“All we wanted to do was unshackle the world!
No, no, that was a poor choice of openings, wasn’t it? I’m terribly sorry; if I’m going to tell you this story, the least I can do is present it to you in a more logical manner. I’ll select a more appropriate starting place; the beginning.
My name is Dr. Jacob Simon, and I very nearly redefined reality as we know it.
It was about ten months ago, and my colleague Dr. Gregor Lewis and I were finishing a rigorous set of laboratory trials on what I liked to call my ‘Quantum Divergence Spectacles.’ In short, these spectacles allow one to see points of quantum divergence that will occur as a result of an action taken.
Ahh, I see the question in your eyes; quantum divergence is what I like to call the ‘path not taken’ phenomenon. If you get to an intersection and turn right, your life plays out a certain way. You get to the bakery and buy a cake, for instance. But the path you didn’t take also actually happened. Another ‘you’ turned left—in a parallel universe—and that other you leads a newly separate and distinct life. Perhaps in that parallel universe you stopped at the library and met a special someone, leading to marriage and children.
These spectacles allow the wearer to see the results of these points of divergence and to know the immediate outcomes of each choice, to see a short distance into each possible alternate universe. It breaks the chains of linear perception that bind us all.
It’s a wondrous and, dare I say, frightening experience to wear them, but the feeling of empowerment is simply overwhelming.
Dr. Lewis and I were ecstatic! We’ve invented spectacularly useful devices before, many of them in fact, but can you imagine a greater force for positive change in the world? Now we weren’t complete fools; we saw the potential for misuse, but forewarned is forearmed as they say, right? This was undeniably the greatest innovation in foreknowledge yet devised.
Then there was the matter of our plans for the technology.
Dr. Lewis always did have his eye on his wallet, I’m afraid. I suspect he has a bit of the Scots in his blood … but that’s of no matter now. His eyes were gleaming as I’d never seen them before while he went on about the vast riches in store for us.
I don’t want to give you any false impressions; I’m fully in favor of earning one’s fair share for work they’ve done, and I expected reasonable compensation for our achievement. Still, I felt that Lewis was being a bit unseemly about it, and let him know it in no uncertain terms. Ahh, hindsight; if only I’d chosen to hold my tongue.
THAT right there is where it all went wrong, you see. Not our technology, not even our expectations, but rather, our fight. Oh yes, we did fight. And what a row it was! I can only imagine what poor Hannah must’ve thought from her desk outside Mr. MacKay’s, our boss’, office. Then again, perhaps she wouldn’t have noticed; Mr. MacKay spent so much of his time watching dreadful reality television. Our fight may well have sounded like just another competitors’ fight on the tube.
I swear we must’ve shaken the very walls of the laboratories. We shouted and screamed obscenities I’ll not repeat here, and it may even have come to blows at the end. My memory goes a bit fuzzy at about that point, so I can’t say for certain, though the evidence certainly suggests it; I had a bruise on my cheek for weeks, and poor Lewis … well, he sported some marks of his own, and at least one of those seemed to be in a rather uncomfortable location. I won’t go into that, either.
When we came round to the end of our scuffle, we saw just what an incredible mess we’d made of the lab. Furniture was spilled, papers scattered, at least one expensive computer was ruined, coffee and tea splashed all about—and the prototype was missing.