When we stepped off the elevator; my colleagues were still hounding me. Politely I told them to go away, but unfortunately they did not. My work was private and I didn’t want – or have authority – to bring anyone besides me and my other, secret co-workers with to the underground lab.
When a security guard finally removed them from the ‘special staff only’ area of the nuclear laboratory, the other scientists came to meet me. I needed to sort through the other data collected from the particle accelerator but something else was happening that required my attention.
“There was an accident last night” One of the scientists said.
“We had to drain the coolant and shut down the system, but none of the data sects were melted.”
I nodded and proceeded to pass but the scientist stopped me.
“Raj was killed.”
I had worked closely with the Israeli physicist but he was also secretive about his business, he also wanted the glory of the first discovery. But as scientists were in that community; we shared a respect for each other and a sad grief descended on me.
The scientist paused and looked around before continuing.
“They say that the system is unstable – unusable in fact”
How could anyone say such a thing, I still wonder.
“That’s nonsense. Our calibration fixed almost everything. We’re at the forty seventh clock cycle and we haven’t even blown a single capacitor!”
“I know, but this project is using a lot of resources”
“Nonsense again. We had an entire nuclear power station set up for this on a private budget – Which the lab already runs. No more funding is going into it by the government and the private companies investing are not going out of pocket anytime soon. Microsoft invested about 10 billion dollars alone! And that’s nothing compared to what they can make out of it in the future.”
My colleague looked worried.
“You don’t know how bad this accident is”
“Then tell me”
“You have to see it for yourself”
I followed him as he led me into the elevator and pressed for the lowest level; to descend down the shaft. I could feel that something was wrong; the atmosphere had shifted when Raj died but the silent dribble of blood against the elevator door was even more frightening.
When the elevator lurched to a stop and the doors opened, I could immediately smell the scent of burnt human flesh.