The Scientist and The End of All Things
By Robert J. S. T. McCartney
He sat in the chair for a while now. He hadn’t moved much since he was told the news. He didn’t want to believe it. He couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t much of a surprise, so to speak. The nightmares had been increasing lately. The pain of loss was too real, and he didn’t—he couldn’t handle that now.
He was so close. So close to being able to correct the neurological damage that had been done to his daughter years ago, a taxing result from the car crash. The seizures were relentless and had been unforgiving. It wouldn’t matter now, though. Still, all he wanted…was to watch his little girl walk and to hear her tell him she loved him. Now? Now he felt he never would.
“Mr. Colley, I am afraid I need to have you clear the room. We are experiencing an abnormal increase in trauma situations and are in need of grievance rooms. I do apologize for asking,” said the male doctor.
Mr. Colley nodded and sighed heavily, running his fingers through his black hair. He sniffled and wiped his eyes occasionally. It still hurt.
“You’ll want to get her affairs in order. It…it won’t be long now,” the doctor said sympathetically.
The doctor’s words cut him to his very soul, and such, as he walked out into the hallway, he collapsed onto the ice cold tile. Hospital personnel and people rushed around him. He felt alone. So alone in the eye of the hurricane.
“You need to get a grip, John. You need to be strong. Not for you, but for them. So what if they said she’ll die soon. If it were you, what would you do?”
I’d go out swinging. I wouldn’t roll over and go quietly to my grave.
”Then find your balls, John. Dig deep and find your fucking balls, get up, and get back to the lab. Finish it. Who cares anymore?”
John got up off the floor and with purpose, left the hospital in haste.
John worked tirelessly in his lab. He had phoned his wife, letting her know of his sudden departure from the hospital.
He had a purpose. He needed to be vigilant. He knew no one else would exactly understand. His methods were unorthodox; a controversy in the States. Stem Cells. These, though, were engineered through biological manipulation and engineered with nanomachines to help speed up the brain’s recovery; and accelerate the development of new healthy cells. They repaired damaged tissues, reconstruct damaged nerves. A dream made a reality.
No testing had been done though. At least, not in humans.
John gathered up the syringes and made his way back to the hospital. His daughter would be administered the doses at the safety of the hospital. Just in case. After all, he had signed all the waivers and disclaimers.
“There’s a high probability that this won’t work, John,” warned the woman doctor.
“At least I’m giving her a fighting chance,” snapped John.
The doctor sighed. “Sometimes it’s better just to let go.”
“Not yet. Not until she’s old and had a chance to live.” John replied sternly.
“What about those that die young? What of them?”
John’s eyes were fixated with purpose as he administered the first dosage. “They were not in my hands. I cannot fight for everyone.”
After several weeks, the administering of the treatment was a success. The Occupational and Physical Therapists and her parents watched her walk on her own. Cognitive function dramatically improved. She had become much more independent and self-sufficient. John was beside himself.
The world and the universe, though, saw otherwise. War was on the horizon. Tensions were rising and meeting an unthinkable end was beginning to become more of a reality. No peaceful resolution could be reached. No side could give way to diplomacy. Civil war would begin to break out. A revolution would begin. The people had had enough.
As John watched the news with his family he knew the end would come, sooner or later. That, even in the marvel of science, he had only prolonged time.
John worked tirelessly in the nights. He had fancied quantum physics, space and time for a long time. He had an idea. It might prolong the inevitable but at least, at least he could spend whatever time that this device, this idea could grant.
Time stop isolation. At first, he thought just to his home. Then he thought his town. Then he decided the world. If it as all going to go to hell, he’d at least let some of the other families have extra moments.
On the Day of the End, John gathered his wife and children.
“I love you,” he told them all and hugged them tightly.
“I love you, daddy,” his kids told him.
He cried tears of joy. Ever since having heard the words for the first time from his oldest. He never wanted to take them for granted, let alone be her last. She had made so much progress. So much to live for. Now, now it was the end of all things, all things humankind.
The bombs were fired, dropped, set to explode. John pushed the little red button, initiating the time stasis field all over Earth.
The bombs never went off. Time and the Earth stood still.
Eventually, the universe had begun to collapse. A long passage of time went by. The ultimate end came and went in the blink of an eye. A beautiful and merciful death of humankind in the light of a glorious dawn. The contagion, contained and isolated, just like he wanted.