“Doctor Wolfgang?” I look back to find the friendly face of my student, Hiro. He seems to be sad to see me picking up the remnants of the meeting he was not allowed to attend. Usually he will do that, cleaning up. I stop packing up the maps and the small metallic remnants to look at him and hear what he wants to tell me. Hiro is extremely smart, unfortunately, he’s not very good on expressing his ideas in English. After the familiar hesitation, he goes for a simple question. “Do you think we will get the SSD equipment?”
“Yes we will. ” Hiro smiles widely. He’s as involved in my project as myself, so he has the right to know the truth. “Although I’m not sure we will get it all at the same time.”
“Why?” He goes to the box that he knows stores the twin and working copy of the Antikythera mechanism that we found last week on the kernel close to Cadiz. I observe how he carefully takes it and put it over the table. “You didn’t show them this, did you?”
“No.” I look to his reactions. First, he seems angry. Then, impotence, finally, he’s calm. Hiro starts playing with the small levers and handles. This mechanism, that I dubbed the Antikythera watch, seems to be a 4:1 scale model of the original 340 mm x 180 mm x 90 mm, making it small enough to fit in a pocket.
“Why?” I hesitate to answer him. As an old glory, I fought the Academia when I was not a part of the System. I asked for grants, I filled tons of paperwork, for a few cents.
“One needs to know when to keep an ace up in your sleeve. One needs to know when the battle is over, or when it is necessary to withdraw your troops.” He shows understanding. And more important for me, complicity. “Besides, I don’t want them to take it away from us. First, I need to know what this baby here really does, and what are the functions of all those extra gears. ” A preliminary analysis showed us that our watch had 120 gears, 4 times more than the one on Earth. “Pity that we can’t run simulations here, therefore we will be forced to make experiments. Or even better, how about this: you do the experiments, I write down the results.” Hiro smiles, and seems to repress his impulse to come to me to hug me.