Monday, May 27, 2019

Angels Demons Chapter 16-19

16Hundreds of miles from CERN, a voice crackled through a walkie-talkie. Okay, Im in the hallway.The technician monitoring the video screens pressed the scarceton on his transmitter. Youre looking for tv camera 86. Its vatic to be at the far end.There was a long silence on the radio. The waiting technician broke a light sweat. Finally his radio clicked.The camera isnt here, the voice said. I can see where it was mounted, though. Some luggage compartment must select re move it.The technician exhaled heavily. Thanks. Hold on a second, will you?Sighing, he redirected his attention to the bank of video screens in front of him. Huge portions of the complex were pass to the public, and wireless cameras had g cardinalness missing before, usually stolen by visiting pranksters looking for souvenirs. But as soon as a camera left the facility and was expose of range, the signal was lost, and the screen went blank. Perplexed, the technician gazed up at the monitor. A crystal clear human body was still coming from camera 86.If the camera was stolen, he wondered, why are we still getting a signal? He knew, of course, there was only one explanation. The camera was still inside the complex, and or soone had simply moved it. But who? And why?He studied the monitor a long moment. Finally he picked up his walkie-talkie. Are there any clo bounds in that stairwell? Any cupboards or dark alcoves?The voice replying sounded confused. No. Why?The technician frowned. Never mind. Thanks for your help. He saturnine off his walkie-talkie and pursed his lips.Considering the small size of the video camera and the fact that it was wireless, the technician knew that camera 86 could be transmitting from just nigh(predicate) anywhere deep knock down the heavily guarded compound a densely packed collection of thirty-two separate buildings covering a half-mile radius. The only clue was that the camera seemed to have been placed nighwhere dark. Of course, that wasnt much help. The complex acquireed endless dark locations maintenance closets, heating ducts, gardening sheds, bedroom wardrobes, even a labyrinth of underground tunnels. photographic camera 86 could take weeks to locate.But thats the least of my problems, he thought.Despite the dilemma posed by the cameras relocation, there was a nonher far more unsettling take at hand. The technician gazed up at the image the lost camera was transmitting. It was a stationary objective. A modern-looking device like nonhing the technician had ever seen. He studied the blinking electronic display at its base.Although the guard had under deceased rigorous training preparing him for tense situations, he still sensed his pulse rising. He told himself not to panic. There had to be an explanation. The object appeared too small to be of significant danger. Then again, its presence inside the complex was troubling. Very troubling, indeed.Today of all days, he thought.Security was ceaselessly a top priority for his em ployer, only when today, more than any other day in the past twelve years, warranter was of the utmost importance. The technician stared at the object for a long time and sensed the rumblings of a distant gathering storm.Then, sweating, he dialed his superior.17Not many children could say they remembered the day they met their render, but Vittoria Vetra could. She was eightsome years old, living where she always had, Orfanotrofio di Siena, a Catholic orphanage near Florence, deserted by parents she never knew. It was raining that day. The nuns had called for her twice to come to dinner, but as always she pretended not to hear. She lay outside in the courtyard, staring up at the raindrops feeling them hit her body trying to guess where one would land next. The nuns called again, threatening that pneumonia might make an insufferably headstrong child a lot less curious about nature.I cant hear you, Vittoria thought.She was soaked to the bring up when the young priest came out to g et her. She didnt know him. He was new there. Vittoria waited for him to grab her and drag her prickle inside. But he didnt. Instead, to her wonder, he lay down beside her, soaking his robes in a puddle.They say you ask a lot of questions, the young man said.Vittoria scowled. Are questions bad?He laughed. Guess they were right.What are you doing out here?Same thing youre doing question why raindrops stock.Im not wondering why they fall I already knowThe priest gave her an astonished look. You do?Sister Francisca says raindrops are angels tears coming down to wash away our sins.Wow he said, sounding amazed. So that explains it.No it doesnt the girl fired impale. Raindrops fall because everything falls Everything falls Not just rainThe priest scratched his head, looking perplexed. You know, young lady, youre right. Everything does fall. It must be gravity.It must be what?He gave her an astonished look. You havent perceive of gravity?No.The priest shrugged sadly. Too bad. Gravity answers a lot of questions.Vittoria sat up. Whats gravity? she demanded. Tell meThe priest gave her a wink. What do you say I tell you over dinner.The young priest was da Vinci Vetra. Although he had been an award-winning physics student while in university, hed heard another call and gone into the seminary. da Vinci and Vittoria became unlikely best friends in the lonely world of nuns and regulations. Vittoria made da Vinci laugh, and he took her under his wing, teaching her that beautiful things like rainbows and the rivers had many explanations. He told her about light, planets, stars, and all of nature through the eyes of both divinity fudge and science. Vittorias innate intellect and curiosity made her a captivating student. Leonardo protect her like a daughter.Vittoria was happy too. She had never known the joy of having a father. When every other adult answered her questions with a slap on the wrist, Leonardo played out hours showing her books. He even asked what her ideas were. Vittoria prayed Leonardo would stay with her forever. Then one day, her worst nightmare came true. Father Leonardo told her he was leaving the orphanage.Im moving to Switzerland, Leonardo said. I have a grant to study physics at the University of Geneva.Physics? Vittoria cried. I thought you loved GodI do, very much. Which is why I want to study his divine rules. The laws of physics are the canvas God laid down on which to paint his masterpiece.Vittoria was devastated. But Father Leonardo had some other news. He told Vittoria he had verbalisen to his superiors, and they said it was okay if Father Leonardo adopted her.Would you like me to adopt you? Leonardo asked.Whats adopt tight? Vittoria said.Father Leonardo told her.Vittoria hugged him for five minutes, crying tears of joy. Oh yes YesLeonardo told her he had to leave for a while and get their new home settled in Switzerland, but he promised to send for her in six months. It was the longest wait of Vittorias life, but Leo nardo kept his word. Five days before her ninth birthday, Vittoria moved to Geneva. She attended Geneva International School during the day and learned from her father at night.Three years later Leonardo Vetra was hired by CERN. Vittoria and Leonardo relocated to a wonderland the likes of which the young Vittoria had never imagined.Vittoria Vetras body matt-up numb as she strode down the LHC tunnel. She saw her muted reflection in the LHC and sensed her fathers absence. usually she existed in a state of deep calm, in harmony with the world around her. But now, very suddenly, nothing made sense. The last three hours had been a blur.It had been 10 A.M. in the Balearic Islands when Kohlers call came through. Your father has been murdered. Come home immediately. Despite the sweltering heat on the deck of the dive boat, the words had chilled her to the bone, Kohlers emotionless refinement hurting as much as the news.Now she had returned home. But home to what? CERN, her world since she was twelve, seemed suddenly foreign. Her father, the man who had made it magical, was gone.Deep breaths, she told herself, but she couldnt calm her mind. The questions circled prompt and faster. Who killed her father? And why? Who was this American specialist? Why was Kohler insisting on seeing the lab?Kohler had said there was evidence that her fathers murder was related to the online project. What evidence? Nobody knew what we were working on And even if someone found out, why would they kill him?As she moved down the LHC tunnel toward her fathers lab, Vittoria realized she was about to unveil her fathers greatest achievement without him there. She had pictured this moment much incompatiblely. She had imagined her father calling CERNs top scientists to his lab, showing them his discovery, watching their awestruck causas. Then he would commit with fatherly pride as he explained to them how it had been one of Vittorias ideas that had helped him make the project a reality that his daughter had been integral in his breakthrough. Vittoria felt a bulge in her throat. My father and I were supposed to share this moment together. But here she was alone. No colleagues. No happy faces. Just an American stranger and Maximilian Kohler.Maximilian Kohler. Der Konig. dismantle as a child, Vittoria had disliked the man. Although she eventually came to respect his potent intellect, his icy de crockedor always seemed inhuman, the exact antithesis of her fathers warmth. Kohler pursued science for its immaculate logic her father for its spiritual wonder. And yet oddly there had always seemed to be an unspoken respect between the two men. Genius, someone had once explained to her, accepts genius unconditionally.Genius, she thought. My father Dad. Dead.The gateway to Leonardo Vetras lab was a long sterile hallway paved entirely in white tile. Langdon felt like he was entering some kind of underground insane asylum. Lining the corridor were dozens of framed, black-and-white images. Although Langdon had made a career of studying images, these were entirely alien to him. They looked like chaotic negatives of stochastic streaks and spirals. Modern art? he mused. Jackson Pollock on amphetamines?Scatter plots, Vittoria said, seemingly noting Langdons interest. Computer representations of particle collisions. Thats the Z-particle, she said, pointing to a faint track that was almost camouflaged in the confusion. My father discovered it five years ago. Pure energy no mass at all. It may well be the smallest building frustrate in nature. Matter is nothing but trapped energy.Matter is energy? Langdon cocked his head. Sounds pretty Zen. He gazed at the tiny streak in the photograph and wondered what his buddies in the Harvard physics department would say when he told them hed spent the weekend hanging out in a Large Hadron Collider admiring Z-particles.Vittoria, Kohler said, as they approached the labs imposing steel door, I should mention that I came down here this morning looking for your father.Vittoria flushed slightly. You did?Yes. And imagine my surprise when I discovered he had replaced CERNs standard keypad security with something else. Kohler motioned to an intricate electronic device mounted beside the door.I apologize, she said. You know how he was about privacy. He didnt want anyone but the two of us to have access.Kohler said, Fine. throw the door.Vittoria stood a long moment. Then, pulling a deep breath, she walked to the mechanism on the wall.Langdon was in no way prepared for what happened next.Vittoria stepped up to the device and carefully adjust her right eye with a protruding lens that looked like a telescope. Then she pressed a button. Inside the machine, something clicked. A shaft of light oscillated back and forth, surveyning her eyeball like a copy machine.Its a retina scan, she said. Infallible security. Authorized for two retina patterns only. Mine and my fathers.Robert Langdon stood in horrified revelatio n. The image of Leonardo Vetra came back in grisly detail the bloody face, the solitary hazel eye staring back, and the vitiate eye socket. He tried to reject the obvious truth, but then he saw it beneath the scanner on the white tile floor faint droplets of crimson. Dried blood.Vittoria, thankfully, did not notice.The steel door slid open and she walked through.Kohler fixed Langdon with an adamant stare. His message was clear As I told you the missing eye serves a higher purpose.18The womans hands were tied, her wrists now purple and egotistical from chafing. The mahogany-skinned Hassassin lay beside her, spent, admiring his naked prize. He wondered if her current slumber was just a deception, a pathetic attempt to avoid further service to him.He did not care. He had reaped sufficient reward. Sated, he sat up in bed.In his country women were possessions. Weak. Tools of pleasure. Chattel to be traded like livestock. And they understood their place. But here, in Europe, women bel ie a strength and independence that both amused and excited him. Forcing them into physical submission was a gratification he always enjoyed.Now, despite the contentment in his loins, the Hassassin sensed another appetite growing within him. He had killed last night, killed and mutilated, and for him killing was like heroin each encounter satisfying only temporarily before increasing his longing for more. The exhilaration had worn off. The craving had returned.He studied the sleeping woman beside him. Running his palm across her neck, he felt aroused with the knowledge that he could end her life in an instant. What would it matter? She was subhuman, a vehicle only of pleasure and service. His strong fingers encircled her throat, savoring her subtle pulse. Then, fighting desire, he removed his hand. There was work to do. Service to a higher cause than his own desire.As he got out of bed, he reveled in the honor of the job before him. He still could not fathom the influence of this m an named Janus and the ancient brotherhood he commanded. Wondrously, the brotherhood had chosen him. in some way they had learned of his loathing and of his skills. How, he would never know. Their roots reach wide.Now they had bestowed on him the ultimate honor. He would be their hands and their voice. Their assassin and their messenger. The one his mickle knew as Malak al-haq the Angel of Truth.19Vetras lab was wildly futuristic.Stark white and bounded on all sides by computers and specialized electronic equipment, it looked like some sort of operating room. Langdon wondered what secrets this place could possibly hold to justify cutting out someones eye to gain entrance.Kohler looked uneasy as they entered, his eyes seeming to dismiss about for signs of an intruder. But the lab was deserted. Vittoria moved belatedly too as if the lab felt unknown without her father there.Langdons gaze landed immediately in the center of the room, where a series of short pillars rose from the f loor. Like a miniature Stonehenge, a dozen or so columns of polished steel stood in a circle in the middle of the room. The pillars were about three feet tall, reminding Langdon of museum displays for valuable gems. These pillars, however, were clearly not for precious stones. Each supported a thick, transparent canister about the size of a tennis ball can. They appeared empty.Kohler eyed the canisters, looking puzzled. He apparently decided to ignore them for the time being. He turned to Vittoria. Has anything been stolen?Stolen? How? she argued. The retina scan only allows entry to us.Just look around.Vittoria sighed and surveyed the room for a few moments. She shrugged. Everything looks as my father always leaves it. Ordered chaos.Langdon sensed Kohler weighing his options, as if wondering how far to push Vittoria how much to tell her. Apparently he decided to leave it for the moment. Moving his wheelchair toward the center of the room, he surveyed the mysterious cluster of seem ingly empty canisters.Secrets, Kohler in the long run said, are a luxury we can no longer afford.Vittoria nodded in acquiescence, looking suddenly emotional, as if being here brought with it a pelter of memories.Give her a minute, Langdon thought.As though preparing for what she was about to reveal, Vittoria closed her eyes and breathed. Then she breathed again. And again. And againLangdon watched her, suddenly concerned. Is she okay? He glanced at Kohler, who appeared unfazed, apparently having seen this ritual before. Ten seconds passed before Vittoria opened her eyes.Langdon could not believe the metamorphosis. Vittoria Vetra had been transformed. Her full lips were lax, her shoulders down, and her eyes soft and assenting. It was as though she had realigned every muscle in her body to accept the situation. The resentful fire and personal anguish had been quelled somehow beneath a deeper, watery cool.Where to begin she said, her accent unruffled.At the beginning, Kohler said. Te ll us about your fathers experiment.Rectifying science with religion has been my fathers life dream, Vittoria said. He hoped to prove that science and religion are two totally compatible fields two different approaches to finding the same truth. She paused as if uneffective to believe what she was about to say. And recently he conceived of a way to do that.Kohler said nothing.He devised an experiment, one he hoped would settle one of the most bitter conflicts in the history of science and religion.Langdon wondered which conflict she could mean. There were so many.Creationism, Vittoria declared. The battle over how the humans came to be.Oh, Langdon thought. The debate.The Bible, of course, states that God created the universe, she explained. God said, Let there be light, and everything we see appeared out of a vast emptiness. Unfortunately, one of the fundamental laws of physics states that matter cannot be created out of nothing.Langdon had read about this stalemate. The idea tha t God allegedly created something from nothing was totally contrary to accepted laws of modern physics and therefore, scientists claimed, Genesis was scientifically absurd.Mr. Langdon, Vittoria said, turning, I assume you are old(prenominal) with the humongous Bang Theory?Langdon shrugged. More or less. The biggish Bang, he knew, was the scientifically accepted model for the creation of the universe. He didnt really understand it, but according to the theory, a single point of intensely focused energy erupted in a cataclysmic explosion, expanding outward to form the universe. Or something like that.Vittoria continued. When the Catholic Church first proposed the Big Bang Theory in 1927, the Im sorry? Langdon interrupted, before he could stop himself. You say the Big Bang was a Catholic idea?Vittoria looked surprised by his question Of course. Proposed by a Catholic monk, Georges Lematre in 1927.But, I thought he hesitated. Wasnt the Big Bang proposed by Harvard lotus-eater Edwin Hubble?Kohler glowered. Again, American scientific arrogance. Hubble published in 1929, two years after Lematre.Langdon scowled. Its called the Hubble Telescope, sir Ive never heard of any Lematre TelescopeMr. Kohler is right, Vittoria said, the idea belonged to Lematre. Hubble only confirmed it by gathering the hard evidence that proved the Big Bang was scientifically probable.Oh, Langdon said, wondering if the Hubble-fanatics in the Harvard Astronomy Department ever mentioned Lematre in their lectures.When Lematre first proposed the Big Bang Theory, Vittoria continued, scientists claimed it was utterly ridiculous. Matter, science said, could not be created out of nothing. So, when Hubble shocked the world by scientifically proving the Big Bang was accurate, the church claimed victory, heralding this as induction that the Bible was scientifically accurate. The divine truth.Langdon nodded, focusing intently now.Of course scientists did not appreciate having their discoveries used by the church to promote religion, so they immediately mathematicized the Big Bang Theory, removed all religious overtones, and claimed it as their own. Unfortunately for science, however, their equations, even today, have one serious deficiency that the church likes to point out.Kohler grunted. The singularity. He spoke the word as if it were the bane of his existence.Yes, the singularity, Vittoria said. The exact moment of creation. Time zero. She looked at Langdon. Even today, science cannot grasp the initial moment of creation. Our equations explain the early universe quite effectively, but as we move back in time, approaching time zero, suddenly our mathematics disintegrates, and everything becomes meaningless.Correct, Kohler said, his voice edgy, and the church holds up this deficiency as proof of Gods miraculous involvement. Come to your point.Vittorias expression became distant. My point is that my father had always believed in Gods involvement in the Big Bang. Even though science was unable to comprehend the divine moment of creation, he believed someday it would. She motioned sadly to a laser-printed memo tacked over her fathers work area. My daddy used to wave that in my face every time I had doubts.Langdon read the messageScience and religion are not at odds.Science is simply too young to understand.My dad wanted to bring science to a higher level, Vittoria said, where science supported the concept of God. She ran a hand through her long hair, looking melancholy. He set out to do something no scientist had ever thought to do. Something that no one has ever had the technology to do. She paused, as though uncertain how to speak the next words. He designed an experiment to prove Genesis was possible.Prove Genesis? Langdon wondered. Let there be light? Matter from nothing?Kohlers dead gaze eager across the room. I beg your pardon?My father created a universe from nothing at all.Kohler snapped his head around. WhatBetter said, he recreated the Big Ba ng.Kohler looked ready to get going to his feet.Langdon was officially lost. Creating a universe? Recreating the Big Bang?It was done on a much smaller scale, of course, Vittoria said, talking faster now. The process was remarkably simple. He accelerated two ultrathin particle beams in opposite directions around the accelerator tube. The two beams collided head-on at enormous speeds, driving into one another and contraction all their energy into a single pinpoint. He achieved extreme energy densities. She started rattling off a stream of units, and the directors eyes grew wider.Langdon tried to keep up. So Leonardo Vetra was simulating the compressed point of energy from which the universe supposedly sprang.The result, Vittoria said, was nothing short of wondrous. When it is published, it will shake the very foundation of modern physics. She spoke slowly now, as though savoring the immensity of her news. Without warning, inside the accelerator tube, at this point of highly focused energy, particles of matter began appearing out of nowhere.Kohler made no reaction. He simply stared.Matter, Vittoria repeated. Blossoming out of nothing. An incredible display of subatomic fireworks. A miniature universe springing to life. He proved not only that matter can be created from nothing, but that the Big Bang and Genesis can be explained simply by accepting the presence of an enormous source of energy.You mean God? Kohler demanded.God, Buddha, The Force, Yahweh, the singularity, the unicity point call it whatever you like the result is the same. Science and religion support the same truth pure energy is the father of creation.When Kohler finally spoke, his voice was somber. Vittoria, you have me at a loss. It sounds like youre telling me your father created matter out of nothing?Yes. Vittoria motioned to the canisters. And there is the proof. In those canisters are specimens of the matter he created.Kohler coughed and moved toward the canisters like a wary animal cir cling something he instinctively sensed was wrong. Ive obviously missed something, he said. How do you expect anyone to believe these canisters contain particles of matter your father actually created? They could be particles from anywhere at all.Actually, Vittoria said, sounding confident, they couldnt. These particles are unique. They are a geek of matter that does not exist anywhere on earth hence they had to be created.Kohlers expression darkened. Vittoria, what do you mean a certain type of matter? There is only one type of matter, and it Kohler stopped short.Vittorias expression was triumphant. Youve lectured on it yourself, director. The universe contains two kinds of matter. Scientific fact. Vittoria turned to Langdon. Mr. Langdon, what does the Bible say about the Creation? What did God create?Langdon felt awkward, not sure what this had to do with anything. Um, God created light and dark, heaven and hell Exactly, Vittoria said. He created everything in opposites. Symme try. Perfect balance. She turned back to Kohler. Director, science claims the same thing as religion, that the Big Bang created everything in the universe with an opposite.Including matter itself, Kohler whispered, as if to himself.Vittoria nodded. And when my father ran his experiment, sure enough, two kinds of matter appeared.Langdon wondered what this meant. Leonardo Vetra created matters opposite?Kohler looked angry. The substance youre referring to only exists elsewhere in the universe. Certainly not on earth. And possibly not even in our galaxyExactly, Vittoria replied, which is proof that the particles in these canisters had to be created.Kohlers face hardened. Vittoria, surely you cant be saying those canisters contain actual specimens?I am. She gazed proudly at the canisters. Director, you are looking at the worlds first specimens of antimatter.

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