Peterson flies into San Diego. A diatom bloom is visible out the window, blood-red and dangerous.
When he lands, he is driven by limo to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, where he meets Alex Kiefer.
Peterson informs Kiefer about the situation in South America, and Kiefer shares his research on the diatom and their chlorinated hydrocarbon origins.
Kiefer notes that one of his lab types has a hypothesis on a way things can alter themselves; he says he'll keep Peterson in the loop if it works.
Peterson heads to the San Diego First Federal Savings. The bank manager opens a safety deposit box in Peterson's name—the fees were arranged decades previously.
Inside, Peterson finds a paper that reads, "MESSAGE RECEIVED LA JOLLA."
He goes to Kiefer's house for dinner that night. Although he hates Kiefer's kids, Peterson becomes infatuated with Kiefer's wife, Mitsuoko, and he instantly begins formulating a way to seduce her from under her husband's nose.
When Kiefer goes to check on the kids, Mitsuoko makes the first move, letting Peterson know when she'll be walking the beach later that evening—alone.
On the flight home, Peterson browses files from Caltech. Inside is a letter from a physicist named Cathy.
The physicist is writing about the possibilities of universes within universes. She notes that the trick is getting information from these other universes, impossible unless one could find a particle that doesn't fit Einstein's theory of relativity, such as the faster-than-light tachyon for example.
After reading the letter, Peterson is struck by how unreal reality according to science has become.