It wasn’t unheard of for the CEO to come down to the labs – she’d cut her teeth in research, everyone knew that – but it had become more rare in recent months as she had been working on a big project. But word came through the grapevine she was coming down to what everyone called the “Pie in the Sky Lab”, a lab that worked on the really crazy ideas.
She never interfered, and the bills got paid as long as reports were filed, and a couple things had moved to the lab sections that made them actually products, but most of what was here ended up abandoned as not really workable. So as Dr. Eiko Takashima came through the doors, carrying a briefcase and with her two top assistants (Mr. Oliver, the lawyer, and the six-armed snake-bodied executive assistant Mary) behind her, everyone stopped to look.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!” Random Access Technologies was unusual in the tech field for the number of women in research positions, but they worked on a pure system of “do you know what you’re doing” and merit, and discrimination was almost unheard of (and addressed firmly when encountered). “I heard about something exciting and wanted to see it.”
With a gulp, Dr. Emmanuelle Flagler stepped forwards. Her hair perpetually blue from a lab accident in college, the theory she’d come up with was now a reality… she hoped.
“Here it is. The Baryonic Reorganization Electro-Aperture Quantum Endpoint Redirection device.” A pair of heavy metal gloves – gauntlets, really – that would come up to just below the average person’s elbows. “Using our optical computing technology and a series of specialized elements, a person with these theoretically can program a location and rip a hole in space, then step through. We have done some tests, but we haven’t had an actual person do it. The robots have been… well.” She gestured at one of the lab’s Metalons, whose outer shell looked like it had walked through a rain of molten steel. “It made it through, but the interstitial space must be incredibly dangerous.”
Eiko nodded. “Telemetry?”
“That’s the other thing – it travelled at a quantum speed, so nothing we did could measure in that time frame. We’ve got three more samples of the hyperstabilized yttrium they required, and are preparing more, but it currently takes a month to finish making one.”
Dr. Takashima nodded again. “Mary, clear my morning schedule.”
The snake-bodied woman tipped down her glasses with one arm, the others working a smartphone and taking notes on a pad. “Like you had one? I cleared it yesterday when you said you were coming down here, boss.”
“Good, good.” She turned back to the group of scientists. “Where’s your bathroom?”
When she stepped out of the lavatory cubicle, every one of the scientists were staring. Everyone knew her history, but to see her in the famous jumpsuit, with the belt, was different. This wasn’t Dr. Eiko Takashima. This was the Gadget Queen.
“Let’s ride!” she said, pulling on the goggles.
“I can’t promise safety,” Dr Flagler protested.
“It’s all right,” Mr. Oliver reassured her. “Every employee contract has you indemnified if she does something crazy with your invention. You won’t be in trouble.”
“Besides, my idea, my mistake, right?” Eiko quipped before pulling on the gauntlets, then flexing them. “Where to?” she said.
Still a little worried, Dr Flagler showed how to set up the destination, and they set it to send her to an open space across the room. Eiko grinned, then tapped the G in the middle of her belt buckle. The forcefield sprang to life, and following the instructions, Eiko put the backs of the gauntlets together, which activated them.
“The Majestic Tale (of a Madman in a Box)”
Doctor Who – Series Six
The reports were right: it was not an easy ride. Reality rippled and twisted as power was fed to the gauntlets, and a horrific noise, like someone was vivisecting a god, filled the air. Then a hole tore open in reality, and she stepped through.
A moment later, she took a deep breath on the other side of the room as reality slammed back together with a thunderous crack. “Calling that a win,” she said, then consulted her goggles. “Wow, hit 40K Kelvin in there. Going to need some work. Okay then.” The gloves fell off her hands and lay on the floor, steaming.
The team ran over, followed by the executive team. “Oh my God, Dr. Flagler said breathlessly.
“Pack up your stuff. Dr. Flagler. You’re moving out of here into the Tank.”
The Tank was Dr. Takashima’s hand-picked research team. It was a dream of every researcher to be part of it.
“Oh yeah. That was a ride, but we can smooth it out. And I think you’ve got some good ideas for navigation we can tease out of your systems. And everyone else… take a long lunch, on me. This was good work.”
Restored to her business suit, Eiko Takashima returned to her office with her executive staff. “That was a heck of a morning jaunt,” she noted in the elevator.
“Do you think it can be fixed?” Mary asked.
“Not sure, but we could put forcefield tech on it as a workaround. It’s not hugely efficient, but get the patent research going in case we fix that. Now, what’s for the afternoon?”
And life goes on…