As if by accident he turned to face her, the solemn look upon his face told the story in ways words couldn’t describe. As the tears welled within
his eyes, she reached out and touched his cheek with her hand. The moment she did, the levee holding back his emotions broke loose flooding the area
with his unchecked and unmasked sorrow.
“Why? It’s not right! I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t help her!” he said shaking, the tears now free flowing down his face, his nose reddened
and dripping. “Nothing worked! Why?”
“There was nothing you could do. She knew this would be dangerous, she knew the risks, please don’t blame yourself” His wife tried to comfort
him, a futile effort considering the circumstances.
The phone rang.
“Hello? Yes Stan, he’s here, what? No we won’t be making the party tonight. What? No it didn’t go well, Stan. Listen George’s pretty beat up
about this right now; can I have him call you back latter? Oh ok, thanks Stan, yes, talk to you latter.”
“Who was that Cheryl, Stan?” George said.
“Yes sweetie, I told him we wouldn’t be going with them to the party tonight, I know this is rough for you, you need time to heal a little.”
Cheryl tried to be reassuring; George had taken the loss of his mother in the lab more than a little hard.
“I talked with her just yesterday Cheryl, We had a fight, I, I, I don’t even think I said I love you before I threw the switch!” George,
kneeling on the floor with his head in his hands sobbing now, having a hard time catching his breath he began to hyperventilate.
“Honey, honey, I know, tell me what you two talked about? Was it about the machine?” Cheryl wanted to see if there was some part of the
conversation that could make him see that he loved his mother.
“Yes, oh god why did I let her test it? She knew, I knew it wasn’t ready, oh god, why, I could have waited, the calculations weren’t right, I
just stood by and hit a button, and, and she was gone.” George sobbed deeply She said that it was fine, I knew it wasn’t God I knew, but I still
hit that damned button!” Turning to look at his bride, George’s eyes were swollen with tears reddened by them, I, I killed her Cheryl, I killed my
Sternly Cheryl replied “No, no, you did not kill your mother, it was an accident, George, and do you hear me? An accident, neither of you knew what
“But I could have waited, I could have ran another test, I, I could have saved her.” George was inconsolable at this point. Sobbing and his words
were no longer uttered in the English language but George was speaking in tongues.
The next morning Cheryl woke George with a cup of coffee in her hand. “Sweetie? There are some men that need to talk to you, they arrived this
morning, they want to talk about the accident, and can you come into the living room?”
George slid to the edge of the bed, “I suppose they want to know what happened” George got dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a t shirt he found
on the floor. Then he walked out to the living room barefoot head hanging low he barely looked up. “General”
“Dr. Dura, thanks for meeting with us under these circumstances, we know this must be hard for you right now. Please forgive us our intrusion. But
we do have to know what happened at the lab.” General Reeds stood in his full dress uniform, with him was another officer.
Cheryl handed George a fresh cup of coffee. George sat in his chair and motioned for the men to sit with him. “I’m not sure, I think that we were
mistaken in our calculations, I think I must have screwed up.” George hadn’t slept last night but sobbed into his pillow while his wife held him
“Is there anything left of the vehicle doctor? We must know the whereabouts of any surviving remnants.” General Reeds was sympathetic to a point
but had his orders. “Please if you know anything please let us in on it.”
“General the vehicle is intact; it’s just not at the lab anymore!” George suddenly said quite angrily
“The test was a success?” Reeds replied.
“You saw the walls of the lab general; does it look like the vehicle test was a success? My mother was liquefied by the test general; do you want to
put one of your soldiers into that thing?” George was shaking now his anger was building quickly.
“Can you bring the vehicle back?” Reeds questioned.
Defeated George replied “Yes general, I can, I’ll go down to the lab tomorrow and start the return sequence. The vehicle should be fine; the
containment grid calculations must have been off. If you will excuse me general, its been a hard couple of days, and I still have to make the final
“Doctor, George, my sincerest apologies for your loss, your mother was a great scientist, and I know she was proud of you. I am truly sorry for her
passing. Please, if there is anything that we can do for you George, let us know ok?” the general and his assistant rose, turned to Cheryl “Ma am
we can see ourselves out, take care of George.”
“Thank you general, I will.” Cheryl replied as she put her hand on George’s shoulder.
George arrived at the laboratory the next morning, checking in with Betty Marrs the senior staff administrator; she hugged him and offered him a
chair. “Are you alright George? I mean if you need more time, we do understand.”
“I will need some time Betty, but they want their vehicle back for now. I, I just will get it back then I’m out of here. Was there any damage to
the building?” George asked.
“Are you sure George? They um, haven’t finished cleaning the test chamber yet. I’m afraid that it doesn’t look good in there, and I’m
worried about you.” Betty was a kind hearted woman, a brilliant scientist herself; Betty was named Senior Administrator by the board of directors
shortly after George had gained tenure at the laboratory.
“I think I’ll be alright, I just want to get the machine back, and it won’t take too long.” George said, his eyes already welling with
“Ok George, take Stan with you, he knew your experiments and can help.” Betty said.
George walked slowly to the lab, the room looked fine except for the notable new pink hue covering the walls that was the only remnants of George’s
late mother. Stan was already at the other control station when George walked in.
“Jesus, George, how can they make you come back here after what happened?” Stan was a goof ball most of the time, an educated physicist and
mathematician, Stan helped sometimes with certain aspects of this experiment.
“Were bringing it back Stan. Can you power up the resequencer for me?” George said
“Ok George, powering up the resequencer now, I have field strength of over 80% were looking good for return.” Stan tried to ignore the new paint
job of the test chamber and wondered how George could stand this.
"Field stabilizers normal, initializing resequence pattern buffer and countdown to resequence, in t minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5,we are go for
reinitializing, 3, 2, 1…"
The lights in the lab momentarily dimmed and in the blink of an eye the craft popped back into the test chamber. Stan looked through the smeared glass
to see the vehicle. “George, please buddy don’t look up”
It was too late George looked into the test chamber to find that the cockpit of the vehicle contained the dehydrated remains that once was his mother.
“Oh god!” George cried.
Stan pressed the call button, “Medical teams to test chamber 3, medical teams to test chamber 3” Stan slumped into the chair and looked at George
who was staring blankly at the vehicle before him.
The coroner’s report stated that death was immediate as all the water within the body had immediately dispersed through each and every pore in
George’s mothers body the instant the machine was activated. Further investigation revealed that the containment field had failed; allowing the
water in the form of a fine mist to exit near the speed of light and it impacted the walls of the chamber.
George left the funeral home with his wife; they entered into the car and were driving home. “George? Are you going to continue with the vehicle
project?” Cheryl asked.
“I have to Cheryl, the vehicle works; I just have to fix the containment field. I think we have the error fixed now. But we won’t be doing any
human pilot trials for a few more months.” George said. “besides my mother wasn’t a quitter, so I can’t let her down”
“Are you ok George?” Cheryl asked, squeezing his hand.
I’ll be alright honey, it’s just going to take time, I love you, just remembers that sweetie, I love you” George said as the car proceeded in
the long funeral precession to the graveyard.
“Where does the vehicle go George?” Cheryl asked.
“The telemetry we got from the onboard data recorders show that it ended up about three million years in the past. We are working on fine tuning the
parameters in order to control what time the vehicle goes to, but at least we know it works” George said coldly.
“George? Promise me something.” Cheryl asked.
“What?” George replied.
“George, promise me you will never go in that machine, please George, promise.” Cheryl begged.
“I promise” as he kissed her on the hand.
[edit on 6/4/2008 by whatukno]