Will Clarke

Technological Breakthrough


The lights dimmed. Excited whispering spread. JUPITER, the world’s leading telecoms and logistics network, did not usually host such lavish media conferences. Usually their press statements were brisk formalities.

The invitations had been cryptic; they mentioned no specifics other than a ‘technological breakthrough’ that was due to ‘revolutionise the world’.

Leading journalists, scientists and politicians watched as a short man carried a small briefcase onto the stage. In total silence he walked up to one of the two desks. He opened the briefcase and smoothly slid a doughnut-shaped metallic device out. He placed the object upright in a specially created holder on the desk that allowed the audience to see the aperture of the device. Then he carefully placed five thick wires into the device. Within seconds, condensation had formed on the slick metal case and the machine seemed to generate a strange fog. The man picked up a camera and focused in on the device. A large screen behind him showed the audience what he was focusing on.

The circular instrument had no other markings; it was simply a thin metallic doughnut with five wires plugged in. Beads of water were now running down it. Suddenly a piercing and crisp click echoed throughout the auditorium and for a split second there seemed to be some sort of florescent purple plasma crackling at the centre of the device. The purple light cleared away leaving the machine much as it was before except there was now something strange with the perspective in the centre of the doughnut. Something not quite right about it.

The man focused on a pencil sat on the table. He picked it up and , holding the camera closely so you could see the entire length of the pencil, slowly pushed it into the centre of the device. Then he pushed it further so that it was halfway through. From the perspective of the camera, the pencil just went straight through the circle. Still holding the pencil, the man then rotated the camera to show the side of the device. The pencil seemed to just disappear from the side as soon as it went through the middle. The man wiggled the pencil and still it seemed to just cut off.

A spotlight suddenly illuminated the second table which until now had been in the dark like the rest of the stage. Bizarrely, half a pencil wiggled above it in thin air. It looked like the circular device had created some sort of portal.

The man pushed his hand through the portal’s aperture. Like the pencil, his hand disappeared on his desk and then reappeared on the far desk, hovering in the air.

“This is no stage trick”, the man said. “This is real. We have created a fully-functional Spacial Disruptor. Something only dreamt in Science Fiction. The implications of this are impossible to overstate.” “This device will revolutionise virtually every industry. It has medical applications - we now have a non-invasive way of examining patients and operating on them. Anyone requiring urgent help will have access to it immediately. We can ‘beam’ life-saving medicine or equipment to anyone in the world. Interplanetary-life is now not just possible, but a likelihood within two years. By then, our existing logistics systems will seem as antiquated as horse-drawn-carts are today.”

The man spoke at length about the wide-ranging applications of this incredible device. If his claims were true, this would be a technological leap only comparable to writing, the printing-press or the internet. He was optimistic about the unit-cost of the devices, the straightforward manufacture process, the low power consumption (even while spanning large distances) and their ability to create larger portals. “In our testing facility we have created spatial disruptors large enough to drive through but there is no theoretical limitation on the size we could build them”.

After the presentation, the audience stumbled out, stunned. Most people were unsure whether they’d just witnessed either the greatest hoax of all time or the greatest technological breakthrough. There would be lots to discuss.

The following day everyone was talking about the presentation. People were sceptical and excited in equal number. These reports overshadowed other news stories about JUPITER staff mysteriously missing. A cleaner had found an executive working in the Nanotechnology and Quantum Research Department dead. Her body had a large perfectly cylindrical hole missing from her chest. There was no sign of the missing part of her.

The next day there were further strange rumours of attacks within the Pentagon and other national intelligence agencies. No countries admitted to anything but police and military forces over the world mobilised and rushed about defending areas of importance.

White House workers reported high tensions and President summoned professional negotiators. After a couple of hours sudden screaming in the Oval office caused alarm. Bio-weapons experts trooped in to examine the scene. They found everyone dead, including the President, from a nerve-agent. Tiny portals were later found on the scene. Shortly afterwards, and in a coordinated attack, hundreds of nuclear warheads launched, aimed at the most densely populated cities in the world. There was no apparent pattern to the attack.