Of pulses and files
by Anangsha Alammyan
3rd Semester (B.Tech)
National Institute of Technology, Silchar
Phone : 8876544865
Email : email@example.com
(as a part of Sci Fi Eclat, Techniche’ IIT Guwahati)
It’s the year 2045. Mark finds himself in a strange mission as his Boss reveals to him a terrifying secret. Bearing the load of the truth on his shoulders, Mark embarks on a journey fraught with dangers at every step. A journey to redeem his Institution’s lost glory and to save his benefactor’s reputation. A journey that will culminate in a shocking revelation that will shake his entire world.
He comes face to face with a scientist who is ready to stoop to any levels to make money and a powerful Leader who can kill to fulfil his duty.
Will Mark be able to overcome all these challenges and keep his Boss’s trust? Will he succeed, or will the world lose to the dangerous wonders of nanotechnology?
To know more, read on….
“Another bank robbery shocks the country. Police unavailable for comment.” screamed the headlines. I was trying to read the papers upside down as my Secretary sipped her morning tea. But I had an appointment with my Boss and I couldn’t afford to be late. He was a very busy man who hardly shared office with anyone. So when last evening he paged me that he wanted to see me, I was very much surprised, pleasantly, of course!
Armando Roberts, the head of Frewland Robotics Centre had his back to me when his PA announced my arrival. As soon as he was gone, he removed his cigar and spoke “So Mark Reynolds, the most brilliant young talent FRC has seen in its 40 year history. How are you my man?” he beamed. “Have a seat.”
Reddening, I sat down and said uncomfortably, “Sir you are being too gracious”
He brushed it aside, giving me the clear impression he didn’t want to waste time in unimportant matters. I wondered what else was more important than probably being offered a promotion. I was currently working as a Junior Robotics Officer under the Vice President Kartenson. But I really wanted an office of my own, and my own research team so that I could actually put my dreams into action, instead of taking down orders. Roberts fidgeted a bit, then picked up the day’s newspaper and asked me “Read this? Pretty bad business eh?”
This was not a good conversation starter. I was pretty sure the Boss hadn’t asked for a meeting with me just to discuss the news. Not wanting to sound over anxious, I politely nodded my approval and said “I guess the Police are doing their job Sir.”
“The Police? They don’t know what they are up against. These criminals, Reynolds, are no normal human beings. They are nano combatants.”
“But how did you know sir?”
“Because I sanctioned the permission to create them in the first place”
“Sir?”, I asked as calmly as I could. This was way beyond my comprehension.
“Must have happened around 5 years ago. Dr. Setan and I were on our annual tour of the country when we came across a village affected by a strange epidemic. We set up camp there. It was a real challenge, but Setan and I developed a special formula, and finally we managed to stop further spread of this deadly disease. But what could we do to cure the people already affected? Thousands were dead and so many were dying. Then Setan had this brainwave of putting nanites in them. Nanites are robots with their dimensions in nanometres that enter an atom and alter its configuration. It can practically cure any disease. It would give these wretched people a new leash of life. FRC was developing some of its own, but that was just personal research by some of our heads here. It was not ready for widespread use. Besides we weren’t sure of its effects on human beings yet, and I was pretty sure implanting these on living, breathing humans would be considered illegal. But at that time, it was the only available option, and hundreds of lives were at stake.
“We were sure it wouldn’t work out, but miraculously, all of the patients recovered almost immediately! And surprisingly, as time passed, these people started showing strange powers. Some had night vision, some could tolerate UV rays, some could even read people’s thoughts and even alter them, if need be.”
I stared open mouthed as Boss told me about how these new nanite-enhanced people used their special powers to excel in their fields. Eventually, many turned out to be world famous authors, Olympic medal winners, famous media persons and even great scientists. Roberts told me, when they were first revived, and their special powers were slowly coming to the front, Setan had chosen a few of them and taken them to a special training class, where he claimed to teach them to channel their powers for the benefit of mankind. It was only when the recent wave of bank robberies broke out, that Roberts began to doubt. The method for each of these was the same. Computers were outsmarted, retina scanners were rendered useless, safes were opened easily without any signs of struggle, no alarms were set off to alert the guards – all these could never be done for so many times by a normal human being. There had to be some foul play and since Setan was the only one beside himself who knew how to use these nano combatants, Roberts seriously doubted him.
“But Sir, how could someone outsmart a retina scanner? And what about the safes, sir?”, I asked, dumbfounded.
“These nano people, or rather nano combatants can even alter the pattern of blood vessels inside their bodies, so they can easily fool any retinal scanner. And simple alarm systems, or computer codes are no threat to their superior intelligence. Just give them any machine, and they will break into it, and alter it to suit their own purpose.”
“Sir how did you know it was Setan? It could be any other scientist who discovered the power of nanites”
“Mark, I went to the man and asked him directly. He admitted to my face that he had programmed his army to make him the richest man in the world. He wants the kind of money that no decent hard-working scientist can even dream of”
“Then he must be stopped, sir” I blurted.
“That’s why I called you Reynolds, and not the authorities. I don’t want the press slinging mud at my organisation because of one bad egg in the lot. Whatever must be done has to be done very discretely. Setan knows that I can’t put him behind bars without ending up there myself as well”
“Sir? What could I possibly do against such powerful beings? Surely you must summon Setan and ask him to stop.”
“Setan is already here Mark. And that’s why I asked you to come. This is a delicate business. We can’t do anything that will incur his wrath and make him do something rash. You must go to him as a research scholar and ask him questions that he would be proud to answer. Flatter him well, pretend to be interested in his work, just talk to him so that he is forced to reveal how these specially programmed nanobots can be controlled. And I must ask you this. Please do something to put this madness to a stop. I can’t tolerate some man reaping the benefits of someone else’s research. And I don’t want such an important scientific discovery to be used for such a dangerous purpose.”
I sat there for a long time after Boss walked out. I had no idea how to destroy those nanites that imparted so many powers to normal people. I went home dejected that day. At night, a sudden idea struck me. A strong electromagnetic impulse might be just the thing I was looking for. It would deprogramme the nanites, and not affect the human beings in any way. I jumped out of bed and started working on my idea. I had to make a pulse gun that would generate a concentrated beam of microwave energy that would disrupt and deprogramme any microprocessor circuitry in the vicinity. I stayed up all night.
Next day I was the first one to reach FRC. I knew Setan worked overnight, and I had to meet him to discuss my idea with him. I wanted to watch his face when I mentioned an electromagnetic impulse. His reaction would tell me whether my plan would work or not. I knocked thrice. There was no answer. I walked in, presuming he had dozed off. But the room was empty. I was about to leave when the vibration on his I-phone 12 caught my attention. It was a mail from someone called Leader. I picked it up immediately, but the device was security coded and locked. But I have a way with codes, and it took me barely a minute to break into his conversation. What I saw shocked me totally.
There was page after page of bank details, records of recent fund transactions, photos of the placement of security cameras, and the codes of the safety vaults. The most recent mail was the Leader asking Setan permission to come to the meeting 2 hours before the scheduled time. I glanced at my watch. There was an hour to go. At an impulse, I replied “Sure. Come within an hour to my place, and make sure you bring the entire team with you. I have an important matter to discuss”. I put the I-phone down and rushed out to grab my car keys.
I dashed out and half ran to my SmartCar. I switched on the batteries and whooshed off to my San Geshite Apartment. I took my newly made pulse gun and drove to where I had fixed the meeting with the nano people. I was tired after last night’s exhaustive research, and this morning’s shocking revelation had left me no time for breakfast. But Adrenaline fuelled me, and when I reached Setan’s house, I was feeling ready to embark on a brand new adventure. The programme on the lock at his door was easy enough for me to break. I walked in and glanced around. I placed the pulse gun at the top of the wall facing the doorway. But I had to ensure the pulse remained in this room, so I sealed all the door holes and gaps with the platinum strips I tore off from my special umbrella. It was gifted by Roberts last year and it was specially designed to protect from electromagnetic waves. For some reason, Boss believed that radiation may be harmful for me, although I could never fathom why.
I looked at my watch. There was still a quarter of an hour left for my plan to be put into action. I was just finishing the platinum tapes on the doors when I heard the sound of engines outside. My heart leapt to my throat. The combatants were here!
I waited tensely for them to knock three times. I knew Setan reacted on the third knock. Then I opened the door with the remote controlled system I had only just installed. As the people walked in, I waited for the whole team to be inside. I counted twenty of them. They were taking in the surroundings, but strangely it didn’t surprise them that Setan was not around. Maybe they were used to being given instructions by the intercom system that burst into life just as they entered. Or maybe nanotechnology had killed the natural human curiosity!
I waited for a while before I pressed the red button on my remote that was connected to my pulse gun. Pandemonium broke out when the nano combatants realised they had been tricked. The one in the front, whom I presumed to be the Leader pulled out his phone, probably to contact Setan. But it was too late. I didn’t wait to watch the strong electronic pulse shake the room. I rushed into the bedroom, and stayed inside long enough to make sure all effects of the electromagnetic pulse had worn out.
I opened the door and stared. It was done! The nanobots were destroyed. The people were all unconscious on the floor, but I knew they would come around in a few hours. I punched the air as I felt a powerful wave of victory rush through me. When I reached the offices of FRC, there was a new spring in my step. Roberts greeted me with a terse expression on his face. I watched it change first into surprise and then to pure ecstasy when I related my adventure to him. He almost hugged me in delight “Oh Reynolds, I knew if I could count on anyone, it would be you! You did a fantastic job, Mark. FRC will be forever indebted to you. How would you like to join my Company as a Board member?”
I smiled. This wasn’t expected, in fact it was an offer too good to reject. I accepted it graciously as his Secretary shook my hand. Just out of curiosity I asked him “Sir, can I have a look at these people’s records? Besides we will need to put back these people to their old homes, and set up a new life for them. We can’t leave them dealing with Amnesia all their lives.”
He smiled as I signed the documents that shifted a part of the company’s shares in my name. “We will put these people back where they belong Mark, only disease free now, and with hopes of a much better future ahead.” He smiled again. A strange twinkle came to his eyes as he continued, “But remember, what we didn’t know never hurt us. So even if we do know it at some point of time, we should not let it hurt us in any way”. I looked at his face, but the twinkle was gone. He appeared engrossed in the papers I had just signed.
I shrugged, pleased at my Boss’s eccentricity. Roberts went away, leaving me in my brand new office with the file marked as “Highly Classified” in my hands. As I leafed through the file, I spotted the leader. He was an ordinary farmer from Mawdland. I saw more familiar faces of famous scientists I had seen in conferences or on the television, and was surprised that the cause of their brilliance was actually these nanobots. The last name was of a 27 year old Marine Biologist of San Geshite. His name was Mark Reynolds.
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