Anthony Xue is born into a poor family in the South. His parents run a diner for truckers on the highway to Tampa Florida.
From an early age, Xue shows an exceptional gift for anything scientific.
Although he is clever enough to win scholarships, his parents (to whom he is nothing but a source of cheap labor, washing trucks for customers, and serving in the diner at busy times) will never let him leave Tampa to study. He graduates high school at 16 and heads to a town college. Xue obtains a BA in Physics (with the highest possible grades) at the not very high-standing university in his home state. Xue never goes any further with his studies.
The only way he can get away from his parents is by getting a job as soon as possible. He joins a research group headed by the successor of Professor Amato (Nobel Prize for Physics), a Dr Albert Ross. Although only in the very minor capacity of a research assistant (a sort of information officer), for the first time Xue enters the prestigious environment of the MIT and the numerous scientific opportunities it offers.
During the first few months of his collaboration with Ross, despite his inexperience and lack of qualifications, Xue clearly eclipses the rest of the researchers. He quickly becomes an object of envy, as such. Less well-meaning colleagues are obliged to recognize his superior intelligence, and privately (or more openly in front of influential members of the scientific community) scorn his humble origins and his efforts to conceal them. Despite all the gossip, Xue continues to shine in his research work and is soon responsible for managing a whole laboratory.
He starts experiments on matter/antimatter reactions. The results he achieves are extremely promising and for Xue the prospect of recognition by the whole of the Scientific Community now seems to be within reach. Xue's thirst for recognition compels him to carry out more and more experiments and to take fewer and fewer precautions. He is obsessed by a desire for more and more results. And then, catastrophe strikes. The researchers lose control of the matter/antimatter reaction and 11 people are killed in an explosion in the laboratory. Although the law does not consider Xue responsible for this tragedy, the scientific community takes its revenge for the previous success of this iconoclastic researcher, by accusing him of irresponsible behavior in his work.
Life soon becomes impossible for Xue and, shunned by the research community, he leaves MIT. However, Xue is not going to be deprived of continuing his research for long. The American Army has been interested in his work for years and soon provides him with a new laboratory and funding ... in return for absolute secrecy.
Although Xue can now carry on with his work, he is still condemned to remain unknown. After three years of work and further experiments, the army asks Xue to get into contact with Professor Kauffman, who has been trying to demonstrate the existence of parallel worlds. According to the Army's scientific committee responsible for monitoring Xue's work (and according to Xue himself), energy produced by matter/antimatter reactions could provide access to the parallel worlds described by Kauffman.