Elizabeth's mind raced, trying to think of something, anything, to stop this thing. She glanced at the RPM gauge, then looked away. It was rising so fast it was making her nauseous.
Rising at an exponential rate...
An expanding universe... but even the universe could only go on until a certain point...
"Can you increase revolutions?" she asked the future Elizabeth.
She balked. "Are you out of your mind?!"
"Probably, just do it!"
Grumbling, she punched in the command.
"In theory, everything is infinite," Elizabeth muttered as she braced herself against the increasing speed. "But not everything works in theory."
The beams began to whine, the mechanisms to hiss. The motor coughed in protest.
Slowly, but surely, the spinning began to pull back, finally coming to a complete stop.
The two Elizabeths blinked, then looked at each other in disbelief.
"I can't believe that actually worked."
Elizabeth shrugged. "I thought perhaps Big Bang and Big Crunch could both be downsized a bit. Everything has its 'infinite' limits, even the universe." Then it sunk in: they were alive. They'd made it. Elizabeth squealed and threw her arms around her older counterpart. Future-Elizabeth stepped back in surprise, then slowly returned the embrace.
A dry, hollow footstep resounded through the chamber. Elizabeth opened her eyes. Both the tesseract and her older counterpart had vanished.
"Very impressive, Ms. Quinn." Elizabeth spun around to face a young man who couldn't have been too much older than herself. He nodded to her. "It's amazing how different methods of presenting information affect a person."
Why does his face look so familiar? "So... so none of that actually happened?"
"Of course it happened, it all just happened to be a fabrication of your mind. Previous subjects haven't had such an intricate reaction before." He paused for a moment, peering at her face through his glasses. She peered back.
He leaned back in mild astonishment. "I thought I recognized your name, Elizabeth. How could I forget the girl that built that tesseract freshman year?"
Her eyes widened. Only one other person her age had actually called that figure by its name. "Jason? Jason Petrovsky?"
He nodded, a rather friendly smirk on his lips. "I understand you've, naturally, gone a long way in your studies, as I naturally have with mine." He began to pace slowly around her. "But I never imagined that I'd be studying a former classmate," he continued, amused. He stood still for a moment.
"You're in charge of this project?"
His smirk widened. "Interesting projects have the tendency to fall to those within the agency who happen to have a 212 next to his name."
Elizabeth barely held back a gasp of realization.
So he was the one above her.