Useless Schematics

“Well, gentlemen…,” Dr. Lassiter glanced around the crowded lab with a proud smile. “…and lady. Any last-minute bets on what it does?”

“I know what it does,” Dr. Kim replied. “While you eggheads were studying every atom that you put into it, I looked at the whole thing. It doesn’t do anything,” she laughed.

“One bet for…,” Dr. Lassiter glared at Dr. Kim. “…nothing. Dr. Kim, we’re not the idiots you think we are,” the other labcoats grumbled agreement. “The fact is this entire situation is rife with mystery. Somehow, a 2 million-year-old cave painting detailed an electronic machine before the invention of the written word. On the surface, the parts may not appear to do much, but we’re dealing with a highly advanced intellect. There’s no telling what kinds of underlying mechanics we don’t understand yet; but, we will as soon as we flip the switch. Anyone else?”

“Perpetual motion!” One of them blurted.

“Alternate universe portal!” another one said. After a few seconds of silence, no other suggestions came.

“Alright, let’s go take a look,” Dr. Lassiter walked to the nearby window, followed by Dr. Kim and the rest of the scientists. The window looked out over a large white room. In the center, surrounded by several layers of tempered glass was a small round table. A small quadcopter sat on the table next to a solid black cube with a red switch. Dr. Lassiter used his phone to turn the quadcopter on.

“Here we go. In 5…,” the drone lifted off the table and floated over the black box. “4, 3, 2,..” he counted while he guided the drone lower to the upright red switch.

“Get ready for history,” Dr. Lassiter smiled to himself; eager whispered cheers echoed around him. “1.” He rammed the switch with the drone to turn it on, then he let the drone fall on the floor while he focused on the box.

The lab went perfectly still as everyone held their breath and watched. It felt like minutes before something happened, but only seconds after Dr. Lassiter bumped the switch the cube moved.

The top of the cube opened upward a tiny bit, after a second it opened even more. Then a curved, mechanical rod rose out of the box, bumped the switch back to “Off” and retreated back into the darkness. Then, the box closed itself again.

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