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Quantum Mechanics

Dr Archeville

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[[ Continued from the HIT Science & Engineering Lecture Series. ]]

Date: May 24th, 2008

Archeville's alarm, fashioned as most timepieces in his home were to resemble a cuckoo clock, went off at 5:00am, waking him from a light slumber. As he stood under the hot shower, the water gently massaging his body awake, his mind was quickly 'booting up,' checking on what he'd recently done and what he would be doing in both the near and far future.

He then took a leisurely hour-and-a-half long breakfast, one of the few true luxuries he permitted himself. It was, as usual, mostly German food, breads with jam, sausages, eggs and cheeses, but with adequate fruits for balance, and a strong coffee. While eating he watched, listened, and read reports from his numerous newsfeeds concerning events around the world (particularly America, China, England, France, Germany, and Russia), incidents of interest to him (science & technology), the activities of superhumans he keeps track of (Daedalus, the Atoms, the Crime League, the Foundry, the Psions, Shadow, Doc Otaku, the Green Man, and others), and so forth.

We'd best hurry if we're going to get to Port Regal in time!

Eh, the kid can wait. "Anticipation's good for the senses," remember?

Retrieving his Gravimetric Belt and Electromagnetic Screwdriver from their recharging stations -- he'd already put his Armored Labcoat on after dressing, out of habit -- Doctor Archeville set off from his home in Hanover to Port Regal, passing over Kingston and the Centery Narrows. The address given to him was one on the coast, southeast of the Ocean Heights Amusement Park.

In the distance, he could just make out the imposing outline of Providence Asylum. He shuddered, and made a mental note to check on his father.

Once he'd reached the area, finding the place took almost as long as the trip over, as he had to land to check on street signs and small landmarks mentioned on the note given to him but not featured on any official map of the area. He did eventually find the place, getting to the estate at almost exactly 8:00am.

"Ah, good timing!" he said to himself before knocking on the door. He then called out, "Hello? Herr Cale?"

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Darian could have had a better night, but it didn't worry him. He would have company this morning. Preperations started the day before. Nothing would be out of place. The house would be cleaned immaculately. His weekly hair dye would take him from icicle blue to a somewhat light purple. His clothes would be casual: a pair of black slacks and a white long-sleeved t-shirt. Breakfast would be the usual shake of everything that the body needed to get through the morning.

Darian paces through the foyer, listening to some slow, soft violin melody as he waits for his guest. The last time he met with the doctor it felt like his heart was in his throat. Oh, he wanted to be cool and smooth, but it came off more like some demented fanboy that had met his pop idol in person for the first time. He could of said 'derpa diddly derp' the whole time and he probably wouldn't have known the difference. But this time he won't trip over every word. This time he will be professional and enlightened. This time eveything will go according to plan.

Hearing a knock on the door, Darian freezes. Do it now or never, the thought springs him into action. Taking three steps, he opens the door and greets the doctor with a smile and an outstretched hand, "GoodmorningDoctorArcheville!Howareyoutoday?Pleasedocomein!" Still smiling, he mentally facepalms.

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Have I mentioned lately how precious and adorable this kid is?

Myeh. Just hope he doesn't get too annoying.

"Good morning, Herr Cale, hello!" the doktor says as he shakes Darian's hand and walks in. "Quite de nice home you haff here, ja, very nice indeed! So, did you vant to get started right away on discussing your 'life's work'? Or vas dere anything else you vished to discuss first, something to ease my transition into de peculiarities of your own thoughts und methods?"

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Slow down, be yourself, remember that you're not in front of the world, it's just you and him now, Darian's thoughts reprimanded him. He takes a deep breath and exhales, then smiles, "Terribly sorry about the rushed greeting, sir. I was hoping that we could do both at the same time. I am a bit better at showing than talking, as you might have noticed." Stepping towards the hallway, he ushers the doctor towards a staircase leading down, "Right this way, sir."

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This kid better not be leading us down into some sort of trap.

Oh, hush.

"Ah, I understand completely," he replies, nodding. "'A picture is vorth a thousand vords,' ja? But a model or prototype is vorth a thousand pictures!"

When Darian indicated which way to go, Archeville lit up a bit. "Ah, your laboratory und vorkshop is downstairs? So is mine! Vell, mostly -- I haff some access points to de computers scattered about de house."

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Darian smiles wistfully, "Yeah, I wanted to make the whole house into my working area, but I recieved something better." Looking down the staircase he turns to the doctor, "This will take a while." Walking down the staircase, he says in a conversational tone, "You asked me, the other day what I wanted to do with my inventing and I told you," he pauses and sighs, "you told me what I was working on. So, do you have anything planned in the near future?" The staircase seems to go down for what seems like a minute or so, until it stops at a what looks like a giant wall of quicksilver. Darian presses a button on his watch and the mass creates a door sized opening into a library type area, "After you, doctor," he says motioning his head towards the door, keeping his finger on the watch.

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This is a trap, I knew it! He's leading us down to his dungeon of horrors!

Cut it out. I'm sure he's just taking us to his workshop. It's probably just a converted root cellar, or maybe he dug out an expansion to the basement.

"De future? Oh, I haff many, many plans." for a moment his mind raced back to the meeting he'd had with Eric Michaels the previous day, but this was soon followed by a torrent of other plans and ideas. "Von of my immediate projects is dis," he said, pointing the the blue-and-white Kirby-tech belt around his waist. "Mein Gravimetric Belt. As I am sure you know, dis lets my fly, und generates a protective force field around me. I'm always vorking to improve doze two abilities, as vell as add new vons. The main upgrade I'm vorking on now is de ability to travel in space, at light speed no less. Dere is much I vish to see just mitin our own solar system, not to mention de rest of de universe! Und if my technology can help, say, in de construction of permanent bases on de Moon, or Mars, so much de better!"

"I am involved in many projects, dough. Some are de result of... friendly rivalries, shall we say." He reached into a pocket on his labcoat and drew forth his Electromagnetic Screwdriver. After a bit of fiddling with the controls, a palm-sized holographic image of Archeville and a beautiful young woman with long burgundy hair, a light green top, and dark grey skirt. "She calls herself Hexe -- 'Witch' -- und she has helped me on a few occasions in und around mein homeland, first on a case in 2001 vhen a 'Fear-Demon' vas active throughout Europe. A few years ago she und I started a contest of sorts. Ve vould settle upon some effect -- de first year, it was 'shrink a person to de size of a mouse, und den restore dem to normal, all mit no harm to dem' -- dat I vould do mit mein technologies und she vould do mit her 'magic'." Archeville spoke the last word with noticeable disdain. "Vhen ve met back in von year's time, ve vould see who could pull of de effect de best, as judged by a panel of folks whom ve had, together or separately, directly or indirectly, saved over de years, und de vinner gets to choose de next challenge for de following year. Ve haff been even so far -- she has von two, I haff von two, und dere vas von draw." He clicked off the image, then placed the E.S. back into his pocket. "Dis year, dough, I think I vill be winnink; I am certain I shall vin next year's contest. De challenge dis time vas a complex von: to create three items in de style dat a 'Medieval Vizard' might use; at least von of de items must look old and simple und innocuous; at least von must be a vorn item dat is either protective in nature or vhich provides some movement ability, und at least von must be somethink carried in de hand dat has some offensive or manipulatory capability. She may think she has de upper hand in dis competition, but I vill show here, und vhen I do, de contest shall be to create a trio of items dat someone from de future vould vear und use, vhich I do not think her 'magic' can accomodate so vell."

Once they reached the large quicksilver wall, Archeville looks up in wonder. "Dat... is very interestink." When Darian 'activates' it, the doktor's eyes go a bit wider, "dat is very interestink indeed. A teleport? Or a transdimensional bridge?"

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Darian quietly nods along to the doctor's speech, listening to every word on the overly long walk. He smiles at the pretty hologram, taking a mental note on the tone of the doctor uses the word 'magic' with. His heritage aside, Darian wondered if the doctor could accept the techmagus technology schemas. If not he could always blanket the fact that he was just using a little over the top quantum theory. Such a useful backup term that was. Darian smiles ear-to-ear as the doctor comments on the entrance, "Yes sir, it's a very crude wormhole. This is the only way in and out of my work areas," he says nodding towards the watch. "Each area vibrates on a different frequency. There's the library," he turns a dial and presses the button again each time he names off an area, and they show through the doorway, "then there's the chemicals lab, the land vehicle lab, the air vehicle lab, and my current working area, the structures lab." He smiles half-heartedly waiting for the doctor's reaction.

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Clever kid! Nice use of space, very compact.

Too compact! Too separate! Multiple dimensions means multiple chances for failure in the dimensional matrices!

Archeville smiled as Darian flipped through the rooms. "Very nice, Herr Cale, very nice." He reached out and patted Darian on the shoulder, nodding, "again, I see similarities to mein own set-up, though some differences, too. Mein laboratories und vorkshops are set in a 'pocket dimension,' like dese, but I haff all of dem in just von space, not spread out over several. Less isolated, und only von dimensional matrix to maintain und monitor."

"Now, aside from de isolation of being in other dimensions, are dere any other security measures?" The doktor paced back and forth a bit, looking around the frame of the 'door', and at the control in Darian's hand. "I see it is controlled by dat remote, but can anyvon enter vonce activated? Or can only de person holding de remote cross over?"

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"Well," the entrance disappears as he takes his finger off the button and looks outward spacily while pondering, "this IS the only way in," he taps his watch, "but I guess if someone could get the vibrational frequency of the dimension, they could get into that one. But they possibly couldn't guess all of them. Then again, all of them are held in one huge dimension, so they don't all float off into infinity." He blinks out of his spacedness and looks to the doctor. "Perhaps I am putting all of my eggs into one basket," he says questioningly. Turning the dial on the watch a few times and then pressing the button, the quicksilver-like wall opens up an entrance to the library again, "And yes sir, anyone can enter as long as I have my finger on the button here."

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Seems like it wouldn't be too hard to make them all float away like soap bubbles on a gentle breeze... or a harsh wind.

Hey, now, none of that. We're here to help, offer offer constructive criticisms where necessary.

"Vell, if you haff all your eggs in von basket, I suppose it could be said I haff just von giant egg in mein!" he chuckles.

The doktor then turns his attention back to Darian. "So does de remote only vork for you? Coded to your fingerprint or DNA? Or can anyvon use it? I see it is incorporated into your vatch, so de remote is alvays on you, so dat is good, ja? Still, I vould hate to think some common thug breaking into dis house, knock you out, steal your vatch, could come down here, und use it to enter your vorkshops! Unlikely, ja, ja, but dis city seems to have a nasty habit of making unlikely things happen...."

"But, enough of dis for now: I did not come to scare you or tell you how to run your affairs, I am merely offering advice vhere possible. Take of it vhat you vill." He placed his hands on his hips and looked at the portal. "Shall ve go in now?"

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Darian looks shocked at the hypothetical situation that the doctor gives, nervously fidgeting after hearing each horrible act. Luckily he still keeps his finger on the button. He takes a deep breath and exhales away the shocked look, "Y-yes sir, I really do need to make it more secure in here," he says while pulling the watch back closer to himself. "But yeah," he looks toward the entrance way, "as of now, only my family knows of this place. It was my parent's before they gave it to me." He turns the dial again back to the structures lab, "We'll start here. You'll have to go in first, I have to open it from the outside and close it from the inside."

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Mmmm.... fear....

Yeah, yeah, eat up while you can, you won't be getting another chance like that.

"It should not be too hard a thing, Herr Cale," he says. "As I said, a simple DNA-lock on de control should be adequate. I'm sure you could easily incorporate such a measure into dat device. Und if not, I vould only be too happy to help."

He smiled at the teen, then turned back to look at the portal. "Vell, here ve go!" he exclaimed as he leaped in.

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Darian smiles as the doctor leaps into the portal, remembering the first time his parents showed him the passage. He jumps through for old times sake. Landing on the other side, the quicksilver-like wall fades from existance as Darian removes his finger from the watch. What remains is a room full of mechanical devices and gadgets scattered as far as the eye can see. "Forgive me," he sighs, turning to the doctor, "this was something I was working on last night. It fell through." The path way through the mess is not clear, but it is evident. "Computer," he says in a confident manner, "clean up!" The mass of machinery disappears in a flash of purple light, leaving behind empty room of white, as if the room had no background. "But my mistakes are not why you are here," he smiles weakly. "Ever since you," he pauses, "deduced that I was working on a suit of powered armor, I have stepped up production on it." He looks to the doctor suddenly embarassed, "But perhaps I am getting ahead of myself," he says taking off his watch. "Computer: Project 5X0A1L7E0C6I9," he says quickly, as if he knows the sequence of letters and number by heart. In another flash of purple light a table appears out of nowhere, in front of him and the doctor. It holds many parts of what look like watch parts. "M-maybe we should start with something small," he grins to try to hide his embarassment.

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Yes, show me your secrets, boy!

So we can help him.

Archeville chuckled at the sight of the clutter, then let out a slight sigh as it was whisked away. "Oh, I razher liked it de vay it vas -- it looked 'lived in' dat vay. Ach, vell, 'tis probably best dis vay -- organization is important, ja?".

He looked on as the table with watch parts appeared, and studied the table itself a moment. "So are dese being teleported in und out of some separate storage area, or created by an energy-matter conversion process or some manner of nanite 'utility fog'?" His attention then shifted to the components on the table, "und just vhat is Projekt 5X0A1L7E0C6I9?" He rattled off the code just as quickly as Darian had.

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Darian sees the doctor's unhappiness of what he has done, "I can bring it back if you wish, sir. This, like any other place in spacetime has a vibrational frequency. These dimensional areas are just more sensitive. I could bring back the mess you just saw. I could bring back the mess my great-great grandfather made if he left it in here and I find the rght frequency. Then again, I have not perfected it yet. I jot down some of the frequencies to save my work with. It's great for storage." He turns to the table of watch parts, "Well, Project 5X0A1L7E0C6I9 is going to be a little bit of my past projects all together. Project 9X8A3L2E6C2I6 was my watch," he motions to the table in front of them, "Project 6X2A6L2E0C6I6 was the PDA you saw when I first met you," a table full of PDA parts appears in a purple flash of light to their right, "and finally, Project 3X9A3L9E8C9I8 was what miserably failed last night," a table with a laptop pops up the same way the last table did, but to their left. "You mentioned that you'd help with a DNA lock, so, I plan to put all of the smaller projects under one project to safegaurd everything."

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Did you get all of that?

Of course I did!

Archeville smiled as he shook his head, "no, no, no need to bring everyzhing back here. 'Lived-in' is nice, but clutter, not so much."

He looked over the three different tables, then focuses on the last one to appear. He takes a few steps closer, peering closer at the laptop, but kept his hands in his labcoat pockets. "So, just vhat vas last night's projekt, hrm? Und vhy do you consider it a failure? Und, you mean to incorporate all t'ree of dese," he removes one hand from his coat and gestures towards the other two tables, "into von single device?"

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Darian looks to the doctor with a sigh of defeat, "Sir, that project was me trying to record all of my computer's knowledge base into one program. The computer thought I was trying to access more than that, so it accessed every bit of information it could find. I had every computer around the world and to the moon trying to get in that one program. Unfortunately, someone (or maybe many) took my computer's actions as a malicious and retaliated. What you saw all over the floor was my failure. If I had been more careful, that wouldn't have happened." His defeated expression turns into a glimmer of hope in his eyes, "Fortunately, I was able to salvage new things along with some old things," turning to the table with watch parts, "the dimensional frequency transmitter used to be only able to work long enough to carry one person here and back, but from a random program left behind in the wreckage, I found a way to get more stability from it," turning to the table with PDA parts, "I was working on a way to get brainwave-to-brainwave contact out of my brainwave-to-machine signal program, again, a rogue file found in the wreckage was able to help me find that." Looking back to the doctor with a smile, "I told you my computer accessed every computer simultaneously and tried to put it in a program. Here's the kicker: Even though it failed to put it in there, it copied every bit of information it took in and saved it, and it's still saving more. This is why I want to put everything together, sir. To help my comuter learn. To help me learn. To help everyone learn."

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Oh my.

Oh my, indeed. This kid's suddenly become much more interesting!

Archeville's eyes went a bit wide. "Every computer, eh? No vonder you got hit, dere are some very nasty anti-virus und spyvare blockers out dere! My, my... every computer..."

After a moment of quiet thought, he then added, in an almost nonchalant tone, "You haff, of course, checked your own systems, ja? Made sure no one piggy-backed on de signal und copied all of your files?"

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Darian's gleeful look turns to one of surprise and fear once more, "Computer: Diagnostics." A droning voice chimes directly after the command, "Diagnostics complete," with a flash of purple light, a flat-screen monitor pops into Darian's hands. "Oh dear," Darian says, talking more to himself than his guest, "Why did I not think of this right away? Malicious codes are quarantined, my files are all right where I left them, no evidence of tampering since I last worked on them." The monitor leaves the same way it came. Darian clears his throat, looking to the doctor, he tries to project a calm steady voice, but it comes out shaky, "Thank you for alerting me to my humungous oversight, sir. I have jeopordized my own systems because of it. Please forgive my unprofessional attitude."

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Hunh... almost a shame nothing nastier happened to him.

He's scared enough as it is!

"Not a problem, Herr Cale, just do be more careful. Dere are a lot of nasty dings out dere. However..." Archeville pauses a moment in thought, then continues, "no, no, I'm sure it vould haff caught dat...."

The look on Darian's face clearly said "Caught what?!" even if he didn't actually vocalize it.

"Vell, your diagnositc said dere vas no sign of tampering, or deletion, ja? But vhat of mere copying? Vould it catch someone copying, but not stealing, your files, since the originals would technically remain untouched?"

That's not helping!

Sure it is. Teaches him to be more careful in sticking his nose where it might not be welcomed.

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Darian rolls the thought around in his head for a few ackwardly quiet seconds. Snapping out of it, he seems a bit angry at himself, "Well I did put security codes on all of my files. Then again, if what they did was any indication of their skills, a few arcanus trojans are going to be nothing to them." He pauses again, this time shorter, "Computer: scan the network for duplicates of files from drive XALECI." The droning voice answers again, "Copies of drive XALECI noted: Three. Copies of files in drive XALECI noted: 9420."The computer begins to note every single file in triplicate before Darian issues it to cease. "I should have known this would happen," he sighs, depressedly, "Karma at work." Looking to the doctor, tries to fake a smile, "One of those days, eh?"

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'Arcanus trojan'? What the frack's he babbling about?

Well, if you're patient, maybe he'll tell us.

"Dis is von reason I try und live by a modified version of 'de Golden Rule': 'don't invent anyt'ing you vould be opposed to being turned und used on you.' You never know vhen somevon may steal your vork und duplicate it."

Archeville patted Darian reassuringly on the shoulder, "it's also vhy I try to install safeguards und overrides as intrinsic parts of mein gear: in case dey are copied by anozher, chances are good I can shut de copy down as vell as I could shut down mein own gear. I can give you a few pointers on dat, if you'd like."

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"Thank you, sir," Darian nods assuredly. "I do have safeguards on all of my files and drives, but it seems that the influx of information left everything wide open," Darian says as the monitor that was seen earlier returns to his hands. Out of the screen appears a holographic image of a light pen. Darian uses the pen to mark what look like arcane symbols on the screen, "Yes, it appears that they have replaced and repaired themselves." Darian looks to the doctor and smiles, "Then again, more safegaurds never hurt anyone."

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