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To ‘tunnel’ or not—a Prot’s dilemma

Read time: 7 mins
9 Nov 2018

It was just another microsecond in Atomos. If looked closely enough, one would find the central town of Nucleuster amongst the clouds of Electros. Granted, Nucleuster might not be a fancy metropolitan, but it is a dense, closely-knit niche of positivity sheltering the likes of two types of inhabitants, the Prots and the Neutros.

Neutros are of a kind analogous to that person in every group who is so docile and shy, that just one look at him would give away the fact that his life is uncharged in every possible level. The Prots, on the other hand, brim with positivity. Though they are not particularly fond of each other’s company, they charge the town positive with their inherent optimistic aura.

Over a few picometres apart (now, that is really far in an atomic world), one would find the real buzz of Atomos—the Electros. They are the real guardians of this micro-galaxy. They host the incoming Phots and help them by carrying their energy packets—the currency of Atomos. They are also responsible for diplomacy by maintaining healthy bonds with the appropriate neighbouring Atomos.

The Electros are quite the opposite of Prots in that they are very pessimistic. You could show a breathtaking sunrise to an Electro, and still find him saying, ‘Oh, That’s a lot of energy to carry!’. However, this negativity helps bring balance to Atomos by being the yin to the Prots’ positive yang.

As every story beholds, where is love in this tale? When said that Electros are head over heels in love with the Prots, it is the understatement of the minute! Their attraction towards each other is dictated by a force that is too strong even to comprehend! However, for many important practical reasons, this remains a star-crossed love affair. After all, if only every Prot and Electro are allowed to be together, the Atomos might as well see the judgement day!

So, with the organised synchrony of the neutral Neutros, the positive Prots and the negative Electros with the occasional visit of the luminous Phots, the Atomos maintain a reasonably stable and vibrant relationship with the nearby Atomoses.

Now, let us zoom in to the Nitrogen(1)-Atomos and take a look! Oh, the Nucleuster in here isn't much crowded for there are only seven Neutros and seven Prots living here! There are also precisely seven Electros trying to keep the whole of Nitrogen together!

E1, an extraordinarily active Electros, descended to his own orbital home having done many jumps in excitement to outer orbital places. With a tired frown, E1 settled for his superposed nap. Juggling careers of being a wave and a particle do soak the energy out of anyone!

P1, one of the friendliest of the Prots who was a visitor from the nearby Hydrogen Atomos, called out loud on seeing E1 resting, “Hey E1! Much jumping for today, huh?”

E1, stirred in his superposed sleep, responded, “Well, you could say that darling! Look at you; you don’t have any pressing duties to do to keep the universe going! But, it's not the same for me! I should gain speed to travel, and have the mass to jump up! Oh, and also I should receive the Phots!”

“Well well well! We are now looking at some of your negativity! Think about it like this, honey. We make up this world. But it's YOU who give meaning and stability to it! You keep us all together,” consoled P1, trying to pump up some of her positivity into E1.

Before signing out to sleep, E1 called out to P1, “Eh, well, stability is not something I have now, isn’t it? Love ya, and see you soon!”

When P1 was born in the embers of the fiery womb of stars, she belonged to the simplest yet noblest of Atomos, Hydrogen. She was the sole occupant of the Nucleuster, having no Neutro and only one Electro in the orbital homes. Now, that the universe works to sustain life, her only companion left her to hold talks and make amends (bonds) with the Electros of a N(2)-Atomos; while she came to hang out with the two free Electros (at least free of bond-making) of yet another N(1)-Atomos.

Now, it has been some time before P1 had come to this N(1)-Atomos. Lately, the wailings of E1 has increased, and though the Electros there would be no different, it would at least be a different woe of sorts. As a naturally vibrant and curious character, neither could she resist her impulse to explore other Atomoses and the stories they each behold.

There is the N(1) where her own Electro had gone. Though being similar in every aspect to this, the two free Electros are calling out to her to join them there. Maybe she could ask her Electro to switch places with her. Perhaps he could make amends and talks with this N(1), while she could hang out with the free Electros there in N(2).

P1 nervously tapped her hands by the window, her mind racing through all her available choices. To put things into action, she first needed the required energy. Since this N(1) Atomos is a nearly cheap place to live, she hadn’t bothered to check her savings. She peered down her pockets and mentally calculated the energy she had. She had no clue if that would be good enough for her travel.

“Well, this is all I have! It is not like, energy sprouts in trees for me to jump up and catch ‘em like the Electros! I’ll take my chances and see where this leads me to”, she resolved with a whiff!

She whispered to herself, "You should be the change you wish to see" and decided to take on the proverbial ‘leap’. She gathered her belongings (nothing, really) and walked towards the station. She arrived in the local ‘PotBarr Station’ with a spring in her steps and the currency jiggling to her rhythm.

As soon as she entered, the Quantum-PC on her right beeped, accounting for her presence. She put down her destination in the machine and waited for it to calculate the energy needed for her to travel. Her fingernails echoed her racing thoughts against the metal frame. The screen, at last, displayed a number.

She did not make it. The universe hadn’t bothered to conspire for her to make her dreams come true. She fell short of a significant amount of energy to take the trip.

All her dreams and thoughts came crashing down. She thought of the two Electros and how she had hoped that they could be best friends. A sob escaped her, and she let the teary tanginess wash her cheeks and mouth. Her mind was a mess of thoughts racing between plans to run away, to being chained for the rest of her life.

Suddenly, somewhere in her mind, the mist cleared. She lifted her head up a little and turned left. Through the convex lens of her tears, she could make out a board, ‘Tunnelling Station: We don't charge you, you are already charged!' read the station’s welcome board.

“Silly me,” she thought wiping the tears.

Shaking her head at her idiocy, she stood up and gifted herself a weak smile. She now remembered an Electro telling her aeons ago about this another station that allows people to travel places without the need for energy.

The tunnelling train is so efficient that it almost seems magical to a casual onlooker. Though the ones who are filled with energy to the brim prefer to take the PotBarr route, the tunnelling station was designed exclusively for the less-resourceful people like P1. It doesn’t ask for energy while transporting the passengers quickly. So, P1 made her first tunnelling journey and arrived in the neighbouring N(2)-Atomos within no time.

Though this was no different from the Atomos she dwelled before, she was proud of herself to have leapt. Her heart felt so light that she could sense the direction of the quarks that she was made up of. She alighted out of the train and saw the faint outline of the two Electros in the distance.

“Now, won’t they be thrilled to see me?” she blushed.

She did make it, at last. She could now ask for exciting stories from these Electros here. She could now cross one thing off her bucket list. She could now cross-check if her dreams match the reality. All because of the tunnelling service.

She wondered if she worked for the universe, or it, for her, vibrating with joy, happily ever after.

Except for the man in whose DNA all the drama unfolded. He suffered a mutation!