Commonsense Britain
The definitive guide to Britain's success in the twenty-first century
God II

Chapter one

The increasingly intense flashes of sheet lightening were hardly noticed by David Ross but added to his sense of unease.  The light highlighted his strong features as he bent over his laptop, scrutinizing the patterns on his screen.  He was working intently, as he had for several months, on a remarkable and troubling biomedical problem that he had stumbled across while researching sensory patterns in the brain.
He was sure, now, that something sinister was going on, it was as if there were a ‘computer’ type virus creating and managing the low level pathways that effected neural and higher brain functions involved with rational thought.
David was analysing his latest DNA tests that seemed to show that there was indeed a strange pattern right across all of the known DNA sites for recognised brain functions.   How could this be he mused, what process could have created such a widespread effect on the DNA?  And, for what purpose?  It almost seemed to have the hand of an external agent writing a discrete pattern into the DNA to cause a hidden, built in effect.  The way the pattern was distributed within the DNA meant that it would always be present no matter how many hereditary changes were created.   It therefore had enormous redundancy to fend off change.  This was deeply disturbing as the whole evolutionary process was designed to ensured that this simply could not happen, change was good and necessary.  The lightening flashed again, stronger, and for the first time David noticed a distant roll of thunder, the storm was approaching and increasing its intensity.

Deep in thought, his attention was wrenched away to a persistent banging, someone was hammering on the door and he realised the banging had been going on for some time and getting more fervent.   He came up from his cellar, climbing out of the hatch into the flashes of the approaching storm.  The door was solid enough but the banging was reverberating around his lounge with some intensity now. It was teeming down, and as he swung the door back it revealed a poor soul drenched from head to foot, dripping like he had just been plucked from a lake.  The man made an expression of almost hopelessness, hands spread out as if to say ‘what else can I do’.  Ross motioned him in, the rain too loud for any sensible discussion until the door had been firmly banged to and shuttered against the storm.

Sorry, so sorry! the guy blurted out, my car, out there somewhere just stopped in the rain, I waited and waited for the rain to ease but it wouldn’t and I was freezing – its ok, ok said Ross, I’ll get you some dry clothes and you can stay a while till its over.  David just wanted to get back to his work, this was a distraction, a nuisance that he did not want at a crucial time.  Finalising his last results would provide the evidence he needed to identify the true nature of the ‘virus’ and provide detailed information on its development.

David Ross fetched a bundle of clothes and a towel, ‘here you are’ he said, by the way I’m David and you? ‘Stephen’ said Stephen Wright, I just came up to the lakes for the weekend. it here, usually anyway!'. Well, make yourself at home, I just need to finish off some work for a while – kip down on the settee if you like, I'll turn in sometime a little later.  The bathrooms over there, and the kitchen just through the arch, help yourself, leave your wet things in the bath and we shall sort them out tomorrow, no point in going anywhere tonight, its too late now.  He felt bad about pushing Stephen off so quickly but he just couldn’t manage any more time when there was an historic discovery that needed his urgent attention.  He guessed they were about the same age, Stephen looked fairly bright and he would love to tell the guy about his research but just not now.

David closed the cellar hatch behind him and stepped quickly down the steep stairs to his lab.  He started running another program on his computer to show the statistical linking between the areas of the DNA identified by the last analysis.  Soon the display was creating a virtual image of the virus building blocks, those areas within the DNA that formed the locations for the virus.  David Ross stood up and back from the screen, ‘Shit!’ he said out loud, the screen showed an intricate but exact pattern – this was incredible – not just proof but the finality of the image on his screen was breathtaking, it could not be so, there must be a mistake in the data, if not it meant everything was changed forever – the DNA had been modified but not by inherited changes, but by an external process or hand, way, way back.  But how far back?  David had a huge database of most of the known DNA for his research. Ross had been working on the now accepted out of Africa theory to show modern humans evolved from a small group of individuals about 160 thousand years ago from north Africa.  He had the data from DNA strains throughout the world to identify when the virus first appeared.Ross feverishly started another mapping against some other DNA data from various species and different strains of modern humans.   The computer program ran through the database and compiled the changes within the pattern he had seen on the screen and compare them to the know changes over time across different species.

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David backed up his data to a CD while his pc ran through the analysis.  Just a few more seconds and he would know.  The screen showed the results as a coloured pattern for each of the different species – nothing for the amoeba, mouse, nothing for the monkey and nothing for man’s nearest relative the chimpanzee. 'What the hell!’ just the human DNA – impossible, the pattern was there at the lowest level - it should be in everything, even the amoeba.
His mouth was dry, he felt queasy, ill at ease and strangely uncertain.  It was like a bad practical joke – except he had compiled the tests himself from standard lab samples and checked data – no joke.  Ross could barely watch the screen as it started to show the relationship across the human strains.  Oh god, rock solid across all strains, no changes at all, this meant the virus coincided directly with the out of Africa data, was built in to all the human DNA since then.  There was no doubt now in David’s mind – he was looking at either the hand of a real God, or the work of another intelligence.  Either way it was fantastical and seemingly impossible.   His discovery shook him, real anxiety, real fear now.  This was perhaps the greatest discovery of all time and only he knew.  Practical as ever, even in crisis, he quickly backed up the results to accompany the underlying data to on to the CD and slid it into his jacket pocket for safekeeping.   ‘What the fuck now’ he said quietly, he had found the work of ‘God’ in the DNA.  No normal peer review for this, and what did it really mean?  What was the point of the virus?  What did it do to the brain, give us our intelligence, our ability to plan or think abstractly? Or what exactly?

A spectacular flash of lightening lit up the perimeter of the hatch, immediately accompanied by a huge crash, the force of the thunderbolt hitting the house above threw him to the floor, the whole place, the air itself seemed to glow for an instant and then a roaring howl like nothing he had ever heard before grew to a crescendo then stopped leaving nothing more than the clicking of his smoking computer.

Ross got up slowly, the emergency light showing the extent of the damage, ceiling mostly down, dust everywhere still swirling around.  ‘Christ’ the guy upstairs! Thought David, he went quickly but carefully up the stairs, pushed at the hatch, solid, wouldn’t budge.   Ok, what to do, first view the damage he was safe at least, the guy may already be dead if the bolt hit the living room like it sounded it might have.  Ross had a surveillance camera linked up, try that first, if it still works, can power it of the emergency circuit.  Feeling glad that he had bothered to fix up the second supply to get round the frequent power cuts in this remote part of the countryside that caused havoc with his long running computer routines for his normal work.  He took the power cable to the camera and plugged it into the computer’s standby power block pulling all the other computer cables out just in case.  Yep, worked, the small screen showed some hazy images.  Couldn’t make much out, the remote camera didn’t move or anything flash, just showed a wide angle view of the living room and the front door on the right.  Probable too much dust still.  No movement either, except what was that light, small seemed to float over where the chair should be, now another light both hazy dancing and floating, perhaps some form of ball lightening effect caused by the direct hit charging the air?  Now he could see better, the room was clearing a bit, very dark except for the two strange lights and, yes, the chair was there, smoldering a little, the lights fluttered over and around the chair, almost as if they were inspecting it.  David realised he was holding his breath now, yes the lights looked too intricate, too organised to be random lightening balls and he couldn’t think of any thing else that would fit.  They continued to move around the chair and then both moved apart in opposite directions circling the room and disappearing briefly, then returning very close together, flared slightly, then blinked out completely.  Nothing now no light, no sound, nothing at all.  David stood peering at nothing on the screen except a small smudge on the screen where the chair was for a long while.  He tried to remember exactly what he had seen, not just the lights and the way they moved but the room when it was illuminated by the traveling lights.  Yes he could remember seeing the area above where his cellar door was, covered by some depth of something, presumably rubble from the ceiling.

David Ross sat down, he felt suddenly tired and worn out, it was late now, past one in the morning and nothing made sense.   Revelation coupled with the lightening strike and then those queer lights.  If anything the strange lights were more worrying than anything else.  Ok the DNA thing had been there for a long time so that was not in itself too bad, but those lights were something else.  He was a good scientist, knew much about most scientific principles and there was nothing that even hinted at any explanation of those things.  Scary, very, very scary, was he paranoid or were they looking for him? Making sure he was dead?  No ridiculous, that would mean some alien life form or incredibly well kept secret security system was targeting him.  Hell, the only reason would be the DNA stuff.  Shit, he was paranoid, perhaps this was just a bad dream and he would wake up.  Yes maybe he really was dreaming.  He did occasionally ‘wake up’ in his dreams when he worked out that something was just too silly, with his practical scientific approach he would realise he was just dreaming and take control of the dream.  Lucid dreaming they called it, read up about it a few ago, some people can do it all the time.  So was he dreaming, everything felt too solid, he tried levitating off the chair, nothing.  No not a dream then, so what next, gota get out of here and disappear fast his body screamed at him, as his mind was trundling through the options, his inner self was already making plans to ‘escape’ from this ruined place with his secret intact.


copywrite JP 2008
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