Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Flash Fiction: Cat Burglar

Cat Burglar
By Gareth D Jones

Existing in an uncertain state somewhere between probabilities, the quantum being flitted across the surface of the Earth, observing, learning, absorbing energy. Occasionally it intervened in the affairs of the probabilistic world. To its senses everything was blurred, each iota of time producing several quantum states that teetered on the brink of existence before one won out and became true.

One such indeterminate state attracted its attention due to its longevity. A corporeal creature hovered between two states – that of life and death – far longer than was probable. Just as the blur began to resolve itself the being intervened, pulling the small creature out from the corporeal world and into a permanent state of quantum flux. The creature, it discovered, was not very intelligent, but made a pleasant travelling companion as it went on its way.


“And so ze cat theoretically exists in two states.” The eccentric German scientist was saying to his sceptical audience. “Ven ve open ze box, ve find out if ze cat is alive, or dead.” He opened the container with a flourish and stared into it with amazement.

“Or,” He said, amending his hypothesis on the spot, “whether it has totally disappeared.”

The End

I've been fascinated by the concept of Schrodinger's cat since I first came across it in phyics lessons at school. In fact, any text book on quantum physics is far more bizarre than most SF novels. In both this story and A Few Good Men I take the idea a little too literally.


Justin Pickard said...

For some reason, I though it was going to be longer, and - as such - the ending was a lot less expected, and the impact a lot sharper. Nicely done. :-)

Anonymous said...

I loved this. Nice one Gareth.

GLP said...

Like it. I too keep coming back to this iconic thought experiment.

Gareth D Jones said...

Thanks guys. I couldn't resist the picture - it's just the kind of geeky thing we're almost wrongly accused of.