Researchers are reminded to behave humanely. Like muscles, empathy, intelligence and telepathy, your humanity is a use it or lose it proposition. No matter the possible short term gains you may make by compromising your principles.
With that warning made, two researchers from the IPRU, Q- and R- made telepathic contact with a teenager who crossed the “Do Not Cross” line to an electric transformer, which was simultaneously struck by lightning. As you may be aware, there is an alternate universe accessible when in the presence of ridiculous amounts of electric current known as the “Teslaverse” after its discoverer and first occupant.* The ensuing brief portal took the young man away from us forever, but a lingering trace of the connection to our world remained for long enough for the following mental interview to occur.
Q- Excellent, I have contact! Tell me, [name redacted] what can you see?
T- Argh! Hello? What? What’s going on?
Q- You’ve been transported to an alternate universe near our own by a massive electric current. Now quickly, what can you see?!
T- Um… not a lot, it’s bright. Really bright. You can get me home right?
Q- You can do a little better than bright. What are you breathing? What are you standing or sitting on, what is the temperature?
T- It’s so bright I can hardly see anything. The colours… they’re just walls of primary shades. Red, blue and… funny I don’t think I’ve ever seen that colour before. That’s… that’s hella creepy fam. Can you guys pull me back now? I don’t like this.
Q- Is it hot?
T- I can’t really feel hot or cold. There’s no distance, everything’s just… hey! I’m serious, get me out!
Q- This is important, I don’t know how long we’ll be able to talk to you for!
T- Oh… oh damn… you can’t get me out can you? I’m stuck here! I’ll never see-
Q- Focus kid! This is for science!
R- We’re losing contact.
Q- Quickly, tell us anything you can about the other side!
T- Can you tell my mom that I’m OK? I’m all she has left, she can’t…
Q- No I’m sorry. We’ll tell her you died quickly in an accident. This kind of thing has to be kept quiet. Now, your surroundings-
T- No, wait. You can’t… Something’s coming.
Q- What’s coming?
T- It’s moving this way, but there’s no distance… He’s… I… I am…
There is a strange mental communication like the sound wet paper hitting a wall/feeling of pushing a hand into a large bowl of cold rice pudding.
T- I am coming. I am here. I am now. You-
R- I’ve cut the connection. That’s it.
Clearly Q- and R- mishandled this opportunity from the perspective of inquiry, but more seriously from the perspective of ethics. We understand the need to get good data, but there must be ethical boundaries. Being insensitive to lost, doomed teenagers is not the answer. We need to treat these people with humanity – apologies to our non-human colleagues.
Finally, the researchers should be commended for their instincts of self-preservation. No one needs another Doctor Tallahassee.
*Given the unknown nature of time in the Teslaverse there are some who still hope that Nikola Tesla can be recovered. However, even if this were possible at best he would still be 86 and with a bad heart.
If you enjoy the story please leave the author a comment, as this makes him very happy. You can also help the Archive grow by voting at Top Web Fiction.