Great was the day when, after watching a machine screen for several hours, the First of the flowers, the Sunflower Official, stepped forward and found himself at the other end of the plaza, right where he expected to be.
The day had come. Finally, after all the work, the research, the experiments, and, yes, the deaths, the day had come. The Sunflower Official, first of the thinking flowers on their nameless world, moved out into the main plaza of their gleaming city.
As he approached the strange machine against one of the walls which marked the Plaza, he called out to the tree standing by the twisted tower of metal. Hornbeam?
Yes, sir, the ironwood replied, It is I.
Are you sure it will work this time, Hornbeam? asked the sunflower. We don’t want a repeat of last week’s fiasco.
I am sure, sir, replied Hornbeam, attempting to hide his shame. The last time this demonstration had been attempted, the S.O. had landed in a coal mine several miles away, rather than on the cross marked at the other end of the Plaza. But that bug had been sorted out, he was sure. This time, everything would work perfectly.
If you will just stand here, sir, said Hornbeam, indicating a spot just in front of the gateway that divided the machine. The sunflower moved into position, and the pair quickly went over the simple procedure.
So, as soon as the blue ring on the screen is over the cross, I move, yes?
Yes, sir. The plothole will stay open for around five seconds, and the computer will announce the lock on the public band so everyone knows to watch.
Excellent work, Hornbeam, said the Sunflower Official. If this works, you will be rewarded greatly. How long is this likely to take?
I don’t know, sir, replied the ironwood. It could take as long as a day, or be done in ten seconds. It all depends.
Ah, well, said the sunflower, I’ve been meaning to rest for a while. I’ll just stand here and take in the hole-light.
And he did. The seconds stretched into minutes, and the minutes into hours. Not a single flower moved, for fear that they would miss the historic moment.
And then it came. Suddenly, a mechanical sounding mental voice screeched Plothole detected! Plothole detected! The S.O., caught off guard, took a moment to react, and then stepped through the glowing blue gate…
… and out onto a white cross. The Detector Array lay two hundred metres or more behind him, and as he turned to face the crowd a wild mental cheering started, which did not die down until night came to the gleaming city.