Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Think Fast

Noetron was doing preliminary scans on Raymond and Concept. Meanwhile, I was having fun testing every aspect of Flashpoint's powers.
It seemed he couldn't control what was teleported with him. Whatever was touching him made the jump. Whatever didn't touch him was left behind.
His abilities gave rise to numerous questions. What happened if he was touching an object connected to another object only by a fine string? Why didn't the ground teleport with him? What about air? What if he was touching something that was touching something else? Could he teleport half of someone, allowing him to chop that person in half? Could he teleport faster than light?
I did a lot of experiments that day. I came up with a few hypotheses. The first was that the whole issue of what Flashpoint could and couldn't move was psychological. He could move things if he thought he was touching them, and two objects counted as the same if he thought they were the same. That one was fairly easy to disprove.
My next hypothesis was that his power couldn't break strong molecular and intermolecular forces. That was wrong too. When he tried to teleport two objects tied together by a thin string, he teleported the object he was touching, the string, and the part of the second object immediately in contact with the string. In this manner, he could chip Ultrasteel. When he first did it, I looked at the Ultrasteel chip for a long time. I then embarked on a long series of tests to determine how the size, shape, and material makeup of the string affected things.
The results gave rise to my third hypothesis. That Flashpoint's power flowed like electricity. He was already saturated with his power. His power flowed into anything he touched. It would travel along any connection, but a thin string would conduct his power at an extremely slow pace. It would diffuse throughout the large object, and only the string and its immediate surroundings would carry a significant amount of his 'teleportational energy.'
This hypothesis let me make accurate quantitative predictions about the sizes and shapes of the Ultrasteel chips. But I had no idea what this 'teleportational energy' was, or how I could make it myself, and I didn't even manage to think of a cooler name for it. I decided to take a break.

I spent my break watching the Matrix. It's a reasonably good movie, if you can ignore the numerous scientific inaccuracies. It seemed appropriate. It's about organic brains trapped in a computerized reality. I, on the other hand, was a computerized brain trapped in a world of flesh and blood. The movie got me thinking about a lot of things. For instance, could I alter my perception of time?
I searched around the multitude of organic compounds and subatomic nanomachines that constituted my brain. What part controlled the perception of time? Eventually, I found it.
I hit fast forward. It was strange. I still thought at the same speed, but it seemed so fast. I spent an hour debugging Noetron and didn't get bored. Interesting.
I set reality to slow motion. The opposite effect ensued. I grew impatient with everything. I paced, that is to say, ran, around the room. My mind seemed sluggish. But I didn't actually manage to think much faster in real time. Was there a way to change that? To hit pause on reality and do a years' worth of thinking in a few seconds?
Yes, there was. After a few hours of hacking my brain, I got to the point where I could do an hours' thought in a second, at the price of a splitting headache that I couldn't seem to get rid of. I decided to classify that as a victory, and get some sleep. A lot of sleep.

When I awoke, I decided to work with Raymond. I met with him in an underground bunker. "Raymond, how much have you pushed the limits of your power?"
His answer was more or less what I expected. "Not at all. My power is dangerous."
"Indeed it is. But the only other person here is an indestructible posthuman cyborg, so I don't think anybody is going to get hurt." I thought back to my first encounter with Raymond, and how powerful his radiation had been. "At least, not hurt permanently."
"Okay. What do you want me to do."
"Well, right now, someone standing ten feet away from you would get a lethal dose of radiation in an hour. That's an improvement from when we first met, but let's see if you can't rein it in a little more." We were pushing the limits of his power. Might as well push the lower limit first.
He concentrated. He made faces like he really needed to pee. He hopped around like he'd stubbed his toe at relativistic speeds. He stood absolutely still.
"Well," I said, "for the first few seconds, your radiation went down by five percent. Afterwards, it almost doubled, but I'd still call it progress." This was the first time I'd seen him exert an conscious control over his powers at all.
After quite a lot of effort on his part, and quite a lot encouraging statements on my part, he got down to just a few watts of radiation. "Well, many people would be perfectly comfortable approaching you without a HazMat suit. Should we try to probe the upper limits of your power now?"
"I don't think that's such a good idea."
"Are you worried about the bunker collapsing? That seems highly unlikely."
"No, it's just... bad things tend to happen when I glow."
"That's because you glow at inopportune times. If you learn to master it, you can start causing good things to happen."
"Like what? Frying chicken with radiation?"
"That's not what I had in mind, but it seems theoretically possible. I was thinking more like unlimited free energy for mankind, or world peace, or cooking burgers with radiation."
"Are you sure nobody will get hurt?"
"Other than me? Pretty sure."
Raymond raised his hands. He closed his eyes. Time seemed to stand still for a moment. He put his hands down. "I can't do it," he said. "Maybe I can do it later. But not now."
Very well. His powers were one of the most dangerous things on the planet. I wasn't going to push him into territory where he wasn't comfortable. I was perfectly willing to be patient so long as I had other projects to keep me entertained.             


  1. What happened if he was touching in object connected to another object only by a fine string? to What happened if he was touching an

    This was the first time I'd seen him exert an conscious control over his powers at all.to This was the first time I'd seen him exert any

  2. What happened if he was touching in object connected to another object only by a fine string? to What happened if he was touching an

    If came up with a few hypotheses to I came up

    but let's see if you can't reign it in a little more to but let's see if you can't rein

    I spend an hour debugging Noetron and didn't get bored. Interesting.to I spent