Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

The 17th Dimension

Srikanth knew it was only a matter of time before the world would find out. However, Srikanth had not thought that he wouldn’t even get time to say sorry or goodbye to his family. The government could work incredibly fast if they wanted to.

Luckily, he was faster.

— —

“Srikanth, can you please tell me what are you working on?” Kanika asked urgently.

“Of course. As soon as it’s finished, you will be the first person to know it.” Srikanth said mischievously.

Kanika fumed and the left the room. Srikanth laughed and returned to his machine. Since the discovery of Krit particles, the whole world had gone mad. And no one had gone madder than Srikanth. These particles not only held the secrets of the universe, they could also be a possible way to travel through other dimensions.

After the string theory failed to combine all the equations together, scientists realised that they needed something more to make the connection. Juan Krit was the person who discovered Krit particles — a unit of energy that could traverse through 89 dimensions (78 more than the measly string theory could produce) and were the fundamental unit of almost everything.

The catch, of course, was that because these particles existed in all planes, they never manifested in any particular plane completely — the primary reason that they couldn’t be discovered before Juan Krit changed the world.

“Srikanth. SRIKANTH..”

“Huh! What?” Srikanth replied, dazed.

“Eat something and take some rest. You can work on this later.” Kanika said in an even tone. It was clear to Srikanth that she was on the verge of bursting.

“What time is it?” He asked.

“It has been almost 28 hours since I last came here. You haven’t eaten anything or slept.” Kanika said and Srikanth knew he had to stop.

“Any progress?” Kanika asked softly once her demand was met.

“There is. But I’m not sure if it’s in the right direction. The Krit particles are behaving almost predictably. However, the behavior is highly restricted. And when I try to increase the behavioural range, the unpredictability increases exponentially.”

Kanika nodded. Kanika had helped him in getting the theoretical calculations for the device but the practical experiments were Srikanth’s domain and expertise.

“Can you recalculate the numbers for a new variable system?” Srikanth asked.

“I can but how will that help?” Kanika asked.

“Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it will open the door from the other side or something. What if we are stuck in 3-Dimensions because the door to other dimensions are shut from that end.” Srikanth said. “I know I am babbling but please humour me.” Srikanth smiled weakly.

“Only if you take proper rest first.”

Srikanth nodded.

The next day when he woke up, Kanika was already gone to work. She had calculated three new variable systems overnight and left a note as well.

‘ I have made some changes in the current variable system as well. Your idea about the locked door gave me some new thoughts that I have incorporated in this. Try them today.’ The message said.

Srikanth felt a pang of jealousy and pride in the same wave. If not for Kanika, his research would have been dead slow. Any other scientist in the world would have taken at least a week for this kind of equation manipulation. He wished he was half as good at theoretical stuff as Kanika.

When the two had first met, Kanika would often laugh at how slow Srikanth was in Physics. The fact that it was just before Srikanth’s Phd thesis defence didn’t help boost his confidence. However, her confidence and intelligence attracted him to no end.

As for Kanika, she was blown away by Srikanth’s Phd. It was a practical implementation of one of her own theoretical designs. She hadn’t expected it to become reality in her lifetime, let alone see someone do it just for their dissertation.

With the discovery of Krit particles, both shifted their study on them and when Kanika discovered a way to travel across the universe through the other dimensions, Srikanth got to work. Three years hence, he was still working.

Kanika’s theory received multiple changes from Srikanth and Srikanth received several updates on improving the design from Kanika and the work continued.

For the past six months, Srikanth was just working on getting the variables right. The device was ready to work.

“Today, I will make you work.” Srikanth said to the silent machine in front of him.

It happened almost in a flash. He input the new variable system and as soon as he started the machine, the room went dark. A creature the size of a large rat glowed and produced a ‘reet’ sound. It was furrier and looked harmless but it existed only for a second.

The machine was intact but the rest of the metal in the room had melted. Luckily, Srikanth was outside the room in a glass chamber which had survived. His phone rang.

“Hello.”

“What happened?” A shrieking voice came from the other end. It was Kanika.

“How do you know?”

“I got a call from some government orgranization telling that you have done something and they are going to take you in.”

“The new variable systems worked Kanika. I saw some creature as well. It might have been a multi-dimensional being or from other part of the universe. I don’t know yet but it worked.” Srikanth said excitedly.

“And now they will take it all away.” Kanika said softly.

“NO! I will not let them do that.” Srikanth said and heard a loud bang on the door.

“They are here.”

“Srikanth. Don’t do something stupid.” Kanika shouted over the phone.

“I’m not letting them take our research.” Srikanth shouted and jumped into the machine.

The machine was perfectly intact and the screen finally told him what had happened. The journey had been through two extra dimensions and the creature had been an alien from this universe itself. He had finally created something that could travel the universe.

Srikanth saw them in front of him. Eight people in full body armour with guns. He pushed the button.

“NO!!” A voice came from behind the eight people.

“What now sir.” One soldier asked the woman.

“Now, we hope that he is caught by the ODM before he dies.” The girl replied.

— —

“What do you mean he might not make it?” Kanika asked the girl sitting in front of her.

“Ms. Kanika. The device that your husband has built travels through 17th dimension. That dimension is not allowed for travel by ODM, that is, Order of Distance Monitoring.”

“But why is that? And what will ODM do?”

“Hopefully, they will catch him.”

“Hopefully?”

“Unlike the other dimensions, 17th dimension is not safe. In fact, half of your house’s metal is melted because of that. And the location where it must have opened also would have suffered similar fate. We have no news yet but let’s hope there haven’t been any casualties.”

“That’s why it’s closed from inside.” Kanika whispered.

“Yes. However, he was able to open it somehow.”

“My new calculations did that.” Kanika said.

“You really are the best in the world Ms. Kanika. However, I wish you had made way for the other dimensions. They are.. err.. quite safe.”

“But if you knew then why don’t we travel like that right now.”

“ODM doesn’t supply technology. They just regulate it. So, we will have to build the device ourselves. Which scientists like you and Srikanth are doing and so is the government.”

“Then why did ODM contact you.”

“Once we discovered Krit particles, they contacted us. Most civilisations are able to discover universe travel after the discovery of Krit particles, per ODM.”

“Uh. Ok.” Kanika said and went silent. She prayed for Srikanth and hoped that ODM would find him.

“Don’t worry. ODM will find him.” The girl said softly putting her hand on Kanika’s shoulder.

“But what after that. Will he be considered a criminal and punished?” Kanika asked.

“As long as the damage is not huge, we might be able to save him. It’s his first time, our first time. However, if someone has died…” The girl trailed off.

‘Where are you Srikanth?’ Kanika thought miserably.