Thursday, December 22, 2016


By Andrew Darlington

The visuals are imprecise. The evidence inconclusive.

But to Dr Waldo Carew’s acolytes, they provide unimpeachable proof of the disappeared scientist’s final success – even in death. Disembarking from the ageing craft they’d chartered at great personal expense, back from their trip to comet Reykjavik-274, today they wear their vindication with a thinly-disguised smugness reminiscent of their long-lost mentor.

The story of contentious Dr ‘Mad’ Carew’s celebrated exit is one familiar to trivia-devotees of the last decade. But for those not conversant with the minutiae of gossips past, his controversial experiments with Dimensional Quadrature, his abrupt, abrasive manner, and his absolute conviction of his own genius, made him something of science’s Dark Destroyer, its Great Beast, its Enfant Terrible. He polarized opinion within the scientific community to such an extent that his much-ridiculed ‘Time Machine’ project was conversely accepted as an article of faith among his followers. He entered the machine which – he claimed, would rematerialize him ten years into the future… but failed to show on the date predicted, and indeed – has never been seen since.

Wem Walters of the ship’s company explains with infinitely patronizing patience – over the uplink from this vid-conference, how following the scientist’s failure to return, they’d cross-computed Carew’s equations repeatedly, but could find no system-flaws to explain the enigmatic disappearance.

It was only later that the reason became apparent. The movement of the solar system in space, and orbital movement within the solar system itself, determined that when Carew had re-emerged into real-time the Earth was no longer there to receive him! Walters’ eyes illuminate supernaturally as he recounts the excitement of complex subsequent maths with which they attempt to pinpoint the exact location in space in which Carew’s rematerialisation would have occurred. Amazingly, that space was at that time occupied by a small insignificant comet…

Hence the long jaunt in the commissioned spacecraft.

Flashed up in a sequence of perspectives and angles the visuals from Reykjavik-274 seem imprecise, inconclusive. But not to Walters and his fellow acolytes. Imprinted into the irregularities of igneous rock and frozen methane they see the exact form of Dr Waldo Carew. To them, this is his final apotheosis.

Orbiting the solar system on a long parabola taking it out beyond Neptune, Carew is there for ever. His startled expression of shock eternalized in cometary dust.

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