5 September 2017

Test Site. Part 1. Marcus

‘...When you first meet the unknown, whether you are an ordinary pilot or a scientist, your thoughts are almost always corrupted by a mistake that you will rely on in the future. But the problem is that your thoughts may be taken for scientific conclusions and then expect trouble. For many years now these mistakes have prevented many corporations and scientific institutions from looking at Alien objects differently. They lacked finance and interest, even knowledge, and Ellydium has everything and more. Maybe my research can change the situation...
...Ellydium's base of information is truly colossal. It took me a week only to systematize all the necessary information about extraterrestrial civilizations that was available to mankind. Robert Artego's ship log can be considered a miraculous find, since it was he who could set the right vector in the future search for information. Now I can say with all certainty that Dr. Pavlov was right and there is a real war between the creatures and they destroy each other with the same zeal they use against human ships. But whether it's possible to use this enmity in our own interests is still an open question...

Records of Dr. Conrad Dimeni.’



Marcus walked the usual route along the corridor. Here is the turn to the testing ground, and the next led to the recreation zone. His laboratory was already far behind, but only the fear of drawing the attention of the guards kept him from running headlong in the direction of his own room. He hid his hands in the robe pockets in an attempt to hide a small tremor, and a small piece of plastic in the right fist, whose value was much higher than his own life. He did not have any doubts about himself in case of being caught, rumours of security service torture cells had been circulating for a long time, with both truth and fiction. And, only when the pneumatic door to the room closed behind him, he allowed himself to relax. A piece of plastic went to the cache prepared in advance in the bedside table and in a few minutes the scent of synthetic stimulant filled the room. One portion was enough to calm the trembling in the hands, but he couldn't put his thoughts in order. He was worried about what he had done, the possible payoff, the responsibility that lay on him and the pains of the right choice. Everything happened too quickly for a man accustomed to steady pace and fixated on his own work.
His work consisted in systematization of information coming from the research center, its verification and conducting additional research. Usually these were records of the reaction of a new structure to external stimuli or the outcome of the evolution of a new node, and he only placed a mark on the form for admission and finding the indicators within the limits of the norm. But yesterday he was told that he should be more careful. Such simple advice and completely safe, if he was followed.

Mindfulness also helped Marcus find a marker, a marker on the code, and according to an instruction received a couple of days ago he should have copied all the records to a separate medium. Having noticed the marker, he sat thinking for fifteen minutes. He did not have enough qualification to assess the scale and importance of what he saw, which frightened him even more, but he excluded a mistake, this information had to leave Ellydium.
From the outside it was a standard procedure for checking the structure after an unsuccessful test at the test site. Without a marker, he would not even have paid attention to this piece of code, but now its projection was firmly embedded in his head and promised to grow into a nightmare. That evening, he took enough sleeping pills to instantly succumb to dreams and almost missed the call on the internal intercom.
The screen was off and only the communication indicator lit up Marcus's face with a pale green light, which made the folds on his forehead look deeper, and his eyes had an unnatural shine.
— Did you do it? — The voice was digitally transformed and it was impossible to guess the identity of the interlocutor.
— Yes, I copied everything that you asked for.
— I hope you did not leave a trace?
— No, everything was done according to instructions, — but his voice betrayed him. Active paranoia gave rise to doubt in his head and he was not sure of anything.
—  Just meet the courier and it will be done.
—Courier? Aren't you going to send a transport? It's dangerous for me to stay on the base. If I'm found out or...
— Or they notice your absence, — the interlocutor continued for him, — they will change the access codes or change the whole program. We will rescue you, but everything has its time.
— But I can not stay here any longer, not after I've learned the truth!
— You need to stay strong and continue working on the project, your future depends on it.
Marcus heard footsteps behind the door and, frightened, he covered his mouth with his hand, as if afraid to utter a sound, and hid the intercom under the pillow. But the unknown person did not even stop at the door and continued his way down the corridor. When he gained courage and took out the intercom, the indicator was already glowing with a pale blue light, the interlocutor interrupted communication. There were still several hours before the start of the work day, but sleep did not come, and it was too late to take sleeping pills, this way he could oversleep. All he could do was lie on the bed and examine the ceiling, trying to remember why and how he, an ordinary laboratory assistant, got involved in all these intrigues. Time after time he recalled the meeting that started everything, until the dream took over his mind.
Natasha Cortes reached out and stretched her numb fingers. The night was quite productive, and so there was still a lot of work to be done.

To be continued...



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