Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cosmic Sunrise...

The rain comes down fiercely, stinging his bare face like a thousand needles. He turns up his coat collar and tries to sink his head further in, like a tortoise. His jog escalates to a trot, one hand clasping his collar and another firmly gripping his right coat pocket. He skips over puddles and immobile abandoned cars, past scattered people solemnly standing sheltered on verandas. A pale yellow light of candles and lamps glitter from within the otherwise dark interiors of the roadside buildings. What was once a hub of booming business industry is now slowly degenerating into a den of desperation and decay. He knew it was a mistake to turn on that defective particle accelerator. He had warned them that that method of exploring scientific mysteries was more dangerous than it was useful. They laughed him away. But he had tried to interfere and managed to reduce the catastrophic failure to just an EMP. Now people were forced to live on analog 'technology' and rudimentary means, the likes of which they had only read about in old novels. "It's only for the meantime," he says to himself.

He turns the corner and runs down the empty street towards the warehouse looming in the distance at the far end of the street. The rain is coming down harder now.He makes it there in a surprisingly short time. He chuckles. It was working better than he had expected. He turns the crank on the wall and the heavy doors groan open. He steps into the warehouse. It looks more like a makeshift lab than a storage space. It was formerly a store for electrical equipment, so it was ideal for his purposes. He bought the place as soon as Vanderwilt Electric went bankrupt. He got most of the equipment as well as a bonus.

He pulls on a lever and heavy machinery comes to life, struggling to start running as though it hasn't been used in decades, screeching with wear and tear. He doesn't mind the noise, for it just keeps him company in his lonely task. He reaches into his coat pocket and takes out an ampule, then throws his wet coat onto a work table strewn with callipers, screwdrivers, bolts and screws. Stuff he keeps on the table just to look busy. He hates empty spaces and unused potential. He looks at the giant I-beams in the corner, and looks at the ampule in his hand. He thinks of how his task could have gone differently if the tractor beams still worked. Good thing he'd managed to separate his biochemical work from his engineering work. He breaks off the top of ampule and drinks the purple liquid within.

It takes a moment for the liquid to hit. First, he feels his eyes itching, then his bones feel like they are on fire. His muscles start to feel heavier, and his heart starts to race. It's been only 2 hours since he last used the Romulan formula, and he was down to his last sample. If he didn't finish his task today, he'd be stuck. Without it, he couldn't build the refined cosmic induction generator, and without the cosmic induction generator, he couldn't synthesize more Romulan formula. He had to work fast. When the itching and burning subsides, he runs over to the corner and starts working with the I-beams. At this point, they twist and turn and bend as easily as though they were made of foam. He binds one end to another with his bare hands, squeezing the joints together like play-dough. He fashions a pentagonal cage that rises to 15 feet high. He surrounds the cage in a network of superconducting copper cables, leaving just a man-sized opening. His heartbeat starts slowing down and he gets worried. He runs over to a wardrobe on the opposite wall and grabs the lead box within. He runs back to the cage with it, feeling it grow heavier as he goes along. He can barely set it down gently by the time he reaches the cage. He pushes open the lid of the box and takes out a clear decahedron the size of a basketball. He carries it into the centre of the cage and sets it down, and leaves, sealing the opening with more superconductor.

"One more piece left," he gasps, feeling his energy waning. The Romulan formula increases strength, whose effects depend on usage. Since he's been doing a lot of lifting, it has lasted only 45 minutes, compared to the 2 hours it lasted while he was running from his private storage unit all the way across town. By now, he's all but used up all of it. He connects a few cables from the cage to several hundred car batteries he had salvaged earlier. He practically collapses as he throws the heavy switch. Sparks start flying as the decahedron is slowly levitated into the air. The machinery in the background grinds to a halt, the sound of their screeching now replaced by a hum.  The decahedron rises,the sparks seeming like thousands of elecric hands lifting it into the air. He watches in anticipation as the decahedron starts to spin eratically, but maintaining its position dead centre in the cage. The hum becomes louder as the decahedron's spin increases in speed. He smiles a little, and turns to see his car batteries start to glow red from overheating. There is a sudden loud boom and an intense burst of yellow light as he flies back. He barely hears the sound of glass crashing all around him as reality fades from his grasp.

He finally awakes, his forehead and elbows burning as though there was lava flowing over him. He sits up, dazed, and waits for his vision to clear. There is a gentle hum, but it sounds like a muffled symphony to him. He thinks he's dreaming, but when he tries to stand up, he realizes that he's wide awake. His legs hurt, but he forces himself up anyway and limps towards the cage. As he goes along, he starts seeing more clearly, drops of blood and sweat falling on the dusty, glass-filled floor. He stops and looks straight at the cage, with tears of joy rolling down his face.

There, in the centre of the cage, is the decahedron, floating majestically, glowing a pale yellow, held up by an invisible hand. The hum is the sound of an immense power surging through it, only held back by the elaborately designed cage. It's like deja vu to him. He bursts into a triumphant laughter, ignoring the searing pain running through his body.

"I have created a sun," he shouts, to no one, and to the world. "It's literally the dawn of a new age!"

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