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10 Descending into the Fourth Dimension

 The unknown planet was very similar to the Earth Ivan remembered, but the stars were vastly different, and two moons hung in the sky instead of one. One moon was a light purple, while the other was a dark violet. A vast plethora of stars stretched out across the rest of the sky along with a long nebula like a cloud among the starscape.

As for the surface of the world, it was similar to earth in foliage, but only 60 percent of the world was covered in water. Ivan couldn't feel gravity anymore as he was not bound within the third dimension, but Mazur had calculated it for him based on the planet's mass and it was only 0.84g

Ivan and Mazur were both wearing clothes made from three-dimensional materials, so moving through the fourth dimension was currently off limits. They could do so if they wanted, but the clothes would directly be destroyed if they did, so it was a matter of dignity.

The clothes they were wearing only covered a single surface of their bodies, leaving the rest naked in the fourth dimension, but they could only make do for the time being.

"Not that we're situated on a planet, let's go search the fourth dimension for food. Give me two of those fish bones, I want try fashion a spear or dagger out of one," Mazur demanded blandly.

"Why did we need to be situated on a planet before searching again?" Ivan responded while handing over some fish bones.

Mazur rolled his eyes as he stated, "We need a solid point to return to. The ship is often drifting in space even when it appears stationary, it is practically unavoidable. If we enter the fourth dimension and the ship drifts away, we will be completely stranded. At least, even if the planet moves, it is such a large object it is truly impossible to lose. At worst we wait in the same location until the planet comes back round on its orbit."

Ivan nodded his head and started to rub one bone against the other to slowly grind the tips into spears. Thankfully the bones were already reasonable sharp to begin with, so the task didn't take too long.

Taking a short break to eat, Ivan also used the opportunity to grab some foliage from the surroundings and bring it to the Symbions. They sniffed the large leaves quietly before slowly eating them.

Ivan wasn't concerned about foreign bacteria in the leaves as he had previously learned from Mazur that they are creature which were seemingly designed to live as long as possible. As a part of that, they had an extremely strong immune system.

With the Symbions food supply taken care of, Ivan and Mazur reluctantly removed their perishable clothing before leaving the third dimension and descending into the fourth. From the surface of the unknown planet, the two of them merely appeared to become transparent before completely vanishing.

Gazing through the third dimension cut of most vision in the fourth, like being half submerged in water, able to see across the surface easily, but unable to see more than a few meters beneath. This led Ivan to be stunned at the sight within the fourth dimension. Mazur's expression appeared to remain placid, but it was difficult to tell beyond the silver fur covering his face. The vast empty whiteness was all that encompassed their surroundings, but there was also life and what could be considered as land as well.

The small blue star in the distance, the central part of the three-dimensional star which beyond its event horizon sank into the fourth dimension, provided a form of light through the empty white space, revealing the depths of the fourth dimension and the creatures within it.

Deep down in the depths of the fourth dimension, landmasses could be seen. They were unbound by gravity, floating unimpeded in subspace. Some of the landmasses were orbital, and floated around like small moons, while the larger pieces formed what seemed like a chain of islands extending all the way from the center of the solar system, vanishing into the pure white backdrop where only other distant light blue stars and the vivid blue beacons of supermassive black holes could be seen.

It wasn't just a single layer of landmass, but many which continued deeper as one looked into the depths of the fourth dimension. Forms similar to grass and other plant life, abundantly green in nature, decorated most, while some parts were barren and formed rocky outcrops.

Water also existed, forming oceans and rivers both on the islands and sometimes even flowing from one to another. It had a light blue tinge to itself and seemed to give of a faint starlight. Gravity didn't exist in subspace, but the liquid followed a strange principle that caused it to flow.

Schools of fish and a plethora of other alien forms of life swam through the white subspace. They nested in the landmasses, some using the local shrubbery for food, while others were carnivorous and preyed on others. There were no other creatures with legs though, as the appendages were completely redundant and even disadvantageous. Rather than what could be considered 'walking', the creatures twisted and turned as they rapidly swam through subspace.

"It's as I expected," Mazur's furry face twitched as he visually investigated the distant depths.

Ivan was curious as to Mazur's particular phrase and asked, "What do you mean, expected?"

"Eighty percent of the mass that should exist in the galaxy is unaccounted for. This is where it is, what we referred to as 'dark matter'. The composition of this matter is completely beyond the initial understanding of everyone, but clearly the three-dimensional normal space, and four-dimensional subspace, are inextricably linked."

"What does that mean?"

"Nothing," Mazur shook his head as even he didn't know. "Let's go find some food, and something to fashion some damn clothes out of."

The deeper Ivan moved into subspace, the more alive and full of energy he felt. It was as if he had been living in a room full of with barely enough air, but now he was standing within a fresh breeze.

It took an entire day for Ivan and Mazur to reach the nearest landmass, the seemingly small island from a distance now seeming as large as a continent. The small beasts also had become monstrosities capable in inciting terror just by their presence alone.

The trees as well were magnified countless time upon reaching them, their thickness alone thick enough that it would take ten Ivans holding hands to encircle them. Some of the smaller ones still looked like normal trees though.

"Come have a look at this," Mazur's ethereal voice drifted across as he stood before a massive river.

Ivan joined him to look at the river which glowed like blue starlight. Looking at it caused him to have an instinctual feeling of thirst. It looked and flowed like water, but at the same time it also seemed a bit different.

Ivan followed Mazur's example as they scooped up a small amount and drank it. He felt an euphoric current of energy flow through him as he swallowed it and wanted to drink some more, but Mazur stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.

"Our nature of life has changed after becoming four-dimensional beings. We don't need to breath, nor do we feel conventional heat or cold. The four-dimensional atoms within our body have a different set of fundamental rules. Three-dimensional matter requires kinetic energy, or otherwise known as heat, for excitation. Without it, it become stagnant and freezes, too much and it forms combustion, spreading this excitation outwards."

"Four-dimension matter is different based on my observation. It is much more stable, and requires a purer form of four-dimensional energy to maintain it's excitation. Without it, we would probably turn into something like stone, too much and we would combust, which I suspect would prove fatal. This energy fills subspace, but is more concentrated in the food, and especially this 'water', which is in fact an extremely pure and condensed form of energy."

Ivan felt nervous looking at the water now, as what Mazur basically said was that if he drank too much, his body would combust and turn into liquid, or even worse, evaporate.

Just as they were unprepared, a quantum fluctuation of a roar reverberated as a beast swam though subspace to attack. It was a carnivorous eel-like beast on the smaller side, but it was still almost three times large than them.

Ivan and Mazur were full of energy, and they rapidly split up to the sides as a set of razor sharp teeth bit down on the space they were just standing in. They then struck back at the eel with the fish bone spears before it could retaliate.

Mazur was at a loss fighting in a four-dimensional space and was unable to stab it accurately, while Ivan fluidly bound through subspace and pierced his spear into the torso of the eel, eliciting a roar of pain and anger from the beast.

The eel twisted and flicked its body, blowing Ivan away into the landmass and causing a small cloud of dust. Ivan's not only felt several bones in his body had cracked, but the skin of the eel had small barbs which tore at apart his chest in the confrontation.

What would have normally been a life-threatening injury was no longer enough to bring him down though as blue blood rapidly blocked over the injury. Of course, this also held true for the eel as the hole Ivan left in its body had clotted with a viscous blue tinge. Ivan was surprised how blue his blood was, the replacement of oxygen with the purer energy causing it to take a faintly luminous blue color.

Having learned his lesson with the Symbions, Ivan had firmly held onto his weapon this time and still had the spear in his hand. The eel had shifted it's attention to Mazur who was desperately trying to keep avoiding it's attacks and was helpless to retaliate, when Ivan took the opportunity to launch a sneak attack from behind.

Ivan ran though subspace in a long curve and came down on top of the eel with it unaware. Most beasts voice their anger or make sounds, so the eel hadn't expected a sudden silent attack. Ivan landed on top of its head and leaning forward with his spear, stabbed it deep into what appeared to be one of its eyes.

The bone spear pierced through the fleshy black eyeball with ease and jammed into its head with very little resistance. This attack was fatal, as the eel violently spasmed, cutting into the flesh of Ivan with its thrashing tail before completely dying.

Ivan and Mazur were in a sorry state after this battle and covered in congealed blue blood, particularly Ivan who had been hit the hardest.

"I thought dead fish float," Ivan said sarcastically with a sideways glance at Mazur.

Mazur merely shrugged in response and decided not to respond, instead began to use his bone spear to stab into the fish and tear it open. He skilfully removed what appeared to be several strange organs, which he kept to the side as he then picked up a sharp rock and slowly removed the skin.

"Is there a way to cook the meat?" Ivan asked curiously, looking toward the meat which had an offsetting amount of vibrant blue blood on it.

"Eating it raw contains more energy..." Mazur drifted off from what he was saying as he eyes the viscous blood covering the meat, "We should be able to use the water from the energy river to stimulate a combustion effect with some dry plant life. Go look for some dead stick or anything else normally combustible."

Ivan followed Mazur's idea and moved through the forest searching for old plant matter. It was very easy to find dead branches and twigs within the forest, but most were too large for him to move and he could only break off some smaller twigs and pile up the massive dead leaves.

It only took him three trips before he collected a small pile of firewood, during which time Mazur had ripped out the eel's teeth and tied them to long sticks to create sharper, deadlier spears.

"You're lucky, you know?" Mazur said suddenly, a look of regret on his feline face.

Ivan was stunned by this comment and replied, "How so?"

"The way you move through subspace, it is instinctual to you, just like breathing."

"It's not instinctual, it took me quite a while to get used to it."

Mazur shook his head softly at that and despondently responded, "That's not what I mean."

"Then what do you mean?"

"Do you remember how I told you that when humans realised our fragility in the universe, how we altered our genetic makeup with alien strands of superior DNA in order to strengthen ourselves?"

"I do. While you became stronger, many things were lost, such as the subconscious degrading."

"Yes, that. I noticed the greatest disadvantage of it just now. Whenever I'm looking or moving through subspace, I need to consciously decipher the massive amount of information of the fourth dimensional vector. I then need to adjust my focus and decide how to move. It's a massive process which is like controlling a puppet with strings. You on the other hand, have all these calculations automatically processed via the subconscious, freeing up your conscious to allow you function within subspace like you were born here."

"To think even you would have difficulties. I never imagined you to be the type to feel melancholic though."

Mazur ignored Ivan's words, lost in his own thoughts as he continued to stare helplessly into the flowing luminescent energy river.

"My bloodline is classed by Andromeda Federation as S-Grade based purely on intellect and analytical capabilities. Anyone without a brain strengthened to the point of mine... would be completely unable to operate within subspace, their brains may even entirely shut down from the overload of information and result in death."

"If our ancestors, who led us into modifying our bodies to become stronger, faster, and more intelligent, knew that by doing so it would cut off our future to ascent to a higher existence of life... I wonder if they would regret their decision."

Ivan stood beside Mazur who was lost in thought. A cosmic breeze of energy swept by as they were watching the river in silence, causing the trees to rustle and leaves to dance through the air.