The Meeting

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 21, 2017

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Submitted: August 21, 2017

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The Meeting

 

It should have been the best time of his life; after all his colleagues were predicting the discovery put him in line for the Nobel physics Prize. Professor Martin Sandman had been an academic all his working life and was unused to all the fuss; he’d taught physics at university for twenty five years; he was; by and large a happy if slightly boring man; even the students knew him as “smiler”; so why this feeling of foreboding. Certainly the discovery was mementos he could see that, the opportunity for mankind to harvest limitless amounts of green energy; no problems with pollution or toxic waste just pure clean energy or that’s what the calculations predicted. But like all discoveries and breakthroughs; turning an idea or a set of equations into a commercial enterprise is not always simple. Particularly, when there are a number of companies and governments all seeking to exploit what looks like the greatest discovery in the history of science! As Martin was destined to find out; it would prove impossible, to maintain control of a discovery that could enhance the living standards and wellbeing of all the people on the planet.

Part of the problem had been Rufus Barman his partner in the project. It was Rufus who stupidly suggested that the amounts of energy they were talking about could destroy half the universe; a slight exaggeration perhaps but Rufus was an academic; he’d used the phrase in answering a question at the press conference, when someone asked “how much energy are we actually talking about”.  He’d unwittingly started a hare running. From that point on a man from the ministry of defence put a stop on them publishing any more information about the discovery; they’d both been instructed to sign the official secrets act and all their research papers and computers had been impounded. Of course he’d protested and Rufus Barman threatened to take his story to the press. It was only after a long chat with the Dean, an explanation of the penalties for discussing what were now “state secrets” and the potential damage to the university’s reputation that Rufus had calmed down. But there are elements in the conversion process that are dangerous, Rufus had argued. So many things we still don’t understand. When you begin to tamper with nature’s power sources the watchword must be caution! What would happen, if, as seemed likely their process actually produced “anti matter! Martin Sandman shook his head as he headed for the physics lab that had now become a security area, off limits to all but those, with the highest government clearance.  

Martin still found it difficult to explain how their routine study of “black holes” in space and the search for dark matter could have led to the current predicament. It was six months since that first press conference and most of the furore had died down. Martin Sandman had discovered that working on what was now a nationally funded project overseen by a member of her majesty’s government at least had a number of advantages; the foremost of which was access to seemingly limitless resources. What had started as a two man research study had now become fifteen full time staff working in a state of the art physics laboratory; some of the best brains in the country had been assembled to work on what was now a vital strategic asset. Martin laughed when his wife had compared it to the “Manhattan Project”; but every time he thought of the comparison his heart sank a little further. He and Rufus had discovered through their study of “black holes” that dark matter was being created at the “event horizon” of a black hole. Their calculations indicated that as everything including light was sucked into the black hole the process generated vast quantities of energy; a by-product of this process seemed to be the creation of dark matter; which was always the opposite polarity to the black hole itself. They had speculated; that since dark matter held an opposing electro-magnetic charge; it was this that prevented it from being swept in with everything else. Further research indicated that dark matter stored 1000 times more energy than terrestrial charged particles. It had occurred to Martin that if some of the conditions associated with a black hole could be created in a laboratory then it may be possible to reproduce “super charged particles”. After a good many abortive experiments Martin and Rufus had managed to create dark matter. The process involved firing a stream of charged particles through a series of powerful magnetic fields at a specific low temperature close to “absolute zero”. Each magnet ring compressed the particles and increased their velocity; the result was 1000 times more energy coming out of the process than went in. The resulting super charged particles could be used as a heat source or converted directly into electric current. No one could yet explain where the increased energy came from; finding out was one of the groups objectives; but there was no doubt the complex machine Martin and Rufus had developed generated massive quantities of energy.

As Martin expected, his wife who also acted as his research assistant and secretary, had little sympathy for his anger and hard feelings. But it’s insane he said; why didn’t they tell us; why would anyone want to turn a benign discovery into a weapon. Martin and Rufus had been told the previous day that details of their discovery had been passed to Weldon Grange, a government weapons research facility based in Cumbria. According to the government scientist who told them; the team at Weldon Grange were cocker-hoop! They had, as predicted, managed to isolate what they were calling “anti matter”; particles never before seen, the atomic structure of which defied current scientific understanding, even to describe. The boffins at Weldon Grange had managed to produce the particles in a custom built “particle collider” and retain them in a pressure vessel. Calculations showed that if a meeting could be induced between matter and “anti matter” particles the result would be an instant minute nuclear reaction; scaled up the experiment would lead to a weapon of almost immeasurable power. The most significant meeting since man became interested in science; was the way the government scientist described it. Rufus was apoplectic! Don’t the fools understand; their experiment could start a chain reaction that would turn this part of the universe into a black hole. The earth could implode and become just another of natures power sources. It’s mad; we don’t know enough; the experiment has to be stopped; too late said Martin it’s due to go ahead at 1300 hrs today. As Martin and his team gathered in the board room just before one o’clock, to follow the experiment at Weldon Grange they heard the office clock strike one. Everything went black!!

 

 1154 words.


© Copyright 2017 Peter Piper. All rights reserved.

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