“Definitely not a Mind-Image.” Dr. Purushottaman said to the sofa, brushing the dust off it.
Dr. Shah continued staring at the computer screen. The dots had remained stationary for some time now.
Ashish, meanwhile, was going through Dr. Hauber’s notebook.
“Each page is a breakthrough.” He said after some time, closing the notebook.
Dr. Shah broke off and turned to face Ashish, “That may be, but I don’t think the Universe’s secrets are small enough to fit in ONE book!” Ashish didn’t argue, so he continued, “I knew that he wanted to model the universe, but I didn’t think he’d be able to produce a good model with the information that we have now.”
“He could’ve just instructed the computer to look for patterns, similarities, things like that; while it was creating his universe; that would make the computer’s ‘interpretation’ of the program change with time…” Ashish replied, “I think that’s why he wanted to use N.”
“I don’t know much about today’s computers, I am just a physicist, after all, but how do we know that the computer’s ‘interpretation’, as you put it, is correct?”
“We don’t. Still, I don’t think many people have managed to do what he’s done.”
The door opened, and Shruti came in, breathing heavily and holding a small cardboard box. The side of the box facing them had “PORTABLE CARDIOGRAPH” written on it, in permanent marker. Dr. Purushottaman got up, took the box and exclaimed “Good, good! If you’re not too tired, could you switch that laptop on?” He pointed to Dr. Hauber’s desk drawers. “Ashish!” He threw the box to him, “Open it and untangle the wires if they are tangled.”
Ashish caught the box and opened it. It contained a sort of armband with a TFT display on top and a bulge at the bottom. Wrapped around the armband were wires which were connected to the armband at one end and had soft and sticky sensors, undoubtedly, at the other end. One of these wires, however, had a USB plug at the other end. He gave the PCG to Dr. Purushottaman who started working at once. The sticky wires were attached to his chest, the armband was tied around his right wrist, and the USB plug was connected to the laptop.
It took some time for Dr. Purushottaman to download ECG viewing software from the internet and install it. After about twenty minutes, the laptop screen turned black and a small dot started making its way along the screen from left to right, its peaks and valleys tracing the periodic beat of Dr. Hauber’s heart.
“A tad slower than normal, but fine, really.” Dr. Purushottaman said.
“Something occurred to me, on my way here; it may sound stupid, but…” Shruti trailed off, expecting to hear an objection; when she received none, she continued “What if HE’S viewing the computer’s mind? Is that even possible?”
The field recedes as points vanish to the center.
All points are one. One is all.
The points that move in a straight line? Don’t move in a straight line. They circle inside what looks like a boundary. Scale is everything. Yes, this universe is finite. Back to the points. Every point, every cluster’s path is predetermined. Complicated paths interiorly, but programmed towards a common fate.
Does this echo the real universe? What if this IS the real one? Ours a shadow.
Stars zooming past. No, points.
The boundary is a fractal, expected.
Circular to me. Jagged when close.
Twisted boundaries. Many boundaries.
Cascade of universes? Many?
Twisted space unfolds. Boundaries crossing into other universes. Looping. In and out. In and out. Determinism again.
Points within points. Clusters within points. Clusters within clusters. Universes within universes.
A never-ending sea of points.
“No reason why he couldn’t have done that.” Dr. Shah muttered. “But what did he hope to achieve?”
“ Maybe he wanted to check whether the computer interpreted the program correctly.” Dr. Purushottaman suggested.
“He could’ve done that comfortably without using the Helmet.”
“There are some things that you can’t see, but are able to…” Ashish paused, looking for the right word “…uh…experience.” He continued “The universe works in ways we can’t see, but we know them, all the same. Maybe Dr. Hauber wanted to SEE it work.”
“Or maybe he wanted to influence his universe in ways that he could imagine, but not describe. Play God, essentially.” Shruti said, looking at the floor. “I’m sorry Dr. Shah, I know he’s your friend, but he’s the sort of person who would want to prove that God doesn’t exist by becoming the God of his own universe. Adding insult to injury, if that makes any sense.”
“That’s just stupid.” Dr. Shah said, his temple vein throbbing. He turned to Dr. Purushottaman “What do you think will happen if we remove the Helmet?”
“Nothing happens, usually, but …”
“We don’t know how the machine is wired to his brain. Heck! We don’t even know how the machine’s wired! I think we should be patient, and watch the …” He turned towards the ECG. “Oh!”
Determinism. Bad. Destiny.I will not allow it.
Break those boundaries. The monstrous structure of space-time. Abstract mechanics. And fate!
My points will move the way I want them to. No more universal attractors. No more governing laws. Randomness! Chaos!
No more order!
Entirely irregular peaks appeared and disappeared in an equally irregular fashion on the laptop screen.
“Call an ambulance, quick!” Dr. Purushottaman shouted.
“Are you crazy?” Dr. Shah shouted back “He’ll be jailed, or worse, deported!”
“At least he’ll be ALIVE!”
Silence. A faint crackle, made louder by the silence, ripped through the air.
“I think it’s coming from the Helmet. Something must have gone wrong with the wiring.” Ashish said.
Dr. Shah touched the helmet and withdrew his hand immediately, rubbing the tips of his fingers with his thumb.
Ashish ran outside, pressing numbers on his mobile phone.
I am the point.
Who am I?
Sailing through a sea. I want to go somewhere…there.
Others like me I find here. People. Points.
Who am I?
Obstacles. Other points.
Points zooming past. Time.
I am the past. I am the present. I am the future.
I see myself.
I am the attractor. I am the boundary.
I am space.
I am time.
I am order. I am chaos.
I am me.
I am the universe.
Kzzzzzzk. KZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZK! POP!
The paramedics lifted Dr. Hauber by his arms and legs, placed him on a foldable stretcher, and wheeled him out of the room.
Dr. Shah watched, his eyebrows narrowing. Then he turned to face the electrician, who was poking at the helmet with a tester. “When you’re done, come to my office; three doors to the left of this room.”
The electrician nodded.
He left the room and walked down the corridor to his office. When he reached the door, he took out his key and inserted it into the keyhole.
He turned around.
It was a paramedic. “Dr. Hauber regained consciousness as we were leaving the building. He wants to speak with you.”
“Fine.” He started walking towards the stairwell.
“Sir, it is my duty to ask you not to alarm him, in any way, sir.”
Outside the building, Dr. Hauber lay on the stretcher, his eyes half-open. As the blurred image of Dr. Shah grew bigger, he sat up.
“Did you manage to save the program?” He asked.
“No.” Dr. Shah said, the corners of his lips curving upward, “It was deleted, I think, when we switched the computer off to prevent your Helmet from exploding. The Helmet is fine, though.”
Dr. Hauber shook his head and gave a weak shrug. “You know what?”
“Humans are dumb.” Dr. Hauber lay down on the stretcher and closed his eyes.