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solar cell

A storm of electrifying scenes, terrible and fantastic, ripped through Jack Roseman’s mind as he stood up and backed away from his kitchen table.

On the table, a little hobby motor whined and then shrilled, screaming and twisting, its pitch increasing impossibly, and then it shrieked, as in agony, shot out a jet of white smoke, and shuddered to a silent halt.

Jack held his breath and watched the smoke rise to the ceiling as his mind raced.

The motor lay before him, burned, ruined, connected by wires to the source of its destruction—a strangely-colored solar cell.

His heart pounded. Something’s not right, he thought, this is a mistake; this is not possible. He threw his hand forward and disconnected the cell from the motor.


The cell came in a box with five others, and Jack connected it, and it destroyed every other thought. It was unmistakable, now. Every other solar cell up until this one made a small amount of electricity when sunlight fell on its surface, but this cell, unknown to anyone but him, through a mistake or an accident that Jack knew he had to identify, unleashed a positively electrifying torrent of power.

—page 1

“Payton, you’re not going to believe what I’m going to tell you.” Another deep breath, and a pause, and Jack’s racing thoughts erupted.

“I need to tell someone because I discovered...something...and it’s pretty incredible and pretty scary and I think I’m going nuts cause if I’m right then I’m in really big trouble and my life is gonna be crazy and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do...”

Jack’s words came faster. He continued, the urgency in his voice shutting out comment.

“The whole thing is a joke or a mistake, Payt. It must be a joke, or I’m going crazy... It violates the goddamned laws of physics, I think. If I’m right and I have what I think I have, the whole goddamned world is going to change...”

—page 20

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