Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Quantum Mechanic: Un-Deleted Scene Five

UN-DELETED SCENE 5: Science happens!

Randall James introduces the puppet to the rest of the crew at Skeptics Coalition International. Douglas has finally agreed to one day's worth of tests, which the two of them have spent the last two weeks refining into reproducible trials that will be sure to win the million dollar prize.

"All right, this young lady with the ponytail is Paulette Jensen, the shorter gentleman right next to her is Melvin Heller, and they'll be conducting the tests with us today. Over behind the glass are Edward Johns and Jimmy Sprague, they'll be running the recording equipment. I've got the itinerary, and your job is to show us some magic!" Handshakes to the folks in labcoats, friendly waves to the men behind the glass, and it's time to get the show started.

"We'll have to ask you to remove your helmet," Jensen says, "As well as any electronic equipment you're carrying. You know, cell phone, watch, GPS, mp3 player, anything." The Quantum Mechanic regards her coolly for a moment.

"I'm sorry, I don't think you understand," it says with a chuckle. "This is not a costume, it is a prosthetic body which I am manipulating from out of state." It raises its hands and removes the hollow head, showing it to the startled woman. Heller does a double-take.

"So, what," Jensen asks, "Are you the invisible man or something?"

"No, of course not," the automaton says, waving a hand through the air where a head ought to be. "I'm the Quantum Mechanic. This body is a puppet."

"Are you remote viewing this entire space, then?" She cocks her head to the side, trying to figure out a way to convince herself that she's not hallucinating or dreaming.

"Why, yes. That's exactly it."

"I see." She nods her head, but remains unbelieving. "So, Randall, what's on the agenda today?"

"Well, we've got a few demonstrations planned for remote viewing, remote manipulation, a few fireworks displays, and general conjuration. The rest of the day is free for some of the more standard tests."

Sprague asks the Quantum Mechanic to turn around and be seated while Heller shuffles a deck of playing cards behind his back. Douglas considers objecting, but goes along with the song and dance for formality's sake. There is, after all, an order to this - whether he's got physical eyes in the building or not. Heller finishes shuffling, and Jensen announces that the test will begin.

"Three of diamonds," the Quantum Mechanic announces. Heller turns a card. Three of diamonds. Jensen checks a box.

"Next."

"Six of diamonds." Heller turns a card. Six of diamonds. Jensen checks a box.

"Next."

"King of spades." Heller turns a card. King of spades. Jensen checks a box.

They work through the whole deck, and Douglas doesn't miss a card. A machine does the shuffling the second time, but Douglas still doesn't miss a card. The third go-round, Douglas turns every card into the Ace of spades for fun. Heller frowns. Jensen complains. But a hundred and four out of a hundred and four is an impressive record, so they move on. The transmutation was neat, too.

"OK," Johns asks from behind the glass, "Melvin, I need you to go into the other room with the pen and paper in it. Just start drawing three pictures, make them detailed, spend a few minutes on each one." He nods and complies. "Umm, Quantum Mechanic, I need you to sit at the table and describe his first drawing to me."

"All right." Douglas seats the automaton. "He draws a line down the center of the page. A triangle on the left side, now a circle on the right. Now an X through the circle, and a star inside the triangle." On and on, Douglas describes the drawing for the men behind the glass. The Quantum Mechanic draws the second one along with Heller, then makes a duplicate copy of the third one as soon as he's done.

Next, Douglas makes various items dance impossibly through the air, powers a few electronic devices with his mind, conjures rubber balls from out of thin air, and makes golf balls materialize inside glass boxes.

"How are you doing this," Jensen asks at some point.

"Magic!"

"No, seriously, I need to know how you're doing this, or I think I'm going to go nuts. This just isn't possible."

"These principles aren't yet named, Miss Jensen," he begins to explain. "I don't know what to call them, myself. I'm really bad at naming things, you see."

"Well, OK, that's fine - but then what's it like? Do you just will things into being, or what? Are you doing secret chants in a hut or something?"

"No, nothing of the kind!" Douglas is laughing in Montana, but doesn't want to embarrass the investigator. "It's more like programming, except that I don't need a keyboard, and the screen is reality, and all I'm really doing is moving bits of code around. Not exactly like that, but it's closer."

The tests continue, and The Quantum Mechanic passes every single one with flying colors. A perfect score. The demonstrations were convincing enough, but contractual obligations being what they are, certain methodological hoops must be jumped through, and the whole rigamarole must be documented in its entirety for posterity's sake. Also to ward off individuals of a belligerently litigious mindset.

"Well, Mister Mechanic," Sprague says at the conclusion, "You've got your cool million. To whom should I write the check?"

"To Randall James, if you please."

"Seriously? You're not even going to tell us who you are?"

"No, thank you. He'll be managing the finances for me."

"So what are you going to do with it," Johns asks.

"Randall will be divvying the funds up among several very worthy charities. I plan on getting back to work."

"You're quite the philanthropist," Jensen says. "What's your angle? You trying to win a popularity contest or something?"

"No," the puppet replies. "I just want to do some good in the world. I guess I'm a goody little two-shoes."

"I think you're more than that," Alvina says after Douglas tells her how it went. "I think you're a full-blown righteous do-gooder. And that's, like, totally hot."

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