Stories by TGC (3) – Hero

Once there was a boy who was left on the stairs of an orphanage. He was 3 years old at that time, which was very strange since most children are abandoned at more fragile ages, but his parents explained that they had to leave the country immediately, that it is much safer for their child to remain there until their return. The head of the orphanage new that this was a lie…

At the age of 14 the boy was called in the headmasters’ office at the orphanage, handed him a sealed envelope and told him that this was what his parents left behind and made him promise that it will only be handed to him at this very age.

Shocked, but thrilled, the boy took the envelope and opened it. Inside there was only a piece of paper with writing on it. He carefully read every word inside and finally put the paper back inside the envelope. The headmaster asked him very intrigued about the message that was left to him, but the boy told him with tears in his eyes that it was nothing more than a farewell letter from his parents and that they love him very much. Little did the headmaster knew that the boy lied.

What was actually written on the paper was the real reason behind their actions and a task. His parents were brilliant scientists and they were selected for a top-secret project. They were allowed to enter utopia, a city hidden between the dunes of Mars where the most brilliant and prosperous minds found refuge to create a new and better way of life. But this one-way ticket also came with a price: they had to leave everything behind, including their only son.

But before they left they managed to strike a deal for him. He had to invent something that Utopia had not, place it in the back of an abandoned van that was parked in the middle of a random forest, quite close to his orphanage, and wait for his invitation.

The first thing he did was to ask permission to go on a small field trip in less than a day, to find the abandoned van. In the forest that was mentioned in the letter, he indeed found an old Volkswagen, eaten by rust and time. There was nothing special about the van, there was nothing inside, but the empty space in the back was more than he needed. That was his place and he had to fill it.

Thus he began his journey. His favorite place became the local library where he read every book about science and inventions that he could. He even took a job at the library and with the little money that he made he bought bits and pieces with which he tried to recreate the technology found in his books. He created a radion, a phone, he even started to experiment on his own by creating small robots for small tasks like an automatic stapler or a sensor-activated drawer. Small creations meant to get him closer to his goal, but he knew that a high tech society needed a lot more to be impressed.

Years have passed and he finally decided to try his luck for the first time and submit his very first invention. In the back of the abandoned van, he placed a kettle that was keeping the temperature of the tea at the desired temperature. A small invention, but quite useful if you wanted your drink to remain hot all the time.

Days have passed but nothing happened. He checked the van several times a day, but his invention was still there. After almost two weeks he realized that maybe they had a way to check his invention from a distance and decide if it was good or bad. Giving up hope that this was his winning ticket, he took the kettle and presented it to the city mayor, hoping to sell it at a good price. To his surprise, the mayor showed great interest in his small invention and not only that he bought it at a surprisingly high price, but he also offered his financial support for his future projects.

The money was more than enough to finance many new ideas, but after a few months they mayor contacted him and told him that his kettle impressed more people than he had doped, that mass production will start soon and that he will make quite a nice fortune out of it.

The mayor kept his word and the boys’ income quickly grew over time. But that mattered less to him, as he was busy creating new inventions in his brand new lab. After more than 20 failed attempts to receive his invitation in Utopia through small but ingenious automatized house objects, he decided that it was time to think bigger.

He created the first fully autonomous automobile that was capable of charging it’s electric battery from wind, sun and movement. He placed the plans in the abandoned van but nothing happened. This made him even more ambitious and year after year he created much more complex inventions. None of them brought him his invitation, but while he was working, the world was evolving from his work. His inventions became used worldwide, fastening the evolution of the human race towards the technology era.

One night he was sitting on the sofa in his living room, drinking some fine whiskey, watching blindly towards the television. He was quite drunk. His wife was sleeping upstairs in the bedroom, his three sons left his house some years ago, started their own lives, their own families. He was all alone with his thoughts.

It’s been more than five long years since he last invented something new, not because he was out of ideas, but because he was out of hope. All his inventions have failed him. None of them fulfilled their purpose. He has gotten so far, his bank account was bigger than his phone number, he had a huge house, a wonderful family, respect from all nations around the world, he received invitations from the most important leaders in the world to come visit them, but all this meant nothing. From his point of view, he was a failure. And that was the reason he stopped inventing. He could not stand one more failure, one more brilliant invention that meant nothing in the eyes of Utopia.

In his drunkness, he started to wonder whether all of this was true. The letter, Utopia, the van, what if all this was just… a joke? At that moment he decided to break the rules of the game. Utopia wanted something that they didn’t have, but he did not know what Utopia was like, or if it even existed. he had to find out.

He gathered all the technology he could, all the resources, from long-range space radars to powerfull telescopes and started to study Mars. Using his eyes to try and find something on Mars seemed like looking for a needle in the haystack, from one mile away. But he found something strange using radio frequencies. There was something jamming his signal in a certain part of the planet. Thinking that this could be it, he tried all the frequencies, but none could pass the shield.

Without any option left through the existing technology, he decided that it was time to finally invent something new: a device capable of transmitting and receiving data at a very low frequency, thus hoping to bypass the shield. When his invention was ready, he decided to test it by pointing it directly towards Mars. To his surprise, he succeeded.

His radio started receiving huge amounts of encrypted data. He started to decipher it, searching for the patterns and reading what that small spot from Mars was sending him. He quickly realized that he accessed something similar to the internet, and when he managed to completely read the information, he remained shocked.

Utopia was real, a high tech citadel was hidden between the dunes of Mars where millions of people lived, far away from Earth, in a perfect world. All the greatest minds were there, working together to create a new future for the human race, while also forsaking their origins, mocking Earth and it’s inhabitants and planning to do nothing while their homeworld was heading towards self-destruction.

What shocked him, even more, was that HE was famous there! “Wonder Child” they called him, the one who gave them so many unique inventions that brought them even further. But even though he had fulfilled their request many times over, they decided not to send him an invitation. They decided that he was far more valuable on Earth, struggling to create new devices hoping that he will eventually get in. And they were right. His ambitions brought them so many inventions, so many new technologies. His desire to invent more might have vanished if he would have succeeded his dream of becoming a citizen of Utopia and that was a risk they decided not to take.

What truly broke his heart was finding out that his parents were alive and decided to abandon him forever in the name of Utopia. He realized that all his life he was Utopias lab rat, all his struggle was for their benefit and all they had to do was just to sit there and gather his data.

The next day he went once more to the abandoned van. This time he left in the back of it a simple USB filled with data from their world. Articles, news, videos, and everything. He knew that the reason he had lost their game was that he played by their rules. So now it was time to change his tactics and attack them. Knowing that he has demasked them, they had no choice but to contact him. The information that he had could ruin their cover and become a great threat to their existence.

In less than a day he received an anonymous letter to his house. The letter was from Utopia, telling him that it was time for him to take his rightful place among the brilliant minds of Utopia. He received the coordinates for a secret meeting from where he had to depart, but with the same conditions that his parents had: to leave everything and everyone behind. They also told him that this invitation was not only a ticket to a perfect life, where he had the opportunity to live hundreds of years with no worries, no hunger, no wars, no suffering, but also a salvation ticket because Earth was heading towards its own destruction and nothing could save it. The human race was killing the planet, and after the ecological damages will have passed, they will come back and take it back, rebuild the world and make it better than it will ever be and HE will be part of this great accomplishment.

That day he went for one last time to the abandoned van and left in the back of it nothing else but the letter that he received. By the time he came back, he received a strange email. After opening and reading it, he realized it was not only sent from Utopia, but by his parents themselves. They asked for an explanation for his actions. How could he abandon them, how could he reject an offer for which anyone and everyone from Earth would kill without hesitation? They even told him that he just doomed himself on that planet and that such an offer will never come again from him.

He smiled and took a moment to think about his life, his past, his future, but most importantly about his present. He had a loving family, he created a big part of the modern technology, he saved so many lives with his inventions, made life a lot easier for everyone and with his remaining years he might even find a way to save Earth from its damnation.

He decided to go to the van once more. When he got there, he found the USB in the back of it untouched. He placed a small piece of paper next to it and closed the doors, leaving forever. On that paper he wrote with his own hand:

“You told me to give you something that you don’t have, so I’m giving you my faith in Earth.”

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