The MachineMature

            "Sure. I'll sponsor you."

            "What?"

            "What what?"

            "You weren't meant to say that."

            "If you want me take it back-"

            "No it's fine, we'll take it."

            The next four months were full of fervent work, leading up to the most brilliant moment in scientific history. If they got it right that was. If they didn't, they would be laughing-stocks. All other physicists had already lost faith in them, their families abandoned them. So diligently had they worked. Most of the team had dark circles around their eyes. They had built a small machine to keep track of the number of cups of coffee they had used in the process. The tally was at four hundred and twenty-two. Sheets of paper riddled with equations lay everywhere. They had checked again and again. The maths worked out. Practice, however, is a cruel mistress. It didn't matter that paper made it true, space-time would have to do the same to work properly, for them to gain the respect they had wanted so dearly. Now the machine lay in the centre of the room. Clean and elegant. Brilliant. If it worked. The walls were covered in sheets of paper, most of them reminders to do things, or fix different parts of the machine. There were pictures of their families standing on a table next to the coffee machine. They had abandoned them, but they hoped to win them back after they did this. The sponsorship only lasted five months. Luckily, they had already built a prototype. Untested. They probably should have, but there was no time to check now. Experiments would have taken too long. They were lucky to finish within the time. They were lucky to finish at all. Hell, they were lucky to get the sponsorship. So many had turned them down. ‘It's impossible. I'm sorry, give up now.' No. This machine is here and now and it bloody well has to work, or our lives are ruined.

            They had finished it finally. Only a few weeks to spare as well. A lot of people had come and interviewed them. They told them to come back when they had finished, and they could film the machine working. If it worked. Which it will. The machine stood there, not fully knowing is purpose, or role to play in science as a whole. Poor thing. We should have given it a brain. It just shone, taking extremely accurate measurements of fluctuations of energy in the area. It had its own clock as well, just in case things got hairy. They had built in a failsafe, but previous experience had taught science to be as careful as possible. So they were originally planning to send in a particle. A mere photon. The trick had been done before, but not this way. Not like this.

            "No, no, no, what I'm saying is-"

            "Is that so?"

            "Oh really?"

            "Well I might as well just run an experiment then eh?"

            "You know what I mean!"

            "Oh, now you're bloody sorry! Just save me your pity. You don't want me in your life, hell, I'd be pretty surprised if you want me alive at all."

            "Yes, I'm hoping it works. Just, just-" A hang-up tone could be heard.

            "I'm sorry." His voice was almost a whisper. Freud put down the phone. Everyone had said he would be better suited to psychology. It had gotten to the point where he would just hit them in the face if they even so mentioned the famous Sigmund. Freud was one of the team, and a major role in putting together the machine. Too bad he had such a temper.

            "I'm going in." He said.

            "No. I won't allow it. Photons first."

            "You heard my conversation? I'm going."

            "There's nothing I can do to stop you is there?"

            "No."

            "Good luck. I've got all my everything crossed."

 

            The day of the experiment. Everyone hid behind the toughened glass. The team knew that it wouldn't be worth a lot if it went wrong. But it wouldn't. Not today. The world was watching them. We should have run some damn tests. It's too late now. Almost every news station had arrived to get the ‘exclusive' interview with the team that changed science. The shot that would get the perfect essence of the machine. They would all go away and type furiously to get the first article on the press. No doubt arguments will arise. Maybe even a lawsuit. Oh God, what have we done? If this goes wrong? The team were the only ones who knew how it worked. They covered up every tiny chink in the armour. Nobody else could reverse-engineer it, even if they wanted to. They wouldn't be able to if it went wrong anyway. Oh well. No point worrying if it went wrong. There'll be no press to cover the story, no people to cause a panic. It'll all be fine.

 

            Freud waved to everyone, then walked into the room containing the machine. He wore distinctive clothing, a tourist Hawaiian shirt, with flowery shorts as well. He was technically a tourist. The camera was a bit far, but it certainly added to the effect of the image. Finally, they breathed in, set the time to just after the point Freud walked in and turned the machine on. They didn't let go of the breath as Freud walked into the machine. It was his idea to dress as this. Maybe it was a bit silly. He certainly looked silly. Einstein's famous picture was a bit silly as well though. Maybe it was all right. Maybe everyone got the joke. It didn't matter. It was too late now. He stepped into the main body of the machine, gave the thumbs up. The team flicked switches, checked dials, pressed buttons. Soon a deafening roar took over. It swallowed all sounds in the world. Nothing could be heard. And an earthquake started. People started to panic. The team tried to tell them it was the machine making these things happen, it was breaking the laws of physics, it would need a lot of power. They weren't having any of it. The news teams left, as did all the spectators, who weren't even allowed in. They let them stay. The earthquake stopped. The sounds came back and stopped. Once the team decided it was safe to go back inside, they cautiously walked into the room.

            "Freud?"

            "Kalus?"

            "Over here."

            The smoke cleared a bit to reveal Kalus Freud. He stood, panting. His shirt was covered in mud and...blood? He looked tired, in pain. A small pool of what the team was sure was blood collated around Freud.

            "Well, it looks like we are now all sons of bitches." One of them said, hoping the others would appreciate the joke. The team smiled a bit, but Freud remained deadly serious.

            "You got that damn right." He said.

 

            And pulled out a gun.

 

The End

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