Curiosity

Author: Samuel Stapleton

“What do you think it is?” I asked as Clarence stared at the dataset I had collected. By accident. He was stumped, so I went to get Sean to see if she could help.

“I promise it’s worth your time,” I said as I walked into her office.

“If you don’t know what it is then how the hell do you know it’s worth my time?” She retorted from behind her HUD.

“Because Clarence is stumped too,” I answered simply. The hum of electronics disappeared and she stood up slowly from the floor. Her green eyes met mine and I felt that old kick of excitement. I had her attention for the first time in…months.

“Fine, let’s go.” She said as she marched into the hall without me.

We barged back into research operations unceremoniously.

“You figure it out yet?” She asked him flatly. He reluctantly answered,
“No.”

“Good. What do you have so far?” She asked as he threw the data up on the big screen.

“It’s a region of space within a dead-zone, containing a very unusual set of matter. Nothing within dozens of light-years, but the space itself is incredibly tiny. Smaller in volume than the average asteroid.” He had the computer generate a list as he spoke.

One of all known quarks.
One of all known leptons.
One of all known elements.
One of all known energies.
Several unknowns.

“All in the same region of space, static,” Clarence added quietly.

For the first time ever, I watched Sean have to take time to think. The answer didn’t just flow out of her like water from hydroponics. This was big.

“Incredible, I suppose I have to believe in a creator now.” She said suddenly.
“What?” Clarence and I echoed each other in confusion.
“Why?” I asked.

“It’s a programmer’s room. Isn’t it? When you create a program world you need somewhere to keep the most basic individual pieces in case something gets corrupted. These are the basic components of the known universe – a few of which we apparently don’t know about. Regardless, they can’t be there by chance because it breaks the laws of the universe. The most likely explanation is that someone put them there. Someone with enough knowledge to know how to manipulate time, space, matter, and energy. This is way beyond us.” She explained to us like we were kindergartners.

Clarence sat in stunned silence. Obviously he understood and agreed but I was still a little lost.

“Like an Easter Egg for the universe?” I clarified.
“No. Easter Eggs are meant to be found. This was meant to stay hidden. It’s storage.”

More silence. Until finally,

“Send the dataset to me, if someone or something did put those there, I’ll find their traces.” She said.

“We find evidence of a being capable of being our universal creator and you think you can track them down like Nancy-fucking-Drew? You’re unbelievable.” Clarence fumed.

“If you think you can do it, be my guest,” Sean demanded.

Clarence turned back to his desk and was silent, but we all knew he’d send her the data. It’s the one trait we all share, insatiable curiosity.

“Thank Liz, this’ll make my week,” Sean said to me with a dazzling smile. I melted into a puddle and muttered a pathetic, “No problem.”

Without another word, she swept from the room.

I found I suddenly didn’t give a shit about what we discovered, I just wanted her to invite me along. Mysteries be damned, why wasn’t I good enough to be her universe?

2 Comments

  1. Jae

    Unrequited love changes the way we see everything. It’s a fine inclusion, and used to ground a revelation. Well done.

  2. rjerbacher

    I like this story. I like that it made me go back and reread to find the subtle foreshadowing. As subtle as a programmer’s room in space. And I especially like the possible greatest discovery in scientific history being belittled by desperate love. I really like this story. Thanks.

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