The presentation had not gone well. Dr. Andrews thought all he had to do was place his cylinder on the boardroom table and the beauty of it would convince them. The cloud of subatomic strings swirled slowly like a fog and shone like a flickering fire. He thought there would be no need to explain the complex physics of what was in the cylinder: it was clearly amazing, it was clearly deserving of another year’s funding.
But they weren’t impressed. They claimed it was too theoretical, that it didn’t have any practical applications. He protested, ‘This is raw existence, the most basic filaments that make up all matter.’ He told them how difficult it had been to separate them and design the magnetic casing that held them in suspension. He told them the technology would lead to a revolution in quantum computing. He proclaimed, ‘In five years, this will usher in a new era of technology and today’s most advanced machine will feel like a rotary phone.’ But the board wasn’t convinced. Five years was too long a time to fund a project with an unknown ROI. If he could come up with at least a theoretical use for the technology, they would consider more funding.
So he lugged his container to the lab placed it back in the sensory chamber. The dozen monitors began to display reams of data like energy levels, positioning, and composition. But as all the line graphs were being drawn, he realized they were right, those graphs had no specific purpose. The whole contraption was the subatomic version of SETI. He was just collecting information without any idea of what it would be used for. He assumed that the purpose of this technology would present itself to him. After all, it was new. It was a breakthrough. There before him were the building blocks of the universe. Surely they had purpose.
A line graph spiked. It was very noticeable. It wasn’t a random fluctuation. Dr. Andrews backed up the data to see it again. It looked like a sine curve, like a radio frequency. It was short, just a few cycles, but it was measured, and it came from within the cylinder. It was impossible.