The VanderHeyden Kids and The Old Norse Code
Chapter 1: The Big Bang!
VanderHeyden House/ St. Albert, Alberta: August 21st, 2017: 9:15 AM
In a simple home in a simple neighborhood within the city of St. Albert.
Ashlyn VanderHeyden, a college-going teenager of 19 years of age, walked around the house, looking for her younger brother Mitch and little sister Shelly.
"Mitch? Shelly?" she called out to the confines of the old VanderHeyden residence, and when she heard no response, she sighed in exasperation "Where are you guys? If you expect to come with me at work to see the exhibit, you'd better answer my call!"
Having finished her freshman year, starting her sophomore in September.
This summer, she was working at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton as an intern under Professor Aiden Archival, her college history professor, as he worked at the Museum during his summer break.
She had been one of his best freshmen students, and he had hit it off with Mitchell and Shelly when he had been invited over one time for dinner this year.
Finding her brother's eccentric hobby and Shelly's drive to become a master Taekwondo instructor someday rather endearing…said that they reminded him of his grandchildren back in England.
So as a special treat to her for her good work all year, he had given her and her siblings special passes to the opening day of the Museum's new exhibit this summer.
It was an exhibit on the Vikings and Norse Mythology, and the artifacts discovered so far by archaeological digs in the past 10 years in places like Scandinavia, Norway, and Iceland.
She figured this would be an awesome addition to the trip to Iceland she and her siblings were going to undertake together in a few days.
It was supposed to start in the next two hours, and her siblings were nowhere to be found…except for one place where she realized she had not looked.
Her brother Mitchel's lab is in the old storage shed in the backyard lot.
Ashlyn facepalmed herself, and then made her way towards the backyard area.
She should have checked there for them in the first place!
She also hoped that Mitchel hadn't gone overboard again.
Unlike her little sister Shelly, whose current passion was excelling in Taekwondo, Mitchel was a 'mad scientist' in a sixteen-year-old boy's body.
Ever since he got his first 'Kinex" set, he had been tinkering around and building things.
Sometimes he built odd little gadgets that worked, other times he came up with crazy outlandish idea's that most of the time blew up in his face…and she didn't mean that as a figure of speech.
One such experiment caused a burn to his right temple, it had faded over time, but it had been years before he ever was allowed near a chemistry set again.
Not that that ever stopped him from inviting those goofy gadgets of his.
Now he was off onto another "lightning in a bottle" project as it were.
In high school he had been taking computer science, auto-mech, and science…and somewhere in the middle of his studies that crazy brain of his started its engines and he got this drive to work on a pet project for the summertime: A new kind of super fuel that could be made from a chemical reaction with gas, diesel or any other combustible fuel sources, one that produced more speed in an internal combustion engine than Nitrox, lasted longer than the regular unleaded gasoline and didn't produce as much smoke and carbon pollution.
It would also require only a small amount of fuel, half a tank or less.
It would cut down on the cost of fuel consumption… if he could make the damn stuff work that is.
To make such a fuel, he had been (with a stern warning of caution from their parents Kelvin and Delilah VanderHeyden) cautiously working on creating a substance that could transform basic gasoline into this super accelerant energy-saving fuel source and using small quantities of gasoline and diesel fuel…and outside of a few setbacks, he had managed to make a rudimentary prototype of the chemical and tested it on small motors like the lawnmower.
One drop was enough to convert the fuel in the lawnmower, it ran for 5 days straight before running out of fuel.
After the previous test before the lawnmower had accidentally caused a brief fire to break out on the fence line of the backyard property of the VanderHeyden household…Mitch's lab shed had been moved out into the middle of the vacant lot surrounding the outer edges of the neighborhood…at the neighbor's request.
Now Mitchel was trying to apply the super fuel convertor to a bigger engine, a car's engine.
She had been halfway around the side of the house when she bumped into Shelly, she had been carrying a jerry can of gasoline fuel.
"Ashlyn!" Shelly explained in surprise.
"There you are!" Ashlyn declared in exasperation, "Where is Mitchel? We're going to be late."
"He's in his lab shack" Shelly answered, "but wait, late for what?"
But Ashlyn was already marching past the fence, and into the vacant lot where Mitchel had with the help of their father built a small shack for him to do his experiments in privacy…and safely away from the neighbors' backyards.
It was a small wooden shack, looked just like the one the 'Rocket Boy's built and used in that movie 'October Sky' to watch the test launches of their homemade rockets.
She then opened the door and entered the lab shack.
Inside was a bit of a mess, diagrams, and formula calculations strewn on the floor or plastered on the walls and windows.
A chemistry set in one corner, and a machinists workbench on the other.
There was Mitchel, with the re-purposed and restored engine block he had 'borrowed' from a metal scrap yard and fixed up for his experiment.
He was wearing that goofy lab coat and those goofy goggles of his, as he poured the blue concoction that he had created into the engine's fuel tank.
Just a small amount really, no more than a small glass of water's worth.
"Mitchel!" Ashlyn declared impatiently.
"Ah, Ashlyn!" Mitchell said excitedly, "Just in time. I need someone to hold that camera on my workbench and record this. It's going to be remarkable!"
"Mitchel, we don't have time for…" Ashlyn protested, but her protest fell on the deaf ear of her mad scientist brother's only good ear.
"Shelly, did you bring the gas?" Mitchel asked.
Standing right behind her big sister, Shelly stepped forward, still carrying the Jerry can.
"Right here" she confirmed.
"Good, good, bring it here" Mitchel urged, "time to finally test this baby out."
"Mitchel, we have to get…" Ashlyn protested again but was interrupted by Mitchel.
"Ashlyn, roll the tape," Mitchel said eagerly, "It's time, I've been waiting for this since May."
Ashlyn sighed a long-suffering sigh in defeat and grabbed the camera and began recording her brother's experiment…the sooner she got this over with, the better.
Gathering his thoughts, and composing himself, Mitchel presented himself before the camera "Good Morning. I'm Mitchel VanderHeyden, I'm sixteen years old, a student at Sturgeon Composite High School in Edmonton Alberta. It's currently August 20th, 2017: 9:15 AM and this is full-scale engine test number 1 of my Hyper-Accelerant fuel mixture. Ashlyn, come in closer, please. Zoom in right here where the Hyper-Accelerant and the gasoline tank are, okay?"
Ashlyn did what she was told and came in closer so that the camera could record the sight of the engine block's tank of gas and the gasoline lying next to the blue accelerant chemical.
"On the left, we have an ordinary jerry can here that is full of gasoline, or at least half a tank's worth which is all that is needed. Trust me on that one" he displayed, "and on the right, we have a chemical compound of my creation I call 'Mercury-99', which when introduced into a chemical fuel source, or any mixture of hydrocarbons, transforms the fuel…in this case, gasoline, into a newer, stronger, more energy-efficient and less polluting form. What I have invented is a form of Fuel steroid. I have had recent successes in small motors like a lawnmower and a weedwhacker, now I am ready to test it out on a car engine. I have already applied the Mercury-99 to the tank. Now to add the gasoline…"
Mitchel did just that.
He took the jerry can Shelly had given him and poured about a half a tanks worth of gasoline fuel into the fuel tank on the test engine.
"Now we turn the engine on and see what the diagnostic machine I have hooked up to the engine tells us about Mercury-99's effects on a regular car engine." Mitchel demonstrated.
"Should we get behind something?" Shelly asked in caution.
"No, if my calculations are correct, we should be fine…" Mitchel assured his sister, "besides, I learned from my mistake with the Lawnmower, there is only going to be a little bit of gas and a little bit of Mercury 99 inside the tank…enough to make it run safely for two hours or four hours."
"Two hours? Four Hours?!" Ashlyn asked in disbelief, "We don't have…"
"Turning the engine on…now!" Mitchel declared.
Ashlyn VanderHeyden nearly jumped out of her skin when the test engine came on with a roar.
Ashlyn and Shelly both watched in stunned awe as the engine roared and accelerated like a normal engine, and then began accelerating faster and faster.
The diagnostic machine was going haywire with the data it was receiving, it seemed that Mitchel's invention was a success…until suddenly the engine block and the fuel tank started to glow red hot.
"Uh…" Shelly asked warily, "Is it supposed to do that?"
"Oh no…" Mitchell said greatly worried, looking at the data the diagnostic machine was giving him "This is not good!"
He then quickly pulled a lever on the bench, but nothing happened.
It didn't take Ashlyn and Shelly long to realize that he had just attempted to shut down the experiment, and the emergency shut-off feature had failed to activate.
He looked back at the engine block, then at the diagnostics, and then back at the engine block.
"It's overclocking the system way more than expected, it's too unstable. When introduced with a fuel source as big as a car engine's tank…" Mitchell said in a calmly observing tone, as he watched the engine overclock itself "The chemical reaction is producing far too much heat and power, too much for it to handle and it's reaching a runaway critical and highly charged destabilization point."
"What does THAT mean?" Ashlyn asked in confusion.
"It means…" Mitchell turned and looked at his sisters in fear, and then screamed "RUN, LIKE YOU'VE NEVER RUN BEFORE!"
Mitchel then grabbed three of the six vials of the Liquid "Mercury-99" prototype and booked it.
Ashlyn and Shelly followed suit.
The three siblings then ran as fast as they could out of the lab shack and booked it across the vacant lot and quickly took cover behind the fence line, bracing themselves for what was about to happen.
It sounded like a bomb had gone off in the area behind the fence, and it had.
The three of them peered up over the fence to see in the distance that there was now a smoking ruin where Mitchel's lab shack had once been.
A massive plume of smoke from the explosion floated up into the sky.
Once again, Mitchell's experiments had blown up in his face.
"Damn it, I KNEW I should have done that test outdoors!" Mitchell bemoaned at the sight of his smoldering lab shack and sighed in dismay, and looked down at his hand where he held the only remaining vials of his Mercury-99 he had managed to grab in the mad dash from the lab shack "Back to the drawing board…again."
"We don't have time for that" Ashlyn exclaimed, "We have to get to the museum for the Norse exhibit today."
"What?" Shelly asked in surprise, "That's today?"
"No, that can't be right. The exhibit opens tomorrow on Thursday." Mitchel said in confusion.
"It IS Thursday Mitchell" Ashlyn pointed out crossly, folding her arms in response.
Mitchell looked at the date on his IPhone, and shook his head in disbelief "You have GOT to be kidding me, how did I mix up the days? We're going to be late for the grand opening of the exhibit!"
"No shit Sherlock" Ashlyn declared, "Now come on, if we hurry, I can drive us there within the hour."
"Good news at last!" Mitchell said with relief, so far, the day had started with a bang…and not a good bang at that, "All right, let's go!"
The three of them quickly piled into Ashlyn's Kia.
But when Ashlyn tried to start the car, the engine wouldn't turn over.
She looked at her dashboard readout and couldn't believe what she saw, the fuel meter was indicating that there was no gas in her tank.
"What's wrong?" Mitchell asked concerned.
"There is no gas in my car" Ashlyn answered, confused by this turn of events.
"oops," Shelly said meekly.
"What do you mean 'oops?" Ashlyn looked at Shelly inquiringly.
"It was your idea, you tell her!" Shelly said, passing the buck off to her brother.
"What did you do Mitchell?" Ashlyn asked, looking at her brother crossly.
"Well…." Mitchell said apprehensively, "I didn't have enough money to go down to the gas station in the next block and get the gas needed for a half-full tank test, and mom and dad had already left for work so…I had Shelly siphon half a tank's worth of gas from your car."
"WHAT!?" Ashlyn screamed in shocked outrage.
"But I don't understand, I only used half a tank," Mitchell said in confusion.
"I only HAD half a tank of fuel left in the tank, you dummy!" Ashlyn chastised.
Mitchel paused in realization, "oops…" and then smiled sheepishly, "You know…it's such a nice day. Perhaps we should walk?"