Breakfast Serial is a serialized collection of short stories. We will post an episodic entry each week.
Both men paused, struck silent by the shocking statement, before erupting into fits of extreme laughter.
Shelley smiled. He was not put off by the laughter of his mentors. Rather, it fueled him.
“Gentlemen, if you are quite finished, I would like to begin with the demonstration.”
The two older men sobered themselves, offering hasty apologies, and turned their attention to the apparatus in the center of the room. It consisted of two separate flat, metal surfaces, one slightly angled with a small ledge at the bottom. The other was perfectly horizontal and covered with a blanket. Hanging above both surfaces was a network of wires of varying gauges that were all connected to a headset. One had clearly been designed for a human head while the other was smaller, ostensibly designed for a dog.
“I have spent the past few years in extensive study, learning as much as mankind knows about the human mind and the physiology of canines. I believe that I will be able to prove Professor Darwin’s theory. If all life on this planet has evolved from a common ancestor, then I should be able to connect, if even briefly, with the mind of another animal, since we share a common ancestor, a physiological link.”
“Richard, this sounds insane,” Pickering words were harsh, but his tone was fatherly. “You cannot truly believe that this is possible.”
“I agree with Christopher. This sounds foolhardy, even obscene.”
“But how could it be obscene? If we accept Darwin’s theory, as we all do, then clearly we share our biology with every living thing on this planet. It is a far cry from obscene: it is beautiful.”
“It is obscene to think that you could perform such a feat and that you would want to debase yourself, your species in such a way,” Pickering replied.
“I don’t agree,” Larran blurted out, leaving the others speechless. “Pickering, if we’re going to hold Professor Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection, then we must accept its natural outworking and not fear its applications. To do otherwise would be intellectually dishonest.”
“Charles…” Pickering started to protest Larran’s defense of what a moment earlier seemed indefensible, but he fell silent as Shelley patted the surface of the machine covered with a blanket.
“Up, Hera,” the younger man said. The dog dutifully obeyed her master, leaping onto the surface. “Now, lay down.” Hera complied, and Shelley very gently attached the headset.
He then turned to the other table, stepped up on the ledge and laid back against the surface, with his feet resting upon the ledge. Silently, he attached the headset.
“Gentlemen, I’m ready.”