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11 Surprise before the Poseidon

 A small blue campfire burnt on the branches and dead foliage before Ivan and Mazur. After several experiments, Mazur had successfully worked the process of submerging the wood in the energy river long enough to saturate the dead wood with energy. They could then be rubbed together to cause excitation on the surface of and cause a combustion reaction. With enough small foliage, this blue fire quickly picked up and became sustainable as long as more fuel was supplied.

Putting it out was equally simple. The energy water was so pure in energy that it merely had to be splashed onto the flame and the extreme purity of the energy would blow it out like the wind blowing out a match. It could also be left alone and would naturally run out of fuel and vanish like a normal fire.

Ivan and Mazur each held a large chunk of eel meat on a stick and held them over the fire, allowing it to slowly cook through.

"As we don't feel conventional temperature anymore, nor are affected by gravity, does that mean we could ideally enter a star?" Ivan asked absentmindedly as he slowly turned his piece of meat over.

Mazur snorted in disdain at this question before replying, "You should know that's a stupid question. The inside of the star is a massive fusion reaction of cosmic scale. The amount of energy they release is a figure so large that when the energy corporation harvest them, a single one can supply the energy demands for a dozen worlds. If we went even near one without protection, that massive amount of energy will excite the atoms of our body so fast we will instantly combust. The best case scenario would be melting like butter, the worst being direct evaporation."

"Hmm, just like Icarus then," Ivan mindlessly thought without minding Mazur's ridicule.

"Icarus?"

"Yes, a mythological figure from before my time on Earth. It is said that to escape from the island he was trapped on, his father crafted him a pair of wings out of feathers and wax. 'Do not fly too low, for the seas dampness will clog your wings. Do not fly too high, for the sun's heat shall melt them.' Or so his father told him."

"Icarus didn't listen to his words and flew too high. Naturally, the sun melted his wings, following which he fell and drowned in the sea. It became a saying in my time relating to a person overreaching oneself and having a miserable ending; to fly too close to the sun and having your wings melted."

Mazur nodded his head in understanding, silently appreciating the idiom.

Fatty oils dripped off the meat and caused the fire to momentarily flare. It didn't take too long before the meat was completely cooked through.

Ivan found it interesting as the cooked meat released an extremely enticing smell that seemed full of energy. The meat was so tender it simply fell apart in his mouth as eagerly took a large bite out of it. It didn't have the concept of temperature, but gave him a euphoric tingling sensation through his body as he swallowed it. It made him feel full of energy, as if the cells of his body were celebrating.

The wounds on both Ivan's and Mazur's chest began to heal rapidly as the excess energy in the meat caused the cells to rapidly divide and repair the body. Once the scabs fell off, Ivan looked down at his body still covered in dirt from the fight with the eel and decided to wash off in the river. Mazur also saw this as the only method to clean their bodies and chose to join him.

Soaking in the energy river while avoiding floating away, Ivan felt like he was being zapped by tens of thousand of tiny electric shocks, bringing a pleasant sensation to his skin. He used his hands to scrub his body with the water until all the dirt was removed.

After eating and cleaning themselves, Mazur went to work cutting apart the Eel's skin to form a kind rudimentary clothing they could wrap around themselves while Ivan scouted for any tree hollows or anything they could sleep in. Their bodies, made out of four-dimensional matter, obviously didn't need any rest, but their minds did. This was especially true for Mazur who had been overtaxing his mind during the battle against the eel.

Mazur cut through the eel skin with a spear fashioned out of its own tooth, but the cut was jagged, and he cut his hand several times on the barbed outer skin defenses. He still managed to fashion a basic overall for both Ivan and himself though that covered most of their bodies. It also doubled as a defensive armor, as anything that touched them would be cut just like they had been.

Ivan couldn't find any groves in the tree trunks to hide in to sleep, but he managed to cut three groves out with the eel tooth spear. The groves could be covered by some foliage to firstly give them relative safety as they slept, and secondly, to store the eel carcase somewhere where wild beasts won't discover and help themselves to a free meal. The eel tooth spear was incredibly sharp and had no difficulties tearing apart the wood.

With clothing and a place to sleep, they extinguished the small blue campfire and moved into their tree hollows. Once the foliage was covered over the entrance, the natural light in subspace emitted by the light blue star was blocked. Ivan couldn't describe it as darkness, as the lack of light only left a world of pure white, so he instead termed it as "blankness".

Ivan lay there in the blankness, able to feel the hollow he was lying in and himself, but unable to see either. Normally a person would be greatly disturbed by such a thing, yet he instead had a feeling of comfort that helped him sleep.

*****

Subspace didn't have the concept of day and night, there was merely the areas within solar systems and around black holes that were bright, where both landmass and creatures could be seen, and the unknown areas in between, covered in blankness.

Ivan woke up after an unknown amount of time. He reached out and pushed aside the foliage canopy before stepping outside. Mazur was apparently already awake but had waited for Ivan to wake before leaving his tree hollow. He was naturally disadvantaged against fighting against even the smaller creatures of the fourth dimension, so he completely avoided a confrontation with them as much as possible.

"We need to build a base, but everything seems to operate differently. We don't have any equipment, or even the means to produce them," Ivan complained in anguish.

He had given a lot of thought as to what business he would operate, and he wanted a product the consumer needed. The problem with this was there were so many businesses in the Andromeda Federation, let alone the Milky Way or other human inhabited galaxies, that every product possible had already been invented. All that was left were imitation products or trying to improve a product that had already been improved twenty or thirty times before.

"What are you talking about?" Mazur asked him in confusion, "We have the designs for every device ever made my humanity."

Ivan was dumfounded. "Eh? Really?"

"Of course. Every single three-dimensional construct can be considered a blueprint for the four-dimensional equivalent. Also, these are only the most basic of four-dimensional construct. The addition of the fourth dimension allows for so much more than you could possibly imagine."

"So we can just rebuild them in the fourth dimension and that's that?"

"Not exactly. They have to be tweaked to allow for a different energy source, and there may be a few small differences in material properties, but the fundamental principles behind these devices remain basically the same. Well, except for things relying on gravity or temperature will no longer work the same."

"I still can't believe it's that simple," Ivan said incredulously.

"As a human, how easy is it to create a two-dimensional painting? It's technically three-dimensional, because both the ink and canvas are made of three-dimensional materials. Yet how easy is it to create a two-dimensional object with three-dimensional matter? We need to do the same, only creating a three-dimensional object with four-dimensional matter instead."

Ivan gradually understood the method of Mazur to recreate these objects. It truly was like painting, as a three-dimensional object was the equivalent of a flat image in subspace, but by creating it out of four-dimensional materials, it would be able to exist within subspace without collapsing into pure energy and dispersing.

The concept of these recreated devices sparked an inspiration in Ivan. They could create pseudo three-dimensional products which he could sell to consumers. They would be untraceable, untamperable, and nobody could ever create an imitation product.

"We now have the means to find food. Shall we return to where our ship is?" Ivan asked with a sly grin. "We need to collect some employees to start up my company."

Mazur's face also extended into a smirk. "Yes. I'm interested if your abilities to manipulate people are as good as you make them out to be. Speaking of which, I had promised to help you, so of course I will be sticking around for a while. What is my position in this new company of yours?"

"Please, that promise was rubbish, you only plan to stick around because you need protection. You're my head researcher for new products, equipment, and anything else I decide I want."

Mazur button nose quivered as he chuckled lightly, completely ignoring Ivan's accusation on his credibility. The two of them grabbed several spears and carried them with them as they rapidly ascended in subspace. They adjusted their rising angle to intercept the planet at it's new position according to Mazur's calculations, but they still need to build up enough speed to catch up to it.

Distance in the third dimension was different in the forth dimension, so Ivan and Mazur somehow managed to catch up to the planet. Their bodies stayed in subspace, only appearing like two illusory shadows in the three-dimensional space as they descended on the planet through the atmosphere. They kept some distance with the surface of the universe and even though only one side of their bodies could emerge in the third dimension, that one side falling through the atmosphere would leave their true bodies burnt and scarred.

Mazur recalled the location of the Poseidon on the planet with uncanny accuracy, so they found their way back extremely quickly. When they arrived at the ship however, they were both greatly surprised by the scene presented in front of them.

A group of twenty humans, if they could be called that, were on their knees prostrated before the Poseidon and were calling out in a strange language that seemed indecipherable.

"We've only been gone for a couple days, right? These are humans, right?" Ivan asked curiously.

Mazur considered this before answering, "By my calculations, only a few days should have gone by, so something must have happened during that time to cause this scene. They appear to be humans, but to be precise, they would be recognized as their own human specie."

Ivan stared at these twenty people at a loss. They wore robes which consisted of several overlapping layers of cloth. What skin was visible, was a creamy tan almost exactly the same as the humans Ivan knew. Their hair was long for both males and particularly females, ranging in colors centered on red, orange, or a tawny brown. Their eyes were almost universally amber, but apart from that appeared completely human.

What baffled Ivan the most though was two aspects. The first was that every single person had a pair of short fox ears on their head, each the size of a fist. Even more baffling, were the fox tails that extended from a small fold in their clothes around the base of the spine.

"They're fake, right?" Ivan glance at Mazur in desperation. "This would have to be a complete joke of natural selection and evolution. Tell me their fake."