Chapter 8

Neil surveyed the day’s work. It was the end of Monday and there was some progress yet again. He didn’t think they were on pace for Friday. Tom walked in and grabbed his coat.

“I’m heading home. Sure I can’t convince you to come stay in the guest room and get a good night’s sleep?” Tom pleaded.

“Nah. Can’t handle a car tonight. There’s a nearby Motel I’ve been staying at. It’s about a 20 minute walk.”

“What, on your bad leg?”

“Yeah. It’s not too bad.”

“Take the golf cart then. I wasn’t kidding about the battery. I designed it so I could get fast food at lunch without losing the parking spot. It works. I’ve seen you on that thing, I know it won’t make you sick.”

“I don’t want to look like an idiot.”

“An idiot? Come on, a golf cart is badass. Besides, I’m going to stand here until you commit to taking it, or I’m going to insist on driving you home.”

“I promise I’ll take the cart. But I’m not leaving yet. Just go. I promise. I have just a bit more to do.”

“No, it’s time to go. Pace yourself.”


Tom grabbed the modified battery, walked over to the cart and hooked it up.

“There, it’s good to go.”

Neil started shutting everything down his computer. Clutching his cane, he started to walk over to the cart. Tentatively, he flipped the switch to start it. It didn’t turn on. Rolling his eyes he looks over at Tom.

“What the hell, Tom?”

Tom laughs awkwardly. He fumbled with the cables a bit and flicks a switch. The cart still won’t fire up.

Neil can feel his patience wearing thin. For a moment, he contemplated whether or not he could actually stomach a car ride. Just the thought of it made him feel ill. He had his answer.

Impatiently, Neil watched Tom putter around with the battery. His patience was wearing thin. Exasperated, he declared, “Tom, if you have to fiddle with it that much, how am I going to make it back here in the morning?”

“Just a second, Neil. Let me just crack open the casing and check what’s going on.”

As Tom opened the casing, a component from the special battery caught Neil’s eye. Curiously, he pointed to the component with his cane.

“Um, what’s that?”

“Oh, it’s something I designed. I call it an add-inverter. I fluked out the design, but it actually manages to make battery more efficient. I know it doesn’t make sense, but with this circuit, any battery lasts longer, provides more milliwatthours and charges faster.”

Neil is fixated on the circuit. Looking at it over and over, he found himself analyzing the design.

“You don’t have a schematic or plan for that kicking around, do you?”

“Probably. It’s somewhere in my notes.”

Neil shuddered. Tom’s notes were a black hole where good research goes to die. Pushing past Tom, Neil crouched in close to take a better look at the circuit. It was a mess.

“Pretty neat, right?” Asked Tom.

Neil nodded. Leaning forward, he grabbed the circuit board, ripping it off Tom’s special battery.

“Hey, what the hell man?” Asked Tom.

“I need this!” replied Neil

As fast as he can manage on his cane, Neil moved over to the table where the first prototype rifle still sat. He looked over at Tom, still stunned.

“Tom, look alive. I need some conductive mesh, some wires, and the generator needs to be started up!”

Tom stood there staring at his battery.

“TOM!,” shouted Neil, impatiently, “Did you hear me?”

Tom looked up. “Generator, mesh, wires, right?” Tom asked.

“Yes. Please.”

Neil started to draw the circuit diagram onto some paper as he followed the components and traces. In the background, he could hear the familiar hum of the generator kicking on. Tom reappeared in the office, holding the mesh and the wires. He started to talk.

“You know, Neil, I’m really bummed that you wrecked my battery.”

“Tom, I had to do it. This component - it made me think of an idea I once had. Something I called a phase grid. And I totally forgot about it years ago. It was theoretical. Impossible. But if it existed, it would balance all the equations we’re working with.”

“OK. And?”

“And, Tom, I’m pretty damn sure you built one completely by accident. Look.”

Neil points to the paper excitedly and hands it to Tom. While Tom read the schematic, Neil moved to the table so he could start hooking wires up. Once finished, he took a second to give everything a once-over before grabbing all the triggers.

“Heads’ up, Tom”

Neil pulled the triggers. A visible blue-purple beam left the barrel of the rifle, ripping a hole in the blast wall. Sheepishly, Neil looks over at Tom. Tom looks at the wall.

“What did you do?” Asked Tom.

“I figured it out.” Replied Neil.

“So, are we done?”

“No. we’re not done.”

“What’s next?”

“I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but you need to disable the rifle and figure out how to hide that hole in the blast wall. For your plan to succeed, nobody can know this worked. On the bright side, we are going to have that giant cannon working by Friday.”

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I am Sinewave: Spark

Written by Richard Belzile

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I am not a professional author, this is my novice attempt at creating a novel in an episodic fashion. Comments, critiques and compliments accepted.

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