I have a pretty horrible headache that won’t go away. Worse and better than a migraine at the same time and no amount of painkillers are making a dent. So I might as well sit here in the dark, squint at the blinding light of the netbook screen and get my thoughts down.
I met Doctor Lang at JRH and like everyone else I’ve met on this ‘quest’ to get to the bottom of my uncle’s murder… do I mean murder? Yeah I guess I do. I’ve got no actual proof but that’s my feelings at the moment. Anyway, like everyone else I’ve met along the way Doctor Lang is weirdly obsessed.
Lang’s work is in brain imaging, but it’s not the kind of crude MRI scan stuff we’re used to, those static slices of brain and blobs that show where the blood flows when you think about carrots or whatever. No, this is real time, building on the work of someone called ‘Nieuwenhuijzen’ who uses MEG (Magnetoencephalography) to image brains in real time and even interpret those signals and image them. Nieuwenhuijzen managed to get their device to understand when someone was thinking about or looking at numbers and letters. Lang’s work is a quantum leap ahead of that.
I had to sign some sort of official secrets thing before Lang would even talk to me and even then he was a nervous old bird (specifically a vulture, like in Spiderman, eerily so). I’m not even supposed to be writing this down but what else can I do? It’s how I organise my thoughts.
Anyway, Lang uses his MEG and a bunch of computers, to genuinely, actually read mind. It uses my uncle’s ideas to interpret what it reads subjectively so it’s not exactly precise but you can literally see thoughts, even ones a subject isn’t aware of.
Lang’s experiments are the connection.
They use my uncle’s theories and ideas about language and thought to interpret the data, the art students were the test subjects for the machine – they needed the money – and so it all hangs together.
It all hangs together except DI Grass’ worldwide murders. For them there’s no damn connection at all.
Lang showed me the visualisations he recorded from some of the students and I particularly asked to see Wilcox’s ones, since he seemed the most affected. The playback was swarming with a familiar image that made my skin crawl and ramped that feeling of paranoia up until I was shaking.
Wilcox’s recording was swarming with those weird Klein bottle images he’d been obsessing over, strange, twitching, endlessly complicated shapes like bundles of spaghetti passing through too many dimensions, swimming through his mind like so many grotesque jellyfish transforming through all their permutations.
Of course, I wanted to go into the machine.
Lang strapped me in, talked me through it, gave me a lecture on the preservation of helium and switched it on.
It’s a weird sensation, knowing your mind is being read. You don’t want to think of anything bad or wrong, which only means you do. Every bad break up, every illicit fantasy, everything you’ve ever done wrong, ever deepest, darkest secret. That was all I did really. I sat in the chair feeling guilty and trying to remember something similar I’d seen on the TV (Persinger’s God Helmet, but it works in the other direction).
Then it was done and we took a look at what had been recorded.
Sure enough, there were our little Klein-bottle friends swimming around in my mind and as we watched they split and multiplied and my headache got worse and worse.
I made it back here, somehow and now I can’t sleep. I have this irrational fear that these things are still there, in my mind, twisting and turning, eating away at everything else. I see that pattern everywhere now, in my uncle’s papers. In the art. Even in Grass’ stupid crime scene photos he keeps sending me. Pale reflections of that Klein bottle thing but echoes nonetheless and once you know what to look for, it’s all there.
I should sleep, paranoia or not.