Al woke up suddenly, unsure why. Something, something there, on the edge of knowing… Was it another breakthrough? They came to him so often in his dreams. He blamed the object, although Robert would claim it was natural genius. Al wasn't so sure, anymore.
Heh. Al. He'd been using that name so long, it came naturally to him. He'd had many names over the years, and even some numbers, but he'd been doing this job for so long, his handlers just called him Al. It was a mark of respect, or possibly trust. He wasn't sure which.
He slung his feet over the edge of the cot, trying to figure out what had woken him. His mind drifted, as it was wont to do these days. This job had been intended as a reward, for services rendered. Then the job title started to mean something it hadn't when he took it, and things got rough, until someone stepped in.
It was funny, back in the day, when he first took the job, they had all sorts of plans as to how to disguise him, so his handlers wouldn't recognize him. In the end, his suggestion that they cut his hair proved to work wonders. He'd let it grow out since then, but everyone thought he was dead these days, so it didn't matter.
He was given everything he wanted. Lots of paper, access to the Object, and all the latest information on scientific advances. In return, he kept turning over his papers to the Foundation, giving them all sorts of new information they could use for… whatever they use it for. He didn't care anymore. All he wanted was to be left alone, and not to have to think about his sins.
He pondered again his wakefulness. It couldn't have been the Object, he was used to the sound of… nothing. He tilted his head to the left, listened. Nothing. The sound that had become a part of his life, had stopped.
Al lunged for the box he kept by his bed, opening the lid carefully. The track was smooth. The oil was fresh. The Object… was still. Slowly, reverently, he reached within, picking up the Object gingerly. He remembered the destruction it could cause if enclosed… but, no, nothing. Not a shred of movement.
His mind raced, in a desperate attempt to find a cause. None of his previous theories ever accounted for this. Matter + Mass, no, that's not right. If the speed is equal to the velocity, no! Al thumped his free hand against the wall. Nothing accounted for it stopping!
He rolled it between his fingers, staring, hopefully. Maybe he could jump start it? No. Nothing. After all these years, all the papers he had written, all the possibilities he had explored, the simple Object that had made him a household name was no more. With a curse in his native tongue, he threw it to the ground, lost in his anger.
Al quickly glanced downwards, staring in horror at the shattered remains of the Object. He had only a moment to try and understand what was before him, before the energies inside blasted through him, reducing the caretaker to less than ash. That which had been contained was unleashed, and it fled into the universe, to seek out the others like it.
All that was left was the echo of his last words, as he finally understood everything.
"It vas an egg."