Herbert planned his siege as he pedaled the stolen bicycle to the dinosaur museum. The world depended upon scientists to enforce facts. Everything was upside down. “People no longer respect credentials; they respect memes. Everyone is their own authority today and now the world is falling apart,” Herbert said, hair blowing in the wind.
It was exhilarating.
Herbert was one of the few capable of saving the human race from itself. His plan was simple. Take control of the dinosaur museum. Make it the operational headquarters, the ground zero, for a scientific revolution. “We need a scientific dictatorship over the minds of the ignoramuses!” He spread his arms out, Christ-like, and looked to the stars.
“I’m ready,” he told the universe. “i am ready to sacrifice my life for mankind.” An Uber driver appeared out of a sidestreet and Herbert crashed directly into the side of it, his face planting onto the passenger-side window as his hips slammed the handlebars as the bicycle flipped. Herbert blacked out to the sound of screeching tires, his nose streaming blood onto the street. His spirit levitated above the inert body. He watched the driver and passenger exit the car, attending to his own twisted and bloodied form on the road. Higher he ascended, looking up. Was this a dream? The moon and the stars appeared closer than should have been possible. He glanced down from an impossible height with no sense of vertigo as he experienced atop the 5-g tower earlier. He looked at his hands. They were transparent, barely even there. Listlessly he drifted into the clouds. Then one particular star caught his attention. As an astronomer, he identified it as Sirius, the dog-star. It flickered red, white, green, then blue. Seconds later, Herbert’s ghostly form stood atop a thick white cloud that glowed in the moon’s light. Directly in front of him, the star’s light condensed into a discernable form.
“Herbert.” the authoritative voice boomed in his head. “It’s me.”
“Jesus?” Herbert asked, kneeling on the cloud. His transparent hands clasped.
“Nope. I’m the ancient Greek who started the rumor that boats go over the horizon, thus proving the earth to be round like a ball. Look at the horizon, Herbert.” He looked in the direction the ghostly apparition pointed. a commercial airliner, about 5 miles away was quickly disappearing into the darkness. “Watch the plane, Herbert. It’s just above the level of the clouds. Watch,” the ancient Greek said. The light grew smaller, dimmer, and then disappeared. “What was i supposed to notice,” Herbert asked. “It didn’t go down, over the horizon. It was above the level of the clouds we’re on. Herbert, do you understand? If you don’t, you can’t move on,” it replied.
“Look, you’re an ancient Greek. You didn’t have the advantage of a space agency to tell you the nature of the world. Talk to Eristhothanes. I’m pretty sure he proved it with a couple of yardsticks,” Herbert said. “Herb. It’s not that simple. I guess it’s not your time.” The apparition dissipated like a puff of smoke.
Then vertigo hit him.
Faster than physically possible, the scientist hurled back down to earth. His eyes scanned the darkness for ambulance lights to indicate where his injured body lie. Nothing. Just darkness. Faster he fell, impacting the spot where he had the accident, right into his aching, bleeding body.
“Where’s the ambulance?” he groaned. Really, he wondered, a hit and run? “What has his world come to?”
The bicycle was nowhere to be found. “And they stole my stolen bike?” His telescope case was strapped across his back and his pistol was at his side. Perhaps his hair was in greater disarray than usual but appearances aside, he was not shaken.
Bloodied, bruised, cast out of heaven, the arrogant and grotesquely unqualified scientist hoofed it the rest of the way to the Museum.