A short section this one. Just long enough for a coffee break.
“Well, that was a resounding success, Tosty, well done!”, said Professor Aardvark Chopsticks, thumbs in his equatorial belt.Tosty Architrave, kneeling by a half-filled chest, glanced up, triumph still glowing on his skinny face, and grinned up at his mentor, the wispy fluff of adolescence quivering on his upper lip. The professors kind eyes peered down at his protege over the curve of the enormous belly like two watery eggs in a nest of white eyebrow.
“Thankyou, Professor. That demonstration with the diffraction grating and the peashooter was a triumph. How did you know that peas could exist in superposition?”“Ah, well, lad, I knew it had to be possible; light is made up of tiny pea shaped things that act as waves and dots, so it stood to reason that peas could do the same!” “A marvel, sir.” “Yes indeed. And besides, I felt a presence when we began this morning; I knew things would work properly today.” Tosty looked uncomfortable. “Sir? Isn’t that a bit like religion?” The big man smiled beatifically. “A bit, my lad, but religion is only religion when faith is involved; guesswork and wishful thinking to believe blindly in a myth. When you know something exists through testing, through facts, faith isn’t needed any more, do you see?” “Not really”, Tosty said, looking worried. The Professor patted him on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, you will. I have decided to nominate you for a place in the Grand College in the autumn, if you are still desirous of a place?” “That would be magnificent, sir!”, exclaimed the boy, the packing of apparatus suddenly forgotten, “I won’t let you down, I promise!” The professor laughed, “I know you won’t lad, a great scientist I see in you. You remind me of myself at your age; you will go far.” Tosty just grinned inanely. The professor coughed theatrically to cover his doubtful expression. “Yes, well. When you are done packing, please be so good as to see the innkeeper about our dinner.”, he said, turning and striding to the exit, “A good glazed ham should do the trick. And perhaps some of those lovely buttered potatoes with the tasty little green things.” “Herbs, sir. Certainly, Professor. And thankyou again!” The professor beamed at him, and closed the door. Tosty turned back to his task, lifting an experimental accordion from the pile on the floor. And stopped. Under the instrument was the metal plate used to display the pea diffraction pattern.
The peas had dried and had begun to flake off, but in the complex pattern of yellow-green splotches there could be clearly seen two words. “TeSTIng tEstInG”.