Zero Point Energy Reactor

The Zero Point Energy Reactor
3rd December 2007.
This is the first time I am working for people who are on the right side of the law. This may sound a little strange:
 Because I am a mercenary; I kill for money.
The man I just killed was a potential threat to the entire world. And look at him now; lying on the floor with his mouth open, blood oozing out of a small hole on the right side of his head. Potential threat, my foot.
But he really was a hard man to kill, I must admit, even by my standards. I have never failed in any project so far. But this man… his apartment was a fortress by itself, CCTVs and security gadgets covered a major area of the place, making it almost impossible for anyone to trespass.
But for Mike Adams, nothing is impossible; you can only get close to it. Spending almost a month I devised a plan with the information Nicholas provided me with.
The plan proved to be fruitful.
All devices disabled, when I cornered my prey, he was not surprised. Not one bit.
“I was expecting you. You have come to kill me, isn’t it?” he said in an amused voice.
He mocked me.
The chill in my stare was answer enough.
“How would you kill me? Fire at me? Stab me? Throttle me?”
I brought out my Colt M1911 as a reply. The man’s arrogance was getting on my nerves. What did he think? He could defy death?
He gave out a hysterical laughter seeing my gun and started opening the buttons of his jacket.
He was wearing a vest, lined by wires and ICs.
“See this…” he pointed to his vest. “This vest is supported by the prototype Zero Point  Energy reactor. It does not give electric shock to me, but I can adjust the energy to create a strong field around me…a field impenetrable by any substance on earth. And you can’t touch me without getting scorched.”
I fired.
My first bullet missed him. It followed an erratic trajectory missing him by almost 5 inches.
His maniacal laughter echoed though out the lab.
The next bullet blew his brains off. I would never forget the look of disbelief on his face as the bullet shattered his cranium. It was made of the special alloy Nicholas had given me and was impervious to the Zero Point Energy field. The only material which could penetrate the field.
There is another part of the job. I have to find all the pieces of paper (including toilet paper), and electronic data storage devices in this place, and destroy them. I also have to destroy the Zero- Point Energy reactor. In ordinary circumstances I say no to this kind of jobs. But I made an exception this time.
Because this time…I was hired by the F.B.I.
9th October, 2007.
“It was Newton’s Law which gives us the definition of inertia. But do you know what the cause of inertia is? Where lies its origin?”
Dr. Neil Foster paused for a second, checking the crowd’s reaction. Most of them were journalists and were yawning throughout.
They were hardly interested in a scientific press conference.
Dr. Foster chuckled softly…this lecture was going to change the world.
“It was discovered back in 1994 that inertia arises due to the fluctuations in the Zero Point Energy fluctuations.”
“Now… you must be wandering what this zero point energy is?
Quantum Theory predicts the existence of an underlying sea of zero point energy at every spot of the universe. Zero point energy exists in vacuum at a temperature of zero degrees. It is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanical physical system may have and is the energy of the ground state. This energy is so enormous that most physicists believe that even though zero-point energy seems to be an inescapable consequence of elementary quantum theory, it cannot be physically real.
Dr. Foster paused again to drink some water. He had a ting for dramatics.The audience was now alert. He could feel the anticipation in the air. He could even picture himself with the Nobel Prize.
“If we can tap into the zero point zone we can utilize it as a source of energy. Using the concept of Casimir force (Casimir force is an attraction between parallel metallic plates that can be attributed to a minutely tiny imbalance in the zero-point energy between the plates and the zero-point energy outside the plates.) we can generate a propulsive force without carrying and ejecting propellant. If some asymmetric variation of the Casimir force could be found, one could use it to sail a shuttle through space as if propelled by a kind of quantum fluctuation wind. No fuel required.”
One of the reporters raised his hand.
“You mean to say rockets that won’t need any fuel? Is that plausible?”
“Yes… my friend. Now we can build rockets which won’t need any fuel! Perpetual motion machines are not impossibility now. Mankind has tapped into the infinite source of energy. I, Dr. Neil Foster, have developed the technology to tap into the Zero Point Zone. I present you the Zero Point Energy Reactor, the ultimate solution to the energy crisis on earth.”
Dr. Foster clapped his hands dramatically and images of his design, all the complicated machinery flashed on the screen behind him. The reactor could tap into the zero point zone and utilize its energy for meeting the domestic needs, and also for spacecrafts and automobiles.
Dr. Foster presented the audience (who were frantically taking notes) with the small prototype variety he had developed. As soon as the fund-raising was done, he would undertake the large scale projects.
Next day, the headline of New York Times was
The world is about to change.
20th  October, 2007.
“I have no interest in your offer, Mr. Rice. So won’t it be better if you save your breathe and don’t waste my …our valuable time?”
“Dr. Foster. I am going to make you an offer which you can’t refuse.”
“Please… I never thought a billionaire like you would be stealing dialogues from old gangster movies, Mr. Rice.”
“About 13% of the Hollywood movies are being produced by me each year, Dr. Foster. Anyway let’s get to business.”
Damien Rice cleared his throat. For the first time in 20 years he had rehearsed for a speech…
He had lost his parents when he was eighteen and had started looking after the small scale machine-parts business he inherited from his father. His charming personality, power of persuading people and his uncannily shrewd brain won him several contracts and increased his bank balance manifold. He utilized this to expand his business, and started investing in weapon-manufacturing companies and Hollywood. Within 15 years he was one of the richest persons of America, and within 20…of the world.
His power to convince people was legendary. In the beginning he used to rehearse a speech several times…to talk people into signing the business deals. Within a few years he realized that this came naturally to him. He had no need of rehearsing a speech.
But after he heard of the Zero-Point Energy Reactor…he couldn’t afford to let it go. His secretary had called Dr. Foster for an appointment but he had rudely refused, saying that he didn’t have any time for rubbish. After that Damien called him personally. In the end, Dr. Foster reluctantly granted him 30 minutes of his time.
From the phone conversation, Damien understood that Dr. Foster won’t be an easy man to persuade. He carefully chalked out an offer, rechecked it a countless times to ensure that no one would realize what his true intentions were and rehearsed what he was going to say to persuade the scientist. The Zero Point Energy reactor may be an infinite source of energy, but to him it was an irrefutable source of dollars. He could go to any extent to acquire the technology. In case Dr Foster denied his offer, Damien had a Plan B.
Plan B was sure to work.
“Dr. Foster. You have presented the design of the Reactor that would be required for the manufacture of space shuttle. I estimated the budget…something like 50 million USD. Do you have that amount of money?”
“No I don’t. But I have useful contacts.”
“Wait till you hear my offer. You have built only a prototype generator. And that works fine as it appears from the footage you have given to the media. But the chances of failure are high in such a large scale project? Isn’t it? This is a relatively new concept. And this would need huge amount of manpower. Have you taken that cost into account?”
“Let me inform you that I worked alone in this project. I have only one assistant… Nicholas Richards. Most of the parts I needed were manufactured from various companies across the world.”
“But that was a prototype. It has got the dimensions of a desktop computer’s C.PU. Do you honestly think you can manufacture a space shuttle on your own? And even if your contacts provide you with the required money, have you ever wondered what their reaction would be if your project ends in failure?”
“ My Project won’t fail.”
“You can’t deny that probability.”
“What do you propose?”
“Now we are talking. I see you haven’t touched the whisky Dr. Foster. It’s Mortlach.”
“I don’t drink during any negotiation.”
Damien gave out a sigh…this man was wiser than he had anticipated. He won’t let alcohol blur his mind. This was a strategy that worked in most of the cases.
“My offer is simple. My company will cover all your expenses. You can carry out your space-shuttle project under us. If the project fails…we won’t cut our funds and will allow you to continue your research. You can hire the best brains from the top universities to work with you.
Apart from the shuttle we would back you up with the Zero fuel motor vehicles, aircraft and power generators which you have proposed. You will be getting 40% of the annual profits we make from this stuff. And from what we have estimated that would make you a billionaire like me in 7 years.”
“Your offer is lucrative, no doubt…the best I have received. Everyone else wants a guarantee that my project would succeed. You don’t require that.”
“I hope I didn’t waste your time then?”
“Actually you did. I won’t accept your offer.”
Damien’s eyes narrowed, he was pretty sure that Dr. Foster would accept his offer. Damien hated it when his predictions didn’t turn into reality.
“May I know the reason?”
“You are shrewd man, Mr. Rice. You have set up an offer where there is a high probability of your company sustaining a massive loss. Why would you do that?”
Dr. Foster sneered as he said these... Damien squared his jaws. He hated arrogant persons.
“For science.”
Dr. Foster broke into a sarcastic laughter.
“You have a nice sense of humor Mr. Rice…I know what your real motive is. You have a weapon manufacturing company which supplies arms to the government. But 50% of the weaponry manufactured there, are exported to foreign countries…mostly to the Middle East. Isn’t that right?”
“What are you trying to imply?” Damien hissed. The audacity of the snob was getting on his nerves. How could he know these details?
“You see the zero point energy reactors as potential weapons, nothing else. As soon as I take up your offer, you will force me to build bombs. Zero point energy can be used to make weapons which would make the nuclear bombs hide their face in shame. And you will sell those to the terrorist organizations, won’t you?”
“You are raving. I have no connection with any such…”
“I don’t want to be remembered as the man who led the world to destruction. I am an out and out peace loving person. I would prefer to be remembered as the man who produced an antidote to the energy crisis. And for that I don’t need selfish moneymakers like you.
Thanks for your offer anyway.”
Dr. Foster stormed out of Damien’s office haughtily…
Damien stared coldly as he watched him leave his office. He had failed to persuade someone for the first time in 20 years. He never took his failure sportingly. And more importantly Dr. Foster knew too much about him …
He would make him pay for this.
It was time to implement Plan B.
24th October, 2007.
It was 3 A.M when Nicholas Richards got the phone call. After working for Dr. Foster for 3 years, he was no stranger to his eccentricity. While developing the prototype reactor the doc summoned him to his laboratory at the dead of the night regularly.
Nicholas didn’t complain; he was the scientist’s sole assistant. Dr. Foster had kept mum about the project until it was finished and had carried out every portion the experiment with ultimate secrecy. Nicholas handled all the mechanical and electrical aspects of the job, did whatever the doc asked him to do. Dr. Foster had been his research guide at the MIT, until he got suspended for getting involved in a drunken brawl where a man got killed.
 Dr. Foster personally contacted him after he was released from prison and he gladly accepted the job. He loved machines; the doc paid well and there was an added advantage. He discovered this advantage when he accidentally overheard him talking over the phone. He had the chance of making a great deal of money in future.
He got up from his bed immediately. The doc sounded a bit shaken. He drove as fast as he could to Dr. Foster’s lab.
The lab was completely dark. The only source of light was the eerie blue one that was coming out the safe lying wide open at the centre of the room. The prototype reactor was usually kept in that safe.
Dr. Foster was sitting there…he face sported vacant expression, eyes puffy and red. He was not wearing the protective vest he had developed; and was holding a bottle of beer. Nicholas had never seen the doctor drink before.
The lab looked as if someone had searched it carelessly. Notes were strewn all over the place. One of the LCD monitors was cracked.
“What happened?”
Dr. Foster gave out a dry laugh…
“The prototype is gone.”
“No way.”
“Somebody stole it. He hacked into our security code generator and gained access to the lab. He knew where it was…”
Dr. Foster hurled the bottle at a nearby wall and covered his face, shaking a bit.
Nicholas looked in the direction of the safe where the generator was stored. Anyone who wanted to open the safe had to key in a 16 digit access code. How could anyone possibly guess such a code?
 “They took your notes too?”
Dr. Foster looked at Nicholas incredulously.
“Do you think I am an idiot? My notes are kept in my bedroom…they just took the prototype.”
“When did you find out?”
“I came down some 45 mins back to check a calculation. It was then I saw that the door of the safe was open and the prototype gone. I checked the security log book…someone had entered the lab at 1:45 Am. He had all the pass codes. And as for the retina scan, he jammed the system by destabilizing the transformer. Whoever did it was a pro.”
“Can they produce more reactors using the prototype?”
“It’s almost impossible. Even scientists who are working in this field won’t be able to crack it. However they may be able to use it…I shouldn’t have made this public. This is all my fucking  fault.”
Dr. Foster tugged at his hair…something was eating him from inside, and he couldn’t do anything about it. Nicholas had never seen him so restless.
“So… what’s the big deal? They can’t produce any more of these?
We just have to build another one for our use.”
“You don’t see the big deal? What if they crack the mechanism…What if they make a large scale reactor? Zero Point Energy can used to make bombs that can wipe out an entire continent. Oh!! I just can’t believe my discovery is going to be used for making weapons of mass destruction.”
“You have any idea who did this?”
Dr. Foster nodded grimly.
“I saw bare greed in his eyes. Damien Rice. I know what he really is. How he became a billionaire…I know his secrets. He supplies weapons to terrorist organizations.”
Nicholas could feel his hands sweating. He never expected that someone would steal the reactor. He knew for sure that Rice had no role in it. Did the doc know about…
“He had the guts to break into my lab? It’s time I teach him the proper lesson.”
Dr. Foster rose up from his chair and came near Nicholas…
“It’s time to call Mike Adams. I have already given you the details. This Rice is a potential threat to the world. His elimination is required to ensure the world’s safety.”
“But you are taking the law into your hands doctor.” protested Nicholas.
“The government won’t take any action against Rice. He has got friends in high places.”
Dr. Foster put his hand on Nicholas’ shoulder.
“Make the call.”
The blue light was making the evil glint on the doctor’s eyes even more sinister.
26th October, 2007.
People usually contact me through a dry cleaning shop. They have to leave a black overcoat and say “This is for Mr. Adams.” This has to be done on selected dates only. These dates are declared via the electronic medium. People who have experienced eyes spot them.
The details of the project are given in a pen drive, kept at one of the pockets. I usually get 9or 10 projects per month. Of which I select any one.
However, some of my important clients contact me over the phone. These cases are very rare, usually they come from the people I know beforehand…I was surprised when Nicholas Richards called me.
He explained the project to me, gave me the identity and location of my prey, and consented to meet my demands.
I had no intention of doing the job. This was way below my standards…
Then after an hour, I got another call…
That phone call changed the entire scenario.
5th December, 2007.
It took a simple jab at his thyroid cartilage to kill Nicholas Richards. I had told him that I would receive my payments from him directly. He was waiting at the alley I had directed him to…I tapped his shoulder from behind.
He was dead before he could turn around.
I took the briefcase from him…and checked it. It contained 5 million USD. Now was the time to elude the eyes of the F.B.I. I was sure that they won’t let me go. They knew my location…and the moment I finished the job, they would corner me.
But I am too old a bird to be caught with chaff. I had brought a ticket to South Africa, and given that I myself worked at the F.B.I once, I knew they would be waiting at the JFK airport for me.
I had decided to go to Kansas, hidden a truck of hay…It was an ideal place to take rest, and think about another base of operations. I couldn’t use the dry-cleaning shop any more.
I lay on my back, gazing up at the sky as the truck speeded towards Kansas. I tried to think about my project from the beginning. I had the habit of writing down the details of all my projects…may be someday I could publish it under a pseudonym.
Dr. Foster was not as peace-loving as he pretended to be. He was a sucker for money. He had already designed a bomb using his zero point energy reactor…it would need no fuels, no nuclear materials and was 10 times the capacity of any existing nuclear bomb. Dr. Foster had hacked into Damien Rice’s personal computer and gained access to all the people who bought weapons from him, mostly terrorists from different parts of the world. He contacted those people and arranged an auction for selling his bombs. A terrorist organization from the Middle-East decided to sponsor his projects and made a deal to pay him an unimaginable amount of money when the bomb was fully developed.
His thirst for money satiated, he now concentrated on his hunger for glory. He wanted the world to remember him as the next Einstein. But if somebody discovered his link to the bomb, that won’t be possible. So he announced that the prototype was stolen from him and it may be possible for people to produce more reactors from the prototype.
However he knew from the beginning that Damien Rice was a cunning and powerful opponent. He won’t take his loss of contracts sportingly.
So Dr. Foster decided to employ me to kill Rice.
The equation had more unknowns than he had expected.
Nicholas had overheard his conversation with the terrorist group and came to know of the doc’s plans. He immediately chalked out a plan for himself.
He contacted Rice and told him the doc’s plans. He offered Rice to bring the blue print of the bomb and the prototype in return of a large amount of dollars.
Before accepting the offer, Rice decided to persuade the doctor himself…but as he failed, he made the deal with Nicholas. This was his plan B.
There was another thing Dr. Foster didn’t know… ever since the public announcement about the reactor, the F.B.I had been monitoring each and every one of his steps. They had been trying to tap his calls…which were very difficult job as the doc had every possible measure to ensure his privacy. But eventually the F.B.I succeeded. They came to know of the doctor’s plan. But legally they couldn’t take any action against him. Americans can’t spy on fellow Americans on the American soil.
But when Nicholas contacted me over the phone and told me to kill Dr. Foster instead of Rice, F.B.I got my number…and decided to give me the job.
They told me to kill both Dr. Foster and Nicholas. And they also told me the reasons…
I only kill people who don’t deserve to live; who makes lives of others deplorable. From the details the F.BI gave me, Dr. Foster was so blind with greed that he never cared for his planet. He definitely didn’t deserve to live. Same was the case with Nicholas. He may have stolen the blue-prints of the design and sold it to Damien…however with the prototype reactor destroyed, those designs were meaningless. Nicholas had been the professor’s aide from the beginning. He was the only one who could have assembled another prototype.
“We have to ensure the safety of America; of the world…we are not ready for the zero point energy now. I hope that whoever next discovers this tech, would be a good human being and would concentrate on utilizing the energy for the benefit of mankind. As of now we got to destroy it” Said the guys from F.B.I.
They had got the information about Damien’s weapon buyers by hacking the doc’s computer…Damien was one of the highest tax payers of the country. They couldn’t touch him. But at least they knew who his clients were.
So I decided to double cross Nicholas, collected all the information about the doctor from him. He gave me the alloy which could penetrate the field. I spent a month keeping watch on the doc devising my plan to enter into his fortress of a lab.
And then on 3rd Dec, I killed him and destroyed all his notes and the reactor.
Sometimes it perplexes me, the complexity of the human mind…and its vulnerability to greed.
Dr. Foster would have earned enough money and glory in a legal manner. He could have solved the alarming fossil fuel crisis.
 Why the fuck did he have to make bombs? Why did he use the reactor for the betterment of mankind? Why didn’t he care about the safety of the world? Why didn’t Nicholas contact the F.B.I instead of Rice?
Why is it that greed and selfishness always get the better of us?
To some questions, no matter how hard you try, you can never furnish answers…

This was one of the first stories i wrote...it got the third prize in Srijan 2009, the tech fest of JU...Guess who the judge was.

Amitabh Ghosh.