The boiler was at full steam and the gauges showed full current output. He slowly followed the thick cables across to the transformer that hummed with the charge. From there to the concentric rings of the Resonator that stood idly in the centre of the workshop floor.
Years of research and investigation had finally produced the design: alchemical symbols etched into concentric rings of bronze, mounted within a framework of beryllium. Leaning from the side of his wheelchair Professor Parx connected the cable from the transformer to the Resonator and watched as it flickered to life.
“Finally” the old man said to himself.
Parx moved back from the machine that now emitted a low hum and wheeled across to a small control box that sat in front of the Resonator rings. “At least I can test this while the Bones boys are away. No sense in tipping my hand first. But if it works…. Finally we’ll be able to restore some decency to this city!”
He turned the first dial and the humming on the transformer increased to a deafening level. Dialling up the second knob and the rings on the Resonator started to spin on each other’s axes, their speed increasing until they were hard to follow with the naked eye. The final knob turned and the crackle of blue/green lightning arced from within the centre of the rings as a small black void slowly began to grow within the centre of the rings.
“Yes!” shouted Parx, the ecstasy of discovery showing plainly on his face.
Suddenly the crackle of electricity started to come from the frame at the side as well. Parx looked away from the centre, his expression changing to concern at the unforeseen change.
With a groan one of the rings sparked, the hinge snapped and the ring careened into the wall shattering.
The missing ring caused its companions to spin out of sync. With a whir and a shower of sparks the void collapsed and shot forth a bolt of green blue lightning that hit the Professor directly in the chest, throwing him and his chair across the room.
Parx wasn’t sure how long he was out for, though judging by the still sparking remains of the Resonator it wasn’t that long. He looked down at his chest and was pleasantly astonished to see nothing worse than wisps of steam rising from his clothes. He was just a short distance from his chair which he righted with a small effort and resumed his seat.
Without thinking he’d got up and into his chair. Yet it had taken nowhere near the effort is should have. The professor looked at the back of his hands. They seemed firmer. Throwing the forward lever on his wheelchair on to full Parx raced towards the elevator and headed to his rooms upstairs.
When he reached his dresser and looked at the reflection staring back at him an all together different smile played across his lips. The devious mind behind it was still the same but the moustache now had some colour in it. The lines around his eyes were still there but the sag had faded.
One thing was increasingly clear…
Parx had grown younger.