Matryoshka Principle

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An alarm was sounding.

“The orbit appears to be decaying commander Shěn”

“Yes thank you I.A.N., I can see that.” Between the apathetic voice of the computer and the impact alarm, I was almost able to ignore the event horizon which I was spiraling towards.

“Ok I.A.N. run a check on all systems.” Glancing over the computers and readings – some of it didn’t make sense – the craft was slowed just enough to push it out of orbit, but I don’t know why.

“System check complete, all normal.”

Right then, that wasn’t helpful, the dark sphere was looming bigger and bigger, the distortion around it growing more apparent. Looks like I will make it into the history books, just not as planned. First woman to die by black hole? As far as I know, first human to die by black hole. That’s a pretty thought.

“Commander Shěn it would appear our options are limited” Standard A.I. pointing out the obvious.

“I.A.N., this is a super-massive black hole. Run some calculations, There is a chance the gravitation won’t rip us apart right?” By this time, the stars outside seemed to bend around the black object that filled most of the view from the cockpit.

“Insufficient information. At this point there are only two possibilities: yes or no.”

“Well, looks like we don’t have much choice but to find out.” Sitting back and tightening the restraints, the ship shuddered as the looming monster began to fill my view. The stars appeared to be compressed into a bubble behind me that got smaller as it was surrounded by black. A sudden jolt, more alarms, the stars vanished, and suddenly all around me was a blinding white light. It lasted a second before it faded away.

“Re-establishing attitude control.”

I opened my eyes as the ship stabilized itself, I was in normal space again, or at least it looked that way at first. In the distance I saw what looked like stars, but what was in front of me wasn’t a star that I’m familiar with. It was a glowing sphere of luminous gas, but it was thin and semi-transparent, more a glowing bubble.

“I.A.N., what am I looking at?”

“Unknown at this time, analysis indicates ionized gas.”

A star? But it’s just a bubble. The instruments started acting strange, it seemed like gravity was different here or something.

“Commander Shěn, it would appear this is a star, however it’s fusion gravitation balance operates on a different gravity coefficient”

“Try again I.A.N., but less technical.”

“I would speculate we are no longer in our universe as we understand it, but are within a contained universe in the black hole itself, with its own set of physical laws”

I paused for a second, assuming I.A.N. was correct. That would mean I may have proven how universes are born, inside the compressed space-time of black holes. Universes within universes within universes, each with its own set of physical laws, infinity in a finite space.

“I.A.N, run a check on the ambient matter.” Bringing systems on-line, I set a course in a random direction.

“Analysis complete. It would appear to be composed of particles of unknown type, similar to baryons but the properties don’t conform to know laws”

Great, a universe made of matter different to my own. I can only speculate how this is adversely effecting me, oh well, let’s just work the problem.

“I.A.N., how would we get back to our universe?” (It was a simplistic question but I took a chance.)

“Insufficient data. We would need to find the edge and exit the black hole the way we entered, like being trapped in a bubble. However, due to space-time compression, I fear there is no edge to find from within the bubble.”

Oh wonderful…

“I remember reading about virtual particles appearing and disappearing, possibly coming and going from parallel universes, is that any help?”

“No Commander. We aren’t in a parallel universe, we are in a universe within our own universe. To coin a phrase, we are a ship in a bottle”

As I bombarded I.A.N. with questions and input, the FTL drive came back online. I had no idea if it would work, or be safe to operate in a universe where the laws of gravity are different, but I didn’t become an explorer because it was safe. I ran my checks and it seemed to be fine. I just had to calibrate to a different metric and ignore the warning that it was in error. After finding what looked like a gravity well nearby, I initiated the jump. It was not the smoothest ride but it worked, to I.A.N.’s surprise. Looming in front of me was the same thing I was studying before. Apparently regardless of the gravity metric, enough of it will make a black hole.

I.A.N., what are your thoughts here? What if we found a way to bridge back through a wormhole or something?”

“If the physical laws in a given universe allowed us to break into higher dimensions we may be able to escape, possibly out of our own universe as well, assuming it too is in a black hole of another universe”

That’s an interesting thought, what if our universe is like this one, just a compressed space in a black hole of another universe?

“So basically we need to just find a universe with the correct set of physical laws?”


Alright, we got a game plan. Basically, just keep going down the rabbit hole – a ship in a bottle in a ship in a bottle – until we can sidestep out and enter our universe through a higher dimension that may or may not exist. This isn’t what I signed on for, but may as well make the best of it. If I get back, I’m no longer going to let people call me just a “star mapper”. No that’s not grand enough.

Commander Mei Shěn, Universe Hopper.

About the Author: 
Amateur aerospace engineer, founder, head (and most other jobs) of Astrum Exploration. Avid fan of science and education, I build things, theories about things, and sometimes write things. Dyslexic recluse who still wants to contribute something to humanity at large.