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Dreamed 1995/12/11 by Chris Wayan

I'm on a high-security physics project with potential aerospace applications. It's so secret, the team as a whole never meets, just small groups.

But despite all the security, a stranger walks into one meeting, and wordlessly sets up a small can that splats blobs of fierce light, a laser-pure hue of green, all over a corner of the room. For a moment it's as if the corner is covered in wet paint... and then everyone including the stranger just disappears!

Was this terrorism? A prank? What? No ransom message. Nor any further attacks.

No one can make sense of it. Other researcher-groups meet to debate what to do. Until a stranger walks in and sets off a can of purple fire, and the debate is silent. Dead silent. An empty room, not even bodies.

The remaining personnel stay in small clusters, only getting together for a crucial experiment...

And a stranger with a can of red-orange light walks in.

The whole project-team just vanishes, splat by splat...

Weeks later, distress signals are picked up from the researchers. They were kidnapped, then abandoned--outside the solar system! Transported, in an instant, several light-weeks out. They're stuck in a large, viable habitat, but without a way back. Now Earth is motivated to develop deep-space travel. Rival rescue plans are feverishly debated. Star travel was still a decade or two away, and not yet seriously funded; now, the race is on.

And I'm getting suspicious. I wonder if this was the Splatters' intent! First, prove star travel is possible; then provide a strong motive to develop it on our own, all without spoon-feeding us.

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