Energy to matter
“Coffee? Strong and sweet?”
A familiar voice startled Jason.
Seven Carac weeks had passed since Vince and Jason began working on what could best be described as the greatest invention in the known universe, if they could perfect it. Many long days had turned into nights and back into days again while the ever determined Jason King worked on tirelessly, stopping only when hunger or exhaustion crept in.
Beyond the Equinox, another gloriously sunny Carac morning had broken but Jason was oblivious to the world outside. Sunrise, sunset and even the wife who missed him tremendously back at the castle were all irrelevant right now.
He looked up in surprise almost not believing his ears and sure enough, there was that warm, contagious smile he remembered so well from a lifetime ago.
“Eve!” he exclaimed, a huge smile breaking through his expressionless face. He walked towards her, giving her a tight hug and almost spilt the coffee she had brought him. “How are you, Eve? It’s been ages! You look great!”
He couldn’t contain his excitement at seeing her after such a long time.
Eve hadn’t aged at all. He couldn’t help but notice how her dark eyes still sparkled and perfectly matched her jet black curly shoulder length hair.
Eve was a little shorter than he was but where she lacked in height, she more than made up with her intelligence and wit. Jason remembered just how headstrong and stubborn she could be, too.
“The years have been good to you, Jason,” she replied. “Someone has been spending quality time in the gym I see, although, the beard doesn’t suit you.”
“Beard?” he asked. “Oh, sorry, I must look a real mess,” he continued, realising that he hadn’t taken the time to shave in some days.
The sweet liquid warmed him up from the inside as he drank from the large mug. Eve hadn’t forgotten how to make the perfect cup of coffee, just the way he liked it. Strong and sweet.
“Thanks,” he said, putting down the mug which he had emptied in a few quick gulps. The coffee was the only thing he’d swallowed since the previous night and he could already feel the caffeine begin to flow through his veins.
“You’re welcome,” she replied. “Vince has been telling me about the long hours you’ve been spending in here so I thought I’d come say hello and look in on you.”
“I’m glad you did. Thank you,” replied Jason, the silly smile still pasted on his face. “There’s so much I’ve wanted to say to you, but never got the chance to. Firstly, I want to say.”
The sound of approaching footsteps interrupted him. They both turned around to see Vince walk in.
“Hello, Eve, Jason,” he greeted, entering the lab.
It felt just like old times again. The three friends talked for hours about everything and nothing in particular while sipping more coffee. It felt great just talking and being himself. He needed this welcome break from everything.
Eve eventually left and the duo got back to work. His thoughts continued to revolve around her, distracting him ever so slightly. Being in her presence had always felt like basking in warm sunshine and she was always so full of contagious positive energy.
He wondered if she had forgiven him for some of the questionable decisions he’d taken over the last few years. She did seem genuinely happy to see him again and it was a good start. There was also much he’d hoped to say to her, but didn’t get to.
“Perhaps soon,” he thought to himself.
Jason and Vince had already perfected the sub-atomic scanner during their first week, a device capable of analysing the atomic structure of any object and then storing the information in a three dimensional computer array.
Vince’s background as a medical doctor proved invaluable in creating a safe scanning technique for analysing living tissue. The scanner created a three dimensional picture at the atomic level which would then be used to recreate the object, much like a photocopier. At least, that was the idea.
Developing the scanner was the easy part. The real challenge lay in assembling the atoms using a carefully manipulated high energy force field. The theory behind this concept was pretty straightforward but getting it to work proved a tad more difficult.
Vince remained a doctor at heart who always believed in doing no harm. His motivation centred on healing the sick and helping humanity in any way that he could. He saw an opportunity to create living cells and complete organs which wouldn’t be rejected by the recipient with this technology.
Jason on the other hand was not motivated by such ideals. He believed that having the power to manipulate the very building blocks of the universe would allow him to play God. Of course, he was smart enough to keep such thoughts to himself.
“Ready?” he asked Vince.
“Apple re-creation test, number three hundred and forty five,” spoke Jason into the microphone. He pressed a large green button on the console in front of the heavy glass porthole which separated the observation room from the test chamber.
Directly below the green button was an equally large red button which would abort the test in the event of an emergency, when pressed.
The test chamber itself was a little square room which measured four metres by four metres. At the very centre of the test chamber stood a little steel podium, about waist height, with a circular flat top, securely mounted to the floor.
An emitter which resembled a laser weapon, spherical at its base with a long shaft protruding from it was attached to the ceiling by three mounting braces, directly above the podium. Two heavy gauge cables were connected into the spherical part of the emitter and ran off towards another machine which stood almost ceiling height against the rear wall. There was a distance of about half a metre between the tip of the emitter and the flat top of the podium.
The area between the walls of the test chamber and the space inside became encased inside a level ten force field the moment the green button was pressed, for added safety.
Any manipulation of atoms carried the risk of a nuclear explosion. A level five force field would have sufficed to contain a small explosion but they were taking no chances, especially not after the previous two test chambers had been completely vaporised during earlier experiments.
Both Vince and Jason stared intently through the heavy porthole as the automated process began. The tip of the emitter began to glow and fired a beam of brilliant white light onto the top of the podium.
They both watched in fascination as the light began to take the form of a transparent apple on the top of the podium.
“So far so good,” said Jason trying to contain his excitement. He quickly glanced at the little screen on the console with the green and red buttons to make sure there were no warnings displayed before returning his gaze to the light show which was playing out inside the test chamber.
“Thank goodness,” replied Vince without taking his eyes off the podium.
Creating single elements like gold and carbon was accomplished much earlier and perfected during experiment number fifty in the second test chamber, but putting together complex biological structures without destroying the living tissue proved to be quite challenging.
Jason thought back to experiment number seventy which yielded a deformed biomass, and then experiment number one hundred and five which produced a hideous giant amoeba like creature which had to be purged before it could escape the test chamber.
Both men held their breath in anticipation as the light show in the test chamber came to an end. It took a few moments for their eyes to adjust to the lower light level in the room.
Squinting through the glass, they could see what appeared to be a perfectly formed green apple standing on the podium.
The two looked at each other thinking the same thought.
“Could it?” started Vince and trailed off.
“I don’t know.” continued Jason, the excitement showing on his face. “It must be. It has to be.”
They quickly disengaged the safely field and made their way into the test chamber keeping their eyes firmly glued to the apple, half expecting it to jump off the podium and escape.
Jason reached out and picked up the apple cautiously. It felt cool to the touch and firm, the way an apple was supposed to feel. He held it up at eye level scrutinising it from all angles.
“Well, I looks and feels like an apple,” reported Jason a few moments later.
Vince was a little more cautious in his approach, choosing to look, rather than to touch first.
“We should verify the structure by scanning it and comparing the scan to the apple on file,” suggested Vince.
“Nonsense!” exclaimed Jason, sniffing the apple. “This even smells like a real apple.”
Before Vince could object Jason walked out with the apple, picked up a scalpel from the table in the viewing room and sliced off a little piece which he examined and sniffed again.
“You know what they say,” he continued. “The proof of the pudding is in the tasting.”
“No!” exclaimed Vince, reaching for Jason’s hand, but he was too late. Jason had already taken a large bite out of the apple with a loud crunch.
“Arrrrrrgh!” exclaimed Jason, clutching at his throat, as the mortified Vince looked on in shock!
“Jason!” he exclaimed. “What’s happening?”
Jason’s expression of pain quickly turned into laughter.
“Fooled you!” he said, grinning at Vince. “It’s actually quite delicious.”
The relief showed on Vince’s face.
“Sorry, old friend. I just couldn’t resist,” said Jason, as soon as he managed to stop laughing. “Here, have a bite.”
“You’re right. This tastes delicious,” agreed Vince biting into the apple. “You’ve done it!”
“No,” replied Jason, “We have done it.”