The Gift (IV-2)

by Norberto Claudio Jr; edited by Nemencio Nicodemus, Jr.

Cristina woke up to a sunny and beautiful morning and was pleased to be amidst the chirping of birds and the freshness of the newly-risen sun. She hurriedly got up, performed her morning preparations and dressed herself up. It was a short walk from the DRE to the fourth floor gym of the St. John’s building and she slowly consumed the distance while pondering on thoughts, past and present that intermittently entered her preoccupied mind. She knew, it was a special day for her and for the former class of IV-2, batch 85-86 for it was the day that the class would hold a reunion that would renew the spirit of camaraderie and friendship each one knew ten years ago.

And being the most special part of the class’ seemingly short-lived lifespan, she was the first to be invited. She thought of the laughs, happy times, mischiefs, good deeds or otherwise, problems that the class encountered and all these brought a smile to her face. Nevertheless, the gladsome chain of thoughts was cut short when she found herself in front of what used to be the girl’s gym (now converted into a conference room) and she immediately knocked at the door. The door opened and behind it was a large group of men, chatting and partaking of the best French wines. At the sight of her, their beloved adviser, they immediately and almost childishly organized themselves into a square and said in chorus:

“Good morning, Ms. Cardona!”, just like how it was a decade ago.

She almost impulsively replied: “Good morning boys, be seated,” and the air was filled with laughter at the beautiful recreation of how the class really was. Then this was followed by a lot of hugs from the former boys who, most obviously, missed their former adviser. Soon afterwards, a loud and piercing voice struck the air, that of the class’ former president Ronald Catignas, now an established Electronics engineer.

“Attention, classmates! The time has come for us to present our gift to our dear adviser as a token of our high regard and esteem for her. Please bring that contraption over here, please.”

Almost immediately, two hired hands brought from the corner an object, hidden in a white veil of canvas, almost eight feet in height.

“What is that?” Teena curiously asked.

The class then prodded her to do the honor of unveiling the gift herself, which she did immediately. Disclosed was a gigantic machine, conical in shape to which a small door revealed what appeared to be a control panel and a seat.

“Great, guys. But what is that?” she again asked.

“It’s a time machine!” the whole class replied.

“But … a time … how?” she asked, puzzled at the seemingly impossible feat.

“I’ll explain.” claimed Reynante Vargas, a cybernetics expert and scientific pioneer.

“It all started when Norberto Claudio Jr., now a Nuclear Physicist and Electronics engineer, discovered a theory of time-space distortion, whereby you could travel through time and space by means of controlled distortion of their given relative dimensions. He built a prototype machine with a team of engineers consisting of Crisanto Alingarog, Jonedy Borromeo, and myself. We likewise asked the help of the other former IV-2 boys(since most of them took up careers in Science) to complete it. The NMSTD controller circuitry was designed by Engineers Joselito Santos and Romeo Pascual. The Time-Travel chronographs was the brainchild of Engineers Ric Rosales, and Fernando Martinez, Jr. The Space-Location/Determination circuits were tackled and accomplished by Engineers Peter Allan Mariano and Jonathan Magno.

Engineer Ferdinand Bayocot invented the Advanced Environmental Energy Acquisition System (AEEAS) which would acquire energy combined from sunlight, wind, cosmic radiation, etc. The Nuclear Reactor Energy Supply was pitched in by Nuclear Engineer Carlo Candolesas. Engineer Michael Yam contributed his advanced-design control panelling and lastly, Engineers Ferdinand Saturnino and Giovanni Gatdulawere responsible for the machine’s aerodynamical design.”

“And that’s not all, miss,” continued computer scientist Antonio Buce.

“The machine needed a computer system to control it so I organized a team of associates to build the 64-bit computer, more powerful than any supercomputer system on earth, to do the task. Engineers Isidro Fidel Untalan and Randy Villanueva and myself designed the Central Processing Unit. Engineers Richard Parfan and Dante Buentipo created the enormous and powerful memory system required. Then Engineer Darwin Hernandez made the fastest Input/Output system ever designed and put that in too. Then, finally, Engineer Johnny Reyes and Engineer Jan Webber Macias took care of the Ultra-Large Scale Integration (ULSI) which made it possible for that behemoth super-computer to fit into the time-machine.”

“But,…”. the computer needed a program to run it and so we programmers teamed up and came up with a good one,” added computer programmer Andrew Silvestre. “I personally wrote the Instruction Set of the new microprocessor. Programmer Ferdinand Ursua wrote the Machine Language monitor/debugger program. The program body was very enormous due to the advanced nature of the hardware and so the task of writing and programming it into the computer was divided into four subroutines. The first subroutine was written by  programmers Jerald Raymundo and Raymond Villaflores. The second by programmers John Webber and Dante Tablizo. The third by programmers Andrew Melegrito and Charladin Bandon, and the last, by programmers Jason Sioson and Venerando Vite.” The difficult mathematical algorithm were provided for by mathematician Bernard Santos.”

“But by golly! Where did you get the money to create this?” Teena exclaimed.

“That was no problem,” said Rolando Geronimo, Jr., a top-class businessman. “You see, Miss, during our coltege days, Albino Feliciano, Erwin Borlaza, Orlando Caranto and I formed the FGBC corporation which we maintained while taking up Business Management. It grew and became a multi-trillion dollar company by the time we graduated from college. Hence, the four of us were able to finance this endeavor of ours.”

“Why don’t you put this machine into the market? I predict that it would create ample/demand from many sectors since this breakthrough would allow us to explore the past, present or future and could turn in another three trillion dollars of pure profit into the company’s treasury,” interrupted world class economist Kim Salvacion.

“But enough of this nonsense talk. Please do the honor of boarding the machine. Hey, how about looking us up some thirty years in the future?” he continued.

“Is that thing safe?” Teena asked in a seemingly very reluctant tone.

“It’s safe. It’s been tested a hundred times. And besides, should the machine break down, you could always find us in the future,” replied Ronald.

Convinced, Teena stepped into the cockpit and as a final reply, said,

“Okay. Just be sure that when you find me thirty years in the future, call for another reunion, okey?”

All agreed to this and soon thereafter, the senior programmer of the time machine keyed in the data: Stardate: 2026 Location: Central Park, New York and pressed the “activate” button. The machine whirred angrily as it spun on its axis, became translucent, and finally disappeared.

Meanwhile, what Teena experienced was the sight of a beautiful and dazzling display of colors, and a myriad of seemingly abstract and unrecognizable patterns. Soon afterwards, she noticed that the spinning gradually slowed down and came to a halt. She found herself in the center of a futuristic, urban area with peculiar, geometrically-shaped buildings. She stepped out of the gizmo and engaged herself into a few minutes of walking until she came across someone who looked strangely familiar.

“Joseph … Joseph Tan!” she exclaimed and the figure, hearing his name being called, turned at her and once recognized, shouted:
“Miss Cardona!” and ran to her and gave her a hugging like a lost child embracing his newly found mother.

“Don’t call me Joseph Tan anymore, Miss. I’m already Dr. Joseph Tan.”

“How dare you call me Miss! You’re even older than me!” she joked- and soon, laughing, Joseph brought her to his mansion-clinic nearby. A few minutes was sufficient to contact all the other IV-2 members and soon, they all rushed to the spot from all parts of the globe for the reunion they promised exactly thirty years ago. Everyone of the fifty came and following lengthy exchange of words between Teena and them revealed to her how successful the whole class has become.

After some time, Engineer James Rafael Amores invited the group for a ride in his AIA-90′ (Amores Industries Aircraft-90) which could cruise at Mach 20 but would allow you to fully see the passing scenery (through the new video/holographic technology). All boarded this illustrious aircraft except a group left to fetch and fix the time machine. The jet soon became airborne and it zoomed through numerous famous cities and places. While on the-way, they stopped over Paris to visit James Ecito‘s (a contemporary of Michaelangelo and Picasso) painting gallery; as well as in London, to see Dr. Cesar Arcos’ Genetic Lab, where he experimented in cloning.

They also passed through Kenya where Agricultural Engineer Carlo Magno Maala showed them how he solved the problem of world hunger by developing corn and rice stalk varieties as high as seqouia tees; in Geneva, where they witnessed the world’s largest hospital and home of the International Red Cross, fully owned by Dr. Nemencio Nicodemus and Dr. Dennis Bascon. Lastly, the group stopped at Pasadena, California where Architect Francis Aguilar, the world’s best architect who was responsible for the radicalization of architectural designs showed them, his new designs for a community in the moon.

Arriving back in New York, Teena was promptly approached by scientist Dr. Anthony Walde, who said, “Well, Miss, we have finished all the repairs, and I added some special circuitry so that you won’t get dizzy during the trip. And also, I have to remind you that if you stay an hour longer, the nuclear batteries would dry up and you may not get back to 1996.”

Hearing this, she realized that it was time for her to leave and so, as a final gesture, hugged all her former boys so motherly until she reached Arnaldo Cuenca, former class VP and now an internationally respected economist, who said, “I ask of you, Miss, that when you return, don’t tell us how successful we shall be. We might become overconfident of ourselves and might not reach this prosperity we’re presently experiencing. You see, it may change our entire destiny.”

She promised so and then boarded the time-machine. A click of the “Return” key entered her back into a dimension of colors, and another fantastic display clouded her sights, until the spinning stopped and she found herself once more in the former girl’s gym, amidst the bewildered looks of her former students who quickly gathered around her enthusiastically asking “what happened” or “Did you see us there? What were we then?” and a smorgasbord of m~ny others. Promptly, she quieted the class and said, “Yes, I’ve seen all of you jn the future. But sad to say, I can’t tell you anything.”

Then, stepping out of the machine, she exited the room and retraced her footsteps back to the DRE, with uncontrolled tears of joy running down her cheeks. It had indeed been a very long day for her.