Dr. Morgan Emmanuel Wu was born in Charleston, West Virginia. His late father, Wu Tang, whose parents emigrated from Tsingtao, China in the 1950s, served as CEO of CWP Energy, a Fortune 500 coal producer best known for a settling a massive class-action suit brought by victims of black lung disease for an undisclosed sum reported to be in the thousands of dollars. His mother, now remarried to former West Virginia Governor Constantine “Connie” Slick, continues to operate a successful Hobby Lobby franchise in South Charleston and is purported to be an avid grouse hunter.
Morgan, a brilliant if compulsive only child, pulled a perfect 1600 on his SATs at age eight and graduated summa cum laude from Duke at twelve. At sixteen, he completed his Ph.D. at Cal Tech, where he continues to chair the research group on particle physics and string theory. After discovering a class of sub-atomic particles he insisted on dubbing “daxons,” after his favorite character on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he became, at twenty-two, the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics.
In the late 1990s, a decade before the Large Hadron Collider in Europe became operational, Dr. Wu assembled a consortium of scientists and engineers to consider building an even larger, more “awesome,” facility in the United States. Thus conceived was the fifty-mile long, circular Hadron Ultra-Luminosity Accelerator, or “HULA Hoop.”
Most of the funding for this endeavor, whose final cost exceeded $40 billion, came from the U.S. Congress. Notable was the fact that many of the more recalcitrant House and Senate members changed their positions in favor of funding following an unreported hacking incident involving their private email and browser histories.
For nearly two decades, Dr. Wu oversaw the design, construction, and implementation phases of the project in central Ohio. As it neared completion, he consulted frequently with White House officials to coordinate bringing the collider online — with a “bang” as the president was fond of saying — just prior to the November election. Given the boon to the Buckeye State in the form of ramped-up tax revenues, employment, and prestige, this was seen as the feather in President Sutcliffe’s cap that would secure Ohio’s eighteen electoral votes and cement her re-election.
But then Dr. Wu had a restless night.
On the eve of the first Presidential Debate, Dr. Wu claimed to have had a mattress-soaking “revelation” that caused him to reassess the prudence of firing up his hallowed HULA Hoop. Even his critics, who had vaguely alluded to possible dangers while grudgingly conceding that the first trial would likely change the way we perceived the universe, were shocked at what he had to say… along with the balance of the scientific community and nearly everyone else on Earth not completely off the grid.
“We cannot proceed with our planned startup,” Dr. Wu began hoarsely at a news conference in Pasadena the morning after his epiphany. “Were we to do so there would be created a gravitational singularity that would rapidly consume all matter on our planet.” He waited for the murmuring and the clicking of cameras to die down then added, “By that I mean a black hole.”