Quilly hosts this great meme. The idea is to resurrect old words into interesting (we hope) stories. It seems that taking the week off was exactly what I needed. The conclusion to my story dropped into place. So, with apologies to the dragons because it's a little bit long, here is the end. And Thom, I guess you'll just have to imagine the rest of the romance!
Alice pulled the car into the parking lot in front of a gray industrial building. “Um, Alice?” Luke began cautiously. “The sign says we need a parking pass.” She flashed him a grin. “Well, that’s why you’re deaf and have two enormous dogs with you.” As Luke counted to 100 inside his mind, Alice got out of the car and headed into the building.
Inside, the building no longer looked industrial. The corridors were softly lighted, and on the walls were displays of interesting projects in science. Alice paused at one, examining what was labeled as a water piddler. She pushed a button to activate a strobe light, watching how the water moved as it adimpleated the bucket. By turning the knob she made the droplets freeze in mid-air. It was all an optical illusion but she was fascinated by the science behind the project.
“Enjoying our display?” asked a familiar voice. Alice turned to see Adam’s father, Trent Tradoch, smiling behind her. It was a weird smile and he had a strange gleam in his eyes. “Actually, yes,” answered Alice. “I’m pamphagous – I receive great lubency from the law, but I’m fascinated by science as well,” she continued.
Tradoch didn’t engage. “What are you doing here? Why are you interfering in something that doesn’t concern you? I could have you arrested for just being in this building without permission.”
Alice took a deep breath. “Look, I know that Adam has disappeared after exhibiting some pretty hostile behavior. I also know that you have been working on microchips for humans for almost your entire career. And while this great institution helps fund you, they’ve repeatedly refused you permission to try your experiments on human subjects. My guess is that you decided you could use your son for that.”
Tradoch’s face became enraged as he hissed, “even here, at Rensselaer, where the most brilliant minds in the country gather, they don’t understand that the next step MUST be implanting these chips into biological subjects! We’ll never know how well they work if we don’t start somewhere.”
Alice started backing up and spoke softly, “Dr. Tradoch, it is apparent from being around Adam that the chips aren’t working perfectly. You need to free him from this and let him be a little boy.”
The scientist snarled, “he is MY son and I can choose what will happen to him! The problems with his chip are due to his age. If we implant them into young adult males we can control entire armies! Now turn around and walk down this hallway before I hurt you.” Alice saw that he had a taser in his hand. Because of where they were, she wasn’t sure whether it was just an ordinary taser or something that might hurt her much worse.
She moved slowly, trying to think. All of a sudden she heard an explosion of shouts.
“Get them out of here!”
“No dogs allowed in a lab area!”
“What are those, ponies?”
She turned to see two giant wolfhounds bounding down the corridor towards her. Before he could even react, Cicero had Tradoch pinned to the floor. He extended his giant body across the man, carefully putting one paw across each bicep. Cassius very delicately mouthed the device out of Tradoch’s hand and brought it over to drop it at Alice’s feet. As she sank to the floor in relief, she buried her head and arms in Cassius’ fur.
Luke came running up with several irate scientists trailing him. Alice handed him her iTouch. “Touch the microphone button. I got it all. You can take it to the authorities. I think it will give them what they need to build a case with international implications.”
She looked at the most unassuming of the scientists. “Are you Dr. Soza?” He assented. “In Dr. Tradoch’s lab you’ll find a small boy. He’s very frightened. Please take Cassius with you. The boy’s name is Adam.”
“It is highly irregular to take a dog into a lab…” he began. Seeing the look on Alice’s face – or maybe it was the look on the dog’s face, the scientist continued, “…but perhaps we can make an exception.”
It was a long ride back to the farm, and a little cramped with the two dogs, Adam, Luke and Alice, but it was a very comfortable silence. While Luke drove, Alice searched for the right words for Adam. Finally she gave up and just looked back at him in the rear seat. He was totally engulfed by wolfhounds and was sound asleep. Alice smiled.
Luke cleared his throat, "Alice, what were all those things you gathered up? And what was in the rainstick?" Her smile became a grin. "The things were to distract whoever tried to follow me, like the sheriff. Inside the rainstick I had stuck a copy of the code." She yawned.
"Code? What code?" he asked.
But Alice was asleep.
That’s all folks! The astute among you will realize that the Corridor Lab is at MIT, but the setting is Rensselaer. I wanted to highlight the MIT projects, but Trent Tradoch is an AI/computer guy. So I transplanted the lab. Sorry if it bothers the purists. This Corridor Lab project really does exist at MIT – it is a display area where they use science as artwork. Or maybe it’s the other way around. You can see this one here.