Just a reminder that if you like the story so far, (hope you do), the e-book is available from Amazon for $2.99. Thanks.
Now, on to chapter 19.
They had been at it for almost an hour. The instructor was patient and serene. He had given only one command at the beginning of the session, “I demonstrate, you imitate.” He had said nothing since. The student was anxious. He felt deficient. He was not used to feeling deficient. What he didn’t know, was that to feel this way was the first step, that it was necessary. The instructor had patiently waited for the right time to speak again.
“Martial Arts techniques involve intercepting, or redirecting an opponents’ punch or kick, before full extension. The trick is to catch them before they have attained full velocity.”
Jason thought about this.
“It’s easier to stop a Buick at two miles per hour, than at thirty.”
“Right, but don’t forget, the faster it’s going, the easier it is to steer. Catch them at the beginning of the stroke, when there’s no velocity, and you can stop them. Catch them at the end, when the velocity is high, you redirect. At the higher levels, fighting is really more about mental than physical skills.”
Hearing this, Jason suddenly felt more comfortable. Mental gymnastics were his cup of tea.
He could relax now.
He could learn.
He was now on familiar turf because his teacher had just put him there.
That’s what good teachers do, and Jack Thompson was a very good teacher.
Alison brought two wine glasses into the living room. Jason had already uncorked the bottle of chardonnay and returned it to the ice bucket. He removed it, filled each glass halfway up, and handed one to his ladylove. They smiled, they clinked glasses, they drank.
“This is really quite good,” he said looking into her eyes.
“It is. I like the oaky aftertaste.”
“Oh, you mean the wine?” he replied smiling. “Right. It’s pretty good too.”
Their eyes stayed focused on each other. Jason moved closer. His put his arm around her and their lips met. It was a long, slow, passionate kiss. When their lips parted, she smiled. He moved closer again, but this time Alison blocked him with her wineglass.
“Not so fast big fella. You’re supposed to explain why I understand Mozart when I’m with Sarah, remember.”
He backed up slowly, took a deep breath and exhaled. His eyebrows came together, in a questioning kind of glance.
“Oh yea, Mozart. Mozart, Mozart…wasn’t he like, a songwriter or something?”
Her eyes rolled towards the ceiling. Then she walked around the coffee table, sat on the couch, and slid the ice bucket closer to her.
“We had a deal. I supply the wine, you explain Mozart. No more wine until I get my explanation.”
Jason walked over and sat down next to her.
“When you’re right, you’re right. A deal’s a deal,” he said. And then he added quietly, “But it’s not really the wine that I’m after.”
That brought another smile, but Alison stayed focused.
Jason switched gears.
“OK. Let’s start with Sarah's testing,” he said. “We have learned that she is capable of at least two things, at really amazing levels. One is the percent of her brain that she is able to use, and the other is the amount of interaction between different sections of her brain that she can employ. Using almost one hundred percent of her brain, makes her an exceptionally intelligent girl. But her ability to interconnect neurons the way she does is what gives her the unique abilities that she has. So, let’s concentrate on that.”
“OK,” Alison said, putting the glass down. She was all ears.
“As we all know, the brain is an incredibly complex organ. It routinely performs thousands of tasks, without us even being aware of it doing so. Uh, telling our cells to reproduce, our intestines to digest, our liver to filter, our hair to grow. Um, well, you get the picture.”
“Sure, of course.”
“It also does things we are aware of. Things we consciously and intentionally have it do. Hand pick up that pen and write, or feet and legs, walk forward, or whatever. Now, different parts of the brain have different functions to be sure, but in general, the more complex the task, the more interactions between neurons.”
Alison nodded. “That would seem to make sense,” she said.
“This is where things begin to overlap with my research. You see, when I began to modify plants, I learned how to engineer their DNA at very basic levels. My biotech research is not about gene splicing. You know, taking a particular gene, or set of genes, from one cell and implanting it into another. I was able to tailor the actual DNA itself, not replace it. To direct it, if you will, the same way nature does.”
He stopped for a moment to let that sink in. Her eyebrows came together momentarily, then she recouped.
“I understand. Go ahead.”
“So, when I began my research with animals, I started where I had left off with plants.”
“With tailoring their DNA?” Alison asked.
“Right. Now I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet. Animals are much more complex than plants. But I’ve learned an enormous amount on the way.”
Jason was becoming very focused. Alison could feel his exhilaration.
“For example, you know this ability I have, to sense what people are thinking? Well, I’ve had it all my life. Never been without it. Never really thought about it much until I got older. It was just there. It was just me. Sarah is able to sense my thoughts in pretty much the same way. The more we do it, the easier it gets for us. But as we know, she’s capable of so much more than simply sensing my thoughts. She can sense things in more than three dimensions. She inherently understands four-dimensional geometry the way a normal person understands right angles.”
Jason put his thumb and forefinger on the stem of his glass and twirled it as he continued.
“Most children are just naturally born with the ability to learn to walk, and recognize mom and dad and, well, do the normal things that kids learn to do. Sarah was born with the ability to answer questions that would require someone with a PhD. in Physics to properly ask! Her grasp of the universe is really unprecedented. Why are her abilities so much more developed? Why am I able to sense other’s thoughts? How come other people can’t do these things? How come...How come when you sat with Sarah you understood Mozart?”
It was silent for a moment.
“Uh, I think that’s what I already asked!” Alison blurted out.
Jason took a sip of wine and then answered.
“Receptors,” he said. “Well, brain receptors.”
“Oh, of course, brain receptors. Now I understand everything.”
Jason just smiled.
“Brain receptors are proteins, located on the surface of neurons, um brain cells.”
“I know what neurons are.” Alison responded curtly.
“Sorry. Anyway, the thing is, the brain works by having neurons communicate with each other. The way they do so is by releasing signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals attach to receptors on nearby neurons, pretty much the way a key fits a lock.”
Jason paused just a bit to let Alison digest this, and then realized it wasn’t necessary.
“There are receptors in Sarah’s brain being stimulated, that are not being stimulated in other people’s brains. I suspect that there are receptors in Sarah’s brain, that are not present in other people’s brains. The same is probably true with me, but to a lesser extent.”
The explanation made perfect sense. It was really quite simple. But Alison knew there had to be more to it than that.
“You still haven’t told me why I understand Mozart,” she said, a bit of impatience creeping into her voice.
Jason put his wine glass down. He slowly took her hands in his, looked into her eyes, and smiled as he gave her the answer.
Schimmel was going over the figures of their new subsidiary when Thompson came into the office. He came in unannounced, (as always), but the big guy didn’t even take notice. When Thompson poured himself a coffee and offered his old friend one, he again got no response.
“Uh hello, Earth to Bob.”
“Oh, good morning Jack. Sorry, I guess I was a little preoccupied there,” Schimmel said, closing the folder and tossing it on his desk. Thompson picked it up as he sat down, read the words “J-Tech” on the cover, and returned it to the desk.
“You must really be thinking of making a bundle on this one,” he said smiling.
Schimmel smiled back. “Jack, you have no idea.” A quiet moment passed. “So, tell me, what do we have so far?”
“Well, my sources tell me that Mr. Crowne is very interested in J-Tech, and also very pissed that his inside information was cut off so quickly. He isn’t used to that. No big surprises there. They also tell me that when this thing goes public, he intends to buy up as many shares as are available. He also has a team of folks trying to reproduce what you’re doing. I don’t need to remind you that the folks he hires are the best. Oh, and if it’s possible to hack into your systems, he will find a way to do it.”
Thompson took a sip of coffee. “Now the good news. So far he’s got nothing.”
“What about the Hill?”
“I haven’t heard anything yet, but my inside stuff isn’t likely to come over the phone. That’s why I’m going home for a few days. Be back the middle of next week. I should know more by then. We can figure on Crowne pulling whatever strings he has on this one, and he may have connections no one knows about. This could get interesting. Like I said, he’s pissed.”
Schimmel took a moment to consider what Jack had told him. As he did, he realized how good it felt to be working with Jack again. He knew that when things got heated up, (as they surely would), his old friend would become invaluable.
“Then, it looks pretty good so far,” Schimmel said.
“Isn’t that what Custer said the morning he set out for the Little Big Horn?”
“What are you trying to do Jack, cheer me up?”
“I don’t get paid to cheer people up.”
“Speaking of getting paid, my offer still stands. If you want a piece of this, I can arrange for you to get in on the D.P.O. before we go public.”
“Bob, we’ve been through this already. You know my policy regarding involvement with jobs I’m working on. Can’t do it. If I do, I run the risk of compromising my objectivity, as well as my reputation for detachment. Besides, you haven’t gotten my bill yet. Before this is over you will pay through the nose, guaranteed. Oh yea.”
At this the big man stood and pointed towards the door.
“You mentioned something about going home. I wouldn’t want you to miss your plane.”
Thompson got up and stared at the ceiling.
“I should have figured the minute I mention money you’d be throwing me out, you damned tightwad.” He began walking towards the door. When he reached it, he turned around. “Stay out of trouble until I get back old man. See you Wednesday.”
“You do the same old friend. Hey, I meant to ask, how are things going with your new Martial Arts student?”
Thompson stopped dead in his tracks at the question. He took a minute before answering.
“Bob, honestly, I’ve never seen anyone learn as fast as that kid. It’s remarkable. Once I get him to execute a move properly, he never forgets it. I mean never. But it’s more than that. He has this uncanny ability, to anticipate what his opponent is going to do, almost before they do it. It’s like he can read their mind. It really is quite extraordinary.”
Schimmel smiled to himself.
“Imagine that,” he said.
Alison finished her glass of wine, poured them both another, and sat back on the couch. “Continue,” she said.
Jason thought for a moment before answering.
“When you study genetics, what you’re really doing is studying history. Genetics is the history book of evolution, and evolution is history, biologically speaking.
If you want to know why a certain culture, or group of people, behave the way they do, you study their history. If you want to know why a plant or animal functions the way it does, you study its genetics. The reason birds fly in the air, and fish breath under the water, has to do with nature, and nurture. The key to how they got there is in their genes. While biological abilities may be triggered because of environment, the abilities themselves are there or not there, because of the particular genetics involved.”
“Are you downgrading natural selection?” Alison asked.
“Oh no, not at all. Merely adding to it.”
Alison looked puzzled. Jason took a moment.
“We all know, that over the course of an organism’s history, during the millions of times the genes replicate, every once in a while, a mistake in the replication happens, a mutation. We also know, that most mutations are not favorable for survival. But every once in a while, one comes along that is actually an advantage. That advantage is passed along to the future generations by way of DNA. Eventually, the gene pool of a particular species is inundated with the favorable gene, and evolution happens.
Now, my species gene pool might, for example, give me and mine the ability to fly. All of us are born with this ability because our DNA says so. This could prove an enormous advantage to us surviving a hostile environment. That being said, it’s a given that some of us can fly better than others. Those of us who can, stand a better chance to survive, therefore a better chance to reproduce, etcetera. The thing is, those of us who are better adapted, are the future of our species. Run that tape backward, and you get the history of our species. Now, those of us who are able to fly better than the rest, can do so for one reason. Better genes.”
Jason stopped for a moment and took a sip of wine.
Alison smiled, leaned over and kissed him.
“Darling, you’re a brilliant man and I love you. That was fascinating, incredible. It really was. However, you still haven’t ANSWERED MY QUESTION!”
Jason smiled and calmly continued.
“I believe the next step, the next several steps actually, in our evolvement as a species, will be more intellectual than physical. Evolution isn’t all smooth curves. It has jumps. Sarah is more than a jump, much more. She’s a quantum leap. I also believe, one of the abilities we as a species will acquire, is going to be ESP”
Alison started to speak but Jason addressed her question before she could ask it.
“Not mind reading per se, although that’s going to be a by-product, but extra sensory perception. We will be using senses that we haven’t developed yet. Now, to answer your question. I believe that a benevolent, non-jealous nature, is fertile ground to stimulate the proper receptors in the brain, in order to absorb knowledge from one another.”
Jason paused and looked into Alison’s eyes.
“There is nothing more benevolent than love,” he said softly.
Alison was speechless. Jason continued.
“Sarah loves Mozart. She’s inspired by Mozart. She understands Mozart in a way no one else can. There is no one she would more want to share such joy with than you. When you sat with her and relaxed, it allowed her intellect to bring yours up to the place that she was enjoying so much. Kind of like one car battery jumpstarting another. In short, you understand Mozart, because you and your daughter love each other so very much.”
Alison put her wine glass down. At this moment she was feeling about as fulfilled as life will allow one to feel.
Tears swelled in her eyes.
They hugged for a long time before making love.
Tucked in bed, Sarah began smiling in her sleep. She had the most wonderful dreams that night.