The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1

Cat’s theory of nothingness

It was the late Summer of 2225. We were experiencing what in olden days was known as an ‘Indian Summer’. Temperatures had regularly peaked at 47 degrees every day for well over a month and there had been little rain. Use of real water for showers had been banned and the use of sonic showers to keep clean had become the norm. Sonic showers did the job, you certainly were clean after one and it stopped you smelling. However, they did not refresh you as a real luke-warm water shower did on a hot, sticky morning or evening. Of course ever since India had been incorporated into Amazonia, the term Indian Summer had started to be used less. Long hot Summers now tended to be referred to as ‘Amazons’.

Cat and I were between missions. Things had been quiet for a while now, with very few major tax evasions or alien incursions into our lives. It was almost as if Tax HQ had abandoned us. Both of us had resorted to hobbies to keep ourselves occupied. For Cat, this meant preparing for the viva voce for his latest Doctoral thesis on ‘The Theory of Nothingness’. This research topic was something he had been working on for quite some time now and I have to say, he had persistently driven me nuts with his desire to explain his theory to me. He believed that what he had come up with built on the theories of Einstein, Hawking, Bukit, and Jayesh-Mkri to effectively provide an explanation for the creation of the Universe. I, personally, thought it was just so much bullshit and delighted in telling him so. After all, I had frequently said to be him,

“How can something new be created from nothing?”

His response was usually along the lines of,

“You’re a moron. I would not expect you to understand.”

He would then normally spend ages air writing lines of formula that he claimed proved that something could be created from nothing. To me, his formulaic hieroglyphics could have been an order for a takeaway for all I knew. I had recently  told him,

“Look ‘Professor Cat’, when there’s nothing, there’s nothing right? When there’s something there’s something. Not nothing. As something is something, it can’t be nothing, can it?. So it follows that you can’t make something out of nothing no matter what your hieroglyphic ramblings mean!”

At this Cat would usually emit the heaviest of sighs and, after turning his eyes up to the heavens, quietly say something like,

“What hope is there for humanity when genetics continually outputs humans as evolutionarily challenged as you. Can you not understand that your concept of nothing is simply too simple? What you perceive as nothing may well be something when placed against new and inspired variations of the basic laws of physics.”

“So basically,” I responded, “what your trying to tell me is that nothing is something. So if that’s so, smartass, your theory of nothing is nonsense.”

“Huh?” Cat responded, “Please explain.”

“Well it’s simple,” I said. “If nothing is already something then your theory on how to create something from nothing is totally flawed because if nothing is already something what’s the point?”

That kind of statement from me would simply leave Cat in a near catatonic state and he would stare at me, not so much incredulously, but more like he simply wished that someone would end my life for him.

Anyways our arguments about nothing never really led anywhere, and Cat just continued on his determined task of proving his theory through the production of myriad lines of calculations. These were spread across literally the equivalent of what would be about 3000 pages in an old printed book. He had been told that his viva voce would be likely to last several days. Indeed the length of his thesis was one of my bones of contention and I had said to him,

“Well, 3000 pages worth certainly proves the principle of creating something from absolutely nothing!”

At that, he would screw up his rubbery little face into the very best scowl he could manage, before projecting a very large ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ airsign in front of his nose and returning determinedly to tapping away at the table screen of his personal computing assistant.

To be continued……

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