From ``The World at the End of Time'', by Frederik Pohl.

Published by Ballantine Books, New York, 1990.

Wan-To's interest in the Sorricaine-Mtiga objects (which, of course, he never called by that name) was becoming pretty nearly frantic. He saw a lot more of them than Pal Sorricaine did, because he saw them a lot faster. He didn't have to wait for creeping visible light to bring him the information. His Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky pairs relayed the images instantly. The things were popping up all over.

However, he was beginning to have hope. The results from his blue-light studies were beginning to come in.

Blue light was particularly good for looking for starspots. Although the spots seemed relatively dark, they were quite bright enough to be seen by Wan-To's great and sensitive ``eyes'' -- particularly if you looked in the blue. Because the spots were cooler than the areas around them, their gases were ionized calcium atoms -- the ones that had just lost one electron -- that stood out in the blue.

When Wan-To found blue-light images that were not natural he knew just what to do. He summoned up the necessary graviphotons and graviscalars and hurled them in a carefully designed pattern at that star.

That would ahve been quite a wonder to human physicists, if they could have known what Wan-To was doing. It would have been a marvel for them if they could even have detected any of those particles, though they had sought them as loing, and as unsuccessfully, as any medieval knight had sought the Holy Grail.

It was in the early twentieth century that Theodor Kaluza and Oskar Klein formulated the human race's first decent model of how gravity worked. It wasn't a wholly successful model. There was still a lot to learn. But it managed to relate electromagnetism and gravity as manifestations of a higher-dimension space-time in ways that seemed to fit together pretty well -- in ways, in fact, that Wan-To had understood for many billion years. His own understanding of gravitation was more or less a Kaluza-Klein model, though with considerable important amendments. He understood that the three basic mediating particles of the gravitational interaction between masses were what human scientist of the Kaluza-Klein faith would call the vector bosons -- the graviton, the graviphoton, and the graviscalar. His command of them was perfect. With the resources of his start to draw on, he could generate any or all of those particles at will. He often did -- in copious amounts. He found them all very useful.

He didn't bother much with the simple graviton. That was the uncomplicated spin-2 particle that seemed to pull masses together at even infinite distances -- the only one that Isaac Newton, for instance, would have understood. Of course, the graviton was highly important in holding stars together and keeping galaxies rotating around their common center, but you couldn't do much with it. The others were rarer, and more fun, especially when you wanted to attack a colleague's star. A dose of graviphotons, the spin-1 repellers, would churn up the star's insides in a hurry; no organized system of Wan-To's kind could survive inside a star that was tearing itself apart that way. Alternatively, or better still, in addition, he could pull at the star from outside with one of the other particles. The more useful of those was the spin-0 graviscalar, which pulled matter and energy toward it just as the humble graviton did, but only over finite distances. The graviscalar was a very local kind of particle.

The great virture of the graviscalar, in other words, was that it couldn't be detected by Wan-To's enemies unless they were right on the spot -- and then they wouldn't be in any position to do anything about it.

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97.09.16 / Garth Huber