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“Jeanne, hand me that crowbar, will you?”

“Here you go Dr. Simmons.”

“Joe, you stand at that side; Hue, you stand over to the left. Get ready.”

“Sure thing Doc.”

“Okay, on the count of three. One… two… three…”

A loud splintering sound filled the lab. The steel shell of an outer-crate had been removed by the scanning team earlier leaving only the wooden inner-crate to be dealt with. The Deimos teams were obviously on a military budget using wood to package materials like this. “Then again,” Thomas thought, “ the Phobos teams weren’t that well off as far as these things went.” If the military couldn’t profit from it, they weren’t going to lose money on it either. Too much of that going on in other departments anyway.

Fitting the edge of the crowbar snugly under the right corner lip of the lid, Thomas gripped the back end an pulled down with all his weight. He was rewarded with the whining sound of wood being bent from within as two rows of heavy staples were coaxed out of their holes. Thomas moved over to the last edge of the crate and repeated the process. With a final jerk the lid pulled free.

“Okay, go ahead and take the lid off. Be careful of where the wood splintered, we don’t need any foolish injuries.”

As Joe and Hue slowly raised the lid above their heads, Thomas pulled a chair closer to the side of the crate. With a groan he lifted himself up on the chair, placing one hand on the crate’s edge to support himself.

“Getting old doctor?”

“I would watch what I say, age will catch up with you soon enough. Now come here and give me a hand.”

Jeanne cast him a spiteful look which caused Joe and Hue to burst out laughing, though they tried to hide it. Thomas replied with an innocent expression, as if he were trying to say “what?” With a quick smile, he looked down into the crate to inspect its contents. A row of foam wrap covered the top, and he pulled it away to reveal more foam wrap. But this layer was connected to a larger machine. At the far end of the wrap an inconspicuous plastic bag reflected the gleam of the ceiling lights. “What do we have here...” Thomas muttered to himself. With his left hand gripping the side of the crate for support, he reached out with his right hand to remove the plastic bag. Inside was another com chip.

Clenching his eyes against the pain in his knees, Thomas stepped down from the chair. Rolling the small chip around with his fingers he walked towards the table at the edge of the raised portion of the lab. He stood there for a second wondering what message he would get this time.


This chip…

“Go ahead and finish unloading the crates. They seem to be packed in pretty tight, but be careful not to let anything fall out. I don’t want anything accidentally broken. When Adria gets back have her help you.”

What is it about this…

“What do you want us to do with the stuff in these crates?”

All of these colored forms…

“Just lay everything out towards the back of the lab, we’ll deal with it later. When you’re done page a crew to take all of the packaging to the incinerator. You can take a break after that.”

It’s like a cell…

“What time do you want us back?”

What answers will this colorful little nucleus have…

“Around sixteen-hundred should be fine.”

Only one way to find out…

“Alright, let’s get to work then.”

Thomas looked up from the cop chip and silently walked to the stairs at the left side of the room. Down four steps and to the left, his desk was just a few feet away from the ‘ledge’ he had just been standing at. He waved his hand over the screen-pad to reactivate the monitor. The chip port was on the right upper corner of his workstation, and he inserted the chip. After a few seconds of whirring, the screen presented the same face that Thomas had seen in the docking bay.

“Hello Doctor Simmons. It is nice to see you again…”


“At least, I hope this is Doctor Simmons. But that is a silly thing to be concerned about. Of course it is you, Doctor. I would imagine you are wondering what all the machines I sent you do. Then again, I would imagine that you are wondering about a number of other things as well. I will try to answer as much as I can now, I want you to at least know enough to get started until we have a chance to talk in person. I suppose I should explain some things first. It has been requested that only you and I know what I am about to tell you. I would appreciate that you use a phonic device to keep this message private.”

“I am working on project code name Mil-three-oh-nine-bee-one-im-pee-five-tee. The nature of this project is create a means to transfer matter from one place to another instantaneously. Teleportation. That is what is those boxes, Doctor. There is scanning equipment, surely, but that is not important. What is important is that you have a working prototype of my teleportation plate. An amazing piece of science, I must say. Inside the box with the plate itself is a booklet with the schematics of the system and a short explanation on how to set up all the equipment. Not that you should need it much. You will find, I think, that the programs for the plate are not included. Not that I don’t trust you, Doctor. Quite on the contrary. But I would prefer to speak with you first before I send you the control programs.”

“On to the question that has been bothering you, I think. Why did I choose you, right? To be honest, I needed a way to test the teleportation plate over long distances. Lab to lab is no good to me now. No good at all. Unless I can be sure that the current system can withstand the interference of sending a signal through space, it is a waste to spend time fine-tuning it. You see my predicament, don’t you Doctor? But the distance from Deimos to Phobos is much better. I need a location on Phobos to set up this station in order to continue testing. I need you, Doctor. You have studied the application of quantum physics. The only difference here is that matter is transferred over distance alone, and not time. This makes you the prime candidate, I think, to help me on this. You understand what I’m doing more than any other scientist on Phobos. I’m sure you will help me, won’t you? I hope you will help me. All you have to do is set up the equipment, Doctor. It will send a signal to me when you turn it on, and I will contact you then. Until then Doctor Simmons. Yes, we will talk soon.”

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