A/N: There. A proper chapter. Still unsure about the last chapter. Any opinions anybody? So, chapter 6 is here for now. Some R&R make me feel special :D
Chapter 6: A Man sized Gap
There was a morning meeting where Doug was introduced to the group and the device that they were testing. One of the group leaders explained to him in detail how the machine worked and the sort of tests that they carried out with the machine. The pack was very heavy and cause in some people sever back pains. The tunnelling device only worked with smooth surfaces and had to be strapped on the back of the wielder. The quantum hole that was created was then very unstable and was of varying size but not large enough for one person yet. Doug listened carefully to what was said to him and he took notes but still a large amount of the information went over his head. One of the scientists said to him not to worry about it and that he'll figure everything out in time. There was a test with the pack where one of the scientist was to hold the pack while a little robot was push a white cube in through the hole that should appear. The machine on the man's back whirred in to life as he pulled the trigger. Light shone out the cracks in the device as he aimed at the wall. There was a loud bang and the man with giant pack flew backwards. He freed himself from the machine and looked the wall.
A small dark blue hole was on the wall. It was solid looking. It was as if someone had painted a black and dark blue mural on the wall. The hole was there for about half a minute before it disappeared in to a tiny shower if blue sparkles.
Another failure. The quantum hole had no end location and fold back on itself." The man who spoke then quietly cursed. Louder he said, "It's been happening a lot lately. Right for the report. Quantum hole established. Held for 37 second before collapse."
The rest of the day was of Doug listening and attempting to stabilise the machine and the quantum hole. There were very few advancements but according to the others this was common.
Doug returned to his tiny living space at the end of the evening feeling powered out. He read over his notes and some papers he was given. He began to understand what was going on. The quantum hole needed an initial location and a final destination. Without a final destination the hole folds back on itself and the starting location becomes the final destination. The machinery couldn't contain the energy required to open such a hole and back fired. It was even a surprise the machine functioned as it did today. They needed something with more energy. Also the hole would need to more stable These problems would give Doug some restless nights in the future but for now they seemed like small problems. His pills were diminishing fast. He was using them faster that he normally would have.
He left Caroline a message asking if it was possible to leave the facility to acquired now pills.
Routine started to settle in over the next few months until Mr. Johnson arrived down to their department. He was screaming at the scientists for not producing the required results. Some of scientist cowered in fear from his anger. Doug wasn't sure what was going on. Johnson wanted results faster but didn't want to listen when it was explain to him why. Johnson then started to cough violently. He gasped for air. His legs went under him and he fell to his knees. He had trouble breathing. "Caro... Caroline...line... I... I need..." What ever he attempting to say was stopped short by Caroline herself. No one moved as Caroline carefully helped Johnson drink a glass of water that was fizzy from the tablets. Everyone in the meeting room was silent while he drank. When Johnson was finished, he was more composed and began to ask questions and listened more but the answers were over his head.
"You, new boy." Johnson looked to Doug.
"Ah... Doug, sir."
"Explain to me simply why this doesn't work."
"Er.. Okay... Well as Mr. Harris explained the thermal energy produced in the device is overheating it and the quantity of energy supplied is-"
"STOP!" Johnson shouted. Breathing in he composed himself again. "I asked you to explain it simply and not what Mr. Harris said because I don't understand what Mr. Harris said, okay?"
"Okay, try again."
"Well, you see... the machine is getting to hot and it blows up from that. So we need to make a new kind of way to cool it down. Eh... We also can't give the machine enough energy to make the tunnel work properly. Until we solve those problems we can't start to try to and make it smaller." Doug was nervous. He heard a small whisper to the left of him.
"Well done. That's not what I wanted to hear but a dang load better than what I heard before. Okay first off all we need a new system in place for information communication. Caroline, I'll leave that up to you. Pick someone to sort that help you with it."
There were more whispers. Doug was now very nervous. He couldn't hear what the whispers said but he felt their intent. They weren't kind to him or Johnson. This made him even more nervous knowing that the others were speaking about him. Doug needed to get out of the room. The air inside the room had gotten heavier and seemed to crush his lungs.
But he couldn't leave. The whispers would become louder and more vicious. Also Johnson wasn't finished with giving out about his projects. Doug could only stand there and breath the heavy air. Johnson ranted on about how this Tier was falling far behind the others. Also about new project he wished to start. It involved computers and storing the human brain inside it.
Johnson continued to prattle while the scientists seemed to relax as soon as they realised that Johnson wasn't going to shout at them any more. Some even had the audacity to look bored as if this was a regular thing. The "morning meeting" as Johnson termed it was over after 3 hours.
Henry walked up to Doug. "Going for lunch?" Doug nodded. A perfect excuse not to be the same room as everyone else. As soon as the door of their lab was closed Henry started laughing. " Did you hear Cave?" he started to try and speak in Johnson's Broad southern accent. "I want results, you hear? I don't want anyone doing science without results! Anybody doing science without results is doing witchcraft and I'll have none of that here in MY COMPANY." Henry started to laugh again at himself and his horrible imitation. Reverting back to his normal voice he proclaimed very loudly. "That man is completely cookoo!" Henry lifted his left hand and swirled the air at his temple while saying that.
"I'd be careful of what you say Mr. Vivek. Remember that Mr. Cookoo has you employed and that he also gives you accommodation." Caroline step out from behind the corner. Again Henry found this very funny.
"Caroline were you listening behind corners? That's not very polite for a lady, you know." Henry looked thoughtful for a minute. "Or.." He drew out the O in the word like he was still think of how to say the next sentence. "... I'm that interesting that you have to hear everything I say."
"No, Mr Vivek. I don't find you interesting. I was on my way back to select the people for the groups involved in the Personality Transfer Programme and those in Imaging Information Committee. Which is to say: Mr. Rattmann."
Doug looked at Caroline in surprise. Since the interview day they hadn't spoken. It seemed so long ago. Caroline checked her paper briefly. "You are on the Information Committee. You are to meet at seventeen hundred hours in Lab 43. Mr. Vivek. You're on the Personality transfer. Same time, Lab 19. Good day. "
With that she left, the two standing in the corridor while she headed for the Labs presumably to group the others in her cold manner.
"Well there goes the Ice Queen. Cold as usual. Never understood why." He left that thought sit in the air for a moment. Doug had nothing to say to that. "Anyway, I wonder what's on the menu for lunch. I really fancy a chicken curry. With celery." Henry chattered away like that not asking Doug to respond. That was until the reached a cafeteria.