Playback, Pt 2

From the Story Arc: The Essence of Life

Previous Story in the Arc: Trouble, Pt4 by Krasnaya Zvezda (Sunday, March 21, 2010)

Next Story in the Arc: Down The Rabbit Hole by Krasnaya Zvezda (Sunday, March 21, 2010)

(posted Sunday, March 21, 2010)

Fullerton leaned back in the chair and sipped at his coffee, thinking absently and gazing at the screen before him. The procedure was going well – more than well, in fact. They had exorcised large parts of the subject’s memories and even found when it had entered the device known as a “Transition Point”. This find had allowed them to start the overlay process, putting them ahead of schedule, so there shouldn’t have been anything to worry about – and yet there was something that was nagging at his sub-conscious, something he had overlooked.

Fullerton’s instincts had served him well over the years; he was naturally brilliant – possessing his first doctorate by the time he was 21 – and could have walked into any job he wanted but something kept him from accepting any of the highly lucrative offers that came his way. Money didn’t motivate him, he wanted something more and that’s why he’d leapt at the chance when this offer came up.

Mapping and altering neural structures and pathways using energy manipulation principles was every bit as enthralling as he’d have thought – he’d learnt so much and he was able to do what he loved whilst pushing back the borders of science at the same time. How many other people could say the same thing? Here he was, at the very forefront of scientific achievement, expanding the frontiers of human knowledge so what did it matter exactly who he worked for? Ultimately, he worked for the future of humanity and he was certain that, years from now, people would be using his research as a stepping stone towards unforeseen wonders.

The fact that this job was with the Council was irrelevant, it could’ve have been anyone as far as he was concerned and what they wanted to do was no business of his, he was just a scientist – working for all of humanity – and if he didn’t accept their offer then someone else would have. After all, it wasn’t everyday you got to work with a man the stature of Doctor--

An error message appeared on the screen in front of him, then another and another. Frowning, Fullerton sat up and put down his coffee as yet more error messages began to scroll up the screen before him. The procedure was failing, crashing out – there appeared to be a conflict somewhere.

“Damn it.” He should have known it was going too well.

---

After running some quick diagnostics, Fullerton leaned back in the chair once more and resumed his thoughtful expression. It appeared that there was something interfering with the process; parts of it were taking hold but there were other parts, large segments in fact, that just weren’t sticking. He stared at the data for a time and then his eyes widened slightly as an idea occurred to him. After mulling it over for a minute, weighing it for any possible flaws, Fullerton leaned forward once more and began typing away on his workstation preparing some more detailed tests, looking for what could be the source of the error.

Meanwhile, back on the monitor bank, there was another burst of static and the scene changed once more, moving from outside the damaged Horizon Laboratory to what appeared to be a dimly lit and derelict storage area.