The transport area looked nothing like I imagined it would. There was no hoop or archway to walk through, no door, or giant metal cannister that I would be lowered into. No, it looked just like a sturdy chair with some some equipment and a thousand tubes and wires mounted above. The team had spent years preparing for this moment.
They had sent a 1kg cube of tungsten through the gateway back in 2026 and some of that same team surrounded me. I’d be lying if I said some of their stories about the early days weren’t still stuck in my head. Some of the first cubes were lost forever. They still didn’t know where for sure. Others ended up warped and misshapen. One even got stuck to the floor somehow. The rat made it through the following year. They didn’t talk much about that, which worried me more than the earlier cube horror stories.
They had two-and-a-half-years to get it right I kept telling myself. I had to trust that they wanted me to make it as much as I did. We were all on the verge of making history. Like me, these people were the best of the best, specially chosen for the project. I trusted them with my life. It was my heart beating out of my chest that I was worried about.
As a pilot you usually have the semblance of control even when everything has gone to shit. Pulling on a stick, flipping a switch, or pushing a lever helps you focus even if it doesn’t help. A focused mind is a fast mind, and a fast mind makes fast decisions. It’s those fast, definitive decisions that can save you when the aircraft, and you, come crashing down. This was completely different.
The chair would hold me completely still. It didn’t matter how quickly I knew the process was working or not. There wasn’t anything for me to do but hold on and pray that everyone had done their job. As they strapped me in, I wondered if I was the right person for the project, but doubt is a dream killer. I had trained hard for this day and we were going to make this dream of Dr. Oeming come true. Just then I saw him enter the room.
Ironically his jet was having mechanical problems that day and he had to book a last minute flight. He had called earlier and told everyone to conduct the test even if he couldn’t make it, but I couldn’t imagine that day without him. I wondered if the people around Archimedes or Tesla appreciated just how lucky they were to be around that kind of genius. I knew that I couldn’t understand it fully myself. I didn’t know how any of this worked, not really. I was just the guy brave or dumb enough to volunteer. That didn’t mean that I was ignorant of what an honor it was. I appreciated him the way someone who doesn’t paint can acknowledge a work of the great masters. I’ll remember the look of excitement in his eye and the quiver in his voice when he wished me luck until the day I die. If this went all as planned my name would forever be associated with Eric Oeming. That alone was worth all the risks.
It was time and the countdown began. I felt the tingle of electricity on my skin. The hum grew louder and louder until it was deafening. The room began to shimmer like the air off hot tarmac. I realized that I couldn’t hear anything anymore. It wasn’t just quiet, there was a complete lack of any sound and everything went black for a moment. I thought I heard music playing somewhere off in the distance and my head began to spin. Then just as quickly as it had gone dark, a blinding light made me wince. Slowly the light began to dim and I could once again hear the normal sounds of the lab. My head was still spinning. I was glad that I was strapped into the chair. I could hear shouts and I thought something had gone wrong. After half a minute or so I could see what the shouting was about. In front of me was the lab in Kona instead of Seattle, where I had just been. It had worked! I had traveled through the Veil.