Wormholes by Dennis Meredith Read Free Book Online

Book: Wormholes by Dennis Meredith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dennis Meredith
back door with his laptop. A can followed him, rolling along in the gutter. He retrieved it and pitched it into the back and shut the door, trying twice before the latch held.
    She had turned on the porch light as dusk rose, and sat down on the steps just as he reached her and perched beside her, opening the laptop and launching a database program. He brought up an image of a multitude of stars, with a bright streak cutting through the middle.
    “This is really what got me started. They were doing a sky survey at Palomar, taking photos with this wide-field telescope. They got this shot of this really bright object out in space. Brighter than an asteroid, even brighter than a little sun. It was moving against the background of stars, so they knew it was in our solar system.” He clicked to the next picture of what looked to be about the same star field. “Then a couple of hours later, they did another exposure of the same star field. Bang! It’s gone! Disappeared!” He clicked back and forth between the two photos, showing how the streak has vanished.
    “Maybe it just zoomed out of the area.”
    “They could tell how fast it was going from the streak. Really damned fast. But they allowed for that.”
    “It might’ve exploded.”
    “Maybe, but there was no flash. Disappeared,” he said portentously. “Anyway, I don’t like things like that … things that don’t fit. It means that something’s wrong with a theory. So, I started going through astronomy data from planetary probes. And I found more objects in space that appeared or disappeared. It was tough, because they were mostly in raw data. None of the astronomers would publish them, because they all thought something was wrong with their instruments.” He brought up the next photo, a swirling mass of red, orange and yellow color with a large, dark splotch in the middle. “This did get published. It’s a closeup of Jupiter taken about a year ago. There’s this big anomaly in the atmosphere that showed up one week and was gone the next.”
    “Well, they did measurements. The atmosphere seemed to be swirling inward to a point. Like a whirlpool. But that’s all they could figure out.”
    “So, what’s all that stuff up there got to do with us earth people?”
    “Well, after Jupiter, I started looking in the newspapers, searching online news services. I don’t know why. Just a hunch.” He brought up a news story on the screen. “Few months ago, there was this gas cloud that killed a big reindeer herd in the Arctic circle. Something appeared just out of nowhere.” He clicked through the database and brought up another news story. “These climbers in the Caucasus mountains went on an expedition to climb this mountain and found the topography had changed. A whole big chunk of mountain had eroded. Or disappeared .”
    “And now that house.”
    “Yeah, that house.” His eyes were bright now. He’d forgotten the injury, forgotten the welts on his wrists, forgotten his half-eaten hamburger. “And there are explosions and eruptions and—”
    “Whoa, pal!” She stood up, edging toward the door. “This is all getting too weird. I agreed to listen, but this is just too tall a story. What do you expect me to believe here?”
    He stood up, too, but knew enough to back away instead of approaching her. “I don’t expect you to believe anything now. I don’t believe anything. I’ve just got this—”
    “Obsession. That’s what they call it.”
    “Well, all right. But I left Cambridge to go find out about these things. I’ve just got this … this obsession. All I want now is to find out what you know about this crater. Just let me look at your data.”
    “Yeah, my data,” she said. “About all I’ll have is data. I’ve got no funds to continue this. The university won’t give me the kind of help to mount a major exploration of that cavern … to do isotopic analyses … seismic profiling …”
    “See? See? That’s where I can

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