‘What’s this?’ Nico asked of his friend.
‘This,’ Richard gestured at the columns behind him. ‘is the gateway to the gods.’
Nico looked at the loudspeakers and stacks of electronics behind it. ‘Been drinking the wrong stuff lately?’
Richard smirked, expecting that reaction to his sound reproduction installation.
‘You think I’ve been listening to psychedelic too much, but this is a serious setup.’ he said while turning on the equalizers and electronic crossovers. ‘I’ve spend a lot of time dissecting loudspeaker designs, acoustic principals and how the human hearing works to come up with this perfect reproduction system. Or, ultimate stereo if you want to call it that.’
‘You know, others build ultimate stereos with less.’
Richard knocked on one of the wooden tower speakers. ‘Yes, but they didn’t have the goal to traverse time.’
‘Now I know you’ve been drinking weird contraptions.’
Richard held up his hand powering on the power amplifiers. ‘Wait, hear me out.’ he said and grabbed his laptop. ‘You’ve heard about how they extracted sound from ancient pottery?’
‘There were many more objects they applied micro laser technology to and found fragments of sounds. But the most disturbing find was the music coming from the vases that held the Dead Sea scrolls. Someone on the team who had access to those also knew someone who did the laser thing and he had one of the vases checked for sound vibrations just as a curiousity.’
Richard sat down on the couch next to Nico and showed him images on the screen.
‘As it turned out, there was sound imprinted on them.’
Nico looked at the images showing the vase and spectrum analysis.
‘The thing is, it wasn’t just simple sounds. It was a form of music.’
Nico looked at Richard. ‘I think I want what you’re drinking.’
Richard grinned. ‘Actually, that’s part of the process.’ he said and switched to the mediaplayer. ‘The so-called scientists who were examining the scrolls at the time dismissed it as rubbish at the time, but the guys managed to record all vases over a couple of years and compiled a sound library. Through a mutual friend on the audio forum I got a hold of a copy.’
Richard loaded a playlist on the media server. ‘Many have listened and tried to make something out of these, but no-one as of yet had tried to reproduce it in a real three-dimensional way.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘They only used standard stereo equipment.’
Nico just looked at him.
‘Normal stereo equipment just reproduce sound from left and right. Some use reflections from side walls to create stereo from a single box, and some use elaborate surround setups. But you need to reproduce the front wave perfectly according to the way the human brain processes sounds.’
Nico nodded. ‘So you created this?’
Richard smiled. ‘Yes. Using the practical evidence from scientists and audio manufactors I created not just loudspeakers, but a real sound reproduction system. Just listen.’
He played the 1812 overture, impressing Nico with the excellent soundstage until he felt the canon fire scare the shit out of him.
‘Christ! Did your subwoofers blow up!?’
Richard laughed and played tracks ranging from jazz to death metal surprising Nico every time at how real it sounded.
‘I think it’s time I told you the wine you’ve been drinking this whole evening was made according to the analysis of what was stored in several of the vases.’
Nico looked at his glass and the red liquid inside. ‘Really?’
Richard nodded. ‘It is essential to prepare your mind to enter the portal to other times. Just the music won’t do.’
‘You make it sound like an LSD trip.’
‘Something like that. The thing is that your mind is locked in learned patterns and it needs to open up to new input. That is where the wine comes in.’
Richard started the vases playlist. ‘Close your eyes and the music will open up your mind to see the time it was produced.’
They leaned back and let the sounds flow around them.
Nico felt a little nervous when it seemed his body floated freely. ‘This is weird.’
‘It’s normal the first time. You feel like floating aimlessly in space, then freefalling back to Earth.’
Colours flashed around him, stars seemed to rotate at high speed, his body felt like liquid but Nico could not open his eyes no matter how much he wanted to. He felt his heart race but Richard’s voice told him to relax as it was a part of the journey.
Nico wondered how anybody could relax like this but saw Richard smiling at the edge of his sight. Then he felt his body become more solid and warm. sunlight slowly filled his vision along with sounds of voices and hammering.
‘Richard? Where are you?’
‘Nico. I’m here.’
Nico blinked his eyes and found himself on a small square in an ancient village.
Nico looked at a man he didn’t recognise but knew it was Richard. ‘What the fuck..?’
Richard laughed. ‘I said the same the first time.’
Nico looked around at the square filed with people engaging with merchants, exotic animals and what had to be roman
soldiers. ‘You gotta be fucking kidding me..’
‘Behold the power of modern science.’ Richard said and gestured at the world.
‘I guess the music and wine somehow trigger genetic memory and let you look back at history.’
‘This must be a bad trip.’
‘That’s what I thought too, but when I accidentally cut myself here I found myself bleeding back in the real world.’
‘Nope.’ said Richard and pulled him as he walked across the square.’
Nico heard the merchants shout the praises of their wares, the heat of the sun shining down on him and the smells of spices and cooked food. ‘It’s so..’
‘Real? Yes.’ Richard said. ‘In a way it is very real.’
Nico bumped into another man who snubbed him. He said something but Nico just looked dumbfounded. The man looked at him for a second, then turned and continued his way.
‘Come.’ Richard said. ‘Let’s find a quieter spot.
Nico agreed and looked at the buildings and people as they tried to find their way out of the city.
They stopped at a street where people had gathered in anticipation of something special.
‘What’s going on?’ Nico asked.
‘No idea.’ Richard said. ‘I’ve not been here before.’
The crowd felt a little restless and eventually a couple of roman soldiers appeared followed by three prisoners carrying woode crosses and more soldiers. One of the prisoners looked Nico directly in the eye as he passed by.
‘Jezus Christ..’ Nico said.
One of the roman soldiers behind the prisoners stepped toward him and pointed his spear at Nico’s throat and asked him something he thought was latin.
He held up his hands. ‘I have no idea.’
The soldier asked him again.
Nico shook his head.
The soldier stared at him for a moment more, then pulled back and followed the rest again.
‘What, the, fuck, was that?’
Richard laid a hand on his shoulder. ‘No idea, but let’s walk. The trip should be over when the music stops.’
They kept going until they reached the edge of the city and sat down.
‘I feel weird.’ Nico said.
‘We’re going back. I can feel it too.’
A shout behind them grabbed their attention and they looked back. It was the same soldier they encountered before with several of his colleagues as he pointed at them.
‘This does not feel right.’ Nico said.
‘I agree. Let’s run while we can.’
They got up and ran when the roman shouted again. They tried to reach a smaller side street when Nico heard a thump and a gasp from Richard.
He looked at his friend as he fell to his knees and down onto the ground with an arrow in his back.
‘RICHA-‘ he shouted and felt colours flowing around him again.
His body floated through space again while he tried to grab hold of anything until he eventually found himself back on the couch sitting next to Richard.
He grabbed Richard’s shoulder. ‘Rich!’
Richard’s head fell forward and Nico saw blood pouring down his back.
‘Richard! Stop messing around!’
He watched him for a while, then let go of him sitting back. ‘How the fuck am I going to explain this now?’
*I built my own ultimate high-end loudspeakers and with the right recordings I get transported to any recording location.
No commercial set (listened to six figure speakers) has done what three thousand euros in parts accomplished. *grin*