I finished writing late last night and went to sleep right after that so I am posting the story in the morning.
Six Years Ago
The Belly, Sector 75
The last piece slide into position with a click and Emiray placed the small backplate on and screwed it tight. She picked up the small watch in her equally small hands and turned it around a couple of times. It seemed alright, though she didn’t know for certain yet. She twisted the crank several times and the gave out a giggle as the watch began to tick.
Smiling she hurriedly stood up and raced out of her room and down the dark hallway to her Uncle’s room. She knocked once before entering, no waiting for a response. “Uncle, uncle, look I managed to get it working again. All I needed to do was replace several of the parts and it was able to work again.”
Her Uncle looked up from his work bench and smiled back at her. “Come over her Emi and show me.” He took it from her as she got closer and stared it through his thick glasses. He put it close to his ear and listened before handing it back to her. “You did well, a quality repair job. It will probably last for ten more years because of you.” He reached out and ruffled her short hair. “I’m proud of you.”
She beamed back at him, “Do you think daddy will be proud of me too?” She asked innocently. Her Uncle froze, his hand still tangled in her hair. It was painful for him, he didn’t know what to tell her, he had never had to take care of a child before her father died. There were things that he wanted to tell her, things he should tell her, but he never managed to say anything.
“Yes, I’m sure he would be very proud.” He tried smiling at her but it was forced.
The Belly, Sector 38
The water pump had been fixed, the water was pumped out of the room, and the door to the room had been fixed and opened. The rotting smell wasn’t any better but it had been a relief for Emiray to be able to leave the room and breath some relatively clean air again.
“Rob, how could that man have gotten down here. The door into the pump room wasn’t working and he couldn’t have been dead more then a couple of days.” Said Emiray when she got back to the room. She had put on a dust mask which made it a little bit easier to breath, but not much.
“I DO NOT KNOW. YOUR HYPOTHESIS IS SOUND HOWEVER. IT SHOULD BEEN IMPOSSIBLE FOR THERE TO BE A CORPSE HERE. HOWEVER THAT DOES NOT STOP THE CORPSE FROM BEING HERE.” Responded R08 in its warbling tone. It was great at any amount of useful engineering assistance but R08 just wasn’t able to be creative.
“I wonder who he was.” Said Emiray as he put on a pair of thick leather gloves. They were usually used for grabbing into hot object but she really didn’t want to touch the corpse with her bare hands. She began checking the man’s coat pockets, maybe he was carrying an ID or something that would tell Emiray who he was.
She didn’t really want to be doing this but since she had found the corpse she would need to give the chief engineer a though report of everything that she could find out. If it was murder then it would be serious business. “Rob, please start recording.”
“RECORDING STARTED…” Responded R08. It would be better to give an account as she saw it now then try and remember what happened later.
“The corpse isn’t very old, maybe a day or two at the most. I still have no idea how he arrived here. I have been unable to find an wallet or any sort of identification yet but since he is wearing what is probably a lab coat he must be from the University District. Since Sector 38 is below the University District that makes it even more likely.”
She pulled out a something from one of the coat pockets and examined it. “In one of his coat pockets I found a strange object. It is a long rectangular rod bar with something jutting from one end. It resembles a key, although it is very big if it is a key.” Emiray placed the object to one side and continued to search the body. “He doesn’t seem to have an ID on him and other then the unknown object his pockets are empty.”
“There doesn’t seem to be any external injuries on him so it is unlikely that he was murdered. Maybe he got lost down here and starved to death or drowned after some sort of accident. Although how he would end up in the pump room if that was the case it beyond me. Other then the grate I used to enter the pump room there appears to be no forced entry, or any form of entry.”
She spend a couple more minutes going over the body looking for anything else unusual.
“I wonder if he was a father. Rob, stop recording.”
University District, Pegasus Research Facility #5
Professor Gray continued to fiddle with the settings for the program. They simulations all seemed to work correctly but the experiments always failed. He had burned through seven different hypothesis to explain the reaction but he had yet to come up with a compelling solution.
There was a hiss as the large machine next to him began to open. The mental resonance chamber should supposedly let you view a person thoughts or watch their dreams but so far the data it had been giving him had been mostly garbage. He took off his glasses and leaned back in his chair before saying, “Good job Edith. You can take the rest of the day off while I rework the machine and redo my hypothesis.”
“Professor Gray, Professor Gray, your phone is ringing.” Gray looked up at Edith for a moment trying to realize what she was talking about. Then his concentration snapped and he too noticed that his phone was ringing. That was strange, almost nobody ever called him on the laboratory line, they always called his cell when they needed to contact him.
He stood up and walked past the walked past Edith and the Mental Resonance Chamber before picking up the phone and answering, “Yes, This is Professor Gray in Facility 5.”
“The tortured Titan guides they way.” Every muscle in Gray’s body froze and he heard the words coming from the other end of the phone. He glanced up to check on Edith but she had already left once he had noticed the phone.
“And we shall pay the same price.” Responded Gray in a whisper. “What is it that I need to do?” Asked Gray in a strangled whisper. He knew this day would eventually come, he had prepared for it and was willing to go through what needed to be done but he knew they price the the Titan suffered that that he would probably share.
“You must recover the Euclidian Key. The scientist who invented it decided not to go along with our wishes.” Said the voice on the other side of the phone. Gray shivered slightly, he knew what would happen to though who didn’t go along.
“What to do you want me to do to recover the Euclidian Key?” Sometimes independent action was a good plan, but now was unlikely to try that route. The man on the other side of the phone was probably important and high up in the ranks. Gray was nothing more then a grunt.
“The Key can be used to distort space and the inventor used it to escape with the Key. However without a large source of energy he will be unable to use it again. According to our measurements the Euclidian Key placed him somewhere underneath the University District. We need you to recover the Euclidian Key and dispose of the scientist who invented it.
“Do you mean in the Belly?” Asked Gray. If the Euclidian Key was in the Belly then it would be more then a little difficult to recover it. Without the right permission a person could get in trouble for entering the Belly, not to mention the possibility of getting lost or finding some dangerous creature. Without an Engineer to guide you then entering the Belly might was well be suicide.
“All the necessary arrangements for you have already been made. You will be making a scientific inquiry into the Belly to study the roots of Mü. An Engineer will be provided for you and you must recover the Key.”
Gray nodded to nobody in particular before saying, “I will do what is needed.”
“For The Greater Good” Said the voice. “For The Greater Good” Said Gray.
University District, Residential Section
“Ivan, how can he just be missing?” Asked Lynn in an angry tone. “Harold is a well respected scientist with ten assistants, a person like that just doesn’t disappear.” She tapped her fingers on the table restlessly. She thought she should have been happy that her meeting with Harold was cancelled but she had been working with him closely on several projects and it was disturbing to him suddenly vanish like this.
“He just is. His lab assistants haven’t seen him in days. He seems to have contacted nobody and there have been no records of him.” Explained Ivan slowly. It was often painful for him to deal with Lynn because she would often ignore him completely or simply dismiss his opinion out of hand. She could get away with it too, Lynn was a Level 8 Esper and probably the most powerful single person alive. If she didn’t want to pay attention to him then there was very little that he could do to make her pay attention. It was all very frustrating.
“Is it possible that something happened to him?” Asked Lynn, “Was there anything missing from his laboratory?”
This section of the story will continue tomorrow.