The Sorcerer’s Ring
THE MAGIC FACTORY
“But as for touring the country,” Armando continued. “I fear there’s not enough time left for that sort of thing.” He looked off into the distance. “I have to put all my efforts now into a very special invention. Something very important.” Toby looked at him curiously.
“What is that?” “My secret project,” Armando explained. “It’s an invention that will only do good. No matter whose hands it falls into, it can only help. But I’ve been working on it for years and years and I’m stuck.” Toby felt a surge of adrenaline. “Well then why don’t you let me help you?” he suggested, bouncing on his seat. “I mean, I managed to make the coat work, didn’t I? What’s to say I can’t make the other invention work! At least let me take a look.” Then, a little more meekly, he added, “I mean, it’s what I’m here for, isn’t it?”
“You’re right,” Armando said after much deliberation. “I wanted to give you more time to nurture your talents, but time, as I’ve told you before, is not on my side.” That was the second time Armando had eluded to something bad on the horizon. Toby wondered why someone would spend seventy years patiently enduring with inventions that never worked only to become pessimistic when things started to go well. “What do you mean by that?”
Toby asked. Armando dismissed the query with a simple shake of the head. “One thing at a time, dear boy. First let me show you what I’m working on. It’s time to let you in on the secret.” Toby felt a swell of excitement inside his chest. But it was mixed with apprehension. As soon as he found out what it was, he’d be responsible for working on it too, for fixing it. He didn’t know if he had even remotely the level of talent or knowledge needed to do that.
But it was now or never. Armando stood and Toby followed him out the messy office. As he walked the corridors beside him, Toby assumed they were heading towards the steel door with the big red no entry sign. But instead they walked right past it. This corridor went on much farther than Toby expected. Lucas had only shown him as far as the steel door, just to show off the fact that there were places Toby wasn’t welcome.
He’d not realized the corridor would keep on going and going and going.Finally they reached a small staircase and Armando went up the creaky steps first. Toby followed wondering what on earth was waiting for them at the top.He emerged into a room like an attic. There were skylights, but they were covered in a layer of grime and let in next to no daylight.
The floors and ceiling were wooden, and the walls were made of panels. But Toby was focused solely on the bizarre looking object in the middle of the room. It looked to him like a phone box. Except it was made of metal. In fact, it looked remarkably like a metal cocoon.“What is it?” Toby asked, awed by the sheer size of it.
“A medical body scanner,” Armando explained. “It can detect any illness or virus and administer the correct remedy to the patient.” Toby gazed at it in awe. Now he understood what Armando meant. No matter who got hold of such a machine, they could only ever use it to cure.“But how does it work?” Toby stammered. “That’s the thing,” Armando replied. “It only works in theory.” He led Toby round the side to a display panel. “This computer is connected to the web. It has access to every medical encyclopedia in the universe. Everything ever written on every medical condition ever. It’s online and constantly updates itself with the newest studies.
”He walked on, leading Toby to the back of the cocoon and a second display panel. “This is where the patient’s scan is displayed. It’s a cross between an ultrasound, an x-ray and a CAT-scan. It gives the machine the entire picture, of the patient’s body and brain, and even chemical compositions. In just a matter of seconds it can analyze everything from blood type to level of pain to DNA sequence.” He walked on, bringing Toby with him. There was a third panel on the next side of the cocoon.
“Here the computer matches every single noticeable ailment it’s identified with a diagnosis.” He added, as an aside, “This is all in a matter of seconds, by the way,” before continuing. “So once the diagnosis is confirmed and corroborated with all the available data in correspondence with foolproof biological evidence, it creates a program for specialised nanobots which…” He led Toby around the front again and pointed inside at the ceiling of the cocoon where a very large looking needle protruded, “…are injected into the patient and begin their repair work. It takes them about a minute, maybe two for very complex problems, to complete their assignment and then the body breaks them down like it would any other waste material.” He clapped his hands. “Ta da!” “That’s AMAZING!” Toby exclaimed.
“I can’t believe that such a thing exists. It truly will change the world. And save mankind.” He couldn’t stop gushing, stop singing the praises of his hero inventor. But then he remembered the very important fact that it didn’t actually work. “So what specifically is the issue?”“It’s the nanobots,” Armando explained. “I can’t make them do anything. I can’t tell if they’re asleep or just plain lazy. But even with all the data and all the programming they just don’t move.” “I’ve never worked with nanobots before,” Toby confessed. “But I will help you.” He felt a strong resolve, and a surge of pride to know he was working on such a virtuous thing. If he could help Armando crack this, then it would truly be the most remarkable achievement of all time. Armando didn’t look as hopeful as Toby felt. In fact he looked downright solemn. “If you can solve this,” he said morosely, “You will save mankind from undue suffering, from disability and disease. If you can solve this problem, Toby, you can save the entire human race.” Toby gulped.No pressure then, he thought.