“SEAL. THE. ROOM.”
Over the next 10 minutes a series of both helpful, and painfully obvious commands erupted from Dr. Chung. He was the senior scientist in the room and was almost a father figure not only to myself but to many of my fellow physicists.
Headcounts were conducted amongst the 22 scientists outside of the Family, who were recruited to be part of the experiment. Luckily, Father’s disappearance seemed to be an independent occurrence.
The fact that the main control room was filled with senior scientists helped us handle the situation so much better. Methodical training and a fear of contamination of both material and electronic information was the most important concern at that time. We hurried to commence the network backup procedures that we were trained to undertake in the event of failure. The remains of Father’s effects were removed (with a ruler acting as a pair of tongs), and carefully stored in 3 UPS bags (the only sealable thing we could find).
The Family members worked in silence for a few minutes, the shouting from Dr. Chung having died down; the junior scientists milled around on the lower level, having been advised not to leave the facility. A general look of concern had started to make it’s way across their faces. They could feel from the tension in the announcements that something very wrong had happened, but had no idea of the degree of damage.
“You’re Mother, so you’re now in charge, Chung,” announced Dr. Nevga Thani, the Indian scientist, whose unassuming grandma-esq shape betrayed her sharp tongue and short tolerance for bullshit,
“You shouldn’t jump to conclusion Nevga, Arthur can’t take charge until we’re sure that Father isn’t here.” Celine snapped at Nevga, tensions were running high and we were beginning to fray. Strong leadership was needed and Arthur Chung was the man. He had been designated by Father to take control of all security related matters pertaining to the Family two weeks prior to the incident. Arthur was number two; Arthur was Mother.
“She’s right, Sandra’s not here, and she could very well be in danger. For the time being, I’ll take control and attempt to coordinate what we should do. Our first decision has to be who to alert. I understand that the protocol calls for letting the Ministry of Defence know, but which other Swiss officials are on the list?”
“You can’t be serious. We can’t tell a single soul about this!” I couldn’t keep quiet any longer, I shot up from the chair that I had been lounging in while the Family politics played out. We couldn’t tell anyone. There were very good reasons for this.
“Firstly, we’ve known from the beginning that if we were ever successful, we would be under heavy police surveillance and military scrutiny. Our lives would never be the same, but we would make the sacrifice, all in the name of science. But what now? What will they do to us now? We WERE part of the experience. The light emersed all of us. If they can’t find Father they’re going to go after their next best samples. ”
“We’ll be studied, tested, and tested again. Who the fuck knows! Maybe vivisection?!Who knows! If we were just successful, we opened a door and didn’t know how to handle it, and now one of our own has vanished.”
“We CANNOT tell!”
I was screaming by the end of my tirade, my blood boiling with a sense of injustice. We could have just made the best discovery in science, but the reward would be torture or who the fuck knows what else.
“Calm down, We cannot jump to conclusions.” Mother’s soothing tones were one of the major reasons why he was designated to take charge if things fell apart.
“Edward is right, but we have to ensure that this is dealt with only amongst ourselves. We’ll dismiss the assistants; fewer bodies, fewer eyes and ears.” Mother kept the calm. Father would have LOVED the fact that we were being clandestine about the whole matter. She never followed protocol.
The juniors were assembled and advised that there was an excess bleed of energy through one of the circuit breakers and it exploded. The bright light was the ensuing fireball which was a result of the explosion. Fire services have been notified. Everything was calm.
“Ok, what do we know?” asked Mother, who had ascended the stairs to the control room on the second level after dismissing the assistants. The remaining members of the Family had been instructed to continue searching, just as they had immediately after the lights came back on, just like they had after turning control over to Mother. And quite like before, our searching was fruitless.
The doors of the control room were locked during the experiment and there was no way in nor any way out. We were sealed in there. Even if Father had managed to cross the room from her control console without touching any of us, and had managed to enter in the correct 9 digit code to unlock the door to leave the room, all while the entire room was being filled with blinding light, she sure as hell wouldn’t have had time to strip.
“She’s not here, we’ve searched all the possible rooms, and nothing. She’s vanished, we have no alternate explanation.” Celine concluded. She had quickly realized that the likelihood of Father still being present was next to none.
“Were we successful? Has anyone reviewed the data.” Nevga croaked from her position in the corner. She was staring directly at me while asking, as if I had any idea what the data stated
“The computers are still backing up the experimental information, we can review in about three minutes. Have we tried to access the CCTV feed?” I responded. The CCTV could hold some clue to clarifying what we had experienced.
“Try and access the loop Celine!” I called out to her as she was hunched over the first console that had finished backing up. “I’m on it,” she responded.
After a few short moments a sound of contentment emitted from Celine. Not quite a squeak, not really a scream, and we all turned to look at her, “I’ve got it!” We rushed over to the display and crouched around, hopefully the security feed could clarify all of this.
“Nothing but white light.”
The first few minutes of the video showed Father and the rest of us at the beginning of the experiment, and then the camera white’s out at a certain point due to the blinding light that had filled the room. The image adjusts and it’s us in the dark panicking about the disappearance Father.
“Utterly Useless,” a deflated Celine admitted what the rest of us were too afraid to say. We were left with no recorded evidence of what could have been the singular most important moment in recent science.
Mother’s computer had finished it’s backup cycle and he began accessing the information harvested during the collider run.
“Everything seems normal, nothing is out….” He stopped midway through his sentence.
“We did it. We fucking did it!” This was the first time that I had ever heard Mother swear and it would have naturally unsettled me if he hadn’t just announced that we had changed the world.
“What!? What does it say?” I belted out from across the room. I had to know. We had to know.
“40.2 TeV maxed out, with 0.9992c (speed) achieved, magnetic resonance and field distortion registers noticeable. Massive localized radiation spikes. Collapse.” Mother stared at the screen, silence and disbelief filled the room.
In layman’s terms, we had concentrated the amount of energy required to tear our page. We saw a few letters on the other page, but the door slammed shut too soon to make any reading possible. But it had been done.
“So what happens now?” I asked. Not knowing how to proceed.
“Our main priority right now remains Sandra and her location. We’ve established that the experiment was a success and her disappearance occurred at the same time. We cannot assume that they are related, but the chances are high that they are.” Mother announced in his soothing tone.
“We have to replicate.” Nevga’s voice broke the calm created by Mother. “Our agreement with the Geneva power grid expires at 02:00, which is less than 2 hours away. We can rerun the experiment, and then see what the outcome is. We know we can open the door, maybe Sandra will come back.”
Celine dashed across the room and confronted Nevga, “Are you insane?! We can’t replicate the experiment. We should have alerted the authorities over an hour ago when this first happened, now we look like we’re conspiring to cause more damage! The chance of Sandra falling, naked, out of the sky are just as likely as one of us vanishing! You may be 400 years old, but I am not ready to endanger myself! I’m still young!”
Mother interjected, “Quiet. Our window is closing, we have limited options. The radiation and air quality sensors in the room did not register any excessive disturbances that would be harmful to us, and we have enough of a skeleton crew amongst the 8 of us to run the collider.”
“I will NOT be a part of this!” Celine protested, “ I refuse to compromise my safety again in the blind hope that we can somehow call Sandra back into the room! This is madness!”
“You can excuse yourself if you want, but you may not leave the building. If you’re not going to contribute, stay out of the way” Mother was kurt with his response, and very rarely did he take such a terse tone.
Celine stormed out of the room and made her way down the access stairs towards area the assistants once filled. She opened the access door and entered the observation area.
“Edward, prime the collider, Nevga, take the second console, Jim…” Mother stationed the remaining members of the Family to independent tasks once executed by a team of 3-5 scientists. They were the top of their fields, but this would prove a difficult task.
With my hands on the release valve, I heard mother give the “Prime for Collision,” order which brought the massive machine to life. It would be approximately 22 minutes before enough power to attempt the collisions had been displaced from the grid into CERN’s reserves.
We worked like a perfectly oiled machine, years of study and practice had brought the Family to this point.
With the particle clouds released and running against one another around the track, the collider was ready to attempt it’s newest collision.
“Commence the Collision Sequence,” Mother’s order was clear, crisp and concise. I entered the required programming and waiting.
“Collision in 4…3…2…”
Again the white light. The thick, dense, clean, all-consuming, white light filled the control room. I could see it creep up on me, no sense of direction available after it hit, nothing visible except for the pure bright spot that it emanated from.
This time there was no scream, but more of a loud thud. The power surge caused the safety shut-off to trip again and just as before we found ourselves in the dark room.
“Chung, code: FAM-0114”
“Thani, code FAM-0080”
“Mantill, code: FAM-0010”
The remaining Family members sounded off, and waited the necessary 30 seconds before the red emergency lighting would activate. Had it worked, what was the thud. Was it Sandra, and was she dead?
The red lighting enabled. Lying in the center of the room, slightly bruised but overall appearing normal and completely naked lay Father. We scrambled over one another to reach her.
“Stop!” Yelled Mother. He had gone down the same corridor I had to hit the lighting reset button. The regular lighting turned on, and we could see Sandra clearly. She was breathing, but we knew what we had to do. Mother was right, no touching.
“Is she breathing?” Mother asked.
“Yes, I can see her abdomen moving up and down,” Nevga responded. She had crouched next to Father and made no attempt to hide her concern. Even though she was tough, Sandra was a member of the team, and deserved her best effort.
Mother threw a pair of gloves towards Nevga. “Check her pulse.” He ordered.
Nevga obliged and began measuring her pulse. In the mean time, a Family member had brought over a spare lab coat so that Father could have some dignity, even if she looked worse for ware.
At this point Celine reentered the control room and remained strangely quiet, even in the midst of all the excitement.
Nevga, content with Father’s pulse, began shaking her and calling her to get up. “Sandra! Sandra! Are you there? Can you wake up!” Sandra began to stir.
We all took a very obvious and very needed step back. We were so relieved to have Sandra back that we hadn’t thought of the true question at hand: Where had she gone to begin with.
“Sandra, it’s Nevga, can you hear me! Father, can you hear me!” Nevga continued to yell. Slowly, like a deer coming out of a long hibernation, Sandra began blinking her eyes. She made no attempt to sit up, but did shield her eyes from the lighting in the room.
“Ne..Nv…Nevga, can you, can you hear me?” Sandra asked weakly.
“Father! Welcome back!” Nevga’s face lit up as she threw her arms around Sandra.
The din in the room was cleaved by the sound of the cellphone in Mother’s coat pocket ringing.
“Hello? Yes……Ok……..Ok………how many?……Thank you Hugo.” Mother hung up the phone and turned towards Celine, eyes locked, brow furrowed.
“How could you? Are you that stupid that you think they’re going to let you run away while they come for the rest of us?” Mother asked, his words dripping with the venom that they so richly deserved.
“What’s going on?” I asked look at Celine but directing my question towards Mother.
“That was Hugo from the security division. He’s advised me that Celine contacted the Swiss authorities 45 minutes ago, their men have just crossed the security perimeter. Apparently we’re currently wanted.” Mother cooly explained.
All eyes turned away from Sandra and towards Celine, “How could you do that?! You’ve ruined us,” was the only phrase that I could think of screaming at her.
“We have to get out of here. Help Father up, follow me!” Mother ordered and dashed into the corridor adjacent to the control room.
He ran towards the control panel at the end of hall and typed in the 9 digit access code required to open the door. It wouldn’t budge. He turned and looked at the rest of the Family who had ran behind him, including Celine.
“We have to find an alternate way out, they’ve locked us in,” Mother explained, his cool beginning to wear thin. “We have to start the override procedure immediately if we have any chance of getting out of here! Nevga use the….” Mother’s instructions faded as I made my way back into the control room.
Panic was beginning to grip me as the possibility of used as a guinea pig began to crowd out my more rational thoughts. Suddenly a faint alarm began to sound and the following announcement came over the intercom.
“THIS IS COMMANDER ERICH EINMENCH OF THE SWISS FEDERAL PROTECTIVE SERVICES, WE ARE ENTERING YOUR FACILITY, DO NOT MAKE ANY SUDDEN MOVEMENTS, YOU ARE UNDER SURVEILLANCE. YOU ARE BEING DETAINED”
The booming voice kept repeating instructions to remain still. Nevga had sat herself at one of the terminals and was frantically trying to override the lockdown procedure that security had initiated.
“I can’t work quickly enough!” She said, looking up at me with real worries in her eyes. “This is my fault! I shouldn’t have pushed for a rerun!” The sound of the alarm became progressively louder.
Celine ran back into the room, followed by the remaining members of the family who had stayed in the corridor.
“Fuck it!” She exclaimed, and jumped onto the nearest terminal. She began viciously hammering away the keyboard, entering command after command.
Suddenly the collider sprang to life with the loudest sound I had ever heard. It was a combination of a fog horn and explosion.
I looked down from the control room just as the team of heavily armed security officers burst into the collider room.
“I’m Sorry,” Celine said. She looked up at me and entered one final line of code.
The room filled with the same white light.
PART 1: http://www.ancientcolony.com/im-a-physicist-at-cern-weve-done-something-we-shouldnt-have-part-1/
PART 2: http://www.ancientcolony.com/im-a-physicist-at-cern-weve-done-something-we-shouldnt-have-part-2/
PART 3: http://www.ancientcolony.com/im-a-physicist-at-cern-weve-done-something-we-shouldnt-have-part-3/