A Novel by
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Although he had been president for slightly over three years, this was his first real crisis with the Secret Service. What surprised him most was the rough handling. He had always assumed that the agents would shield him as he was hustled away safely under his own power. What he had not been expecting was for his diligent security force to literally snatch him up off the ground and transport him at a dead run, straight into the waiting express elevator.
But that was not the end of the surprises: although President Jefferson Phelps had been briefed on the existence of the Executive Survival System, or ESS, he had never actually been down into the bunker. The speed of the plunging elevator was fast enough to achieve half-gravity. With his lunch struggling to escape his esophagus, he tried to regain his composure, or at least pretend to.
“What’s the situation, Mack?” He used the SAIC’s first name, his voice cracking slightly as the agents released their grip on him.
“He is descending rapidly, directly over the White House, roughly two hundred thousand feet in altitude.” Senior Agent in Charge Mulligan reported dutifully as the doors slid open. More hustling and the President found himself roughly deposited in the Situation Room
“What the hell is he doing?” President Phelps asked as he watched data flash across the multiple screens that covered an entire wall. Every printer in the bunker was churning out document after document. He had no way of knowing it, but the same event was occurring all over the world as the virus forced its content into home computers and government supercomputers alike. Adjusting the reading glasses that perched on his nose, he tried to decipher what he was seeing.
“These are Iranian Nuclear Council documents, all top secret!” The Commander in Navy dress blues was alarmed.
“These are Russian…I think?” Phelps mumbled as the Cyrillic characters flashed past.
“These are all from MI-5.” Someone else down the line noted as he perused a printout.
“Sir, these are our enemies’ secrets. All of them…” The technical advisor who managed the bunker turned to his President.
“That’s good, right?” Phelps asked, uncertain by the looks on their faces.
“Sir,” The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs stepped forward aggressively. “If this is what he is showing us, then what is he divulging to our enemies?”
“Mister President,” The technical specialist cut back into the conversation, “We are showing data-flow in both directions, we’re not the only ones being flooded with classified materials. We believe he is airing our dirty laundry to the whole world, literally posting our deepest, darkest secrets on the internet where anyone can read it. I am showing RedBack servers all across the country being flooded with data. He even cracked Google and spidered the sources to make it accessible to anyone with a computer, then encrypted the backlinks so we can’t find the actual content. It’s fucking brilliant.” The techie was clearly impressed with what he saw happening before them. Petabytes of classified data were flowing freely all over the world and there was nothing they could do to staunch the flow. With almost every computer in the world plugged into an always-on broadband connection, the virus was free to virtually host its content on any hard drive or even in system RAM. The information was everywhere, and not just theirs. The virus had examined their files thoroughly before seeking out their enemies and sharing their data as well.
Summoning up his most presidential gravitas, he turned to his military advisor.
“Shoot him down!” Nothing more was needed to be said. His military henchmen would translate the order into a formal battle plan and execute it with precision. A simple phone call would in turn scramble a formation of F22s with a classified payload. Streaking to 38,000 feet, they would release their ASAT165 missiles in a massive salvo.
With the air around them thick with electronic counter measures, the missiles climbed ever higher still as their intelligent warheads guided them to the only target they could see. There, high above, the object plunged towards them from high in the thermosphere. Closer and closer they drew until their proximity detectors told them they were within detonation range of their target. In a flash of light that was plainly visible to anyone in Washington DC, the capsule detonated like a distant supernova. From that altitude it took several minutes for the wreckage to plunge earthward as it trailed flames and plasma before finally coming to rest in the waters of the Washington Memorial.
Bent and burnt, the capsule laid steaming in the water. The wreck had come to rest not fifty yards from a group of camera-snapping tourists who recorded every detail of the event. Within seconds it was being shared thousands of times across the internet. Then the frenzy began to spread across the entire city as people realized it was raining money. Millions and millions of charred Benjamins fluttered down onto the citizens below.
Knowing there could be no denial of the events, President Phelps and his spin doctors wasted no time in ensuring that the world knew exactly what had happened. At a press conference set up within sight of the crash site, the leader of the free world leaned on his fists and looked the American people directly in the eye before beginning.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, citizens of the United States of America, today our brave military forces have thwarted an adversary who threatened our very way of life. This man was a terrorist who infiltrated our security systems, compromised years of Intelligence gathering, then went on to present a clear and present danger to the entire District of Columbia, as well as an even larger threat to the United States and her proud citizens. I am relieved to tell you that this man, one Jack E Sparks, is confirmed dead at this time.”
364 days earlier
Deputy Tom Nelson hated the graveyard shift. Longing for the action of swing shift, he scowled at the thought of spending his next shift rotation in darkness. Bored senseless, his mind tried to think of a distraction. At that time of morning, it was too late for the bar crowds, and too early for the morning commuters. With the sky at its darkest point before the dawn, he was sure that he would die of boredom before the sun shone again.
Parked by the side of the road, he had left the radar gun active in its holster. Although there had not been a car in more than thirty minutes, he felt obligated to at least make the effort. Frowning in the deafening silence of the night, Deputy Nelson could not help but feel as if he were drawing a salary for doing absolutely nothing.
It was at that moment that he felt his vehicle shudder, as if a truck had passed him at great speed. But there had been no indication of a vehicle? No headlights, no sound of an approaching vehicle, just the sudden gust of wind. He was about to turn back to the computer terminal that occupied part of his dashboard when he noticed the flashing numbers on his radar gun.
“One thirty-six?” He was stunned for a moment until he remembered what his predecessor had told him in confidence.
“I ain’t shittin’ ya,” Deputy Bob Hansen had insisted as he furrowed his monobrow. “There’s a phantom car out there runnin’ the interstate late at night. Just blows past ya like a ghost in the darkness. I tried to tell the Sherriff about it, but he said I was nuts.”
At the time Deputy Nelson had simply assumed his friend was a weak-minded fool. But now he was beginning to reevaluate that thought. Gunning the patrol car into action, he quickly accelerated to top speed. Through the steering wheel he could feel the sheer power of the magnificent Interceptor engine beneath the hood of his patrol car. Shooting along in the darkness, he was just beginning to think he was chasing the wind when he finally caught his first glimpse of the fleeing vehicle in the distance.
“Aha!” The young deputy shouted out as he gave the dashboard a thump with a gleeful fist. “I’m gonna nab the Phantom of I-ninety-five!”
Switching on his flashing lights, he pressed the accelerator to the floor as he tried to catch up with the speeding vehicle ahead.
At 140mph the car was remarkably quiet. Besides the howl of wind against the windows, there was no engine noise to tip off the occupant of their actual speed. Other than the abrupt lane changes as the auto-nav system selected a new path, the vehicle sped along down the highway undisturbed. With absolute confidence in the vehicle’s navigational system, Jack E Sparks focused his attention on the control panel before him. Having made this dry-run many times before, he knew the clock was ticking. There was only a finite amount of road, and at his speed he was using it up awful fast.
With deft hands he made a series of switch adjustments before his hand finally hovered over the big red switch. As his eyes watched, the last of the status lights along the top of the panel finally turned green. With a nervous smile, he prepared to throw the breaker when he spotted the flashing lights far, far behind him.
“Oh shizakoff!” he uttered the words. Turning back to the control panel, he did the only thing he could do.
With an audible click, the big red switch closed the final circuit. Deep in the framework of the car there was a distinct click. Glancing up at his rear-view mirror once more, Jack could see the patrol car gaining on him fast. Wasting no time, he adjusted the slider in the center of the home-built control panel. Not seeing any results, he desperately pushed the slider further still.
“Trigger, don’t fail me now!” He gave his voice a twang as he begged the vehicle to perform. Unsure what could have gone wrong, he felt a growing sense of panic as the flashing lights filled his mirror. Giving a grimace, he finally shoved the slider the rest of the way.
That’s when he felt the unmistakable sound of metal being bent and torn. With a deep frown forming on his face, Jack was horrified as he tried to understand what could possibly have gone so wrong. His hand was just reaching for the slider one more time when everything changed.
Deputy Nelson gritted his teeth as he closed on the Phantom. Aiming his handheld spotlight at the back of the speeding vehicle, he was absolutely aggressive as he moved in close enough to stab the beam through the tinted windows. Shouting loud enough to impart bits of spittle on the windshield, the Deputy screamed for the other driver to pull over immediately.
Dropping back slightly, he had just centered his spotlight on the rear window when the car seemed to lift up off of the ground. As his eyes blinked with surprise, the Phantom’s car continued to rise up into the inky-dark sky.
“Whoah!” His mouth hung open as he craned his neck around in an effort to see where his quarry had gone. Completely absorbed in what had just happened, the young patrolman almost drove off of the road. Finally bringing his speeding car to a halt, he spun around and went back to look for the wreck that must surely be smoldering by the side of the road.
Back and forth he crossed that stretch of road five times. With his spotlight searching the landscape fruitlessly, he found no sign whatsoever of the Phantom’s car. Flustered, he turned his attention to the camcorder mounted on his dashboard. Flipping out the viewfinder, he was surprised to see that the device had been turned off during the entire encounter.
“Dammit!” He swore. Now nobody’s gonna believe me about this crap.”
Just fifty feet above, Jack’s car had finally drifted to a stop after a few hundred yards. The entire time the inventor had been bracing for the impact that was sure to come. At one point he had even let out a shriek as he flew past one of the big green highway signs.
But it had taken him several minutes to realize he was not about to plummet to a fiery death. Glancing out the windows, he was surprised to be hovering just a short clip above the turnoff to Miller’s Creek. Looking up the road, he could see the patrol car as it ran a thorough search pattern. Like a bloodhound, the Deputy relentlessly scoured the countryside for Jack. Shining his light in every direction but straight up, the lawman actually passed under Jack twice before finally turning back towards town.
“Hmmmph.” Jack nodded with surprise as he watched Nelson drive away. Satisfied that he was safe to reverse the process, the inventor was anxious to get the test-bed home for further examination. As much as he was thrilled to have hovered more than a ton of car, it was not at all what he had been trying to achieve. The device mounted in the trunk had been designed as an alternative to an Ion engine. Engineered to provide a miniscule amount of propulsion, the incremental acceleration could drive space ships much faster than modern rockets. Unfortunately, due to the microscopic force of the device, the engine could only be tested at high speeds where its subtle impulse could be measured. Hence the late-night speed run.
Sure that the deputy was gone for good, Jack finally settled the vehicle down on the off-ramp. Immediately he disabled the prototype before turning for home. With his mind running at full speed, he desperately wanted to tear into the experiment and see what could have possibly gone so wrong.
“Right after I change my shorts.” Jack grumbled as he shifted in his seat uncomfortably.
Billie Holiday’s deliciously raspy voice echoed through the lab as if the walls themselves were speakers. In truth they were, or more specifically their nano-oscilations resonated to produce the exact sound of the legendary jazz diva’s musical tones. It had taken weeks to get the exact frequency, but once he did, it was as if the walls were ringing in Billie’s Blues.
“Sing it, baby.” Jack closed his eyes and tried his best to absorb every note. The song was only a few bars from ending, and who knows what the jukebox would play next. With terabytes of music in the collection, set for random play, there was no telling what would pop out of the walls next. He might not hear any more Billie Holiday for weeks. He had to be sure to soak up every single note while he could.
As the jukebox switched to BB King, Jack gave a smile of wonderment at his little invention. It amazed him that although he had the intellect to create the Sonic Cannon from conception to prototype, all he had done with it thus far was to shout obscenities at other cars in traffic. In fact, that was precisely why the device had been invented for in the first place. Really more of an audible lazer, the Sonic Cannon compressed sound waves into a confined beam that resonated off car windows and outer surfaces. For those people inside of the vehicle, it was as if there was a loud, obscene Tourettes patient in the passenger seat beside them. His favorite use for the device had been to play 119db worth of Polka music for the punks who enjoyed blasting the Rap music with their windows open. It seemed almost karmic justice to saturate them with disco so loud that it made their windows rattle. But the true beauty of the Cannon was that that aside from a small whistling sound, the device was inaudible to the surrounding vehicles. Only those within the target vehicle could hear the intense audio bombardment. Beyond that he had found the device invaluable for making pointed suggestions to other drivers.
“Some genius you are,” he muttered to himself as he listened to BB King pick Lucille’s strings, “took you six months to figure out something to use the thing for besides calling people assholes.” Shrugging it off, he turned to the next project in the line of experiments that wound their way around the basement laboratory. Such had been his life for the last decade; rise in the morning, work all day, work most of the night, sleep for six hours exactly, then start the cycle over again. Aside from Brewday Fridays, which was an event sponsored by his neighbor Sonny, the inventor rarely left his basement workshop. There were just too many projects going. Anything to keep from going upstairs…
“Good morning Philip, how’re ya charging?” He announced as he arrived at the cluttered workstation, third from the left. Not seeing what he was looking for, he glanced under the lampshade and spotted the beetle that perched there. In response, the insect waved half of its shell. Light glinted off of the circuitry of the tiny solar cells that powered the electronic insect.
A quick glance at the nearby computer screen told him that the new surveillance subroutines were working as designed. The beetle had artificial intelligence sufficient enough to know when to observe, and when to charge its batteries. Although sunlight was preferable, most light bulbs emitted sufficient energy to charge his miniature devices. Where he took the hit on battery power was all of the moving about from location to location. Although he was satisfied with the design, the energy requirements of four articulated legs limited the drones' range significantly. A problem he was still working on.
Lacking any formal education past high school, Jack had always considered college something for people who were too dim to pick it up on their own. The truth was that he found conventional educational programs to be painfully slow. Where most people would spend years in college to learn a profession, Jack would absorb twice that in just a few weeks. It had been something that set him apart from the rest of the world since his earliest memories. Jack E Sparks was not like other people. It was only down here in the privacy of his basement workshop did he truly feel that he belonged. The world above was just too much drama for the inventor.
The next experimental bay was bigger than the others due largely to the extensive shielding that ran the entire width of the room. It was the EMP Cannon. Designed to deliver a quick electromagnetic pulse sufficient to shut down an entire vehicle. Like the Sonic Cannon, the EMP Cannon was designed for use in traffic, mainly to avoid traffic tickets. Mated with a radar proximity detector, the device auto-armed at the merest hint of the Fuzz. But in truth, Jack's favorite use of the device was tailgaters; he had sent more than a few overly aggressive drivers to the back of the line for their rude behavior. He especially hated big trucks and people who used those annoying blue headlights.
“Piece of crap.” He muttered at the ridiculously big capacitor that was currently connected to the device. It was here that Jack had been stalled. Logically, more power should have given the device more range. But for reasons he had yet to understand, his EMP Cannon was limited to a range of 7 meters. Beyond that distance the pulse seemed to morph into electromagnetic noise, similar to military ECM jammers [Electronic Counter Measures], but impossible to burn through with conventional ECCM equipment [Electronic Counter-Counter Measures]. Never a fan of having his inventions weaponized, he had kept this one for himself.
But the military applications were only of a passing interest to Jack. The EMP cannon had been built for his own needs, not commercial applications. In one train of thought he was actually glad for the 7 meter limit. Were it effective over a wider area, it could be a terrible weapon of mass destruction capable of sending them all back to the Stone Age. No, Jack did not want to destroy the world, so long as the world left him well enough alone. He simply did not want any more points on his license. As most readers have likely surmised by this point, Jack Elijiah Sparks was a bit of an aggressive driver. It was a Jekyll and Hyde effect not entirely uncommon among American drivers; Lambs afoot, wolves behind the wheel. Despite his intellect, Jack found himself evermore frustrated by driving on California freeways.
“You stay out of there, Stan.” Jack reached down and plucked the June bug off the shielding. Something seemed amiss with his tiny invention. The inventor squinted carefully at the squirming bug as he gave it a once over. It took a few seconds for him to realize that the drone in his hand looked unfamiliar because it was in fact, not a drone, but a real June bug.
“Ewwww!” He gave a shocked look of surprise as he deposited the creature into the glass containment capsule where dozens of other June bugs crawled about in an artificial environment.
“Real bugs are just for looking at, not touching.” He grumbled as he wiped his fingers on his lab coat. The colony had in fact been used for inspiration in building his own drones, and from a distance they were nearly indistinguishable. Who to better teach a bug how to walk than a real bug? Though in truth the Cotinis mutabilis was a beetle, not a bug.
It was experiment #2015.3.2 that caught his eye. It had taken hours to removed the twisted device from the trunk of his car. For reasons he was at a loss to explain, the space-engine had wretched itself sideways, leaving the mounting brackets bent almost 90 degrees from their original position.
Most of the indicators were green, but the power supply to the field bypass unit was down. It was the curious blue energy that seemed to be seeping out the seams of the alignment unit that gave him pause. Grimacing, he reached out to switch the unit off. It surprised him that the unit bobbed and seemed to float away when his finger contacted the surface. Seeing it drift lazily into the lab station’s partitioned wall, he immediately began to examine the phenomenon. It only took a few seconds for him to notice that the entire experiment was floating on a tiny cushion of air. No more than a few centimeters in altitude at its highest point, the device leaned a little to one side as it seemed to hang in mid air.
“What the frack?” He mumbled. Although he had experienced it for himself earlier that morning, he was still astounded by the sight.
What followed in the next hours was nothing short of an exhaustive battery of tests and diagnostics. Originally designed as an inexpensive alternative to an Ion engine, experiment 2015.3.2 had utterly failed to that end. However, this accidental anomaly more than made up for any shortcomings. Jack’s grin grew to madman proportions as the tests wore on. The closer he came to absolute confirmation of what he suspected, the giddier he became. Although in truth the elation could have been due to a lack of sleep. In the windowless environment of his basement laboratory it was easy to lose track of time. He had lost years down there. Most days he kept track of time by the pots of coffee consumed.
Finally he sat back with a contented smile. The verification process complete, he was now absolutely certain about experiment 2015.3.2.
“Jackie boy, accidental or not, you have just created the single most important invention since the light bulb.” He raised his voice an octave and threw in a twang to impersonate his neighbor Sonny, “You done gone and invented antigravity. Sheeeeiiittt.”
No sooner had he said it than the cellar door clanged open at the top of the stairs. Long spindly legs worked their way down the steps as the owner carefully balanced a pitcher and mugs on a tray. Dark skin contrasted sharply with the white hair. He had long since given up on his battle with gray hair, reckoning that before much longer he would simply look like his last name implied.
“Happy Brewday!” With a smile Sonny Winters held up his latest beer. A craggy smile split his ebony face nearly in half. When Sonny showed that much ivory it was hard to not smile back. The man had an infectious way about him.
Jack was more than a little surprised, due largely to his belief that it was only Monday.
“Friday?” he considered it as he watched his neighbor’s dark hands deftly maneuver the tray into the only open counter space in the entire lab.
“Did you go and lose a week again?” Sonny raised an eyebrow. After sixteen years as neighbors, he knew how Jackie was. It was fortunate that the inventor could make a living off his work because Sonny seriously doubted his friend could ever hold down a day job with his bizarre work habits.
“Sonny, you are here at a most historic moment.” With a grin Jack promised his friend a true revelation before switching on a nearby video camera.
“We ain’t gonna catch on fire this time, is we?” Sonny raised a frosted eyebrow as he poured a mug of ale.
“No fire. Lookit.” More than a little sleep deprived, the inventor gestured urgently to experiment 2015.3.2. But Sonny would have none of it until he was finished dispensing the frosted mugs to his young friend.
Jack accepted his mug with a raised eyebrow, knowing that his stubborn friend would not allow the scene to progress otherwise. Like the inventor, Sonny had a new creation to show off. Taking a healthy swig, Jack was delighted at the smoothness of the beer as it went, followed by a brandyish fire in the belly.
Wow! That’s tasty.” He was truly amazed as he was momentarily distracted by the golden elixir in his hand.
“Oh yeaaah.” Sonny gave a satisfied smile as he sucked down half a mug of his own concoction. “Technically, by American standards, this is not really beer. Alcohol content is too high, qualifies as an ale. But over in Bavaria this would just be another beer. That’s why American beer sucks so bad, because we let the danged FDA regulate our damn beer, our very life’s blood, mother’s milk. Taint’ right. We’re the most powerful nation in the history of the world and yet our beer mostly tastes like weak piss. How is that right, I ask you?”
“Even the commies make better liquor than us…” Jack muttered under his breath, knowing what would come next.
“Even the damned commies make better liquor than us,” Sonny intoned, “Y’know why? Because the government don’t fuck with the guys who make the Vodka. Them Soviets fucked with everyone else, but they always left the Vodka makers alone because they knew which side their bread was buttered on; it’s a fact.”
Jack was relieved when his friend paused in his usual diatribe to take another long pull on his mug. Using the intermission, he diverted Sonny’s attention to the levitating equipment. After hours of experimentations on all of the variables involved, it was easy for him to levitate the device a meter off the ground. Waving his hand under the device as if he were a magician revealing his trick, he gave the assembly a shove to show that it was anchored by nothing more than the power cord that dangled to one side.
“Well sheeeeiiittt, you gone and done invented antigravity, ain’t you?” Sonny was truly impressed.
“It’s really a tetrionic field that shields the equipment from the effects of gravity. Not really antigravity, that would take waaaaay more power, huge amounts of power to attack the problem directly. This is really more of a back door cheat actually. And the best part is that it requires only a miniscule amount of power to operate. That piece of equipment there weighs forty-two kilos, but requires roughly the power of a nine volt battery to stay aloft for sixty seconds. The real trick was in the conversion from direct current to Blue energy. That’s what makes the resonators work. No resonators, no field.”
“So we finally gonna get some flying cars in my lifetime?” Sonny mused happily, “They been promising us flying cars since I was a little kid. About damned time I say.”
“Sonny, this isn’t just flying cars.” Jack reassured his friend with a secretive smile. “Antigravity will completely change the entire world paradigm of travel. Not just cars, but airliners and trains and even spaceflight. After all, the greatest barrier to space exploration is the first sixty miles. This invention will cut the price of shipping worldwide, make air travel safe, and let us explore the stars. The effects of this invention will be so profound... ” The inventor trailed off in thought as he imagined his future world.
“Make a helluva weapons platform too. Put this in a backpack and you could have an army that flies without needin’ airplanes. Ten thousand men could descend on the enemy like ninjas in the darkness.” Sonny’s military experience was distant, but he still thought in those terms. “America could build some seriously kickass jet fighters with somethin’ like that. We’d own this planet.”
“No,” Jack’s expression said that he disagreed with that idea intently. “It would only be valuable as a weapon if it were obtained exclusively. That would mean keeping it secret which would mean it’d be twenty years before the world could use it for space travel. The war hawks have enough weapons, they don’t need mine.”
Reclining in an office chair, Sonny put his heels up on the edge of a counter as he relaxed with a fresh mug of beer. With one eyebrow raised higher than the other, he evaluated his friend skeptically. Such had been their relationship for many years. Though Sonny came off as a huckster, he had always impressed Jack with his sagely wisdom.
“Y’all do understand that if this thing works like you say it do, then there ain’t a nation on this planet that wouldn’t put your severed head in a box for this secret. Prolly a few dozen mega corporations that would do it too. Betcha Wal-Mart sure as hell would. Them folks is ruthless. Even if our government didn’t steal it, some other one would. Hell, America would hafta take it just to keep them other folks from getting’ to it first.”
It was a wrinkle that Jack had not yet considered. Despite the massive processing power of Jack’s mind, he had been so engrossed in the possible applications that he found it almost inconceivable that anyone would intentionally deprive the world of such an invention. Yet he knew in the back of his mind that the things his friend said were true. Antigravity would indeed be that cosmically powerful in its potential applications. Even more staggering was the thought of what it would do to the economy of the nations that developed it. Quadrillions of dollars, Euros, and yen were at stake. Antigravity would be the next great market, and the nation that possessed it would dominate the planet for the next three decades.
It was with that thought in mind that Jack drifted off into deep sleep, right there in his battered office chair. Between the sleep deprivation and the power of Sonny’s ale, he never stood a chance once the Adrenalin wore off.
The mind being the creative tool that it is, Jack's dreaming mind regaled him with dozens of scenarios as it performed its nightly maintenance on his synaptic fibers. As if held captive by his own Cerebellum, the inventor rode the seemingly eternal roller-coaster of bad dreams. Government conspiracies, secret umbrella corporations, and evil men afoot caused him to wake ten hours later with a jolt. The pitcher and mugs were long gone, as was Sonny who had taken the time to cover his friend with a blanket before departing.
Sitting forward in the old chair, Jack could still feel the grip of the dream he had just escaped from. Although it had only been his imagination he knew one thing was true; anyone who wanted exclusive control of the technology would not stop at just stealing the plans. They would need to ensure that Jack could not reveal that knowledge to anyone else, ever again. In simpler terms, once they had his invention they would need to make Jack disappear forever.
The thought made him shudder. He was one man against entire nations. He had no way to effectively resist. Moreover it angered him to think that he could have his invention stolen. Sonny had been right, there were no lengths too far when it came to an invention like this. They could take it in the dark of the night, or under the guise of national security. Even snatch the patent out of the patent office. While he may have had altruistic intentions for his invention, he had nonetheless hoped to get rich along the way. Who doesn’t? Now he doubted he would live long enough to ever cash in on his revelation.
“Bastages!” He grumbled.