Black Frost Chapter 6. Chill Pill

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((Note: This chapter I do not feel strongly in keeping this as is.   The “dark matter” subject does not feel right, in real life, it is the wrong take on how dark matter acts. This needs more research AND re-writing, but for your entertainment, chapter 6 chill pill until rewritten))

Niles read the report and swore every profanity he could think of, shaking his head. The funding of his department would be cut off if he passed the information on to James.

His old friend would have a stroke when this report set on his desk. But there was no way around it.

Dark matter.

Yeah, you could call it dark matter. In the classical sense, it was not interactive to anything. Hypothetically, dark matter passed through everything without interactions.

Except in this case.

In liquid form, water released what ever it had, it was as pure as a frost could get in the open. Except that the frozen water turned black. Once it melted, it became clear once again.

Until it froze, seemingly turning dark once more and massed more than it should.

The ice was five-percent heavier by volume than normal, indicating a contaminant.

Mass spectrometry on the liquid showed nothing, on water frozen below minus forty-celsius in the lab there was no change. But water that, thanks to an assistant, a bit of imagination and the sample was frozen outside of the lab in the parking lot, using various cryogenic mediums… Liquid helium, liquid nitrogen, liquid argon… the ice turned dark.

Being sealed in a test tube did not change the results, just outside. His only theory was that the architect wisely designed the lab on the concept of a giant Faraday cage, keeping what ever was turning the ice dark outside. Attempts to make dark ice in other areas of the building that were not so shielded were successful.

So the freezing of water seemed to capture what the material was that seemed to penetrate glass and thermal flasks.

Picking up his phone, he speed-dialed James.

“Hello.” The voice sounded strained.

“Jim! It’s Niles.” He started. “This stuff you brought, we have a problem. I am sending you the read-out and the pdf file of the report now. We have run the tests ten-fold and we are repeating the results. It is a matter that we have not detected before, I swear! I think, I think, it is dark matter, but that cannot be. Faraday cages block it, but it passes through glass, rubber and ungrounded metal containers.”

“Passes through, is it detectable.”

“Not in my lab. I have a few calls in to see if we can do a few tests in other areas that are not protected.” Niles said quickly. “Here is the deal, it is in my report I am sending you.”

“Okay, listening, but make it quick old boy. Doctor Merrill was being impatient at best.”

“Well, referencing pure water as a one-gram-per-milliter and ice-one is at point nine-two. When frozen in the open, this dark-matter ice shows a mass of point nine-seven. In other words it is five percent heavier than its rightful weight.”

“Okay,” James said slowly, Niles was talking so fast that he was having trouble keeping up. He knew well as anyone the weight of water per volume as ice and liquid. But his surfer friend was saying. “So you are saying that this ice is heavier. That is simple contaminant you have.”

“No, that is what I thought too!” Niles was getting more excited. “We let it melt in the tube and it massed at… ready for this? ONE! No change. BUT we mass spec’d the frozen samples…”

“How did you do that?” James interrupted.

“I have my ways grasshopper, listen to the master. We ran the frozen samples, we have something I have not seen before, it is like carbon in the spikes at one-tenth above zero celsius? The readings drop off in an inverse geometric curve to zero.”

“Niles, once again only slower.” James said. “Pretend that we are students again.”

“Okay. This stuff warms up and when the ice becomes water again, what we pick up escapes out of solution and out of the test medium totally. At room temperature, it does not exist, in a Faraday cage, it does not exist. In the open when water freezes, it gets caught up in the hydrogen bonds of the ice. When it melts, it continues on its way. I have never seen the like before.”

“Niles, dark matter does not interact with visible matter.”

“That we know of! Satellites have picked up a cloud of what we believe that is dark matter and the solar system is passing into a cloud that we picked on satellite a year ago, very dense. No gravity well, but it’s being pulled towards the sun. We are bound to pick it up. If it reacts with hydrogen and darkens it?”

“We will have a heat wave that we have never thought possible.” James injected.

 

“No! Dude! Here would be bad enough, agreed. If it darkens hydrogen in space, we could lose heat from the sun. We could again have snowball earth from a few hundred million years ago where everything froze for a long time.”

“But if we have that…” Jim paused. The implications were just dawning on him.

“Everyone thinks of an extinction level event as happening with a fireball from the sky not a freeze event. This would obliterate our current civilization in a century in ways that an asteroid could not. Think of it, all of human history buried under miles of ice.”

“Holy crap.” A gasp from Jim. “Glaciers would just grind things into nothing.”

“Yeah.”

James hung up from his friend and became aware of a trickle of sweat that crept down his back.

“Snowball earth.” He whispered to himself.

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