At Science for Fiction, there’s both science and fiction. Sometimes one before the other and vice versa. In this case, we begin with the fiction. So scroll down or keep reading for the amazingly fun science behind it!
Zagnart strode down the glowing blue hallway in complete silence because sound did not exist in her universe. She reached the entryway to the lab and walked inside; her long whiskers trailed in her wake and brisked through the doorway.
Quoalzorp stood by the clear wall and gazed at the perfect black circle beyond like an old friend. This black hole was alone, ancient. It had no material orbiting it. It had devoured its surroundings long ago. Quoalzorp was there when they first visited it, old even then.
“There it is,” he said. “A perfect anomaly.”
“Finally we’ll unlock some of its secrets,” Zagnart replied. She glided to the controls, two spherical bulbs of light, and melded her ethereal hands into them. “We’re ready,” she said.
Quoalzorp turned to her thoughtfully, nodded and then returned to staring through the ship’s transparent hull.
Their ship glowed in the void, creating a rich field of photonic energy, encoded with shimmering quantum flashes that glittered whenever they weren’t observed.
It reached critical density and expanded through their fourth spatial dimension. The light blasted away from the ship in each direction but got wrapped into the immense gravity well before them, surrounding the black hole like the brilliant rings of Melzedor.
Zagnart pressed her hands deeper into the singularities that she was manipulating, twisting them to adjust the glowing ring of energy outside the viewer. The ring tightened around the black circle, and as it closed in, the ring of light began to smear inward.
“Reaching event horizon,” she said.
Then the shimmering ring and its inward trail of light also appeared through the back, so that they looked upon a growing disk, immensely huge and filling in, until, with the final flick of her wrist, it connected into a perfectly filled flat circle of light, cutting the black hole horizontally, no matter which direction you looked at it.
“Formation complete,” she said. “We can now interact with the three dimensional universe within it.”
“Finally,” said Quoalzorp, and then he teleported next to her. “Many entropy cycles have passed since we last visited this site. It will be curious to see what they are up to.” He held out his hand and another singularity appeared within his palm. He gestured around it, and the transparent section of wall zoomed into the disk.
The disk of light zoomed closer until it was a flat plane on the viewer. It grew brighter until finally the screen went dark. Quoalzorp created another control singularity and worked the display with both hands.
Zagnart released her controls and the ship lowered its contrast in response. She wondered longingly at the images on the wall and began to tamp rhythmically against the anti-protonic ether. Quoalzorp smiled in response.
“There it is,” Quoalzorp said.
“…beautiful…” materialized in Zagnart’s song.
The solar system had a single yellow sun and various surrounding spheroids and debris.
Quoalzorp zoomed into each of the larger outer planets first, admiring their chaotic struggle to remain together in a universe bound to tear them apart. He zipped past each one until he reached the fourth smaller one toward the middle.
“Have they reached it yet?” Zagnart asked through one stream of consciousness while she continued her background melody.
Quoalzorp examined the entire surface of the spheroid. He saw a few bits of technology roaming the surface, but no life forms.
“Not yet,” he replied. “But maybe someday.”
He rolled the singularities in his hands until he reached the third spheroid.
Zagnart teleported closer to the viewer and gazed at the dynamic little ball – white suspended water whisking through a heavier molecular gas, a surface covered with flowing bonds of primary elements and masses of rigid carbon and silicon based land forms. And an interior still boiling with energy from its infancy. Zagnart stared lovingly at it.
“It has already grown so much!” she exclaimed.
Quoalzorp zoomed even closer. “Where are they…”
“There!” cried Zagnart, pointing. “There are some!”
“Oh,” said Quoalzorp. “They’ve expanded quite a bit, haven’t they?”
“Are they global?” Zagnart asked.
“No,” he replied, noticing several empty areas of the planet. “Not yet.”
He zoomed into one of the settlements and projected a scene of the little creatures scuttling around in their land and sky conveyances. Qoalzorp grinned warmly.
Zagnart decreased her intensity and asked reverently, “Do they know?”
To this, Quoalzorp had to perform a more thorough analysis. He examined the built structures and the artificial satellites, the communications records and history archives, and the mental fields of individuals and populations.
“They are self-aware,” he told her. “But they are not yet aware,” he said. “They do not know where they came from, or even that their minds are connected to our dimension yet.”
Zagnart sighed and the ship trembled in response.
“That’s too bad,” she said. She was barely a completely materialized entity when their expedition had first come to implant consciousness into the life forms of the planet – a connection with fourth dimensional vibrations that Zagnart could monitor and collect data about three-dimensional universes.
The bipedal beings that received the implantation acted primarily as sensors for her scientific work – sending their perceptions of reality to her mainframe – but Zagnart knew that every once in a while, sensors could become aware. Then they would consciously perceive four-dimensional space and be able to expand themselves into it.
“Maybe next time.” Quoalzorp shifted his view around the planet a few times, confirmed full download of the datastream, and then began to pan away.
As the view lifted through the molecular gas envelope of the planet, Zagnart said, “Couldn’t we…” she turned to him. “Couldn’t we just…?”
He slowed his roll around the controls an gazed into her quantum signature.
“Oh,” he said, pausing. “All right,” he gave in.
Zagnart glittered with joy.
The ship momentarily dematerialized in delight.
They walked to the hangar and Zagnart was the first to open the entryway. Her perceptual whiskers tugged her forward with anticipation. They paused in the vast space, where several three-dimensional manifestations awaited.
“Well,” Quoalzorp said, looking at the vessels. “Which should we take?”
Zagnart thought. She looked past the giant three-sider and the orb of throbbing light, and settled her eyes on one of her favorites, a shining silver disk with three mostly-two-dimensional landing struts.
“Again?” Quoalzorp asked, noticing her look.
“Yup,” she said. “It’s my favorite.” She phased her form into a solid three dimensions and ran towards it. “Besides, they’ve made so many of those 2-D representations of their imagination about them, so in case they see us, they won’t be surprised anymore, right?”
Quoalzorp chuckled and phased as well. “Whatever you say,” he said and followed her into the flying saucer.
Current physical theories speculate that three-dimensional universes can exist around four-dimensional black holes, since they reduce the dimensionality of their host universe by 1 (or something science-y like that).
The universe, the multiverse – so many things we’ll never understand…or will we? Maybe someday we’ll our intelligence will learn to adapt to the universe itself, and we’ll be able to finally grasp what the heck is going on out there and in here and all around us and beyond.
Consciousness is a beautiful thing and it helps us to imagine and wonder. We’re more than what we seem; someday, maybe we’ll truly understand why.