While on her travels, the Floosopuff happened to pass near her friend Moline’s home, so she got in touch and arranged to pay a visit.
Moline lived on a charming little asteroid with pretty dancing clouds of dust and gases lighting up the little sky with patterns of white and grey and orange and green. Moline was the only inhabitant of the asteroid, and the only building on its surface was her cottage. There was a large wooden veranda, a picnic table and reclining folding chairs from which one could watch the lovely unfolding patterns in the sky.
Moline had covered the table with a pretty floral-patterned tablecloth, and set out a fancy silver teapot, porcelain plates and teacups and saucers, white cloth napkins, sugar and cream, a platter of fruit and another platter of cheese and oatcakes, and a plate loaded with biscuits warm from the oven. All these items had a tendency to float away, since the gravity on the asteroid was so weak, and Moline kept having to pluck the items out of the air and replace them on the table with a “ka-thunk”.
“They’ve all got magnets in,” Moline explained, “the biscuits as well unfortunately, otherwise they’d just float right off the tray. You just have to eat around the magnets.”
The Floosopuff bit into a biscuit. Despite having a magnet baked into it it was delicious: crispy and somewhat caramelised on the outside, and fluffy and soft on the inside.
The floosopuff asked her friend: “So, how have you been? How’s your course going?”
“I’m very well,” Moline said. “My course is very interesting, though I must admit I’m finding it difficult. There’s this one project in particular that I’ve been struggling with for ages, and I just don’t seem to be getting anywhere with it.”
“What kind of project is it?” the floosopuff asked.
“Oh, well, I don’t want to bore you with technical details,” Moline demurred.
“No, I’m interested, truly!”
“Well, I’m supposed to create a novel meta-stable wavepacket configuration in the multi-plane. Essentially, I’m supposed to create a universe.”
The floosopuff’s large eyes widened. “A universe!” she exclaimed. “How wonderful!”
“It would be wonderful, if I could get it to work,” Moline said glumly. “I’ve tried six times now, but none of my universes last more than 10-45 seconds or so. Then they just kind of fizzle out.
“Does the college pay for your materials?” the floosopuff asked. “I would think you need a lot of stuff to create a whole universe.”
“Actually no, there aren’t any materials,” Moline replied. “Universes are made out of nothing.”
“Out of nothing?” the floosopuff repeated, uncomprehending.
“To be more accurate, universes are made of things that don’t exist. For instance take an object – this table, say. Suppose I decide to create a new universe and I put the table in it. Well it won’t work. I wouldn’t be making a new universe, I’d just be interacting with the same old universe that exists already, because this universe knows about tables. If I want to make a new universe, I’ve got to make it out of things that this universe doesn’t know about, you see?”
“Kiiiiiiind of,” the floosopuff replied.
“That’s why you have to make new universes out of things that don’t exist,” Moline went on enthusiastically. “So, say for example I have 27 prosidinks. Have you ever heard of a prosidink?”
“Good, that’s because they don’t exist; I just made that word up. But I could invent a universe that is made up of prosidinks, and I could make up a set of rules to govern how that universe works. Maybe there are several different types of prosidinks, and they interact with each-other in different ways. I can make whatever rules I like, but the prosidinks have to be able to cancel each-other out in some way. That’s the trick to making something out of nothing, you need things that cancel out – like for example positive and negative electric charges. Though of course you couldn’t actually use electrical charges to make a new universe because our universe already knows about those.”
“So, you get you prosidinks all lined up just right, in an array that adds up to nothing even though it’s made up of a very large amount of prosidinks. At this point the prosidinks are all just imaginary, but then you give them just a little nudge. You knock things out of balance so the prosidinks no longer neatly line up and add up to zero – they add up to something, which forces them to exist. They begin to interact with each-other, a tremendous amount of energy is released, and a new universe is created.”
“At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen, but you have to set it up juuuuuuuuuuust right. Otherwise, the prosidinks blip into existence, but after a few moments they flicker out again, and reality just snaps back shut around them. Oh, but I really am boring you with all this mumbo-jumbo. Tell me about your travels! Have you brought any emfotos?”
“Why, yes, I have,” the floosopuff replied. They cleared away a portion of the table for the floosopuff to spread out the emfotos she had taken on her travels.
The floosopuff’s emfotos: