MONTANA, December, 2033
Allison had never been in a helicopter before, let alone an X-3C stealth, private jet helicopter like the one she found herself in. It was a thrill zooming at three hundred fifty miles an hour over the rugged Montana landscape a mere fifty feet above the ground. The X-3C used an advanced version of the terrain recognition software developed for cruise missiles by Raytheon in the early 2010s to follow every twist and turn of a small river cutting through the dense forest. Despite her essential faith in automatic guidance computer technology, there was a gnawing feeling in the pit of her stomach that the four-passenger craft might plummet into the icy water at any moment. It helped to grab on to the arms of the plush captain’s chair she was sitting in so tightly her knuckles turned white.
“It’s gorgeous,” she said seeing the patches of snow and ice clinging to rocky cliffs. They were the last remnants of glacial flows that once enveloped the entire three-thousand-foot mountain on her left.
“You should have seen it before the onslaught of global warming,” Nathaniel said.
Then she gasped. “Oh god!”
The autopilot made a sudden, steep left bank and started heading into the rising terrain. Allison wondered where the digital controls were taking her. Nothing was there — nothing but more rugged terrain. Why did they leave the stream?
Girl, have faith in the technology. She thought. The laser altitude control is making sure we don’t hit the treetops. This is like riding the world’s best invisible roller coaster. Her knuckles got even whiter.
Without warning, they topped a ridge ahead of them, and a small emerald green glacial lake appeared below. Its surface was like a polished mirror, and the autopilot seemed to slow and take a slight turn to the left to avoid disturbing its calmness.
“Wait! Wait! We’re heading toward a craggy cliff. What gives?”
“Christopher!” Allison was convinced something must be wrong with the automatic flight controls because the helicopter continued to head toward the cliff.
“Allison, relax. If you squeeze the arms of the chair any tighter, you’ll break them.” Nathaniel chided, knowing what was about to happen. “Try closing your eyes.”
She did, and magically, the helicopter passed through the cliff. She opened her eyes and realized they went through an enormous holographic field. Nathaniel and Christopher had played a prank on her worthy of any freshman initiation. They knew what was going to happen.
“Damn it! That was a mean trick, not what spiritual people do.”
“Oops! There I go being human again,” Christopher replied.
Two lines of lights illuminated in front of them forming a cross on a small helipad cleverly hidden from both above and below by outcroppings of rock. Even without the holographic cliff, the landing pad was utterly invisible, concealed in shadows cast by the mountain. The entire area was a state-of-the-art example of camouflage and holoimage projection.
Allison let out a sign of relief and noticed color returning to her knuckles. “Unbelievable! That was certainly exciting, but I’m glad we landed!”
“Welcome to the Brotherhood’s Montana facility,” Nathanial laughed. “We don’t charge anything extra for the thrills.”
“Good thing because if you did I’d be flat broke,” Allison countered.
“Come on, let’s go inside. The butlerbot will bring the luggage.”
“Inside?” Allison couldn’t see an entrance anywhere.
Nathanial walked toward the rock cliff and placed his hand on the stone. The rock appeared to recognize him and moved to his left exposing an imposing doorway. “We don’t like to advertise our presence,” he said.
“Obviously,” Christopher remarked, and the group walked through the doorway.
They entered a labyrinth of passageways, sealed doors, and security keypads reminding Christopher of the New York Estate he grew up in. His mother always said James Bond must have been a member of the Brotherhood.
She was right, Christopher thought.
“Let me show you where you’ll be living,” Nathaniel said, thinking Allison and Christopher were tired from the journey.
“I prefer to see my lab,” Christopher responded.
“Of course, follow me.”
Nathaniel walked down the corridor and turned into a long, narrow hallway on the right. It impressed Christopher as being perfectly designed to limit access to a single person at a time. At the end of the hall, he saw why. An imposing 3-D full body recognition field guarded a small elevator. It recognized Nathaniel in an instant and quickly did a retinal scan for double verification. The doors opened, and the three stepped in. Nathaniel thought the destination, and the elevator began descending into the depths of the mountain. “Your lab is five hundred feet down. This will take a few seconds.”
No, better than Bond, Christopher thought.
The elevator doors opened to reveal an expansive space divided into four main areas. Christopher turned to his right and saw a wall of glass enclosing a room filled with rows and rows of computer equipment.
“A Titan 3 system!” Christopher exclaimed.
“A Titan 3? I’ve heard rumors, but I didn’t think they existed?” Allison gently touched Christopher’s shoulder to get his attention.
“Nathaniel gave me some info about it. They’re brand new. Only a few exist. It’s an incredibly powerful hypercomputer capable of nearly nine thousand petaflops.”
Allison knew a petaflop was a quadrillion calculations per second, but she didn’t know a nine thousand petaflop computer was possible.
Christopher continued, “I thought only government laboratories had computers like this. It’s capable of doing incredible calculations. Oak Ridge and CERN use Titans like this to simulate the fundamental forces of the universe. Look at the amount of data storage! It’s massive.” Christopher was referring to the rows of holographic and molecular DNA-based storage devices filling the room. “This is incredible — far better than anything Harvard can offer!”
“We pulled a few strings,” Nathaniel said. “The Ingolstadt Directorate isn’t the only group with influence in Washington. Plus, we’ve obtained copies of the global genome database and the DNA records of people throughout the world. For security, there isn’t any kind of direct data link into this facility. All updates to these databases are done at remote locations and transmitted here over a spooky network. Routine internet access is available, but it comes as quantum encrypted data via another spooky network. To the outside world, it looks like data is coming from a winery in Argentina. There are no standard internet connections into this site.”
“A spooky network?” Allison asked. She thought she was current on every type of computer technology, but this was a new term to her.
Christopher answered, “Spooky network theory isn’t new, but I thought nothing was implemented except for some prototype DARPA research projects.”
Nathaniel said, “The military spun some of their own research off the DARPA work. Spooky nets are being used for the highest level of military and diplomatic communication today.”
“But what is a spooky network?” Allison reiterated in a louder voice.
Christopher explained, “Quantum entanglement was theorized in the 1930s. The basic idea is that when pairs or groups of fundamental particles are generated so the quantum state of any particle depends on another particle, they’re called entangled. A force changing one of the particles also instantly causes a change in the other particle even if they’re separated by millions of miles. Einstein didn’t like this idea and called it spooky action. Since then, it’s even been suggested wormholes are a form of spooky entanglement.”
“Thank you, professor,” Allison said with a hint of sarcasm. “So, I understand where it gets its name, but what’s a spooky net?”
“Suppose you create changes in the first particle with binary information. That would be conveyed to the second particle instantly.”
“The binary information is shared with the second particle! I get it! A computer network!” Allison shouted.
Nathaniel added, “Yes, but a very unique kind of network because it’s impossible for anyone to intercept the binary messages going from particle to particle. It’s one hundred percent secure and one hundred percent invisible to everyone else. It can’t be hacked. There’s no need for the general internet. The Brotherhood has quantum entanglement communications among all its facilities. Inside this facility, we use a selected node LiFi network.”
“I get LiFi,” Allison said. “It’s awesome… a wireless network using light instead of high-frequency radio. It’s totally secure because light doesn’t pass through walls. I’m not sure what you mean by a selected node.”
“It’s technology the Brotherhood developed. It means your data isn’t transmitted everywhere in the building. It only goes to the places you are.”
“I’m not sure what you mean.”
“When you’re in this room, the network sends and receives data to the light nodes in this room, but not in the room next to you. So, other people can’t possibly hack your data.”
“How does it know where I am?”
“Sensors throughout the facility recognize you biometrically. You, not your ComServe, must be physically present to send and receive data.”
“Got it. Pretty impressive.”
“There are some other features we can talk about later. We’ve understood spooky and multi-realm communications for quite some time.”
“Multi-realm? I can only guess what that might be.” Christopher recalled his multi-realm experience in China.
“You’ll discover more about it later. What do you think of what we’ve provided for your computer research?”
“It’s all awe-inspiring,” Christopher observed. “I’m flabbergasted. You foresaw everything I’ll need.”
“Well, I did pay attention to our discussions before you left for China, and I knew what you would discover when you were there. I made some educated guesses about the directions your research would take and the equipment you’d need. Besides, it’s what the Brotherhood does — help you.”
“What are you two talking about?” Allison asked.
“I’ll explain it all later. Let’s look at the rest of the lab,” Christopher said. He turned around and saw a doorway leading into a room with no glass whatsoever. “Where does that go?”
“To a giant Faraday box. No ordinary transverse electromagnetic fields can go in or out. Inside you’ll find everything you’ll need for your scalar wave research.”
“Scalar waves like we did with the caterpillars?” Allison asked, recalling the Harvard experiment that brought Christopher and her together.
“Yes, but on a much larger scale.” Nathaniel opened the metal door. “Follow me.”
As they stepped into the room, Christopher saw an impressive number of signal generators, amplifiers, and large, flat, twenty-first century, Tesla-like coils capable of simultaneously doing hundreds of scalar wave transmissions. “I feel like a kid in a technological candy store.”
“The signal generators can be controlled manually or from the computers,” Nathaniel said. “Come, there’s one more part of the lab you need to see.”
“I don’t know if I can take any more.”
Nathaniel turned around and walked back into the other room. To the left was another glass-enclosed area.
“Looks like a biochemistry lab,” Allison commented.
Nathaniel said, “It’s fully equipped for you to do comprehensive genetic research. Plus, you’ll have several assistants to help you analyze the genetic information you discover.”
“Perfect,” Christopher said, feeling amazed by the thoroughness of the Brotherhood. “You anticipated all my needs. What’s in the fourth area?”
“Your main surprise.”
“Another surprise? Are you kidding!”
“See for yourself.” Nathaniel opened the door revealing an assemblage of sophisticated electronic components surrounding a massive black box with cryogenic tanks next to it.
Christopher wasn’t sure what he was looking at, but Allison noticed a small logo at the top left corner of the black box – QWave. She blurted out, “Fantastic! A quantum computer!”
“Complete with cold-atom-stationary-light memory. We thought this would help you with DNA pattern recognition,” Nathaniel said. It’s the first 1,000,000+ qubit system available anywhere in the world with an entirely new programming interface, and to sweeten up the whole package, we’ve hired QWave’s top researcher. She’s an expert in both the QWave system and how it can be applied to do DNA research. You’ll meet Abby soon.”
“This is unbelievable, Nathaniel,” Christopher gratefully acknowledged. “Thank you so much. The Brotherhood did much more than I could have imagined, much less expected.”
“You’re welcome. We all know your work is essential,” Nathaniel acknowledged. “Now let’s visit your apartments.”
“Absolutely. Lead on.”NEXT