Schrödinger’s Rabbit

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Aline stared thoughtfully at the albino rabbit. How delighted was she when Dr. Schrödinger, the university’s most renowned physics professor, phoned her earlier that day to request her assistance for a work of “the utmost importance”! She sighed at the remembrance of those ephemeral instants of joy, when she felt honored that a first year like her could be of any help to a prominent scientist.
The enthusiastic student barely knocked on the door that the professor stormed out of his office, his cloak worn in haste and his overloaded suitcase threatening to implode at anytime. Before Aline could say a word, he threw the rabbit at her and rocked her shoulders. “Please watch over this somatopomp! Under no circumstance shall you lose sight of it!” The confused woman wanted to ask for explanations, but his haggard eyes begging for help condemned Aline to acquiesce in silence. After a scared glance behind him, the poor man strode off down the corridor.
“I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it,” Aline heard him mumble as he walked away. Just like thunder, insanity can strike anybody anytime.
So here she was, sitting at Schrödinger’s desk, surrounded by heavily filled chalkboards, unstable book piles and archaic yet elegant devices, watching the open door while wondering if the professor would ever return. What if he didn’t? Would she have to take care of Erwin?
Erwin was the rabbit’s name. Brought on campus months ago by Schrödinger, the animal became the university’s mascot in no time. Usually kept in a hutch, his owner borrowed it sometimes for “scientific purposes”. Alas, after an unfortunate incident leading Mr. Einstein, the gardener in charge of Erwin, to be hospitalized for a delirious breath, the board ruled that the rodent shouldn’t leave the physics department. According to gossip, Einstein found the animal dead in its hutch after a frosty night. But when he went to inform Schrödinger, he saw the rabbit well and alive in the professor’s office.
As for Aline, Erwin has freaked her out since the first time she saw its bloody gaze. But now that it was sitting on the bureau in front of her, she deemed its white fur adorable. As she cautiously caressed it, she was horrified to notice that it was cold as ice. The rabbit was dead.
“Don’t worry about Erwin, he’ll be fine,” said a familiar voice. “Or shall I say, he is fine… in some ways.” When Aline looked back, she saw Schrödinger standing behind her, wearing his fancy waistcoat and displaying a confident smile. “Professor! When did you come back?!” Aline exclaimed. “I saw you leaving, and there’s no way to access your office other than through this door! Unless you teleported, travelled in time or came from another universe, I can’t conceive how you arrived here.”
“Interesting theories, but I’m from the same space-time continuum than your beloved professor. Would you believe me if I told you I’m the quantum state of Schrödinger that acknowledged his new «reality» rather than run away from it? Even though you’re a first year, I’m sure a brilliant mind like yours is familiar with quantum mechanics, Miss Liddell.”
“Professor, are you alright? I’ll gladly escort you to the nursery; your delirium may be the symptom of fever.” In response, the physicist laughed and pointed at the desk. Erwin was frantically hopping on it, as lively as ever.
“How can that be?! It was dead ten seconds ago!”
“Oh, but he’s still dead. He just happens to be alive as well.” Then, after amusingly staring at her confused expression, he added: “If I asked you how many answers can a yes-or-no question have, what would you respond?”
“I’d say there are only two possibilities: yes or no.”
“I pity your Cartesian mind, really. Please don’t imagine I’m blaming you. But in the Realm I belong to, we don’t abide by the ridiculous laws of general relativity. Why can’t a biological entity be dead and alive at the same time? Why can’t an object be at two places simultaneously? Why would yes-or-no questions have solely two answers?”
As Aline tried to comprehend these hermetic words, the physicist carried Erwin in his arms. “Erwin was the subject of my experiment to create a «quantic being», in other words a living being submitted to the principles of quantum mechanics. I humbly reckon that my attempt had a tiny probability of success, but that’s the wonderful thing about the Quantum: whenever something is possible, it happens. As you’d expect, I almost immediately applied the process on my person, even though a part of me was reluctant and scared. You saw that part flee earlier.”
Cuddling his pet, the scientist pursued: “Imagine that you’re a free electron. You’d be able to be present at multiple locations simultaneously.” The professor pointed at his impressive bookshelf. As Aline looked that way, she saw with stupor her interlocutor standing there with book in hand. “You could «tunnel» through any barrier.” The professor nodded toward the opposite wall. Aline stared at it for a few seconds, then admired Schrödinger emerging out of it as if it was mist. “It would also mean that whenever you encounter an untoward event resulting in your death, you’ll admittedly die, but some of your superposed states will still be alive. In summary, you’ll become immortal, even though your lifeless corpses will be retrieved from time to time.”
Schrödinger released Erwin on the floor. As the animal jumped out of the room, he prevented Aline from catching it: “Be warned! If you follow the white rabbit, he’ll lead you to the Quantum. Now if you could excuse me, I need to catch up with my other state and try to «unreason» him.”
“How do you plan to do that? You don’t know where you went! I mean the other you, or the relative you, or… whatever!”
“Don’t be foolish,” he mocked her. “Of course I know where I am.”

About the Author: 
Ashtrof Wyvern is the pen name of an optimistic transhumanist in an age of growing bioconservative and technophobic skepticism, and incidentally a medical resident fond of literature, cinema, and nearly everything related to Japan.