Friday, November 20, 2009
Some frantic rantings
Have been frantically scribbling away at my Novel in a Month "the Socrates Code" here is another taste.
Over coffee and muffins the next morning each of the four scientists
had a new method of inquiry to bounce off the others.
Sefton wondered aloud if they could get another crack at the originals. “There might be some pollen grains that could be isolated.”
“I think that will be problematic.” Anna replied glancing in Dunbar’s direction. “And it has nothing to do with the famous J. Alan Dunbar contempt for padres even though it was on display. But it might be possible to get a look at the shelf space they occupied.” She shrugged, “that would be a best case scenario.”
Writing sample comparisons was Anna‘s idea. “If it is the work of one of the known scholars we may be able to find similar writing in a database. We have a time frame to work with.” she laughed “J. already has a guess.”
“Do tell us Dunbar.” Sefton said in a voice dripping with satire. “Let us bask in your intuitive genius.”
Laughing slightly, “Hypatia of Alexandria. No reason other than I happened to be staring at her likeness in a painting the other day. That and she fit’s the time line. Not to mention that she had access to the best database the world had at that point in time.”
Anna noted that J. had expanded his argument but it was still thin to the point of anorexia. “What about you Dr. Fontaine, what do you think?”
“The isotopic distributions of the vellum. That could narrow down the possibilities.”
“I like that.” Dunbar added. “If it turns out to be an unknown that may be all we ever know.” That put a damper on the conversation for a few seconds. “Of course we are all ignoring the obvious answer.” He looked across the table at Dr. Fontaine and smiled. “That Dr. F. was right last night and this is an elaborate hoax to save the embarrassment of having a Nazi Pope.”
The other three looked at him questions forming but he put up his hand to stave them off. “They have all the equipment, access, motive out the wazoo and Balgus was too good a scientist to have not seen what was on those pages.” he said ticking off the points on his fingers. “You have to admit that seems a lot more plausible than the alternative.”
“Wait a minute Dunbar.” Sefton beat the others to the punch “Weren’t you arguing just the opposite position before?”
“Not exactly, I was arguing that the data were correct and I still say they are.” He took a sip from his coffee. “I am just saying the hoax angle is still the most likely explanation. Before we get into a holy war perhaps we should confirm on a second set of instruments.”
“J. Dunbar the voice of reason when it comes to religion.” Sefton laughed, “Isn’t that the 5th sign of the apocalypse, right before the rain of frogs.”
“He is jut being contrary. Last night we were all skeptical except him now that we are onboard.” Anna trailed off trying hard not to start laughing again. “He is right first thing is to pick a confirming lab. “Do we have enough stuff left to test?”
“The Livermore guys have equipment good enough to make do with what we have left.” Dr. Fontaine said musing almost to herself. “I’m sure someone at the FRED has connections there.” She looked at Dunbar, “but you don’t fool me for a minute. You are every bit as convinced as the rest of us.”
A sheepish grin was his only reply.
“Well I have data to analyze,” Anna said rising and giving Dunbar a peck on the cheek. “Coming Sefton?”
Dunbar watched her walk away wistfully and then the others were saying good bye as well. He asked the concierge if he could find him a bicycle and the tall stern looking young man assured him it be his pleasure. 5 minutes later he was riding out into the city trying to work the stiffness out of his knees. 20 minutes later he was hopelessly lost in his own thoughts as well as in real life.
The phone brought him back to reality a couple of hours later. Anna was letting him know his presence was requested for lunch with the Man with No Name and the rest of their team back at the hotel. His French was good enough to get him directions and his German good enough to read the road signs. He assured her he would arrive on time. He didn’t have to ask about her results. If anything had changed he knew she would have led off with that.
His calculations had not factored in time for a shower and he was late arriving to the table. “Sorry guys,” he said hope you haven’t been waiting too long?” he said genuinely apologetic.
Anna gave him a smile, the others non committal waves and grunts as they were examining the menu intently. The waiter appeared and he ordered sliced fruit, some pasta and 2 liters of water when the others had finished.
“I hope you got to see the city Mr. Dunbar?” the nondescript man in the charcoal suit began. “ We have reservations for San Francisco departing this evening.”
Dunbar sipped at his water and looked at the others in turn. “I guess it
Will have to do then.” he said returning Anna’s smile. Then over her shoulder he thought he recognized some one. It was Sarducci out there in the lobby. He was in a suit rather the vestments but it was him. And the he was gone.
“Something wrong J.?” Anna asked.
Dunbar shook his head, “thought I saw puddy cat.” he laughed. “Thought I saw that priest out there Father Sarducci. Sorry been an odd couple of days.”
The nondescript man looked toward the lobby then he took out a notepad and scribbled a few lines. “Probably nothing but it will be looked into. So you think we are being served by the “God Squad” that the gist of it Dunbar?”
He had been considering that question from every conceivable angle for the last two hours on the bike. “Yes at this point that seems much more likely than the alternative.”
The others look at him and the at each other. “I have to concur.” it was Sefton spoke up first and the others quickly concurred.
“Have you figured out how?” The nondescript man asked.
“Haven’t a bloody clue mate. The question is are they going to get away with it?” Dunbar looked around the table. “I for one am going to do what I can to see that the answer to that question is an emphatic no.”
Again the others were quick to concur.