It was the day the world had been waiting for.
It was the day of the Experiment.
All over the world, billions of people turned on their TV sets – or held their radios to their ears – to listen. All over the world, the great and powerful turned from their business of making money, torturing renditioned prisoners, or bombing Afghanistan and Libya to watch. The President of the United States held a prayer meeting in the White House. The President of Russia went to St Basil’s Cathedral and kissed an icon. The President of France took a moment off from furiously demanding a thousand more bombs be dropped on Colonel Gaddafi’s grandchildren to watch. The de facto Royal Family of India even paused from stealing money hand over fist to turn on the TV and switch to the appropriate channel.
It was the most intensive link-up the human species had ever known.
From the Temple of Religious Science (situated in an undisclosed location somewhere in the Western Hemisphere) the face of the Reverend Prophet himself appeared on a billion TV screens, his words translated into a thousand languages. Looking suitably grave as demanded by the occasion, he cleared his throat, adjusted the eight-pointed star of the Great Multi-Faith Order on his black cassock, and began to speak.
“We are here,” he said, as though his listeners didn’t know already, “to carry out the greatest Experiment the world has ever known. Today, in a few minutes, we shall prove, once and for all, beyond all possibility of doubt, the existence of God.”
An unseen interviewer asked a question.
“Of course we shall share our technology with the atheist scientific community, once the experiment has succeeded,” the Reverend Prophet replied. “The Order of Religious Science wants to leave not one iota of doubt about its bona fides. We will make the atheist scientific community accept the fact that we will, quite scientifically, prove God exists.”
The camera cut away to a series of chambers, in each of which a child between the ages of six and ten was lying on a padded table, with clamps and tubes stuck all over his or her shaved scalp. Screens along the walls of the chambers flickered, depicting coloured readouts.
“These children,” the Reverend Prophet intoned solemnly, “are the offspring of the members of our own Order, the blessed fruit of the loins of our own Religious Scientists, donated and consecrated to the Cause as soon as they were born. They have been trained all their lives to develop their natural psychic abilities to the utmost. They aren’t really just human any longer, They’ve gone beyond, into a higher plane.”
The interviewer asked something else, as the camera cut back to the Reverend Prophet.
“Of course it’s not child abuse,” the Reverend Prophet snapped irritably. “The children will themselves tell you that they are proud and glad to take part in this. After all, it would not have been possible without them. And besides, their role has been upheld as legitimate by the governments of the European Union, the USA, and India, not to mention a majority of the UN General Assembly. What more do you want?”
The next question by the interviewer brought the smile back to the Reverend Prophet’s face. “Ah, yes. Roughly, this is how it works. These children have been trained so highly that they can focus their minds on anything you want them to – any specific thing. I should tell you that in earlier experiments they have detected something, of which we have garnered enough data to be sure it’s God Himself. And today, they are all – all four hundred and twenty-nine of them – hooked up on the same wavelength, zeroing in on the same object. When they find it, their brains will send messages to the central supercomputer, which will show us God and communicate – via the children – with Him. In effect, the children will become part of the supercomputer for the duration of the Experiment.”
The Reverend Prophet paused, and made the Holy Gesture of the Multi-Faith Order. “We shall now begin,” he intoned.
All along the chambers, the screens stopped flickering and began throbbing in regular patterns. The children lay back and closed their eyes, chemicals coursing through their blood sending them into a trance. And as the world watched, there on the screen appeared a glowing golden mist, vaster than the mind could imagine.
“Vaster than galaxies,” said the Reverend Prophet, falling to his knees. “Oh my God,” he murmured.
Her voice high-pitched with excitement, the interviewer asked another question.
“We will now attempt communication,” the Reverend Prophet affirmed. He paused. “We will beseech Him to show us a miracle.”
It floated in the vastness, alone.
It was far too huge to exist in just four dimensions. It spanned time and space, and reached into higher levels than punier creatures could imagine. It did not choose to recall the time before It had come into being. Such thoughts did not trouble It. It existed, that was enough.
It floated in the nothingness that transcended universes, seeking nothing, hoping for nothing. It already knew everything that was, had been, or would be. Mere knowledge did not tempt it.
It was at peace. Almost always in its aeons of existence, it had been at peace. It loved peace. It wanted nothing more than to remain at peace and self-contemplation.
All of a sudden, It was assailed by a new and disagreeable sensation. Somewhere, in the near-infinite recesses of Its being, It was being assaulted. It was being disturbed.
Restlessly, It turned a portion of Its mind to the problem, seeking only a return to Peace. Something was pulling at It, probing It, seeking, demanding. Whatever it was would not be ignored.
Miracle, the things that assaulted It demanded a miracle. It would give them a miracle.
It sent out a tendril of Its mind, twisting at the fabric of reality. They would have their miracle, and It could have its peace and quiet back. Satisfied, It retreated.
And, a moment later, the sun went supernova.
Copyright B Purkayastha 2011