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7 Fourth Dimension

 "I had to make some tight twists and turns in hyperspace, so the frame of the ship is warped and most of the hull is damaged," Mazur sighed in annoyance.

Ivan also had a sense of defeat, "How long will it take to fix it?"

"By myself, if I was to salvage metal from other parts of the ship, about a year. And that's just to make us capable of long-distance flight in hyperspace, we are still lost in deep space outside of the galaxy with no indication which direction is the way home."

The two of them felt depressed over the situation. Just as Ivan was looking outside the bridge, he noticed something in space off to the side.

"Mazur, what's that?" Ivan pointed out into space where a form could be seen. It was black, just like the vast emptiness of space, but there was a distinct texture to it that was partially reflective.

Mazur double checked the radars and operated the other sensors to scan, "Hold on, thermoscopy and ultraviolet are blind. None of the radars are showing anything, but an old short-ranged sonar is responding that there is an object over there. It's strange, the shape seems to be shifting."

Ivan was also curious, he activated the impulse thrusters and gradually moved over to the object hidden within the depth of space. The ship had bright floodlights on and finally lit up the object. It was an exotic fish half the size of the Poseidon, with shimmering black scales that slightly altered shape depending on the angle you looked at them. This fish was just floating here, stagnant within deep space.

"What is it?"

Mazur gazed outside the glass in consternation and answered, "I don't know. Bring the ship closer so I can get a sample of it."

Ivan activated the impulse thrusters on minimum power and crawled towards the fish. He pulled the ship close enough that it was only a hundred feet away from the base of the ship.

Both Ivan and Mazur equipped their space suits again and moved to the cargo hold. They activated an energy shield to prevent the cargo flying out into space before opening the base hatch of the cargo.

Floodlights lit up the corpse, so they could see the entirety of the creature. With a rope tying each of them to the inside of the cargo hold, the two launched themselves toward the fish.

As the two of them were floating through the vast nothingness between the ship and the fish, Ivan couldn't help commenting, "It's strange."

Mazur heard this across the internal communication frequency of the suits and replied, "Indeed, I have never seen or heard of anything like it."

"No, what I mean by strange, is where is it's head. If it's a living creature, surely it must be able to eat, see, hear, or any number of senses."

Mazur looked around after Ivan's words and agreed. It was something so simple he had overlooked it, but this comment did give the researcher a few ideas as to what kind of creature this fish corpse was.

Mazur had a medical toolkit attached to his waist full of tools for dissecting and taking samples. He first withdrew an ultrasonic bone-saw, which uses a diamond blade vibrating at an extremely high frequency to cut through bones and carapaces.

He lowered the bone-saw against one of the scales and produced a shower of sparks. Despite this, the scale was cut open with relative ease and revealed a white meat inside. There was also pieces of blood but what surprised Ivan was that despite being in a vacuum, it didn't have any sign of freezing or damage from the low pressure.

Mazur collected pieces of scales, flesh, and blood for samples. He had Ivan continue to cut out samples as he went back to the ship to bring some large containers to store it in. The two of them drifted back and forth between the Poseidon and the fish corpse for several hours before Mazur was happy with the amount of samples collected.

Ivan followed an excited Mazur back to his laboratory where he put a few slides of fish flesh and blood under some microscopes and peered into their mysteries. All the equipment in this large room was prepared by Mazur himself and it had become a state-of-the-art facility capable of most experimental procedures.

Unable to stand Mazur's growing enthusiasm, Ivan couldn't help but dryly ask, "So what is it that has you so excited?"

Mazur turned his head ferociously and almost shouted. "You have no idea what this is! It's era defining! This is the corpse of a four-dimensional creature!"

"What do you mean, four-dimensional creature? No matter how I look at it, it's very three-dimensional, just really strange."

"Idiot, that is because we are only looking at a single surface of it. We, as three-dimensional beings, are unable to perceive the fourth-dimension. It is only natural that we can't see this creature in it's true appearance."

Ivan scratched his head in confusion. "You're going to have to explain it better, I still don't understand."

"Fine, let me explain it from the beginning," Mazur spoke with a little irritation but was still thorough. He even brought out a thought projector, a unique necklace used to train willpower as it could reproduce thoughts as a mental image.

"First picture a one-dimensional being, this would be a line of unspecified length that can only exist on the X-axis. It has no height, nor does it have the concept of height, therefore no matter how it much it tries, it can never truly understand a two-dimension being."

"A two-dimensional being is the same. It would be a shape of unspecified size and number of sides but would be completely bound to the X and Y-axis. It could only perceive another shape by it's sides and size, and it could only go around. It can't pass over another object as it has no perception of the Z-axis, therefore the whole concept of two shapes occupying the same X and Y-axis is a mathematical impossibility to them. It can be understood in such a way that they would be unable to understand the existence of a three-dimensional being."

"A three-dimensional being, such as ourselves or the universe as we perceive it, are in the same situation. We cannot comprehend a four-dimensional being. However, with our intelligence, we are able to learn that there is a fourth dimension, we simply aren't able to interact with it do to our three-dimensional limitations."

Ivan understood this explanation and nodded in agreement. After all, he couldn't perceive or understand the existence of this fish being a four dimensional being.

"So how do we know that there is a fourth dimension? I mean, back in my time on earth, we 'knew', but the fourth dimension was time."

"Most things from back then were wrong, making up virtual particles and figures to fill equations doesn't make them correct, just more uncertain. Tell me, how can two people exist in the same X,Y, and Z coordinates?"

"Time, naturally. Two different people can exist in the same space with a fourth coordinate of location in time."

Mazur snorted contemptuously toward this. "Nonsense, two two-dimensional creatures can exist on the same X and Y-axis as long as the time coordinate is different, does that make time the third dimension? No, time itself may be a dimension, maybe not. We are unable to perceive it, measure it, interact with it, or understand it in any way. Time is an inviolable principle which we have been denied all access to, we can't even understand if it is moving forward or backward."

"On to the fourth dimension, we can only understand it by representing our own three dimensions as a two-dimensional plane and using the original third dimension as the fourth."

The blue hologram emitted from the thought projector quickly turned into a flat plane with horizontal and vertical lines across it.

"This is our understanding of space-time and the makeup of the universe. Every piece of matter on this plane causes indentations, which is the representation of gravity. However, with the knowledge that space is in fact curved, that makes this plane curved. Therefore our understanding of the universe is that of a ball, and everything we know only exists on the surface."

"The human race is still exploring the local cluster, we haven't even finished exploring the milky way or Andromeda Galaxy. We haven't the possibility of reaching the outer reaches of our supercluster within the next million years, let alone other superclusters, yet we can still analyse the universe based on observation and proven theory through experimentation."

Ivan held up his hand in front of Mazur to stop him talking for a moment as he was beginning to get confused before he stated, "So, to say it simply. Space is curved and forms a ball, and we merely exist on the surface of that ball."

"Hmm, take it as such, it means that if you were to head in any one direction in the universe long enough, you would end up right back where you started. Of course, the distance you need to travel is currently impossible to calculate as we don't yet know if the universe is expanding at a consistent speed."

Ivan nodded in understanding before indicating for Mazur to continue.

"Space itself appears empty, but it in fact not. It has a type of surface tension. When a boat speeds through water, the water will naturally push the boat up. This is the same with empty space, once lightspeed is achieved, the universe itself will naturally push you out, until you slow back down and drop back in. This is the hyperspace explanation for idiots, but it also outlines the proof of a fourth dimension. Travelling fast enough will raise the fourth dimensional coordinate, pushing you into hyperspace. This is precisely way you never have to worry about collisions with anything in ordinary space while travelling at FTL."

"Okay, I get that. So, this is a creature from hyperspace?"

"Were you listening to anything?!" Mazur glared at Ivan in frustration. "The universe is like an ocean, and we live on the surface. It is round, and hyperspace exists surrounding it, but consider this, what exists inside this ball?"

"You are probably too stupid to figure it out, it's subspace, the opposite of hyperspace and the true four-dimensional world."

Ivan had a premonition that the answer was going to irritate him, but he still asked, "So, this fish is?"

"Naturally, a fish from the four-dimensional subspace."

"So why would it be here?"

"...Don't you know? Dead fish float."

"All this fucking explanation, just to tell me at a dead fish that floated to the surface of the universe?!" Ivan shouted with a vein in his temple throbbing. He felt annoyed at the answer to everything was that it was just a fish, but even more annoyed at the fact that the entire universe itself was basically the perfect reference to an ocean. He always had a passionate hatred for the ocean, and fishing, since he was a kid, and now he was told he lived in one.

"What do you plan to do with the fish samples then?" Ivan asked while restraining his annoyance.

Mazur glanced back over the samples and said, "I plan to find a method to turn a three-dimensional being into a four-dimensional one. An advancement of dimension is a complete evolution into a higher order of existence. Screw living for a few hundred years more, with this, my original 30 years left of life can turn into 3000 years, maybe even more. The same goes for you."

"Screw that! You're not turning me into some kind of fish! I would hunt you down for the rest of your miserable life!"

Mazur merely rolled his eyes and said, "You would remain the same. The universe is like an ocean, but it's not filled with water or anything. Also, the government or federation would ever be able to touch you unless you let them."

"...Fine. Hurry up and make it safe though."

Ivan left Mazur who was fanatically studying the samples and decided to find something to eat. He glanced at the four Symbions behind an electromagnetic field isolating them and any bacteria they contained and decided to bring them some of the vegetation in the cargo hold as well. They likely weren't going to be fed otherwise with how fascinated Mazur was with his experiments.