Work hard. Play hard. As long as the pay is good. Ander Karl Tohr took these words to heart. For twenty-nine years he worked hard at the local steel mill in Clifford Falls, a small city in upstate New York. In January 1989 Ander received recognition for his many years of strenuous effort. He was promoted to working supervisor of his crew; the new position did not last long. By the end of his second week as supervisor, an envious co-worker sabotaged Ander’s safety gear. He fell from a great height and was injured severely. In the weeks and months of physical therapy following his injury Ander recovered just enough to be able to stand and walk short distances, but his strength and endurance were crippled. The union started paying him a disability pension because he could no longer work at the steel mill.
Thankfully Ander was blessed to have the care and support of his nephew Russ to help him through this difficult time. Russell Trevor Tohr moved in with Ander three years before the injury. It started out when Ander agreed to have Russ as a house guest for a week while his parents and siblings went on a Caribbean cruise for vacation. Russ was grounded from going on the cruise. He must had done something really bad to be punished so harshly, but nobody can seem to remember exactly what it was he did. All Russ remembers is that he did do something bad enough to deserve being grounded from the vacation. The cruise ship vanished without a trace. It was last reported to be heading into the Bermuda Triangle. Russ never saw his family again. Ander formally became Russ’s legal guardian.
By the beginning of 1989 Russ was a Senior at Dionne L. Francis High School, the public high school in Clifford Falls. For the past three years, ever since his family disappeared, Russ had been spending lots of time at the library buried in books, researching everything he could gather about disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, hoping to find a way to someday bring his loved ones back. He added up his facts, made some educated guesses, and decided upon a probable speculation.
Russ concluded that there was once a continent called Atlantis where the Bermuda Triangle now exists. The Atlanteans were the first people in history to experiment with antimatter. They tried to open a porthole to another dimension composed of antimatter instead of matter. By natural law the material and antimaterial dimensions are kept separate because when an atom of antimatter encounters an identical atom of matter, they annihilate one another.
Somewhere around 1633 B.C. the Atlanteans breached that natural barrier between the dimensions. They opened a porthole, and were either unprepared or unable to cope with the dangerous consequences. In order to keep from being annihilated they found a way to transform matter into antimatter; they lost control of the experiment, the whole continent suddenly transformed, and disappeared into the antimaterial dimension. The evacuated area where the continent used to be was immediately covered over by waters which we know today as the Atlantic Ocean.
The porthole which the Atlanteans constructed is now deep below on the ocean floor. It drifts randomly amongst the ocean currents, but usually stays within the geographical confines of what is known today as the Bermuda Triangle. Anyone or anything traveling through that area risks the possibility of encountering the porthole’s transformation waves, being turned into antimatter, and carried off to the antimatter dimension.
Admittedly it was a wild hunch, but Russ was a desperate young man. He convinced Mr. Nagelschmidt, a science teacher, and Mr. Sansone, a math teacher, to help him in the school’s science lab. With the assistance of these two teachers, and his closest friends, John and Julie, Russ decided to try to construct a porthole of his own, a reverse of the Atlantean one, which would bring people and things back to the material dimension. In order to avoid the disaster which the Atlanteans suffered, Russ designed a special particle screen for the porthole, which only allowed certain subatomic particles to pass through, in this case photons. By allowing only photons to pass through, he could see what, if anything, was in the antimatter dimension, and anyone who might be there could in theory see what was on our material side.
By early March 1989 Russ and his friends were ready to open a porthole in the science lab and take a look at what might be out there. Excitement and adventure permeated the atmosphere as they fired up their equipment for the first time. Years of study and preparation were about to finally pay off! “Let’s do it to it!” Russ exuberantly exclaimed as a porthole began emerging in front of them. It looked strange, almost like a photographic negative floating in mid air. “John, adjust the gamma,” Russ commanded, “and Julie, neutralize the reaction. Hold this position.” The view cleared up and normalized. Russ was so overjoyed he began to lose control of himself. “First me see, then everybody see, OK?” he requested as if he were four years old. As he looked into the porthole, he saw another science lab with equipment similar to his; suddenly, right in front of him, he was startled to see another face staring right back at him! This face was filled with the same joy and wonder Russ was feeling. Her gazing eyes were glowing blue like arctic ice; her dirty blonde hair shimmered like a smoky candle flame. She was the most beautiful girl Russ had ever seen!
The lab was filled with cheers and shouts of excitement! Russ wanted to confirm his discovery by making sure the girl on the other side could see him, too. He could not talk to his newly discovered friend because sound waves could not get through the particle screen, only light could. So Russ picked up a notebook, wrote a note on it, and held it up to the porthole: “Hello! Can you see these words that I write? My name is Russ Tohr. What is your name?”
The girl immediately grabbed a tablet of paper and wrote a reply: “Yes I can see you, Russ! My name is Bex Antimat.”
“That’s good enough for me!” Russ chanted with joy. He had finally made contact with the antimatter dimension and obtained evidence of his message being received from the other side. Russ and Bex began to write each other messages, literally comparing notes, having a written conversation. Bex confirmed Russ’s theory about the Atlanteans. They were the original people to inhabit the antimaterial dimension. Eventually over the course of time more and more people would stumble in through the Bermuda Triangle and other portholes constructed by the ancients.
But then something big happened, Bex wrote. In the early 1940s teams of scientists from various governments began to experiment with new modern portholes to the antimatter dimension. In 1943 one team named “Project Rainbow” concluded that it was possible for someone to pass from the material dimension to the antimaterial dimension using the Atlanteans’ method, but that it would be impossible, even destructively fatal, for any living tissue to attempt the reverse transferral. Based upon that conclusion, authorities around the world began using the antimatter dimension as a dumping place for society’s worst criminals, and for anyone else they wished to eternally exile. Bex wrote with tears in her eyes how her world had become a living nightmare overnight.
Russ asked Bex if she had seen or heard anything about his family, describing the cruise ship and the time it disappeared. “I’m very sorry, Russ, but we have not seen them, nor heard anything about them,” Bex responded, “but trust me, you do not want to come over here looking for them! First of all, they’d be lucky to still be alive! It’s much too dangerous here! There is a ruthless madman who terrorizes our province called Rex the Lunatic. When I was only five years old, he brutally murdered and cannibalized both of my parents! I quickly rounded up my sisters and ran off. While looking for a place to hide, we found an underground monastery run by some old Basilian monks who were exiled to this dimension by the Soviet Union. They took us in as orphans, baptized us, raised us, and educated us. They were so good to us, and we loved them so much! The last of the monks died this past October. We’re all alone here now, and each day Rex is getting closer to finding us! We’ve barricaded ourselves in the monastery’s science laboratory and we’ve spent all our time desperately trying to find any possible way we can to escape to the material dimension. We know it means risking death, but we’d rather die trying to escape than be raped, dismembered, and eaten by that monster Rex the Lunatic!”
“That doesn’t sound good!” Russ remarked aloud to himself. He began to hum and make noises indicative of deep thought.
“Don’t do it Russ!” Mr. Nagelschmidt abruptly warned with great alarm in his voice. He knew what Russ was thinking of attempting. “Lowering that particle screen would endanger our whole continent!” he warned. “You know what happened to the Atlanteans.” Russ reluctantly agreed. Yet soon he resumed thinking, re-thinking, and over-thinking any possible way of rescuing Bex and her sisters, anything the government scientists might have possibly overlooked. All of a sudden Russ ran off to the library and started hitting the books.
Once Russ was gone, Julie took over the written discussion across the porthole. “Hi Bex, I’m Julie,” she wrote, “we’re seniors in high school. Please tell us more about you and your sisters.”
Bex wrote back, “There’s five of us. I’m 18, and I’m the oldest. Let me introduce my sisters...”
Amy approached the porthole first. Her bright, straight-cut blonde hair glowed a fluorescent chartreuse yellow. Her smile was wide and bright. She held a note which read “My name is Amy Antimat and I’m 17.” Her note was surrounded with hearts she drew and colored red. A real sweetheart indeed, and completely selfless in her altruism, Amy Antimat would do practically anything for her beloved sisters.
Next, two girls, one with blonde hair and one with red hair, skipped together in unison and stopped in front of the porthole. Their note said: “We’re Cindy and Ellen Antimat. We’re twins, we’re 16, and we’re best friends!” They were obviously not identical twins, but they were nevertheless sympathetic twins. Punch one, and the other felt pain; should one of them get lost, the other would know exactly where she was.
Last but not least, the youngest sister appeared before the porthole, face down at first, shyly looking up through her curly brown hair. She held up a 3x5 card on which she wrote: “Coleen Antimat. 15 years old. The brains of the family.” She was not exaggerating. She had a four-digit IQ, and it was mostly thanks to her that the Antimats got their side of the porthole opened.
Then they all huddled around the porthole holding a big sign which read: “PLEASE SAVE US! YOU’RE OUR ONLY HOPE!”