A Scientist Walks Into A bar…

Been a bit of a drought lately so I thought I\’d try one of those prompts you see on Pinterest and the like. One of the students in my little writers\’ group has used them and she\’s a better writer than I am. I found an interesting one and dove in. Caution: there are lots of swears:

A young inventor plans to step into a matter-energy transporter he just invented, for the first time.

Sensations begin as soon as my foot touches the pad. Strange sensations, like being really, really drunk and floating on top of the ocean. I know I am upright, though, or at least I was when I stepped on. The feeling is not entirely unpleasant but I find I am eager for it to stop. The world spins. Actually, worlds spin. Panic sets in now. I encourage, via my brain, my body to calm itself, but the instinct is too visceral and determined to be calmed.

Sweet Jesus! Am I being dissolved? Dispersed into the atoms that make me? Shit, are my atoms being destroyed? Have I found a way to destroy matter? This was a bad idea. This was a really, really bad idea.

Immediately the sensation ceases. I am completely sober again. I am not adrift in the sea and my body is still itself, as it should be. Patting myself now to check. Yes, everything is in tact. I think. Yes, we\’re good now.

There is no need to have a look round to know I am not in my home lab. Atlanta is a far way away. I think. Where am I? We set the beam to send me far but not too far. Set it to…Florida. That\’s it. Gulf Coast. Maybe I did pass through the ocean! Fascinating. Can one experience the physical properties of matter through the beaming process? Better write this down…

This is not Florida. At least it\’s no part of Florida I\’ve ever been to. Florida is palm trees and glades and beaches barely surviving erosion; abandoned town houses and junkies and a few surviving farms. I\’m in the damn jungle with some giant-ass trees. Shit! Shit. Shit!

Panic ensues. I escape into my brain for a moment, hoping the shift in focus will cease my trembling. All I really hoped for was a way to transport matter across space. Nothing, fancy, really. Just make the transporter tech from Star Trek real. How convenient would that be! Surely it would help solve the energy crisis and just be really, really cool. Georgia Tech was great, really. Very helpful. They gave me a cadre of graduate students who would get me coffee and help with the menial work of applying the latest formulas to the encoder. Hell, it was even one of those over eager so-and-sos that figured out how to adapt the pattern buffer – a real pattern buffer! – to the tech. We had done a few small field tests, sending rats to the other side of the lab and such. Worked just fine but we found it worked better in conjunction with a simple GPS. Coordinates could be more accurate, especially once we calibrated for elevation.

I demanded to be the first long-distance human subject. That was stupid. Really, really stupid. Why did I not send one of those drones instead? Shit! Panic\’s back. Those dolts are now going to screw up my work. And the reception team in Port St. Joe are going to be bored and pissed off.

Alright, time to face reality. Where am I?

Oh God, those trees. It\’s some ferngully shit. This is crazy. Oh, Lord. I know I don\’t ask much of you, or expect much of you besides your existence, but you need to get me out of here Lord. Or just give me some time before you bring the hammer down.

The trees are as big as the biggest redwoods but they look more like jungle trees…like mahogany or something, with incessant moss and great hanging vines. And lights. Sweet Jesus, what kind of trees have lights in them?

Alright, be cool. Maybe we just missed something. Maybe you\’re just in South America or suchlike. Yeah, that\’s it. We just set the beam velocity too high and overshot the coordinates. You\’re going to be alright, man. You\’ll find some pygmies or something. Dammit! Why did I not pay attention in freshman geography? Who expects to actually need to apply a map of the rainforest?

Wait. Cease all motion. What is that? All reason and hope are eviscerated. A creature glides over my head but it\’s definitely not real. Not real for earth. Not real for earth in the 21st century. Looks like a dragonette with a bat\’s head and a second set of wings on its hind quarters. Colored like a tie-dye shirt.

It is ferngully.

And strangely enough that otherworldly, definitely non-existent creature sets me at ease. It’s something new. Something unbelievable, literally unbelievable. I’m either in some kind of dream-state…or I’ve crossed a bridge into another place entirely. Another planet or dimension or some shit like that. Time to get sciencey. Don’t wimp out now, man.

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