Looking Back

Your rating: None
3.77778
Average: 3.8 (27 votes)

Meridian Winters had a typical morning on the day her world changed. She fed her cat, she ate breakfast and she took the 18 tram to the final stop on the line.

She’d barely removed her coat when her collaborator rushed into her office. Marcel Kirscher was portly Austrian man who believed firmly in meat and potatoes at every meal and finishing every evening with several glass of a pear schnapps. In the eight years she’s known him, this was the most active she’d seen him.

“Meridian. Good. You’re here. You must come. Very fast.” He rushed off. Meridian followed him.

The Large Hadron Collider was an amazingly impressive piece of machinery, stretching across the French border. Meridian was in awe the first time she toured the facility. Her research didn’t use the LHC. She and Marcel were working on a project with antiatoms in an entirely different part of the facility.

They followed the crowd into LHC’s control room. The room was wall to wall screens but everyone was jostling to get a good look at just one. Marcel shoved his way aggressively to the front of the room and Meridian fell in behind him, apologizing to everyone she jostled past.

On the screen, there were velociraptors congregating in the LHC tunnel.

It was clear there wasn’t an actual group of dinosaurs. Instead, it looked like a movie projection of them. The visual quality wasn’t great, but it looked to Meridian like someone had set up a giant screening of Jurassic Park in the middle of the tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider.

Moments later, security guards arrived and ordered everyone to leave. They confiscated everyone’s phones. No one was allowed backed to their offices. Meridian found herself crowded into a table with Marcel in the cafeteria.

Two tables away, an argument broke out loudly in German.

“What are they saying?” Meridian asked Marcel.

“They are saying,” Marcel replied, “that it was not a prank. Rather, the gentlemen who was on the left is greatly distressed that the anomaly he predicted occurred during their testing.”

“What anomaly?”

“That if something were to be misaligned, the test would open up a window to the past.”

“Is that even possible.”

“There are only two possibilities: yes or no. And I think we have visual evidence that the answer is yes.”

“I’ve seen Jurassic Park. It doesn’t end well for a lot of the humans.”

“They aren’t real in this time, they are real in the past.”

It took eighteen hours before everyone was released. Security made it clear that they were not to speak of the incident. Impressively, it took three days before the story leaked. Meridian woke up on Friday morning to 19 missed calls from her mother and so many notifications on her phone, it took three tries of shutting it off and turning it back on before she could access anything.

The news was reporting an accident at CERN. Maybe the LHC had created a black hole. Or dark matter. Meridian called her mother back, home in Chicago, and reassured her that she was perfectly safe.

Nearly a week later, the President of Switzerland, together with the President of France, made a joint speech in front of the United Nations. A German research experiment had created an anomaly. The anomaly was not spreading and did not appear to be dangerous. Instead, it was providing a viewpoint of a spot on Earth from approximately 100 million years ago. In fact, CERN was going to invite back the scientists who were working on other projects.

Those weren’t velicotrapors, they were deinonychus.

“I guess that answered the debate about whether or dinosaurs had feathers.” Meridian said to the television as they showed footage of the anomaly.

Security on Monday took an eternity to get through. The parking lot was inundated with television crews. But Meridian’s hallway was quiet. Marcel arrived with coffee a few moments after she shrugged off her coat.

“Let us discuss the figures from the last experiment,” he began, after handing her a warm mug.

“Don’t you want to talk about the dinosaurs?” Meridian asked.

“What of them? I don’t think the analogy should affect our work. Of course, we will have to mention the incident in the final paper but I don’t see how that…”

“Don’t you want to talk about what is going on just over there?” she pointed to her window, looking out across the CERN complex.

“Why?”

“Well, it’s amazing.”

Marcel dismissively waved the note papers he had in his hand at her. “It is not. They can’t recreate it, it isn’t growing, it isn’t shrinking. Nothing interesting.”

“It’s a literally an open portal to 100 million years ago.”

“It literally is not. You Americans and your poor grasp on the English language. It’s merely a view. It is, at best, a very old and very dull movie. You can even walk through it.”

“That wasn’t on the news.”

“Of course. it would not be. Kraus told me this morning that they tried it over the weekend.”

“Wait, they let a human walk through the anomaly?”

“No, of course not. They experimented with some some organic matter. Kraus said he would if CERN would let him. It’s more of interest for the biologists and the zoologists now, I suppose.”

“Don’t they want to recreate the anomaly? Figure out how it happened?”

“Kraus does, but where would you even begin? The LHC is not an option. The only similar one is in New York but it’s something like seven times smaller. It will take years to building another collider this size. And, of course, America, the United Nations, all of these politicians want to regulate them. We wouldn’t want North Korea to be able to have a dinosaur movie.” Marcel shifted in his chair and set his coffee mug on Meridian’s desk.

“So, what happens now? Nothing?”

“They are talking about setting up a webcam so people can watch the dinosaurs.”

About the Author: 
Molly Quell is an American journalist currently living in the Netherlands where she writes about science and technology.