Author: Don Nigroni

I’m using pen and paper to write this for a reason. Please excuse my poor penmanship.

My brother, James, was quite the success. I wasn’t jealous, just proud. Of course, it wasn’t easy being second best out of two, namely, in last place. James was a respected neuroscientist, while I’m just a history professor at a community college.

Nonetheless, he was eight years older and I thought that’s why we were never really close. So, imagine my surprise when he confided in me his darkest deepest secret. I knew he worked in a corporate research lab and assumed it had something to do with brain research, maybe how to treat neurological disorders. Anyway, he never really discussed his research with me or with anyone else for that matter, proprietary information.

But, three months ago on Christmas Day just before he left, he took me aside for a chat and unburdened himself. He said he could create this weird field that can uncouple consciousness from the human body, turning people into mindless animals.

According to him, once a hundred billion neurons in our brain reach a certain level of complexity, the electrical and chemical reactions miraculously produce consciousness. And that consciousness was coupled to our brain by a non-physical field, also generated by our brain.

I asked, “So what happens to us when we die?”

James replied, “That field becomes too weak to hold onto our consciousness.”

“So, we drift off into space.”

“No, we remain in the same spot but the Earth hurdles through the galaxy and we are left behind.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Because you’re the only person I really trust.”

I can’t say how flattered I felt.

He continued, “The military applications are unlimited and menacing. I can inform my department head and he could contact the Pentagon and I’d make Oppenheimer look like a godsend in comparison. Or I can destroy my research documents and become a nobody. Five years of hard, difficult and expensive work with nothing to show for it.”

“I think you already know what you should do and what you will do,” I replied.

That was the last time I saw him. In fact, that was the last time anyone saw him.