Saturday, November 11, 2017

Two To Beam Up

Being teleported was, frankly, a mind blowing experience. Every rational part of my brain told me it was impossible, a clever trick and illusion, while every emotional part of my heart was crying with joy after decades of dreaming about living this moment.

Of course, it was a clever trick, an illusion. But even knowing how they did it doesn't take from the magic.

The first part was obvious. Told to watch a safety video, all our gazes were focused on the TV screens, and so too the strobe flash hidden beside them, blowing out our night vision when the lights went out.

The next five or so seconds was when the real magic happened.

The ceiling above us slid smoothly to one side, leaving a multistory opening above our heads. The four walls, including the one with the TVs and fake doors we were facing, shot upwards 60 feet at incredible speeds, uncovering the transporter panelling around us and the transporter control room with crew members in front. Then, as quietly as the first was removed, a new ceiling slid into place above us, enclosing the transporter bay.

What little noise the mechanisms did make were masked by the transporter sound effects.

At this point, a mere five seconds after we had been plunged into darkness, the lights came back up and all was revealed. The floor we were standing on had a property such that, when lit from above, appeared to have one design and a different one when lit from below. Tricking us into believing we had moved floors was as simple as turning on a light switch.

All of that was breathtaking, but it leaves one, final mystery.

Experiencing the whoosh of air in the darkness was amazing, because it totally contributed to the sensation of being moved by some means. The designer who thought to included that was a genius, right? Not quite.

When the whole mechanism was first being tested with actual people in it, it seemed only right that it would be the engineers themselves to risk life and limb before anyone else. Nothing should go wrong. It had been dry tested dozens of times. The mechanisms were precisely engineered to a ridiculous level and the timing was tuned to perfection.

This is how what happened next was told to me.

Standing in the drab grey false room, the strobe went off, the lights went out and more than one engineer screamed.

You see, when you pull four walls straight up 60 feet at high speed you create a suction effect as air rushes in to fill the space the walls occupied. That suction is experienced by anyone in the room as a whoosh of air, coming from around your feet and flowing upwards.

When the lights came up the engineers, frozen in their spots, silently looked around before one of them spoke up.

"We're keeping that in."

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