God’s Spark —Dr. Norman P Johnson
A story of discovery, deceit, deception and destruction in the world of Elementary Particle Physics.
A novel of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the people who strive to discover the next great secrets of nature and the inherent risk that revealing such secrets could be earth shattering.
Man does not walk an intuitive path between ignorance and knowledge. It is at best a chaotic dance of guess work, accidents, fortuitous stumbling and once in a while messing with natural forces that could destroy entire Mankind.
When scientists from all over the world hundreds of years ago began experimenting with electricity, they could hardly have imagined what consequences they were opening up for human civilization. What seemed like harmless sparks of fire or small deflections of magnetic compasses soon became the basis of a whole new world of industrial power and control over nature that would transform civilization to the digital information age of today.
Astrophysicists have recently found evidence of new yet undiscovered on earth, forces and energies that make electricity look like a child’s simple spinning top. Unbelievable powers of nature were let loose at the moment of the Big Bang which still linger in our fabric of space and time just waiting for the moment when man’s contraptions can reveal this undiscovered realm.
The universe is unimaginably huge and complex. Man looks upon it with yearning eyes for travel and discovery. The Universe’s gigantically empty space-time and the severe limits of speed and energy which man can muster to realize such dreams are pitifully puny and wholly inadequate. But within its complex fabric of natural laws and fundamental forces lie the very seeds of man’s next great leap of destiny. Will man conquer yet another facet of Natures unfathomable power or will it instead conquer him?
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Brad nonchalantly continued his casual sweep of the room in hopes they had not seen his momentary scrutiny. When he concluded his slow but deliberate eye sweep back on Brenda, he could see that he had not disguised his look very well as it was apparent she was already picking up on his foreboding.
“What’s up?” she asked as casually as possible.
“Nothing,” he said unconvincingly. He tried to secretly observe the two without being too obvious. Brenda turned to look in the same general direction that held his interest. “Don’t look,” he quietly cautioned.
“What are you looking at?” she whispered back.
“Don’t panic but I think we’ve been found,” Brad whispered back.
“You mean the guy who blew up my apartment?” she blurted out suddenly losing her earlier composure. Her face immediately turned pale and gnawing fear began to creep once more into her eyes.
“I don’t know,” Brad calmly explained while trying to keep his facial expression emotionless and calm. “They are obviously interested in us and they don’t fit here.”
Brenda started to look over her shoulder in an attempt to see them for herself.
“Don’t look!” he ordered. Brenda stopped in mid-turn and then looked down as if checking on her feet. “I don’t want to let them know that we know,” he continued as he carefully took another glance at the two men out of the corner of his eye while keeping his face turned toward Brenda. “Just act like we are having a casual evening out.”
“I’m not sure I can do that,” Brenda whispered back at him with a noticeable shudder in her voice.
“Laugh!” he quietly ordered.
“Laugh I said,” he ordered again a little more emphatically. “I want them to think we are having a good time.”
“He he he…” she offered somewhat unconvincingly. Brad noted that her smile was strained to the breaking point. “Like that?” she whispered plaintively.
“You’re doing great,” he encouraged her. “Keep up the small talk while I check something with my PDA”
Brad had noticed that one of the men had pulled out a cell phone to make a call.
“What’s a PDA?” she asked in a false tone of girlish glee which got Brad smiling at her attempt to act the part.
“It’s my Personal Digital Assistant. It is really a cell phone in a tiny computer that I loaded a micro version of Unix on so I can hack into phone systems and computers while on the road,” he explained. “I programmed it some time ago so I could hack into the only cell tower in town and get information about people’s cell phone use and even tap into their calls. Keep talking while I see if I can find out who these guys are talking to.”
Brenda began lightly reciting the Gettysburg Address while under the table Brad’s thumbs began wildly tapping on the PDA screen like some love sick teenager texting his friends after getting to some base or other with his first girlfriend.
“I’m in,” she was able to hear him mutter over the now louder noise coming from the dining crowd. She continued, “…and this government of the people, by the people, for the people…”
Brad cut in. “Oh shit!” she heard him exclaim but in a soft voice.
“What?” she anxiously asked.
“Never mind,” he said after looking up from his task. “Listen carefully. I want you to leave your jacket here but take your bag and go to the girl’s room and wait there until I come get you.”
“Why?” she desperately demanded. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to try and throw them off our trail long enough for us to get back to the cabin. They may still not know where I live so it might give us enough time to get out of Dodge while the gettin’s good.”
“I’m afraid,” she earnestly pleaded. “What if they get you? What if you can’t shake them? How are we going to get out of here without them seeing us?” She reached across the table with both hands to grab his in a parting gesture of desperation.
“Don’t worry,” he calmly reassured her. “I have a plan and they are on my turf now.”
Brenda picked up her small backpack and headed back into the bar where the restrooms were located. Brad pretended to be bored as he motioned for the waitress to come over.
The blond pigtail-headed waitress who had seated them was trying not to keep an eye on Brad but she couldn’t help thinking about him. She was partly sizing up Brenda and partly wondering what Brad saw in an obvious flatlander who wasn’t even all that cute or well built like her. She was a ski bum who worked at waitressing so she could spend her days at the ski area in the winter and hiking the high mountain ridges in the summer. She was very fit and her vibrant youth and abundant energy gushed out of every gesture and movement. Her hair, her most striking feature, was long and well cared for. It framed her face perfectly with seductive soft wisps accentuating her pert nose and sparkling blue eyes. She was fondly remembering her brief fling with Brad back when she had first come to town. Although she was never a one man girl, she thought fleetingly what it might be like to live with him up in that cabin for longer than a couple of days at a time. When she finally noticed him motioning to her, she sheepishly grabbed her tray and hurried to his table.
“Hi Mary!” Brad greeted her as she approached.
“You seem awfully happy tonight,” she replied with a sly grin. “Where did you find the lady? I’ve never seen her around here before.”
“Oh, she’s just something I picked up in Denver,” he explained with a smug smile more for the stranger’s benefit than Mary’s. “Could you bring us a couple more beers and make it snappy.” As she smiled and turned toward the bar with his little dig, he patted her on the rear for effect and for old times.
“Right away, your majesty,” she remarked right back to him and made a slow motion with her hand to ward away his already completed pat on the rump. “Is she having your usual as well?”
“Make ’em cold and frosty,” he joked, “unlike you. I don’t want ’em getting warmed up from your hot little body.”
As she walked away towards the bar, Brad couldn’t help but overhear the inevitable last word. “Like as if you really cared!”
Brad smiled, remembering her from long ago when she was not so jaded and he not so smart. He turned back to the problem at hand. Carefully he glanced in the direction of the strangers and noticed one of them was now missing. Again, not a good sign. He was desperately hoping he could lull them into a sense of complacency long enough for him and Brenda to sneak out of town without them following. At least the one left sitting at the table did not seem to be taking a lot of interest in him anymore.
“Here’s your beer,” Mary said as she startled him out of his thoughts. “Frosty and boring, just the way you like ‘em.”
As Brad took a slow sip from his beer, he asked Mary quietly, “Where’s Jack?”
Mary finished wiping the table as she replied, “Jack is in the back room, I think. He handed off his shift and is doing some inventory work.” She paused and then bent down low so she could continue in a lower voice. “Looking for some nose candy? I might be able to help you out.”
“That’s a tempting offer, but I need to talk to Jack,” he offered back. “Something personal.”
“Yeah, I bet,” she retorted snidely as she left the table and returned to her station.
Brad wondered momentarily where the other stranger was but could not wait any longer to put his plan into action. He would just have to deal with it if it happened. He hoped that they would think He and Brenda would return shortly if there were beers and coats left at the table. He slowly got up from his chair, looked around the room trying to appear a little bored and noted out of the corner of his eye that the remaining stranger was looking out the window and paying him little or no attention. Now was his chance.
He slowly made his way past a couple entering as he headed for the bar hoping to make anyone watching think he was going to the restroom too. As soon as he got out of the restaurant though, he made an abrupt turn down the hallway leading to the back rooms and kitchen area. As he passed the kitchen he was deafened by the noise coming out. Pans being banged about and shouts of orders being prepared could cover up the dying screams of some movie monster’s victim. As he put his hand on the door knob of the back room, he paused briefly looking around to make sure nobody was watching. Then he listened carefully to see if he could discern any sounds from the room he was about to enter. He could hear nothing over the kitchen noise so he slowly opened the door being careful to look through and around before entering.
The room was just as he had left it about an hour earlier, still very dark except for the one bare light shining on the desk in the center of the room. He could see Jack sitting at the desk in his usual chair not moving but oddly staring off into the darkness beyond him. Brad stepped quickly into the room softly closing the door behind him as he called out Jack’s name. No response. Brad’s thoughts wondered briefly, ‘Could he be napping or passed out while setting up?’ But when he got close enough to look back at his face, he shuddered at what he saw. Jack was obviously dead with streams of blood coming out of his nose, eye sockets and mouth. Brad couldn’t help but notice just the very end of a rolled up hundred dollar bill sticking out from one nostril where it had been forcibly shoved up way too far. Quickly the thought occurred to him that the missing stranger had caught Jack alone here and somehow through unpleasant means forced him to divulge Brad’s cabin location. Brad felt a pang of panic as he contemplated whether the missing stranger had found Brenda as well.
Brad quickly bent over Jack and reached down to open the bottom drawer of the desk. He pulled out a small bank deposit bag he knew would be there and another slightly larger zippered bag in the vague shape of a gun. Just as he straightened up he heard a short scuffle of shoes across the room in the direction of some stacked boxes of liquor. Brad quickly tried to hide the two bags among some trash and litter scattered on top of the desk. Having failed that, he slipped the smaller one into his rear pants pocket and palmed the other one behind him.
“Who is it?” he yelled. He saw a vague shape take form from behind the boxes. He was big. He was dressed like the strangers he saw earlier in the restaurant. He couldn’t make out the face but he knew instinctively that it had to be bad news. It was obviously the missing goon. Brad backed slowly away from the pool of light around the desk. He moved slightly away trying to keep darkness and clutter between him and the intruder.
“Never mind who we are,” the shape ordered. “You just need to walk out of here and go on about your business and stop meddling in things way beyond your comprehension or your business.”
Brad instinctively moved slightly to his left to put more of the desk and stacks of liquor cases between him and the approaching menace. “I don’t know what you are talking about,” he protested. “I just came in here to get the cash drawer and found Jack in this condition. What happened to him?”
The big dark shape began to slowly move a little closer and Brad could just begin to make out some features. He was big alright, well over Brad’s six foot two frame and much broader in the shoulders. He briefly reminded Brad of an overblown Hollywood monster tough guy about to take the hapless hero apart.
“You’re not funny Dr. Jorsen,” he went on in an emotionless monotone. “You can’t lie to me. You just need to carefully contemplate your friend there and don’t make his mistake. He thought that the devil’s drugs made him clever and funny. I expect only the devil is laughing now.”
“Look, if you’re a thief,” Brad kept saying in his most innocent of voices, “you don’t have to kill anyone. We’ll be glad to give you the money and you can be on your way.” Brad was slowly backing away from the desk in the general direction of the outside rear door and out of the cone of light surrounding the desk.
The goon began to shuffle cautiously in a direction that would cut Brad off about halfway to the wall where the door was hidden behind tall stacked boxes blocking a view of the door from the stranger. As soon as Brad was somewhat shrouded in darkness, he began to slowly unzip the larger bag he was partially hiding behind his body with a deft one-handed maneuver. Holding the bag with his palm tightly against his leg, he used his index finger and thumb to carefully unzip the bag one inch at a time.
“Don’t be cute,” the goon hissed threateningly. “Just tell me where Dr. Drake is and you might get out of this still breathing.”
At this last threat, the killer made his move. He darted toward Brad at a speed he could not have predicted from his size. Brad was just able to get his hand into the larger bag as the killer made a final lunge at trying to grab Brad with his massive hands. Brad’s instincts kicked in as he twisted sideways and stepped just out of range of the flying hulk now narrowly passing by him. The stranger hit the floor with a thud knocking down a pile of nearby boxes full of beer bottles. Bottles went flying in all directions and began breaking as they hit the floor, walls and other bottles.
The killer regained his feet quickly but now Brad was ready for him. In another swift move, Brad stepped in close to the looming target while he twisted in a loop, bending his upper body low but bringing one leg high off the floor in a round house punch that caught the killer right in the throat. He staggered backward while trying to catch his breath through a badly damaged larynx. Brad took this opportunity to crash into his chest with his head and shoulder. But instead of falling backwards as intended, the killer was able to stay on his feet long enough to catch Brad with an upper cut to the chin that rattled Brad’s teeth to the roots. Brad felt a numbing darkness begin to descend over his eyes. Falling and rolling away into more darkness, Brad was able to avoid any further immediate punishment giving him a chance to shake the dark ring out of his vision. A trickle of blood was now moving down Brad’s chin from a cut lip.
Below is a short yet exciting excerpt from the book for your enjoyment.