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Chapter 2: Mrs. Archer Returns Home

Alyssa held the inch-tall Zack on her left palm as she spoke with him.

“You wouldn’t believe how technical the shrinking theory is! Over 99 percent of the matter composing the quarks and gluons that make up the protons and neutrons of the atoms of your body were converted into neutrinos and pulled into another dimension!”

“Is it possible to build one with contemporary technology?” Zack asked.

“I’m not sure,” Alyssa replied, “there are quite a few devices that work together to make shrinking happen, like a device that detects the microgravitational signature of quarks and gluons, and another device that generates a dimensional membrane around the miniaturized sub-atomic particles to protect them from the normal sized environment. Another dimensional membrane speeds up the vibrations of the miniaturized atoms to regulate heat, so the shrunken person doesn’t get too cold.”

“How were you able to comprehend all of that, if you’re only eleven?” Zack asked.

“My Dad is an electrical engineer, and I excel at math and science!” said Alyssa. “You’re not one of those people who thinks girls aren’t good at math, are you?”

“Of course not, Alyssa!? said Zack. “I had a math tutor that was female, she had a master’s degree in mathematics.”

Alyssa grabbed a digital stopwatch from a desk drawer. “How about I swallow you again, and I time it?”

Before Zack had a chance to react, Alyssa had grabbed him and tossed him to the back of her mouth and swallowed him, then clicked the stopwatch to turn it on. She grabbed one of her own flash drives from her desk drawer and plugged it into her computer, and downloaded all the files from the flash drive Zack had acquired from the time traveler.

Alyssa had a printer attached to her computer, so she printed out the information related to the function of the shrink ray device.

Just then, a car pulled into the driveway. 

“Uh-oh! My Mom’s home!” said Alyssa. She had the digital stopwatch on a lanyard she wore around her neck.

Mrs. Archer came through the front door carrying bags of groceries in reusable cloth bags.

“Why are you wearing your stopwatch, Alyssa?”

“Just because,” Alyssa replied.

“Did you clean your room today?” Mrs. Archer asked Alyssa.

“Yes, it’s pretty clean.”

‘’I’m going in to check,” Mrs. Archer said, as she stepped in the direction of Alyssa’s bedroom.

“Mom, don’t go in there!” Alyssa shouted, blocking the entrance to the door.

“Alyssa, what’s gotten into you?” Mrs. Archer asked.

“I’m working on some stuff, Mom! Give me a few minutes.”

Mrs. Archer pushed past Alyssa and went into the room. She spotted the flash drives and the paperwork that Alyssa had printed out. Mrs. Archer picked up the papers and looked them over.

“This information is really technical, where did you get these schematics, Alyssa?”

"Zack brought this stuff over this afternoon, he got it all from a time traveler, he was hoping Dad could reverse engineer the shrink ray.”

“Shrink ray?” Mrs. Archer asked.

Alyssa grabbed the shrink ray device and handed it to her mother.

“Zack gave you all of this?” Mrs. Archer asked. ”Where is he now?”

“He took off, he said he had to go somewhere.”

“If this technology really works, we could get rich if we could patent it!” said Mrs. Archer. “Have you tried out the shrink ray?”

“Yes, it’s keyed into my unique chromosome pattern. I’m the only one who can make it work.”

Mrs. Archer handed the shrink ray device to her daughter. “Use it to shrink that coffee mug, Alyssa!”

Alyssa pointed the device at the mug, and pulled the trigger; it was reduced to 1/72 of its normal size, putting it on the same scale as Zack.

Mrs. Archer knelt down and looked Alyssa in the eyes. 

“Alyssa, do you know what this means? We’re going to make history if your father’s company can reverse engineer this technology. We might be able to shrink that comet that’s on a collision course with Earth!”

Mrs. Archer reached into her purse and pulled out two twenty dollar bills.

“Here’s money so you can order pizza tonight, I’m going back to work to try to upload this technology to the company mainframe computer!” Mrs. Archer took the shrink ray pistol and the usb drive with the technical information on it, and headed out the door.

Alyssa took the money, and said, “Mom! You can’t take my shrink ray gun!”

“Watch me!” Mrs. Archer replied, “You’ll thank me when our family are hailed as the saviors of humanity!”

Mrs. Archer got into her car and pulled out of the driveway, and was gone. Alyssa pulled out her cell phone and called one of her friends.

"Victoria? I've got something I want to show you, can I come over?"

"Sure!" Victoria replied over the phone, and Alyssa put her cell phone in her backpack and jumped on her bicycle and rode to Victoria's house.

Once there, she knocked on the door, and Victoria let her in.

"What do you have to show me?" Victoria asked.

"It's in my stomach," said Alyssa, "do you know of any way of making someone vomit?"

"My sister might, she's in college," said Victoria., who went down the hallway to her older sister's bedroom. A few seconds later, the older sister came out.

"I'm Britney," said the older girl, "You need syrup of Ipecac, I think we have some in the first aid kit in the hallway." 

Britney retrieved the syrup of Ipecac, and gave it to Alyssa. "Just drink some, it'll make you puke."

Alyssa drank some of the Ipecac syrup, and a few moments later, she vomited into the kitchen sink, and sure enough, Zack came tumbling out of her mouth.

"She was right!" Victoria said. All three girls were crowded around the sink. Alyssa reached in and grabbed Zack, and rinsed him off in the sink.

"How did he get so small?" Victoria asked.

He came to my house with a shrink ray gun, so I shrunk him!" said Alyssa. "He knows me well enough that he should've realized that he couldn't trust me."

"So, you're just going to keep him?" Britney asked. "Like some kind of a pet?"

"Sure, why not?" Alyssa asked. "He's immortal, so when I grow up, I can pass him onto my daughter."

"I want him!" said Victoria. "Let me have him, Alyssa, you can shrink another captive!"

"My mom took my shrink ray!" said Alyssa. "She took it to work to try to reverse engineer it!"

Victoria grabbed Zack from Alyssa, and Alyssa allowed her to hold him.

"We're like gods to him!" said Victoria. "How does it feel to be nothing but a toy, little man?"

"Answer her, Zack!" Alyssa commanded.

"It feels okay, I guess," Zack replied. "But how long are you going to keep me this size, Alyssa?"

"Indefinitely!" Alyssa responded, and all three girls began laughing.

"We need to find somewhere to keep Zack," said Alyssa to Britney. "I don't want my mom or dad to find him in my bedroom, and the same thing could happen with your parents here. Do you know of any safe place where we could keep him?"

"I know of an abandoned house where the older teenagers party, there's supposed to be a keg party there tonight," Britney replied. "But if we keep him there, we are going to have to share him with about six other girls."

"That won't be a problem," said Alyssa, "as long as Zack is safe."

Meanwhile, at Lorbrulgrud research facility, Alyssa's mom had taken the technology and showed it to Alyssa's dad. After showing him the shrunken coffee cup, she showed him the other equipment that Zack had given to Alyssa.

"If we hook up the flash drive that came with the shrink ray," said Mrs. Archer to her husband, “it shows the schematics for how miniaturization works. The process is known scientifically as neutrino dissimilation."

Mr. Archer hooked up the flash drive to a computer, and began reading the schematics. After studying the information for twenty minutes with his wife standing silently by his side, he turned and looked at her.

"There are five or six devices that would need to be invented before we could build a functional neutrino dissimilator in our day and age," said Mr. Archer. "There is a device that detects the gravitational signature of quark and gluon particles, and another device that establishes a dimensional membrane around the person or object that gets miniaturized. Apparently, the electrons remain normal-sized but a dimensional membrane reduces the strength of their charge to match the diminished charge of the miniaturized protons.”

"So it's impossible to reverse engineer this technology?" Mrs. Archer asked.

"Not impossible, but as long as it shows us how to construct all the components of the neutrino dissimilator device, we should be okay, but it's going to take some time. Where did Alyssa acquire this technology?"

"She said Zack encountered a time traveler and brought this stuff over to our house."

"And where is Zack?" Mr. Archer asked.

"Alyssa said he went home," said Mrs. Archer.

"You should probably check on Zack," said Mr. Archer, "knowing our daughter, she probably shrunk him and is keeping him prisoner somewhere."

"Do you really think she's capable of something like that?" Mrs. Archer asked.

"What happened when we bought her those pet goldfish?" Mr. Archer asked. "She swallowed them, a shrink ray is the worst thing she could possibly have. For all we know, she could've swallowed Zack!"

"I'll go to his house and check up on him, in the meantime, try to reverse engineer that tech!"

To Be Continued!
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