This story is fiction, and like most good fiction there have to be some facts distributed throughout the tale or it just doesn’t cut it. A tale of fantasy doesn’t need facts but fiction does. So to give you something to hang on to throughout the story I’ll start with these three absolute facts. They are:
ONE – Late in the 1990s scientists confirmed that the Universal expansion was accelerating. This discovery was in direct opposition to previous beliefs, that the Universes rate of expansion was slowing.
TWO – As of the date of this writing, a uniform explanation as to the nature or origin of energy, has not yet been established.
THREE – There is on record at the United States Copyright Office in Washington, D.C., a publication entitled – “A Theoretical Speculation of Energy Creation and Workings of the Universe”
Now before I get to the prelude I’d like to quote a prominent physicist born on April 23, 1858 in Kiel, Germany. He died on October 4, 1947.Here’s what he said: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die . . . and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” He is considered to be the founder of quantum theory and, by some, one of the most important physicists of the twentieth century. His name was — Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck. Most scientists know him as Max Plank.
As I mentioned earlier. This story is a work of fiction and any person, place, event or thing mentioned in this story is the product of my fertile imagination. Which, of coarse, is composed of a conglomerate of fractals accumulated over my lifetime of experiences.
Now as I said earlier, it is important to give as many facts as possible when, telling a story such as the one. Along with facts I think its also important to, occasionally, quote prominent people who’s words have meaning and a bearing on points in that story. I’ll do this throughout my tale with hopes that you may get a better understanding of what is unfolding. On saying that here is one more quote before I begin weaving my tale. After this, it will be up to you to determine what is fact and what is fiction. Here is the quote: “The energy produced, by the atom, is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.” The fellow who said that was the 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson. Widely referred to as Lord Rutherford or commonly known in the scientific community as Ernest Rutherford. He pioneered the orbital theory of the atom and was known as the father of nuclear physics.Prelude: Amos thought about how strange it was for an Amish man to be working in the copyright office in Washington, D.C. He grew up like any other Amish kid in Lancaster Pennsylvania, four brothers and two sisters. Maybe not as large a family as most of the others in his order but it was ok for him, always lots to do. He was working late again at the patent office and he was alone so he squeezed out a dreadful fart, the smell filled the whole room and it reminded him of one of the jobs he hated most when he was back on the farm, spreading liquid fertilizer in early fall and spring. The smell was gagging, even for a farmer. They called this stuff Philorganite a take off on Milorganite. Let me give you a little background here: Milorganite was Milwaukee’s raw waste sewage that they sold as fertilizer. So Milorganite was from Milwaukee and Philorganite was from Philadelphia. Any way they sliced it and any name they put on it, Amos knew what Philorganite was. He knew it was the settled waste sewage that came from the bottom of the water reservoirs in Philadelphia. The water treatment authorities would take in water from the Schuylkill river and let it settle in large reservoirs. The water was, in good portion, sewage that the city dumped into the river. They’d dump it into the river then pumped water back from the river into their settling ponds or reservoirs. They’d let it settle there for a short while then skim off the water on top. They would add chlorine, fluoride and god knows what other chemicals to this elixir and then sold this bilge to the citizens of Philadelphia as drinking water for $20.00 a pop, a month that is. The good citizens are probably paying a lot more now. Now we come to the best part. The settled semi-liquid sewage left at the bottom of the reservoirs was sold to farmers in the surrounding counties as, you guessed it, “Philorganite”. Amos hated it. He read once that the water city folk drank had passed through someone’s kidneys not seventy-two hours before it came through their tap. After reading this . . . he only drank bottled water. It was a tough decision for him when he decided to leave the Amish order, his family, and the country life but he had to follow his heart. More accurately he was following his urges. He was a seventeen year old kid when it all started. He had the normal raging hormones that any kid his age had and there she was just as pretty as she could be. Becky Jensen, she lived in the trailer park down the road from his father’s farm. She would wait for the school bus just across the road from his house and it would leave her off almost right at his front door. It just took a smile or two and he was hooked. But it was the summer of ’02 when she got off the bus wearing that halter top and a mini skirt. His little pecker didn’t go down all night. But it was later that summer when he saw her walking down the road one hot afternoon. He was taking a short respite from spearing and hanging the tobacco that was cut the day before. His mother was busy in the kitchen making blueberry, cherry, and peach pies. The preserves, jellies and jams would happen tomorrow. She was getting ready for the big auction and sale at the Fulton fire house that coming Saturday. His sisters, Jessie and Ruth, were helping mom and minding little Jake and Josh. His other brothers were out in the field with pop. They were cutting the balance of the tobacco crop. That’s when everything changed for Amos. Along comes Becky lookin fine, she gives him a side smile, he blushes and smiles back. He couldn’t hide the bulge in his pants, Becky saw the bulge and took his arm guiding him into the barn. That was it, he knew he wasn’t Amish anymore.Couple of years later he left the clan and went to Washington. Finished “the English” high school. By the way we are “the English” Italians, Irish, Polish, Russian, whatever. If you aren’t Amish, you’re English. After graduating high school he took a two-year associates course in engineering at a local discount college. He went on to intern at the patent office while holding down a full time job at a local restaurant. Of course he was good at his duties in the restaurant, but his heart was in the patent office. He was real good at what he did there and never minded putting in extra hours. He truly enjoyed working with the inventors and their lawyers always striving to put together the perfect patent.Amos always had a back up disk tucked away of everything he did he never really trusted computers or any electronic device for that matter.As I mentioned, he was working late as usual that Thursday evening just ready to wrap things up for the night. He was used to hearing different noises when he was alone in the new wing of the building. Creaks, groans and pops were normal so when he heard what sounded like a door slowly opening he paid it no mind. Just sounds of new construction breathing and settling in. He typed in his last bit of work, slipped in the disk and was ready to hit the save button when he saw a flash. He once heard a race car driver being interviewed on television. The reporterette asked the driver if he ever thought about the ultimate danger associated with racing. The driver said that he wasn’t afraid of dying and it was no use thinking about it because when it came it would probably just be a flash. The fellow went on to say that in his last accident he saw the flash then he woke up in the hospital but it could very well have been it for him so he just wasn’t gonna think about it any more.
The time of death was set between 10:30 and 11:30 P.M.. That’s what medical examiner, Roy Tollage, told detective Robert (Buck) Bruckner from Washington Metro. “One blow to the back of the head with a heavy object, maybe a pipe or something like that.” Roy told detective Bruckner that he would have the full report on his desk in a day or two. The autopsy would be helpful but it looked like just one blow. Then sort of jokingly, Roy says, ” What do you think it was about Buck . . .have any guesses?”
“Yeah I do Roy. Two guesses and most likely one of them is right on the money.”
“Get out man you’re being a smart ass . . . right?”
“No Roy, here’s what it boils down to, now pay attention and you’ll see why they pay me the big bucks. Roy rolls his eyes.
Buck continues, “look at the clues very closely. As you can see the vic is sitting at the keyboard of his computer with his face against the monitor. Now notice his hand is on the keyboard, no sign of a struggle. Still has his wallet and watch, nothing on him looks like it was gone through, nothing on him was apparently touched. The only thing that was touched was the computer. It‘s opened and the insides are ripped out. Looks like a few parts missing?”
Roy looks at Buck with a look that says, ‘yeah and so?’
Then Buck asks Roy, “well what does that tell you?”
“Ok Roy here’s what it tells me. There is something here that he was involved with and the perp wanted it bad enough to whack him over the head and kill him rather than ask him for it or wait till he left then come in and steal it. There was something in this computer that he was working on, they wanted it and they wanted him silenced–and it looks like they got it. It was either that Roy, or he just pissed off somebody really bad.” Roy bobbed his head, raised his eyebrows, gave a half smile then turned back to the body.
Then Buck turned to his partner, “You done with the pictures Joe?”
Joe tells Roy, “Ok guys you can get the body out of here.”
Joe Minsky had been Buck’s partner for the past seven years. Knowing the way your partner thinks is important especially in law enforcement and these two guys knew each other pretty well. When they were off duty they hung out together a lot. Mainly because they had a lot in common. They were both divorced and did most of the guy stuff that hard ass street cops do. Sports, women, clubs, arguing, all that macho stuff. They liked it and over did it all.
Buck would say, “What the hell’s life all about anyway, you’re born you live then you die. May as well do something interesting in between the born and dying part.” Joe wasn’t as gutsy as Buck but he was no wuss, not by a long shot. But he would give a little more thought than Buck would before charging a building with armed suspects holed up. Probably because he had a family. Not Buck, he didn’t have any kids and he never mentioned his ex. For all intents and purposes, she didn’t exist. That all happened in another time and another place far removed from where he was at now.
He was an ex-marine. He caught the tail end of the Viet Nam war and a little of the Gulf “skirmish” as he called it. The man saw action in both wars. Joe on the other hand was in the reserves from ‘92 to ‘98. He didn’t feel cheated though. While in the reserves he was working a rough section of Washington D.C., as a street cop, and probably saw more action than he would have, had he been in any war zone.
Even though Buck was a little older than Joe that didn’t seem to matter at all. Together they formed a finely tuned machine. If you’d asked either one of them they would probably say, yeah we work ok together.
“Joe what’d ya find out about this guy?”
“Check this out Buck. He was one of those Amish guys.”
“Yeah right, and I’m a nun.”
“No, no kiddin his name was, Amos Glick. . .that should have given it away from the get go. Anyhow, he’s from a small town near Lancaster in Pennsylvania, population about twelve.”
Then with a slight huff of a laugh he said, “Not really but it’s one of those small towns that don’t even have their own post office.”
Buck gives a puzzling, “Damn.”
Joe laughs and says, “Yeah that’s what I said when I found out. I can’t figure that he’d have anybody pissed off at him enough to slam him in the head like that.” Then Joe gives a forced laugh and says, “So I figure your first guess might be close to the mark Mr. ace detective.”
Buck pulls his head back and says, “What’s that?”
Joe continues laughing and says, “Yeah I‘d want to forget that brilliant display of detective work if I said it too.”
Buck says, “what the hell you talkin about.”
Joe says, “Well there’s the computer ripped to shreds and you tell Roy that there was probably somethin here that the kid was working on, somethin that somebody wanted and most likely they wanted to stop anyone else from getting it so they put his lights out . . . permanently.”
Buck looses the puzzled look on his face, gives a silly side smile and says, “Oh yeah, that . . . That’s what ya call logical deducin.”
Joe gives a side look “Yeah, ok. Anyway we went to the room he was renting and it looks like it was gone over pretty good before we got there. Either that or he’s one of the worst housekeepers I ever saw. Stuff thrown all over the place drawers pulled and dumped a holy shit mess. Doesn’t look like they found what they were lookin for either, cause I figure if they did there would be some stuff still where it should be but nothin and I mean nothin was in its place. Sealed TV dinners ripped open, upholstery, mattress, pillows and furniture ripped apart. They even took his computer with all the trimmins. No man, they didn’t find what they were looking for.”
Buck‘s looking down at something in his hand. He looks up at Joe, “We found something Joe. It was in his wallet.” He shows Joe a key. “Besides a few dollars, some pictures and a credit card there was this key tucked in one of those ‘secret compartment’ places.’ It’s the key to a safety deposit box.”
“I like that Buck, let’s get on it.”
They located the bank easy enough and got a court order to open the box, with no problem.
They arrived at the bank after-hours so they had to bang on the door. One of the tellers inside waved them away pointing to the clock on the wall then to his wrist. Buck held the warrant and his badge to the glass and stared at the teller. When they were let in Joe asked to see the person who could get them to the safety deposit boxes.
“One moment I’ll get the manager.”
Out comes someone they weren’t ready for.
They both looked at her and as they were picking their jaws up off the floor she said, “hello I’m Mary Renee, how can I help you?” The lady had an air of elegance about her. She was tall and stately. Five foot eight with straight auburn hair that just brushed her shoulders, a beautiful pearl clear complexion and a shape that was worthy of any swim suit edition. Although she was a widow since September 11, 2001 she still carried her married name proudly. Her husband went down with Building 1 WTC. John was a stock broker with Morgan Stanley. They were very much in love and both worked hard to attain their common goal which was to have traveled the world by age 50. Their plan was, after they have seen some of the most desirably places that the world had to offer, they would then choose the perfect spot to settle down for the rest of their lives. It was a most beautiful dream and they talked about it and made plans almost every evening at dinner. It was a ritual that helped both of them cope with their hectic lives at work. They had made the decision earlier in their marriage not to have children of their own. But they both entertained the possibility of adopting when they settled down at their dream spot. She was 33 and John was 35 when their dream abruptly ended.
Although Joe Minskey wasn’t the first one to charge into gunfire like Buck would, he was usually the first to charge into a situation like this. Joe was a tad more aggressive than Buck when it came to women. He fancied himself a bit of a gigolo. The ladies didn’t see him that way. To most of them he was sort of annoying but he didn’t seem to care. His motto was – you won’t get it if you don’t ask for it and he asked a lot. Didn’t get it much but asked for it a lot. At times the man seemed to have no shame.
So with what he considered his debonair smile, which was more like a smirk . . Joe says, “Ah, yeah you can help us sweetie.” Mary looked at him with annoyed pursed lips and said, “my name is Mary Renee, Mrs. Mary Renee.” Then she looked at Buck.
Buck blushed a bit and said “Mrs. Renee I want to apologize for my partner’s rude behavior. I’m Detective Robert Bruckner, Buck for short and this rude bastard here is my partner detective Joe Minsky.” Joe snickered.
Mary looked down at the floor , then looked up at Buck with the hint of a smile on her lips said “how can I help you Buck” “and you” with a tinge of sarcasm “Mr. Minskey.” Joe turned red then and he wasn’t smiling anymore, Buck was loving this. She’s good he thought to himself, a class act.
“Mary, we need to get to a safety deposit box here at your bank. We have the key and a court order to open it, the fellow renting it was found dead this morning, apparently murdered.” Mary took a step back and the color drained from her face. She was visibly shaken and looked like she may even collapse. Buck realized then that he probably shouldn’t have mentioned the “apparently murdered” part. He stepped forward and took her arm then guided her to a nearby chair. “Here, Mary, sit down and I’ll get you a glass of water.”
Mary said “thank you but no, the water won’t be necessary.” Then she started to ramble, “Who was the box rented to, what is the number on the key, what was his name?” She was clearly shaken.
Joe stepped in and said “we didn’t say it was a him.”
Her voice quivering, she said, “you did say “the fellow” that would be a him . . . please don’t play games with me . . . please.”
Buck said “his name was Amos Glick and the . . . “
“Amos?” She cut in, “Amos?” She lowered her head and covered her face with her hands and wept.
Buck asked, “Did you know him Mary?”
“Yes detective, yes I knew him. Not well but everyone here knew Amos. We all knew him well enough to know that he was a special gentle soul. He was Amish you know.”
Joe said, “Yes ma’am we knew that.” His voice was kinder and a bit softer now. Mary noticed and met him with a warm but anguished teary-eyed smile.
“Who could have done such a thing to Amos? Who?”
Joe answered softly, “That’s what we’re trying to find out Mrs. Renee and we were hoping that there is something in his safety deposit box that can help us. Are you up to taking us to it now?”
“Yes they’re down here.” She pointed to a small hallway.
They walked down the hall to a caged vault with rows of different size doors.
“Funny” she said, “I’m in here many times each day and I never looked at it like I’m looking at it now.”
“How’s that?” Joe asked.
“It looks like a mausoleum, now that I know Amos’ things are in one of those drawers behind one of those little doors.
Sort of like his last tangible remains.” Joe blinked twice and turned to look at Buck who was just staring at her.
“Yeah, Buck said I know what you mean.” But he really didn’t connect to what she was talking about.
“Here it is detective, this one” she said and pointed to a small grey rectangle with two brass key slots and the number 421 in white letters on it. “let me have your key.” She inserted the key and put the bank key in the other slot turned them both and opened the door. It was one of those small boxes about five by two inches and almost two feet long. She slid it out and handed it to Buck.
“You can go in that room. I’ll get you a bag to put the contents in.”
“That won’t be necessary Mrs. Renee we brought an evidence bag with us, everything has to go in one of those then it’s sealed. Procedure, you know how it is?”
“Yes . . . well I’ll leave you gentlemen to do your work let me know if there‘s any thing I can do for you.” Buck looked at her with a warm smile and said with the tip of an imaginary hat. “yes ma’am.”
The box contained seventeen CD’s, each in its own sleeve and each numbered, from one thru seventeen. There was a key and a letter from his sister and one from his mother. That was it. Neither detective knew how much information a CD was capable of storing so they decided to split them up and each one would look at or listen to whatever was on them and hope for a clue. Joe took nine and Buck took eight. The other stuff they put in the evidence bag marked and sealed it. They figured they would have it all done by the next morning and after they checked out the CD’s they would put them in the evidence bag and turn it in. They were both in for a rude awakening. These CD’s contained patent applications and the related correspondence that went with them. All the work that Amos had done since he started working at the office. There was a lot of information on these disks and while some of it was pretty much straightforward, most of it was highly technical, it would seem that the detectives were out of their league. Buck was the first to realize it when he got home and slipped a disk into his computer. He turned the volume up expecting to hear some music or talking but instead his screen was blanketed with schematic drawings and accompanying text. The schematics of coarse threw him and the text, at first glance, also seemed to be a bit beyond his comprehension. At least most of seemed that way at first.
He called Joe and asked if he had a chance to look at the CD’s. Joe said no he was just about to put his TV dinner in the microwave. He said he’d check them out in about an hour.
Buck told him, “I think you’d better look at them now. Check one out while you’re waiting for your dinner to cook and get back to me ok.”
Joe asked, “Yeah sure, is it music?”
Buck says, “No . . . not quite. It’s words and mechanical drawings. At least that’s what I have here on the one I tried. Dunno, maybe they’re all different just check one or two out and call me back.”
Joe says, “Yeah gotcha.” And hangs up.
About an hour later Buck gets a call. Pissed off and puzzled, Joe asks, “What the frigg’s this crap man?”
Buck laughs, “What’d you get?”
Joe, still puzzled says, “I dunno. I can’t figure out what this shit is.”
Buck gives his take, “best I can figure they have the stuff you put down when you apply for a patent.”
Joe flips a, “Well duh, I kinda figured that one out too but how are we supposed to figure out what they mean? You’ll need a college degree to understand this crap.” Joe then sarcastically injects, “Oh that’s right professor you did go to college didn’t you? This shit should be easy for you.”
Buck comes back with, “Ha ha Mr. smart ass. How bout we get back to work and stop fuckin around.”
Joe says, “Yeah ok but what are these people applying for and how are we supposed to tell if any of these would relate to the murder?”
Buck says, “Since I talked to you I’ve been going over a couple of these things and they may not be as tough as they seemed at first. Sure they’re highly technical but if you leave out the hard stuff and just pay attention to what’s important it’s almost like reading one of the reports we write up every day. For instance, I got one here that starts off with, Cellulose Fiber Configuration to Provide Improved Liquid Retention.”
Joe says, “Yeah, and?”
“Ok” Buck says, “if you take out all the technical mumbo jumbo and ignore the drawings, what you’re left with is a way to take fibers and weave them so they get more fluffy and absorbent. It’s some kind of new woman’s pad . . man . . . it’s a Kotex!”
Joe laughs “No shit?”
Buck laughing back “Yeah, No shit. “After I figured it out the drawing made sense. Not the one for the machine that made the pad, that one was too complicated but the pad itself, it was right there, right in front of me. This is cool stuff Joe. It’s like detective work or puzzles or somethin like that.
Joe says, “think so, eh?”
Buck says, “Try it this way Joe. Pick out one thing and try to figure out what they are describing in the heading. That’s the bold underlined print. It took me a while to figure that one out because this guy just ran everything out like he was writing on a scroll, no page breaks. So when you come to the big underlined print start trying to figure out what they’re describing. Get back to me when you get one, I’ll be here.”
Joe chuckling says, “Ok man but I think this job’s gettin to you. You sound like you‘re actually enjoyin this” then laughing, he hangs up.
About an hour later Joe calls back and gets Bucks answering machine. “Buck, pick up . . . BUCK PICK UP.”
Buck answers, “Yo.”
Joe’s excited now, “This is cool.”
Buck laughs, “got one eh?”
Joe shoots back with, “One? I got three of them. Listen to this, A Device for Fastening Pulp Encased Structural Gypsum Sheets to Wood or Metal Framing Material. Know what it is?”
Buck thinks for about three seconds and says, “No.”
Joe comes back with, “It’s a screw a freakin drywall screw. They have a drawing right here and you wouldn’t be able to tell what it is until you decode what they’re saying. Here’s another one.”
Buck breaks in, “No wait, I get your point. I don’t need to hear any more. In fact I’ve been having a little trouble with some of these and my head’s startin to hurt. Listen, how bout I come over and we do this together. It’s Saturday and we’re both off?”
Joe takes a second to consider the idea and says, “Sounds good but I get the kids this weekend.”
Buck figures, that’s even better. He says to Joe, “Doesn’t your boy know a lot about computers and Amy likes games? She’s always lookin in those puzzle magazines doing crossword puzzles and stuff like that. We’ll get them to help out. Tell them they can help us try to solve a real crime. Waddya say, sound good to you?”
Joe thinks for a moment “hmm” then answers, “Ok sounds like a plan but I’m not forcing them to do any of it, if they want to . . . great but if they don’t . . . then they’re out. Right?”
Buck agrees “Sure of course but let’s try ok. Just ask them and if I know those kids they‘ll jump at the chance to work with us”
“Ok, I gotta pick them up around ten. Be here at around noon I want a little alone time with them so’s we can catch up on stuff. You know, family stuff.”
Buck makes a snide comment, “Yeah sure . . . ya still got it for her don’t ya?”
Joe snaps, “Fuck you ok.”
Buck softens a bit “See you tomorrow partner?”
“Yeah . . . ok . . . later.”
Buck pulls up to Joe’s around 12:50. He wanted to give Joe some extra time alone with his kids. They were waiting for him. The kids liked “Uncle Buck” they kinda liked his gruffness and how he struggled to manage it around them, they got a kick out of that.
Amy, yells out the screen door, “Uncle Buck’s here.” Amy’s a fifteen year old blue eyed little pixie. She’s about five two with short mussed flaxen hair. She doesn’t like her barely noticeable freckles, but they do compliment her innocent impish look. A little cutie pie.
Justin goes out to greet Buck, hand extended mimicking as close as he can, a grown up but the big smile gives away his age. Appearance wise Justin is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum of Amy. While both the kids are on the slight side, Justin gives a thinner appearance than Amy because of his height. The boy stands at five ten. He has his fathers straight dark hair and slightly olive complexion but he is taller than Joe and his mom. Joe used to kid with J’s mom about J being as tall as their grocer. She was never amused. She would come back and say, nah he’ll probably be as tall as your uncle Bob. Joe would grunt.
Joe keeps telling J that he should try out for the school basketball or football teams but Justin is more into computers and technology than sports. He always wants to impress his gung ho dad and his dad’s kick ass buddy but living at home with Mom and kid sister doesn‘t help portray a macho image.
“Dad tells me you need some help on a case you two are working on.”
“Yeah J, we were working on stuff that requires your kind of expertise. You know, computers, CD’s – stuff like that, Would you like to pitch in?”
J pauses for a millisecond like he‘s really mulling over the idea and comes out with, “Ah, ok I think I can give it a look see.”
Buck laughs. “A look see eh?”
“Come on unk lets get into it. By the way, don’t let on that I said anything but Amy is kind of excited about this too, but do a little coaxing, you know how women are.”
“Gotcha” Buck says looking down with a suppressed smile on his face and putting his arm around J’s shoulder.
After some chatter and joking around Joe takes charge and says, “ok team here’s what we’ve got . . . “
J breaks in with right away with the first suggestion. “Guys here’s what I would do if I were handling this alone. If you think the fellow was killed for what he was working on and we only have a short time to determine what it was, wouldn’t it be best to start with the latest disks. Most likely that’s where the info is and besides that, our minds are sharper now than they will be in six or seven hours.” J stops and looks at Buck and Joe. They look at each other.
Joe says “that’s my boy”
Buck says “good thing he doesn’t take after you.” The kids laugh, Joe grunts.
Joe says “Let’s do it, you have your lap top J”
“You have yours Amy”
“Me and Buck will work on my computer. Here’s disk seventeen Amy. J you’ve got sixteen.
Now what we’re looking for is something out of the ordinary.
I don’t know what it would look like but I can tell you it probably isn’t a new type of can opener but don’t discount anything. There are nuts out there that would kill for a pair of sneakers, but I don’t think this is about sneakers either. So stay sharp and anything that looks weird or out of phase with normal stuff . . . holler. Ok.
J nods and Amy says, “Check”.
Joe explained all of what he and Buck came up with. He explained how this guy ran all his work together. Straight. No breaks. He told them to look for the bold underlined print and that’s how they would know when a new patent application started. J breaks in and says that he had a pretty good idea of how to research a patent because his class went on a field trip to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia last year. When they were there, he said the teacher took them up to a top floor that was set up for patent research.
He told Buck and Joe, “It wasn’t too tough but most of the kids thought it was boring. Everybody wanted to get back to the gadgets, the giant heart and the airplanes but mostly the planetarium, the planetarium was very cool.”
Buck commented, “J, you never cease to impress me kiddo. Anything you can tell us, to help a couple of old dinosaurs out with this stuff?”
J says, “Nah. You seem to have it down pretty good but if you need a hand, holler.” J smiles and looks at Amy, she smiles and then they get to work. Disks are inserted and screens light up.
No more than fifteen minutes later Amy says, “J check this out.”
J leans over, “hmmm looks interesting what do you think it is?”
“Dunno” she says then she calls over to Joe, “Dad check this out.”
“Be there in a minute sweetie.” He turns to Buck and tells him, “Be right back. I’ll see what the kids got.”
Buck nods “Right.”
Joe asks Amy “Ok sweetie whatcha got?”
Amy‘s quavering response was, “Well pop, I just don’t know. I was hoping one of you guys could figure it out.
The title is weird. ‘Device to Test Ve=E Principle or Energy Creation Ex Nihilo’ and the diagram is way complicated. I don’t get it. She asks, “What about you J?”
J says, “I don’t know but it’s making the hair on the back of my neck stand up and I don’t know why but that term ex nihilo, I think I’ve seen it before and energy creation . . . that’s impossible.”
Joe looks over to Buck and, in a low somber voice, says “Buck, better get over here.”
Buck says, “Ok, One minute.”
“Now! Buck. This could be it.
Buck looks up over his half glasses, “better be good cause I‘m deep into something here.”
When Buck comes in Joe says, “Whadya make of this?”
Buck looks close and scratches his head, “I dunno, looks like an engine or somethin.”
Joe says, “Ain’t like no engine I ever saw.”
Amy is getting a little edgy and jumps in with, “I don’t know much about motors but this can’t be one. There’s no shaft or pistons. That thing” Pointing to the schematic. “could be a piston but how does it move?”
Buck says, “No, this isn’t an engine. It can’t be an engine. I mean what does it do even if it does run. There’s no way for it to run anything. If these things are some kind of drive shafts or piston rods, they don’t look like they can drive anything.”
J says, Yeah, like they don‘t come out of the cylinder. Everything’s inside the cylinder, if that’s what it really is, a cylinder.
“Ok gang” says Joe, “let’s not get ahead of ourselves on this. Could be this thing is a glorified back scratcher or a new kind of super fly squatter or something. Let’s not get all outer limitsy here ok.”
J looks and comes out with a “do do do do do do do do do do do do welcome to the twilight zone,” and everybody gives up a nervous laugh. The tension breaks but nobody can take their eyes off the screen.
Amy suggests that they burn a copy of this disk for everyone, She says, “That way we can each take a piece of it to study.”
“Good idea” says Buck.
Joe hesitates for a second or two then agrees with, ” Ok, we’ll get together tomorrow at noon and compare notes.”
J wanted to work it together and suggests they work through the night. Sort of like a glorified mystery game but Joe picks up on this and says, “no J. I hate to knock the stuffing’s out of this for you but it’s starting to get a little more serious now and I have to do some reckoning with my head. So for the time being it would be better if we all worked alone in our own private place then compare our findings tomorrow.”
Buck looks puzzled at Joe, sensing that something isn’t sitting well with him. He gives a, furrowed brow, nod of agreement. Amy gets her assignment and goes out on the patio. She doesn’t detect anything’s going on with her Dad but J does. He detects the change and goes to his room without saying another word. When Joe and Buck are alone Buck asks Joe what the problem is and Joe kinda shakes his head slowly, shrugs and says, “Buck, this thing may be deeper than what it first appeared to be. My antenna went up when the kids started talking about something from nothing. That energy thing, you know.”
Buck with a few quick nods agrees and says, “So how do you want to handle it partner ?”
Joe says, “Ok lets play it by ear but I’m thinking on easing the kids out of this one ok.” Buck agrees and slaps his friend on the back. With that cleared up for the moment they start talking over what part of the patent they would be more comfortable with. After deciding that it didn’t matter, Joe took the opening description and drawings. Buck got stuck with the tough technical jargon that came after the drawings. The reason being, he occasionally threw it up to Joe that he once took a semester in the community college back in his early thirties. All he wanted was bragging rights that he was a college boy. He never mentioned that it was an art course and he only attended one class, the first one. They had a nude woman model and he was liking it but the instructor announced at the end of the session that next week there would be a male model.
Buck never went back. He figured. This isn’t costing me anything, the GI bill’s paying for it. So with one class of a legitimate course in higher education under his belt, He considered himself a one time college student with full bragging rights. So every now and then, when the circumstances were right, he would take a deep thoughtful sigh, look out over everyone’s head and say, “I remember when I was back in college way long ago, yep, they were the good times.” Now it came back to bite him on the ass as Joe so eloquently put it with a hardy laugh when he gave him the technical part to decipher.
The next day when they got together there were some interesting revelations. J was kind of silent and reserved, so Amy spoke up, “Well I found something that I thought was interesting. It starts out with ‘if the reaction is consistent with known theories, there should be slightly more energy detected above that which is contributed to causation.’ Dad, do you know what that means?”
Joe shrugs “I think so but give me your take on it.”
“Ok, what I think they are saying is that there is more energy coming out of this thing than there is going into it. But that’s impossible, right?”
With a concerned, “Hmm. . .” Joe says “let’s move on. Buck what did you get?”
Hesitating, Buck says, “I’m gonna wait to hear more before I give my input.”
Joe’s about where Buck is on this. He feels like he may be starting to understand what they are dealing with but it’s on the fringe of being surreal, a tad beyond his grasp. “Yeah me too, because I think I’m beginning to see what this thing is or at least it’s getting a little clearer.”
He turns to J, “J what’s up? You’re being quiet. You have anything yet?”
“Yeah pop, I’ve got something but it’s weird.
Actually everything about this thing is weird. For instance, here where the inventor comments “I believe it is imperative that this model be built on the scale described. Anything larger than my prescribed specifications will carry a larger risk of the output being in excess to that which can be safely controlled. The scale described should be sufficient to prove zpe the Casimer effect and Ve=E as viable and bring them out of the speculative and into the factual realm of science.” Dad, Buck, do you have any idea what they are saying here?”
Amy says “I think I do J. I think these guys are talking about creating energy but that’s been proven not to be possible, at least on paper it can’t be done.”
“Yeah,” Buck says sarcastically, “and man’ll never fly. I think what we’ve got here is beyond cutting edge. This is futuristic almost sci-fi stuff.”
Joe cuts in and says “I think I’ve got it now, check this out.” Pointing to the picture he says, “See right here, we thought this could be a piston . . . I think we were right. These two opposing cones could be some kind of piston but what was throwing Amy off was that there are no apparent piston rods. Rods that would push a drive shaft”.
A deafening silence fills the room, Buck looks up from his schematic turns and looks at Joe as if to say . . . what the? Amy and J continue looking at their laptop screens. Joe continues, “This thing must be the cylinder.” Pointing to the enclosure. “And these projections off the back of each cone, the ones that look like hooks, they must be some kind of piston rods but Amy is right. They don’t look like they are meant to drive anything. They look more like they are meant to be pulled because they obviously can’t be pushed. The cone . . . pistons or whatever they are, are already together. The only thing there that lets you know that they could be two separate cones is this broken line going down the center of them that has the bold notation ‘NO SEPERATION’. They can’t go anywhere but out, separated. What’s really throwing me is the space here outside the cylinder, all around the back of the cones. There is something there. All the arrows pointing to it say that it’s – ‘appropriate material to insure the most rapid expansion possible.’ That’s pretty vague for a patent application that is so detailed”. It’s written like it should be obvious to whoever understands the jargon in this application . . . what that stuff is. Like they would know what the ‘appropriate material’ should be.”
Buck rubs his eyes, runs his fingers through his thinning hair and says, “there’s a lot of vague descriptions in this bugger. It’s extremely clear in the details of the main unit but vague with some of the other stuff.
Some of them are just referred to as sensors, or like you say, this thing called the rapidly expanding material, or this one that says ‘overproduction containment unit, fabricated of an appropriate material not as yet determined.’ What the hell’s with that?” All that got was blank stares and a shrug.” He asks J, “What’s that zpe and casmere thing you mentioned?”
J says , “Ok, That’s Casimir, Hendric Casimir, he was a Dutch scientist and zpe is short for zero point energy. The zpe I’m not too sure of, I looked it up on the net, but tell you the truth, I didn’t understand too much of what I read.
As for Hendrick Casimir, that was interesting. I’ll explain his experiment as best I can. What he did was get two thin metal plates and set them up so that they could be brought very close together. He canceled out all chances that anything would interfere with them and when he brought them very close, they started to pull toward each other and he couldn’t account for what caused it to happen. It wasn’t magnetic or gravity or anything that could be explained, but the closer the plates came to each other the stronger the force became that drew them together. They called it the Casimir effect. I saw that zpe term used throughout my research of the Casimir effect but like I said, I can’t figure out what it is. Maybe I’ll ask my science teacher Monday when I go to class.”
Joe snaps “NO!” Then settles back to explain, “Sorry guys but none of this leaves the house. A guy got killed over this stuff, at least it looks like it was this patent that he was working on when he got it, so you kids are not to mention this to anyone. Agreed?”
Amy answers “Yes.” and J follows suit with “Yeah sure.”
“In fact I’m starting to get the eebie jeebies over this thing.” He puts his hand out and makes the, “give it here signal” with his fingers and orders the kids to, give him their disks.
Amy protests “Aw dad”
J gives a sigh of disappointment with “Yo pop.”
Joe jumps on them, “I don’t wanna hear it, give em up.” Then he consoles them with, “Listen kids, I love you very much. I want you to understand that, so call me whatever you want but for as long as you live, I will be overprotective of you. If I had known that this thing was what it appears to be . . . if I had any idea, I would have never included you in on it. Tell you the truth I just wanted you to help us eliminate the stuff that didn’t appear important, I never thought you would hit it on the head.”
With that, J’s pride was a little hurt and he came out with an, “Aw man thanks a lot.”
Joe immediately explains “No son I didn’t mean it like that. What I meant was I thought you two were intelligent enough to help us cut out the crap and it so happens that I did underestimate you both. You’re a lot smarter than I thought. Certainly a lot more hip to this stuff than Buck and me”. Then he came out with one of his classic analogies. They usually stop a conversation dead in its tracks and leave the other person or persons staring at him in bewilderment. He says, “It would be as if I asked you to help me tune up the car and you built me an engine. Or Amy, if I asked you to straighten up the den while I went to the store, and when I came back I discovered you installed a wet bar. You know what I’m trying to say guys?”
J gives a side smile and says, “Yeah pop. Your analogies have always been kinda strange and” nodding his head slightly, “just a tad off the mark but you do seem to make your point. You know pop, we can do stuff like research things that you give us. We don’t even have to know anything more about the case just the patent.”
Joe interrupts with, “guys, the patent is the case. So
Please help me out here. ” Joe continued with. “Tell you what though, when we solve it and the bad guys are safely tucked away, me and Buck will tell you both everything.”
The kids look at Buck. He nods with a wink.
They look at Joe. “You promise?”
Joe promises but adds “only if all the bad guys are in prison for good . . . agreed?” Smiles and nods from the kids with a collective reluctant agreement.
“Ok, me and Buck are going down to the den to work this out because we have to turn in the evidence with our report tomorrow and we certainly aren’t going to put down what we have here. Come on Buck.”
Buck says, “wait a minute” to Joe and goes over to J, shakes his hand and says “I envy your father having a son like you and I want you to know he’s one of the finest guys I know. I trust him with my life every time we go out after the bad guys.” J beams a smile. “And you” his eyes twinkle at Amy. “Come’ere kiddo.” With a hug he says “I want you to listen to your father and know that we would both lay our lives on the line for you without hesitation. You know that right?”
“Yeah.” she says with a smile and stands on her toes and gives him a kiss on the cheek. Buck blushes, turns to Joe and tilts his head toward the den.
The detectives believed they had the reason why Amos was killed. It was the patent application on disk #17. Someone didn’t want him telling anyone about the device and they definitely didn’t want it patented. They ransacked his apartment, most likely looking for something referring to the patent. That’s probably why they took his computer, all its components and every bit of software and the hard drive from his work computer. It could have been someone that worked with Amos because it seemed like they knew he would be at work when they went to his apartment.
Now that they determined why Amos was murdered the detectives turned their efforts to finding the killer and spending less time on the patent. Who would want this information suppressed and why? By all appearances, this was a machine that would create energy. Totally impossible, but if it could be done it would be something that would benefit all mankind. Or was it more than that? . . .They were missing something. What caught their attention was the phrase, “Overproduction containment unit . . . .” It had a familiar ring. Was it the hint of a possibility that this thing could go out of control? Containment rods, containment chamber or something along those lines came to mind. What kind of energy did the inventor expect from this machine? If it was nuclear, they would have specified carbon rods, a thick concrete chamber or something similar but no specific material was mentioned. It was as if this guy, the inventor, didn’t know what would contain the energy output because he didn’t know what form of energy would be produced. No one knows what pure energy is, only what it does. It changes form and that’s what is witnessed in everyday life. Energy takes many forms but what is pure energy? What would energy be if it were in fact created? What would happen if energy appeared from nowhere, if all of a sudden it popped into existence? What would it be like before it took form? How would it be contained or controlled? But most troubling of all would be, once it began to “pop” into existence . . . what if it couldn’t be stopped popping into existence?
Joe and Buck turned in their report on Monday. It was a, routine, report. Briefly it read:
Name – Amos Glick.
Address – 322 Wilson Way, second floor apartment 2C.
White male – Age 23 found dead at his work station in the patent office annex building.
Apparent cause of death – blow to back of head, forensic report attached.
Personal articles taken from victim, enclosed in an evidence bag. His residence was ransacked before we had a chance to search. We searched his residence and found nothing to help in the investigation. A key to safe a deposit box was discovered in victims wallet . We went to the bank, took possession of the box after obtaining a warrant from Judge Milson Black. Contents of the box were seventeen compact disks two letters, one from his sister and one from his mother and a key that his sister said was to the front door of his home. The key was verified to be to his parents home located at 406 King Pen Rd. in Little Britain Township Lancaster County Pennsylvania. All evidence and personal property was deposited in evidence room. The family was notified.
No suspects, no murder weapon and no motive at this point of the investigation.
Although it is unorthodox, I thought I would let the main character in this story speak for himself. I tried to tell his story but it kept nagging at me that he could probably do a better job at it than I could. So without further ado, here’s Coz.
Chapter 2 Part 1 (Dancing with the universe)
Hello my name is Cozmo, Cozmo Santo William Derr. My grandfather changed the family sir-name when he arrived on Ellis Island back in 1889. He left Abruzzi Italy to come to the land of opportunity and thought it would be a good idea to change his name from Di Derrazzio to a more Americanized name. So he shortened Di Derrazzio to Derr. No one in the family liked it then and few like it now but there it is.
Most everyone calls me Coz but not the Nuns of Our Lady Of The Rosary grade school. To them I was Mr. Derr. Only one Nun called me Coz, her name was Sister Theresa. She liked me. She liked my inquisitiveness, especially when it came to creation. She herself harbored many questions on this subject but could never discuss them with anyone. Only me, and that was on rare occasions and in private. She was my piano teacher and sometimes during a lesson, she would look at me and ask what I thought about different things. Just casual stuff. For instance one time she asked me how I thought music fit into Gods universal scheme of things. Other times we would talk about gardening, we both liked to grow things. She liked potted plants because that’s about the only thing she had to work with. There was no ground around the convent or the rectory next door to make even a small garden. I liked growing vegetables and flowers in our row house’s small back yard garden. I would bring her a few roses when they would come in bloom and some tomatoes near the end of summer. I went for music lessons through two summers.
Sister Theresa knew when she was getting too deep for me. At those times I would just give a shrug. So most of the time we would chat lightly and then the lesson would continue. But one time it got serious. I remember that lesson like it happened yesterday. Sister Theresa closed the lesson book on the piano, turned to me and asked how I thought the universe came to be. I knew that she was a special kind of person with a deep faith, I felt a certain comfort being with her. I also knew that she didn’t deserve a simple shrug off on this one so I decided to level with her. I told her that I truly believed that God did create the universe as we know it. She suspected that I wanted to say more so she asked how I thought he created it. I thought for a moment then I told her that finding out the answer to that question has been and always will be the most important quest in my life. Sister Theresa stared at me for a few long seconds, and with a warm smiled she said, “I believe that you will find your answer Cozzie boy, I believe that you will.”
With that said she turned and opened the music book, the piano lesson continued and the subject was never brought up again.
Most of the clergy in my parish didn’t care for my questions on creation. I was relentless in my questioning of what was being taught. Yes I believed in God, of course I did because I was certain that if I doubted this, I would forever burn in the eternal fires of hell when I died. Oh yes, you can bet your boots that I believed. I also believed that God created this universe of ours . All I wanted to know was, how did God do it? I would ask other nuns, “really Sister, how’d He do it.” The answers always came back the same. It was either, “That’s a divine mystery, Mr. Derr, and God doesn’t want us to know just yet. He will reveal it to us when we die.” or they would say “Write 500 times, I must not question my faith.“ One time in the confessional I asked Father Thomas, “how did God do it Father?” Bad move. Twenty Our Fathers, twenty Hail Mary‘s and an act of contrition. No, I wasn’t satisfied with what they were teaching. We were taught that God merely thought it and it happened. I knew that’s not the way things worked and I didn’t want to wait till I died to find out the answer. So yes I did believe that God created the universe but I wanted to know how.
I was always was a stargazer, I believed I was the universe. To me there was no difference. There was no “I’m part of the universe” or “the universe is part of me.” No, I knew there was no separation.
Like a lot of kids back in the ’50’s I was awe-struck with anything to do with space and the universe. I devoured sci-fi flicks like they were candy – “Them” – “The Thing” – “It Came From Outer Space.” I thought “The Day The Earth Stood Still” and “War of the Worlds were the coolest but the one that really shook me up was, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. I remember going to the Overbrook theater with a buddy of mine, Frankie Del, to see that one. It was one of the higher end theaters back then. Twenty five cents to get in but popcorn was still a dime, sodas and candy five cents. So for forty five cents I could get a bag of popcorn a soda a box of candy a double feature a cartoon or two and the living daylights scared out of me. Not a bad afternoon.
This particular afternoon would turn out to be a little different though. Even though it was a sunny warm mid summer day, the weather would change drastically in only a few hours. At least for me it did. I would remember this movie well into my adult life. Here’s why. The day started out great. I had an extra fifty cents from my paper route so I was loaded for a good time. Frankie was a little older and wiser in the ways of the world. I was in the seventh grade but Frankie was an eighth grader going into high school that September. Good times were in the works. Well, here’s what happened. Frankie, being the elder statesman and also having a larger paper route and having more money, he bought too much candy. About fifteen minutes into the movie Frankie got a bad stomach ache. He had to go home. I thought to myself, Oh, shit, not now this thing is getting real scary. I tried my best to coax him to stay just a little bit longer. I told him that the stomach ache would probably go away soon but Frankie left. And there I was all alone with those pods opening up and snatching everybody as they slept. I stayed and watched the movie. When the movie let out at around four in the afternoon, even though the sun was still high, for me it was dark and gloomy . I knew those pods were out there. I knew they really weren’t out there, but non the less they were out there and one of them was for me, damn Frankie. I didn’t have a sound nights sleep for weeks after that. I always got that inner chill whenever I looked back on that special afternoon and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Damned Frankie.
I couldn’t get enough sci-fi. It was the dawning of the Atomic Age and the unknown was the biggest game in town. Of course there was baseball – that’s a given. Seemed like I had a constant black eye, big lip or bloody nose from the grounders bouncing the wrong way. The park we that we played in was right down the corner. Convenient but a lousy playing field. Actually it wasn’t a field at all just a bare patch of ground amidst the surrounding trees, grass and brush that made up Cobbs Creek Park. The ground was loaded with bumps and rocks. The only thing that kept it bare and somewhat flat was all the traffic from us kids playing there. So whenever I did get popped with a fast ground ball my dad would tell me, “Dammit boy, put your glove down to the side not in front of you. What the hell makes you so stupid?” Yeah my dad had a way with words but he loved me. We were fishing buddies. When I wasn’t fishing on Saturdays with my Dad or down the park exploring or playing ball or playing half ball in the Street I was contemplating creation. Maybe just a little bit more than most kids. One of the milestone in my life, back then, was when the Russians launched Sputnik. I would go down the park at night with most of the neighborhood and look at that tiny silver speck moving across the sky. For me and my friends it was a magnificent sight but for most of the adults it was a mix of awe, envy and fear. After all, the Russians put that thing up there, they had the high ground and they were flaunting it in our face. I didn’t see it that way. I was a kid and naive. I didn’t care about the politics of it, because that little speck was mine.
Many things affect how a person views life and how nature’s signals are interpreted. In my case the most powerful experience that curved my mind to look at the universe the way I did, was the ten-year span between 1970 to 1980.I can’t say that it was a good time in my life but looking back I can see where it was necessary. They were the years that I experimented with the most of the mind altering agents that were popular at that time. Strange times indeed.It was then that the universe opened up in front of my eyes and confirmed what I already knew from when I was a youngster. I saw that everything in creation was in one form or another, the same stuff. There was no you – me – us – them – here – there – it – etc. There was no separation of entities or places. It all blended.What never left my mind, though, was what I experienced while in my psychedelic period. The die was cast and the stage set. I saw music, I felt colors and the vibrations of energy. I congratulate the author. He named this chapter right. Yes, I did dance with the Universe. The only thing that was missing from the equation was more life experience and only the passage of time would bring that.It was almost twenty years later that I took a break from the rat race and started looking up again, at the stars. That, and I finally gave in and bought a computer. I wasn’t the technical sort and computers intimidated me. Now they just piss me off.I didn’t see equations when I looked at the cosmos, I saw what was there. I tried to understand quantum physics, read a couple of books on string theory and determined . . “this is all bull shit”. In fact I incorporated this “Bull Shit” philosophy into many of my writings. After all if a rational level headed person with an average education couldn’t comprehend the model and if the attempts to explain a theory incorporate a myriad of foreign words, curvy lines and complicated equations . . . then it probably was bull shit.Here’s a quote from Richard Feynman. Recipient of the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics:“If all mathematics disappeared, physics would be set back by exactly a week.”A bit of a stretch but I liked where he was coming from.As I said earlier, my quest was to find how the universe came to be. How it popped out of nothingness and I wanted to be able to describe it in such a way that the average person would understand it. It took me many years to reach my goal but persistence paid off.Because of my way of looking at things, I approached the problem in a unique way. When I looked at something I would see what most people either didn’t see or wouldn’t admit to seeing. In the midst of some serious discussions I would sometimes blurt out. “Hey guys, there’s a freakin elephant in this room and I know you see it.”. . . I had a way with words.The way I saw it, my first task would be to establish what “nothing” is. Believe it or not there was controversy and there were a lot of explanations regarding what nothing actually was. There were arguments that there couldn’t be absolute nothing, there always had to be some kind of stuff. The eggheads figured that it existed at that mysterious quantum level. Then there was a lot of talk of the Plank length. Supposedly this was a length of measurement that nothing could be shorter or smaller than. It was so small that it would forever defy direct detection. You can guess what I called that revelation?Then there was the string theory. This theory suggested that there were these things that weren’t really things . . . At first I said “WHAT?” Then I decided to have a little fun with it. Anyhow, the theory went something like this; These non-things that made up our universe were actually vibrating . . two dimensional non things. Strings, they called them. They had no substance because they were missing one of their dimensions. You see they had length, but that depended on how you would look at them, if you could see them, but you really couldn’t see them. They measured these strings at that Plank length, too small to see. These strings had width. But of course that, also, would always be impossible to observe because of their smallness. So what they lacked, besides actually being nothing, was height.I had a ball with this theory.When in mixed academic company I would referred to them as teeny tiny strings. Scientists of that day didn’t appreciate some of my tongue in cheek humor. They called it sarcasm. I would say . . . “no . . . no . . . I mean it. In fact they are probably smaller than this,” I would circle my index finger into a one finger fist and squint my eyes while looking at the tiny point of light that would filter through the space. “Yep” I would say “probably way smaller than this.”I vehemently attacked the irrational wisdom of the day.Ok, so back to determining “nothing”. I asked myself this question; How does one go about establishing what nothing is? My answer came back; First one has to define what constitutes something, “the very basic something” then remove that “something” and what should be left is nothing. Simple enough, at least for me it was simple. I went right to the root of what makes reality real. My “basic something” turned out to be energy. To me energy was, and is, true reality. What we are witnessing in every day life is the transformation of this reality from one form into another. Energy was my something and when I removed energy from the equation I was left with absolute nothing. No strings, membranes, singularities, multi dimensional quantum entanglements, primordial atomic nuclei etc. etc. etc. Just plain nothing, clean. Actually, as I said earlier, I was looking at what everybody else was looking at I just saw it differently.So now I was faced with a dilemma of sorts. If the absence of energy was nothing and there was nothing before there was something. I had a problem on my hands because according to one of the most basic laws of physics, energy can’t be created or destroyed, What was I to do?I began by openly taking the position that no matter how ingrained in society a law or belief is, if it’s wrong it should be thrown out, disobeyed, discarded. I understood that a sound law shouldn’t defy reality. This of course caused an uproar and fierce rebuttals. I was read the riot act, which in this case was the first law of thermodynamics. Here it is for those who are not familiar with it;
The First Law of Thermodynamics (energy Conservation) states that “energy is always conserved, it cannot be created or destroyed. Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe always remains constant.”
I knew the law very well and I also knew that some laws were meant to be broken. Besides that, if my theory was correct this law actually could be sustained because the overall amount of energy that was created and sub sequentially destroyed could leave a zero sum in the end. But more on that later.
What ruffled academic feathers further was what I set down to accompany my findings. Basically my argument was: “There had to be nothing before there was something.” Again, easy to understand and impossible to refute without reverting to the insubstantial.
My findings demonstrated that energy is continuously being created and continuously being squeezed out of existence.
The Atomic Age was ending and a new era was beginning.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” — Albert Einstein
Whenever a great shift in human development occurs, we can expect the swirls of yin and yang to show up. In this case there was the one faction who would bitch and moan and have to be dragged down the path of my introduction to this new way of viewing the universe. I called them the yin. The yin’s mantra was: There can’t be an effect without a cause and the reality that we are experiencing now is an effect so there must have been a cause. They would go on and defend that position with this house of cards; “The cause of our present reality is a mix of vibrating strings and quantum fluctuations of space.” This was too vague so someone came up with the idea that there were some sort of membranes, they shortened that to branes, spelled, b-r-a-n-e-s. These branes floated around out there in empty space and when one of these branes would occasionally meet up with another brane, they would create a universe or two. Or something along those lines. I wouldn’t even glorify this idea with my usual BS analogy. When someone would try to sell me this story, I’d usually look up at the ceiling cross my eyes point my index finger at them and say “oukey gotcha.” Or something to the equivalent.
You see, in my mind there remained that ever present question “What came before that? Until that question was satisfactorily answered, everything that was theorized, I would classify as BS.
On the other side of the coin there were those who would embrace the concept of energy creation, I called them the yang. The yang latched on to the concept that before there was something there had to be nothing. Their counter to the yin’s mantra was: If you start out with nothing, no cause is necessary. Therefore there was no cause, there was just nothing. Of coarse this logic, was spot on, but I didn’t cozy up to the forces of the yang, even if they were defending my position. I had a bad feeling about them from the beginning. In retrospect, I should have followed my instincts. But it was also my instincts that made me rush to copyright my paper and that’s where all the trouble started. . .Go figure.
You see it was the yang who saw something in the device that I was trying to develop. The device was only meant to test my theory, nothing more. But being who they were they saw other possibilities. They saw the possibilities of developing that device into something more suited for their purposes, something destructive.
Funny how the ones who fought me and tried to block me from succeeding would turn out to be the good guys. On the other hand the ones who did everything to help me further my project along turned out to be the villians.
Part 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I was just informed that there wouldn’t be a part 5, 6 or 7 to this chapter. At least not here in the main body of the tale. The author thought that, that part of my narrative, although exciting to me, was a little tedious for this part of his story. The author pointed out to me that this story isn’t about me. I may be one of the main characters but it’s not all about me. My purpose here was to set the stage for what will come later. At this point I was only to tell of the events that shaped my mind to formulate a theory. The theory that led to the development of a device that would alter our world. So Instead of being put here, the entire copyrighted version of “A Theoretical Speculation of Energy Creation and the Workings of the Universe” will be added as an addendum, at the end of this book. Along with that addendum will be my notes and experiences that helped me shape the conclusions that I reached back then.I am looking forward to talking with you again at a later time in this story. Sentience is pretty cool, but for now, Coz out.
Colonel Snyder was a man of plain tastes. So plain that he was almost invisible. His presence was noticed only when he wanted it to be noticed. Then his presence was huge. But when he was done with the task at hand, he seemed to vanish completely, almost even from memory. Very strange indeed.His office had none of the usual accoutrements . Just a standard gray metal desk, a water cooler an army cot and his desk chair. There wasn’t even that little metal folding chair that you would expect to see when entering this mans private domain. If any one was summoned to his office they stood. There was a gray metal closet off to the far right corner of the room. Actually it was more like a locker that you would find in any gym. Just a little larger. There were no plaques or pictures on the drab off white nicotine coated walls. They were probably white at one time but what color they started out as was anyone’s guess. No little ornaments or pictures on his desk. Just a large ash tray, pen and pencil holder fully stocked, a legal pad, key board and a twenty five inch monitor that sat at the very edge of his desk, directly in front of him. His phone sat on the pull out trey to his right side. His old world 1960’s comfortable swivel lean back chair was the only luxury that he allowed in his office. He liked the feel of the broad wooden arms and the thick padded dark grey cloth upholstery. The floor was concrete painted deck gray, no rugs.For transportation he drove a plain dark gray two door sedan. Always the latest model. You’d have to be knowledgeable in cars to guess the make it was. There were no tell tale emblems anywhere to be seen. His car and shoes were always polished to the finest sheen. This guy was all work and he was serious about it. But he did allow himself one diversion. He liked on line battle strategy games. He went under the name scooter999. Seemed odd and out of character for this gruff chiseled man to go by scooter.He went by scooter because he wanted to connect with the younger generation. He saw them as the future of this country, under his guidance of course.Whenever he would run up against a formidable opponent. Someone who gave him a good challenge or even beat him, they were noted. Their isp ID was found easy enough with the equipment that he had at his disposal. Their location was established and the info was put into his data bank, for future review.Colonel Snyder wasn’t connected with any branch of the government that carried out normal covert activities. Those subdivisions had to report to congress. Even black ops was too visible for the missions that he handled. He reported directly to the office of the Secretary of State. It didn’t matter who occupied the Secretaries office at any given period of time, they had no say in the methods that he employed to accomplish his tasks. The only influence that the Secretary of State would have in Snyders activities was that the Secretary would give Snyders office its missions. The only person who could interfere with or dissolve Snyders office was the President and he was kept out of this loop for obvious reasons.Whenever a new President came into office he was given a heads up that there was a necessary organization that operated under the Secretaries direction and he was informed that he would be given no details unless he asked. The President was further advised that it would be better for national security and for the office of the Presidency if the President didn’t ask. The president was further informed that from 1939, when this organization was formed, until the present day, no President ever inquired of its existence, its purpose or its activities.The organization was funded by the spoils that it would occasionally recover. Insiders called them private donations to a non profit organization. This organization had no official name it was only referred to by “the office of . . . .” That would be the office of whomever occupied it at the time. For the past seventeen years it was called Snyders office.The colonel was an old war dog himself, a veteran of many conflicts. He was rarely in the forefront of the fighting though. He considered himself one of the personnel that would tenderize the meat before it was cooked. Sometimes he acted as a cleaner. It was the cleaning operations that proved to be the most lucrative. He worked his way up through the ranks by utilizing his savvy and cunning. To him The United States was always at war. He fancied himself as one of the good guys. It was that righteous mentality that gave him the confidence to do whatever he had to do in order to achieve his objective. Whatever that objective may be at the time.Although he didn’t get involved with any of the hands on work anymore, over the course of his career he did build a vast network of specialists who were very good at what they did. In any undercover organization you’ll find apprentices and upstarts. The James Bond wanna bees. But not in Snyders organization. Only the seasoned best would do. ************************************************”Yes, what is it sergeant.”
“Colonel a message just came in over the scrambled line, it’s from The Secretary.”
“Bring it here.”
As Colonel Snyder scanned the message his face reddens and turns more stern than usual, he reads it once more. “Sergeant.”
“Find out who’s the head of the patent office here in Washington and get them on the phone. When you have them, patch the call through to me scrambled. Understood?”
About twenty minutes later Sergeant Ritter intercoms the Colonel, “Colonel, I have a Mr. Robert Manders from The US Patent office on the line.”
Snyder snaps in his usual gnarly voice that he uses on all subordinates “Put him through sergeant”
Then with his calm authoritative voice he addresses Manders. The Colonel is good at projecting himself just by tone of voice. That’s one of the many tools he uses to brandish his authority.
“Yes Colonel what can I do for you?”
“Manders I was alerted of a certain patent application that’s going through your office and I need information on it.”
Manders is a bit uneasy and takes an immediate defensive posture, “I see. Eh . . . Colonel are you aware that our office cannot release any information on a patent that is being processed?”
Snyder believes he is detecting weakness in Manders voice so he starts to unleash the alpha dog, “Manders, this is a matter of national security and in war time that trumps normal protocol. I need to see the patent application and I need to talk to anyone who has worked on it.” Manders listens without comment. Snyder goes on, “I need the names of anyone who has seen the material. I even need to know the name of the person in the mail room who was on duty when it was delivered. Do I make myself clear?”
This Colonel doesn‘t intimidate Manders in the least. After all, Manders knows that he is the head of one of the most important organizations in the world, the US Patent office. At least he looks at his job like that. So Manders responds weakly playing the role that this blow hard expects him to play. At least for now he does. “This is highly irregular Colonel, I’ll have to talk to our legal department and get back to you.”
Snyder uses a softer but firmer voice, “Mr. Manders, I understand your position. Now I want you to understand mine. I will get an executive order if that’s what it takes and I will procure that patent application but in the meantime, while you are checking with your legal department, I need you to secure all the paperwork having anything to do with that patent. I need you to treat it as you would treat a top-secret document that had inadvertently found its way into your office. You can do that can’t you Mr. Manders?”
Manders response is now firm but conciliatory , “I understand Colonel but you don’t have to worry about many eyes looking at the material in the application. There are only three people who handle an application. Only three people look at the contents of any application that comes into our office and only one of those people actually gets to work on the application, and that person alone fully understands what it’s about.”
Now Snyder begins to sheath his saber and the duel starts to turn into a civilized chess game, “Well that’s good news Mr. Manders, and who would those three people be?
What do they do at your office? What are their jobs?”
“Colonel, there are hundreds of employees here. I’d need to know what the particular material is that you are inquiring about, then I can put you in touch with the personnel handling it. Again though, I will have to clear that with legal before I can put you in touch with those people.”
“I understand but can you tell me this, how is an application handled when it comes into your office?” He specifies, “What I need to know is what happens right after the application is delivered to your mail box?”
“Ok Colonel. I can help you with that information. First a mail room clerk looks at the coded number on the package. That tells the mail person what division to route it to.”
Snyder asks, “Does that person, the mail person, do they open the package?”
Manders says, “No. That’s one of the safeguards built into the patent system. No one looks at the application except for the three people that I mentioned earlier. This office operates on a strict need to know basis. This way if there are any questions concerning a particular patent application, we know exactly where to look.”
Snyder is liking what he‘s hearing. It makes his job easier. He responds, “Very good, I am beginning to understand a little better now. Please go on Mr. Manders.”
“Ok Colonel, now when the application gets to the proper division, the division manager distributes the applications to the various department managers. It’s only after the department manager’s secretary gets the application that it’s first opened and reviewed. The secretary will look it over briefly and hand it to the department manager with his or her recommendation as to who should get that particular project. The department manager briefly reviews the patent application and then it’s assigned to a patent engineer. The patent engineer is the only person who actually sees and understands the entire patent application, it stays solely in their possession. If they need help in a particular area, that is, if they need additional information or clarification, the engineer will correspond with the inventor or the inventors representative. The integrity of the applicants idea is never compromised.”
With this information the Colonel gives him the information that he has, concerning the patent that he is interested in. The information is limited but it is enough for Manders to pinpoint the department that handled that type of patent. Snyder thanks Manders reminds him how important it is to keep this phone call and all information discussed between them confidential, it is to be considered top secret.
Pamela Brooks was given a heads up by her boss, Bill Mazillio. He told her that he received a memo from Mr. Manders advising him that there was high level interest in a project that they both had contact with. When she questioned him, he told her that’s all he knew, but he did tell her that it was possible that they both may be asked to give information on their role and duties in the patent office, how they handled cases . . . procedure and such. He told her that she wasn’t to discuss this or any interoffice matters with anyone from this time on.
She was puzzled but she assured Bill Mazillio that she would cooperate fully.
Pamela made it a point to leave for the day when Bill left. She accidentally, on purpose, ran into him at the parking garage. There she confronted him again.
“Mr. Mazillio, I needed to talk to you out of the office and off company time. Is that ok with you?”
Bill smiles and asks, “Sure Pam, It’s what I discussed with you earlier isn’t it?”
Pam gives a worried, “Yes it is Bill.”
Bill Mazillio did a double take and broadened his smile. He was taken off guard when Pam called him by his first name. In all the time that they worked together she never broke protocol and called him by his first name. Pam was a true professional and he liked that.
She was straight faced and serious when she looked him in the eye and asked, “What is this all about, I’d like to know what you know about this investigation, I think I have that right? Then she asked, “Is there an investigation?”
Bill tries to relax her, “Pam, you do have a right to know everything I know regarding this matter because it’s different from normal business, and believe me, you do know everything at this point. What I told you is what was told to me by Mr. Manders. I asked him what this was all about and he told me that I would be informed on a need to know basis, like everything else in this department is always done. I told him that this wasn’t normal, it was different and I would like to know what’s going on. He said that I have all the information that I need for now and I was to follow orders. He added that to the best of his knowledge no one in our office is under investigation and we should all go ahead with business as usual. Then he thanked me for my cooperation and that was the end of our conversation. Truth is Pam, I didn’t detect any anxiety in his voice at all. Just the same old calm Manders. That’s it Pam. Now you know everything I know.”
“Well I do a good job Bill . . . uh. Mr. Mazillio. I take my job serious and I feel that I may be under suspicion for something. I can assure you that I would never do anything improper or against department regulations. This job means a lot to me.” Bill puts his hand on her shoulder and with a warm smile and fatherly voice says, “Pam, relax, you are the best assistant anybody could hope for. I couldn’t run my department without you. All I could tell you is that, in my gut, I don’t believe that we are being investigated. We run a tight ship. We are probably just a minor part of a separate investigation or inquiry. When Mr. Manders directed me, and he did direct me . . . it wasn’t a request. When he told me not to talk to anyone about this, I sensed it originated from a source outside the patent office. I couldn’t imagine you, me or anyone else in our group doing anything that would require outside investigation. Take it easy, don’t let it play with your mind and have a good weekend. Ok.”
Pam was a little calmer now, “Mr. Mazillio. I’m sorry to have bothered you.”
Bill gave a half smile, a wink and said, “No bother at all Pam, see ya Monday.”
It was a few hours before Manders cleared the Colonel’s request with the legal department. He called Snyder around two PM to let him know who the three people were that handled the patent application. The colonel thanked Manders and then zeroed in on how the patent was filed. He wanted to know who filed the patent. Manders told him that It was filed by a corporate applicant. No particular attorney was listed. Snyder asked, “Is that normal? Isn’t it unorthodox for someone not to list an attorney or at least some kind of liaison?” Manders told him that in a patent as complicated as this one seems to be, it’s unheard of.” He continued, “This patent should have the names of several attorneys or like you mentioned at least a contact attached to it but there aren’t any. Just the name of a corporation.” Snyder asked, “Did you have a chance to go over the application?”
“Colonel when I told you that no one except the assigned engineer scrutinizes an application I meant it. I talked with the engineer handling this patent and he did mention that there was no attorney or any one person in particular to contact. If contact needed to be made, the cover sheet specified that it was to be made to the corporation as an entity itself. It puzzled him too but he also added that it was a rare treat to get a patent like this one.”
Snyder stumbles a bit, “What do, you…ah…did he mean by that?”
Manders says, “Maybe I should have said odd instead of rare. What he told me was that so far, he’s had no reason to contact the applicant. Amos said this was one of the cleanest applications that he’s ever worked with. The young man gets kind of excited about good patent applications. The better the application the more he dissects it trying to pick it apart.” Snyder asks “What do you mean.” “Well Colonel this kid is driven by some force that I don’t understand. He works late every night. Five o’clock when everybody goes home is like a lunch break to him. He feels a compulsion to turn out the best applications in the department. I almost think he looks forward to challenges down the road so that he can defend his position on recommending that the patent be issued.”
Snyder casually comments, “I guess he wants to climb that success ladder quickly. Probably thinking about his kids college tuition already.”
No I don’t think so Colonel. He’s not married. This kids not driven by ambition. He just has an excellent work ethic. He’s only been with us a couple of years and he’s one of our best engineers. Wish I had ten like him.” Manders catches himself drifting and says, “Anyhow Colonel, I’m faxing you the cover sheet of the application now. That’s about all I can give you. The cover sheet has the information that you are requesting. Actually when you get it you will know everything that I know. Everything that I‘m allowed to know”
Snyder doesn’t like it, he wants more information but he agrees, “Ok, it’s coming thru now. I’ll call you back after we’ve had a chance to go over it.”
Colonel Snyder went over the material and he’s not pleased with what he finds. He called Robert Manders back about two hours after their last phone conversation, “Manders?”
Manders with a faint sigh of disgust, “Yes Colonel.”
“Manders, what do you know about this Ex Nihilo Corporation? Who are they?
Manders replies “I don’t know Colonel”
Snyder continues with the questioning, “We can’t seem to get anywhere finding information on them. Is it normal for a corporation with no listed officers to apply for a patent? And the contact info is a PO box. Very secretive wouldn’t you say?
“Colonel, I can’t help you with any of that. In patent development we don’t get involved with the ‘who is applying’. And as far as corporations go and who runs them, we don’t get involved with that either.” Robert was getting a little fed up by now and sensed that the Colonel was just fishing for any information he could get. He believed this was going beyond official inquiry, so he made a mental decision to cut the conversation. He didn’t know what was going on but he didn’t have a good feeling about this whole thing.
“Colonel as I said you have everything that I am legally allowed to release. If there’s anything else that you require you may just have to get that Executive order that you mentioned earlier.” Momentary silence on the other end then Snyder says, “Ok, thank you Mr. Manders you’ve been very helpful.
Word spread quickly within the entire patent office complex on Monday that Amos, a patent engineer , was killed. Those who knew him were shocked and those who didn’t know him were also floored. A gruesome murder in their company. This was an event. A major event as.
With this going on, hardly anyone noticed that Bill and Pam didn’t come in to work that morning. It seemed petty in view of the murder that took place, but a friend of Pam was concerned and did mention it to Manders. After some inquiring and a little prodding, Manders learned that Brooks and Mazillio may have been a little more than casual co-workers. Idle gossip in the office was that they may have even taken off together. Everyone was so shook up about Amos that no one connected the two incidents.
Bill Mazillio apparently left his wife of twenty-two years and a fourteen-year-old son.
Pam Brooks was single but she was in a serious relationship for
the past six months. At least that’s what the office gossip was.
Whatever the situation, the fact was that they both left the office around the same time on Friday. They were seen in the garage standing kind of close to each other and talking in low tones. One person even said that it looked like Bill had his arm around Pam’s shoulder.
That and the fact that neither one made it home that evening nor showed up for work on Monday, gave some credence to the buzz. But again, that paled in the light of a murder.
Mazillio’s wife and Brooks’s significant other both filed a missing person report that Monday.
Charlie was the apple of his father’s eye. Bill would beam when he watched his son play football for the Beltway Bruisers. Being an only child did have its advantages, but unlike a lot of other only children, Charlie wasn’t spoiled in the least. He, his mom and dad truly enjoyed each others company, they called themselves the Ivory soap family. That was their private joke. What they meant by it was -“we get along about
99 44/100% of the time.”
They were the typical American family. So when Bill didn’t come home Friday night, Charlie and his mom were devastated. Tragedy hit their home and they knew it. Dad was gone and everything will be different from this time on.
They did the normal things that people do when they get bad news. They compensated with false hope. They built scenarios that they knew were figments of their imagination. But those figments can be real, at least for a tiny instant of time. In those brief flashes, everything is going to be all right, that’s what kept them going through that long weekend.
They were told by Washington Metro that there couldn’t be a missing person report filed until the person was missing for at least forty-eight hours. So Meg was a little surprised but relieved, at first, when two men appeared at her door early the next day. The one man introduced himself as Rodger Hill, chief investigator of internal affairs at the patent office and he simply referred to the other man as his associate. Their story was that they were following up on Mrs. Mazillio’s call to the police department the night before. He said that this was a patent office investigation and it had nothing to do with the
authorities at Washington Metro. He went on to ask Meg questions about any conversations that she or Charlie could recall that they had with Bill. Specifically about any conversations that had anything to do with his work. They wanted to know if he discussed any particular project that any of his engineers were working on.
Meg was a bit taken back and said, “Of course not, that’s against the rules and besides, Bill didn’t get into the patents. From what I understand he only scanned over them and that’s the last he sees them until the patent is either approved or rejected. Why are you asking me this question?”
Rodger responded, “It’s just routine Mrs. Mazillio. All we are trying to do is eliminate any suspicion of wrongdoing at work. If we could show that Mr. Mazillio’s disappearance is not work related, that will help the police to focus their investigation in areas outside the workplace.” Meg was in a quasi stupor from lack of sleep and the whole disappearance episode so she nodded an acceptance of Mr. Hill’s explanation, but she
sensed it wasn‘t quite kosher. There was something going on here but she couldn’t get her thoughts together enough to figure any of it out, so she just nodded.
When Rodger and his sidekick showed up at Jerry’s apartment it was a whole other scene, and a scene it was. Jerry Connors was Pam Brooks’s fiancée. Jerry was a jealous man and he thought he had reason to be jealous. He knew that Pam was way out of his league. She was a high bred looker and he was an auto mechanic. He was a fairly good looking fellow but absolutely low rent. He always had grease tattooed under his fingernails and in the creases of his palms and knuckles.
He owned his own shop and had between two and four employees at any given time. He even made a good bit more money than Pam but he had few social skills and little education. Pam didn’t mind though, she liked safe and Jerry was safe. She knew that he adored her and that he would always be there when she needed someone. She put up with his jealousy and even kind of got off on it. She told her mother that she would probably never marry Jerry but as long as she was able to control him, she would stay with him. Her mother thought that was weird.
Whenever Jerry would talk about setting a marriage date, Pam would tell him that there was plenty of time and as long as they loved each other what was the rush. Pam would talk about her career and how she wanted to satisfy her need to fulfill all of her life’s ambitions before settling down to raise a family. She’d go on about wanting to experience her full potential in the business world. She would tell him that if she didn’t do this, she could never be happy. Pam would tell him that her life would be miserable if she was always haunted by the thought of “what if.”
Around that point of the conversation Jerry’s eyes would glaze over and he would just say, “oh ok . . . if you say so.”
Rodger knocked on the door and it immediately swung open. Rodger and his partner were greeted with, “Yeah, you cops?”
Rodger answered, “Ah, no sir we are with the patent office, internal affairs. I’m Rodger Hill and th . . . “
Jerry snapped back, “You know where Pam is?”
Rodger calmly responded, “No sir, may we come in for a moment. We have a few questions that we’d like to ask you.”
At this Jerry went off, “You wanna ask me questions.” Then he shouted louder . . . “YOU WANNA ASK ME QUESTIONS? Well I got some questions for you. That bitch took off with her boss didn’t she?” At this point the neighbors’ doors started to open and heads were peeking out. Jerry lived on the second floor of an older complex and the walls were thin. Actually he owned the 12 unit building.
Rodger and his associate looked at each other, puzzled as how to handle this situation. They expected the same reverence and blind cooperation that they usually get when they are doing what they do. What they do, of course, is use any ruse they have to in order to get the information that Colonel Snyder sets them out to get. How they would normally handle an uncooperative subject would be to intimidate them. In fact if they had this fellow alone on a dark street they would probably beat him to near death, but here they were with about eight sets of eyes looking at them. Witnesses were a bummer. Some people just can’t do their job the way they want to do it when there were witnesses around. Rodger and his partner kind of knew that old Jerry here wasn’t going to cooperate and they determined that he didn’t know anything and even if he did, he didn’t have the brains to know that he knew something. This guy was a zero and Rodger decided with a nod to his partner, this isn’t worth it.
Rodger turned to Jerry and said, “I’m sorry to have bothered you Mr. . .ah . . . Jerry. I can see we caught you at a bad time, we’ll be in touch later if we need talk to you. You have no plans of leav . . . “
Jerry was reddening up really good by now, he looked like he was going to pop a vein in his neck. He cut Rodger off with, “That bitch did it didn’t she? She ran on me.” Grabbing his crotch he said, “well if you ever do catch up with the whore tell her she better not show her ass around here ever again cause I’m taking bobo here to hit main street.”
At that point Jerry broke down and started hyperventilating to the point that he looked like he was about to pass out. Rodger and his partner just turned and walked away. As they walked down the hall behind them, they heard the sound of gasps and doors shutting as Jerry started punching the wall and screaming . . . “bitch . . rotten bitch” . . . And a few more obscenities.
That afternoon operatives s12 and s17 (a.k.a. Rodger and his associate) reported to Colonel Snyder. They informed him that they interviewed all the subjects that had any connection with Brooks and Mazillio. Their determination was that the patent was never discussed with the interviewees or anyone else outside of the patent office. They handed the Colonel this written report; OPINION: No one in the patent office other than Pamela Brooks, William Mazillio and Amos Glick had any knowledge of the patent in question. Further, we have determined that these subjects had no discussion of the patent with anyone outside of the patent office.The Colonel handed the two men an envelope each, thanked them for their service and dismissed them. When they left, he snapped his lighter open, thumbed the wheel and lit the report then watched it burn in the large amber ash tray that sat on his desk. As he sat back watching the flame he contemplated his next move.
Joe was ready to let the whole thing go to the back burner, file it as a cold case. There were more pressing things popping up in D.C., after all this was the murder capitol of the United States. This thing was getting too complicated and involved to invest any more time into it. He turns to Buck and says, “How bout we wrap this one up and let it go. This shit gives me the creeps. It’s like trying to grab smoke and I just don’t think it’s worth our effort. Wadda you think?”
Buck willingly agreed, “You might be right partner. I was thinking about the same thing. Shame about the kid though, and there’s definitely something going on below the surface. But this seems like it’s a little above our pay scale. Maybe if anything else develops on it we’ll follow up, but I guess for now . . . yeah.”
That afternoon the chief called them both into his office and slaps a file down. “Here you go fellas, if you liked that last case you’re going to love this one.” Buck picks up the file and opens it. There are two pictures, a man and a woman with the heading – MISSING PERSONS.
Buck says, “Aw come on chief you gotta be kiddin, we’re homicide. What’s this a joke or something?” Joe says, “Lemme see that.”
Buck hands it to him with a forced laugh. “Yeah here, read em and weep.”
The chief cuts in, “Ok Tracy and Sherlock when your finished griping I’ll tell you two ace detectives why this may be more important than just another missing person investigation.” Joe held the report for about thirty seconds before he gets really serious and elbows Buck. Buck looked at him, “What?” Joe pointed and Buck did a double take looking at the chief, then back to the paper, at Joe, then at the paper again.
Buck finally broke his silence, “Holy shit!”
The Chief snapped back sarcastically, “Yeah holy shit, now get on it.”
Buck said, “Yes sir, Sherlock and Tracy, on the case.”
The detectives were amazed at the action the patent office was generating. After all it was a patent office. Normally you’d expect as much action coming out of the patent office as you would coming from a senior citizens’ garden party. But there it was, two missing persons from the same office, in the same week as their murdered kid. Coincidence? These guys were too streetwise to believe in coincidence. No it was obvious to them that these happenings were somehow connected. All of a sudden they began to realize that what was on disk 17 was even bigger than they first thought. In fact it was important enough to someone that they had to kill an innocent kid and make two people go missing in order to protect its confidentiality.
In hindsight they both realized that they shouldn’t have involved the kids in this investigation. And worst of all, they couldn’t request department protection for them because they weren’t supposed to do what they did. You never bring a case home and let your kids work on it with you. Joe’s mind began to race, he thought to himself “What was I thinking?” He figured he had to take action fast. He would first go see his ex-wife and tell her the story while the kids were in school, at least this would get the screaming and yelling out of the way and then they could work out what was best for them all. He went to his ex’s house early that afternoon and there was indeed much carrying on.
Their divorce was not exactly an amicable one. They were, in fact, very much in love but they didn’t like each other.
Joe told her that he knew he did wrong but what was done was done and now they had to deal with getting her and the kids to safety. Taz finally agreed and they worked out a feasible plan. Taz was his nick name for her and she kinda got used to it over time. She was a short blond bundle of energy. Stood almost five three and stayed around 110 pounds. Taz had a good education, graduated third in her class from Villa Nova with a bachelors degree in Psychology. She used to tell Joe, during some of their lighter brawls, “you know, you are so textbook.” He’d say, “waddya mean”. She would just shake her head and say sheeesh. It was ok for him to call her Taz but nobody else had better. One time Buck referred to her as Taz in front of her while talking to Joe and she opened up on him red faced and with both barrels. Buck could have lit up the room for how red he got. He never called her Taz again even when alone with Joe.
The plan was that Taz was going to stay with the kids at Buck’s hunting cabin in the Pocono’s. The place was on state land leased by his family back in the thirties. One of those deals that you paid a small sum and leased an acre or two for ninety-nine years. There was a lot of that going on back then, the Government needed the money and a citizen could have a nice affordable get away. The lease was in Buck’s, maternal, grandfather’s name and no one has been there for almost ten years, so it would be practically impossible to trace Joe’s family to the place. Joe and Buck spent several days rehabbing the cabin getting the electric and antiquated plumbing systems working. Actually the plumbing system consisted of a hand pump located over the basin that served as a sink. Oddly enough though, the pump still worked. After some priming and a lot of pumping, rusty water came coughing up and spitting out of the curved spout. It turned clear after a few minutes of pumping.
They couldn’t take a chance getting on the grid so the guys hooked up a couple of solar panels, a small gas powered backup generator, and a few storage batteries. All they needed was enough electricity to power a TV, a radio, and a small refrigerator but not all at once. Joe got the refrigerator from the wet bar at his . . . Well, his ex’s house. They also had a couple of propane tanks and a cook stove. The wood stove was ancient but, with a lot of elbow grease, it came up just fine. That and the two kerosene heaters would keep them warm. Joe and Buck made two trips back and forth with their suv’s packed with supplies. They didn’t want to take a chance renting a U-Haul. They even bought the solar equipment in Delaware so not to give any indication as to where they were headed. All purchases were with cash. They made every move as if they were being watched. A little paranoia at a time like this was a good thing. Taz and the kids were left with more than two cords of wood so, all in all, things would be quite comfortable considering the circumstances. The whole set up cost a little less than four thousand dollars but it was well worth it, they were safe. The kids didn’t like being pulled from school but they sort of understood the situation. Their father was a cop after all, so they knew deep down that this is the way it had to be. When everything was set up and working, Joe and Buck sat down with Taz and the kids and assured them that they were going to give this case 100% of their attention no matter what. Buck left first and Joe stayed for about another hour just fooling around testing things and making sure everything worked the way it was supposed to until Taz saw how worried he was and finally gave him a hug. She told him to go and get this business settled so they can all go home and be a normal family again. This caught Joe by surprise, he didn’t know exactly how she meant that. Did she mean him too when she said, “we can all go home and be a normal family again?” He looked at her with a puzzled smile. The kids also picked up on what she said and were looking at her with surprised half smiles. Then Taz hugged him again, smacked his butt and said “get outta here and get those bad guys.”
When Joe got back at the station, Buck was already there with the file opened and contents spread out on his desk. As Joe walked in Buck broke his concentration, looked up and asked “Everything ok?” Joe was exceptionally chipper when said, “Yep. Whatcha got?” Buck gave a sly grin but knew better than to pry so he just laid out for Joe what he was working on.
Buck had dissected the missing persons information and after making a call to the patent office, he verified that the two missing persons did work in the same department as Amos. In fact, Mazillio was his boss and Brooks was Mazillio’s secretary. The usual pattern of investigation went into play. First the patent office and an interview with Robert Manders. Manders filled them in with all the details, the same details that Snyder was given but Manders didn’t mention Snyder. He thought it best not to because of the top-secret thing that Snyder alluded to. The detectives then talked to a couple of the other office workers just to get a feel for some of the interoffice politics, the stuff that goes on just below the surface. They came away with a feeling that while there was some suspicion of extra curricular activities going on between Brooks and Mazillio there was nothing solid, just gossip and speculation with no real basis. They decided to interview Mazillio’s wife and Brooks’s beau.
“Mrs. Mazillio?” Meg spoke with the storm door closed and answered, “Yes.” Showing their badges Buck smiles and says, “I’m detective Robert Bruckner and this is detective Joe Minsky, we’re with Washington Metro Precinct 3. We’d like to ask you a few questions concerning the disappearance of your husband, William. May we come in? “Meg opening the outer door said, “Yes, please. Have you heard anything?” Joe answered, “No ma’am, nothing yet. Actually this case was just handed to us. The only place we’ve been was at the patent office.” Meg asked, “Oh then you’ve talked to Mr. Hill?” Buck furrowed his eye brows and gave a puzzled response “Hill? No we talked to a Mr. Manders. He’s supposed to be the head honcho over there.” Meg said, “Yes, Robert Manders is the head of patent development.” Joe asked, “Ma’am, who’s this Mr. Hill you mentioned?” Meg fills the detectives in on who, Mr. Hill and his associate are. At least who she was told they were. “They are with internal affairs of the patent office. They were here the day after I went to the police station to report Bill missing. They . . . Well . . . actually Mr. Hill did all the talking, he asked me some questions and it seemed a bit odd the things that he was asking but when I questioned him as to why he wanted to know this, he said that it was routine policy. He said something like, all they were trying to do is to eliminate any suspicion of wrongdoing at work.” Buck was tapping his pen on his pad and Joe was just sitting and staring at her in semi-disbelief. She went on, “He . . . Mr. Hill, explained, if they could show that Bill’s disappearance is not work related that would help the police to focus their investigation in areas outside of Bill’s workplace.” Buck and Joe looked at each other and then Buck said to Meg, “Mrs. Mazillio, could you give us a description of these fellows?” Meg was startled and said she would try, she asked why. Joe said, “Mrs. Mazillio, we’re not sure exactly what’s going on here but I can tell you that there is not an internal investigative unit at the patent office. At least none that we are aware of. Nobody made any report to Metro, if they did the report would have been in our file.” Meg was visibly shaken by what Buck just told her. She sat down and put her hand up to her mouth and her chin began to quiver. She turned to Buck and asked, “Then who were they? Why did they want to know if Bill ever talked about any of the projects that his engineers worked on?” Joe turned his head slightly to the side looking at her with one eye squinted and asked “Is that what they asked you?” Meg was picking up on what was going on and said “Yes that’s what I questioned th . . .ah Him . . Mr. Hill about, and that’s when he told me “it’s routine.” Buck asked Meg, “Can you come down to the station and help our artist draw up a composite of the two men that were here?” Meg responded with labored enthusiasm. “Yes, of coarse, I’ll do my best.”
This lady was clearly working on her last bit of energy. They offered to take Meg to the station but she insisted on driving herself. When the detectives arrived, Meg was already there waiting for them. Buck gave a big smile and Joe kind of jerked his head back and laughing he said, “Well Mrs. Mazillio I hope you didn’t get any speeding tickets getting here but if you did don’t worry about it I know a guy who knows a guy.” He winked and said, “This way ma’am.” She gave a half smile and said, “Please it’s Meg. I already feel about a hundred years old and when you call me ma’am I feel older still.” Buck said, “Ok Meg, I do know how something like this can drain a person. Actually I was feeling kinda funny calling you ma’am seeing you look young enough to be my little sister.” She blushed and accepted the kind compliment. Buck added, “We do appreciate your coming down here.” He then led her to a small office to one side of the room. It was used for light interrogation and things of this sort. He pulled out a chair from the desk and said, “Would you take a seat here ma’a . . . eh . . . Meg. I have to get the sketch artist and I’d like to tell the chief that you’re here.” Meg grabbed his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, a tear ran down her cheek. “Thank you detective (sobbing) thank you both.” Buck’s cheeks reddened a little and he smiled a fatherly smile at her. While Joe was getting the sketch artist Buck went in to tell the chief the bazaar story that Meg relayed to him and Joe about the ‘internal affairs’ police at the patent office. The chief was a thirty year man and a good cop. He detested anyone even remotely trying to impersonate a cop. Buck told the chief that he had Meg here and that he was going to try to get a composite of the guys that visited her. The chief thought it was a good idea, things shaping up the way they were and all. He suggested that the detectives ask Mrs. Mazillio if she would look at some mug shots in the organized crime and white collar crime books. Buck agreed that it was a good idea so after finishing with the artist he showed her the books. Meg didn’t see anybody in the mug shots that looked like either of the two men. She did give a pretty good description to the sketch artist though. Buck, Joe and the artist were impressed with the detail that she remembered the two men especially the one that did all the talking, the one that called himself Rodger Hill. She told Buck that even though her thinking wasn’t clear when the two men questioned her, for some odd reason she remembers their faces clearly. Buck smiled and thanked her for coming down and told her that they would be in touch with her when anything new developed. He handed her his card and told her to call him anytime if she had anything new for them. He wrote his home phone number on the back of the card and told her again, “call anytime.”
Off to see Jerry Connors, what a treat . . . The detectives didn’t know what they were in for when they went to interview Jerry. Meg spoiled them. Jerry sure wasn’t the grieving spouse type, no he had a negative outlook on life and was jealous to a fault, all in all a bitter man. He owned a small auto repair shop. Whenever he wasn’t around the guys that worked for him referred to him as Mr. Ass Hole. . . or A-Hole” for short.
Joe and Buck tried his apartment first, he wasn’t there. Then they went to the business address they had on him. The double bay garage doors were open so they went in. They were greeted by a gruff dirtball mechanic that pointed to the sign on the wall, the sign just under the picture of a semi nude calendar girl riding a muffler. He yells out, “Ay man can’t you read, no customers allowed in the garage?” That’s when the boys flashed their badges and identified themselves and then the fun began. Jerry cracks wise right from the get go, “Oh great more of you fuckers. Did you find the bitch and her boyfriend yet?” Joe kind of cocks his head and looks at Jerry with a furrowed forehead and half grin, “You Jerry Connors?” Jerry snaps, “Yeah. Where’s the other two jerk offs that were at my place . . . What’re you second shift . . . clean up patrol?” Joe looked at Buck and said under his breath “I don’t like this guy and I don’t think he’s going to be any help to us so I think I’m gonna punch his fucken lights out. How‘s that sound?” Buck looked down at the floor smiled and said out of the side of his mouth, “Go for it.” At that point Joe walked briskly right up to Jerry’s face and screamed, “Shut the fuck up, sit down and listen to me. If you say one word before I’m finished talking I’m gonna give my partner here my badge and gun so’s I won’t be on duty anymore, and then I’m gonna fuck you up good. Got it fuck face?” Jerry’s eyes grew big as saucers and he was visibly shaking. He plopped down on a steel tool box without saying a word. He didn’t even acknowledge what Joe put to him, he just sat and looked up at Joe. Buck stepped up and put his hands on Joe’s shoulders and told him to go outside, take it easy and cool off a bit, he told Joe he’d handle the questioning. Joe grunted then turned and walked outside. The other three mechanics went back to work. At least that’s what they pretended to do. They were all ears and collectively about as giddy as a bunch of kids on Christmas eve grinning and winking at each other. Buck turned to Jerry and said, “Son, you have a way about you don’t ya? I haven’t seen my partner that mad since his wife threw him and his clothes out on the sidewalk more than four years ago. Whew, you sure hit his hot button. Ok, pal let’s get down to business and get this over with as quick as possible.” Jerry bobbed his head up and down with mouth agape not saying a word. Buck showing Jerry the composite of the two patent office imposters asked him if these were the ones at his apartment. Jerry said, “Yeah, that pretty much looks like them.” Buck explained that they were imposters and contrary to what he thinks, his fiancée didn’t run away either by herself or with anyone. He explained briefly to Jerry what they were up against and what may be happening. He asked Jerry what the imposters wanted. After Jerry told him what happened when the imposters came to his place, Buck smiled and told Jerry that he was probably lucky that the neighbors were there or he may have met the same fate that Amos did. Buck told him how the whole investigation started with Amos found dead. Jerry started to pale a bit. He wasn’t turning red like he did with the other two guys, no, this time he was turning white. Probably was a mix of fear and partly the realization that Pam could be hurt, kidnapped or worse. Jerry got up and looked Buck straight in the eye and said, “I think I’ve been a jerk. I always knew that she was too good for me and I always thought she would figure it out some day, and then she would up and leave me. I’m feelin sick inside. I want to apologize to your partner and let him know that I’ll do anything to help you guys find Pam.” Buck said, “That’s ok, I’d better tell him, I’m sure he’ll understand better if I explain it. I don’t think there’s much you can do, but if we need you, you’ll be around. Right?” Jerry says, “Absolutely.” Buck was smiling shaking his head as he walked toward Joe. Joe says, “Wha . . . what’s gone on?” Buck filled him in on the conversation he had with Jerry. The chief was right, this case was shaping up to be a lot more than a routine homicide investigation, there were a lot more hidden influences popping up with this one. Now the detectives had to deal with these two mystery men. These supposedly patent office internal affairs investigators. According to Bill Mazillio’s wife, these guys were only interested in finding out who else knew anything about the patent that Amos was working on. If there was any doubt before, there isn’t any now. The patent application was the focal point of all the happenings surrounding the case. The detectives made a decision to get into the information on the disk. They had to be careful though because it was also clear that people disappear when it became even suspected that they knew anything about the patent application. This was strictly an in-house investigation . . . in Joe and Buck’s house that is. On the other side of town, working out of parts unknown, was another investigator, Colonel Snyder. He was getting nowhere with this Ex Nihilo Corp. With all his connections and all his insiders he couldn’t break the barrier. The corporation was formed in Delaware and along with the rules and regulations of forming a corporation in Delaware, came the protection of the state of Delaware. Seems like a person can set up a corporation for less than $200.00 and quite simply, it’s a do-it-yourself operation. Add to this the fact that a corporation can be legally formed with all of the principals remaining anonymous. Those being the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer etc. There is no legal way that anyone can find out who the principals of a corporation formed in this manner are, including the Federal Government. Not unless there is suspicion of some federal law being violated. In this case there was no such violation or even the suspicion . So no matter how hard the Colonel pushed, this wall of secrecy couldn’t be torn down or breached. “Curses” he said “Curses on those stupid laws insuring rights to privacy.” He might have been pushing harder if he knew there were others trying to find the inventor but it was a good thing for the detectives that he didn’t know about them.
Even though Snyder was more treacherous and better funded than the detectives, Buck and Joe had the advantage. They knew there was someone out there who would stop at nothing to silence everyone who knew about the patent application, and they knew that that person didn’t know about them. They also knew that the inventor was in trouble and they had to find him, but they were running into the same brick wall that the Colonel hit.
All Corporations, they should be illegal. Colonel Snyder was mumbling to himself. He wasn’t used to dealing with the civilian corporate world and he wasn’t getting anywhere tracking the owners of the Ex Nihilo Corporation. He couldn’t even get a name, just one name to bite into . . . nothing. Seems like the inventor pulled some tricky moves in order to remain anonymous. He used one of those companies that assist an individual in forming their own corporation for less than $500.00 or something like that. Then for a small fee, about $50.00 a year, that same company would act as agent for the Incorporator. Actually they would be the incorporator, and the same confidentiality rules would apply as those between an attorney and client or a doctor and patient. For these reasons the Colonel couldn’t get a name. He couldn’t infiltrate or strong arm the company because it was one of the largest companies in the world that performed this service. It was about as tough getting information out of them as it would be to get a Swiss bank account. He was a determined man though. This was a matter of national security and that was all he needed to motivate him to the point of obsession. A funny thing how some people use the excuse – “I’m doing it for the good of the people” – when actually they’re doing whatever it is they are doing, for themselves. Usually for some material gain, status, power or just to satisfy a behavioral disorder gone out of control. But whenever someone uses that expression or something similar, you can bet your boots that it’s not why they are doing it. His mind raced, he wasn’t used to these late hours. It was after twelve midnight. Cigarette butts piled up in his ash tray until they spilled over onto his desk but he wasn’t going to give this up. Throat parched and out of cigarettes, in a most uncharacteristic move, he swept his arm across the desk.
This was an organized man, a neat man but not tonight, not now. Tonight he was a frustrated and exhausted man. After clearing his desk he folded his arms on the desk and decided to rest his head, only for a moment though, just a moment or two. When the Sergeant knocked on the Colonel’s office door at seven A.M. there was no answer. In all the time that the Sergeant was aid to the Colonel, he never knew him to be late or not be there when he arrived in the morning. He knocked again and this time he heard the Colonel say, “Give me a few moments Sergeant.” The Sergeant replied briskly, “Yes sir.” The Colonel looked at the mess he created earlier that morning and started to straighten up. It took him about five minutes to pick everything up from the floor clean the ashes off his papers and arrange everything neatly on his desk. In another ten minutes he had everything swept up, uniform dusted off, face washed and looking fresh. Then he sat straight up at his desk, he sat straight up as if he were called to attention and stared at the door but he didn’t see the door. It’s as if he had an epiphany, it was all so clear now. “How is it I didn’t see this before?” he whispered to himself then he bellowed in his normal voice. “Sergeant, in here, now!” The door shot open almost before the last word left the Colonel’s mouth. Even he was startled a bit but he didn’t show it, just a quick blink and slight head jerk. He did smile the faintest of smiles though. “Were you stationed at my door Sergeant?”
The Sergeant also had the faintest of smiles on his face, “No sir, just happened to be walking by when you called sir.”
With a more serious expression on his face the Colonel snapped, “Ok Sergeant wipe that shit eatin grin off your face and listen up?”
The Sergeant stiffened like a board and furrowed his brow. “Yes sir.”
The Colonel commanded, “Do a LexisNexis search, or whatever they call that crap, on the word ex nihilo and get the results into me, fast! I’ll have a follow up for you after I’ve gone through what you bring me. Dismissed.”
With a brisk, “Yes sir” the Sergeant pivoted and left. About an hour later the Sergeant brought Snyder seven pages of printout. The Colonel looked them over and after lunch he handed the Sergeant a sheet of paper on which he had written two short sentences. He told the Sergeant to have the information back to him within one hour. Thirty minutes later the Sergeant reported back to the Colonel, “Sir, this is what I received a moment ago.”
Snyder reached out his hand and flapped his fingers in a bring it here gesture and said, “Why did you wait a whole minute to get it to me?”
The Sergeant stuttered a bit and muttered something like, “ah . . . sir I . . . ah I mean . . . I jus . . . “
“Never mind.” The Colonel said, this time shaking his head with a noticeable smile on his face as he saw what was on the paper. “You did well Sergeant. You did well. Now dismissed, and take the rest of the day off. I need complete privacy.”
The Sergeant was puzzled and started to respond “But sir I . . . “
Then Snyder snapped, “GO . . Lock the door on your way out and turn off your phone, I don’t need any distractions. NOW GO!”
He looked at the paper that the Sergeant handed him and said to himself, “Peek a boo . . . I’m getting warmer.” He was laughing as he picked up the phone, “Sergeant . . . Sergeant . . . ah fuck. Ok. I can do this. Shit, I guess I’ll have to.” He dialed information and asked for the phone number of the US Copyright office in Washington, D.C. The operator asked him if he meant The Library of Congress Copyright Office? He said, “Yes that’s the place. That’s where you go to get a copyright, right?”
The operator said, “I guess so sir, how about if I give you the number and they can tell you if they’re who you are looking for?”
Snyder replied, “sounds good to me.”
Snyder called and asked if he could research a copyright. He told them that he suspected infringement on a paper he published a while back and asked if there was any way that he could search copyrights related to the subject he discussed in his publication. The woman who answered told him that it’s a laborious task requiring many hours of scanning files in their data bank and that he should consider getting a professional to assist him or have the copyright office do it for him. He told her that he was retired and had the time so he wanted to try doing it himself, sort of an adventure he told the woman.
She laughed and said, “Sir, I think you’ll find that there are a lot of adventures more fun than copyright research, for instance, have you ever tried patent research? Now there’s another fun adventure.”
“Please” he said “Tell me about it. I just spent two days down there and if this is anything like that believe me I will be hiring a pro, but you say I can come down and search, right?”
“Yes you can. We’re open Monday to Friday 8:30 to 5:00 p.m. and closed on Federal holidays. When you come in one of our associates will help you get started and will be available if you need assistance. The rate is $75.00 an hour if you want us to research for you and for any help that we provide beyond getting you started. In the meantime let me direct you to “- Circular 22 – How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work.” You’ll find it at the following
This should at least point you in the right direction and help you make a more informed decision.”
“You’ve been very helpful.” The Colonel replied “thank you.” With that Snyder decided to go home for the day and relax. He had something to sink his teeth into now or at least something to nibble on and that’s all he wanted. The next morning he was up at 5:30 AM. Shit, showered, shaved and by 6:15 ready to take on the day. He had a good breakfast then went by his office to leave a voice memo for his Sergeant. He told him that he would be out for most of the day if not all day, and that he was to give anyone that called or came by that same message. Snyder should have gone to the web site and checked out circular 22 first though. After spending a little more than six hours at the copyright office, he was beginning to feel overwhelmed. He didn’t want anyone to know what he was looking for. At least that’s what he thought at first, but after considering the matter further, he came to the realization that it wasn’t what he was looking for that he wanted to keep secret. It was his intended use of what he was looking for that he needed to keep close to his chest. He knew from experience that two people could look at the same thing and see it differently. Is the glass half full or half empty, is nuclear energy useful as an alternate source of fuel or is it good for making a bomb? It’s all the way you look at it.
He decided to hired the copyright office to do the research and the only thing he gave them were the words Ex nihilo and energy creation. In addition to this he supplied the approximate date of the copyright that he was looking for. He figured at between 2001 and 2004. The person looking over his work order looked at him and said, “This is a test, right? Your testing me aren’t you?”
Snyder said, “No, why?” The researcher told him that based on the information that the Colonel supplied, it would probably take a month of man hours to narrow down the information in the copyright data bank to a few files that the Colonel could look over and with that, there were no guarantees that the search would produce anything that the Colonel would consider useful. The Colonel looked at the interviewer and said, “then it should only take a couple of days if there are ten researchers on it, right?” The interviewer gave a slight smirk and said, “Technically yes but we can’t put ten researchers on it, we don’t have that many researchers to spare for one project.” The Colonel wanted to say – this is a matter of national security and you will put all of your people on it now – but he knew that would bring on the unwanted attention that he needed to avoid. So he reined in his anger and said, “This is very important to me. There is a great deal of money involved. My work has been plagiarized and I need to prove it in order to retain my tenure at the university. There is also loose talk of my sharing a Nobel in science but I need proof positive that I am the originator. My paper was published prior to January 1, 2001 so if we can’t locate anything copyrighted after that date it will be the proof I need that I was the originator. You see there’s someone on campus circulating a verbal account on the subject that is in my paper and they are claiming they are the originator of the basic principal involved. They claim they had a paper copyrighted, on this subject, before I was published. My problem is that I was never officially copyrighted. This is giving the plagiarist some legitimate standing. I know this person is lying, and if I can prove that they weren’t copyrighted I have a better chance of winning the argument. Do you understand why this is so important to me?” The technician looked at Snyder and said, “Sir, I would be lying if I said yes but you did make it very clear that this is important to you so let me ask you, how much are you willing to spend on trying to find that copyright, assuming it exists? …No wait I shouldn’t have asked you like that. That was the wrong way to phrase it. What I meant to ask was, what is your budget?” Snyder said, “Well it isn’t unlimited (although it practically was) but I do have several thousand dollars in my savings that I am willing to invest. Besides all that I’ve told you, there is a matter of my pride and professional reputation at stake here. Yes, I will invest all my savings and borrow if need be. Will you help me out on this?”
Two days passed when the Colonel received an email from the copyright office. The message read, “Mr. Paxon . . . (this is the name he gave them at the copyright office. He paid two thousand dollars in advance in cash and told them that they were to contact him if they needed additional funds. If they did, he would be paying in cash. This way there was no reason for them to know any personal information about him. He set up an email address at his office in the alias name also.)…..It looks like we may have gotten lucky, please call me as soon as possible. Spencer.” The Colonel called immediately and talked with Mr. Spencer.
“Mr. Spencer, this is Bill Paxon. You sent me an email. What’s up?”
“Mr. Paxon we found something that has a strong connection with the phrase energy creation, seems like this isn’t a well traveled subject. Only twelve references came up and only four of them are within the time frame that you gave us. Would you like us to stop our search until you come in and look at what we have?”
“No keep looking and I’ll be there within two hours, but keep looking.”
“Ok, see you here in two.”
When Snyder got to Spencer’s office, Spencer had a relatively clear desk, only about four files were on it. “Mr. Paxon” Spencer offering his hand, “How about pulling up that chair beside the desk and we’ll go over what we have so far. Oh by the way we haven’t found anything since we talked, so this is what I have for you.” Spencer started with a file from 1996, it was a copyright issued to an individual claiming to have discovered how to build a perpetual motion machine. Snyder looked at him with a puzzled look on his face. Spencer told him that this wasn’t too uncommon seeing as the patent office won’t accept a patent application for a perpetual motion device. The “inventors” protect their discoveries with a copyright. Spencer laughed and shrugged. The second file was a sci-fi short story copyright. The third file was one for a movie plot. And finally there was a file that had the following words: “A Theoretical Speculation” – Energy Creation and Workings of the Cosmos” emblazoned across the cover and of course the name and address of the author.
The detectives had a slight advantage over the Colonel. As mentioned earlier, they were looking for a murderer. They knew there was someone out there that wanted the information on the disk, bad enough to kill for it. They didn’t know, at this stage of the investigation, what the fate of Pamela Brooks or Bill Mazillio was but they figured that they both probably met a similar fate as Amos Glick. The detectives knew they were dealing with killers.
Colonel Snyder thought all loose ends were tied up neat and clean. He believed there was no one outside of his loop that knew of the patent application or the information in it . . . all of that was about to change. It seems the detectives took a slightly different route in their investigation than the Colonel did because they were investigating a murder and not the information on a disk. Sure they would have liked to know what the patent represented, but only because it may have helped to establish the motive for murder, and a path to the murderer. D.C.C.S.I. didn’t come up with any additional clues from the crime scene or from Amos’s apartment. It was obvious that the investigators back at the lab didn’t inspect all of the disks. Either that or they didn’t understand what they were looking at.
Joe and Buck decided that something had to be done. Either they were going to continue working in the shadows and spin wheels or they were going to do what their gut told them to do. They had to break out of this shell that they cast around themselves and the case. They had to stop tip toeing as if they were walking on thin ice. They were going to try a few basic strategies that they learned in “cop 101”, enlist media assistance. There were many ways to do this. One was to put a picture of the victim on the five o’clock news and give a toll-free number if anyone had any information concerning the murder. They could even try going to a popular, and quite effective, TV show of the time. This show would broadcast cases and ask for the public support in apprehending criminals. They were known to get a lot of tips and help from the general public on cases that were about to go cold. They decided to go for it. They contacted the host asked if he would consider putting a blurb on his show. He indicated an interest in doing a segment on the case because of its uniqueness but he wanted to see more man hours put into the investigation before he could assemble a ten minute segment. He told the detectives that the Amish angle was good and the patent office connection was good. He told them that the two missing persons rounded the whole story out and it had the makings of a good mystery. He said that it could possibly be made into a half hour show. But he went on to explain that they weren’t giving him enough meat and potatoes right now, at least not enough that would allow him to put something together. It was too narrow because of the skimpy evidence recovered and the seemingly few investigative man hours put into it. They couldn’t tell him about the personal hours that they spent on it because the department didn’t know about that or the help they received from Joe’s kids. They thanked him and told him that they would work on it and keep him up to date on their progress. The detectives then went with their first option and one local TV station ran a short blurb on the case. They put a picture of Amos on the screen and the copy was, “Amos Glick, an Amish man from Lancaster, Pennsylvania was killed in the patent office, where he was working, late last Thursday evening. Police have no clues at this time but they believe the murder was connected to a patent application that Mr. Glick was working on at the time. If anyone has any information about this, or any information they can provide about a patent that he was working on please call this station or Washington metro Police, third precinct. Your call will be held confidential and there is a $10,000 reward if your information results in an arrest.”
The report went on to talk about the Amish and how rare it was for any of them to leave the order. The station even ran a human interest story later that evening about the Amish living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
The next morning there was a note with a video tape on Snyder’s desk. It was marked s12. The note simply read, channel five. The Colonel watched the tape then called the television station. He told the program director that he may have a lead for them and asked if there were any leads called in claiming the reward. When he was told that there weren’t any credible leads called in, he asked who he should talk to at the police station. He said that he felt more comfortable talking with the man in charge of the investigation. The program director told him that there were two detectives handling the case and that he could talk to them or their captain if that would make him feel more at ease. The program director then gave him the detectives’ names and their precinct phone number. When Snyder hung up he called homesec and explained the situation.
When Joe and Buck were called into the captain’s office later that day they didn’t have any idea what it was all about, but they knew when the chief was in a bad mood and today he sounded like he was in an exceptionally bad mood. Joe knocked on his door and the chief grunted, “come in.” His head was down looking at a small piece of paper on his desk, his hand was over his forehead like one of those shades the card dealers wear at the casino. It was when he looked up they knew something was terribly wrong. His face was red and his hand shook as he slid the paper across his desk to Buck. He told Buck to read it out loud. Buck took the note and started reading then the chief told him, “No read the whole note from the top, read where it came from and what time it got to headquarters . . . the whole note.” Joe looking puzzled asked, “What’s up boss?” The chief just looked at Buck and said, “read.” Buck started, “Department of Homeland Security, Tuesday – April 12, 2005, 6:33 A.M. To Chief of Police Abraham Schmoot, precinct 3 Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department RE: Case EXNIHILO Exnihilo will be understood to include all particulars of the investigation of the murder of one Amos Glick and the disappearance of Pamela Brooks and William Mazillio.
Be advised that as of this time and date all investigation of the above-named case will cease and desist. All evidence gathered to this date will be turned over to Colonel Ronald Snyder whose curriers will be at your office at 10:00 A.M. on this day for the purpose of collecting all said material. It is hereby ordered by authority of the executive branch of the United State Government that no further investigation be conducted by any agency other than that directed by Colonel Ronald Snyder. Any deviance from this order by a citizen of the United States of America will be deemed treason and such person or persons will be prosecuted for the crime of high treason. If this order would be disobeyed by a non citizen of the United States of America that person or persons will be considered a foreign enemy of the State. End of Message.”
The chief said, “Gentlemen, don’t say anything just gather up everything you’ve got on this and I mean everything. I even want the paper clips and staples holding the papers together.” Joe says, “this fucken stinks.” The chief glared at him and said, “Watch your mouth and change that attitude or your out . . . right here right now . . . No games here.” Joe threw his gun on the chief’s desk and when he reached for his ID and badge the chief said to him, “before you do anything stupid Joe (the chief never called anyone in the department by their first name, even if it was outside of the office at a casual event. He always kept it on a last name basis or he would address the person by rank but never by their first name.) hear me out. This is off the record, ok?” Joe nodded, Buck said, “yes sir.” The chief said, “I was left a voice mail this morning to call a phone number after I had a chance to read this memo. I called and I was connected to the assistant director of Homesec. I was informed that it was known by his office who the perpetrators of the crimes mentioned in the memo were, and it would be pointless for us to have this information because the perpetrators, if apprehended, would be immediately released to the bureau’s custody. Furthermore, the perps would be pardoned of all crimes. He then asked me if I understood exactly what he was saying and I replied, yes. Now gentlemen, do you understand what I just said?” The chief got a puzzled affirmative from the two detectives. Joe picked up his gun from the chief’s desk and they both returned about twenty minutes later with a box containing all the material they had gathered on the case. Joe laid the box on the chief’s desk, turned around and walked out. Not a word was spoken. About an hour later, two men in dark suits walked into the chief’s office and left about a minute later, one was carrying the file box. Joe and Buck watched as the men walked out of the precinct.
End of Book 1
Book 2 – Ignition, to follow shortly.
Book two will complete the story. It will tell of the device and the factors that led up to It’s development, testing and the consequence of that test.
Here is a short excerpt from chapter one of book 2:
“As I stood on the scaffolding looking down at this huge machine, I began walking around it. I thought to myself, this has really gotten out of hand. My original plan was to build a prototype that would be no larger than a baseball.
We’re in uncharted waters here and no one actually knows what’s going to happen when its activated.
In a way, I’m hoping that my whole theory is wrong and that this thing doesn’t even work . . . This scares the hell out of me………….”
Originally posted 2011/07/01