The Window of Opportunity – A Scientist’s Miracle
Time is such a fickle thing. It moves freely and most people do not recognize how it affects them. However, even though we are all subject to its influence, time remains shrouded in mystery. In my world, scientists had been working for centuries to understand time and even a separate institute – The Temporal Dynamics Institute – had been created under the United Nations, just to grasp how it worked.
On the eve of the 20th anniversary of The Temporal Dynamics Institute, excitement filled the air. However, as Dr. Alexander Stone, a lone scientist who had dedicated a long 6 years of his life to one project, I felt the growing sense of anticipation. I had sacrificed time with my friends and family to pursue my passion. Slowly, my friends had left me and my family rarely contacted me. After countless sleepless nights and exhausting days, I could finally see the end to this tiresome project. Its results would change the course of humanity.
From my teenage years, I have been fascinated by the complexities of physics and its impact on the world around us. The Temporal Dynamics Institute, known as TeDI, caught my attention at the age of 14, sparking my deep interest in the study of time. Despite my young age, I quickly established myself as a talented scientist at TeDI, impressing even the veterans who’d spent decades studying time.
After successfully developing the new algorithm for quantum time measurement, I continued to refine and improve upon it, eventually creating a ground breaking new method for measuring time intervals on a quantum level that was widely adopted throughout the scientific community. My work led to several invitations to speak at conferences and share my findings with fellow scientists, and I even had the opportunity to collaborate with researchers from other prestigious institutions. The experience was invaluable, not only for the knowledge I gained but for the connections I made that would later prove essential to my work on the nature of time itself.
I was at the top of the world when I learnt that my work would soon come to fruition. Leading up to the days of the 20th anniversary of TeDI, I lost myself in my work, sometimes even forgetting to eat. My subordinates frequently had to remind me to get some sleep or rest. But none of those things seemed to matter to me. The discovery I would make would have impact on not only the world but on every event in the future. I believed that nothing could stop me, but I was proven wrong.
As I worked tirelessly on the eve of the 20th anniversary, my focus consumed me. I pored over the papers I had written on the subject matter for hours, determined to make a breakthrough. Suddenly, the words and characters started to blur and distort before my eyes, leaving me with only a black splotch on the page. I tried to blink the vision back into clarity, but my eyelids felt heavy and unresponsive. The papers slipped from my grasp and I found myself unable to move my body. I heard a dull thud as the documents hit the floor, and my consciousness slipped away into oblivion.
I slowly opened my eyes, feeling a dull ache in my head. Blinking a few times, I looked around the unfamiliar room and noticed a man in a white coat standing next to my bed. “You fainted, my friend,” he said, introducing himself as the attending physician. “You over-exerted yourself, and your body just couldn’t take it anymore.” As he explained my situation, I struggled to remember what I had been working on before blacking out. But the only thing that came to mind was a jumble of words and a blurry image of the paper I was holding.
The doctor continued, “I have some bad news. The over-exertion has weakened your immune system, and unfortunately, we have discovered that you now suffer from a fatal disease. Normally, if treatment is provided in time, the condition can be slowed, however your body seemed to have created mutations in this and you have a different form of this disease, which we cannot cure.” The doctor’s words hit me like a ton of bricks as I struggled to process the news. A fatal disease? How could this be possible? My mind raced back to the years of hard work and sacrifice that I had put into my research, only to be told that my time was now limited. The doctor’s words swirled around in my head as I tried to come to terms with the fact that I would be unable to complete what I had begun.
The doctor continued as he looked through the tests they had conducted on me while I was unconscious, “The symptoms you showed were somewhat indicative of a chrono-autoimmune disease.” he said slowly, his voice serious. “It’s a rare disorder that causes the immune system to attack the body’s own cells, leading to a range of symptoms including fatigue, fever, and joint pain. In some cases, it can even affect cognitive function and cause loss of consciousness.” My body tensed at his words and I felt a knot forming in my stomach as the gravity of the situation hit me.
I was discharged a few days later as the doctors had no cure for my disease. In the end all they could say was the same thing about not over-exerting myself. I decided to walk back home since it was close but I couldn’t bear the weight of the position I was in. After so many years, and so much hard work, it would all amount to nothing. I would be unable to complete what I had begun and my work would probably remain unfinished forever.
I had forgone everything else in the last 6 years for this project. I would be remembered as nothing more than a worn out prodigy who couldn’t even complete what he started.
I went home in a sad stupor and sat by my window, looking out at the stars. Ever since I was a child, looking at the stars had brought a sense of reality that nothing would ever be greater than the stars that I saw, but now it did the opposite, because if my work had succeeded it would have allowed humanity to progress further beyond the stars than anyone could have imagined.
As I was gazing out the window, looking at the stars that glowed so brightly over us, I saw a shooting star and remembered the silly story that we were all told – “If you wish on a shooting star, your wish will come true.”
Contemplating all that had happened in the last few days I thought that I might as well wish for what I want and spoke silently in the wind, “Whatever being, whatever deity, or whatever force governs the universe, I wish that you can allow me just some extra time, some sort of miracle to let me complete my work. I’ve spent my life in this, I can’t let it go to waste.” I’d started sobbing midway through my wish but I finished it.
Then I sat there, sitting behind that window which I always used as a looking glass into the cosmos, every chance I got and hoped that I could see my work come to fruition. I went to sleep there, beside the window with my head on the table, spattered with tears.
I had trained myself to wake up when I heard birds chirping, but the next morning there was a surprising absence of this sound. I slowly opened my eyes and realized I didn’t feel the pain that I had been for so many days. Remembering the events of last night I was ashamed of myself for doing something so stupid, for hoping that a meteorite to somehow provide extra time, for letting my emotions get out of control. I got up and stared out the window to look at the cars and people downstairs who were all blissfully unaware of everything that there could have been. I thought how none of them cared that I would be unable to complete this project.
As I was thinking this I realized that they weren’t moving. Everyone was absolutely still, I looked up at the sky and even the birds were frozen in their place, I looked at the sun and saw that it was still, I couldn’t hear the tick of the clock or the fan, or anything around me. Time had stopped.
I was amazed and thrilled at the possibilities this presented, but I knew I had to use this time wisely. Without wasting a moment, I rushed to my institute to work on my project. I had been struggling with this for years, but with time frozen, I knew I could finally complete it. The force that had stopped time for me was like a gift from the universe, and I wasn’t going to waste it.
I worked tirelessly, as the hours turned into days and the days turned into weeks, putting in all my knowledge and expertise into my project, and finally completed it. As I activated the machine, the room around me started to shift, and I felt a sense of disorientation as time itself warped around me. I had succeeded in causing time dilation in the room, and it allowed me to meet my future self from just after time started moving again. We spoke for a while and he told me that my condition was not CAD but i would look back into the past and the presence of two of me in the same place while I was working would cause an influx of temporal energy to flow through me and the past me was affected by it.
I didn’t have some chrono-autoimmune disease but rather I had Chronic Temporal Instability Syndrome which affects the body’s immune system and its ability to regulate the circadian rhythm. This results in chronic fatigue, severe headaches, and difficulty concentrating. The disease progresses over time and can lead to severe neurological symptoms such as seizures and cognitive decline. He also told me that there was no cure for it. I could prevent it by not looking into the past but that would unravel the very fabric of time, so I had to do it nonetheless.
As I changed the settings on the machine, I peered back into the past just before I had fainted. I saw the moment when it all started, the moment when my body couldn’t handle the stress of overworking, and I realized that it was my own doing. I had pushed myself too hard, and it had caused me to lose consciousness. I was lucky to have gotten this extra time.
I stopped the machine and felt reality warp around me again as time returned to normal. The clock started ticking again and I heard the distinct bustling of people outside. I published the paper I’d written so carefully for the better part of the last decade and shared my findings with the world. Even though I would soon leave this world, something good had come from me, and I would never be forgotten.
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