And it came to pass that a Being appeared to Th’ Gaussling one afternoon in the laboratory. But this was not a Being in the league of the Angel Michael or Gabriel. This was a somewhat lesser Being. Call him “Ed”. 

While Th’ Gaussling was tending to some matter in the lab, the Being Ed made his presence known by speaking through the vacuum line.

Gauss-ling“, hissed the disembodied voice through the Buchner filter.

Gaussling startled, dropping a few grams of precious crystals on the benchtop, and looked in full circle around him trying to find the source of the voice.  Puzzled, Gaussling stood still for a few moments listening for more sound and then, with a shrug, began to clean up the mess.

“Gaussling, I’m down here” said the voice, a bit more impatiently. “Set the spatula down and look in the filter”.

Sensing a practical joke, Gaussling replied sarcastically “Bugger off! I’m busy. Buncha NIM-rods …”.

With unmistakable urgency, the voice commanded “Look in the Filter!” At that moment, the vacuum pump changed its sound to a quiet tap-tap-tap, indicating that the pressure had dropped. The mercury column in the manometer collapsed and the pump noise became just a whisper.

Gaussling promptly stopped what he was doing and leaned towards the Buchner filter while scanning sideways for pranksters. But the room was empty and the voice had a decidedly raspy edge to it now. As Gaussling peered into the filter he noticed that a voice appeared to eminate from the vibrating filter paper. As the funnel spoke, crystal fragments danced across the flat paper like rice on a snare drum. Gaussling froze and couldn’t manage a breath.

“What do you want?”, Gaussling gasped.  “How can this be happening? Who are you?”

“You may call me Ed. Some of your kind have referred to my species as ‘Angel’ “, Ed replied matter-of-factly. “I think you’ll find that description to be inaccurate.” 

At that moment Ed apparated beside Gaussling in front of the fume hood. There was a rattling pop and the crackle of static discharge with a brown puff of nitrogen dioxide and ozone. Disconcertingly to the traveler, this type of conveyance caused the accumulation of static charge. Gaussling momentarily wondered how many Coulombs of static an Angel could withstand, but then snapped back to matter at hand. 

Still quite shocked, Th’ Gaussling managed to squeek out a few questions. “How did you do that? Where are you from? What do you mean by Angel?”

Ed was always annoyed with such questions. The gosh-wow-sense-of-wonder reaction from these creatures wore thin after a while. As Ed took a moment to adapt to the atmosphere and the pressure, Gaussling looked up and down at the visitor.  It was apparently a he from the outward mannerisms and dress.  Gaussling wouldn’t push the issue of gender right away.

“Dear fellow” Ed said in an impatient and distinctly British tone, “would you kindly relax and set that bottle down? I need to speak with you.  I’m only able to stay for a moment. This kind of travel causes extreme parity violations in the cosmos and is possible only by rather large energy consumption elsewhere, not to mention great discomfort for me.”

“So, you’re Ed? ” Gaussling said awkwardly. “What are you doing here?”

“I have a gift for you,” Ed replied in a matter of fact tone and reached inside his vest. “In fact, here it is.”

Ed pulled out a small vial that appeared to be of glass construction. At the bottom of the glass vial was a powder. It was unremarkable in every way and initially resembled ten thousand other colorless powders.

Ed held up the small vial and grinned. “See, here it is. Oh, my my my. You are going to be very amused.” He could barely contain his glee. Ed held the vial up toward the light but now the powder appeared somewhat different. Gaussling thought he saw a faint iridescent glint to it. A flash of a shimmer of spectrum against the cold fluorescent lights.

“I have come a long distance to give this to you. It is a substance capable of great wonders for those with the curiosity and wisdom to use it properly. But it is also capable of doing great harm. Soon you will see.”

Gaussling stood there, attentive but unable to utter a single word. After a few moments, Gaussling sputtered “What does it do?” 

Ed stood for a moment and then gushed with great delight, “I though you’d never ask. Get me a flask with some liquid in it, any liquid.”

Gaussling grabbed a 250 mL beaker and splashed a bit of acetone in it- 50 mL or so. Gaussling handed the beaker to Ed.

“Gaussling, I am going to put a single crystal of this substance into your liquid. Watch …” And with that fluorish, Ed expertly shook a single crystal of this substance into the beaker. The result was immediate and spectacular.

As Gaussling watched in amazement, the list of uses washed over his mind like a storm surge over a levee.  “How can this be happening?” Gaussling gasped.

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