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The Archimedes Project

__—— an eBook for the Kindle.  Two births occur in the 1990s at virtually the same time.  In Sydney, Australia, Tatiana Petersen is born, daughter of 2 distinguished scientists.  In the USA, a new faction is born out of warring factions in the Mafia and becomes known as Primacy – it seeks to control all phases of international synthetic fuel production and distribution in readiness for the post-oil era.
In Australia 18 years later, Tatiana Petersen is years ahead of her contemporaries academically and has become a bit of a media darling – much like her famous father, who died when she was 14.  Her mother runs the family scientific research lab, but is murdered just as Tatiana completes her BSc degree at age 18.  Her eccentric uncle, Max Kosalaeiv, also with semi-scientific credentials, tries to persuade her that the murder was the work of Primacy, and that she should now flee Sydney like he is about to do – she refuses... but is soon forced to reconsider, and defers her academic pursuits to join her uncle in rural seclusion by following cryptic clues in a complex chase.  There, she helps Max to develop variations of his Microwave ‘Spinner’ invention, particularly a medical one.  She meets a local boy, Gordon, who is a video surveillance expert, and he eventually becomes part of the inventor team by contributing useful ideas and skills.
By designing low-power Spinners suitable for Tatiana’s Medi-spinner application, Max is soon able to modify Spinners for his main invention, which he calls the Archimedes Displacement Device.  Tatiana suggests using the Faraday Cage normally used to protect the inventors from the high levels of microwave, converting it into an ‘Archimedes Chamber’ that the user stands inside.  With the new low-power Spinners mounted outside, this now resembles a teleport device, provided the displacement is only between two carefully-calibrated, identically-sized Archimedes Chambers.  It is a significant, important advance.
Using a variation on the original Archimedes that allows displacement to undefined locations, but at great risk, Tatiana and Gordon bug the Sydney HQ of Primacy using Gordon’s expertise in surveillance, and this allows the Australian Federal Police to gather intelligence.  Primacy finds the inventors’ rural hideaway and raids it, but Max and Tatiana are prepared, foil the attack, then escape to an alternative hideaway.
Patenting the Archimedes Chamber is fraught with danger, their lawyer advises, since it is bound to trigger massive economic upheaval and worldwide social chaos, and Primacy will certainly oppose every step to introduce Archimedes Chamber technology – their grip on the synthetic fuel market would become less critical.  The team decides to virtually give the invention away to the UN, who will own all rights to it and will decide who, when, where and if manufacture of them happens.
While they are waiting for the UN patent application for the Archimedes Chamber to be processed, technical advances increase the scope of the device and the political, economic and criminal implications of their wonderful invention have sealed their fate... the inventors will now inevitably have to live reclusive lives for decades.

Interested?  Available for Kindle from Amazon, US$2.60 – 519 ‘Amazon pages’.  Read the first Chapter of The Archimedes Project here...


1:  An Old Spin


Halfway through the nineties, a select group of anonymous men, now known as Primacy, but at that time merely a group of like-minded partners in crime, had seen the writing on the wall.  Scientists had started to predict the decline and failure of world oil reserves.  One man’s doom has always been another man’s opportunity.
This criminal group appointed a neutral envoy to approach the Chamber of Commerce in the United States of America with a proposal.  To their eternal credit, the Chamber considered the proposition carefully, then rejected it absolutely, and published the details.  Reaction had been swift.  Three prominent business leaders, all leading figures in the Chamber, were murdered in absolutely unmistakable Mafia style.
Primacy changed tactics.  They knew that the Chamber of Commerce comprised hard-nosed business-minded individuals from all legitimate industrial areas, and saw the Chamber as too good a recruiting arena to abandon.  Primacy agents methodically sought out those who recognized the approaching danger to their existing business investments, and were not squeamish about employing very direct business methods, given some Mob assistance in the way of field muscle.  Part of the standard recruitment carrot was funds and enforcement assets for existing business, so long as they did not detract from the main aim of building POP, or Post-Oil Primacy.  Science showed no probable technological solution to the oil problem except the development of synthetic fuels.
Many industrialists, facing the inevitable decline of their entire industrial sector, decided to join the winning side, no doubt thinking that management would eventually fall to those with proven conventional business backgrounds once the need for violent persuasion had passed.  They were wrong.  This recruitment phase of operations resulted in occasional media stories speculating whether various prominent businessmen might have joined the mysterious Primacy movement, based on any public statements. Media articles often portrayed Primacy as a branch of the Chamber of Commerce kept secret for fear of adverse public or political reaction.  Chamber insiders loudly denied that, calling it a splinter group, in no way affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce, merely boasting some of the same members, but their denials fell on deaf ears.
Primacy, now in its second decade, with branches in over a dozen countries, relentlessly pursued its goal of wresting world economic control away from petro-based industry.  The plan was elementary.  By “owning” all stages of worldwide synthetic fuel production – from crop growth to refinery facilities – the Mafia would possess a controlling interest in the most important industry in the world.  All perfectly legal ownership.  The acquisition and management techniques employed had been necessarily ruthless, and illegal more often than not.  Its luckiest victims were simply violently dispossessed – others were maimed, kidnapped, or killed.
But Primacy itself remained practically unknown to the general public.  It was a shadowy organization, never officially recognized, and never claiming “responsibility” for their actions like radical political groups.  They were interested only in profit, and control of the worldwide production of synthetic fuels.
*  *  *  *  *

...Sydney, Australia – February 2014
Because of her famous parents, she knew, the media had created an image of Tatiana Juliette Petersen as an infant terrible, and played on it regularly.  Her father had been Dr Herbert Petersen – Dr Herb to the media – who had died a few years ago of an incurable disease when she was just fourteen.  He had been a favorite of the media for scientific comments for over a decade because of his incredible academic qualifications, good looks, easy camera presence, and position as Managing Director of highly respected Petersen Scientific Research.  A virtually perpetual student, with an incredible four doctorates and nine degrees, he had been able to act as a spokesman on just about any scientific subject – a rare scientific generalist.
After his death, Tatiana’s mother, Olga Petersen, herself a qualified physicist, but a mainstream scientific specialist, had taken over the running of PSR.  Olga was wary of media scrutiny, and fielded their inquiries in a far more formal manner than her late husband, but Tatiana had proved to be a media hit.  As a precocious schoolgirl, she had enjoyed the exposure during her high-school years, acting the part of a cheeky ‘whiz-kid’ for the cameras.  Often referred to as a ‘chip off the old block’, she was frequently consulted for a young person’s perspective on breaking scientific news.  It was not all media hype and image, though.  There was real substance.  She really was a clever kid.
With two extremely smart parents as personal tutors, it had been almost inevitable that she had been moved ahead at school no less than four times.  Now at university, where she was usually four years younger than her contemporaries, she was in the final year of her Bachelor of Science degree course – at only seventeen.  Trying to equal the academic achievements of her father was a nearly-impossible dream, but getting her B.Sc. out of the way, settling on a suitable Major for a Master of Science degree, and finally taking out a Ph.D. to equal her mother’s qualifications was a powerful driving motivation.
As a darling of the media, Tatiana's most significant interview had been shortly after the death of her famous father.  She had been asked to walk into the PSR premises in her school uniform.  That was obviously just to emphasize her youth before the questions started, and she had bemused the television producer, plucking at her school uniform.
“I guess I don’t really mind the obvious spin, since Poppa liked to think of me that way, too.  But I’d like to be sure that you focus past all this cutesy stuff and show that most of the real research work at the lab is my mother’s province, and always has been.”
The producer had blinked a little at that, and looked to his camera operator, who just grinned.  “Really?  Do we seem that transparent?”
“Yes.  I know you need to present items in a way that the public can easily swallow, but I think the schoolgirl prodigy stuff is a bit of a cliché, and doesn’t help to tell the story about PSR surviving Poppa’s death.  It might generate a bit of sympathy, but that’s all.  What will you do next year, though?  When I’m at uni?  Find another cutie-babe?  Should I take up sucking lollipops?”
The producer had thought about it, and proved fairly sensitive to Olga’s unusual plight at that time, asking the reporter to have her explain some of the famous historic cases at PSR, and how she had arrived at solutions for their clients independently of the famous Dr Herb.  The familiar theme about Tatiana was only slightly modified, but that was enough – she was now the super-bright daughter of not just well-known Dr Herb, but Olga Petersen, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. as well, and off to university at age fourteen.  Wow!
And that interview had set the scene.  She found they liked it best when she presented a cheeky, irreverent attitude to scientific subjects, without straying from scientific facts.  So that’s what she always gave them.  The arrangement suited both parties and Tatiana knew that she had the youthful good looks and scientific pedigree to get away with it.
Her mother’s family name had been Kosalaeiv, among whom it was a family tradition for children to be given a Russian first name.  However, Tatiana was known to her few friends as Tania, and to her family as Tani.  She certainly did not think of herself as Russian in any way.  The Kosalaeiv family in Sydney was not numerous, and Tatiana did not know many of them well.  After her father’s death, her Uncle Max regularly visited the family home to see his sister.  Max really hadn’t ever got on well with Dr Herb – Poppa – so had stayed away previously.
Max Kosalaeiv also had a scientific reputation, but only by association, once again fostered by the media who referred to him as ‘The Microwave Man’.  He had no significant academic qualifications, but was a successful inventor.  A very wealthy retired manufacturing jeweller, he was skillful in an engineering sense, and had plenty of time to ‘potter around’, but little scientific understanding of much that he did except in the field of microwave, where he had become something of an acknowledged expert.  He visited his sister to ask scientific questions and refine his inventions.  Tatiana tried to keep her distance.  Poppa had always claimed that Max was a bit of an embarrassment, and more than a little eccentric – not a proper scientist at all, despite the hype surrounding his many inventions.  The fact that those inventions often included an offbeat sense of humor did not help in any way.
And that wasn’t the only reason to avoid Uncle Max – he was a crossword thief!  Tatiana had inherited her parents’ enthusiasm for cryptic crosswords, but her uncle committed the greatest unwritten crime of all – he filled in answers in her crosswords, if she left them unfinished about the house.  Despicable!  He was bad news.
Being a whiz kid, however, was not all fun.  Most of her classmates, all of them much older than her, either owned or could borrow motor vehicles of one type or another.  Some of her friends rode a bicycle once or twice a week, but that was less to minimize rising fuel costs and more for exercise or fun – Tatiana, not quite eighteen, had to ride a bike!  In a city the size of Sydney, that put quite a cramp on her social life, mixing with people in their early to mid-twenties.  And it meant that summer rain, common at this time of year, was a constant nuisance.
Stamping up the front steps onto the wide verandah of the family home in the late afternoon, dripping, Tatiana jumped up and down and wind-milled her arms to get rid of the surface water on her jacket.  She pressed the doorbell – today it said, in a bored male voice, “Ding bloody Dong!” – but nobody answered.  Ding bloody Dang, another one of Uncle Max’s joke inventions, and I’m first home.  She fished in her wet pockets, and used her key on the front door.  Stalking into the little cloakroom, she stood in front of her usual jacket peg, shook her head furiously to spray water from her hair, then peeled off her jacket.
As she was hanging it on the peg, she heard a ‘whfff’ noise behind her, followed by a couple of thumps, and spun around, surprised.  There was Uncle Max, jumping up and down on a little rubber mat, with his mobile phone in one hand.  He saw her and said, “Oh, I didn’t...” at exactly the same time that she did.
“...see you there.  You gave me a fright.”
Max reddened.  “I didn’t see you, either.  Sorry about this.  I was just testing.  Jumping, that’s all.  Just testing, y’see.  Sorry.  I’ll get out of your way.”
He almost ran out of the cloakroom and down the passage toward the dining room, still clutching his phone.  What on earth was that all about?  Jumping?  The man’s insane!
Later that night, she told her mother about the incident during their study hour, and was surprised at her reaction.  Instead of being amused, she changed the subject immediately, claiming that the study hour was for study, not gossip.  What the hell?  Ah!  He’s done something he shouldn’t have, probably wasn’t supposed to be here at all.  He’ll cop an earful from her next time she sees him, I bet!  Serves him right, silly old fart!
*  *  *  *  *

Another little rubber mat lay on the floor of Olga Petersen’s office – Max had placed it there with her permission.  Max is a pain!  Still, I promised to be careful, and you can’t put Genies back into bottles.  What he’s done is undoubtedly clever, even if he typically says he doesn’t understand the science behind it.  A rough idea, perhaps, probably from what I’ve been able to drum into his deliberately thick head.
She had been forced to research the matter herself, before she started to understand it.  He was sometimes infuriatingly obtuse, and it offended her scientific pride that anyone with his obvious intelligence should go to such extremes to pretend ignorance.
No, that’s not fair.  He’s definitely been a clever little doobee, and he knows it, the irritating twit.  So she went through the charade of secrecy, picking up her mobile phone.
“Yes, all clear.  Nobody in sight.”
Nodding at the response, she disconnected and put her phone into her belt socket, then turned to look at the ugly little mat just a few paces away until Max disconnected his phone a little over a minute later.  He was plainly satisfied with the test results, and grinned at Olga.  She frowned back at him.  “We’ll have to work out a better way than this.  I’m not going to be around to be night watchman for you every time you want to run a test.  I pray that you’ll go further afield, and soon, I hope.”
“Oh, I will, I will, but I need to find safe locations.  You haven’t changed your mind, then?  About the Spinner?”
Olga frowned and instinctively lowered her voice.  “No, I haven’t.  Look, Max, this pitch of yours.  Is it solid enough?  Using focused microwave to super-heat water in small volumes to allow small steam turbines to be built that are radically more efficient than any present motors.  Will it stand up to thorough investigation?”
His expression blanked.  “Ah, well.  It’s the best I’ve been able think of.  It could be done, y’know, but it’d take a long time to develop, probably decades, and I’d need bigger facilities than I have.  So nobody’ll be surprised if nothing happens for a long time.  And, apart from offering new engines that need far less fuel than any present ones, it’s not exciting enough to attract the wrong sort of attention.  I hope.”
“Be careful, though.  Remember all those scientists working on synthetic fuels kidnapped in Europe.  You don’t want to end up like that, or just killed because you might offer the hope of engines that use less fuel.  I wish you’d push the more obvious applications, like that medical one we discussed.  That’s real enough, and it’d provide some real benefits.”
He nodded.  “Yeah, but it’d also attract immediate attention – not what I need right now.  I will get around to it, but I still have lots of basic spinner research to do first, so I’ll just keep my head down, mouth shut.  The beam doesn’t stay focused for much more than about a kilometer, so it can’t be used at distance.  Perhaps suited to medical use in the long term, but only after I refine the gear a lot more.”
“Well, I know that your spun beams are far too dangerous for medical use just yet but, even if you master this technique so that they only radiate at the focus point, and suddenly become super-practical for medical use, the spooks might still see it as a weapon.  Be careful.  You’d be lucky to avoid spending the rest of your life in jail.  They’d probably just arrange a neat little accident for you.  For God’s sake, Max, start taking this seriously!  It isn’t just another comedy gadget.”
Max and his bloody spinner, and Tani and her irrational distrust of Max.  What a family!  She just doesn’t understand how clever Max really is, and I can’t tell her, either.  Despite her gentle influence, her daughter still clung to dear Herb’s view of Max, and kept her distance, which was a pity.  Max, she thought, probably didn’t notice that at all.  He was so focused on his damn Spinner – her brother was definitely a worry, although he was likely to be remembered by the scientific community long after her own work had been forgotten.
*  *  *  *  *

Olga did her best.  Choosing her times with care, she chatted with her daughter and slipped in details about her brother, to try and de-demonize him in her eyes.
“You need to remember, Tani, that Max didn’t always act the clown.  That’s all been since your Aunt Maggie died – her death shook him badly, and changed him.  Over the past twenty years, he’s become more eccentric and obsessive, so when he suddenly sold the jewellery business and concentrated on improving microwave ovens, we all saw that as just typical – he never does anything by halves.”
Tatiana had finished peeling the potatoes, and handed them over.  “If he just stuck to microwave that would be all right – but he doesn’t.”
“Well, researching something dry like microwave is pretty boring and, ironically, when he started doing semi-scientific work was when your father decided he didn’t like him.  He doesn’t look or act like a scientist, but he loves making gadgets, because he has all those fine machining skills, and he’s certainly not stupid!  Some of his inventions are trivial things, I admit – a rich man’s hobby, I suppose.  But, you have to admit, we’ve all had a good laugh at some of them!”
Tatiana glanced through the kitchen door.  The dining-room table had a rotating cutlery dispenser with limited voice-recognition so that it replied with ‘Max-funny’ voices in a variety of ways when someone spoke to it.  Tatiana had even used it to impress visiting friends.  And their doorbell was, of course, one of Max’s ‘Cheekimes’, which had become a big retail success.
After cutting the potatoes and salting them, Olga looked up.  “About ten years back he started his reputation for microwave devices with his ‘Vocabake’ – that was a fairly serious invention.  You were just a little kid then.  Voice prompts for microwave ovens are a good idea, and the general public thought so, too.  They’ve become a popular accessory.  And those ‘Hot-Sticks’ are clever, too.  You probably haven’t heard about them, because they’re new.”
“Hot-Sticks?  No, I haven’t...  So what do they do?”
“Little devices you stick into food inside the microwave chamber with sensor readouts on the outside for temperature and radiation status.”
“Oh.  Isn’t that a little, well...  a bit ordinary for Uncle Max?”
“Tani, Max isn’t crazy!  What about his ‘Warbler’?  That’s a real breakthrough in low-power microwave, and two major manufacturers have beaten a path to his door.  The Warbler uses a spread of frequencies and pulses in a cyclic pattern, instead of a steady irradiation at a constant frequency.  Now, that’s both simple and clever.”
“He’s been lucky, then.  It’s such a simple idea that it’s amazing nobody thought of it before.  I suppose I should almost admire that one!  It shows good, patient research work, at least.  Almost scientific.  Maybe he wasn’t trying hard enough to be eccentric.  I’m sure he goes out of his way to be weird.”
“Well, I think you’re a bit hard on him, Tani.  He is clever, and he recently made some new microwave discoveries that I had a great deal of trouble trying to understand, and I...  well, never mind.”
Tatiana paused in the doorway to the dining room, and looked back.  “Oh, Mother, I’m not blind.  I’ve seen you talking to him over the past few months, and he’s not just here to pinch my crosswords.  He’s obviously researching something complicated, but you haven’t mentioned anything about it to me – not a word.  So you don’t want me involved.  That suits me fine.”
“Hmmm, sorry, love.  I didn’t mean to snub you, but this pushes me to my limits.  Quite exciting, really, but difficult to rationalize from a scientific point of view.  I’ve been hard-pressed to make sense of his experimental results.  And it has security implications that might make it dangerous to even talk about.  Max is clever, but has no classic academic grounding.  All of his qualifications are trade-related, but he’s studied microwave in such great detail, and made so many experimental devices that he’s become a respected expert.  The real problem is that he’s an intuitive experimenter.  He tells me that he doesn’t care very much about the science behind his stuff, but he also keeps asking me to explain.”
“Oh, he cares.  Even I can see that.  You spend hours and hours arguing with him!  He just never seems to listen.”
“Well, no.  He does listen to me.  I bully him a bit, because he deserves it.  And he does make me laugh!”
Tatiana nodded as she returned to stirring the sauce.  “At least that’s a good thing!”
Olga thought carefully, then decided.  “Tani, I spoke to Max after that little surprise you told me about in the cloakroom, and he’s very sorry about frightening you.  He agreed that I might tell you some basic details about his new invention, so that if anything like this happens again, you won’t get the wrong impression.  This should be harmless enough, but first I want you to promise me that you won’t talk about this to any of your friends.  It definitely mustn’t become public.”
Tatiana stopped stirring the sauce and looked up, surprised.  “Well, now.  What can this be?  You don’t even tell me details about PSR projects – just broad outlines – and you’ve certainly never told me anything about Uncle Max’s work.  Nothing at all.”
Olga frowned and put down her knife.  “That’s true, but there are reasons, of course.  Lab work is specified and paid for by clients, and it’s their business only.  I’m just not permitted to talk about any project until after it’s been implemented and made public – some competitor might gain something from the information, otherwise.  It’s nearly the same situation with Max, and I still want you to promise me you won’t talk about it.  Max finally sees that you’re worthy of our trust.  I always have, dear, and I’ve told him so several times, but it was Max’s decision to make – it’s his research.  I’m just advising on scientific issues.”
She laughed suddenly.  “He says that you have to be trustworthy because you do cryptic crosswords!  He infuriates me, sometimes.”
“Okay, okay.  I give you my word.  This’ll be strictly family business, then.  Boy!  This’d better be good, after all this!”
“Well, it’s more microwave, of course.  Max invented a gadget he calls a spinner...  a couple of years back, and the Patent for it has now been approved.  It has a spinning transmitter array, and it emits microwave at low levels, but in a narrow beam like a laser.  More like a pipe, I suppose – hollow in the middle.  Just that alone would be marvelous.  But there’s far more to it.  It’s hugely more energy efficient than present radiation methods, and would allow microwave ovens to use far less power.  Because it’s such a narrow beam, though, it isn’t very practical for cooking...  not normal cooking, anyway.  But it could be used for radical new engines to reduce demand for oil.  Little steam turbines using spinners to super-heat water at very low power consumption.”
Tatiana nodded, a bit reluctantly.  “Yes, I read a press report when the Patent was announced – but he also said that it was no more than an idea at the moment.  It’s years away from any practical reality, he said.  With world oil supplies running down, that’d be very important, right enough, so he’s working on that?”
“Well, no...  not really.  He’s still perfecting the actual spinners.  But there are other exciting possibilities, too.  Spinners could be used for cancer treatment.  Radiation for cancer is essentially just a big microwave bombardment of diseased tissue, but like using a shotgun to hit a needle in a haystack.  Everything along the path also gets irradiated, and the targeting direction or penetration depth is very difficult to control.  They end up killing off a lot of healthy tissue to get at the bad stuff, and the damage from the cure can be worse than the disease.”
“Ah!  So the spinner would allow more accurate targeting?”
“Yes.  He’s working on a system to give the beam a focal depth and make it pretty near harmless except at the focal point.  So a patient could be treated with a safe, low-powered, narrow beam that becomes active only at a precise distance from the spinner.  A real breakthrough, and it could save tens of thousands of lives.”
Olga resumed chopping up vegetables, and Tatiana turned back to her sauce, thinking.  After a considerable time of quiet stirring, she decided that she might have misjudged her uncle a little, but something still didn’t add up.  “Well, where’s the security angle?  What’s so dangerous?  Surely everyone would see this as good?”
“Two sides to every coin, Tani.  Even beneficial inventions can have a negative impact on someone or some market sector.  Make a new cancer cure and all the firms who make the present equipment go out of business.  Make a new type of engine that uses less fuel and have the oil companies trying to stop you...  no radical invention is ever easy to introduce.  Especially for a lone inventor without a corporate shell to protect him.  It’s the investment risk that potential opposition has to protect.  He keeps a low profile and makes everything look harmless.”
“That’s probably true, but it’s still not enough to make it a security risk.  Ifs and maybes don’t make it dangerous.  Is there something else?  Something you’re still not telling me?”
Olga grinned.  “Yes, of course there is, and I knew you’d see that, dear.  Very good.  Yes, there actually is a lot more to it than that, but the spinner is at the center of all the trouble.  Max has made high-powered spinners for testing purposes, and he’s kept those strictly secret, because they could be seen as weapons!  They radiate in short bursts at fantastic power, and are what prompted him to put that little mat in our cloakroom.  The focal length of spinners isn’t a constant thing beyond an initial radiation distance of about ninety meters, you see.  Beyond that, there are bands of...  void, where the beam simply won’t focus at all.  Probably to do with the way the spinner creates the beam, but Max has tried all sorts of variations, and always gets the same result.  The active focus bands get further and further apart, and narrower, too.  It just so happens that our cloakroom falls into an active band, measured from Max’s workshop.  My office does, too.  So he takes measurements there while his experiments are running.  That’s why he was there, measuring.”
“Void bands and active bands, wide at the source, getting narrower further away?”
“The active bands get narrower with distance, yes, but the void bands get wider, by about the same ratio, as far as we can tell.  The furthest he’s been able to measure is about six kilometers – that’s us – although it may go further.  He’s still searching and, of course, he has to find safe places at correct distances, where he can take measurements without being seen.  Our active reception band here is less than half a meter wide, though, so it’s important that you don’t move that little mat, which he uses for an exact location mark.  That’s all I can tell you, Tani.”
“Ratios, ratios...  Ah!  Fibonacci Numbers, I bet.  We studied them last semester.  Wide progressing to narrow, or narrow to wide, following a precise ratio to the source size.  It appears in nature countless times.  Seashells, flower petals, lots of examples.  So that’s why Uncle Max always carries all that junk on his belt?  For measurements?”
Olga laughed.  “Yes – including the Global Positioning meter.  He wouldn’t like you calling it junk!  Now, that’s all I’m going to say, Tani.  You’re too quick by half!  Max just wants to keep his experiments secret, without causing you any alarm.  I’ll tell him about the Fibonacci Numbers, though – it might be a clue.”
Tatiana stood still, thinking, until Olga prompted her, “You’ll burn that sauce if you don’t watch it.  And one other thing.  You should know that I’ve recently changed my will, Tani.  With all this work with Max, and discussing the implications with him, you’ll now inherit everything – that was his idea, too.  He was going to get part of the estate, but insisted that it all go to you, and I agreed.”
“If his spinner goes into production, with the effect that would make on cancer treatment, he’ll be even more wealthy than he is, so...  why are you telling me this, Mother?  Are you in some sort of danger?  Are you ill?  You don’t normally discuss this sort of thing.”
“Science is often dangerous.  Experiments are dangerous.  Just living can be dangerous.  I’m in no more danger than before, dear, but Max worries that the implications of this work may cause angry reactions in some quarters – big investments suddenly made redundant.  Millions to be lost overnight, and investors can be violent.  And I’m aware that this is all new technology, so I’m just being careful.  I’m not sick.  You don’t need to be worried, Tani.”
That dinner proved to be a very quiet and thoughtful affair.
*  *    *  *

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