So, with this being an election year and more importantly, the Halloween season, I thought we could use some entertainment and a brief aside stretched over a week's time. Also, I'm planning on opening up my book, Death of Heaven, on Friday for free for one day in celebration of the release of this latest tale of my macabre tales. What the heck, I"ll also set up my novella, Andrew on Amazon for free on Friday and Saturday.
So, let's get going....
|Image by Marvin Hayes|
If there is no word by tomorrow, I’ll have to assume something significant is at play here. Could it be some kind of industrial espionage, kidnapping? If so, then why was I still here? Or, was I next? Certainly, this research is important enough. But for people to-- disappear?
If that’s the case then why one at a time?
About midday I spoke in the hallway with one of the Guards making security rounds. He told me that Johnson hadn’t signed out the night before last and it was the same for Garrison last night. So, where were they? I had left a little early yesterday for a dental appointment so I didn't know when Garrison might have left. Then the Guard said that still there were no signs of my coworkers today. I thanked him and he continued on with his rounds throughout the rest of the facility; our lab being only one of eight buildings in the complex that they canvassed on a semi-hourly basis.
Back in the lab, through the windows I could see the facility’s octagonal shaped center court with its eight encompassing buildings. Others were visible working in those buildings across from ours, quite oblivious to my concerns. There was nothing else to do but return to the day’s research. Actually, it was mostly paperwork today and most of that was number crunching.
Hours later, dusk began its quick decline. Those across the courtyard had mostly left for their homes and families. Though I was alone, I kept feeling a presence and I began to look over my shoulder from time to time. Tired, I had tried to take a nap at lunchtime, I just couldn't relax long enough to sleep. I stopped my review of the data on my monitor and looked around at the empty lab with its five walls and various offices and supply rooms.
`Where the hell are they?' The thought kept nagging at me. Who should I call?
I picked up a pack of Garrison's cigarettes that were sitting on one of the lab tables and absent mindedly removed one. I scouted around for a lighter. Finding none, I suddenly realized I had quit smoking years ago. My temper flared momentarily, inexplicably, until I remembered that it had after all, been my decision to quit. My nerves were on edge. I picked up my pen and tried once more to write the thoughts which these past few hours had continually eluded me; but I only found myself doodling, again. So I dropped the pen once more.
The lab seemed to grow quieter, emptier.
My thoughts drifted as I wondered what this new technology would bring. I found myself staring at the front lab door. Looking around I saw scattered bits of hardware, wires, fiber optics, microfluidics, and all the other junk we found easy to play inventor with. We had found a way to redirect residual heat into power which was redirected into cooling. The more it heated, the more it cooled and the faster the CPU cycles ran in an ever growing loop that increased in power until finally, it hit a plateau. But at that level of processing, the speeds were incredibly fast.
Applications of this technology alone would revolutionize computing power. But that wasn't what we had been working on. I looked around suddenly feeling very alone; yet, not feeling alone. Like someone was there in the room with me. It was eerie, bordering on fearful.
"Hello?" I said, feeling tired, finally giving in to the feeling. No one answered.
I went to the main door. Grabbing the knob, I turned it. Then I turned, looking back around the lab. Of the eight doors in our rather large lab, three of them went to offices for the bachelor scientists, us. This door led to the main hallway, several others to storerooms and one to a vault. There were “ALON” windows looking out on the center court of the complex. Each building was sealed off from the rest for security and safety.
‘Security, as well as beauty,’ I thought. It was a dramatic effect.
“Rats in a beautiful cage,” we called it among ourselves.
“Dynamic design,” the architects had called it.
I opened the door to the hall. Nothing, no one in the hallway. I closed the door, hesitated, then went to Johnson’s office. All the offices faced the main lab and had glass walls with curtains bordering them in the event there was any need for privacy, or darkness; but there seldom was. I tried the doorknob. It was unlocked as it naturally would be. After all the lab was well secured so we had no need to lock our offices within the secured room. There was nothing interesting inside.
So, I went to Garrison’s door and entered the plush office with its electronic debris scattered everywhere, pretty typical of all our offices. I walked over to the desk and plopped down in the chair. Garrison’s diary was in the middle of all the confusion there on the desk. He loved writing with pens and used a digital pen so that whatever he wrote into his journal was automatically transcribed into his laptop and then onto the lab’s NAS drive.
He had gotten us all into using those pens. They were pretty cool, actually. I kept mine in my jacket pocket. They would store a certain amount of data buffered that would transfer wirelessly as needed and as it could be configured for. There were many of these types of devices around the lab: digital whiteboards, iPads, etc. We were fully stocked with the latest and greatest.
I looked Garrison’s journal over more closely. The last entry was for last night.
"Will make a mag tape of the things for all to see. Interaction is affirmative. Johnson had said he would try. So, where is he?"
There had been a tape beneath the top of the journal. I picked it up, but it was unremarkable. It just said, “test” on it in Garrison’s handwriting. Looking around the lab through the glass wall of his office, I decided I might as well read the journal. After all, no one was around to interrupt me and besides, maybe there is a clue as to where everyone went.
Later today, Part 2