Avayan unlocked the machine shop and got in, hasty, like lightning. It was past 4:00 PM. There were usually one or two employees still working, but it seemed that day they had all gone home early. Perfect!
The machine shop was basically a big warehouse lodging industrial machinery like three milling machines, two lathes, four drills and four vertical saws. The place was dusty, greasy and messy, the floor filled with all sorts of metal fragments and shards. A smell of oil and lubricants greeted visitors moments after the door was opened.
A more technologically advanced portion of the shop contained all sorts of Computer Numeric Control equipment such as CNC routers and mills, CO2 lasers, plasma cutters, etc. but to Avayan this was like storage space, as there was nothing like actually engaging industrial equipment “with my own hands” as he liked to point out, something hardly possible with the computer controlled versions.
The last room stocked metallic media like steel and aluminum, some plastics like acrylics and amphenol and minor amounts of woods and glass. Avayan preferred the metal to anything else, as the results were always sturdier.
Finding a non cluttered work bench was kind of a challenge. Finally he found a suitable enough portion of a table, which only needed a few jigs relocated. Avayan felt it would be sad to get his new toy scratched, so he made certain the spot was as pristine as a richie boy would keep his garage the very same day he had walked out his new Lamborghini out of the dealer.
“OK” he greeted the computer. “My friend Jay will be here shortly enough. Together we will figure out what are you and what to do with you.”
“Master Avayan” the computer seemed concerned. “In the time where I come from we fully appreciate the meaning of a friend. So I understand it is of your best intention to include your own on this very important finding. Unfortunately, I feel it is of utter importance that my identity be kept confidential for the time being. If you do show me to your friends I will retransform myself to look like an ordinary computer. Just wanted to let you know.”
Avayan frowned. He hated the idea of keeping secrets. Not only because he was quite bad at keeping them but because it drove him nuts that other did kept them from him. Apparently there was not too much of a choice so all he could do was comply with the requirement.
“Whatever.” He accepted. “I guess we are avoiding getting you into the wrong hands or something like that, right? I mean, if some government officials were to find you, no doubt you would end up in some fancy lab getting your guts all spread out on a lab table.”
“You are very attentive of detail, Master Avayan.” The computer said appreciative.
“So lets cut to the chase. How on Earth did you do your thing back at the alley?”
“Quite simple actually. Master Avayan.” The computer started. “I am what will be known in the future as a mattergy replicator. In other words, I posses the ability to transform matter into energy and energy into matter according to patterns programmed into my memory banks.”
Impressive! What scientist were still trying to do in the lab with machines larger than entire cities, this computer could do in the space a conventional laptop of about a decade ago would occupy.
“Per example, in the alley,” the computer continued, “I morphed the steel blade into a malleable plastic in order to avoid your injury. Then I applied a pulsonic blast of acoustic energy which launched the thief into oblivion. It was similar to polarizing the air in the back and front of him creating a differential in potential which his body had to follow.”
For an instant, Avayan wished he was better versed in physics than he was in robot building or programming. He was certain some of his geeky friends could understand all the jargon the computer had offered. At least he had an idea. Never would he have guessed, though, that at some time into the near future, it would be him carrying adult conversations with the computer on similar topics.
“I am sorry, but I do not understand how you can change steel to plastic.” the young protested. “I mean, this sounds like the Philosophers Stone. Changing lead to gold kind of deal.”
“Well I could do that too…” Computron assured. “You see, today it is believed that matter is made of atoms. And that atoms are made of electrons, protons and neutrons. In turn each of these are made up from quarks and yadah, yadah, yadah! What scientists are failing to see is that in reality each spatial dot consists of information. A percentage is matter and the reaminder is energy. By carefully moving these percentages up and down you can change matter into energy and vice versa. All you have to know is what is the content of each spatial dot and voila!”
“Well, I’ll be frigging darned! Is that it all?” Avayan mocked the computer. “You make it sound so easy! How come we can not do it?”
“Could you place a computer on top of your desk, or even your lap, 50 years ago?” it was now the computer mocking the other. “Could you fly on top of a big lump of metal 150 years ago? Humans will get to it, you will see.”
“Well… If you say so…” The young conceded.
Avayan looked around. He wanted to run a test on this cool technology he was for the first time engulfing his brains routes with. What could he test it with? A nearby ¼-20 hex nut caught his attention. It was small, but there was no point in trying something big. At this point he had still not fully featured the true meaning of what Computron could do. Soon, just as you, he would!
“Well let’s see. “ Avayan waved the nut in front of the computer screen. “Can you make this nut change to…”
One blue zap later and the metallic nut started to melt on Avayan’s hand. Still it felt cold.
“It’s mercury.” The computer assured. “But don’t worry there is a fine film of a malleable polymer protecting your skin from its toxic properties.”
“Could you make it solid again?” the young wondered. “Something like…”
Once again, the computer interrupted the spectator with the same blue flash as before. In this instant, though the no longer mercury blob had hardened to a metal Avayan would have never seen before. Picking it up on his hand, he noticed the solid blob like piece of metal even had his finger prints imprinted on its sides, right where it had been melting before. His fingers, on the other hand, where not affected at all.
“You are witnessing a metal, not invented yet, future humans will come to call steelium. The sci fi material referred to as adamantium is like rubber compared to this. The computer explained. “Of course you need to pass a carefully controlled electric current to make it as hard…”
Avayan’s curiosity could not be satisfied. So he dropped the solid piece of metal. As soon as it hit the floor, it shattered into a gazillion fragments.
“Impressive! … Most impressive!” Avayan then breathed down like his old time favorite movie character, Darth Vader.
The youngster was now piecing the puzzle together. A computer with the ability to change the constitution of metals and he loved working with them in his machine shop. Could this get any better? He had no idea…
With Machiavellian cynicism, his mind jumpstarted a new daydreaming session.
Avayan is back at the school sitting on a bench at the same time he types a few messages in the computer.
“Get ready, Compu.” He types in Computron IX’s keyboard. “Soon we will have revenge!”
“Of course Master. Whatever you say. I await you orders?” the computer replies on the same screen.
A few seconds later, Xavier zips in as he walks with two gorgeous girls occupying his solid arms.
From a distance, our hero waits for the brigand to grow as close as perfection dictates. And when he is…
“Compu, transform the metal on this scum bucket of evil’s belt into goo!” Avayan types.
The little cannon, comes up again and with a single blue flash, the crime has been perpetrated.
It is in slow motion that Avayan sees Xavier’s pants roll down. The mastodon keeps on walking not noticing his underwear is showing. Eventually, the pants become a tripping hazard and with a single stroke, his nose propels right onto the floor.
Xavier gets up as fast as he can, only to find the entire school laughing at him. Wrestling with his torn pants, he manages to briefly pull them up and run towards the bath room, not before going by the malicious-smile packed Avayan.
Back in reality Avayan, arms up and facing the ceiling, is actually laughing like Dr. Frankestein. Had the dream been any different he would have concluded it with “Its Alive!” Instead his maniacal laughter reverberated by itself in the junk crowded halls of the machine shop.
The computer was close to fear his new master gone crazy. “Hey wake up! What is going on with you, Master? Are you all right?”
Avayan calmed down. “Oh Compu… Is it OK, if I call you Compu?”
“Sure!” she replied.
“We are going to have a blast tomorrow! You see, there is this guy at school and if your metal changing abilities are as good as I think they are, we will…”
“Excuse me master.” The computer interrupted. “But I am afraid you are rather confused. I am not a metal manipulator. I am actually far much more than that!”
“What do you mean?” Avayan frowned.
“Do you have any piece of food left from your school day?”
Not understanding what kind of a relationship his lunch could have with anything else, Avayan opened his brown lunch bag and rustled its content until the single item he would never eat showed up. An Apple! A green one.
“Ah yes!” The computer expressed with gusto. “An Apple is quite appropriate, I must add. It was, as you humans believe, the reason for your race to be expelled from the paradise. And what a fantastic metaphor when it was given to Snow White, its sole purpose to kill her.”
Not certain where the computer was heading to with her literature appreciation moments, Avayan placed the green apple in the table. Was the computer going to cook it or transform it into a delicious dessert? Either way, he did no longer felt like eating it. Not after it had been compared to poison!
“OK here we go!” the computer announced.
The apple started to float in mid air. Revolving in its axis, the computer analyzed its exact molecular content to the spatial dot. Each single piece of information was recorded inside its memory banks and with a single flash…
ZOOM! the apple had been copied into an exact replica. Both apples were now sitting on top of the table. Avayan squeezed his eyes.
“Am sorry Compu, but that last flash blinded me. I am seeing double!”
He was not. There were in reality two apples. He could just not grab the concept yet.
His eyes finally settled in, but it was his brain who would actually deduce the mystery at hand. The apples did made it look like he was seeing double. They were just too perfect. The little tail, every single dot mark and the brand stamp were totally identical. However, everything else in the table, such as screws, drivers and manuals, were exactly as they were before. He was not seeing double and the two apples were not an optical illusion caused by messy eyes. The two apples were just waiting for him.
Could it be a hologram? Avayan grabbed his apple. It still felt like it had done before. Thinking the other apple was some kind of pretty cool reflection, he waved his other hand hoping to see it going through the impressively accurate tri dimensional image. Instead, he felt his fingers hit the apple, almost trampling it into the dirty machine shop floor. Avayan’s reflex were quicker, witch a quick grab later, both of his hands were now holding the exact same thing. Literally!
Finally he was starting to see the truth.
“WHOA! Wait a moment…” Avayan practically peed on himself. His gaze motioned erratically back and forth between both apples. “There are two apples? How did you do this?”
“I explained this earlier, sir!” the computer said. “It is a matter of…”
“Yeah, yeah, I know!” Avayan interrupted. “Changing the information on each dot in the space and transforming matter to energy. And whatever…”
“I think you are getting it, sir!” The computer seemed pleased.
“So you are like a food replicator in the Star Trek series, are you not?” Avayan asked.
“Sir it could be considered an insult to render me just a lame food processor. I can assure you there is far much more I can do than just copy the apple. Now, why don’t you taste them both, and see what I mean?
Avayan looked at the computer skeptically. “Are you nuts? I am not eating this! God knows what you have placed inside. Just a few seconds ago, you were telling me about getting our asses kicked out of paradise and Snow White’s poisoning, for God’s sake!”
“I realize the metaphor was a pretty bad idea on my behalf, Master Avayan” the computer conceded. “But unless I were to suffer from a fetish in which I love to see my victims retort in the middle of the floor after I apply a deadly poison to nearby food, don’t you think that if I wanted to kill you, I would just have left that thief’s knife to stay in its original metal form?”
The computer had a point. But their relationship was just too infant for him to trust her intentions right out of the blue. Avayan sliced both apples with a nearby metallic ruler. It was not too sharp, but it did the job.
Taking both apples apart, Avayan lost track of which apple was his original. Had this been a game of roulette in which his apple was in good shape while the copy had been poisoned, it would have been impossible to keep track of which one it would have been safe to chew on. In essence, this would have amounted to a 50/50 probability of biting the bucket. Once again, Avayan pushed his paranoia aside.
Instead the young man decided to focus on the search for some kind of flaw. To his surprise, as much as the apples were identical on the outside, they were equally indistinguishable from the inside. The seeds, the stem, everything was where it was supposed to be! The only difference he could discern was the very same cut he had placed on each apple. And since it was of his own doing, he could not but to agree the two darn apples were as identical as they could get. Would they taste like it?
Armed with valor, Avayan took a byte on a segment from each apple. It was impossible to tell them apart. In fact, when sampling the second apple, he felt a weird sense of Déjà vu. Had he chewed on that apple earlier? Practically, he had.
“I don’t believe this.” The young was outraged. “These two apples are virtually identical!”
“Not virtually, sir” The computer said. “They are a 100 percent identical! I managed to extract the apple’s information on the space time continuum and made an exact replica. And thanks to my Caigas Project gun, I can basically do the same with practically anything else!”
“Ehhh… a Ca-What?”
“A Caigas Project, sir!” Computron IX continued. “In the not so distant future, one of your scientists will develop a superbly important piece of equipment referred to as the Tetra Dimensional Expander, or TDE. It allows other spatial dimensions to be expanded, granting us the capability to extract information we could not even dare to obtain by just perusing the universe in three dimensions. The Caigas Project utilizes this technology as a mechanism to extract mattergy information we can then use to attain the results you have just witnessed.”
Avayan could only nod as if actually understanding what the computer was explaining. Excited, the computer was amazed she had found such a primitive entity capable of following on such complex topics. “So you see, since time is a dimension in itself, the TDE gives us the ability to control the rate at which we move on said dimension. This is how then we can overcome issued such as the Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty and gather the spatial dot information from the original, as required to make a perfect copy. We can then do the same in reverse, while we are generating the actual copy.”
Avayan’s eyes remained as opened as incredulous. Was the computer under the impression that a measly teenager could even dare to understand a technology so far ahead the brightest minds on the planet had not even begun to propose as plausible? Seriously, the computer must have realized that just blahbing whatever complete nonsense she could have come up with would have offered the same result.
Somehow, Avayan still felt there was some truth to the complexities his ears were now been bombarded with. “Let me see if I understand this absurdity. You are telling me that you are expanding the space, like zooming into the whatever dots you just talked about, reading the information and then WHAMO! You make a copy? Like copying a file from the net bit by bit?”
The computer had to realize the young man had literally given birth to an explanation as good as it was going to get. It was rather far from the reality, but as she liked to point out, once the end result is the same, however we get there is meaningless. “YUP! You got it!” Although, he had not. It was time to move on…
As the computer prepared its internal processing units to continue with the tutorial, she decided to pause and contemplate the completely concentrated youngster caressing his chin, sight moving wildly from side to side as if fetching instructions from his own brain. “Do you know what this means…” Avayan murmured into mid air.
Of course the computer more than well knew what it all meant. What the teenager was thinking, however, is what she wanted to know.
Avayan stopped his wandering eyes as he fixated pupils at the computer screen, now clearly addressing her. “Do you know what this means?” His voice was now sturdier.
There was silence. Avayan grabbed the computer and grew it as close as possible to his face just like him and Jay would do to each other when joking around about discoveries. “DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS!!!!!!” He was now screaming his lungs off.
The computer had to tune down her perception sensors not to hear the young man scream as in the middle of a Heavy Metal concert. By the time she realized Avayan had placed the computer back on the table she found herself following a frantic boy running from side to side on the big warehouse.
“PHOCKING CRAP I AM RICH!!!!!” Avayan’s excitement was evident.
“Yup, he is nuts! I lost the little guy” The computer said, not knowing whether the next rightful step was to laugh or zap her young master out of his delirium.
Avayan got on top of a Bridgeport Milling Machine table with a quick jump. It was a big mistake, as such precision equipment does not take such a jolt likely. It was most likely going to need major recalibration. The young man could care less. He could buy a ship load of these machines now. Grabbing the Z Axis drill handle and screaming into the belt casing, Avayan continued with his frenzy. “I AM RICH, I TELL YOU!!! I AM RICH!!!
How long this nonsense took for, the computer wished she could lost track of. She couldn’t. So At the end, all she could allow herself to do was wait for the natural response of a jackpot to wear off. For a brief instant she wished she could experience such a fantastic trip into the wild, but such a feeling quickly wore off as she realized her life was already a jackpot.
By the time the young man rushed back to the computer, eyes glowing like a 600 Watt incandescent lamp and fixated on his luscious treasure, the apparent adrenaline inrush had been contained. Sweating like a pig and trying to catch his breath, he decided to conclude his workout. “I am frigging rich Compu! Darn it, I can not even believe it!”
“OK Master, that sounds awesome and all, but I truly hope you are not thinking about posting me on that dreadful ebay website, are you?” the computer said with a hint of a joke and genuine concern.
But Avayan knew better. Not even the entire fortune of the top ten Forbes Billionaires could compare to the power he contained in his bare hands. Oh no! If this machine could create perfect replicas, he was already as good as rich! Screw morphing metals and achieving superfluous revenges back at school! All he needed was…
Reaching into his right back pocket, the still shook up teenager felt his ticket to salvation. A 20 dollar bill. It was not enough to do much these days. But if the computer could copy it, then he could have $40. And if he could copy it once, why not twice? Since the replicas were perfect, it should be evident the new paper money would be totally legal as well. Right? Well for one they would be impossible to tell them apart, and in essence they would be like the same dollar bills the government had created. Why not?
Avayan placed the $20 bill flat in the table. “Here! I want 25 of these!”
“But sir…” the computer was about to oppose when the decided young interrupted.
“Ah, ah! You call me master, which means you have to follow my orders.” Avayan counter attacked totally aware he was leaping into treacherous waters. “Come on, now. I want to see $500!”
“As you wish, Master Avayan!” the computer accepted.
Avayan zoomed in to his cell phone while he looked in amazement his $20 dollar bill floating in mid air. “YES!” just like he had suspected, he was well on his way to riches!
“Jay” Avayan spoke towards the speech activated cell phone, which then speed dialed his best friend’s cell phone number.
Three flashes later, and $60 dollars richer, Jay answered his phone. “What’s up dude?”
“Hey! Are you coming?” Avayan wiped his forehead, excited, $100 richer.
“Darn it! man, I have to wait until my sister’s class is over. This is what happens when I take my dad’s motorcycle without his permission.” Jay replied back over the phone.
“No Jay, this is what happens when you crash your dad motorcycle!” Avayan smirked, hard to say whether it was at his friend’s ironic fate, or his richness materializing in front of his own eyes.
“Ah, whatever, dude! How late will you stay up there?” Jay grimaced back.
“Uhh… Actually I have to go out and run some errands. Maybe we can get started tomorrow?”
The duo kept talking over the phone discussing the logistics for just one tad longer, barely enough for the remainder of the $500 to pop up into existence, new bills slowly floating and waving down towards the table.
Avayan hanged up. “My God! This is really happening. I am filthy rich! YES!” the youngster screamed.
“But sir…” the computer once again tried to warn Avayan about the horrendous mistake he was about to commit.
“We will talk later, Compu. Now we are going shopping!” And in saying so, the teenager shut off the computer top, placed it on his bag and exited the machine shop, with $500 ruffled on his back pocket. He could not remember when was the last time he have had so much cash stuffed into his pants. It almost made it harder to walk out.
The computer could have still talked or even stopped this non sense from happening if she had wanted to. However, she decided to play this game a little bit longer. It was the perfect opportunity to teach the youngster a very important lesson.