“What is that, and why are you shaving it?” The Director had been called down to Lab Six as a Matter of Urgency ten minutes ago; and wasn’t particularly happy about it. The phonecall bearing the bad news had interrupted her morning coffee break with Ms Enfield from Procurement and prompted a round of bad-tempered briefing requests. These had been less than illuminating beyond broad mission statements and schedules of suppliers and services suggesting an unholy amalgam of high energy physics and biology experiments.
“We need to get proper bedding sites for the hardware, um, and our original visualisation didn’t anticipate some of the grosser physical architecture.” Dr Jennings had the sort of tired nonchalance that hinted of long nights trying to explain unexpected results to people for quite some time now.
“I can see that, but what is it? Assume I haven’t had the time to do more than skim your brief.” The Director drummed her fingers on the window pane as they looked down into the surgical theatre below. Dr Jennings winced.
“Ah, please, if you could not do that, we’ve had a hell of a time working out sedation levels and we’d rather not risk waking him.”
“You’re shaving it with electric razors; my fingers tapping on a window aren’t going to raise a flicker compared to that.” She did stop though. “What is it, and why does it have both feathers and fur?”
Below them, technicians were carefully working on a large and heavily muscled creature that seemed to combine features of birds, mammals and reptiles with gleeful, colourful, abandon. The jaws in particular seemed to sprout razor-edged teeth like cavalry sabres.
“Alright, so we were tasked with looking at how some of the new conceptual mathematic proofs impacted on pre-existing models relating to euclidian causality arguments in a high energy environment, with a particular eye on condensates and information artifact retrieval from parallel and precession stacks…”
“Ah, the public sector defense subcontract? I’ve signed the NDAs too.” The Director shuddered at the memory of an eye-watering document signed in blood. “Go on, I’m with you so far.”
“Right, so the hope was that, along with our work in Lab Three on exotic alloy conductivity, we could overlay boundary condition transforms in a traditional summoning grid configuration and – to use Arnold’s turn of phrase – do a bit of a fishing expedition.”
“Arnold? Your lab assistant?” The Director looked at her notes.
“Yes…” They stopped to look down at the scene below them again.
“So that’s hair rather than fur?” She narrowed her eyes in contemplation. “So that’s why you requested the urgent consultation.”
“Not much of a fishing trip for Arnold was it?”
“Turns out he didn’t ground the circle properly so the ley line earthed through him.” Dr Jennings rubbed his eyes, betraying his exhaustion. “You know, I always wondered if I would recognise when my career veered into mad scientist territory, and I turned out to have missed it a couple of years ago.”
“So was it a past time portal, or a parallel dimension in the end?”
“We think a neighbouring brane where causality is a bit more…”
“If you say wibbly-wobbly or timey-wimey, I’m cutting your budget.”
“… I was going to say a bit more of a permeable interface.” Dr Jennings flipped a page over on his clipboard and looked at the schematics there.
“Alright, so we have a rogue transformation algorithm superpositioning Arnold with a sauropod from the prehistory of a neighbouring dimension, and you want to continue weaponising it?”
“In a nutshell, yes. I have the Residual Resource paperwork all ready for you on the table there. We’ll fit wheel mounts for now so we can relocate him until we know which set of reflexes have survived the process.”
“Fine.” The Director walked over to the table and signed the prepared docket. Then they watched as technicians prepared to use wrenches and socket sets to fit what looked like the world’s largest set of rollerskates to what could only be described as a tyrannosaurus rex. The Director couldn’t wait to see what else could go wrong by lunchtime.