The Opposition

It was his first time going to a carnival or festival, or whatever this thing was. All he knew was that there were rides and booths that would cheat you out of your money for trying to win rigged games. Jameson Rodriguez always wanted to go to a thing like this. His sister came home from one when they were younger and she told him about a ride where you stand inside of it while it spins faster and faster, pinning you to the wall. Jameson wondered how that would feel, he wanted to try and lift his arm as the ride spun at max speed.

“What’s the name of the ride?”
“The Whirley-Gig.”
“That sounds lame… You sure it spins fast?”
“Yeah it’s the only one that’s designed to spin as fast as it does.”
“How fast?”
“Jamie, I, I don’t know! I just know it spins faster than any other one, like 2 times as fast I think I heard.”
“You never know anything.”
“You ask too many questions Jamie.”

She stuck her tongue out at him, ran ahead and playfully elbowed her best friend and boyfriend in the ribs. Jameson’s girlfriend kissed him on the cheek and giggled.

“That’s why you’re going out with a scientist.”

“The group continued walking down the country road and enjoyed the ups and downs seeing the festival appear then disappear from behind the hills. By the time they arrived the sun had past it’s zenith and a cool comfortable breeze was blowing across the grounds. The line to the “Whirley-Gig” wasn’t as long as he expected. They only had to wait 8 minutes, although the group had to be split up. It didn’t matter, Jameson, his two best friends and his girlfriend all got to go on at the same time.
The buzzer sounded and the Whirley-Gig came to a stop, the sound of the electric motor winding down sent chills of excitement up Jameson’s spine. His sister got off and immediately fell over from dizziness. She laughed as she stumbled down the rest of the ramp, holding onto the railing for dear-life while swearing she was fine. Jameson  and his group all stood at opposite points so they could see the looks on each others faces while trying to man-mode the ride. The people piled in and filled up every position of the Whirley-Gig. As the door closed the light-bulb blew out.

“Hah! You guys are lucky I can’t see your faces now!”
“You mean you’re lucky we can’t see yours Mr. Whiskey!”

A nickname he picked up in high school for the obvious connection to the whiskey brand. Ironically enough Jameson hated the taste of whiskey.
The an audible “clink” was heard from the motor almost as though something bounced off of it. They felt themselves rise up and starting to spin faster and faster. Jameson was waiting to feel the g-forces crush him into the wall but nothing of the sort happened to him.

“Hey guys, this is kinda lame! I barely even feel us spinning.”

After a few more thoughts to himself he started hearing some people complaining.

“It didn’t go this fast before.”
“Don’t say that, now I’m actually worried about how fast we’re spinning.”

Jameson scrunched his face in confusion.

“Are you guys serious? I barely feel an…”

He was cut off by the sounds of the other people making groaning noises. Then someone started to scream out in pain.

“STOP! STOP THE RIDE, PLEASE!!”
“Jameson! There’s something wrong! My body feels like it’s being…”
Just then the wall Jameson was connected to made a metallic groan. Jameson heard one ping then another and then a lot more. When he realized what was happening it was too late to say anything. He felt the straps loosen around his body and he couldn’t hear anything but everything looked as if he were in slow motion he saw light start to pour into the Whirley-Gig. Then, just as he felt himself completely separate from the Whirley-Gig he saw the shear terror in everyones eyes. His friends looked towards him with faces forcing to restrain the pain they were feeling, one had already passed out. He locked eyes with one of the other people on the ride and noticed there was no life in them and blood was leaking from the mans’ nose and ears. Jameson’s hearing came back just enough to hear the wind rushing past his ears as he flew through the air.
He saw the ground rushing towards him and he reflexively put his hands and legs out in front of him, as if they’d break his fall and not just be the first things to be crushed.

Jameson’s sister had regained her balance in time to see Jameson’s section flung from the ride and she caught a glimpse of his bright green shirt and screamed in terror as many other people were. Two more sections were flung off the Whirley-Gig before the engineers were able to regain some control of the electronics and they slowed the ride down as fast as they could without causing further harm to the 17 people left inside or to what was left of the rides stability arms. As it came down it dug a trench into the ground throwing more metal all over the place. It caught traction and nearly ripped out the support beams that were planted 10 feet underground. It stopped just before crushing the engineers that were attacking the electronics.

A few cries of pain were heard coming from the shredded Whirley-Gig and it took a few seconds for people and emergency personnel to run into the horror-ride.

“Please don’t move anyone, you might cause further harm to them!”

There was a media circus outside of the hospital. Reporters from the surrounding counties had shown up in front of the hospital hoping to get a chance to talk to survivors and one person in particular. Jameson’s sister was watching the news, they were playing a clip for the umpteenth time that evening. It was of Jameson being flung from the Whirley-Gig and sailing through the air. When it landed with Jameson face down everyone in the hospital room cringed then looked towards Jameson who was watching the footage, shocked as much as everyone else was. A little crater formed and the Whirley-Gig section split nearly in half with Jameson unconscious underneath it, his legs bored into the ground and his hands were propping up his unconscious body.

The towns hospital was small so when they saw nothing wrong with him after x-rays and other tests they told him to wait in the waiting room with the rest of his friends and family. He wasn’t to stand  or leave the wheel chair he had been confined to. Even though he had been bombarded with questions he remained silent. His main thoughts focused on his best friends and his girlfriend. All three had severe internal hemorrhaging like everyone else on the ride and were as unconscious as the others as well. Most of the 18 survivors had fallen into a coma. Jameson started rolling back towards where his friends were being operated on without saying a word.
“Wait stupid, you’re not allowed to wheel yourself anywhere remember?”

Anna walked over to her brother and started pushing him.

“Why did…”
“I don’t know.”

She pushed him to the door of the room he and his friends stuff were in. One of his friends had already left surgery and was now lying in this room in a coma. Jameson looked at his sister confused as to why she brought him here instead of the surgery wing.

“We… we can’t be there, you know that. We’ll just be in their way.”

Jameson stood up and grabbed his friends hand.

“This is fucked…”
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On the other side of the world, in the Swiss Alps, a group of people are reviewing the news footage and trying to figure out what to make of it.
“I’ve taken to just calling him “The Opposition”.”
“That’s cute sweety, but why?”
“I hate when you call me that Siren.”

The girl swipes at the see through screen in front of her and it slides out of her way, giving her a clear line of sight at Siren. She gives her a death glare from her red and yellow heterochromic eyes, to which Siren merely laughs gleefully.

“I call him that because his body seems to nullify any oppositional force that acts upon it, whether he’s unconscious or not.”
“So he was unconscious when he landed?”
“I’m not sure, the videos don’t show his face. It’s just a calculated guess.”
“A calculated guess from you is damn near 100%.”
“A guess is still a guess.”
“You’re right, sorry. Tyler, what do you think?”
“I think he could help us, if he wanted to at least.”
“Therein lies our problem then.”

A woman with hair that seems as if it’s changing colour taps on the coffee table in front of her.

“The three of us could go as a family, meeting some relative.”
“You, Tyler and sweety?”

An eraser bounces off the womans head as she says sweety and she laughs obnoxiously.

“Well, if you guys want to then I have no problems with it. You’ll have to make it quick though. There’s no knowing what’ll happen between now and when you three arrive. The town might try and kill him.”
“Quick and painless Siren, like your death if you call me sweety one more time. We’ll get him.”
“Ok ok, I’ll stop. For now.”

The woman says with a smile as she vanishes into thin air.

“Dad, I wanna fight her, can I fight her?”
“No. What you will do my 19 year old, is get your gear and your mothers ready for the trip, with your mothers help.”
“Fine.”

The girl swipes down at the screen in front of her and it disappears into a cylinder sitting on the floor. She grabs it while standing up and walks through a bulk head, The woman with colour changing hair following right after, ruffling the hair on Tyler’s head as she passes him.

“You’re such a slow eater.”
“I’m just savouring the meal I prepared Rachel.”

Rachel walks after her daughter through the bulk-head as Tyler finishes his food.

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The Impossible Nut

The Impossible Nut

Ever since they could remember the Ilakos have never been able to break open the Improbum Vessel, colloquially known as the Impossible Nut, or the Improbum Nut. There are stories and tales passed down through generations of families about the nuts. “The Gods do not want us to be able to grow the fruit at our behest. In order to control the growth of the Improbo Fruit, they made the nut inside impossible to plant, and by extension impossible to break.” Another being that the knowledge gained from peering inside of the nut can cause you to go mad, or that were one ever opened, it would swallow the entire universe and it would start over from the zero point. A more simpler explanation is that there is no nutritional value to be had from them so there’s no point to care about it. But the Ilakos are a story favouring people so that last theory was not well liked.

Improbo trees grow strangely when compared to others, always in clusters of 4, 6, or 8. Also if all the trees in one area were cut down they’d grow back somewhere along an invisible logarithmic spiral. They’ve tried planting the nut many times obviously, but the nuts never grew into Improbo Trees. They also tried planting the fruit, going so far as to make sure there were no blemishes on the outside. In those cases the fruit just ended up rotting and the nut, as always, turned into dust 4 days after the last fibre of the fruit fell away from it. Observing the “dustification” of the nut provided no insight into what the inside looked like. Like Mega Man exploding into tiny bits when he dies, the dust went everywhere and quickly vanished from sight.

Every year since the Ilakos can remember, they have had a global festival, every city, town, and village would devote an entire week to the Improbum Vessel. Sculptors would try their best to imitate it’s perfectly ovular shape. Contests of nearly every imaginable type took place during the Gaia Festivus actually. One even lasting the entire week where participants would try to hold onto the nut as long as possible. This contest was near impossible with the nut having curves so perfect that trying to grab one bare handed proved a comical task. Hundreds from each city, town and village would enter these contests and nary a few would be able to hold onto theirs until day 3 let alone day 7.

There was another contest. One held at the end of the week where the best engineers from around the world would showcase their Improbo Machines. Machines designed for one purpose, to try and crack or maybe even break an Impossible Nut open. With the dawning of the industrial age 428 years ago the machines became more elaborate and larger as the years went on. Often times having to be constructed on the festival grounds due to transportation issues. Many of these colossal machines had construction started months in advance with full construction crews that received wages. This contest was the most anticipated every year, but every year the people would leave disheartened as the impressive and sometimes laughable titans failed at their tasks. After a terrible accident one year a mandatory blast radius was instated around the machines and power-plants were not to include nuclear elements of any kind. They could however request for the entire city, town or villages’ power to be routed to their machine for operation purposes. The danger was in the chunks of the Improbo Machines damaging the nearby powerplant.

Seeing the immense power requirements that these so-called “Improbo Machines” called for, the Ilakos looked for new, amazing and insane ways to generate energy. After last years festival a breakthrough of unimaginable proportions was announced. Actual clean and limitless energy generation. A team of energy researchers had stumbled upon the possibility 15 years prior and since then worked tirelessly to prove it was indeed as they claimed. They were looking forwards to next years Festival to showcase the power of their generator and what better way to do so than to build an Improbo Machine, THE Improbo Machine.

They had finished construction earlier that day and finally, the project that generated more money for their town than any of them had seen in their lives, was ready for it’s first and final test. Unlike many other machines of this size they had to set it on an anti-gravity foundation as to not drive a massive crater into the ground when the 4096 tonne hammer hit the nut after it’s 2560 meter high launch. The hammer would be accelerated downward by a rail-gun-like mechanism which would see the hammer break the sound barrier 6 times over, also known as Mach 6. The shock of the immediate stop would be handled by a secondary anti-gravity drive, mechanically similar to the “long recoil” system in some guns where the barrel slides in the opposite direction of the projectile as it is fired. Only in this instance it’s entirely designed to offset impact shock and there is no second projectile to be loaded unlike with guns. The 4096 tonne hammer is also treated like a bullet and spirals on it’s way down to meeting the Impossible Nut with the very small, relatively needle like point at it’s tip. The nut will be placed into a sonic field that will keep it levitated and as stable as if it were encased in a material stronger than anyone can think of. This colossal machine will use 6 yottawatts, or about the same energy that was unleashed from the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful Hydrogen Bomb ever detonated.

It was time for ignition, the blast radius for this Improbo Machine was estimated at 10 times the normal 5 mile radius for machines of this size, so people set up their towns festival 5 miles farther than that. This was not the first machine to have been built in the desert but the Ilakos from the same town as the scientists who created it were glad to have the thing out here rather than in their back yards. The signal relay satellite was positioned over-head and the countdown began. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Ignition. The word appeared on the large outdoor screens set up for the event. They all wore goggles even though they were facing away from the Improbo Machine, just in case. The rails were charged and the sound was an amalgam of a few high-pitches with a low hum behind them.

The mag-locks were released. The telltale cloud of the sound-barrier being broken came and left. The hammer spun faster and faster then crashed into the Imbrobum Vessel. A massive cloud enveloped the entire machine and some of the cameras went off-line but not before chunks of metal were seen whipping past them. The vid was immediately played back at a slower rate for the crowd of 310+ thousand people and they all stared closer than they had when it happened the first time. The rail arms lit up and the hammer cruised down, reaching it’s top speed in less than a second. The needle-like tip of the hammer shining as it raced closer and closer to it’s target. As the hammer struck the nut it exploded, the top of the hammer peeling down and around the needle as it met the Improbum Vessel. Then the impossible was seen for the first time. A crack appeared in the nut just before the mutilated hammer blocked it from view. The towers that propelled the hammer shot up as they were designed and the chunks of the hammer were allowed to shoot out in all directions.

The team of scientists had already jumped into their 3 desert buggies almost before they fired the hammer. They had the luxury of a relatively flat terrain between them and their machine which meant driving at 130kph (80+mph) in the desert wasn’t as suicidal as one might think. Hitting the occasional dune they made their way at 160kph (100mph). They knew it was going to work. Just then a chunk from the hammer shot by them, nearly crashing into them and landed with a thud not too far behind them. They weren’t supposed to be seeing debris out this far… Then they saw something that terrified them. One of the rail-towers was falling, 2.5 kilometres or 1.5 miles of metal, composites and electrical systems came crashing down out of the sky.

When they finally reached their machine the dust was still settling around them. One of the scientists checked the energy consumption meter, it read “8 Yottawatts consumed, .8 seconds…” that wasn’t what they designed it to operate at. They all ran to the power-plant and saw it was running fine. Not so much as a hiccup in operation. The machine had set itself down from it’s anti-gravity supports after the hammer hit it’s mark and the scientists clambered up the ladder to look at the nut. What did it look like inside?!

Was it really the secret to the universe?

The sonic field was still operating and the nut was sitting inside of it. Two perfectly split halves. The same ordinary greyish outside but the inside was similar to something they had seen before. In fact, it was sitting inside the generator not too far from them powering this machine. In essence, the power-core that had just provided 8Yottawatts in .8 seconds was at the center of the Imbrobum Vessel…