Heklenberg checked her maths one more time. It took a few hours, but by the time she had reached the end, she was more sure now than she’d ever been.
The realisation made her dizzy, and she reached for something tanglible, something solid, something … normal.
The wood of the desk against the flat of her hands felt solid, cold, and she could feel the slight raise of the wooden grain.
Her pad sat between her hands.
She didn’t use the computer. All of this had been done in her head, and scrawled down on the page in a hurry.
But there it was.
The Unifying Theory Of Everything.
It explained all paradoxes. It explained all of the elusive and inexplicable weirdness of the quantum world. It explained absolutely everything.
Not least why science had got so confusing at the start of the 20th century.
Now all she had to do was build the machine to prove it.
Which turned out to be easier than she expected.
According to her calculations, it meant strapping a hair dryer to one of those blower things that unfurls and makes a noise – those things no-one actually knows the name of.
She switched it on.
At first, all she heard was the noise of the hair dryer, but then, the rasping high pitched growl of the blower thing rose in volume, and kept rising. And with each higher decibel it rose in pitch too.
She felt like her ears were about to bleed.
And then the noise went past her hearing range, and within moments a new noise took its place.
Distant and from the ether somehow, it sounded like …
… it sounded like someone screaming.
The air shifted.
Light unbent itself.
And there, in her living room, stood a humanoid shaped thing, clasping its ears in pain. Not quite human, not quite alien. It’s pale skin shimmered a little longer, until things settled, and she realised his dignity was not hidden.
Naked as the day he was born.
She turned the device off.
She looked at this alien being, aware that it was looking back at her, but couldn’t make eye contact with it, not just yet.
The revelation was too big.
She needed a moment to process it.
Her calculations were correct, down to the exact date of their arrival. She knew it now. And they had been there, cloaked and hidden from sight, interfering with scienctific experiments and God knows what else for nearly 120 years.
“Is it you who hides our keys?” she asked, hearing the croak in her own voice.
“Yes,” the being replied with a solemn tone.
“Is it you who changes our data to make it look odd and inexplicable?”
“Is it you who makes us bite our tongues?”
Somehow, that made perfect sense, as infuriating an answer as it was.
“So why now? Why reveal yourself to me? You could have mucked about with my calculations, and I would have been none the wiser.”
“I wanted to meet you.”
“Because I love you.”