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Trial by Fire
by Byron Molix

15:Back in School

   Ryan sat in front of a huge book, produced by the ship's computer, in English. He was looking through the pages. It said Guardian's Handbook on the cover, and the amount of information in it was huge. The Code ... Molecular Manipulation ... Periodic Table of the 500 known elements in the universe ... Useful materials ... Direction by Astronomy ... Hyperspace ... The Known Races of the Galaxy. Ryan's head was swimming. This book was just too much. It had info in it that any nation in the world would kill a small country for; and it was his, for him to enlighten himself. Ryan thought about the possibilities, he had become intrigued by atoms, and nuclear bonds after he had used the Matrix to make fruit. Why did the rock transform, and how? He wasn't satisfied anymore with it just worked. He wanted to know how it worked. It looked like he'd try out Chemistry or Physics as a major when he went to college next year. He didn't know how he was going to explain it to his aunt, but he knew that jumping into things as a "transfer" student now, in November was not the thing to do, even if he only had one easy class. He would just wait till January and start school then. That gave him a few months to study this book cover to cover. He was going to have to leave it someplace safe; it could never fall into the wrong hands. To prove it to himself, he flipped to the section on Hyperspace.
   Hyperspace by Way of the Passion Device Matrix by Oodra Sune.
   As it was discovered almost by accident by a Guardian, who was faced with certain death at the edge of a black hole, it is entirely possible to create gateways using Passion Device Matrices, by the application of gravity forces. The interaction of a strong gravity force along with a counter anti-gravity force in a tiny locus is enough to form gateways to the subspace known as Hyperspace. The stronger the forces, the bigger the gate. The gravity forces interact to create a one-way entrance into Hyperspace, where the mass entering will be catapulted light years away. All the complex mathematics can be done by your Matrix. Therefore, one need only think of moving to that place far off, and with the known destination you will be pushed there by the forces of gravity. Desire is particularly important here, because should the Guardian force himself to drop out of Hyperspace prematurely, they could be damaged, as no gate will form naturally to cushion the blow. When a gate is made, the stresses involved send currents throughout the space time continuum, to create a companion at the point of egress.
   Ryan shuddered. If the President had this in his hands, he'd probably die. This one passage not only proved the existence of life on other planets, it also brought new paths into Physics and opened up the universe wide before humanity, like a wall being torn away. It was a bit much to deal with, but if the world leaders knew that there were other races out there, and we were some of the most primitive animals in the pond, they might all lose it. What about all the hysteria that would erupt between people afraid of contact, and those who would welcome it immediately? Colonization of other planets, space travel, the possibilities were endless, and humanity wasn't ready for them yet. Ryan was going to have to lock this up at his base. He couldn't afford to let this fall into the hands of anyone untrustworthy of the knowledge. He closed the book, and put it on the bunk. He looked around the bedroom the ship had supplied for him, and then hopped off of the bunk and headed for the door.
   They were in Hyperspace right now. Kel had put the ship on course as soon as Ryan had told him he did want to stay a Guardian. Kel told him that the only thing left was for Ryan to have his commissioning ceremony on Sky, at Guardian Headquarters. Kel told him to savor his journey through space, as he would have limited opportunities to view it outside his solar system in the near future. So Ryan had spent some time reading, and waiting for the ship to drop back out of subspace. It was nearly time after three hours of waiting. He was going to see another solar system. Ryan walked to the lift and from there to the bridge. He didn't want to miss this, and so he made his way to the bridge viewport. Kel understood what he was doing as soon as he stood there before the port. Kel switched the monitor to an outside view, and Ryan got a glimpse of Hyperspace. The view spiraled around them in random patterns of energy and light. Ryan couldn't see any pattern in the chaotic display, and it didn't seem like they were moving at all, because there was no visual sense of moving. Ryan was upset that Sci-Fi movies and shows could be so wrong, but it was beautiful in its own way. Just then, a great rip appeared directly before the ship. Now Ryan could see the motion as the ship passed through the rift. It had taken place almost too quickly for him to grasp it, but the ship was now back in regular space. He could look out the viewport at another solar system. One that was populated by beings like himself. There on the far horizon was a red ball of light, that had to be the sun.
   Kel piloted the ship through his home solar system by a scenic route, showing Ryan planets and asteroids. As they neared Sky, they intercepted some transmissions from the planet. Ryan saw another member of Kel's race in a window on the screen. He put a small device to his mouth after exchanging brief words with Kel in their own language.
   "Welcome Ryan Moore, to Sky. We are pleased you have decided to join our organization and bestow the honor of a credible and useful future on your shoulders. I am sure Kel Etrice has mentioned that you are the first in an experiment of sorts. You are the first alien Guardian, anywhere in the universe," he said, then the image winked out of existence. Ryan turned to look at Kel, but didn't say anything. Kel had not told him he was the first person to ever be given this opportunity, outside of Kel's own race. He supposed he should try to live up to their expectations. Alien they may be, but their morals were the same.

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Copyright 1995, 1997 by Byron Molix