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Not The Routine Experiment - Part One MAG
The door slid open silently as Adam entered his personal identification number into the keypad outside of his living quarters. He stomped angrily into the room, violently hurling the box onto the floor, crushing it beneath his heel.
The box had contained the prototype of his "teleportation machine," a device constructed for an intergalactic science fair. The idea came to him one day while he was talking with his father, who was reminiscing about a television show named "Star Trek." When people still owned two-dimensional viewing screens, the show was quite popular, depicting a crew of space travelers. Their ship had many traveling comforts, one of which was they could teleport a person from one place to another simply by entering simple coordinates into the computer. With this option, one could move distances without technically moving an inch.
Adam believed that if he could construct a device like this, he could prove his superiority over his Venusian competitors, an alien race known for their devotion to perfection. The thought of millions of credits for marketing the idea did not elude him either. Travel from space station to space station these days was annoyingly limited to personal shuttle crafts. This invention, however, could revolutionize the entire travel industry.
The test run in his quarters had proved successful, but today the results were not what he had planned. When Adam audaciously attempted to teleport his science officer from one end of the room to the other, the woman was accidentally moved to the other side of the see-through Poly-Plastik hull, constructed to keep the breathable atmosphere inside the ship. Obviously, once she had materialized into the airless vacuum of space, there was quite an uproar, but unfortunately nothing could be done to remedy the situation. Adam was sent home in disgrace.
Picking up the crushed box, Adam threw it at the hull with all of his maddened might. Instead of bouncing harmlessly off the supposedly impenetrable wall, though, the hurled object passed through the cracked barrier, breaching the only safety feature that stood between the boy and the perilous depths of space.
A claxon rang loudly, and a computerized voice informed Adam of the obvious danger that he was in. "Warning," it stated calmly, as if impervious to the life-threatening situation. "Breach in the outer hull. Automatic defenses activated. Room temperature dropping below O degrees Celsius."
Furniture around the room was rapidly being sucked into the hungry void of space. Adam frantically grabbed at anything around him that would prevent a death similar to his commanding science officer. Luckily, the defense systems kicked in before he was dragged through the cracked hull, which was instantly replaced by a makeshift wall.
The computer spoke again in the same monotone voice. "Cracked hull repaired. Living conditions returned to normal."
Adam lay sprawled on the ground, awed by the situation he faced. No longer did he confront death, but now stood before a fate worse than death. For one, he had a problem with the rapid temperature changes. Any human experiencing the sudden climatic changes would have frozen almost instantly, and yet somehow Adam remained unscathed throughout the ordeal. In all actuality, he had felt no erratic atmospheric deviations, let alone pain.
Then there was the situation with his hand. Under normal circumstances, it looked as it should. The icy void of space had done an incredible amount of damage, though. When the temperature dropped below zero, Adam's skin expanded, cracking in many areas of exposed flesh. As the temperature rose, the cracking ceased, but his right hand's fleshly covering broke apart in large clumps, revealing a jumbled mass of multicolored wires and metallic pieces, apparently constructed to simulate the real body part. He slowly clenched and unclenched the claw, studying the intricacies of his newfound discovery. Cracks also ran partially up his forearm, and as Adam ripped the covering off, he discovered a robotic copy of what should have been organic tissue.
After examining his new body parts, Adam noticed the inscription "S.Carter" on one of his digits. Proceeding in a haze of movement towards the computer terminal, Adam asked the computer to access all files related to "S.Carter" involved in the field of robotics.
"Done." replied the ma-chine. Instantly the monitor was filled with details, but all Adam sought was where this mysterious person could be found.
"Conceptions Incorporated. Space Station A3. Level Five."
A quick trip in his personal shuttle car brought him to the destination. He quickly approached the receptionist and asked her on which floor he could find Mr. Carter.
"Level Five, Quarters 6A."
He thanked the woman and ran towards the elevator. Up four levels, down a hallway, and he stood before the door marked 6A. It was electronically locked, held by a numerical keypad similar to Adam's. The patented Poly-Plastik doors swung open easily, however, after he wrenched the lock free from the wall, crushing the instrument with his gloved right hand. With a feeling of destiny, he bravely stepped into the room.
The room itself was as much a surprise as his hand. Human-ity had progressed far beyond the late twentieth century, but this room made the boy feel as if he had stepped back in time. Three walls were covered by massive oaken bookshelves, a precious commodity since most forests on Earth had been cut down. The shelves contained reams of long forgotten tomes, written by people like H.G. Wells and J.R.R. Tolkien. Adam could not understand why someone would want his name to consist of merely letters instead of a proper name. In the center of the room was a large wooden desk, polished and made of the same precious wood as the bookcases. On top of the desk was a computer terminal and a gold-plated banker's lamp. Behind the desk was a massive window from which one could look out into the blackness of space. Seated behind the desk in a brown leather chair was a woman, smiling, as Adam entered the quarters. n
This story will be continued in the June issue. Look for it next month.