It was the third time in a year that Detective Robin had been summoned by Mr Hughes, head of the G-CIA. In view of the fact that people in the department rarely saw him, Mr. Hughes was considered by many to be a mythical figure, Detective Robin should have been proud. But the relations between the two men were not friendly. Basically, they didn’t trust each other at all.

-I will come straight to the point, detective, and please listen carefully so that I do not have to repeat myself. What do you know about dark matter and dark energy?
-Sir, as you know, I am not a scientist. I know what everyone knows: that scientists have been trying to understand the mass of the universe, as it seems that more than 80% is unaccounted for… [1]
-Yes. Fewer still know that the universe is expanding at an incredible speed, expanding, you understand: and that requires a great deal of energy, but we do not know where it comes from. For three centuries now we have been studying the mystery of dark energy, and dark matter.
-But you do know about mass and energy balances, at least you know that, Detective Robin?
-Yes, I guess this is the famous equation that the ancient scientist came up with, what was his name?
-Albert Einstein, Detective Robin. You must have studied that in school, and then again on the very expensive quantum physics courses paid for by our government; have you forgotten everything, Robin?
Another thing. Does the name Jack Hooking-Smith mean anything to you?
-He is… one of our famous scientists, is he not?
Mr Hughes sighed heavily. There was no hope for these modern detectives. They were so very ignorant.
-What do you know about him, detective?
-I am afraid… only what appears in the news…I recall that he is a very religious man…
-Yes, almost a fanatic. He is one of the last Christians, actually a Catholic, do you know what they believe? No, I imagined not, it doesn’t matter. But he firmly believes that the world, everything, was created by God, and he prays several hours a day.
-Prays… for what, sir?

Mr Hughes made a sign of impatience.
-Do you remember nothing from your history courses? Hundreds of years ago most people belonged to a religion, in the belief that there had been a creator of the world to whom we should address our prayers to receive mercy and good life…
-May I ask you, sir, why are you telling me this?
-You will understand that soon enough, detective. Because this relates to our main subject, the scientific discoveries of Professor Jack Hooking-Smith.

Mr Hughes sat back on the chair and looked intensely at Detective Robin.
-Let me tell you this; it is top secret. Our professor has discovered new particles, referred to by him as AlbertoniansEinstinians in honour of Albert Einstein, do you follow? Particles much smaller than neutrinos… do you know what a neutrino is, Mr Robin? No, well, I thought not. At any rate, it is so minuscule, without charge and practically without mass, that nobody had ever detected it before. But the universe is full of them, and although they barely have a mass, taken together, …
-They make up dark matter?
-Very clever, Detective Robin. But Jack Hooking-Smith’s discovery goes farther: AlbertoniansEinstinians continuously annihilate and produce energy.
-Dark energy!
-Again, very clever! - answered Mr Hughes sarcastically – Now, there are only five people in the world who know this – he paused again - oh, one last thing, look at that!

And Mr Hughes lifted an object from his desk. It looked like a plain metallic tube bent in a large U-shape.
-You understand, I imagine, that if we could take possession of a little bit of this cosmic energy and use it for our needs… well… all our energy problems would be solved for good. I see that you get the point, detective. Now, these tiny AlbertoniansEinstinians are very difficult to trap, they are worse than neutrinos and can go through everything… It took several years to build this kind of siphon, we call it quite simply a U-tubeSiph-tube. It is made of special stuff, I will spare you the details, but with it we can trap a certain amount of AlbertoniansEinstinians and condense the energy they release in a condenser... It is a great, great thing for humanity, do you see that, detective?
-Absolutely, sir! Fantastic!

A short silence.
-And my job in this case, sir… would be… what?
- Simple, detective. Two days ago Professor Jack Hooking-Smith cut all links with us. He doesn’t want to talk to me or anybody else. We believe …that somebody has paid him a visit… and that he is terrified… or under a threat, or being blackmailed…
-And I?
-Yes, you go and find out what has happened. Find out who is blackmailing or terrifying him, and bring him back to reason… Just go!

The famous professor’s apartment was in the segregated part of the Glass Tower, and the floor above and that below his were empty for security reasons. At the door there was the usual robot bodyguard waiting for him, which opened the door of the apartment. The apartment was quite unusual in that it was divided up into several small rooms, each of their doors being painted a different colour. It was a strange place, but the professor was certainly also a strange man.

A small round Chinese man moved over to Robin from a dark corner. He introduced himself as Wang, the professor’s assistant for over thirty years. And after him, a short, curved man, with white hair and big spectacles, moved hesitantly forward, keeping his eyes down. Professor Jack Hooking-Smith in person. Detective Robin immediately noticed that the men were in a terrible state, as if they had not slept for several nights: their eyes were red and they wore wrinkled shirts that had been not washed in days. They seemed tormented by fear.

-We don’t want to see anybody, sir – mumbled Mr Wang.
-Sorry, but I too receive orders and I had to come.

A moment of silence.
-What do you want? - the voice of the professor was very weak and irritated.
-The highest authorities - replied the detective – are under the impression that something happened to you in the last few days, something that has apparently stopped you working. I am here to clarify what happened. In particular, whether something or somebody has interfered with your work.
Another long silence. The professor and his attendant were still looking at the floor.
I received a signal from above –said the professor finally in his weak, high voice. – It was an angel sent by God.
Detective Robin noticed that Mr Wang moved his head as in a small sign of protest.
-Is that also your opinion, Mr Wang? - asked Detective Robin. -Tell me the facts.
-The facts…- said Mr Wang keeping his eyes to the ground- Well, something happened here three days ago, at seven in the morning. We, the professor and I, were in the main lab - he vaguely indicated one of the coloured doors - working with the cosmic energy siphons…
-The U-tubeSiph-tubes...
-Yes, that is what you call them. – Mr Wang stopped, he seemed not to be able to go on. He took a deep breath and continued – it was dark in the room … and absolutely silent. We generally work in the dark but at a certain point, an abrupt explosion of light filled the room.
-It was horrible. We were very frightened… and then we saw it - continued the professor.
- I believe… it was a robot, a shining robot, most probably teletransported. Very, very shiny and metallic…- this was Mr Wang speaking again - sent from some other planet, sir, from a very distant place… and it spoke to us.
-It was the voice of God! - said the professor, raising his voice.
-God does not send metallic robots, professor! - said Detective Robin –Please Mr Wang, go on!
-He spoke, I mean the robot spoke, with a strong metallic voice, in English, but using very old, medieval language, it was not easy to understand him…
-But he clearly said –it was the professor who was speaking now - that we were not permitted to use cosmic dark energy. That no one in the galaxy should do that, otherwise they would annihilate us.
-Who is “they”, professor?

It was Mr Wang who spoke this time.
-We do not know. But certainly a very advanced civilization – sending a huge metallic robot by teletransportation… here on earth we are not yet able to teletransport a single molecule.
-Cosmic energy should not be used for man’s benefit. - exclaimed the professor.
-Why do they care? Your siphons would use too much of this energy?

The professor shook the head and even tried to smile.
-Oh, no, what we need for our planet is an infinitesimal amount, a droplet of water from the ocean… no…much less than that.
-So, what is the problem then?
-You do not understand! - this time the professor sat bolt upright, his voice was strong, and he tried to look Detective Robin in the eyes. – It is something that man should not use for his own purposes. We are not allowed to do that! It is one of God’s mysteries! Can’t you see?
-I am not sure I do. You mean, professor. - Detective Robin tried to assume a friendly, relaxed voice - you believe it is like atomic energy… there are forces greater than us, that should be out of the domain of mankind?
-Yes, if you want to use those terms.
-But… if I am permitted to say so, professor… hasn’t your God given you the ability to understand, and use things like atomic energy… and cosmic energy?
-Yes, my good detective… - now the professor was looking Detective Robin straight in the eyes - but God also gave us consciousness, the responsibility of choice. Choosing good, or evil. Do you see? We have the intelligence, but he also gave us the capability to stop! This is what it is to be human: we can say – stop, this is not right!
-So, my good professor - what do you want to do then? Stop your research, until… until… somebody from the Eastern Ring discovers the same thing? And they get cosmic energy for themselves, and use it against us?
-Oh, you really are talking like one of those politicians now!
-Those politicians are waiting for your report, professor – answered Detective Robin.
-I… I do not know what to do, detective. I do not want to write a report… I’d prefer to kill myself. It would be a solution, right?
-Not a clever solution, professor – another silence - why… listen… why don’t you tell the truth?
-Which is what, detective?
-The truth, as I understand it, professor, is that the use of cosmic dark energy would be a great risk for humanity. There is the danger of annihilating the whole planet.

The three men stood in silence.
-Isn’t that so, professor?
-It really is so…- said the professor. And he raised his head again. His voice was calm now – I will send in my report to Mr Hughes saying that I have come to the conclusion that man is not ready for it, and that he never will be.

Another pause.
-Aside from your report, do you really think, professor, that man will never be ready for it? - asked Detective Robin.

[1] E. Gibney, Dark matter hunt comes up empty, Nature, 551, p.153, 2017