Trade Secrets

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told.  Some will be fun, some will not.  Some will be great, some will be less so.  Some stories are true, some are merely possible.  This is one of them.

Trade Secrets

Benedict cursed as he lifted the bow in his hands.  What should have been a long and subtle curved c-shape was an elongated s-shape.  Instead of a collapsible bow he held in his hands a useless walking stick.  How were agents in field going to accomplish their missions without the proper equipment?

Pushing the button on the back of the belt buckle released the rigidness in the “bow” and it went back to being an ordinary belt.  That is, if ordinary belts had bowstrings hidden in their weaving.  This seemingly commonplace accessory formed the strong structure whenever an electric charge was sent through the fibers.  At least, that was the inventor’s theory.  He had already created a back brace that held a sheath of miniature arrows which could be worn underneath agents’ clothing.  The belt-bow was proving to be more difficult.  The narrow and pliable nature of a belt was proving to be a pain.  The fibers kept twisting and turning inside, realigning the innards of the belt into the s-shape.  Benedict set it aside to work on later.

His workshop, conveniently located eight stories underneath a government installation with a lovely view of cement walls and fluorescent lighting, was an endless array of gadgets and wiring.  Every once in a while a visitor would comment that he should at least ask for some paint or wallboard.  Benedict shrugged at these suggestions.  With the number of explosions, fires, and weapons being discharged, he had requested thicker concrete walls.  If any wall treatments were to be added, they would have to operate like ballistics gel.  The inventor only wanted to ply his trade without worrying about bringing the building crumbling down, never mind cracking plaster.

Benedict was not the fastest producing inventor that the government had on their payroll, but he was the most precise.  While other, newer scientists labored around him, Benedict remained unimpressed with their efforts.  He was the worker who had just turned forty, had a large bald spot on top of his head, and had never liked operating in the field. 

Ties; ties were what Benedict liked.  He thought there should be some amount of dignity when working at such an important trade.  For the first few years he had given up on this touch of professionalism as his ties had caught on fire many a time.  He had to admit that there was a certain amount of danger involved in trying to undo a tie while it flickered and flamed under napalm fire.  He wore clip-ons for a while, shuddering at how pedestrian the “convenience” was, but those were just as flammable (and rip-able, and shred-able, and look-what-got-caught-on-the-atomic-generator-able) as normal ties.  It wasn’t until he finally found a fabric that could exist in a frequency a bit outside of his dimension that he found a tie that couldn’t be destroyed.  The end result looked rather blurry at the right angle, however he reasoned that a tie that wasn’t fully in synch with reality couldn’t be damaged by that reality’s explosions.  Sadly, when he realized that the fabric was causing damage to the laws of physics, he had to abandon ties altogether for the sake of dimensional cohesion.  Benedict was always good at making those sacrifices for the bigger picture, and his supervisors appreciated that about him.

No, there were plenty of reckless inventors around to make things complicated enough already.  Jet-cars were sent out to the field without enough practical testing.  The new multiple-degree scientists had claimed that everything would work perfectly, but they lacked the patience to put their designs to the test.  Yes, the car was capable of allowing an agent to escape at speeds of seven hundred miles per hour.  But they failed to realized that the amount of fuel that they equipped the car with, combined with the vehicle’s obscene consumption rate, meant that the seven seconds of travel were hardly worth the nine-figure price tag.  Stories like that were all too common around the laboratories.  Benedict liked to work slower.  He kept his ideas to himself until he was sure he had a workable device.  The nanites that he laced inside a napkin and then became embedded into furniture had been the greatest surveillance boon of the last fifty years.  It had taken Benedict thirty-two months to get them perfected, but he still got praise to this day for them.  Less exciting, but just important to his mind, were the earplugs that translated any language that was spoken within seventy feet of an agent.  No longer were Latin-speaking spies getting the drop on the agents; they knew what was being said at all times anywhere in the world.

Benedict once again turned to his crown jewel, his crowning achievement.  He had other projects he was working on.  However, this device was going to be the one that highlighted his career.  He had really outdone himself with this design.  He didn’t have all the bugs worked out.  He needed to rework some designs to incorporate new findings in quantum physics.  Benedict honestly didn’t think he would have a prototype for another ten years.  But, when he finished, he would have a cold fusion reactor that worked as a fedora. 

ImageBenedict was willing to wait.  He would keep at it.  One day he would have success with this invention, he knew it.  Provided, that is, that he didn’t blow up several city blocks in the process.  That would certainly reflect badly on him.  For now, he was content to mull over the possibilities of his design.  Today he just wanted to finally decide what color the hat should be.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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