As Nesby moved forward with his theoretical work in string theory and quantum mechanics, there was an odd sense about the direction it had taken. Once postulated by string theory that there were a specific number of possible dimensions, the advanced mathematics that are the provenance of men like Nesby, those who revel in the afterglow of minute discovery, making the rest of the world seem to stop in time with his own vision of a wave-function that does not collapse, the rest of the world continues its presumptuous march toward infinite elimination.
If the things he sees inside complex formulas, too derivative to print here, are true, then there is never to be the possibility of a body passing through to other worlds ‘simply the stuff of science-fiction, and I stress the fiction as completely dominant in that sentence’ said Nesby muttering to himself as he often does while pondering just how many of our questions lay within the Planck length to which he has spent most of his adult life in service of solving. Oftentimes finding himself in a state of momentary transitive properties within his own mind, Nesby buries himself inside the work with no recourse or action possible. This is his own definition of worth. An immaculate mind trapped inside the precariousness of human existence. ‘If only I can solve these problems, prove the truth to the world. God is nothing more than a minor particle within a constant that we have measured, yet cannot observe. Wars will stop. Lives will matter more and matter less as we hurtle forward at the speed of light without any intrinsic knowledge of our end, yet knowing we will all certainly meet that end in one fashion or another. My only hope is that the thing we fight over; God and religion will cease to be a demarcation of culture and we can work together for what we are, humanity. And we do so for the intentional supposition that humanity is the one and only reason to continue our perilous journey together into nothingness.’
And while it was true in the days of the physicists at this time that government’s had funded their work, the reasoning behind such funding was not as unequivocally dissembling as one would have believed. Knowing the future, at some distant or not too distant point in the inevitable conclusion of this planet, existence of humanity as known would be doomed, discovery of truth in physics was more about elite survival than sentience. Nesby was more Vespucci than Columbus. Prestige at discovery and selling that prestige was beyond the scope of a man dedicated to math and a true understanding of the universe. ‘Let others have the glorification of a Prize named after an esteemed scientist from some other time and place – the discovery itself will be a culmination of a life spent in reflective study of the sky and all that lay beyond the stars we could see as children.’
His lab was not typical of a renowned physicist without much light and no decorative plastic models of the universe or any real ornamental testament to perceived accomplishment to the community. A small table, plenty of dry erase boards with scribbles that looked incoherent to the outside world this was the mundanity of his exuberance. His desk, old, wooden, nearly rotted when he arrived sat in a corner as he pounded away at a keyboard, back and forth between the desk and various boards equations that looked like a three dimensional chess board played by a multitude of unseen opponents. The concrete floor, gray an unforgiving in its stark obliqueness was a conduit for the scattered thoughts that somehow came together on a series of boards with unrelatedly related derivatives. On the wall behind his desk a small portrait of his impish boyhood life in that small enclave outside of Houston where he had been raised for a scant time before his ability and mind were too much to contain on the little cul-de-sac of life that led to a normality he could never know. By the age of four, already showing promise in advanced physics, Nesby was recognized as a prodigy and shipped off to a special school in New Mexico.
Nesby has called this arid, dry patch of land home for more than twenty years. Though he could not conclusively state the veracity of truth to his presumed location in the Southeast corner of the state, based on the arid and dry conditions he presupposed that there was a kernel of truth to what he believed. It was of little relevance, nonetheless, as this was a perfectly suited location for his ever-expanding intellectual capacity to challenge without all the potential travails of a life in suburbia. There was not much effort, certainly not genius level intellect needed, to understand that boys of his acumen and trajectory to prominence were treated poorly in childhood. The United States of Carthania had long ago surmised that brilliance must be protected at all costs and they were effective at recompense for the emotional sadness suffered by families of the gifted while continuing to ensure not only their superiority, but also stifling that of other nations predisposed to conquering their hard fought status.
Outside there was no scenery to speak of as Nesby’s office, like all offices in the enclosed campus were subterranean. This was necessary to divert the ever-watchful brother of satellites. From the genesis of nations, there have been those who desire destruction of power with their choice to act as spies against a home nation. Be it for reasons of philosophical reasoning or a matter of earning some illusive share of a bounty not yet known, mankind has been susceptible to the lure of traitors. Carthania had successfully implemented citypods which created separations that seemed to generate a happiness not before seen. At the heart of this emerging darkness amid the light were the elites. Scientists; athletes; warriors. The U.S. of Carthania had successfully changed its structure to value elite. But with value comes a cost and that cost was difficult, but the U.S. of C. had found a way to implore its citizens to sacrifice their own selfish need for family in hope of a better and more unified nation; a nation that would lead the world into the dawn of a new civilization; a civilization without war and fear. The hope for brighter tomorrows made for an easy sell to a nation weary of misery and terror.
Nesby was working to not just determine a theory that would conflate the two theories of physics which had been somewhat at odds with each other as quantum field theory and general relativity which were at odds, but he was looking for much more than just the theory. Should he somehow resolve this quantum problem, the world might be vastly differentiated for the positive.
His father had given him the start. Only from pictures could Nesby recognize the figure. A military man who later worked at the now defunct Carthanian Aeronautics and Space Administration, known as CASA for short, was much taller and broader of shoulder. A fit man who took pride in more than just intelligence and diligence, Frank Nesby would be the ambiguity of life his son felt. He had attended college majoring in History, mostly concerned with military history. The elder Nesby would use his astute understanding not of the times and places of events, but the complicated intercourse of the time, place, culture, people, and strategy to formulate not just a heroic military career, but a career lauded as trans-formative to Carthania and its citizens. This was a metanoia he had so longed to be a part. It had become a mutation; a vicissitude of the most ugly and violent nature he could imagine. Watched in horror from his station in Houston as this vulgar truth rained down on the rest of the world, forever transforming not just geography, but geology. All the while, the junior Nesby remained underground, buried in theory and absent from what lay above.
Nesby, the junior, had come closer than ever. Recognizing the limitations of existent supercolliders and mathematics, his mind had wavered toward a more radical solution that lay between the Planck-Einstein relation. The math behind his conclusions could certainly be recounted in boring fashion – the relation between energy, frequency, wavelengths, speed of light – but a mathematics lesson is not necessarily required to understand that Nesby of the junior, had come very close to the unifying theory in those dark days after chaos had begun as a worldwide phenomenon.
Those citypods had remained somewhat intact, if not ruthlessly limited in their populations and negative growth. Dark times had fallen as police forces were tasked with too many operations and not enough personnel. Carthania’s enemies had been prepared not with a reciprocity of action, but an even darker, feculent response that left the citypods struggling with miniature plagues and rampant sudden death. Nesby’s location in subterranean New Mexico had created the potential for long-term experimental physics uninhibited and unnoticed. The intelligence normally the orator of such research was not present as it had become a private venture many years earlier as CASA crumbled into a quasi-governmentally controlled air force.
Nesby’s mother, recognizing the beneficial nature of Frank Nesby’s historical cognizance, was worried. A ticking clock, almost in the literal sense, made her wonder if her own gift would ever find a seed. A plant that would grow into a world changing prodigy. The prodigy would necessitate change through not just his own intellect, but the ideal placement of both parents in a world where his access would be greater. Caroline had been impervious to the sting of her own youthful poverty, but feared another such offspring would lessen the potential of a gift. Mathematics had been something she had considered a curse as a young girl in San Antonia. A town steeped in its own history; rich in military history; she subsisted on its outer edges. The numbers in her head were nothing but a jumbled mess to most young educators who were confused at the advanced experimental calculations that emanated from the red-headed non-vixenic youth. She was precocious to the point of obnoxious which seemed to cause little concern in her mind. Prepubescently aware that the gift would need to be nurtured; planted and grown; to make a real difference, she was precipitately focused on bearing a child to take that mental gift and transport the future.
This is, of course, all beyond the offspring as he was sequestered away at such a young age as to not recognize the dysfunctionality that was his conception. The fortunes of eternity were with him as he burrowed his life through a regimented education program designed to give Nesby all the tools with which to challenge everything mankind had learned about chemistry prior.
His accommodations and accoutrements were curious to any who may have seen from the outside but quite normal to the boy who would live a mole-like existence as purveyor of the future of physics, or so it was presupposed his role would evolve. Unbeknownst to Nesby, though, was the change which had befallen the United States of Carthania. While citypods crumbled and disappeared, he continued his singular madness, portraying everything in existence as a string, a wave function capable of collapse without observation. His science would never change the world – he was never known to most of the world during his cosmologically speaking short lifespan.
Hair mussed, Nesby squinted and strained with incredulity at screens and numbers. His hands were thin, covered with dark hairs that sprouted in any number of directions as he pounded at keyboards, his tiny proclamations went unheard and provided his own ears with something; anything to feel part of something other than his tiny lab. The dreariness of the inside did little to dissuade his singular ambition. Programmed at such an early age, this was all he knew and could not conceptualize anything other than life as a scientist. Dark brown eyes, furrowed deep under bushy eyebrows, his appearance not just disheveled, but erratic and unprovoked. Dark circles under the eyes went unnoticed amid the long days surrounded by brief moments of sleep wrapped inside the shallowness of daydreams and naps.
As he was wont to do at night, Nesby strolled from his subterranean compound of numbers to smell the nature that abound just outside his windowless existence. He only came out at night when he could enjoy the sights and sounds without the searing heat of the sun bearing down on his lycanthropic pale skin. Some time ago, there had been a naturalist push to reintroduce pollinators to the ecosystem in and around some of the less inhabited parts of the state of New Mexico of the U.S. of Carthania. There was something hyperbolic of the cornucopia of scents which had been introduced. Had the enemy wanted a better clue as to where the clan of scientists would seclude themselves for the advancement of humankind, looking past the ridiculous assortment of plants in such wilderness might have been a clue, but much of the southwest had been diluted with an overabundance of plantings in an effort to restore a crumbling lower order of existence.
The failed apperception that humankind could control without lower order of species had proven not just imprecise, but wholly without merit. Too little, too late, the pollinators never really returned to this part of the desert and the flowers, genetically engineered to survive without pollination, had taken on a role entirely unexpected and grew more like weeds than perennials. Their appreciated odor had degraded to a muted version of its original flower. There were still remnants of normalcy at night. The soft breeze gently moving Nesby’s hair in front of his eyes, which he had closed to simply explore the landscape not with the tradition of sight, but with the olfactory and auditory senses creating a mental image of what he hoped this place had once appeared.
He sits down, still with eyes closed, laying on his back, sands drifting down into his shirt and pants, his fingers, littered with stray course black hairs, intertwined behind his head, breathing in, breathing out. At night, outside, the wheeze dissipated as he took in the freshness of the air. He heard that there were some flowering cacti that created a warmth to the nostril, making one feel an almost euphoric feeling of calmness, if there can be such a thing, but those flowering cacti had long since abandoned this part of New Mexico. Nonetheless, he would sit at nights and simply enjoy the existence which had been chosen for him, yet one which he could not imagine occurring in any different manner. His life, though externally determined, was one which he felt was fit for him. Destiny was not something to be determined by the traveler in the universe.
As he had been in the place of this location for far longer than he could remember, slowly, his peers, greatly older than was he, began to fade into the oblivion of old age and death. Though the causes of dementia had long been thought to be a single factor disease, research had concluded it a multi-factoral issue. At least one protein had been linked directly to cognitive decline, and several others to cognitive miscommunication. Despite the advances in treatment, there still comes that time when cognitive decline takes the best scientists to their grave with nothing left to offer. There were few true graves around here as no one bothered with the archaic religious ritualistic burials anymore, but when the time came, the people would retreat to their favorite landmark and simply wait for that inevitable. Nesby was not content to fade into the light so easily. Nearly alone in this compound now, he recorded everything into not just notebooks, thousands of notebooks filled with scribbling and ramblings, yet all very carefully categorized and organized should humanity find its way to this part of the world, but also electronically. It was very unlikely that any other should stumble upon his rich library of notes in this compound given it was an unknown compound to all those who had not been transported here as children. Instead he would use painstaking efforts to catalog every note into electronic form which, should the system survive, which it had been designed to do twenty years earlier, anyone who happened upon his vast resource of information, may find a kernel of truth inside that would allow them to further his research.
Each night all these exacting thoughts crossed his mind. He worried not about his own legacy. Such things had long ago been vanquished when isolation of nations had become prevalent. He worried instead about the ability of continued existence. Quantum Artificial Intelligence had begun to find a better method for complex calculations, but Nesby hoped he could take it further; create some form of artificial intelligence that would sustain human life, or at the very least, human consciousness. Science fiction would have convinced the non-educated that artificial intelligence would destroy humankind, but they would not really need the help of a computer if that were the end point of existence. Instead Nesby felt A.I. could be the saving grace of existence. The general scientific theory of consciousness had simplified to have deemed the ‘mind-body problem’ more a chimerical creation of religious fanatics desperate for hope of an afterlife – a proof of their God. Nesby was under no such delusions, rather he felt that human intelligence was far too valuable an asset to let it simply perish into nothingness should the species discontinue.
It might be noted that there are no whimsical stories of childhood play; no friends; no one else inside the world of scientific development here at the subterranean compound. That is not to be confused with being entirely alone throughout life, just to be described as an existence not of physical isolation from others, but an existence comprised entirely of structure, discipline, learning and developing physics beyond its heretofore known limits.