Fractal fusion

Milo continued work, muttering cryptically, for a long time. At last, he strung a set of long wires from a simple metal control box to a set of screw contacts on the generator's frame, saying, "Remote control." He plugged the breadbox into an electrical outlet, watched long enough to see tubes warm up and the 'armed' light on the controller glow green, then turned to grab an Erlenmeyer flask from a shelf above a lab sink and fill it with water.

"It'll help cool the induction coils, and moderate stray neutrinos," Milo was about to remind them both. He turned to see Alphonse emptying the thermosful of jello into the machine, and his mind froze.

"Water didn't work last time," Alphonse said with a twinkle, apparently determined to finally contribute something. "Nothing happened, remember? This time, maybe we'll at least get dessert for our trouble. Or rich and famous in a Noo Yawk Minnit!"

The green fluid glowed and swirled down the glass column, and Alphonse picked up the controller. Milo's mind, for a split second, screamed ultrasonic.

"Alphonse, you idiot! All that wire is on the remote for a reason! I haven't trimmed any of the fucking potentiometers yet! They're ALL maxxed! It's unstable as hell! I need to... OHHHH FUCK!!!"

Unfortunately, none of this very pertinent information made it to his lips before Alphonse, still smiling at him, thumbed the red button labelled 'ignition'.

The room flickered. Not the lights, the room. Milo in a moment of frozen clarity, inconsequentially noticed that the black crackle-finished Westclox on the wall stood at 11:47.


At California's Mount Palomar Observatory that night, the big reflector was aimed at right ascension 08:40.2 (h:m), declination -53:04 (deg:m). At precisely 11:47 P.M. Eastern Time, the recording film logged the nineteenth brightest of thirtyone stars in the Omicron Velorum cluster simply disappearing. With a huge backlog of thousands of photgraphic plates to analyze, nobody would notice this fact for about eighteen months.

Back in Chicago, a thin blue flash crackled over the Fermi Institute's exterior. Inside, any God-fearing human in the lab, seeing what Milo and Alphonse saw, reasonably might have concluded that at least one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse had dropped by for a friendly toke.

With really serious weed.