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Gate

Copyright © 2001 Jari Komppa

I had arrived at the scene some minutes earlier, and still couldn't quite grasp what I was looking at. I was seeing two doorways, one smooth and ancient, other brand new rough cut end of a tunnel, debris all over the floor. You could see this large room through the old doorway, and you could see a tunnel through the new one. The problem was, the tunnel was in the same space as the room was, but the tunnel hadn't punctured the room. You could take couple steps sideways and see how physically impossible it was. The other people were looking at me expectantly.

"Right," I said, breaking the awkward silence.

"Let's get the news crew here. Is the Earth link still down?"

After consulting his radio for a while, a man said, "yeah, as usual".

The strange stuff had started a year or so ago, when we were expanding the moon mining colony and managed to puncture the wall of the room I was standing in. Finding a clearly non-natural room on the moon was news as it was, but the ancient doorway that lead to the other room, and the other room itself, were even more of a mystery. For some reason, no radio communications worked when you walked into that room. Some scientists had been flown from earth at great expense to scratch their heads for a while, and then they shrugged and recommended that we should leave the room alone. And so we had done, for now. The room also had a caved-in doorway, that should probably lead to outdoors, so nobody even considered digging it out.

When I think about it, the whole mess began ten years ago, when someone figured that there's loads of wolfram on the moon, a metal that was rapidly running out back on earth. The current US president had declared that the shortage of the metal could make it financially sensible to start a mining operation on the moon - "Without wolfram our world will be cast into darkness!". A huge boom ensued, with thousands of space-related companies popping up. People started moon-living training camps. All sorts of gadgets were designed that would make life more livable on the moon. People invested on everything space-related like crazy; all those scientists that were starving for funding for decades were suddenly flooded with money they didn't know how to use.

Nothing naturally could last forever, and wolfram wasn't found to be as valuable as it had been believed to be. The world still hasn't healed from the depression that ensued. One of the largest companies that was still struggling was the one who made our earth link technology. It could be down for months at a time, and so in the past five years that I'd been here the colony had slowly became more and more independent of our home, apart from supply ships that came by every three months to drop in all that stuff we couldn't reproduce up here, and took back some of the ore we had mined. There had been talk about closing the whole colony, and every time the ship came a family flew back to earth on it.

Yesterday we had been planning on a shortcut tunnel that would come pretty close to the Strange Room, but should pass it by at least ten meters. I had been woken up by a call.

"Uh, sir, about the tunnel."

"Don't tell me you hit the bloody room."

"We didn't hit the room, sir."

"So you did."

"Uh we, didn't, sir."

"So what is the problem?"

"We, uh, should have, but we didn't. It's better if you come and take a look yourself."

Which brings me here. As the news crew arrived, I told them to queue the broadcast as double-A so that when the link became alive again, it would go through after all the emergency messages, if there were any.

I visited the strange room many times in the following month, pondering on the caved-in doorway. The link didn't come up, but that wasn't surprising. When it briefly did, it was one-way, and contained the evacuation plan. Earth couldn't sustain us for much longer, so we were to be called back. Two more ships were coming in, this time taking only people back.

After half of the people were left, nobody did any mining anymore, as there was no point. I still visited the strange room, and there was a lot of talk about it in our makeshift pub. Finally, a week before our pickup was to arrive, I decided to go against the orders and gathered some help, a cameraman, couple of drillers and the remaining scientist. We closed all the airtight doors leading to the segment, and had to collapse one tunnel. Then, in our space-capable mining suits we began to open up the doorway.

After several hours we were expecting to get through and were expecting an outrush of air, which never came. What we found, however, was a green pasture, with forest nearby, and a sea in the horizon. Awe-struck, we stubled couple steps outdoors. One driller took of his helmet before I could stop him, but he seemed okay. He shrugged. This couldn't be our overpopulated home. A rabbit hopped by and some birds screamed. We waited for the nightfall to take some pictures of the stars. Maybe the people back on earth could figure out what happened.

Afterword

I've been toying around with these teleportation/gating/tunneling ideas for a while now. Maybe it has to do with public transportation. =)

Why should teleportation/gating be noticeable? (The difference between the two: teleportation is taking you into pieces in order to transport you somewhere; gating is moving through some extradimensional space into somewhere).

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Possibly modified around: April 25 2010