I don't own the Mythbusters or any of the characters or places in any of J.R.R. Tolkien's work. I appreciate all reviews. Please enjoy the fourth of my bizarre Mythbusters stories. A word of caution; this story will make much more sense if you read my first two stories, which my wife CIYA posted for me before I opened my account.
Mythbusters in Middle Earth
Grant sat back and considered his options. It was Friday evening, the start of a four-day weekend and he had absolutely nothing to do over said weekend! He let out a deep sigh and glanced at the crypto-physics manuscript he had been paging through for light reading. He then glanced through at the workshop at M5 industries. He was a bored engineer, with no supervision, a completely stocked workshop, and a book expounding upon the very nature of reality. Trouble is brewing.
Jamie pulled up to M5 Industries and stopped cold. It was a Wednesday morning after a relaxing four-day weekend. The sky above the rest of the San Francisco area had been clear and sunny. But here, above his shop the sky was somehow dark without and cloud cover. Jagged bolts of multicolored, slow-moving lightning radiated out from the shop. Occasionally the bolts would part, providing glimpses of scenic panoramas, which simply could not be found on earth. There was only one explanation.
"GRANT!" Jamie bellowed, diving in through the door. "You stayed here all weekend again didn't you? Whatever you've done power it down. The neighbors are mad enough after your little 'flatus inducing radio signal' trick last week!"
Grant Imahara slowly brought his tired mind into focus on his enraged employer. Shaking out the cobwebs, he lurched to the main breaker panel and started to power everything down. He was tempted to kill the lights and sneak away in the resulting confusion. But then his mind snapped back to just what he had accomplished.
"Jamie!" He gasped. "You're not going to believe what I've done. I've managed to open a stable gap in the very fabric of reality! Do you know what this means?"
"Absolutely," Jamie answered, "it means my utility bill is going to be at an all time high."
"No…well probably…but that's not the point. I've accessed the fifth dimension!"
"So you're going to be singing 'Age of Aquarius.' But what does that have to do with the weird lightning and the fabric of reality?"
"No, no, not that fifth dimension, I mean the fifth dimension in physics, alternate realities!"
"My property evaluation is going to go up, isn't it?" Jamie concluded.
"It'll be worth it. Okay, you know the four basic dimensions right?"
"Of course, height, width, depth and time."
"Well the fifth dimension is alternate realities. For every possibility, every variable in the past, another reality exists that incorporates the 'choice not taken.' Our reality is actually a 'might have been' to other realities. The possibilities are infinite, and I've given us access!"
"Grant, when was the last time you got any sleep?"
"I've been up for a little over 100 hours straight."
"Okay, go home, shower, get some real food in you, and go to bed. We will have a meeting at eight o'clock tonight, when Kari can join us. We need to discuss the consequences of what you've done over the weekend."
"Consequences? But the possibilities..."
"Are endless, I know. But so are the liabilities. For one thing, you punching into another reality just might allow another reality to punch into ours. For another, my underwriter is going to freak. Finally, the union is probably going to develop a whole new wage scale because of this. Get yourself together and we'll all figure this out."
Jamie shook his head as the engineer stumbled out of the workshop. He really had to get Grant to switch to decaffeinated.
That night, after the sun set, all of the Mythbusters met in the workshop.
"Before we start I've got some big news." Kari announced. "Tory and I have come up with a sunblock that allows me to function in daylight."
"That's great," said Adam, "but how did you do the testing? We only have one known test subject and a 'negative' result would have destroyed her."
"We used cows," Tory explained. "Kari managed to convert one so we shaved it and slathered it with our experimental sunblock. Then we staked it out and waited for the sun to come up. We didn't have the mixture correct and we wound up with a pyrotechnic bovine."
"Was it as bad as when we took out the vampires in the shop?" Asked Adam.
"Worse! For some reason the exposure to sunlight made the cowpire's internal organs start to combust before the rest of it did. As a result the poor thing expanded like a balloon. It even started to float a bit since the resultant gasses were hot. Finally the gasses escaped from the rear and it took off, simple rocket propulsion. We had an undead cow, mooing at a very high pitch, shooting through the air propelled by a stream of burning fertilizer. Finally the rest of the cowpire's tissues reacted and it exploded some forty feet up like the worlds most disgusting bottle rocket. Luckily what remained reacted with the sunlight and disintegrated before hitting the ground."
"I take it you learned your lesson?" Jamie asked.
"A couple of lessons. The first was to pierce the cowpire before exposing it to sunlight. The second was to shave it before having Kari convert it. Trying to shave a vampiric cow, which is trying to bite you, isn't a very pleasant task. Anyway we tweaked the compound and tried again. We had one more failure but we got it right in the end."
"What happened to the next two test subjects?" Jamie wanted to know.
"Well, the first of them disintegrated on its own. Because we pierced the cowpire we didn't have it flying all over; we just had a thirty-foot gout of really bad smelling flame. The second one we had to destroy by beheading it. Once the interior of the cowpire was exposed to sunlight, it disintegrated as well."
Jamie thought about it. "Is this why the outer wall of my shop has two cow-shaped scorch marks?"
"Yeah, but they go so well with the mark on your shop floor."
"But more to the point," Adam stepped in, "Kari can now function in daylight?"
"Yep," Kari replied, "we've mixed up gallons of the stuff. I'm perfectly safe."
"Excellent," said Jamie, "now for why I've called us all together. Grant spent the weekend in the shop and has managed to crack into the fifth dimension."
"Oh I love it when 'I Didn't Get to Sleep at All' comes on the oldies station." Said Kari.
"I prefer 'Up, Up and Away.'" Adam countered.
"Not that fifth dimension!" Snapped Grant. "I mean alternate realities."
"I know that I'm not going to be able to understand exactly how you did it, but give me an idea of how you did this." Jamie requested.
"It starts out by creating an electrical signal that moves faster that the speed of light. I wont go into much detail, but by using high speed pumps and mercury I managed to make electrical impulses move faster than light. Since our physical reality is grounded in the fact that nothing can move faster than light, the fabric of reality began to erode." Grant frowned, "it was at about that time that I really needed a cookie."
"Okay, but how do you select which alternate reality you connect to?" It was Kari.
"I wired in a colander from a chain restaurant, put it on my head, and read a novel."
"That one went by me pretty fast." Kari admitted.
"Look, have you ever gone to a chain restaurant and eaten one of their samples while waiting to be seated? Then you order what you had sampled and it didn't taste as good?" Kari nodded. "That's alternate reality in action! By reading a novel, by brain generated a 'tuning' if you will, toward what alternate reality I wanted to link to. The colander caught my brainwaves, adjusted my reality to an alternate reality, and the device I made provided the power to make the link."
"Okay, I'm going to pretend that that made sense to me." Said Tory, "but I guess I can't argue with results. What were you reading at the time?"
"J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Return or the King' I actually formed a stable gap, went through and saw Minas Tirith! I made it there after Frodo, Bilbo, and Elrond had left Middle Earth. Sam and Rosie were in the city for a visit."
"And how many hours had you been up before this happened?" Tory wanted to know.
"I wasn't hallucinating! In fact, I can re-establish the gap and take you all through for a visit. I met Aragorn and he seems like an okay guy."
"And we can check out some Middle-Earth myths while we're at it." Said Jamie. "For instance, I always wondered if Frodo's sword, Sting, actually glowed when orcs were nearby. I'd like to put that to the test."
"How about that giant spider, Shelob?" Asked Tory, "No arthropod should be able to get that big. Their respiratory systems aren't efficient enough to support a body of that size."
"How about trolls?" Kari asked. "Supposedly they turn into stone when exposed to sunlight. As someone with an adverse reaction to sunlight, I'd like to look into that."
"This is great!" Jamie exclaimed. "We can duck through to an alternate reality and test myths. And to think that PBS turned us down. Now, who goes where?"
"I want to stay here and keep things going at this end." Said Adam. "I can work with the mythterns and keep the show going so we can continue to make a living."
"There's no way I'm going to get anywhere near a giant spider." Said Jamie. "I'll go up north to the Ettenmoors and check the troll myth. I've got some ideas."
"I'll stick with Jamie," Kari cut in, "I don't much like spiders either. My vampire strength might come in handy when dealing with trolls."
"I guess that leaves me with the spider," Tory replied, "I've got some ideas as well."
"Tory and I can team up on both the sword and the spider myths." Said Grant. "According to Aragorn, there are still orcs living in the mountains above the fortress of Cirith Ungol. That's also where Sam wounded Shelob. While nobody knows if she's still there, or if she's still alive, it's the best place to start looking. Sam said that he'll loan us the sword since it seemed to be able to slice her webbing, and her, better than normal steel. Hopefully we can team up on these myths and investigate them at the same time."
Jamie nodded to all of them. "This is going to be a long investigation. Kari and I have a lot of travel time ahead of them on the other side. I want you all to give me an outline on how you intend to test your myths when you get there. Then we're going to work up lists of equipment to take with you. Remember that you won't have backup on this one." He gave Adam a long, hard look. "No ambulances, no firefighters, you guys are on your own once you get to Middle Earth. Good luck everyone."
Three months later, Adam called them all together again to report their results. "Okay everyone lets report. I'll let Jamie and Kari start."
"Thanks Adam," replied Jamie, who was clearly much worse for wear. "When we crossed over to Middle Earth, we took a bunch of steel tools with us. Since the combined realms of Gondor and Arnor were now at peace there was a big demand for axes, shovels, saws, plows and that sort of thing. We traded the tools for the services of porters and wagons. We spent the better part of a month traveling north to the Ettenmoors. Once there we traded more tools to some Dunedain trackers and they hunted out some troll dens for us."
"What all were you testing, and how did you test it?" Grant wanted to know.
"First we wanted to see if trolls do indeed turn into stone when exposed to sunlight. The Dunedain showed us the stone remains of a few of them that had been caught by daylight so we declared that one confirmed. We had to change that one later."
"Why was this?' Grant asked.
"It'll work better if I tell the story from start to finish without interruptions. Like I said, we thought that sunlight causes trolls to turn to stone. Next, we wanted to see if it had to be sunlight, or if any intense light would cause the reaction. We set up a fake camp and surrounded it with battery powered spotlights. A few trolls showed up that night and tried to raid the camp. That's when we triggered the spotlights."
"What happened?" Asked Adam.
"First, we found out that intense light, other than daylight, has no effect on trolls. Secondly, we found out that sudden, bright lights make them really cranky. Third, we found out that while bright lights can blind them they track like bloodhounds. Finally, we found out that they aren't much for a sprint but they have a lot of endurance."
"In other words they wound up chasing you all night?"
"Yep, I've never been so happy to see sunrise. But we were able to confirm that not just any light will affect trolls."
"What was your next test."
"I wanted to get grip on what component, or components, of sunlight caused the conversion. So we set up some mirrors at the mouth of one of their dens and broke in. The mirrors reflected the visible light into the den but did not reflect the higher energy radiation like X and gamma rays."
"What did you discover?" Asked Adam.
"Several things. First we discovered that reflected light doesn't have any effect on trolls, but it does seem to really tick them off. I also learned that standing around and holding a mirror is a very stupid idea when angry trolls are around. I had walked into the troll den with another mirror intending to reflect the beam from the first mirror at any trolls I might see. I saw one and illuminated it. It just walked up and decked me one."
"I take it that's when you suffered the concussion and the broken ribs?"
"Yep, that's when we discovered that trolls are really strong. But Kari can tell you more about that than I can."
"Kari?" Adam prompted.
"Well Jamie had just been flattened by a troll. One of the Dunedain with us shot arrows at it and another ran up and used a sword. The problem is that the weapons just bounced off of the troll's hide. The troll then flattened the Dunedain with the sword and another troll appeared from further inside the den. Two of us were down and we had only managed to give one of the trolls a very slight wound. That's when it hit me, I could drain the life from the troll. I jumped on that first troll, clamped my mouth on the wound and drew life for all I was worth."
"Since you and Jamie managed to return, I take it you were able to take down the troll?"
"Yes and talk about an adrenaline high! We had found out earlier that I consume life when I drain blood. Well that troll had a ton of life. I felt like I had just washed down a whole bottle of caffeine tablets with an entire case of energy drink. I was so charged up that my hair was standing on end! That's when we made the two biggest discoveries."
"Which were?" Adam prompted.
"First, trolls don't turn into stone when exposed to sunlight, they turn into stone when they die." Jamie cut in. "Kari drained that troll of its life and it immediately turned to stone. The reaction released an enormous amount of energy. All of that carbon had to convert to silicon, much like a fusion reaction converting hydrogen to helium. The second troll was caught in the energy burst and it turned to stone as well."
"How did you survive?" Grant asked, " I don't know the exact masses involved, but that had to have been a fatal dose of radiation."
"Kari was between the first Dunedain any myself and her undead body absorbed the dangerous radiation. However the den itself became hotter than an oven. We were lucky that Kari was there and strong enough to pull both the first Dunedain and I out of the den. Her body then burned off all of the life energy she had taken from the first troll in order to repair her body. The second Dunedain had fled when the second troll appeared so he had several dozen feet of dirt and stone between him and the reaction sources. It was enough to shield him."
"So what are your conclusions on the troll testing?"
"We've come to the conclusion that trolls are biologically unstable and change to stone when they die. This same biological instability makes them very sensitive to higher energy radiation like X and Gamma rays. Their thick, dense hides are very efficient at absorbing the very energy that kills them. Finally, they release this very radiation when they change. This probably explains why they live in small, dispersed groups. The idea of an entire city of trolls going out in a chain reaction is horrifying to contemplate."
Jamie finally leaned back, satisfied with a job well done. "How about you two?"
Grant and Tory shared a look before Tory spoke. "It's getting late, maybe we better finish this tomorrow."
The ending of this chapter wasn't as funny as it started out. Sorry about that, I'll try to make sure that Tory and Grant have more interesting adventures.