The Duplication Machine (continued . . .)




One day, while practising low-flying, Janno the Emperor's nephew felt his craft give a convulsive shudder. By the stars ! The engine's overheated ! I've got to get out of here before it blows up ! He used the escape device at scarcely more than zero feet. Uuuuuuuh ! Janno was lucky. He survived the crash with nothing worse than a broken leg, which was treated by Elekton's top scientist Peric. I have joined the ends of the bone. You may commence returning the patient to consciousness, Robi. Yes, master. Later, during his convalescence, Janno visited Peric at his laboratory. This is my new assistant. His name is Robi, and he earned the distinction of passing out top of the Imperial Examinations. I am very lucky to have him. I can see that you are going to succeed Peric as the greatest scientist on Elekton, Robi. You are very kind, Lord Janno. And how are things with you, Peric ? Working on any exciting experiments ? Mmmm—this looks an interesting piece of apparatus. What is it ? It is the despair of my life. I have been working on it for many years, and have come so close to success. But . . . It is a device to transmit an object from one place to another by breaking it up into its component atomic particles. I can move a metal cube from the left to the right-hand compartment . . . but, unfortunately, it arrives there as a pile of metallic dust ! Master ! I would count it an honour to be allowed to work on the device—in my own time, of course. Certainly you can, boy ! A young, fresh mind is just what's needed to crack this problem !
It is a device to transmit an object from one place to another by breaking it up into its component atomic particles. I can move a metal cube from the left to the right-hand compartment . . . but, unfortunately, it arrives there as a pile of metallic dust !
Later that day, while cleaning up the laboratory, Peric's assistant found . . . What's this ?— A signet ring ! It's the one the Emperor's fine nephew was wearing when he came here. He must have dropped it. Robi was a cheat, a liar and a thief. But he was also brilliant and ambitious. He laboured many late nights on Peric's device. Well, it's mine now ! The trouble with this whole idea is that the old fool has completely missed the point. Now, if I were to make certain fundamental changes to the polarity . . . One night . . . Now to see if it works ! First, we take this ring that formerly belonged to the noble Lord Janno, and place this unique and precious object in the left-hand compartment . . . Haaaaa ! It's working ! It's working ! This is not a device for transmitting matter, but for duplicating matter ! From the left-hand compartment we take Lord Janno's ring— and from the right we take an exact duplicate ! This device is going to make me the richest and most powerful man on Elekton !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 497 on 24 July 1971.

 

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