TOP SECRET: The Union Station Hypersphere Incident

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Commander Bowman:

I have confirmed that five of our operatives sacrificed their lives to acquire this document. Four were summarily shot upon capture; the last delivered this document to the drop point and swallowed her standard-issue cyanide capsule as the Special Forces converged. But after reading this document—just a summary of the official report given to the President, said to run some two thousand pages—I hope you will agree that five lives were an acceptable loss. We cannot let their plans come to fruition. If they succeed . . . Henry, I don’t see how even one person in the whole world could survive. We need to do something. Tonight.

Lt. Commander Cassandra Langley


To the attention of the President of the United States, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Ranking Members of the House and Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, and the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security:

Please find attached a summary of the Commission’s report on the events of 23 February 2025, in and around Union Station, Washington, D.C., focusing primarily on the five seconds during which the anomaly manifested, secondly on the aftereffects of the anomaly’s passage through our universe, and thirdly on the implications and the Commission’s recommended action plan. The Commission would like to thank the “Mesa Double-Diamond” group at Los Alamos for their mathematical assistance, particularly Dr. Abbott, whose background in superunification physics was indispensable to our effort to complete this report within two years of the anomaly’s appearance (hereafter the “Incident”). Furthermore, the Commission would like to thank the generosity of Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland, for providing the Commission with a sequestered office environment and generous lab facilities in which to perform certain experiments and calculations without fear of disturbance, and we hope that our mutual cooperation may continue as the next steps are taken.

The Commission is hereby dissolved and may not be reconvened, nor may its members make any contact with one another for as long as they live, and the same said for their successors, heirs, executors of their estates, and all other such parties, pursuant to Emergency Regulation 0S-999-AAA (the “Blank Flag” doctrine). Thank you for your time.

Timeline of the Incident

23 February 2025, 08:44:15.03 — In the Main Hall of Union Station in Washington, D.C., a mote of blue material becomes visible to four offsite-linked security cameras operated by Shake Shack and Starbucks retail locations and three cameras operated by Amtrak security personnel.

08:44:15.05 (backdated) — The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Hanford, Washington State, detects statistically significant gravitational waves in the direction of the nation’s capital.

08:44:15.80 — The mote of blue material has expanded into what is now clearly a sphere. The sphere is growing, its blue color brightening over time.

08:44:16 — The three mentally competent eyewitnesses begin to pass through the doors at the far end of the West Hall and lay eyes upon the anomaly, while it is still growing. Their names are Duncan Marshall (Witness 101), Beverly Jackson (Witness 280), and Katherine Bourn (Witness 599).

08:44:17.50 — The blue sphere reaches its maximum radius, abruptly turns red, and begins to shrink. All electrical devices within a two block radius, including the security cameras aimed at the anomaly, cease to function at once. The competent eyewitnesses report a sensation of extreme vertigo which briefly incapacitates Witness 101 and Witness 599.

08:44:17.80 — Security cameras mounted in the vicinity of the Capitol Building, several blocks south of Union Station, record an air pressure shockwave rising over the tree line that impedes their direct observation of the station. This is the best estimate for when Union Station begins to collapse.

08:44:19 — Witness 280 recovers from her bout of vertigo and looks down the length of the West Hall as the roof starts collapsing. She reports seeing the anomaly glowing red and continuing to shrink before turning to run.

08:44:19.97 (calculated) — The anomaly compresses from a sphere back down to a point and disappears.

08:44:20-25 — Union Station completely collapses.

08:44:30 — The first emergency calls are made by citizens who see the debris plume over the site of the station from some distance away, as the phones of all those close enough to have seen the collapse firsthand have been disabled.

08:46:30 — District of Columbia police officers stationed outside the radius of electrical failure are the first emergency responders to reach the scene. They report widespread panic on the periphery but an eerie calm closer to the wreckage. Many hundreds of individuals near the station are physically unharmed but present catatonic symptoms. Police responders, focused upon the search for survivors beneath the ruins, attempt to command these individuals to move out of the perimeter, but these individuals no longer respond to words, or, in extreme cases, any outside stimuli.

08:48:00 — The President is informed and declares a state of emergency in and around the District of Columbia and immediate adjustment of defense posture to DEFCON 3. The working theory at this point, which the Commission recommends remain the public explanation for the Incident, is that a very large bomb has detonated in Union Station during the morning rush hour.

09:12:00 — The first Central Intelligence Agency counterterrorism agents arrive on the scene and liaise with District responders and Capitol Police forces. A significant perimeter is established around the remains of Union Station, encompassing all the areas to which civilians near the station were temporarily evacuated.

09:25:00 — It becomes clear to federal responders that the station’s collapse was not preceded by an explosion or any reports of architectural decay. The President is informed that the disaster was neither a structural accident nor an act of terrorism with conventional weapons.

09:29:00 — On the orders of the President and his national security advisors, all surviving witnesses within the cordoned-off perimeter are informed that they will be debriefed in the West Virginia black site codenamed “Dark Current.” Central Intelligence Agency protective custody vehicles are dispatched to the scene to process them.

09:45:00 — One hour following the Incident, all survivors within the perimeter have been removed from the scene, the fire department is scouring the wreckage for victims in conjunction with federal counterterrorism investigators, downtown Washington street traffic is banned, mandatory evacuations have begun in a one-mile circle around Union Station, precautionary evacuations have begun one to three miles from Union Station, and the special standby facility codenamed “Svalbard” has been activated at Goddard Space Flight Center.

10:15:00 — The President charges [Commissioner 1] with assembling a “Blank Flag” task force Commission to investigate the Incident, review the defense vulnerabilities that were exploited by its instigators, recommend solutions to those vulnerabilities, and supply the President with action plans for a proportionate military response.

Summary of Findings

On 23 February 2025, beginning at 08:44:15 in the Main Hall of Union Station in downtown Washington, D.C., approximately thirty-six feet in from the front doors, fifteen feet from the left-hand entrance to the West Hall, and centered six feet in the air, a four-dimensional object passed through our universe.

The object manifested first as a point, and over the course of two and a half seconds, this point grew into a sphere whose radius increased with time until it reached a maximum width of four feet and seven inches. Over the following two and a half seconds, the sphere shrank back to a point and disappeared. Most of Union Station collapsed immediately following the Incident, but seven security cameras witnessed the anomaly and transmitted their data to external servers before the destruction of the building. An indeterminate number of closed-circuit cameras were later established to have been facing the anomaly, and some were recovered from the wreckage, but electromagnetic disturbances created by the object had wiped their memory.

Some 1,940 people were present in Union Station or its immediate vicinity at the time of the Incident. The Commission has established that 844 of the fatalities from the Incident were caused by the collapse of Union Station, while the other 525 were apparently killed by the anomaly’s presence itself. The remaining 571 individuals in the vicinity were all placed under protective detainment by the Department of Homeland Security and have been well cared for in New Groom, Nevada. All but a few dozen of those individuals, who were generally of sound mind and body, have been rendered mentally incompetent by their experiences. The Commission established that those few dozen who escaped with their minds intact were all at the outer perimeter of the disaster zone.

Three eyewitnesses were facing the spot where the anomaly manifested while still standing far enough away not to suffer adverse psychological effects. These three competent witnesses were all about to enter the station’s side entrance, standing within a few feet of the doors that faced down the long and narrow West Hall toward the site of the anomaly in the Main Hall. This was later established to be the longest possible sightline onto the anomaly from outside the footprint of the station’s wreckage. These eyewitness accounts, in conjunction with the video evidence and the classified LIGO report detailing gravitational waves detected in association with the Incident (Gregg et al. 2025), form the basis of the Commission’s conclusions about the physical nature of the object and where it might have come from.

It is the Commission’s belief that the object that triggered the Incident was a four-dimensional hypersphere, passing through our universe of three spatial dimensions. The hypersphere’s destabilization of electromagnetic forces in its vicinity, leading to the collapse of Union Station and the incapacitation of almost everybody within five hundred feet of its locus, can be ascribed to the severe shearing in local space-time exerted by the incredible energies necessary to force the hypersphere to cross our three-dimensional space, without resorting to either supernatural explanations or any conscious malice on the part of the hypersphere itself. Finally, the Commission contends that the hypersphere was deliberately launched by some entity residing in another three-dimensional universe entirely distinct from our own, and that the hypersphere was aimed at yet a third entirely distinct universe, for purposes as yet unknown.

The Shape of the Anomaly

The idea of “other dimensions” has long been a familiar trope in popular culture, but the layman’s conception of this term is inaccurate. When the average American speaks of “other dimensions,” they are generally referring to whole parallel worlds, perhaps populated by supernatural or occult phenomena, but still structured fundamentally along a three-dimensional pattern, and therefore amenable to exploration by a member of our species who manages to cross over to that fantastical place. Before going further, it is essential to dispel this notion.

Leaving aside the dimension of time (see Appendices F and G for primers on the relevant general relativity field equations), let us consider the three spatial dimensions in which human beings exist. A dimension is defined as a unique direction in which one can travel. If one is restricted to stepping left or right, there is no way to move backward or forward. Thus we say that these two directions are district dimensions. By adding vertical height, this description covers all three dimensions in which human beings can travel.

Until the Incident, scientists and theoreticians were more or less convinced that reality contained no more than three spatial dimensions, as demonstrated by the 2023 Berlin symposia that disproved string theory. But a rich mathematical heritage exists, extending geometry into four dimensions, and higher numbers besides. The Commission has drawn upon the expertise of Dr. Abbott and his group at Los Alamos National Laboratory to make conclusions about the physical nature of the anomaly and the type of higher-dimensional space-time from which it may have originated.

The basic shapes in the five lowest dimensions are a point (zero dimensions), a line (one dimension), a circle (two), a sphere (three), and a hypersphere (four). It will prove instructive to consider a cross-section of each shape, that is, what a slice of each shape looks like. For instance, a slice taken out of a cube parallel to any of the cube’s faces will be a square. Any slice taken through a circle will be a line, and any slice taken through a sphere will be a circle. A cross-section of any shape appears to be one dimension lower than the shape from which the slice was taken. It is therefore conjectured that a cross-section taken through a four-dimensional hypersphere will be a three-dimensional sphere.

Dr. Abbott and his affiliates at Los Alamos have established a canonical interpretation of how human beings would perceive a hypersphere passing through our universe, an interpretation that exactly matches the surviving camera feeds and descriptions of the object put forward by the three mentally sound witnesses. The interpretation, which is by analogy, is as follows.

Imagine a species of two-dimensional beings, confined to the surface of a pool of water. Unable to look underwater or above the surface, these beings perceive their entire universe as a multitude of other two-dimensional shapes. Suppose a sphere is held at rest just touching the water’s surface. The two-dimensional beings will see the very bottommost point, the sphere’s south pole, as a dot in their flat world.

Now consider letting the sphere sink into the water. As the sphere descends, the two-dimensional beings will perceive the dot of the sphere’s south pole widening into a circle, the cross-sectional slice of the sphere. The circle will widen and widen until the sphere is half-submerged, at which time the radius of the circle they can see will be equal to the radius of the whole sphere. Then, as the sphere sinks further, the beings will perceive the circle shrinking again back to a point, before it vanishes altogether. The two-dimensional beings observed a circle appear out of nowhere, grow, shrink again, and then disappear, but as three-dimensional beings, we understand that they have merely seen a sphere sink unimpeded through the water’s surface. The size and shape of the sphere have not changed in three dimensions, but the two-dimensional beings saw a series of circles that varied with time—the cross sections of the sphere.

The hypersphere manifested within our universe, in Union Station at 08:44:15 on the morning of the Incident, in a precisely analogous fashion. Camera recordings and eyewitness testimony describe an object that appeared as a point out of nowhere, ballooned into a sphere with a maximum radius of four feet seven inches, and then shrank back down to a point and disappeared. Recalling that a slice through a hypersphere is a three-dimensional sphere, we can look back at the analogy of how the flat beings perceived a sphere passing through their two-dimensional universe, and conclude that we would perceive a hypersphere passing through our three-dimensional universe exactly as described by the competent witnesses of the Incident. This constitutes sufficient proof as far as the Los Alamos working group is concerned that the anomaly was a hypersphere, and after reviewing the relevant mathematics (see Appendix B, pages 5-21), the Commission concludes the same.

Damage Assessment of the Incident

The anomaly inflicted three principal categories of damage: the destabilization of macroscopic physical structures (namely the collapse of Union Station), the deactivation of all electronic devices within about one thousand feet of the hypersphere’s locus, and the mental incapacitation of most people closer than five hundred feet. Evidence reflecting each category of damage, while sometimes difficult to untangle from the greater chaos of the Incident, has led the Commission to certain conclusions about the structure of the higher-dimensional meta-reality within which our three-dimensional universe apparently rests. Simulations and calculations performed at the special standby facility codenamed “Svalbard” in Goddard Space Flight Center have converged upon a system of hypotheses which would, in conjunction, explain the damage wrought by the appearance and subsequent disappearance of the hypersphere.

The easiest damage mechanism to understand is the shockwave that collapsed Union Station. Backdating Capitol Building security camera footage, the shock front appears to have triggered immediately following the moment the hypersphere achieved its maximum radius and started shrinking. Corroborated by the classified measurements by the LIGO instrument in Hanford, Washington (Gregg et al. 2025), the prevailing explanation is that the hypersphere caused a severe, localized gravitational disturbance as it began exiting our universe; that is, as the sphere began to shrink.

To understand why this would occur, let us return to our analogy of two dimensional beings on the surface of a pool of water. Envision dropping a sphere into the water from some height. The two-dimensional beings will see a series of circular cross sections of the sphere, as previously argued, but additionally the surface of the water will ripple and splash as the sphere impacts. Moving along a fourth-dimension axis perpendicular our universe, the hypersphere caused analogous gravitational rippling in the fabric of space-time around Union Station.

These gravity waves were severe enough close to the anomaly to shear apart local collections of matter near the anomaly’s point of emergence. The station collapsed because local space-time was so warped by the hypersphere’s energy that the direction of strongest gravity no longer pointed uniformly down. The entire station would have been pulled in multiple other directions at once, the chaotic forces breaking apart its support structures until the station crashed in a jumble to the ground.

The electromagnetic pulse that disabled all electrical devices within a radius of several hundred yards is currently beyond the reach of the Commission’s scientific expertise. [Commissioner 7] has advanced the theory that large gravitational shearing may violate locality and prevent adjacent particles from exchanging photons, leading to a breakdown in any nearby conductive device experiencing a current. To examine the matter, a vacant warehouse at Goddard Space Flight Center was converted into an advanced high-energy laboratory for a number of experiments meant to probe how rapid gravitational disturbances affect electromagnetic forces. Unfortunately, laboratory-scale science is currently incapable of producing gravitational disturbances large enough for such tests. Until we develop the capability to move objects along the fourth spatial dimension, we cannot test this theory further.

Finally, there is the peculiar matter of all survivors within a certain distance of the anomaly experiencing mental breakdowns from which not one of them has recovered as of this writing. The Commission admits this is the thorniest issue of all, and no testable explanation has been advanced as to why this mass incapacitation occurred. However, the Commission posits that the same gravitational disturbance which likely triggered the electromagnetic pulse is probably also responsible for the incapacitation of the bystanders in the Incident. Since no tests can be conducted, the Commission recommends focusing on the hypersphere’s physical damage mechanisms rather than dwelling on this mystery.

[Commissioner 25] has written a separate appendix on this issue which [pronoun redacted] insisted be included with this report, without which [Commissioner 25] would have refused to sign off on these findings. The Commission as a whole is of the belief that [Commissioner 25]’s appendix represents superstition at best and fearmongering at worst, and recommends that no policy decisions be based on its credulous speculations.

Origins of the Anomaly

There is currently no means by which we can prevent a four-dimensional object from passing through our three-dimensional universe. Since we lack the currently-unimaginable ability to construct a four-dimensional barrier, we are utterly defenseless against the ravages of any other such anomaly impinging upon our world.

Given that we cannot yet mount such a defense, the next best option is to develop a theory as to why the hypersphere appeared where it did, and whether that indicates certain other locations are also in danger. This is the point of gravest security concern: upon reviewing the evidence, the Commission concludes that the hypersphere was intentionally launched by other intelligent beings.

Our three-dimensional universe is vast beyond description, an inexpressible volume of empty space dotted here and there with stars and planets so tiny when measured against the breadth of all things that an all-seeing God would find such heavenly bodies smaller than we find electrons and protons. There is no reason to suppose a four-dimensional object passing through our universe would just happen to manifest near a galaxy, let alone a star, let alone a world, let alone less than two miles from the White House, the Capitol Building, and the Supreme Court. The odds of a hypersphere passing through our universe inside Union Station by pure chance are miniscule to the point of absurdity.

It is therefore clear to the Commission that the hypersphere emerged in Union Station because it was directed there purposefully. This implies—and the Commission acknowledges the enormity of this statement, but implores the President not to dismiss it—that someplace else in the higher-dimensional reality of which our three-dimensional universe is but a sliver, there exists an alien race of unspeakable power, possessing the ability to launch objects along the fourth spatial dimension.

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s “Mesa Double-Diamond” group, led by Dr. Abbott, has calculated the minimum energy production required to launch the hypersphere. If we assume the launching civilization also lives in a three-dimensional universe, one totally distinct from ours and which is separated from our universe by some distance along the fourth dimension, the energy necessary to move the hypersphere to the immediately “adjacent” universe (the lowest-energy assumption) is no less than ten to the fifty-eight joules, or about one-quarter the per-second energy output of an entire galaxy. If the launching civilization is farther away in the fourth dimension, the energy required to launch the hypersphere and have it reach our universe would increase exponentially. In Appendix A, [Commissioner 6] reports that for a median reasonable distance of the launching civilization from our universe, the energy required to launch the hypersphere is in excess of ten to the seventy joules, or about ten times the per-second energy output of all the galaxies in our universe combined.

The Commission contends, in other words, that there must exist a universe hosting a civilization of such breathtaking scope that every last star in every last galaxy that universe contains has been yoked to an engine of unspeakable might, capturing and harnessing every last drop of energy from all those multitudes of heavenly bodies. That energy—the energy of a universe—was then expended to propel a four-dimensional hypersphere out of their realm, across an unknown number of intervening universes, and then through our own.

The Commission hopes that the awe-inspiring enormity of this conclusion is clear. The first question must be: why? Why expend whole universe’s worth of energy for the singular purpose of launching a hypersphere—for all that eyewitness accounts and camera recordings can tell, just a solid piece of unidentified metal in four dimensions—out of their very universe and have it pass through our own? In comparison to such all-powerful beings, humans are amoebae gliding underfoot. Why propel the hypersphere through our universe in such close proximity to the seat of the United States government?

Earth, and the United States in particular, must for some reason be worth noticing. [Commissioner 2] theorizes that the hypersphere may have been a signal flare merely indicating that the civilization exists, across almost unbreakable boundaries of space and time. If this theory is correct, perhaps the civilization hopes that we will study the physics of the Incident and emulate their tremendous power output, allowing us to launch four-dimensional objects of our own. The energy required scales non-linearly with the mass of the object; directing a four-dimensional construct with the radius of a dust grain back toward the hypersphere’s origin universe could require as little as ten to the twenty-four joules, or a hundredth of the Sun’s per-second energy output. Assuming the civilization is watching for our reply, they may be able to detect our trans-universal dust grain, and peaceful communications could be established.

Unfortunately, the Commission as a whole has reached a less pleasant conclusion. Unless the launching civilization possesses such a surfeit of available energy that they think nothing of squandering a whole universe brimming with stars and galaxies, if they intended to signal peacefully to Earth, they should have propelled the hypersphere with just enough energy for it to come to a halt with part of its cross-section impinging on our universe, and no farther. Instead, the anomaly passed through our universe without measurably slowing down, continuing along its fourth-dimensional trajectory. This implies it was aimed somewhere else.

It is the Commission’s belief that the hypersphere was a weapon. The launching civilization fired it at some other universe beyond our own in the fourth-dimensional direction, with the intent that the hypersphere would deliver either its remaining kinetic energy or activate some unknown offensive capability upon reaching/impacting its target. [Commissioner 6] has computed that for a reasonable estimate of the fourth-dimensional distance the hypersphere might cover after exiting our universe, the amount of energy it could deliver to its target may be in excess of ten to the seventy-five joules. The resultant explosion would be enough to disintegrate whole superclusters of galaxies; if the target universe is relatively close by, the hypersphere might obliterate absolutely everything there. The hypersphere could kill universes.

Los Alamos has calculated that for certain configurations of higher-dimensional reality, the emergence point of the hypersphere in the intervening universes of its trajectory could be chosen freely, regardless of its destination. Having somehow become aware of Earth’s existence, the launching civilization must therefore have chosen a trajectory for their weapon which would impinge upon our universe close to our center of government as a kind of warning shot, a secondary objective for the hypersphere on the way to its primary target. The Commission is in general agreement that they must find humanity’s level of technological advancement threatening, and the Incident was meant to intimidate us away from developing the energy production necessary to force an object into other universes, the minimum achievement of ours which would present a threat to their security.

The Commission’s Recommendation to the President

If the passage of the hypersphere through Union Station was meant to terrorize humanity into curtailing our technological advancement, the launching civilization must be considered an adversary of the United States. As such, all reasonable and prudent measures must be taken to signal that we shall not tolerate such an unprovoked attack, and that the United States shall undertake a proportionate response if necessary.

Neither the United States nor Earth at large produces enough energy to press objects across the fourth-dimensional barrier into other universes. Overcoming this impediment is essential to showing the launching civilization that we shall not cower before their threats. To this end, the Commission humbly recommends that the President approve the Action Plan presented in Section 3. It is broadly in three steps, as follows:

Phase 1. Expand the special standby facility codenamed “Svalbard” at Goddard Space Flight Center into a high-energy physics laboratory, hiring experts from around the world to clarify the science, and in particular the energy requirements, of trans-dimensional motion.

Phase 2. By the year 2100, develop a network of fusion reactors capable of outputting ten to the twenty watts of electrical power, all to be devoted to tests of a four-dimensional launching apparatus developed under the leadership of the Svalbard facility’s engineers and scientists.

Phase 3. By the year 2127, in one century, successfully construct a four-dimensional object of macroscopic size (minimally the size of a dust grain) and imbue it with sufficient energy from the dedicated fusion reactors to propel it into the universe whose civilization attacked the United States during the Incident.

The Commission is unsympathetic to complaints from certain quarters that this Action Plan strays outside the realms to which national defense has traditionally been restricted. Long ago, there was no such thing as war on the seas, or in the air, or in space. As our technology improves, old boundaries fade. Our new foe has fought in this combat theater longer than humanity, but has the United States not defeated one superior adversary after another for two hundred and fifty years? The crude threats of aliens who fear our progress must not dissuade us. Never shall the United States accept a position of weakness. Never shall the United States refuse to fight for our freedom to grow and thrive.


You, me, Nova Squad. Ten days from now, outside Helena in the prearranged place. Bring the coordinates of Goddard Space Flight Center. We’ll drive to Malmstrom Air Force Base from there. Security shouldn’t be able to stop us. They let 19-year-olds guard the nukes, these days.


end article

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Marco Panessa

About Marco Panessa

Marco Panessa is a physicist, educator, and author. His short fiction has appeared in Escape Pod. He currently maintains affiliations with American University and Catholic University of America, and has performed research at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. On the rare occasion he is not teaching or writing, Marco enjoys traveling and impulse-buying more books than he will ever have time to read. He lives with his fiancee in Washington, DC.

  • Rosamund Clancy

    This story had me unable to stop reading until I had finished it. The beginning grabbed my attention and the ending was strong.