Previously on Darklight: a human and a bird were on their way to the moon when the human fell asleep. He found himself in a damp and dreamless reality, where everything was exactly as it seemed. Because of a dead rat, he chose to worship logic. Episode one is here.
I had no destination, but on I went,
along shallow walkway creeks,
up cascading staircase waterfalls,
and at the building’s very top,
I came upon a cavernous laboratory.
Ancient relics from the long-forgotten
steampunk age were everywhere,
and all was still and quiet,
except for the endless patter of the rain,
the occasional scurry of a rat,
and other sounds, too numerous to mention,
until a stranger in a lab coat waved to me.
I’m glad you’re here.
The Ghost of Sundays Yet to Come
told me to expect you.
He was adding decorative asparagi
to racks of standardised potatoes,
and he showed me one.
Asparagi are similar to asparagus,
but more scientific.
I decided to play along.
Fascinating, I didn’t know that.
Encouraged, he explained his apparatus.
The potatoes are wired together
in a series-parallel combination.
They supply the power
to my transdimensional portal,
which resembles a widescreen television.
My new-found rationality was being tested,
and he sensed my scepticism
It works on the well-known principle
of reverse electrophoretic osmosis.
I nodded slowly, hoping to look knowledgeable.
He discarded an unsatisfactory
asparagus, and addressed the next one
with a sigh and a soliloquy.
I invented radio vision, entirely wireless,
and the telenovela, potato-powered of course,
but no one paid attention.
The portal will be my triumph.
Although it hasn’t worked to date,
the storm outside will add the sci-fi wildcard:
a random megavolt or two.
Right on cue, thunder shook the walls,
sparks flew from insulating towers,
and the inventor began throwing switches.
I should have mentioned that I’m future you,
that is how the Ghost of Sundays works.
If you remember later on, you might purchase
shares in a potato farm.
There was a sudden smell of Sunday dinner
—baked potatoes with asparagus garnishing—
and in a sizzle and a flash, the TV screen exploded.
All that remained was a smoking frame,
with ghostly images flickering within.
The inventor put a persuasive arm around my shoulders.
I’m thinking you could be the first:
the first to travel in the transdimensions.
You’d be as famous as a cat, with countless followers
reading every twoot and tweet.
I was weary, tired of wet and plotless wandering,
and I clambered through the frame.
- A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens (1843)
- potato batteries
- B Kliban’s cartoon, “More Than A Coincidence?”
- life in isolation
transpotato portals, another short youtube video testing ALISA, adaptive layered image synthesis and automation. Best viewed full screen/4K (still blurred on youtube).