Gray had worked the puzzle out in his head over the past day, letting the runes twist and turn in his mind's eye until one shape formed. He knew it was the answer. Especially knowing the angst at the end of Hugo's life, his expressed regret for his collaboration with the Nazis. But what did it mean? His eyes fell upon Lisa.
He redrew the six runes on the floor, one after the other, reassembling them in their proper sequence. He completed the jigsaw on the floor, inscribing the last rune and completing the spell.
Order out of chaos.
Absolution out of collaboration.
Holy out of unholy.
From the pagan runes, Hugo showed his true heritage.
"It's a star," Monk said.
Lisa lifted her eyes. "Not any star…it's the Star of David."
Fiona asked the most important question. "But what does it mean?"
Gray sighed. "I don't know. I have no idea what it has to do with the Bell, with perfecting the device. Maybe it was merely a final declaration of who he was, a secret message to his family."
Gray recalled Anna's last words.
I am not a Nazi.
Was Hugo's runic code just another way to say the same?
"No," Lisa said sharply, her certainty resounding across the room. "If we're going to solve this, we must act as if this is the answer."
Gray saw something fill her eyes, something missing a moment ago.
"According to Anna," she continued, "Hugo went into the Bell chamber alone with a baby. Without any special tools. It was just him and the boy. And once the experiment was over, tests showed that he had succeeded, produced the first true and pure Knight of the Sun."
"What did he do in there?" Fiona asked.
Lisa tapped the Star of David. "This is somehow tied to it. But I don't know the significance of the symbol."
Gray did. He had studied multiple religions and fields of spiritual study during his youth and while polishing his Sigma training. "The star's meaning is diverse. It's a symbol of prayer and faith. And maybe more. Note how the six-pointed star also is really two triangles—one atop the other. One pointing down, one up. In Jewish Kabbalah, the two triangles are the equivalent of yin and yang, the light and the dark, the body and the soul. One triangle represents matter and the body. The other our soul, our spiritual being, our conscious mind."
"And joined together, they're both" Lisa said. "Not just a particle or a wave—but both."
Gray saw some edge of understanding, enlightenment. "What?"
Lisa stared toward the blast chamber. "Anna said the Bell was basically a quantum-measuring device that manipulated evolution. Quantum evolution. It's all about quantum mechanics. That's got to be the key."
Gray frowned. "What do you mean?"
Lisa explained what Anna had taught her. Gray, having studied biology and physics in depth for Sigma, needed little elaboration.
Closing his eyes, he sat back, trying to find a balance between the Star of David and quantum mechanics. Was there an answer between them?
"You said Hugo went into the chamber with just the baby?" Gray asked.
"Yes," Lisa said softly, as if sensing she needed to let him run with his thoughts.
Gray concentrated. Hugo had given him the lock. Lisa had given him the key. Now it was up to him. Letting go of time's pressure, he allowed his mind to twist and turn the clues and pieces, testing, rejecting.
Like another of Hugo's jigsaw puzzles.
As with the Star of David, the right combination finally formed in his head. So clean, so perfect. He should have thought of it sooner.
Gray opened his eyes.
Lisa must have noted something in his face. "What?"
Gray stood. "Get the Bell powering up," he said, crossing to the console. "Now!"
Lisa followed him and began running through the procedure. "It will take four minutes to reach a palliative pulse." She glanced to Gray as she worked, eyes inquisitive. "What are we doing?"
Gray turned toward the Bell. "Hugo didn't go into the chamber without any tools."
"But that's what Anna—"
"No." Gray cut Lisa off. "He went in with the Star of David. He went in with prayer and faith. But mostly he went in with his own quantum computer."
Gray spoke rapidly, knowing he was right. "Consciousness has baffled scientists for centuries…going all the way back to Darwin. What is consciousness? Is it just our brain? Is it just nerves firing? Where is the line between brain and mind? Between matter and spirit? Between body and soul?"
He pointed to the symbol.
"Current research says its there. We are both. We are wave and particle.
Body and sou't. Life itself is a quantum phenomenon."
"Okay, now you're babbling," Monk said, joining him, drawing Fiona.
Gray took a deep breath, excited. "Modern scientists reject spirituality, defining the brain only as a complex computer. Consciousness arises merely as the byproduct of the firing of a complex interconnectivity of neurons, basically a neural-net computer, operating at the quantum level."
"A quantum computer," Lisa said. "You mentioned that already. But what the hell is it?"
"You've seen computer code broken down to its most basic level. Pages of zeroes and ones. That is how the modern computer thinks. Turning a switch on or off. The zero or the one. The theoretical quantum computer, if it could be built, offers a third choice. The old zero or one—but also a third choice. Zero and one."
Lisa squinted. "Like electrons in the quantum world. They can be waves or particles or both at the same time."
"A third choice," Gray said with a nod. "It doesn't sound like much, but by adding this possibility into a computer's arsenal, it allows such a device to perform multiple algorithmic tasks simultaneously."
"Walk and chew gum," Monk mumbled.
"Tasks that would take modern computers years to perform could be done in fractions of a second."
"And our brains do this?" Lisa said. "Act like quantum computers."
"That is the newest consensus. Our brain propagates a measurable electromagnetic field, generated by our complex interconnectivity of neurons. Some scientists conjecture that it is this field where consciousness resides, bridging the matter of the brain with the quantum world."
"And the Bell is hypersensitive to quantum phenomena," Lisa said. "So by Hugo joining the baby inside the Bell chamber, he influenced the result."