and surrounded him.
         Then something bizarre happened. They all lowered themselves to the ground by bending their legs at the knee joint. It was almost as if they were praying to him. Since they surrounded him, he keenly observed how they watched him. Those organs of theirs that he thought might be eyes, always seemed to point towards that object dangling from his neck. He touched it to see what would happen. They behaved as if they were riveted by that movement. When he lifted it away from his neck, they bent their legs even lower as if to increase their idolization.
         Jeremy had no idea what to make of this. Was he becoming an object of worship, or a prisoner? They surrounded him so tightly, he knew he couldn’t just walk away. The shock this entailed reduced control over his actions, and he knew obedience was his only recourse. He would do anything these creatures wanted and follow them anywhere.
         This eighteen-year-old high school dropout’s sense of adventure was lost; his sense of fear had taken over.


         “I want to bring everyone up-to-date on our unintended attempt to travel through that wormhole. Unfortunately our young employee, Jeremy Grodane, went through it without our approval.” Maurice Stroung, the overweight and thin haired manager of the top-secret Wormhole Project, brought the NSA wormhole commission up-to-date on their latest venture. As they all sat together in the boardroom, dressed in their somewhat drab jackets and ties, what they heard wasn’t good news. “As most of you are aware, we were approached by Jeremy Grodane, the son of the late and well-known archeologist Dr. Alfred Grodane, with an ancient artifact that was impenetrable even by x-rays. It was unlike anything we have ever seen. When we carefully examined it, it didn’t appear to be anything that could have been made in those times and even on this planet. Somehow or other it was activated, and after scrutinizing the risk, we discovered it created a portal to another world. We called it a wormhole after what Einstein and Rosen suggested.”
         The boardroom they were in had the usual types of wall display monitors for convenient use. Just as Maurice picked up a laser pointer so he could point to a large display on the opposite wall, Frank Morsiso, the NSA director, interrupted him. “Before we go on Maurice, please confirm if this person Jeremy was given any indication or suggestion that he would have any access to the wormhole?”
         “As far as I’m aware, none of us on the commission have ever indicated to him that he would have access. Now I’m not sure if some of our engineers or scientists might have suggested to him that sometime in the future he might be given the right to use it. My staff is investigating that right now.”
         “Maurice, could you bring John up-to-date on what Jeremy’s status is regarding this project. I want to make sure we’re not misinterpreting anything for our evaluations.” Frank Morsiso had brought along John Senuso, a White House representative, who would report directly to President George Randion. Three other commission people were present in addition to Maurice, Frank, and John.
         Just before Maurice was about to say something, John said, “What does this artifact look like by the way; no one has shown it to me yet. Do you have a picture of it?”
         Maurice presented its picture on a display monitor. “We kept it in a chemical-biological protective shelter, ‘cause we had no idea what kind of microbiology could come from the other side. As you can see, it has a basic prolate oval shape, or spheroid shape if you will, and when you first look at it, one would think of it as an ancient archaeological artifact until you pick it up and touch it. It’s about six inches long and two inches thick. When we first saw these patterns on here, it fooled us into thinking it was constructed by ancient medieval societies, but no archaeologist could pin it down to anything in our historical records. Also, the material is unusual. It’s scratch resistant and impenetrable by any scanning technology we have. Look at this symbol here.” Maurice pointed to what appeared to be a crucifix. “Some people would call this the cross of Lorraine.”
         “Is there any significance to that symbol being on there?” asked John.
         “At this point, we have no idea,” answered Maurice as he flipped his glasses from his forehead down to his nose. He looked at his notes and continued with his update. “Getting back to our latest status report, a few days after this wormhole discovery and without our knowledge, Jeremy walked into the lab where we kept this artifact, and then vanished into the portal created by this thing. This happened five days ago. We were unable to go in after him since whatever opening existed had disappeared. The spheroid was gone, but another object we’re calling a triangular base, was left behind. What I saw when Jeremy disappeared, was that he had placed the spheroid into that base and that seemed to activate it. But he managed to grab it and take it with him just before the wormhole stopped functioning. Then yesterday it began functioning again. We have no idea why, but we’re already investigating it.”
         “That is so weird,” said John. “Who was this guy that found this thing?”
         “That was archeologist Alfred Grodane. Let me give you some background information on him.” Maurice shuffled a few notes and continued, “Because he was a specialist in Middle East archeology, he had links to various Far East universities. Some of these universities had access to secret information from government departments in their respective countries. Around the 1950s, when the CIA became aware of Alfred’s connections over there, they approached him and asked him if he could help them get access to this information whenever the need arose. He was fully co-operative. So began a long relationship with Alfred that lasted until he passed away. He gave us this information strictly out of patriotism.
         “As data communications expanded everywhere in the world, so did data encryption. That’s when the NSA entered the picture. Their purpose was to handle all the encrypted communications among any university and associated government departments Alfred worked in. This led us to crack most of their codes. These were all normal spying efforts during that time.
         “Then we made a discovery. In 1989, a couple of strange communications happened that year between him and a mysterious source. We happen to have his place under surveillance for some indiscretion he was involved in that had nothing to do with this spheroid discovery. During our monitoring of his place, we couldn’t figure out where a couple of strange signals came from. We thought at first that he was broadcasting these on his own, but after a thorough analysis, it was obvious that an electronic device of his was retransmitting a signal he had received. What aroused our interest was the fact that the signal coming into his device grew stronger as it approached his receiving equipment, rather than the other way around. In other words, there was no attenuation; it was being amplified in some strange way without any equipment. This was weird, and so far, none of our engineers or scientists have been able to figure out what caused this. This was the last time it happened, and within a year, we had to stop surveillance for some legal reason.
         “When we asked him about it, he refused to co-operate. Many years later, he passed away and to our good fortune, his son approached us and handed us all this information. He got my phone number from some notes his father had left lying around after he died, and handed all this information to me not realizing I worked for the NSA.”
         From the time they first met, Jeremy worried Maurice. He remembered the day when he received a phone call from Jeremy Grodane and immediately focused on the name Grodane. Was this person really Alfred’s son? Maurice was never aware he had a son -- so much for intimate information about associates.
         “Hello, Mr. Stroung?”
         “I am Alfred Grodane’s son . . .” the rest was history.
         Maurice mimicked friendliness to Jeremy from the start. He saw this phone call as an opportunity to be allowed access to the strange device Alfred had been using. This kid was a high school dropout who only knew about life from a pop-culture point of view, had no idea who Maurice Stroung was other than his father having an association with him, and was only too happy to hand this over to him especially after Maurice offered him a job. That’s all Jeremy wanted. His interest in archeology was non-existent. He obviously didn’t take after his father. He was more like his mother -- the party type.
         Maurice had to admit that the clerical position Jeremy was given was created just for him -- the advantage being they would get access to all of his dad’s documentation and anything else of use. Jeremy’s benefit would now be a steady income. This was a definite requirement as his mother was getting on in years and would wander from low paying job to low paying job.
         One more thing, Maurice had no plans to inform Jeremy of his employment at the NSA. The job bestowed on him was more or less a fake position to maintain a certain amount of control over him, and then lay him off later when he wouldn’t be required.
         Would this new association as a clerk with the NSA be Jeremy’s destiny? If Jeremy had a normal life, the answer would be a probable yes.
         The problem was . . . his life was in no way destined to be normal.
         “Have you got a hold of Dan yet?” asked Frank Morsiso the NSA director.
         “I will be calling him right after this meeting.”
         Frank turned to John and said, “Dan Preadon is the scientist we have chosen to go over there.” Frank turned back to Maurice and asked, “You’re sending him over today, correct?”
         “That’s our intention,” answered Maurice.
         It was obvious the meeting had come to an end. Maurice felt a bit excited as well as nervous. Who knows what strange things could happen in this journey to this other world.
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