Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chapter 13 - Revelation

Christopher immediately awoke from his dream. His whole body was tingling with elation. He laid there a moment thinking about what he had just dreamed. It seemed so real. He reviewed in his mind everything from the moment he arrived at the borders of the city until the time he returned to the same spot. He remembered what someone had told him about dreams and sudden bursts of inspiration – to write it down while it was fresh in his mind. He got out of bed and noticed that he had only been asleep for well under an hour. He walked into his office and turned on the desk lamp and sat down. He turned on his computer and began to type. The story of his dream came to his mind clearly. Page after page he wrote until he felt like he had captured everything in great detail. He finally sat back and took a deep breath as he looked at the story before him. Immediately the details began to fade from his mind as though it was just a dream.

He then remembered clearly the last few words uttered by Jesus about the final gift – knowledge about his AG project. He opened his briefcase and took out the pages of notes that he had been accumulating over the years. He turned through the pages, not knowing what he was looking for and not having anything new come to his mind. He had reviewed over these notes hundreds of times before, looking for something that he had overlooked, but the time he spent seemed to be in vain. Then the thought came to his mind – “pray”. He didn't know what to think about that. He didn't believe in God. This was just a dream wasn't it – it didn't really happened did it? He glanced at his computer and scrolled through the story he had just written. As he read, the feelings he experienced during the dream came back to him in a flood of emotion. “What is happening to me?” he thought. He sat for a long while, contemplating his life. Thinking about what his life would be like if his dream were real – what changes he would have to make. Could he do it?

Then the thought came clearly again into his mind, “pray”. He didn't ignore it this time. He slipped off his chair and went to his knees. His body complained as his aging knees met the hardwood floor, but the feeling to pray was so overwhelming he ignored any discomfort. Once on the floor he realized that he didn't know how to pray. He had only known memorized prayers as a young boy – but which one was appropriate for this situation? He closed his eyes and pictured Jesus and the final embrace and the gratitude he felt. He began to pray, thanking God for the experience he had been given this night. Once again the feeling of gratitude was overwhelming and he began to sob. Tears fell onto his chair as the dream once again became clear in his mind. He asked about the final gift that Jesus had promised to give him – and suddenly in his mind came a number. He didn't quite know what this number meant, but he immediately wrote it down in his notes. It was a very long number with a repeating pattern. Still not knowing what it meant he labeled it as “Prayer” in his notes. He fell back to his knees and expressed his gratitude to God once more. He stayed on his knees for several minutes as thoughts raced through his head. He suddenly felt exhausted and went back to his bed and quickly fell asleep.

Christopher awoke to a dog barking next door. “That annoying little dog” he thought as he turned over in bed. His mind suddenly cleared and he sat up quickly. He must have slept through his alarm as the sun had already risen. Then he remembered it was Sunday – he didn't have to work today. He usually did anyway, but it wasn't expected. He slipped out of bed, thinking about a strange dream that he had last night, but he couldn't remember anything about it - only that he had dreamed something unsettling.

He got out of bed and went into the bathroom to get ready. After showering and brushing his teeth, we went into his office to read his email and finish the article on nuclear physics. He sat down in front of his computer and saw a document still open on the screen. He couldn't remember this document so he scrolled to the top and began to read. The story surprised him – it was definitely his writing style but the content seemed unfamiliar. It spoke of a dream where he saw a holy city filled with spirits and spoke with Jesus Christ. “This must be a joke,” he thought to himself, “I would never write such a thing. I don't believe a word of this.” He was about to delete the file, but for some reason he couldn't do it. So he dragged the file into a “Personal” folder and began to read his email.

After breakfast he felt like taking a walk. The day was already warm and humid, but he would walk slowly to relax his mind – then maybe he'd go into work and see if he could make some progress before everyone showed up on Monday morning. As he strolled along the river and saw people walking their dogs, and parents playing with their children in the grassy strip along the river, he began to think about the story he had found on his computer that morning. Walking by the river made him think about the fountain that was described in the story, and the rivers of water running in all directions throughout the city. “Living Waters,” he thought to himself, “a very interesting metaphor. Carrying life to everything downstream.” He glanced over the river to the buildings of the University in the distance, he thought of the buildings in the story and how the city had been clean and bright. This was indeed a contrast to the buildings he saw before him. They were well maintained, but certainly not like those he had read about this morning. Then he noticed the people around him and started to think about what type of people they were – about their interests and their beliefs. “What am I doing?” he said aloud. He looked forward to see someone give an odd glance in passing. He had never thought about people this way. Why would he care about what they did in their personal lives, let alone their beliefs? He quickened his pace, eager to get back to work and take his mind off of this new line of thinking.

It was early afternoon by the time Christopher approached the lab door. He entered in the 6 digit access code, but the red light flashed, indicating that the code was incorrect. This was not like him to get the code wrong. Although it was automatically changed each Saturday night, he always knew the next code in the sequence. He tried it again – red light. Frustrated, he set his briefcase down on the floor and opened it. The door code followed a complicated algorithm that he developed himself and programmed into the security system. It has never failed him before. He pulled out a piece of paper that looked like it was full of numbers with no spaces or formatting of any kind. With his eyes he located the spot where this week's new code began. The code he had entered was correct – but that number didn't work. He tried last week's code and it turned green and the magnetic latch clicked open. “Stupid security system,” he muttered under his breath, as he replaced the door code sheet back in his briefcase. He started to shut it but noticed that his lab notes were not in the proper place. He pulled out the notebook and noticed that the marker was in a different spot than he remembered. He open the book and quickly noticed the long number labeled with the word “Prayer”. He was immediately furious that someone had been in his notes, but a close examination revealed that it was indeed his writing. He shook his head to clear it, then placed the notebook back in his briefcase and closed it.

He entered the lab and set his briefcase down on the desk. Unlike many of his colleagues, he was very organized and neat. His desk had only a few pieces of paper neatly stacked. He looked over at the white wall.  After a few minutes of staring at the board the number written in his notebook came to mind. He removed the notebook from his briefcase and turned to the marked page. This must have been written recently he thought – since I would certainly have noticed this before. “Prayer.” he said, staring at the number. “What on earth could that mean?”

He heard the door latch click and looked up. The door opened quickly and Warren stepped through, out of breath. “Christopher! I've been looking for you but you didn't answer your phone at home and your cell just goes to voice mail.”

Warren, you never work on Sunday – what could possibly be so important?” asked Christopher, frustrated at the interruption, but not quite an angry as he thought he would be..

Look, I know you think God is non-sense but I need to tell you something.” replied Warren.

Hmmm,” said Christopher, and thinking “here we go.”

Warren rushed on. “I had the strangest dream last night about the project. I saw the formula as clearly as I see it now, but with a few slight modifications.”

Christopher was more than skeptical about this. “A dream.” he said with obvious sarcasm.

Warren grabbed a red marker and quickly walked over the board and began to make modifications to the formula.

Christopher looked at the changes critically, wanting to bring Warren back down to earth at the first opportunity. But the changes actually made sense. Through the years they had experimented with the vibration of the ferrite particles to create the AG field. The frequency of the vibrations as well as the modulation frequency had been attempted with hundreds of variations - with no success. But this new formula introduced the concept of not only the modulation of the frequency but also the time between frequency adjustments as a variable.

Warren completed the changes and stepped back from the board. “It all makes sense except...”

The variable 'g'.” finished Christopher. “There is no definition for 'g'.”

That's the kicker,” confirmed Warren. “I saw this formula but there was no definition for g. It must be a constant, but without it, the formula cannot be applied.”

They both stared at the board for what must have been over 10 minutes, neither saying a word.

Without thinking, Christopher glanced down at the notebook and looked at the number he had supposedly written. He spoke casually, “Try this.”

Warren was pulled out of his thoughts and looked at Christopher. “What?” he asked.

Christopher said, “Write this.”

Warren, used to the terseness of Christopher's methods, walked back to the board with pen in hand ready to write.”

Christopher said, “g=.36891244792620533689124479262053”

After Warren was finished writing, he walked back a few steps and looked at the board, then looked back at Christopher. “Where did you come up with that?”

Christopher didn't know how to answer. He certainly didn't want to expose that fact that he had no idea where this number came from, and what was written next to it. He'd never hear the end of it from Warren. He paused for a moment, collecting his thoughts. Suddenly, a voice, almost audible, came into his head, like he was recalling a memory, “There is no room for pride in my kingdom Christopher.” This made Christopher jump in his seat.

Warren looked a little shocked at first, but then burst out in laughter. “What was that all about?” he asked. Quite pleased that Christopher, this man who was always in control, seemed almost human for a moment.

When Christopher didn't smile, Warren stopped laughing. After a few moments of silence, he asked, “Are you alright Christopher?”

As he looked up at Warren, he said, “I think so, but I have no idea what just happened.”

The look of concern on Christopher's face put Warren into counselor mode. “What did just happen?”

Christopher looked from Warren to the notebook, then back to Warren. “Look at this.” he finally said as he pointed to the number.

Warren walked over to Christopher's desk and looked at the notes. Beside the word “Prayer” was the number he had just written on the board. Now it was his turn to look between Christopher and the notebook several times. He knew Christopher would never even think about the word “Prayer” let alone ever write it in his book. “Prayer is for the feeble minded” he had heard Christopher say on occasion. Warren finally spoke, “I'm not sure what I'm looking at here. Where did that number come from and why is... is... that word by it?”

Truthfully, I don't know. I just noticed it a few minutes ago when I got to the lab. It is written in my own handwriting, but I don't recall writing it.”

Have you been feeling OK?” asked Warren. “I noticed that jump a minute ago, like you were shocked or something.”

Christopher was silent for a moment, then said, “I'm feeling fine, but there have been some strange things happening lately.”

Warren just looked at Christopher, ready to listen.

Christopher explained about the document on his computer this morning and what it contained. Then about discovering the number in the notebook because the door code had not changed yet. Finally, he said he heard, or rather “felt” a voice and what it had said.

Warren wanted to laugh in triumph, but held his emotions. “You know Christopher, it sounds like God is trying to tell you something.” He immediately thought he had gone too far. Nobody brought up God when talking to Christopher without getting a lecture. But there was no response for a long while.

Finally Christopher spoke. “I uh...” He paused. “I think you may be right.”

If there was anything Warren wasn't expecting, it was this. His mouth moved, but nothing came out.

Christopher let out a short laugh, “This morning, I actually felt concern for the people in the park by the river.”

Warren smiled, relieved that the tension had been broken.

It's strange Warren, the more I think about that story on my computer, the more familiar it feels to me. I can't quite explain it.”

Warren didn't want to push the issue so he looked away and back at the formula on the board. A sudden rush of excitement washed over him. “If Christopher really did get that number in answer to a prayer, this could indeed be the answer we've been searching for.” he thought.

Both Warren and Christopher were staring at the board. Then they both looked at each other. Warren, a young 34 year old physicist with his entire career ahead of him, and Christopher, a 62 year old veteran of physics nearing the end of his career – and they both looked like 8 year olds who just got a secret decoder ring in a box of cracker jacks.

Knowing that it would take at least 6 months of programming and circuit design to build a prototype based on this new formula, they decided that nothing more could be done today. But they agreed to begin the new process first thing Monday morning.

The moment Christopher arrived back at his apartment, he went immediately to his computer and printed out the story he had discovered that morning. Even though he hadn't eaten all day, hunger had left him. He just wanted to sit down in the den and read this story over and over. It didn't take long for him to recall everything that had occurred the night before. The dream, typing it into his computer, praying for help, and receiving the number in his mind. His heart swelled within him as he marveled at the change that had come over him these last 24 hours. He smiled when he thought about Warren and the look on his face. He dropped to his knees and began to thank God for His tender mercies.

After his prayer, he called his sister Paige.

The next morning was pandemonium. Christopher had asked the Dean to arrange for his classes to be taught by another professor so he could concentrate on the AG7 prototype. Although the Dean wondered why Christopher had such high confidence in this version of the prototype, he wanted to give him the time requested. After all, Christopher was solely responsible for the great reputation of the physics department here for the last 30 years – and had brought in millions in funding. And if AG7 was the true solution  – MIT and his department would be at the top of the game for several years to come.

At the staff meeting Christopher revealed the new formula. Credit was given to Warren for the formula and Christopher for the gravity (g) constant. They both winked at one another, knowing that the credit really went to God, but if they told everyone now how this formula was derived, they knew absolutely that funding would be pulled and the project would be put into different hands. This would be a delicate matter. But once the prototype worked, and they knew it would, proper credit would be given.

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