Books written by Ray Sullivan

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Project: Evil - the Design Review part 1

Project: Evil Chapter Seven - The Design Review part 1

‘What do you mean, there’s a problem getting the antimatter?’ asked Brian, looking around at the TWATs.  Public sector man looked down at his notepad.
‘Technically, it doesn’t exist on Earth, it may not exist anywhere in this universe.  They’ve created a minute amount at the Hadron Supercollider in CERN, but it was a very small particle in a very large tunnel.’
‘Because?’ asked Brian.
‘Because they’re scientists,’ answered one of the engineers, adding, ‘scientists always look for the very small things, usually in incredibly long tunnels, which must reduce the probability of finding them.  That and perfect examples,’
‘Perfect?’ asked Brian, feeling he was in danger of repetition.
‘It’s got to be the dog’s bollocks or nothing,’ suggested public sector man, reading from the latest edition of Nature, the cover feature prominently displaying the title ‘Are Infinitely Small Particles the Canine Testicles?’.
‘How does that help us?’ asked Brian, wishing he’d clarified at the beginning of the meeting – animal, vegetable or mineral?  Public sector guy waved the magazine around vaguely.
‘Well you could invest in building an improbably large circular tunnel around an incredibly boring lake,’ he said, adding ‘like the one at CERN that they built to look for the Higgs Boson?’ he said, picking a piece of cabbage from his teeth and swallowing it.
‘They found it, didn’t they?’ asked Brian.
‘In a drawer, in the admin office, apparently,’ said one of the scientists. ‘It turns out they didn’t need the Hadron Collider after all.’
‘Can’t we use the Collider to make our antimatter, then?’ asked Brian, feeling an opportunity to ease the budget.
‘Not a chance, the National Lottery have booked it to run the weekly draws for the next three years,’ replied the scientist, adding, ‘it’s very exciting since they handed the lottery over to CERN.  My numbers are 17, 35, 48.666 recurring, e-14, 10 x 945 and a squiggle nobody can pronounce. It’s infinity minus the date of the draw divided by the age of the announcer on the BBC,’ he said, waving a lottery ticket. ‘I won a tenner the other week.’  Public sector man pitched back in.
‘Or you could take the easy route,’ he said.  Brian had to ask.
‘There’s an easy route to find a substance that may not even exist?’ 
‘Sure.  Instead of looking for an incredibly small perfect version, why not look for a larger imperfect one.  Antimatter is just the inverse of matter, so instead of looking for antiprotons, antifreeze and antineutrons, aim higher.  Air would be a good start.’
‘Those perfectionists in CERN are fanatical about producing almost nothing from thin air, we should flip the idea on its head and make hardly anything disappear into fat air.’  One of the scientists looked up excitedly.
‘Fat air?  That’s fantastic, where do we get it?’
‘Easy,’ replied one of the engineers.  ‘Everything is relative, so we use normal air, blast it into space, do something we haven’t invented yet but is bound to be crafty and sinister using the air, which is now relatively fat.  Simple.’
‘So we need…?’ asked Brian, pen poised.
‘A rocket, a launch pad, some air – that’s practically free, by the way – and a way to convert the fat air into antimatter, which shouldn’t be too hard as it will be at least halfway there already.’  Brian was certain they’d missed something important out, like the step that converted fat air to antimatter.
‘But don’t we need…?’ he started to ask before being drowned out by a cacophony of ideas.
‘A mission control,’ said one scientist.
‘A secret rocket building facility,’ said another.
‘That’s easy,’ interjected one of the engineers, ‘we design and build one in component form over here in the UK.  If we build it in Wales, we’ll get a subsidy.  Then ship it to our secret lair in the South Seas, assemble and commission.  It’s the sandwiches I think will present the biggest problem,’ he said.
‘Sandwiches?’ asked Brian, surprised by the suggestion.  The engineer nodded.
‘Sure, sarnies.  Every major project I’ve been involved in with this outfit has failed because they’ve underestimated the logistics of the catering,’ he said, sitting back with a smug look on his face, the sort that people use when they believe they’ve torpedoed a project definition.  Brian smiled calmly; for the first time he felt he had a chance of succeeding, there was no way his team would miss a meal.
‘This is my project, and nobody is going without sandwiches,’ he stated. 

The characters, companies and places referred to in Project: Evil are fictitious and any resemblance to people, companies, businesses or places is entirely coincidental

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