Life In The Tesseract


"Yep. I used to love chess as a girl. I was one of the best players in my primary school. Let's plan on having some games sometime."

Moving north from the poolroom, Kathy and Matt entered the south side of the Jacuzzi room. Matt continued to make notes in the diary. Moving further north, they entered a large gym.

"Wow, Matt, this room is packed! Rowing machines, weight trainers, bikes… I think I'll pass on the Stairmaster for a while, but the elliptical cross trainer looks nice. Let's call this the Gym room. It's nice that the showers are just south of here. We've taken three jumps north since the kitchen, so north again should get us to the kitchen again, right?"

"Yep," Mike answered, and confirmed it by opening the north door and showing the kitchen. "And here to the east is the Living Room," opening the eastern door.

"Wait a minute," said Kathy, "shouldn't that be to the west?"

"Why do you say that?"

"Well, think of starting from the Bedroom. North of the Bedroom is the Living room. From the Bedroom, you go east to the Jacuzzi, then north to here, the Gym. So the Living room should be west of here, not east."

"Ah, now I know what I've been trying to remember! In a tesseract, there's a fold in space. Any two orthogonal jumps will take you to the opposite rooms, if you reverse the order in which the jumps are taken. For example, let's say we both start in the same room. You go first north, then west. I go first west, then north. We'll be at opposite ends of the tesseract, not in the same room at all. It's true for any room, with any two directions. Up and east from here will be the opposite room, compared to traveling east and up. You'll see…"

"Wow! So what's west of this Gym room?"

"The room that's opposite the Living room on the tesseract," said Matt, studying the map that he had been making. "It's the room south of the Bedroom, and north of the Entrance hall. It's the one room we haven't entered yet."

Kathy and Matt went over to the west door and walked through it. Except for the common spiral stairwell and four side exit doors, the room looked very different from any of the others, filled with unknown high tech equipment and control consoles. Kathy sat down in one of the control chairs…

"Careful, my love. Don't accidentally engage the auto-destruct sequence…"

"Right…" said Kathy with a smile. "Look, Matt. It's a huge menu selection. Categories for everything I can think of, plus others I don't understand…. Let's try food, I know about that… Descending into vegetables… Descending into fresh produce… Oh, look! There's my bowl of fresh spinach. I wonder what SELECT means?" Kathy tapped the select key, a few seconds later a door opened in a nearby cabinet, revealing a bowl of spinach. Kathy slowly walked over and took a bite.

"My gosh, Matt. Super fresh! The implications of this room are staggering! I think we can make anything we want. The power is almost godlike… Let's call this the Manufacturing room."

Matt and Kathy spent the rest of the afternoon climbing the staircases and completing their map of how each room was connected to the others. By the end of the day, Matt had the following maps drawn up for the tesseract. For each of the three orthogonal directions: north, east, and up; there where two series of four rooms each. For example, from the Gym on row U1, you could go up the Entrance Hall, then up to the Poolroom, then up to the Bedroom, then up again to return to the Gym.

The complete grid for movement was written as the direction needed to go from a row location to a column location in the following table. Each room has an Opposite room, which is not directly accessible.

The following is a map of the X-Y layout of the connections, showing the twist in space that occurs in tesseract navigation. The map's horizontal direction runs west to east, and the vertical direction runs south to north. For example, the Playroom is east of the Living room, west of the Manufacturing room, south of the Jacuzzi, and north of the Kitchen. The Gym is east of the Manufacturing room, west of the Living room, south of the Kitchen, and north of the Jacuzzi. The Gym and Poolroom are on opposite sides of the tesseract.

The following is a map of the X-Z layout of the connections, showing the tesseract's vertical twist in space. The horizontal direction runs west to east, the same as before, but now the vertical direction represents running up the spiral staircases.

Kathy and Matt had a brief discussion about safety, and agreed to treat the tesseract as a safe home and not insist on always staying together in the same cube. They prepared a fine dinner, and then relaxed on the couch and watched a movie. Afterwards they showered and swam in the Jacuzzi for a while, before retiring to bed. Kathy had wandered up the staircase from the Jacuzzi. Matt had turned west from the Jacuzzi room to the Bedroom, and was lying in bed engrossed in a spy novel from the huge Living room library. Matt was just starting to wonder what Kathy was doing, when she wandered into the bedroom from the south door.

"Hi, Sweetie! Ready for bed?" asked Matt.

"I am now! This place is so amazing Matt! You turned west from the Jacuzzi to come here; I went up the spiral staircase from the Jacuzzi to the Manufacturing room, and then north directly to here. It all seems so natural! I can't believe I'm adapting to this as quickly as I am."

"You're right. The layout seems simple and obvious to me too. I don't know why I'm adapting this quickly either… What took you to the Manufacturing room?"

"Something really important! It took me a while to figure out the right way to index it, but I finally found it. Look!" Kathy smiled in delight and pulled from behind her back a box of condoms…

Chapter 3.

Kathy woke slowly from a sound sleep, feeling loved and secure. Opening her eyes, she realized why. Matt was lying by her side, gently stroking her pubic fur. "That feels so nice, Matt, what a wonderful way to wake up!"

"You feeling okay? You did bleed a bit last night, when I first entered you."

"I feel fine. It was just a prick. Ha, pun intended! You okay? I'm sorry I scared you last night, when I screamed."

"Dearest Katherine, you are so beautiful. I'll know not to worry next time."

"I had no idea having sex could be this intense. I had no idea. Amanda my senior roommate at Holyoke once told me she could feel her uterus tenting during a really intense orgasm. I had no idea what she meant... In all the positions we tried last night, doggie was one of my favorites. I love being in submissive positions with you! And I'm amazed I love the anal stimulation so much. At the end, when you were doggie thrusting me and then I felt your thumb starting to caress my rectum, I just lost it. I could feel my uterus tent, dropping the cervix to slide along your penis. The orgasm was incredible! I'm so glad we're having our honeymoon in this tesseract, it'd be embarrassing to scream like that if other people could hear me…"

"It is our honeymoon, isn't it? I wonder how long it will last?"

"Matthew, it might last a long time…. When I was in the Manufacturing room last night, I wasn't just searching for condoms, I was exploring. Another name for that room might be the Medical bay. There are selections for growing new limbs, repairing spinal and neural damage, even something listed under medical called quantum cleansing, with a recommended minimum annual frequency. I think it purges toxins and repairs and rejuvenates DNA at the atomic level. With this level of technology, our life-spans might be quite open ended…"

"My gosh. This is a lot to think about…"

"Yeah... Here, let me go south to Manufacturing, then up to Kitchen. I can prepare you something really unique for breakfast!"

After breakfast, Matt and Kathy went north to the Poolroom to try out the chess games. Kathy trounced Matt at 2-D. Matt won the 3-D game, but only because of an opening blunder by Kathy. Matt could see Kathy's play improving during the game, taking a hopeless position and almost turning it into a draw. Kathy then won the 4-D game. After the games, Matt hiked up two cubes through the Bedroom to the other end of the tesseract to work out in the Gym, while Kathy wandered around. After about an hour's workout, Matt was just thinking of heading south to the Jacuzzi, when Kathy appeared from the top of the spiral staircase.

"Matt, can you come up and join me in the Entrance hall? There's something new here."

Matt climbed up to the Entrance hall. He and Kathy both stared for a moment, then Matt said, "Why don't we fly up and take a closer look?" They donned their wings, and after shutting off the room's gravity, flew up to a sphere that was floating near one of the top corners of the room.

"A very smooth surface, Matt. I can't budge it at all, though it is hard to push against it with just wing power. But it was floating even with the gravity on. There's no visible support for it… This sphere wasn't here after breakfast. I went through here from the Kitchen to the Jacuzzi then, and it wasn't here. It must have showed up within the last hour or two… What do you think, about 4 feet in diameter?"

"Gratitude. Gratitude and appreciation," said the sphere, before Matt could reply.

Kathy and Matt were silent for several moments. "Are you the entity that brought us here?" asked Matt at last.

"Logically but not physically. It would be the death of your spacetime for me to enter directly. The adversary. Watch the movie. Think of this sphere as a phone."

"What movie? Will you someday return us to Earth?" asked Kathy quietly.

"In the Living room player now. Temporal if desired, but not spatial only. Spatial decision already transferred, 34,194 increments completed, the minimum required. Spatial decision already transferred, gravitational entanglement already merged with electromagnetic entanglement. Genetically encoded in you for progeny propagation also. Both needed at first, then either after first. But, you need to practice!"

"What?" asked Matt. "What are you talking about? Are you a machine or alive? Do you think like us? Like humans? Or are your thoughts computations? How old are you, anyway?"

"Freedom of choice already granted, but you need to practice. Neither and both. Somewhat. No. No again, but certainly incomputable for all three. But you need to practice! From before your Earth was formed, and your sun grew hot. I will return shortly. Again, you need to practice, gravity with electromagnetism! Again, gratitude and appreciation!"

The sphere shrank to nothing. Kathy and Matt hovered for a few minutes in silence, trying to absorb what had just happened.

"Come, Matt. Let's head south to the Living room and discuss this."

"What if it comes back? It said it would be back shortly…"

"Yeah…. But you asked it how old it was, and I think its answer was from before the sun grew hot. What does shortly mean for a creature who lives on that timescale?"

Kathy and Matt put away their wings and then exited through the south door to the Living room. They sat down on a couch together and just remained quiet, each lost in their own thoughts. After a while, Matt got up and went to the multimedia center. "There's an unlabeled DVD here, Kathy. Let's see what's on it…"

For the first 15 minutes, there were panoramic videos of galaxy formations, gaseous hydrogen collapsing to stars, stars organizing into great galactic arms. While watching a particularly beautiful galaxy rotate in its majestic spin, something suddenly happened. There appeared black splotches in the galaxy, small at first, but growing rapidly, pulling the stars into them. On a timescale much faster than the galactic rotation, the galaxy collapsed to blackness, the view switching to schematic, designations for black masses within the galaxy coming together, symbols for other collapsed galaxies coming together, symbols for collapsed galactic clusters and super-clusters coming together. The series finally ended with a simple symbol in the center of the screen. Then the whole series repeated with the view of another universe's life and death.

"What does in mean, Matt? Is it a description of how the universe evolves?"

"I don't think so. The blackness seems to hit like a cancer. Remember the galactic rotations? I think our galaxy rotates completely every 26 million years. Once those black splotches hit, the galaxy is gone in much less than one rotation time. Maybe less than a million years. Galaxies don't die that fast."

"My gosh, Matt! The sphere talked about the death of our spacetime! Something about an adversary... The black ink in the escalators! Does it need our help to battle something that can destroy our universe? What can we possibly do to stop something like that?"

"Whatever it needs us for, it's not to repair its TV set…"


"Oh? Sorry! I was being too cryptic. It doesn't need us for help with technology. We're dealing with understanding that's billions of years ahead of us. It does want us for something, though… The entity seems kind and gentle, though I'll admit difficult to understand. I think our purpose will be a good purpose. Just what it will be though, I can't imagine…."

"The entity kept telling us to practice, Matt. Practice what?"

"Yeah… Let's try to remember exactly what we all said. I recall the command to practice was part of a description of gravity and electromagnetic entanglement. The entity was in the middle of answering a question. What question was it answering?"

"I asked it if it would return us the Earth. Somehow the answer to that question has to do with gravity and electromagnetism. I'm trying to remember…. The decision to return to Earth had already been made? No, not made, transferred. In 34,194 increments… What does that mean?"

"You know, Kathy, 34,194 is just about the number of escalator flights we had. Maybe it's exactly the right number. Didn't it say it was the minimum required?"

"Yes! Where are we going with this line of thought? That the escalator travel was part of transferring the decision, or transferring the ability, for us to get back to Earth? Transferring it to whom?"

"The only players are the entity, the adversary, and the two of us, Kathy. I don't think it's been given to the adversary. Could the entity mean we were given the choice? How? Did it say something about our genes being encoded?"

"Yes… These are very dark waters… Thinking…. Thinking? Matt! Thinking! You asked it a bunch of questions about thinking. It gave you a bunch of answers, all clumped together. It doesn't know you're not supposed to give answers like that. Let's try to match each of its answers to each question you gave!"

Kathy got up and returned with a pen and a notepad. She and Matt talked for a while, trying to remember the exact conversation. They produced the following notes on the notepad:

Question #1: What are you talking about? (This question points back to Kathy's question of returning to Earth).

Answer #1: Freedom of choice transferred (or already given, or some similar word?) But you need to practice.

Question #2: Are you alive or a machine?

Answer #2: Kathy thinks: Neither and both. Matt thinks: Neither or both.

Question #3: Do you think like us?

Answer #3: Somewhat.

Question #4: Do you think like humans?

Answer #4: No.

Question #5: Are your thoughts computations?

Answer #5: No again, incomputable for all three.

Question #6: How old are you? (Matt thinks he added the word anyway at the end)

Answer #6: From before the Earth was formed, and the sun grew hot.

Kathy and Matt stared at the notepad for a while.

"After the last question, Matt, it told us to practice with gravity and electromagnetism again. I'm sure of it…"

"I think a key point here, Kathy, is the difference between questions 3 and 4. Are we reading this right? The entity thinks somewhat like us, but not like humans? That would imply that we're not human…"

"Did it misunderstand us? No, wait! It also talked about encoding our genes! Maybe it doesn't consider us human anymore. Each flight of escalators changing our genes, changing the way we… We what? Practice what? The topic is thinking… Practice thinking? What does that mean? How can you practice thinking? Did the escalators change the way we think?"

"I think you might have something here, Kathy. I've noticed how easily I can visualize the tesseract geometry. It seems trivial. I'm sure these spatial twists would have stymied me before…"

"Yes, me too. I see beautiful simplicity and symmetry in the tesseract. I never would have felt this way before about something so abstract. And this fits in with gravity and electromagnetism…. How?"

"Got it! Well, maybe… Try this for an idea, Kathy. Human consciousness is based on quantum entanglement, which can be incomputable. I read a couple of books by Roger Penrose on this when I was a boy, back in the 1990's. Great stuff. Humans use electromagnetic entanglement as the basis of their free will. What if the entity uses gravitational entanglement for its free will? And, somehow, it added gravitational entanglement to our free will, even encoding the ability for this in our genes. It wants us to practice thinking with gravity entanglement…. We both observed how improved our mental visualizations are, especially in 4-D. Maybe we should practice with the 4-D pool table?"

"Okay, I guess. It kind of hangs together, though I still can't imagine how this will stop the destruction of the universe. We're still missing something. Well, let's practice thinking in 4-D, and practice what questions to ask the entity when it returns. Care to try the 4-D pool table now?"

Interlude: FBI Chicago Field Office, Special Investigations Branch

"Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for all coming on such short notice. I'd like to remind everyone here that we have three guests from Morningstar security with us today. I also remind everyone here that nothing in this meeting can be discussed with anyone who is not cleared by a task-force officer, level-five or above. And now, let's get down to business. Jack, can you show the first slide? Thank you. Everyone, this photo was taken approximately 12:40 PM on the top floor of the MCT, two weeks ago, about 25 minutes before the disappearance. The photo was taken by two Japanese tourists. The closet the woman is standing in front of is our infamous janitor closet. To the left is clearly a narrow hall adjacent to the closet. Next slide please... This is a photo-enhanced blow-up of the narrow hall. It measures approximately 40 inches across, and extends at least 28 feet. We lose the camera angle to see any further. Along the wall is a faint diamond pattern, estimated to be 6 inches by 8 inches. The photo analysis technicians say the wall appears metallic."

"Sir," said the Morningstar captain, "We were all over that wall 10 hours later. There was no evidence of such a hall, even one that narrow. The wall showed no sign of recent construction; the paint and plaster were completely dry. A hall there would cut right through the elevator hardware. The elevators were working without trouble that day. It seems impossible for that corridor to be there!"

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