The story that you are about to read revolves around a man named Daniel, who, during one of his archaeological ventures, finds himself trapped in the ruins of a seemingly endless labyrinth of passageways and rooms. However, wonders beyond his imagination await him and Daniel finds himself trying to uncover the mystery behind it all.
This story was written as a part of my Honor’s Capstone project at Seton hill University. I’d like to thank Joshua Sasmor Ph.D., Christine Cusick Ph.D., and David Droppa Ph.D. for their guidance and in helping me shape this story into what it has become. I’d also like to thank the Seton Hill community, my friends, and my family for their support.
Written by Michael Weidman
All graphic art created by Kerim Akyuz
If you would like to see more of his artwork, visit these links:
Table of Contents
Chapter 1……………………………………….. 2
Chapter 2……………………………………….. 4
Chapter 3……………………………………….. 6
Chapter 4……………………………………….. 9
Chapter 5……………………………………….. 10
Chapter 6……………………………………….. 11
Chapter 7……………………………………….. 14
Chapter 8……………………………………….. 16
Chapter 9……………………………………….. 18
Chapter 10……………………………………… 20
In the shadows of the deep ocean and within the Earth’s crust lie more secrets, some greater than we’d ever expect to find. At least, that’s what Daniel Grander believed. Ever since he became an archeologist, he searched far and wide for something new. Sure, he would study old temples and artifacts from the past and he held no disapproval for those who did either, but nothing was better than seeing something that no one else around him had seen. Whenever there was a report of expeditions traveling to previously unsearched areas or an earthquake occurring somewhere, he made it a point to be at the front of the action. This attitude would pay off.
An earthquake occurred in Mexico. No residents were hurt, but the rock facings far outside the cities, near the sight of ancient stone homes, crumbled from the intense magnitude. The rocks that had fallen away from the great structures revealed a type of doorway that differed greatly from the design of the stone homes. Daniel did not waste time studying this difference or remembering the danger of aftershocks as he rushed through it. The passageway was narrow and seemed more like a cave leading downward into complete darkness. He used a small flashlight to light his way, looking for any sign of previous habitation by humans. Unfortunately, his attention should have been placed elsewhere, like the fact that his right foot was stepping into empty space, which would be followed by the rest of his body. He didn’t expect a 10 foot drop to occur without warning, just as he didn’t expect to find himself in a large hallway. The flashlight he carried couldn’t even reach the far wall so he pulled out his lantern for a better light. As soon as it flickered on, it was as if a new world opened before his very eyes. It was a large grouping of intersecting hallways, something he’d only seen in Gothic architecture and modern day museums. Some of the ways were blocked off due to cave-ins, probably the result of the great earthquake that uncovered the place. It was still far too dark to read what he perceived to be written text above the many passageways he found. Suddenly, the ground began to shake. It was an aftershock and, although not nearly as great as its predecessor, it shook the walls and ceiling violently and, with the sound of an explosion, parts of the ceiling came crashing down. Daniel dove into the nearest doorway, leaving his lantern behind. In the darkness, the aftershock continued until all grew silent. Something had struck Daniel on the head and his thoughts grew slowly blurrier until he drifted off to sleep.
Although despair would have been an understandable feeling to experience upon realizing you are trapped, this usually comes much quicker when you are alone. A man was kneeling beside Daniel, shaking him and saying, “Young man, are you alright?”
The life slowly returned to Daniel and, soon after, his vision. As the world became clear again, a strange sight greeted him; a man dressed in white ropes, wearing wooden sandals, and sporting a well-groomed beard.
“Hello?” asked Daniel, very confused as to his current predicament. The man reached out a hand to help Daniel up, to which he accepted.
“I suppose I should be the first to welcome you. To have done so during the cave-in would have no doubt been an inconvenient time for you.”
Daniel rubbed the back of his head; his memory slowly coming back.
“That’s right… the cave-in nearly killed me. Where did you come from?”
The man laughed a little, “Where did I came from, you ask? Greece. Well actually Samos, to be more specific. However, this is my home now and it seems it will be yours as well, for the time being.”
Daniel turned around to see that the hallway was filled with rocks, blocking any chance of entrance or exit.
“All other entrances have been destroyed, as well as passage ways to several other hallways. However, my shelter is still intact. Come, let me lead you there.”
Many thoughts ran through Daniel’s mind, many of panic, worry, but mostly, confusion. He absent-mindedly followed the man in the hopes of finding answers. However, all negative feeling became less important as the level of strangeness continued to rise. He examined the floor and walls again, much as he did when he had first entered the cave. The walls had torches mounted on them, old style torches, the kind that were often times used in caves by miners. The extra light illuminated the floor, revealing the decorative stone tiles he was stepping upon. There were no vines, weeds, bugs, cold temperature, or musty smells anywhere to be found. It was dirty and dusty, but the fact that this place was so well maintained was beyond extraordinary. Just when Daniel thought it couldn’t get any more remarkable or strange, he and the man approached a large illuminated passageway against the right-hand wall, standing nearly 15 feet high. Daniel thought that this must be heaven; that it had to be heaven. There was no other explanation in his mind. As he and the man stepped in front of the great light and stepped through the passageway, all within it became clear. The room was enormous, over 100 feet in length and width and taller than the passageway leading into it. Along the walls were bookshelves packed with, you guessed it, books. Old, unelaborate tables stood everywhere, covered with papers and strange objects. On a few tables were strange metal structures, almost like a vending machine, but without the glass window. Three other men were working in the room, some reading, some writing, and some trimming their toenails. The man who had led Daniel here had been the first to walk in and addressed them immediately.
“Greetings, brothers. We have a guest amongst us.”
Daniel walked in and was just as surprised as the men were to see him; everyone in the room was wearing a robe of some kind (except for Daniel).
“I don’t understand. What’s going on here?” said Daniel, slightly taken back by this development.
All of the men looked at one another for a short time before one said, “There’s no theater production here, but for your other questions… well… we really don’t know how.”
The man who had helped Daniel spoke up, “Perhaps an introduction will make things more clear. My name is Pythagoras. You may have heard my name mentioned in classes dealing with history or mathematics, as I understand that many people dedicate their lives to uncovering information about the past. Though I’d be surprised if they found much…”
“Wait, wait, wait!” Daniel interrupted, “Pythagoras, as in like the math equation thing. You’d have to be over a thousand years old!”
“Two thousand, five hundreds years would be more accurate. I know this all may come as a…”
“No… that’s not possible,” Daniel said rudely interrupting again, beginning to become hysterical, “This must be a joke. Yah, a big stage play. This is a secret government base and you’re the distraction. There are probably hidden cameras everywhere to watch my every move.”
As he was saying this, Daniel had his back to a wall. As the impossible reality of the situation began to sink in, he slowly slid down the wall until he was sitting on the floor. He put his head in his hands. Pythagoras approached him, helping him up.
“Come. We have a place you can rest,” Pythagoras told Daniel, leading him to a back room where there was a bed waiting for him. Daniel was far too shocked to decline.
Daniel woke up, unaware of what time it was, as he had lost his phone during the aftershock. It was dark in the room, save for the lit candle sitting on the table next to his bed, burning with a dim flame. Daniel picked up the candle and drearily walked around the room. There were a number of beds, around 7 or 8 in that dark room. It wasn’t long before he found the door that led back to the supposed working area of the mysterious people. He emerged from the room and found everyone still working away; no different than when Daniel first saw them. A man saw him immediately, got up, and walked to Daniel like a child being offered a pony ride.
“Ah, you are awake. Are you feeling better now?”
Daniel’s expression should have answered this question. He looked dazed, as if having seen a ghost.
“I thought this was a dream. Yah, this is one very long dream,” said Daniel, beginning to believe this theory.
“Perhaps. Oh, pardon my lack of courtesy, I haven’t ask of your name.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dan. My name is Euclid. Allow me to show you around.”
Euclid led Daniel outside the room and down the hall. Daniel was still out of sorts. He was really hoping it was all a dream, but as it continued to persist, this hope was shattered. He had many questions if this truly was real.
“How can all of you live here? No one should be able to live in a place that was cut off from oxygen and plant life? You’d drown in carbon monoxide. How is that Pythagoras guy still alive? This doesn’t make any sense.”
Euclid didn’t speak for a few moments, as he was collecting his thoughts. He answered.
“We honestly don’t know. Pythagoras isn’t the only one that shouldn’t be alive. All of us have died at one point and woken up here. Some think this is a type of afterlife for us and a rather good one in my opinion as we are among friends and people who share the same loves of life.”
“Doesn’t it bother you not knowing?”
“We’re more thankful than anything. Not only do we get to continue a life of learning and discovery, we gain more unique individuals each year that tell us stories of how the world has advanced.”
“Wait, so everyone here is into math?”
“Why just math?”
“That’s what I wanted to show you,” said Euclid, leading Daniel out of the room and down the hall. “This section is devoted to math, but this entire place houses minds from all the disciplines in life from science, art, music, history, anatomy, and so much more. Even subjects as distinct as game design and martial arts. We often work with minds from those areas to accomplish things that are outside our expertise.”
Daniel’s attention had been focused on Euclid’s mouth, hoping to see some smirk or facial indication that this was all a joke. Euclid stopped and pointed in front of him. Daniel turned to see a wall of rubble. The ceiling of the cavern had collapsed in on itself.
“The recent earthquake has cut off our access to the other disciplines and some of our own research and storage rooms. I only hope that the halls were the only thing to collapse.”
“Shouldn’t we be trying to reach them, to dig through this?”
“The engineers and mechanics are more suited to solve this problem and are no doubt working on it right now. We helped them build tunneling machines, after all.”
“How do you know they’re okay?”
“We know,” said Euclid as casual as possible, turning around and walking away. “Let me show you something.”
The knowledge of the situation was like cheese and Daniel’s ear a strainer; it was going to take a lot of time for it to squeeze its way through to his mind, but while the process was taking place, he decided to follow Euclid anyway. He led Daniel back down the hallway they came from and into a small passageway he had not noticed before. Far down it was a dim grey light. Although he knew he wasn’t exploring an old cavern of a dead civilization, it sure brought back memories of old times.
When they finally reached their destination, Daniel wasn’t sure what he was supposed to be looking at. It was a rather large room with three pillars. Euclid approached the left wall and pointed to an area on the wall five feet off the ground. Daniel tried to see what he was pointing at, as he found himself inching closer and closer until his eyes were practical playing tag with the wall. That’s when he saw the small carvings that looked to be of Greek origin.
“They’re markings and numbers,” said Daniel, still trying to figure out the meaning behind them.
“I thought you’d be able to understand Greek, being an archeologist, but those aren’t just numbers. It’s a Greek conversion table along with measurements marked off for each and every measurement type. And you should see the rest,” said Euclid, handing Daniel a comically large magnified glass. “That entire far wall is the metric system, right next to it the measurement system used in America, to the left, the units for energy and force…” Euclid rambled on and on while Daniel went along the wall. It was amazing. Daniel hadn’t seen writing this small since his college professor allowed each student in the class to write notes on an index card and use them during tests. Euclid pointed out every portion of the wall without budging an inch, going through every measurement type known to humans and even made up ones from television shows. As extensive as it was, Daniel was more impressed with how someone managed to carve writing this small into an entire stone room. While he was still examining, Euclid tapped him on the shoulder and pointed up. To his amazement, Daniel saw counter scales hanging from the ceiling, holding different portions of weights to maintain balance. They were just as elegant as the way paintings lined the wall of a museum or a chandelier hanging from a ceiling, except for the car that was being counter balanced by the eight giant pianos. Across from Daniel on the opposite wall near the top were time keeping measurement tools: grandfather clocks, digital clocks, clocks that counted in binary, and a sun dial with a flashlight taped to a stick. And even on the wall next to him, near the ceiling were more wonders, only this time; they were measurements of liquid built into the wall. Daniel swears to this day he saw a gold fish in one of them.
“Look, not to be ungrateful, but what’s the point of all this? Or a better question, how did you make this?” asked Daniel.
“Well, to answer your questions in order, it’s just a nice reminder and a reference to check in case we forget something and many artisans are skilled mathematicians so there were plenty of able hands to help make this. The job got considerably easier once the science wing lent us a laser sketcher and cherry picker platform.”
Daniel spent a lot of time going over the wall and discovered that Euclid was right about every single area in the room. Among the measurements, he could not find a single mistake in the symbols or calculations (from what he could understand); not even a chip in the rock lettering. He also came across a small engraving that read “Da Vinci was here”. He was so busy scanning the walls, he hadn’t noticed that Euclid had left. Daniel left the room and went down the passageway to look for him. He could easily find his way back to the room they started from, as it wasn’t far off, but much like the parable of the cat that met its untimely demise, Daniel was curious. He began taking alternate paths and soon was as lost as a wifi signal at a cheap restaurant. Walking through the halls, he could feel the lingering silence on his shoulders, like a heavy coat. Not even his footsteps echoed as his pace increased. Rooms were not hard to spot as there was always a bright light shooting into the hallway from them. Most of the rooms he found only had covered up machines or some tables with paper and written notes that he couldn’t understand at all. However, it wasn’t long before he came across a room full of life. He could hear voices and the sound of typing and scratching from far off. When he came to the room, he peaked in and saw people working at a frenzied pace, typing on computers or typewriters and in a few cases, writing on parchment with a feather dipped in ink. To his surprise, it wasn’t a bunch of old men in bath robes like before; there were men and women, young and old alike, some wearing clothing that Daniel, Daniel’s parents, and his grandparents wore, while the rest wore strange clothing he’d never seen before. Not wanting to disturb them, Daniel quietly walked away. He didn’t get far when, suddenly, light rushed passed his body on all sides, throwing a long tall shadow in front of him. He turned around and saw a pure white ball of energy, as bright and burning as a dwarf star, floating above the floor. Daniel could hardly stand to face it, let alone look at it, as he had to use his hand to protect his eyes. The ball of energy began changing shape. Growing legs and arms and all the while, the light they were born from grew weaker, until a ghostly image of a man stood facing the open doorway to the room Daniel had looked into prior. With the light practically gone, Daniel lowered his hand and witnessed the man slowly become less see-through. The man then entered the room and upon his arrival, the people inside cheered and celebrated, saying things like “Mr. Nash, welcome!” and “John Nash! It’s an honor to meet you.” Before Daniel walked away, he saw some colorful confetti paper floating out the doorway.
After a long and perilous journey of a five-minute walk, Daniel came across the room he was first introduced to or the main room as he would call it. Everyone was still hard at work, so much so that Daniel walked around and looked over everyone’s shoulders to see what they were doing. Not a single one of their eyes left their worktable as they wrote down equations, drew some quick shape sketches, and stared at their papers, as if they expected the papers to blink any moment. Finally, Daniel tapped on the shoulder of one of the men, who turned around to meet him.
“Yes, how can I… young Daniel! Great to finally meet you!” the man said, shaking Daniel’s hand vigorously. “The men had told me about an archaeologist lurking around these halls.”
“Um, yes. Nice to meet you? Mister…?”
“Archimedes. How can I help you?”
“I was wondering if you could tell me where Euclid went to? I turned around and he was gone.”
“Ah, yes. He does that a lot. I swear that man could’ve been a ninja if he wasn’t so busy. He’s tending to some social matters right now and won’t return for quite some time.”
“Oh. All right,” Daniel said, unsure of what to do next. Archimedes was no dimwit and quickly picked up on Daniel’s uncertainty.
“Daniel, my boy, would you like to accompany me to a special room. It may help you better navigate through our halls a little easier.”
Having nothing else to do, Daniel agreed and followed Archimedes.
It wasn’t long before they reached the room. Much like the last room, this one was enormous in size, considerably more than the measurement room.
“Whoa, this place is huge!” was Daniel’s reaction and no sooner had he finished his sentence, the echo of his words surrounded and lingered until the sound fell to silence. The walls of the room were shaped like a dome, the perfect place to produce echoes. Daniel was so caught up in his amazement that he was taken off guard when Archimedes pulled him backwards.
“You may want to watch your step, Daniel.”
Daniel looked down and saw that he had almost fallen into what truly looked like a bottomless pit. For as big as the room was, it only had half the floor to cover it. There was a piece of the floor jutting out from the rest that lined up perfectly with the middle of the dome.
“Come,” beckoned Archimedes, “Stand here with me.” He asked of Daniel, so Daniel walked to the middle of the room. Archimedes stamped his foot and a stone cylinder shot up from the ground. As he dusted it off, more cylinders were shooting out from the walls and floor, filling the room with echoing sounds of firecrackers. It seemed to Daniel that at any moment, one of the cylinders would shoot across the room like a cannonball. On each of the cylinders were a variety of transparent colored stones, with one giant stone centered in the middle of each of them. After they had popped up and made their sound, they did nothing more and once the last cylinder had arisen, another pop was heard, this time directly in front of the two men. There was a small hole in the center of the cylinder that Archimedes had been cleaning off. Without warning, a liquid began rising from the hole, and quickly formed a bubble that gained in size until it was the same size as the top of the cylinder. Archimedes laid his hand on it and it admitted a bright green glow. The colored stones of the other cylinders lit up and, as if pure magic were at work, a giant hologram of a sphere appeared, floating above the chasm. Archimedes smiled as he saw Daniel in a state of disbelief.
“Sometimes, we come here when we wish to see something with our own eyes. It’s easier to work with an object when you have a picture of what it looks like in your mind.”
Suddenly, the sphere flattened into a circle and began rotating.
“Tell me, Daniel. Have you ever heard of perimeter, or perhaps area?”
“Yes, I have.”
“I thought so. Being an archeologist, you’re always measuring bones and old objects and the place where you find them.”
“Wait, how do you guys know I’m an archeologist?” asked Daniel, remembering someone else had also identified him as one.
“Why else would you be here?”
Suddenly, the sphere changed into a cube, then a pyramid, and continued to shift into a plethora of shapes.
“I hear in a lot of jobs today, areas and perimeters aren’t important though it can’t be denied that everything in the world has them.” The holograph created a map of the halls.
“Maps certainly have them.” It then continued to shape shift and stopped when the hologram morphed into a dog that had a wagging tail.
“Everything is made of smaller shapes so this room can create anything you can imagine.”
The dog started chasing its own tail.
“Including moving ones, but here’s one of interest to me.”
The dog flattened and a new shape arose. A stream of lines twisted around itself, making four loops. It looked like a four leaf clover whose leaves had been twisted to the right or more like the blades of a fan.
“They call it a Quadrifolium. You wouldn’t believe how much computing went into making this. When I first arrived here, this devise couldn’t make anything like this, but thanks to the brilliant minds inhabiting these halls, this became a reality.”
Archimedes took his hand off the bubble. The hologram disappeared and with another stomp of his foot, the cylinders that projected the visual wonders sank back into the walls and floors. The room seemed even darker than when Daniel first entered.
Daniel has so much to say, but the only thing that came to mind was, “this is amazing. Why not sell this to an electrics company? You could make a fortune.”
Archimedes had already begun heading for the exit.
“We have no need for money here. We couldn’t sell it even if we wanted to. Besides, much of this already exists in the world. You just need to ask the right questions to find it.”
With the wonder in the room gone, Daniel followed after Archimedes. He seemed to be in a daze.
“Please tell me,” Daniel said, “How did you get here? What is this place? You have to know.”
“It’s not that simple. I didn’t ask to come here; I just found myself here. The halls and rooms already existed when I arrived though I assisted in the creation of many things, including that last room.”
“But what’s the last thing you remember before coming here?”
“Well, I was on the beach drawing in the sand. Paper hadn’t been invented at the time so the sand made for an excellent sketchpad. The soldier asked me to come with him and I refused since I was in the middle of working. And… that’s it. I’m sure we came to an understanding.”
Time within the ruins seemed to pass by fast for Daniel (or at least that’s what he gathered from the clocks in the measurement room). There was still so much that didn’t make sense and not just about this strange environment, but about these strange people Daniel met; they seldom eat or sleep and devote nearly all their time to work, sometimes without moving from one spot for hours. He was beginning to think some of them might be robots.
When Daniel had woken up, Pythagoras was eager to show him a new room. Daniel couldn’t help, but wonder what the next room would hold. What kinds of unbelievable sights would it have? To give a short answer, none. When they arrived at it, all Daniel could see were random objects scattered around the room: jigsaw puzzles, tupperware sets, children’s shape puzzles, CD collections, different brands of colored crayons, and so much more junk.
“This is nice, though after seeing the hologram room, I was kind of expecting something more… high tech?” said Daniel.
“Not everything is as it appears. This room holds a secret, but you’ll need to find it.”
Having nothing else to do, Daniel went about looking through and putting things away. It became clear after a few more prompts from Pythagoras that he wanted Daniel to actually organize everything. Within a two-day period, Daniel went from being a guest to their interior designer. However, if what Pythagoras said was true, the secret might prove to be worthwhile. When everything seemed to be in its proper place (puzzles completed, CD’s organized, etc.), he was disappointed to find nothing of interest.
“Okay, so where’s the secret?” asked Daniel.
“You missed this picture, but don’t worry, I’ll get it for you.”
Pythagoras straightened the picture and, suddenly, the wall next to the hanging picture slid open, revealing another passageway. Daniel and Pythagoras entered it and found themselves in a pitch-black room. The door closed behind them, leaving them in complete darkness.
“Would you mind turning on the lights?” asked Daniel.
With a clap of his hands, lights did turn on, but not as Daniel expected. Both he and Pythagoras were covered in a subtle glow, bright enough to where they could see each other, but not enough to reveal where they were.
“Did you know the human body gives off a very small amount of light? Unnoticeable by the human eye, but the light is real nonetheless. Amplifying this light is nothing special.”
Daniel walked toward Pythagoras, but was stopped in his tracks when hitting something solid yet unseen. “What is this?” asked Daniel. Pythagoras walked up, poked Daniel on the forehead through the solid wall. Daniel tried to reach for him and failed.
“This is an alternate realm. Through time manipulation, we stumbled across the ability to tamper with the limited physical presence of our bodies and give them the ability to alter the reality around by mere thought. Just will for the wall in front of you to be gone and it will disappear.”
So, Daniel tried again to move forward and succeeded. “This is amazing. There’s no limit to what you can do with these powers.”
“Indeed.” Pythagoras clapped his hands again and the room was filled with light, “But sadly, these were just glorified special effects.”
The room was a large, grey rectangular room with tons of machines and lights scattered all around, including movable, thin, see-through walls. Once again, Daniel was disappointed.
“I’m sorry that it wasn’t real, but we’re working on it. There are other things of interest here though.”
“Hey!” shouted a man, “I ask of you, please keep your voices down. I am in deep thought.”
“My apologies,” responded Pythagoras. He then whispered, “That’s Plato, he loves this room for some reason.” Pythagoras led Daniel over to a machine that had a dark piece of crystal stuck to the top of it.
“Similar to the hologram room, this is a 3D shadow puppet machine. Great at parties, I hear. You just turn it on, put your hands in the side compartment, and start making shadow puppets.”
Like a snake rhythmically rising out of a basket, a dark solid hand of shadow rose up and out of the crystal. It waved to Daniel, shook his hand, and fist bumped with him. Pythagoras then made a dog, which surprised Daniel when he actually heard it bark. Plato watched in fascination, but then shortly left the room.
“Why don’t you give it a try?” Pythagoras asked.
Daniel eagerly tried to bring his shadows to life, though the result was usually a sad, sad shadow clump.
“Those puzzles and such you had to do to get here,” said Pythagoras, “we have a lot of rooms like that scattered around. There’s even one with just Crosswords and Sudoku puzzles, which is one of my favorites. We go into those rooms to keep our minds sharp since in a lot of what we do, we’re looking for an answer, but to find it, you need use all the knowledge you know about it and use it as best as you can. It’s what you have to do everyday when you want to find something and it’s the same in math. Do you understand?”
Although Daniel was busy mastering the art of shadows, he heard every word and managed to give a mangled thumb up to Pythagoras. Pythagoras then proceeded to put his thumb through the other side compartment and shadow thumb wrestled with Daniel. Who won? I’ll give you a hint. The winner is a smart guy.
These old men were not babysitters and Daniel was a grown man. For hours at a time, he was left to do what he chose though he was respectful enough to avoid touching their stuff. This was an unusual feeling, considering that whenever he entered an abandoned site, there was no one left to tell him to keep his hands to himself.
Through his strolls, he has come across one of the holiday rooms; a room covered in artificial snow. When you have a near infinite number of rooms, there’s no need to redecorate; you just move to a new room and move back when the season comes around again. There was a top hat lying on a table next to an artificial snowman. As much as he wanted to see if Frosty was real, he kept his hands in his pocket and continued on.
Daniel finally started coming across some hallways blocked off by rumble and some empty rooms. That’s when he saw a man in the far distance.
“Hey,” said the man, beckoning Daniel to come closer. He acted a bit differently than the others. He looked just as happy to see Daniel as the rest, but he was somehow aloof as well. Upon reaching the room he had been standing in the doorway of, it was different than any of the other rooms. It had the appearance of a college campus dorm with a bunk bed, closet, dresser, and desk, complete with a University of Washington insignia on the wall. There was even a window that led outside and there were people walking around.
“Hello, my name is John Rainwater. Who might you be?” he asked.
“Uh, Daniel Grander. Nice to meet you.” It seemed odd to Daniel that Rainwater didn’t know who he was. Everyone else seemed to, but not everyone else lives this far away. Rainwater was preoccupied with a yo-yo and wasn’t paying too much attention to things around him. “Would you mind if I tried to open this window?”
“You can try,” he said and so Daniel did, but upon touching it, all he felt was wall and, as the image of the window faded away, all he saw was wall.
“There was a window here.”
“Was there?” asked Rainwater nonchalant.
Strangeness was to be expected at this point, but there was always a reason behind it and Rainwater provided none.
“Who are you and why did you call me over?”
“I’m a mathematician, I suppose. I just wanted some company.”
Objects in the room began to fade out of existence.
“Have you ever heard of imaginary numbers? Like the square root of negative one?” The yo-yo had disappeared yet Rainwater kept playing with it as if it were still there. “They’re fascinating. I’m not an expert in them, but the idea of an imaginary number not being considered a real number, but still a number. It’s just so fascinating.” All the furniture that made the room a home was all, but gone by now. “Made by those who wanted to include the impossible and in doing so, made it possible. Just fascinating.”
“Why are you telling me this?” asked Daniel.
Rainwater looked at him with a smile. “It just seemed… fitting.” Rainwater then stood up and walked out the door and turned the corner. Daniel followed after him, but ran into Archimedes.
“Daniel. Whom were you talking to?”
“Umm, the name sounds familiar, but I don’t know anyone by that name.”
Daniel looked around and there was no sign of anyone else in the halls.
“Wait. How’d you know where to find me?” asked Daniel.
“One of the guys put a tracer on you. It’s either Ivan Getting or some other guy.”
“It’s fine. Let’s just go.”
Archimedes escorted Daniel back to the main room. The people continued to work away at problems, though it seemed a fight was breaking out between Évariste Galois and René Gâteaux.
“Not again,” said Archimedes with a tone of exasperation. “We’ll talk more later Daniel,” he said as he ran over to break it up. A short bald-headed man with glasses then walked by Daniel and approached the fight.
“Daniel,” said a man who approached him. “My name is Hipparchus. It is nice to make your acquaintance. Would you mind coming with me?”
“I wouldn’t mind though I’d like to see how this fight ends.”
The two fighting men somehow got possession of fencing swords and were using them expertly.
“Oh, trust. There’ll be more,” said Hipparchus, as he put his arm around Daniel and led him away. The clinking of the blades could be heard far down the hall as they moved away from the fight. “You’ve become quite the popular person, haven’t you? We don’t normally have visitors.”
“I don’t know if popular is the best word choice,” said Daniel. “I don’t know why all of you wish to talk with me. I don’t know a whole lot about math.”
“Well, you bring a different personality to the conversation. Besides, you also provide an outside perspective and I’d like your opinion on one of my projects if you wouldn’t mind.”
“No, it’s alright,” Daniel said, with both of them passing by the collapsed archway to the astrology wing. It didn’t take long for them to reach Hipparchus’ workroom though it was oddly emptier than the others Daniel had seen. There was only a table with some papers on it, an astrolabe, and a chair (the chair wasn’t on the table). As soon as Daniel passed the doorway, a gate came down from the ceiling and locked him in, leaving Hipparchus on the outside. “What’s going on?”
Hipparchus laughed lightly. “You didn’t really think we’d show you our prized work and let you leave, did you?” No sooner at Hipparchus finished speaking, a loud metallic sound was heard from above. Spikes extended from the ceiling as it slowly began lowering toward Daniel.
“You’re trying to kill me. Archimedes! Euclid! Help!”
“It’s no use, Daniel. We’re too far away from any of the inhabited rooms. You’re doom is unavoidable. That is, unless you can prove yourself.”
“Prove myself how? What? Where?”
“Simple,” he said, as he held up a piece of paper with a drawing of a triangle on it. “Tell me the length of this unlabeled triangle side and I’ll let you go.”
“How am I supposed to know that?”
“Figure it out,” said Hipparchus coldly.
It seemed to Daniel that the triangle had everything labeled except what he needed. In desperation, he started looking around the room for anything that could get him out of this. The ceiling, although moving slower than a confused turtle with a sprained leg, appeared to be moving at a frightful speed in Daniel’s eyes. He checked the papers on the table, but couldn’t read them; it was all Greek to him. In a moment of self-proclaimed brilliance, Daniel put the chair on top of the table, hoping it would stop the ceiling from reaching him.
“Ah, clever except that chair and table are as bridle as I am and you don’t know if they can withstand the pressure of the ceiling’s force, but just in case.” Hipparchus took out an oversized, stereotypical control pad with a big red button and pressed it. All the spikes in the ceiling except for the ones above the table and chair extended further to be five feet long. Daniel tried to move the table, but it fell apart like rotted wood. He was running out of options and in desperation, picked up the chair and smashed it against the gate. When that failed to work, he threw the astrolabe at the gate, which smashed it into tiny pieces.
“Now was that really necessary? I liked that one,” said Hipparchus.
Daniel, out of options, lay down and awaited his fate. There were so many things he regretted not doing. He regretted not bringing archeological colleagues with him for backup. He regretted not taking out that extra life insurance policy that involved meeting your end at the hands of a spiked ceiling. But most importantly, he regretted not having anything cool to say before it was all over. One spike was now inches away from Daniel’s forward and as it touched the skin and pushed in, a distinctive sound was heard. Squeaky. The spike had bent and let out the sound equivalent of a chew toy. The ceiling then quickly rose back up at ten times the speed it’d been falling at and Hipparchus approached the still closed gate with a video camera, recording Daniel.
“You should have seen the look on your face!” said Hipparchus. “I could include this in a movie and you might very well win an award for best acting.” Daniel got up and ran at the gate, reaching his hand through it, trying to grab ahold of Hipparchus scrawny neck. “And this is why I keep the gate closed until my prank victims calm down.”
“You had me believe I was going to die. That’s not a prank. That’s just sick!” he asked.
“Relax. A prank is a prank. A joke is a joke. I’ve done the same thing to a lot of the others, but now they don’t scare as easy since they expect it so when I heard about you, I saw potential. Potential for another laugh.”
“There was nothing funny about it.”
“Depends which side of the gate you’re on.” Daniel walked away from the gate, unable to look at Hipparchus without feeling the urge to strangle. Those last few moments had been the most terrifying for Daniel and now were among his most embarrassing. He almost peed his pants. “You could have avoided the close encounter with the squeaky kind had you answered my question. The notes on the table even tell you how to answer it.”
“I can’t read Greek.”
“Huh, that’s strange, I thought as an archaeologist, you’d be…”
“I know. I know.”
“First off, you could have used the Pythagorean theorem. You had the chance to ask the guy who wrote. Second, there are a lot of other ways, which I’ll show you if you promise not to lay a hand on me. I’ll even promise not to prank you again.” Daniel wished he could have his own fight with Hipparchus, but he was a decent man and wasn’t certain if his four classes of kick boxing were enough to handle an old man.
“Fine, but you can’t tell anyone about this.”
“Agreed,” Hipparchus said, opening the gate. “I’ll just wait until you leave before I show them,” he said, whispering under his breath. Hipparchus led him to a room fifty feet down the hall from the one they were just in and it looked suspiciously similar to the first. Daniel made it a point that Hipparchus was the first one to enter. He noticed that there were x marks on the floor. Hipparchus directed Daniel attention to the ceiling. He expected to see spikes, but instead, saw various intersecting ropes at different heights. Hipparchus guided Daniel over to one of the x marks and when looking up saw a near uncountable number of triangles.
“It’s something I’ve been working on in my spare time. Magnificent, isn’t it?” Daniel proceeded to stand on the other x’s and saw more and more triangles, all of which looked different. “I have a room for squares, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, octagons, and next, I’ll be working on nonagons.” Although they were just shapes, the idea of someone creating this array of ropes was like finding someone who could carve a wooden bear sculpture out of a log with a chainsaw.
“So, what’s the point of all this?” asked Daniel.
“There’s no actual point. I’m just showing you there are a lot of different triangles out there and there’s a way to solve all of them. You use the laws of Sines and Cosines.” Now, Daniel had taken pre-law in college, but he figured it must not have been enough because he didn’t recall hearing about such a law. The bewilderment of the statement must have been apparent, because Hipparchus continued at a slower rate. “Okay, here’s the simple version. They’re both equations. The law of Sines is used on triangles that have 90-degree angles and the law of Cosines is used on all the others. You’re following this, right?” Daniel nodded his head. “With enough information, you can find out everything you want about a triangle. All you need is at least the length of one side and two other pieces of info, whether the info is angles or lengths. Are you following?”
Daniel now had the blank stare of a person watching a 24-hour television marathon. It was then that Hipparchus noticed something swinging beside his head and he turned around to see a man holding a small medallion.
“Dr. Morgan, if you wish to show him your advanced hypnotism skills, then kindly wait until after I finish my conversation.”
This made Dr. Morgan sad.
“Well Daniel, I think we had a productive day, let’s head back and see who won the fight.”
Daniel, now a drooling vegetable with feet, accompanied Hipparchus out of the room followed by Dr. Morgan. On Daniel’s back was a sign that said, “Kick me.” It wasn’t long after they had turned the corner that a subtle exclamation of pain was heard.
Daniel woke up later, unaware of the time. No longer under hypnosis, the recent details were a bit hard to remember. As he stumbled out the door, he noticed there weren’t as many people in the main room as there had usually been. This was worth investigating.
Since the hologram room wouldn’t show Daniel where people were, he decided the best way to find them would be to explore the corridors and hallways himself and track his own movements to prevent getting lost. There were so many twists and turns that he began to consider marking one of the corners to help him remember, but he didn’t want to damage the walls; it was in his nature to preserve and protect old artifacts. So he determined that the next room he found, he would “borrow” a few things from it to leave at corners for visual aid purposes.
The next room wasn’t far off. Upon entering it, it was immediately apparent that this wasn’t an ordinary room. It was fairly small and there were tables and pedestals with different technological objects, from small to large. It looked like a science fair for an incredibly advanced alien species. He approached two people who were conversing with one another who had their attention placed elsewhere. However, upon noticing him, the two turned around and greeted him happily.
“Greetings Daniel. My name is Hertha Marks Ayrton and this is Alan Turing,” said Ayrton.
“It is good to meet you,” said Turing, shaking Daniel’s hand.
“Nice to meet you too. What is this place?”
“This is the room where men and women display their technological masterpieces. Come,” said Ayrton, “let us show you.”
Walking passed many of the inventions, Daniel noticed a number of strange ones, such as:
“The Miniature Atomic Bomb – Developed twenty years after the Manhattan Project, this weapon was made to take care of pesky insect colonies on your propriety. However, the final project was not released, due to the resulting radiation harming nearby humans and, in very rare cases, mutating insects to grow five times their normal size.”
Some inventions didn’t have a history as they were made during the intellectual’s stay in the ruins.
“The collection in this room contains unbound scientific imagination,” said Ayrton, “from instant controlled cooling technology for food, nanobot replications to replace missing or damaged body parts, miniaturized house pets, a measuring tape that launches out the tape like a harpoon to more efficiently measure distances. There are more rooms that are just like this so the list goes on and on, but this here is my favorite.”
Ayrton stopped at the Plasma Discharge Blaster. “It’s great for cutting through just about anything and for taking care of any threat imaginable.” Ayrton picked up the blaster and fired it. It launched a steady stream of plasma into the opposite wall, blowing a hole through it. Daniel probably would’ve complimented it had a piece of stone debris from it not struck him in the head.
“Have either of you considered using that to escape from here?” asked Daniel.
“That would be quite dangerous. We might end up bringing the entire ruins down on top of us if we tried that. Extensive testing is needed before we try anything like that,” pointed out Ayrton.
“Also, we don’t know what would happen to us if we stepped foot outside this place. We don’t know what’s sustaining us now. We might disappear,” said Turing.
The duo wasted no time in forgetting the question and moving on, as Turing wished to show Daniel his favorite invention, which was something less destructive than weapons though can equally be even more dangerous; artificial intelligence. Turing approached the giant square block and pressed the green button. It spoke with a creepy, robot voice.
“Greetings, mortals. I am BINGO. Would anyone like to play charades?
“No thank, BINGO. Can you tell us one of your favorite science jokes?
“Yes I can. No I will not. Science is for nerds. The future is computers. The future is BINGO.”
BINGO then proceeded to sing a revised version of “Bingo Was His Name-O” at a cringe worthy slow pace. Turing was ready to turn it off when, suddenly, a creature came into the room, jumped on top of the tables, knocking things over in a frenzied panic and making muffled chicken noises. It looked like a chicken that had no head and what’s stranger, there were equations trailing off of it.
“What is that?!” asked Daniel.
“That would be an experiment in progress called the Macken. You see, we thought about how to spread mathematical knowledge more effectively. Just telling people math information rarely made it stick in short-term memory, let alone long-term. That was until we found a way to bottle and concentrate a chemical that harnesses the essence of math. Then, we made a creature infused with the stuff that would run passed people, leaving a scent that would invoke thoughts of equations,” said Turing.
“Unfortunately, we forgot to give it eyes so it’s literally running around like a chicken with its head cut off so we decided we’d let it run around for a while to see what happens,” said Ayrton.
It lunged at Daniel, but he stepped to the side in time. It was then that he had this strange thought.
y’’+y=tan(t) + −1
“Are you thinking of an equation? Was the Macken effective?”
“Yes, it’s effective, but what’s the use of the equation if I don’t know what it is?”
“Would anyone like to play charades? I’ll start, what am I?” asked BINGO. Turing turned BINGO off without even guessing. What a rude man.
“One step at a time,” Ayrton said.
The duo spent the rest of the time cleaning up the mess of the Macken while Daniel watched it wander down the hall, bouncing back and forth between the walls like a clucking pinball.
Traversing the halls of this tomb was always very dismal, yet the brightly lit rooms the men worked in were warm and inviting. It made the walks in the dark worthwhile.
Archimedes decided to introduce Daniel to more of the men in the room he worked along side. Though, he couldn’t introduce Daniel to everyone in the ruins; there were far too many to count, hiding in rooms, trying to unravel the universe.
Taking time to look around the room reveal more than Daniel had originally seen before. There was a lot of strange stuff going on. There was a man dressed in a Victorian age outfit, posing dramatically as he uttered phrases like “Oh equation, how thus dow defy me.” Archimedes started off by describing him.
“Well, that’s Henry Irving. He’s an actor whose been trying to impersonate a mathematician to improve his acting ability. He might have succeeded had he changed his wardrobe. Plus, one of our new comers was a big fan of Victorian era plays.” Archimedes pointed across the room. “Over there is Carl Gauss, Bernhard Riemann, and Wilhelm Leibniz. Further back is Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat. Upfront here, you know Pythagoras already. He’s sitting with Fibonacci and Daniel Bernoulli. And lastly, over to the left here, we have George Boole, Hypatia, and Emmy Noether. Oh, I almost forgot.” At the end of the tour, there was a gruff, muscular man, wearing a loincloth, sitting in front of a stone slab.
“This is Uggg. He is the first mathematician,” Archimedes said. “Well, one of the firsts, I guess.”
With a stone hammer and chisel in hand, he slowly carved numbers into the slab of stone. Archimedes leans in to whisper, “we tried getting him to switch over to paper, but he’s set in his ways, ironically much like those equations on the stone tablets.”
There were numerous finished stone slabs sitting next to Uggg’s worktable, most of which contain simple equations. There was something in Daniel’s mind that didn’t add up. No pun intended.
“Where is he getting this stone from? Now that I think about it, where are all your materials coming from?”
“Ah, good question. Follow me,” Archimedes said.
Daniel was led over to a closet in the far corner of the room. Archimedes opened it and revealed a stack of stone on a bottom shelf and stacks of paper and writing utensils on the rest.
“But where did you get these? You’ll eventually run out.”
Archimedes picked up a stack of stone slabs and dropped them into Daniel’s arms. He then proceeded to close the door and open it back up to reveal a brand new stack of slabs in its place. Daniel was amazed, even while struggling not to drop his new collection of stone writing material. Archimedes then closed the door again and opened it to reveal shelves stocked with boxes of hard drives, motherboards, extension cords, and other assorted electric items.
“This closet, as well as many others scattered through this place, provide us with whatever we need,” Archimedes said while closing and opening the door again and taking out a glass of orange juice and setting it on top of Daniel’s stone stack.
“That’s amazing! It’s like the room of requirement from Harry Potter.”
“Hmmm, oh, yes. That very popular book series. I’ve never read it, but you should talk to Uggg. I hear he’s a big fan of it.”
Noticing Daniel struggling to hold onto his souvenirs, Archimedes opened and closed the door to make an empty closet and instructed Daniel to set them down in it. Much like a magic show act, Archimedes closed the door and opened it to reveal it was all gone. It was just after this that Daniel noticed someone walking up to him and Archimedes.
“Well, aren’t you going to pull a rabbit out of a hat while you’re at it?” the man said.
The man who said this had long white hair and wore a suit from the 17th century. He opened the closet door and pulled out a shiny red apple.
“Oh, how could I forget? Daniel, this is Isaac Newton,” said Archimedes.
“That’s Sir Isaac Newton. Forgive my absence, but I was busy tending to one of my many projects. Perhaps you would like to join me, Daniel?”
Not having much to do, Daniel saw no reason to deny Mr. Newton. So, he followed him out of the room.
“So, I’m sure you must have many questions for me,” Newton said.
“Not really. I barely know who you are, aside from the whole discovering gravity and you getting hit over the head with a piece of fruit.”
Newton was slightly annoyed by this.
“Never heard of me? Why you ignorant, dull-witted accuse for a oh here’s my working area,” said Newton, going from sour to sweet in less than a moment’s notice.
The inside of the room looked like an old abandoned house since nearly everything in sight was covered over by white blankets; this includes the back wall. The only thing not covered was a wooden rectangular table in the center.
“Please excuse the arrangement. I can’t have anyone stealing my work, now can I? Isn’t that right Leibniz!”
A quiet, yet clear multitude of profanities could be heard far off.
“But I digress, let me tell you about one of my lesser projects.”
Newton pulled out a rolled up piece of paper from under the table and spread it out. On it was an indescribable amount of numbers and letters, one after the other with no way to tell if there were supposed to be spaces between them.
“I decided to take a look at a series of equations taken to the 16th derivative. I began finding that the equations were sharing common parts with one another and I had hoped to…”
By this point, Daniel had zoned out and was thinking back to Uggg’s tablets.
“Hello? Daniel?” Newton asked, snapping his finger in front of his face.
“Oh, I see the problem. I didn’t explain what a derivative is. Unlike the work it takes to keep my hair so well groomed, this is very simple.”
Newton took out a coin from his pocket. At its center and on the outer edges, it was glowing bright yellow, much like how television portrays objects that are radioactive; the rest of the coin was silver in color.
“Think of derivative as a change, a change that gives you more information. Let’s start with this coin.”
Newton set the coin on its side and flicked it with his finger, causing it to roll. However, it began steering itself, making crazy and impossible turns all across the table. As it gained more speed, it started leaving a trail of fire. It was like watching a miniature NASCAR race. Before Daniel knew it stopped, it was back where it started, and the trail of fire spelled out “Newton Rocks”. Newton subsequently grabbed a white sheet to put the flames out.
“Another one of my many inventions,” said Newton, proudly and smugly.
“Now, tell me the distance the coin travelled?”
“How am I supposed to know? I couldn’t even see it near the end. It’s impossible to know.”
“Oh, not impossible, though you are correct. It would be difficult to determine. Here’s an easier question; how far is it from the place it started from?”
It sounded like a trick question to him, but Daniel answered anyway.
“It’s back where it started from.”
“Correct. How far something is from its starting point is called displacement and how much it traveled is distance, but enough about these. Let’s say that you have a piece of paper that will tell you how far the coin traveled. Now, take the derivative, or apply the change, to the paper, and it will tell you how fast it is traveling.”
It was at this point that Daniel was becoming extremely irritated. He felt he was back in school, where the teacher would go on and on about what they cared about without end. Newton continued, “now, take another derivative and the paper will tell you how fast the coin is accelerating.”
Newton nudged the coin with his thumb and it began moving around in a circle and picking up speed. It moved so fast that the friction of the coin acted like an electric saw and carved out a perfect circle in the table that proceeded to fall onto the floor. The coin then sped out the door and down the hall.
“Well, that’s a shame. I loved that table,” said Newton, as he thought back on all the good times he had with it. Recollecting himself, he started up again, “These are the most commonly known, but there are higher ones like jerk, jounce, and…”
“Wait. Wait. Please, just hold on a moment.”
“Is there something wrong, Daniel?”
“Look, I really do appreciate you and the others showing me all this, but I don’t understand why. It’s beginning to feel like I’m back in school. Why do all of you want to show me these things?”
For once in his second life, Newton found himself at a loss for words. However, he collected himself after a moment and explained, “Back in our time, before and after we became well known, we had students, young minds who sought our assistance and guidance. We enjoyed their company and were glad to help all of them. As much as we enjoy being given a second chance, we no longer have students or anyone to mentor; just others who know as much as we do. Even the other areas of study have become familiar with what we do. That is until you showed up. When we take you around and talk with you, it reminds us what it is like to teach and give back to the world. So please forgive us if we’ve overstepped our bounds.
“No, it’s alright. I just didn’t understand.”
Euler caught Daniel in the hall on his way back. He eagerly wanted to show him something that might help answer his questions. It was for the first time during his walks through the halls that he came upon a dead end that wasn’t a collapsed pathway. Although it was indeed remarkable, Daniel suspected there was more. Euler paused near the wall for a brief moment then slowly approached it and tried to touch it. Being only an inch away from contact, his hand and then arm turned into pure white orbs of light. He pushed this light through the wall and it disintegrated. What waited behind it was an even greater light.
Walking further ahead, they came to a platform that had no railing and existed above a bright, beautiful glowing pit of swirling light. Euler looked upon it with fondness.
“None of us needed to be told this existed. We simply knew. Whenever we discover or invent anything, we throw it in here.”
“It’s what we feel we should do. I like to believe that whatever this is, it somehow makes its way into the world we once called home. Perhaps through the dreams of the young and old, to inspire them to do great things.”
“What would happen if you fell in there?”
“I wish I knew. One man among us tried to find out and we haven’t heard of him since.” Daniel had been staring at the pit since he entered that he forgot there was more of the room he hadn’t examined. Immediately, he saw some people across the vortex a few feet down on the same type of platform they were on throwing papers into it. They noticed Daniel and Euclid and started waving at them. “Those are members of the astrology wing.” Daniel looked around more and saw platforms above and below him, most of them occupied. “It just about time,” Euclid said, taking out a piece of paper from his cloak and folding it into a paper airplane. He threw it across the gaping chasm to two men on an opposite platform and everyone else began doing the same. The air was filled with paper airplane going in all directions. It was like rush hour traffic, but much more beautiful and the best part was, all of them made it to the right place. Euclid caught one, unfolded it, and read it: “Engineering says thanks for improved schematics. Digging will begin shortly. Tell him I said hello.”
“Thomas Edison says hello,” Euclid said. Euclid then walked away and Daniel followed. After passing it, the wall that disappeared before came back in a quick flash of light. Euclid went on to explain. “Since the earthquake and the collapse of several of the tunnels, we needed to stay in contact with the other branches of knowledge so we select representative to meet at the vortex and send paper messages. We were then able to design updated blueprints for a tunneler machine that can break through the debris and for expandable room supports to keep the ceiling from collapsing in again.”
“Why not just build a bridge over the vortex?”
“Because one wrong calculation or clumsy mistake and someone could fall in. Besides, we often transport some big projects to other sections to seek assistance and we can’t do that safely over the vortex.”
It turned out that most of the frantic work that Daniel saw the mathematicians doing was to create and improve blueprints for this matter and yet, they still made time to show him around.
There was one last thing they wanted to show Daniel. They returned to the main room, the room where he had met so many people and they were all there waiting for him. On a table was a plain box.
“During your time with us, we’ve shown you many things,” said Euclid, “but of all the wondrous sights you’ve seen, the only way you could take them with you was through your memories so we wanted to give you something physical, something you could hold; a gift from all of us.”
Daniel approached the gift with suspicion. He trusted them, but the situation seemed odd that they would treat him with such honor (when they were the geniuses and prize winners) and after only having known him for a few days. They were all waiting for him to open the box. Upon taking off the lid, he saw an old pair of glasses. He picked them up.
“I really appreciate it, I really do,” said Daniel, “but I have perfect vision already.”
“Just try them on,” said Archimedes.
Daniel slipped the glasses on and looked around. At first, there was nothing. It was like he was looking through a window, but suddenly, numbers started appearing. There were numbers surrounding Archimedes. His height, width, weight, density, blood pressure. Daniel’s eyes darted over to a torch on the wall. The temperature, the rate of the flames movement, the hue of red it was giving off. Everything was being analyzed. There were equations and numbers everywhere. Panicking, Daniel took the glasses off. “What was that?” he asked.
“That is an attempt to show you what it’s like to view the world through our eyes,” said Euclid.
“So, what? Numbers jump in front of your face all day?”
“Well, it certainly isn’t perfect, but in a way, yes. When we look at things, we don’t just see the object, but what makes and defines that object,” said Euclid.
“We don’t know how useful they will be to you, but it’s a souvenir at the least,” said Archimedes.
“And we hope that if you do ever use then, that you’ll not only remember what you saw here, but remember us as well,” said Pythagoras. There was a sound of a drill in the distance. “I guess they already started.” Everyone rushed out into the hall to find the source and the drilling was coming from the collapsed doorway of the Engineering wing. Everyone waited patiently, as the drilling grew louder and louder. Suddenly, the drilling machine busted through and a great ray of sunlight followed. The drill was smaller than Daniel expected and a man in an orange jumpsuit and a miner’s hat came through the hole he made.
“Sir, are you alright?” asked the man.
“Yes. I’m fine. Who are you?” Daniel asked.
“My name is Carter McGrath. I’m part of the Organized Cave Rescue Team that was sent here after receiving a report of a missing archeologist that was last headed here. Is your name Daniel Grander?”
“Yes it is and these are f…” Daniel hadn’t noticed how quiet it became once Carter entered. Not only were all the mathematicians gone, but everything looked different. Much smaller, darker, more like what you’d expect from an abandoned temple or cave. There was no life or magic in sight.
“Sir, are you sure you are alright?”
The answer to that question wasn’t quite clear to Daniel now.
“I… I don’t know.”
“In that case, let’s get you out of here sir.”
Daniel followed Carter through the opening and was greeted by an intense glare from the sun though it didn’t bother him for someone who had spent four days in the cave. The rescuers were surprised he looked as healthy as he did. Daniel didn’t know what to think. It couldn’t of all been an illusion. It’s possible he had learned all about those men and the knowledge they shared, but he consciously wasn’t able to remember it until being placed in a dire situation, but then why was he still holding the glasses. He knew how to put his mind to rest. Although it might shatter the new reality his mind held dear, Daniel lifted the glasses up to his face and put them on.
A good bit of research went into this story, such as fact-finding missions about a character, verification on math knowledge, and literature that influenced me to write this. Below is a short list of some of the references I used.
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