The Pulse and Glow
By Dave Cline
The world balances at the tip of peak energy. More, ever more, beg the people of the planet. And who are the First World nations to hold back those of the third? But their plea for more rings hollow to disdainful plutocrats. And every engineer, every climate scientist, every physicist, geologist, economist, and, lately, politician realizes that more is no longer a option.
In a tiny village in Iraq, a dreamer, an engineer of mysterious skills, discovers a possible answer to the energy crisis. The battle to release this invention into the world becomes his and the world’s only salvation. But Abani is only a simple engineer. And the Russians, and Saudis and Norwegians would rather not see their hegemony of the world’s oil reserves jeopardized. The illuminati, long acknowledge to command the world’s economy are about to lose control — all because of a tiny device that delivers ‘free energy’.
“Is this a trick?” Pauli Fenra tapped the plastic shield on the voltage meter. The needle wavered but held steady at 64.2 volts DC. The meter on the input side remained pegged at 32.3V. “We’ve all seen these charades before. Don’t even think you can pull this type of bullshit on me. Tell me now, or I swear I’ll have this rebuilt power company come and shut this whole building down.”
Abani opened both palms. “What else would you have me do? The one feeds the power to the two. And they in turn, power the first. But more than that, they also provide power for the incandescents.” The Iraqi engineer panned his arms around. “Unplug it if you like. It will not stop the light.”
Pauli Fenra, wary of errant electrical surges, donned a pair of rubber gloves and pulled the cord from the wall. The lights on the table flickered but held, bright as ever.
“What’s going on here?” Fenra tugged off the gloves. “Are you to have me believe that you’ve constructed this experiment out here in the desert, while under constant threat from insurgents and radicals?” He slapped the gloves down. “With no money or assistance, whatsoever?”
“Mr. Pauli sir, watch. Help me lift the table.” Abani went to one end of the rough-board table and grasped the edge.
Pauli Fenra blew out his lips and nodded ‘yes, fine, let’s get this over with’. He gripped the other end of the table and lifted. Abani then jerked his head to the side to direct that they rotate. So the pair spun the table.
Back where he started Pauli exclaimed, “Enough!” and set his end down forcefully. The lights, expectantly, blinked out, but returned glaring in the young engineer’s makeshift laboratory.
Abani’s wide eyes implored the other. “You see. No wires are connected to the system. The Bynistors are powering themselves.”
The older man, Pauli Fenra, a physicist from CERN, down on humanitarian efforts for the UN, shook his finger at the clean shaven Iraqi. “Not so fast.” He then bent down onto the floor to examine the underside of the table. Plain blank boards were all he found.
Three more times he walked around the room. He lifted both ends of the table, sliding his shoe under each leg. Standing back against the mud-brick wall he cleaned his teeth with his tongue. He repeatedly pursed his lips.
“The enclosures, you’ve molded them with Alumina powder?”
Abani nodded enthusiastically, happy to have the evidence obvious by once such as the honorable Pauli Fenra.
The Swiss physicist leaned forward but stopped and settled back. The warmth of the room began to feel stuffy.
“Have you checked for radiation?”
Abani, wearing his father’s western shirt and his brother’s faded Levi’s, shrugged.
“Saints alive! If this device is doing what your research shows, this room is being bombarded by gamma radiation. Turn the damn thing off!”
Abani reacted instinctively and flipped the switch that connected the output of the second and third Bynistor to the first. The room went dark.
A moment passed.
“Abani! I’m not comfortable here in the dark in war torn Iraq. Please turn the lights back on.”
The young engineer found the switch.
“I need to sit down. And some tea would be nice. Can you manage some tea?” said the physicist.
Abani spoke in muted tones to a woman just outside the room. Within a few minutes a hijab cloaked woman entered with a tray and paused, there was no space for the service. Abani motioned her to him and took the tray.
The engineer, his brow beaded with sweat from nerves and the heat of the room, served Pauli Fenra a cup of sweet dark tea as the pair sat to the side on a stack of rugs.
“Who else have you shown your experiments?”
“Everyone, and no one. Most of the villagers consider me . . . eccentric. Most have seen the lights. But they are only poor Sunnis.”
“You realize you’ve probably been radiating this room the whole time. This is where you hold your experiments, yes? Ah, I thought so.”
Abani poured himself more tea and refilled the elder’s cup. “I, I expected radiation. I have no money for a Geiger counter, nor even proper equipment. I use an old hardrock mill to grind my ingredients.”
Pauli Fenra sipped more slowly, the caffeine and sugar settling his fright of radiation; there was no greater distress for a CERN physicist. “An old rock mill, copper wire from buildings, US pennies for Zinc and lithium from dead iPhone batteries. Where do you get the Palladium?”
Abani looked down at his crossed legs at the pattern of crimson and azure in the carpet below them. “There is a dealer. He, he’s provided much of my materials and equipment. But…” The young man shook his head subtly.
“Well, I think we can probably replace your dealer friend–”
“–He’s no friend. He’s a, necessity.”
“I understand. We’ll replace him and see if we can get you some proper shielding for your advanced experiments and, if you don’t mind, get spectroscopic analysis of your, what do you call them?”
“Yes, an analysis of the core of your clever ‘Bynistors’.”
“So, you believe me?”
Pauli Fenra drained his cup, and fingered the one dreg that nagged his lip. He picked and examined it. “I am an expert. But, in the end, I am human and know that I can be fooled. However, and I say this with the greatest of reverence, hope and, unfortunately — fear. Yes, Abani Arbinet, I believe you. I believe you may have solved the world’s energy crisis. What that holds, only the future, God, or Allah may know.”
“Fear? Why would such a discovery cause you fear?” The young man, his minimalistic world having always been one of shortage and poverty, could not see how an inexpensive device that provided free energy could be feared.
“Of course.” The older man bobbed his head, thinking. “Alright, let’s make a trade…” The physicist from Switzerland took a deep breath and looked intently into the rich brown eyes of the naive, yet ingenious Iraqi survivor, a prodigal material science engineer. “I will trade my fear for your hope. I will take your hope to the world, if you understand that what you’ve created here has the power to disrupt the entire economic world. And disruption…” Fenra paused to rise from the carpet, “should always be feared.”