Prof Lowell had a very tiring day. Being one of the greatest scientist of his time had its own tolls. He has to hold advisory positions in important offices including the Council’s President’s, meet many important people, and even give autographs to young wannabe scientists who admired him no less than a celebrity. Now in his 50s, Prof Lowell had 25 years of fruitful career behind him where he contributed to solve the greatest mysteries of nature including his most famous discovery- a 200 year old problem of accurately predicting the mass of the black hole at the galactic centre on the basis of perturbations in the orbits of nearby galaxies.
And unlike many other scientists of his era who produced one significant research in their lifetimes to spend rest of their lives giving lectures on them, Prof Lowell went on conducting researches which had practical applications. And perhaps this is why he was the youngest scientist ever to hold the chair of Scientific Advisor to the Earth’s President. Only in his 50s, one could only guess what lay ahead in his next 80 or so years of his official career.
As he lay on his bed next to his 2nd wife and his mind was still wondering over 23rd century’s most daunting cosmological problems; his phone started ringing. His half asleep wife mumbled something about not giving personal numbers to his fans and again went to sleep.
Little did she know that this phone call is going to change his life forever.
“Hello. Prof Lowell here.” – He replied trying to figure out the face of the person on the video feed but could only see a blank screen
“Professor Lowell. Is your phone line being monitored?” – The stranger asked
“Who are you ?”
“I will tell you everything Lowell. But first tell me if our conversation is monitored”
“Is it some sort of joke…and what time is it ?” He looked at his classic Rado watch with hour hand merrily pointing between “1” and “2”
“That doesn’t matter. What I am about to tell you tonight is worth hundred years of your research. But first tell me; is this line discreet?” – The voice emphasized
“Yes. Yes. It is. Now tell me what could even be worth of my 10 minutes…let alone hundred years” – said Lowell sourly
“I am sorry that I had to contact you this way. I am Prof. Ram Sudarshana. I hope you still remember me”
The name ringed some bells in Lowell’s mind. Prof Sudarshana was a man who suddenly shot to fame 12 years back with a flurry of research papers in astrophysics. In fact, he remembered that Prof Ram had a unique distinction of publishing breakthrough ideas in coveted Journal of astrophysics as its highlight research for its consecutive 18 editions. His rise to fame was even more dramatic considering that he had no background whatsoever in astrophysics. In fact, he was a microbiology lecturer in one of non-descript universities for a few years. He then went into hiatus after the death of his pregnant wife only to return as an expert astrophysicist. During the 18 months of his peak productivity he was once considered as a serious contestant for the position of Scientific Advisor for One Earth Council’s (OEC) President and for the same reason considered as a rival for Prof Lowell. But behind this professional rivalry there was a common driver for both the men for the pursue of science. They both have ventured into fields of astrophysics and cosmology, trying to push human knowledge in the courtyard of the Creator. They both did not believe in The One’s existence but found this hypothesis a convenient way to direct their scientific efforts.
And just when their rivalry was about to culminate at OEC elections, something happened with Ram Sudarshana. At the peak of his career, he suddenly declared an early retirement in front of massive media presence citing personal reasons. He then moved to suburbs of Coeltshire and then no one heard from him again. Well, before tonight.
“You still there Prof Lowell?” - demanded the voice at the other end
“Yes. I remember you Sudarshana. But everyone thought you were dead”– he said coming back from his thoughts
“I know , but I have my own reasons. And the thing which I am about to tell you is far above you and me. Have you ever wondered Professor that God is always hiding some of the things from us, and then teases us by showing us glimpses of the absolute truth? Today, I have the ultimate truth lying in front of me but I just can’t see it. May be HE is punishing me for my deeds, and may be its His will only that he wants you to help me see it.”
“God has been very kind to you Lowell in choosing you as his instrument. You began this final journey of human kind towards understanding the mind of the God and I can help you take the ultimate leap. But first you must come to me Professor….now. Come to 78, Brykeen Road. And come alone.” – He hanged up
Prof Lowell stood there for couple of minutes just holding the receiver which was now beeping with the dial tone. He was a man of science and someone like him only could understand the repercussions of what Prof Sudarshana was saying. He only knew how close he was in discovering the ‘Mind of the Creator’… it was the passion to uncover His secrets which brought him to science at the first place. Even as a young child, he found religion inadequate enough to uncover the secrets of God even if it claimed to directly represent the God himself. He always questioned the validity of religion’s knowledge of God by asking reasonable questions. And to his wonder, to which, no priest of any religion had answers too. He asked many times – “Father , where is God?” …and the father invariably used to reply “He is everywhere my son”
“But how can he be father? If he is everywhere, then how did he creat the world?” If the world existed before him, then our world must have created God. Isn’t it?” to which father had no other answer than “God works in mysterious ways my son”
But young Lowell would not be put down by such answers. He knew that world has an underlying order. And that order is sacred. Even if God had a creative freedom to create Man and animals & Plants and trees, He Himself must have been governed by some rules. He wanted to know those rules. Driven by his passion to the extent of obsession, Prof Lowell became what he is today – but he was not satisfied….Though he has discovered many things and hypothesized and proved new natural phenomenon; he always felt that he was only beginning to stretch his arms in the world of knowledge. He felt he was only yet delving upon the creations of the God and not the God Himself. And today all those feelings came rushing back with that one phone call.
Half an hour later, a Government Limo was scurrying towards the deserted suburbs of Coeltshire. It was located in a mountainous range near New Washington and was not much inhibited. The only road connecting Coetshire to the rest of humanity was so narrow and treacherous that the suburb frequently was cutoff from civilization during the winters. On the other side of the road Lowell could see the moonlight bouncing off Lake Dian which was named after a famous Chinese revolutionary Dian Fang who fought against the communist China in early 22nd century and played an important role in formation of One Earth Council. Lowell wondered about the nature of an inefficient world before the unification. Many geographical sections called countries used to fight against each other on trivial grounds such as religions, languages and petty land masses …and how much scientific effort was duplicated with each nation trying to protect its scientific knowledge from others. He wondered how much progress science would have made had the unification occurred 50 years earlier and scientists like Broscher, Panvell and Seturaman would have worked with each other rather than against. But that’s how human society learns – by doing mistakes at the first place – he argued with himself.
Coming out of his wanderings, he realized that presently he was approaching a huge structure at some distance from the road. As he approached he saw a narrow by-road branching out towards the structure. He adjusted his car’s headlights, and a century old arrow sign lightened up displaying the words “Brykleen Road”.
The “road” itself was nothing but narrow path carved out of dense slush of dirt, dead plants, ice and ancient remains of a brick road. Looking at the large rotunda in the distance, he figured that he was perhaps the only one of the two men in the vicinity of several kilometers …that too if Sudarshana was not playing some cruel joke on him!
After few hundred meters a large iron gate was declaring the boundary of the domed structure. He was surprised to see the gate being fortified through some latest electronic mechanism. Controlled from somewhere remotely; both the doors paved the way for his car, making a heavy squeaking noise. As his car ran towards the main entrance of the dome, he took a brief look at his planetary positioning system and to his dismay found that he was delinked from the network. There must be jammers installed in this area - He thought, and for a brief moment the thought let the fear of the whole thing being some kind of set up crept into him. He did not have any enemies, but the OEC (One earth council) has - Religious fanatics who were angry with gradually declining role of religion in global issues and decision making; exhilers - criminals who were sent off to novel planetary colonies to test human survivalism; to name a few.
He shuddered at the thought of being killed or worse ; taken hostage ; at a place where no one will be able to find him. He was now regretting his decision of coming at the place all alone.
He even thought of turning back to the road he had come from. But there was something in his heart which was still asking him to pursue. He knew that it was his strong desire to become a special child of the God. He could not turn his back on the slightest chance of getting to know even if of a small measure…. the mind of the God. And that prospect, he thought, however tiny it was, worth his life.
Leaving his car near the huge wooden entrance he felt his legs moving him towards the doors. In the far, behind the dome, he could see the mountains and valleys glimmering in the night light. He slowly raised his hand to push the calling device at the corner of the door. But before he could press .. Lowell jumped one step back in surprise as the huge doors begun opening with a creaky sound.
“Sorry Prof Lowell, if I have scared you” – came a grating voice
As Lowell calmed himself and looked into the direction of the voice he saw a pale old man with eyes sank deep into their sockets. He was barely comparable to what Prof Lowell last saw of Ram Sudarshana. “Please come in Professor. We do not have much time.”
Lowell followed the man as he hurried towards one of the rooms through the main hall. It was fairly dark in the main hall and the cob-webs gave it an eerie feeling. Lowell was still containing his fears even though now he knew better.
“I have called you for a reason Professor…” he continued
“You better do have some good ones for calling me here like this. I am here just because what you said about revealing the truth. I can have you arrested for misleading an OEC member” – Lowell interrupted with a tinge of anger
“That won’t be necessary Professor and regarding whatever I said,I meant every single word of that …but you must let me to explain you everything. And pray for me so that He can forgive me for the sins I have done. I have made several sacrifices for the humanity professor. And committed grave sins…perhaps that was the reason why God did not chose me as the One. But you too must prove yourself worthy of it Professor.”
“ Please have a seat and let me tell you everything…I hope my reasons will let you forgive me.”
As Lowell hesitatingly took a chair next to Sudarshana, he took a deep sigh and closed his eyes. Before Lowell could ask anything, Sudarshana penetrated deep into his own thoughts –
"It all started around 15 years ago. I was teaching electrobiology at Fredinne University and conducting my research on neural networks. I was recently married to a beautiful woman named Rama. We were living a beautiful life. Soon a child was also on its way. And I was a happy man.
And that was when I hit something big. Something really big. I was studying the functions of cerebral cortex and its response to external stimulants. That’s the part of the brain which is responsible for abstract thinking Professor. And then I discovered a small isolated part hidden deep below in the labyrinth of human brain. I called it the Epiphany Centre.”
“Epiphany Centre? Haven’t heard of that” – Interrupted Lowell
“You of all people must know that best of the ideas in the history of human civilization just sparked in someone’s mind in a fraction of second. Its only a fraction of the moment when most of the neurons simply by coincidence work together and that’s when the greatest of the ideas are born. Even the greatest brains like Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Darwin, Bohr, Kekule only had few such instances in their lives and they went on to change the world. Archemidi’s “Eureka” was only a verbal metaphor of this moment of enlightenment when a Man gets a glimpse of God’s work. And that Professor is the work of Epiphany Centre or EC – a fraction of second’s work.
EC is the prime mover of human civilization. It is the source of all inventions and ideas. I discovered the source of ultimate prowess. I discovered the Man’s window to the God.”
A chill went through Lowell’s spine. If whatever Sudarshana was saying is indeed a truth, it could change the world forever. The implications were immense – not only for electrobiology but for chemistry, philosophy, culture, arts and everything which defined human intellect. EC could transform the artificial intelligence.
Prof Sudarshana continued –“Preserve your awe Professor. I not only discovered the EC, but I also invented a bio-agitator to keep it at agitated state. If a fraction of seconds of this brain power spread across many centuries of human progress has given us so much technological and intellectual prowess; imagine what marvels the human mind can unravel if the same brain can work permanently at this heightened state. Imagine a millennia worth of leap the human knowledge can take within few years. Imagine a brain having far more logical and abstract thinking powers than that of all the greatest scientists combined.”
“God left a little bit of himself in each one of us Professor. We just didn’t see it. Isn’t it Professor.”
A silence erupted in the room. Prof. Lowell could listen to the sound of wind rustling through the dry leaves. For the first time in his life, his mind felt tired. He felt as if his whole life’s efforts were dwarfed. He felt like an insect who has just gained a higher consciousness and realized his own worthlessness.
“You remember my researches Professor?”- Asked Sudarshana
“Those were produced in a single day by an agitated EC. I have come far from that in last 12 years. You could say that I am ahead of the rest of civilization by at least a thousand years.”
“I see. So you used EC for so many years? But then why did you disappear? You could have become the greatest scientist who even lived. You could have become…” Professor’s eyes widened as he realized the implications of his own words “…the God”
“You don’t understand professor. I could not have implanted the bio-controller in my brain. I was the only one who knew how it worked. Had it gone wrong, I was the only one who could correct it. And this is where I sacrificed my life for a chance to glimpse at the absolute knowledge. I sacrificed my family for it Professor.
I implanted it..” His eyes lowered before he said – “…. in my infant Son”
To be Continued...
Despite my self-promise to write a chapter each month, this story comes with at least a month's delay. An idea in my EC takes at least that long to come to black and white :D. Actually, this is my most serious attempt at story writing till date.This story was written and rewritten a couple of times as i tried a third person POV for the first time in my stories. This is also the first time i am writing something with this wide landscape. I hope you will like it.
I have planned two more chapters for this story. Please let me know your honest opinions as it helps me a lot. Specifically let me know if you liked the build-up, description, connect with the characters etc. Thanks.