Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hyperloop, by Klára Kastnerová

Hyperloop is an incredibly fast transportation vehicle that is going to be built to connect Brno, Prague and Vienna. It is well-known for its futuristic design and speed, but what if it goes too fast?



Nobody actually believed that it was going to work, but here it was, the first Hyperloop in Europe, and crowds of people came to see the grand opening.
The grand opening consisted of some important people giving speeches, and then someone else was supposed to cut a ribbon stretched across the entrance to the travel capsule, and the main part that everyone came to see was the first launch of the capsule with actual people in it.
The first passengers were president Zeman, his little helper Ovčáček, Karel Gott and other people whose names I won’t bother you with right now.
Everything was ready and set, all the passengers were safely sitting in their seats, the crowd was cheering and the head engineer, dr. Rotors, was pushing buttons in his office to set the big invention going.
“Are we ready?” dr. Rotors said and all the other engineers in his office nodded with thrill in their eyes.
Dr. Rotors pushed the big red button and launched the capsule.
The crowd started screaming in excitement as the capsule disappeared from its starting point and rode away at an incredible speed.
“Gentlemen, it’s been an honor to work with you.” Dr. Rotors said as his colleagues cheered in his office and opened a bottle of champagne. “They will call us from the Prague station when the capsule gets there. Meanwhile, I would like to propose a toast…”
There were several computer screens divided into smaller screens in dr. Rotors’ office, and each little screen showed a part of the Hyperloop tube from the inside. These were the safety cameras installed inside the tube, although they couldn’t show much, the capsule was too fast and only appeared as a grey blur and then vanished.
The engineers celebrated their success. Nobody even noticed that several screens in
dr. Rotors’ office suddenly went dark and displayed a system notice that read ERROR in a big red font.

Loud beeping. Red lights flashing on numerous people nervously crowded around dr. Rotors’ office. Engineers running back and forth, shouting in phones with the Prague station on the other end.      Dr. Rotors himself sitting behind a computer, clicking and trying to find something to prove that this is just a big misunderstanding, sure they arrived okay, we just incorrectly calculated the time.
“Should we tell the people?” a young engineer named Henry popped his head into dr. Rotors’ office.
“No!” dr. Rotors stood up and banged both fists on the table. “We can’t tell anybody! Not yet.” He then sat down again and wiped cold sweat off his forehead. “It’s just some… Little mistake, they’re probably arriving there right now.”
“Doctor, uh… People from the Prague station called us, and… Nothing arrived. There’s no sign of any capsule in the Hyperloop tube whatsoever, they checked all the cameras, well… Not all of them.”
“I know. Did you find out why it’s broken?”
“Not really… Well, it’s possible that the lenses somehow broke, maybe there was too much pressure…” Henry slowly walked out of the office, but then turned around quickly and came back. “Also, we checked the regulators and there’s been a big power leak.”
Dr. Rotors looked up from his computer. “What? Where?”
“In the main regulator, there’s been a power leak. That happens when the system overloads because there’s too much electricity. “
“I know how it happens! But why? How could that be possible? We had everything calculated by computers!”
Henry shrugged and backed out of the office. Dr. Rotors checked the computer again and silently grumbled.
“That’s just not possible!” he mumbled as he reread the numbers and all the system settings for the fifth time. “People cannot just vanish! Okay, people, maybe, but fifteen tons of steel? This is such nonsense!”

The Brno Hyperloop station got together a team of engineers, scientists and technics, and that team was now standing in front of the tube entrance. They all knew what was going to happen. Well, all of them had theories.
One of those theories was that someone sabotaged the tube during the building process and the capsule either flew out of the tube and crashed somewhere far or that somebody kidnapped the capsule and is holding the passengers as hostages. That one was disproven though after many hours spent searching the tube without finding any proof of damage or sabotage (except for few broken cameras).
Another theory stated that maybe the capsule did arrive to Prague but the station concealed it for some political reasons. That one was probably not true either because after watching the footage of the cameras that didn’t break, it was clear that the capsule never got to the further part of the tube.
So, after coming up with many theories and ideas and then declaring all of them stupid,
dr. Rotors decided to compose a team of people who will actually take the Hyperloop trip and will meanwhile write and analyze everything they experience. Dr. Rotors wasn’t naive and expected this capsule to disappear too, so he gave each team member a tablet to write on, which was connected to the Hyperloop station via internet.
Dr. Rotors wasn’t very surprised when the whole capsule with the team in it disappeared too. He read the notes from the passengers’ tablets and although they were all very suspicious, they didn’t help him at all. All of the passengers wrote something about the capsule going at a really high speed (higher than they expected) and then it all got really confusing and most of the text did not make any sense.
He figured that sending other people via Hyperloop wouldn’t do any good.
After analyzing the camera footage again, he found the place where the capsule always disappeared. Then he took a slow-mo camera and drove all the way there. The part of the tube looked normal, except for the broken cameras.
“Henry? Are you in the office?” he phoned to the Hyperloop station.
“Yes? Where are you?” asked confused Henry through the phone.
“Could you please set the Hyperloop for another ride? Put something in the capsule, something you won’t mind disappearing.”
“But we only got three capsules left in here.”
“Do it. For the sake of science.”
Henry looked around the office and noticed a bin stuffed with crumbled papers and other garbage.
 “Are you ready?” Dr. Rotors asked after few minutes of waiting.
“Almost,” Henry poured the garbage on one of the seats and then closed the door of the capsule.
“Okay, it’s on,” Henry said, back in the office, and clicked something on the computer.
Dr. Rotors waited with his camera recording. Then he saw a big blur in the tube.
“A-HA!” he shouted and tried to follow the blur with his eyes, but it was already gone. “Maybe the camera will show a better result.” He said when he suddenly saw another blur pass through the tube.
“WHAT!?” Dr. Rotors ran along the tube but couldn’t find any of the blurs anymore.

Henry felt very smart for coming up with his idea.
“If we get more capsules,” he thought, “we might actually solve the problem of garbage surplus forever!”
Dr. Rotors called. He sounded upset.
“What did you just do!?” he shouted into the phone, “did you accidently start two capsules?”
“What? No,” Henry said with confusion. “What happened?”
The phone went silent for few seconds. “Wait in the office. Look at the camera footage. I’ll be there as soon as possible… Something really odd happened!”
Henry heard the click as dr. Rotors hung up.

When dr. Rotors arrived, Henry proudly told him about his Hyperloop thrash disposal idea.
“Clever, but not ambitious.” Dr. Rotors mumbled and plugged his slow-mo camera into the computer. “You have to realize that something physically impossible is happening right before our eyes. Using this phenomenon just to get rid of garbage is just… A bit sacrilegious.”
Henry sighed while the slow-mo camera’s footage loaded.
“Ha! Do you see that? That’s the first capsule!” dr. Rotors said with excitement and paused the video. “It’s definitely it, but wait, there will be the second one in a moment!” Dr. Rotors unpaused the video and the capsule drove away. Few seconds later another capsule passed.
“What the hell?” Henry asked and leaned closer to the screen.
Both of them went silent for a few seconds.
“Where are all the other engineers anyway?” Dr. Rotors asked as he noticed that the Hyperloop station was empty. “Were they afraid I’d make them take the Hyperloop trip too?”
“No, most of them left to do interviews with the police or the news, I think.”
“Oh, great. They’re gonna make this a bigger scandal than it should be.”

Most of the Hyperloop station employees came to work the next day and dr. Rotors immediately started asking them what was with all the interviews.
“What did they want to know?” he asked nervously as the engineers drank their morning coffee. “Did they ask for an explanation of the physically impossible vanishing? Did they question the integrity of our team? Were they mad about many important people disappearing?”
“Um, not really,” an engineer called David answered and sipped from his paper cup. “They were more interested in how we were going to use this phenomenon for good stuff. They asked us if we thought about garbage disposal and stuff like that.”
Henry looked at dr. Rotors importantly in a ‘I told you so’ way and dr. Rotors frowned.
“Of course that the foolish public would only think of such a shallow idea.” He growled angrily.
“Well, it doesn’t have to be only garbage disposal,” pointed out David, “it could be used for… Getting rid of other things.”
David shrugged with an awkward grin. “People. Problematic people. Like prisoners or homeless people.”
“That’s inhuman!” Henry protested.
“It’s beneficial,” David explained with a big smile and finished his coffee.

“Don’t tell me you would actually do this!” Henry insisted while dr. Rotors tried to come up with a solution. They were both sitting in dr. Rotors’ office, it was noon.
“They said it’s beneficial!” Dr. Rotors mumbled for the numerous time and tried to ignore Henry who was becoming a bit hysterical. “Also, I won’t allow anything anyway until I find out what’s actually going on.”
Henry muttered unimpressed and then left the office. He figured he might at least do some paperwork.
“Finally,” Dr. Rotors thought and tried to concentrate on his work. He rewatched all the footage again, read through the settings and tried to find… Something that would make sense.

Henry’s phone rang.
“What?” He answered without looking at the number.
“Henry! Where are you!” Dr. Rotors’ voice sounded excited. Henry’s never heard him scream in the phone like that.
“You know you don´t have to call me, I´m like twenty meters away from your office.”
“You have to come here! I think I got it!”
“Got what?”
“I got a theory! I found out how the capsules vanished!”
Henry put down a pile of papers he was carrying and went in the office.
“I have to warn you, though, you’re probably not gonna believe me at first.” Dr. Rotors said worriedly.
“Okay,” Henry shrugged and didn’t know what to expect.
“So, here’s my theory. I think that the capsule,” Dr. Rotors gave a dramatic pause that wasn’t needed because his only listener was Henry who didn’t enjoy drama anyway, “surpassed the speed of light!”
Henry remained silent and didn’t really know how to respond.
“Okay, I know it sounds crazy, but hang with me. Somehow, the magnets in the tube must’ve been set to be stronger, which explains the power leak and also why the capsule went so fast. It went faster than light. And because it surpassed the speed of light, it surpassed the speed of time.”
“What?” Henry looked puzzled. “So where is it now? Somewhere the light and time hasn’t traveled yet?”
“I thought about that too, but no, I don’t think so. I mean, I think that the capsule went basically forward in time and that’s why I saw it twice. The first one was the one that was ahead of time and the second one was the actual one. There was only one capsule, obviously, but we could see two in our timeline.”
“But how could you see it if it went faster than light?”
“I think that by that time the first capsule has already slowed down. Well, and what happens when there’s two capsules and the first one slows down? They collide! Meanwhile, the magnets are still working, they’re not as strong but they still manage to catch the collision and stop it from breaking the tube. So now there’s huge pressure on those capsules and it turns both the capsules in a little ball. What happens then?”
Henry shook his head in disbelief.
“A black hole is created! Obviously a black hole so small couldn’t hold its own gravity and immediately collapsed into itself.”
There was thrilling silence in the office and then Henry scratched his ear and asked: “So it actually did disappear? You’re sure? So we can use it do get rid of unwanted things without worrying about it coming back?”
Dr. Rotors proudly nodded his head.

Humanity does not want to transport things from one place to another. Humanity wants to destroy things and then create new things that will later be also destroyed to make place for newer things (and so on).
The Hyperloop station reopened again but this time it had a much different purpose. Brno got new capsules that were subsidized by the EU (for the sake of ecology) and one of them was filled with garbage every few weeks and was then sent for a ride to disappear. Few times, although it wasn’t publicly confessed, they used the disappearing phenomenon to also get rid of problematic people or stray animals from animal shelter.
Dr. Rotors became rich and famous for coming up with his theory and because he’s always wanted to live somewhere exotic and far away, he moved to Ostrava.
Dr. Rotors’ theory was correct, but he didn’t think it all the way through. Because when a black hole is formed, it creates and connects with a white hole. These two holes then form
a wormhole which can be used to travel distances that are directly proportional to the mass of the black hole. So, briefly said, it creates a sort of a teleport.
But Dr. Rotors didn’t think of that. He’ll probably find out, though, when people from multiple countries start complaining about those huge crashed capsules full of garbage and dead people just randomly appearing in various places.

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