Chapter 10, First Jump
Chapter 10: First Jump
Everyone marked the day on the Calendar. Six months of constant practice and drilling had passed, leading up to this special day. Thomas would make his first test jump in the Grow room. Thomas had been prepared; every detail had been rehearsed and analyzed. Even though this was a test, and not the real mission, there was an air of excitement scarcely contained by anyone involved in the project.
His escorts led him on to the elevator. The first stop would be Sub Level Four, the medical examination facility. Final configurations would be tallied as a host of doctors checked all his vital systems. It didn’t bother him like it use to, being examined thoroughly from head to foot even though there were female doctors present.
The Ultraviolet lights on a track in the “Cleansing room” scanned the length of his body. They descended horizontally, reminding him of Venetian blinds being lowered and raised. Thomas could vaguely make out Dr Xavier outside the room, tapping on the glass partition to get his attention. The doctor was pointing to his own ear, Thomas understood that the doctor wanted to know if the hearing implants were working.
”They’re ok, mostly, but there is still a little buzzing sound, I can’t make out all the words” Yelled Thomas above the din of the scanning machines. He was careful, as he had been told, not to stare into the bright purple light as it made its pass. He heard the doctors response crackling through his implants.
”It will be easier to understand everything after the process begins, we are working based on logarithmic formulas with a plus or minus accuracy projected at eight point seven..” He saw Thomas roll his eyes skyward. The doctor stopped himself and smiled, Thomas was only interested in hearing the doctors’ confirmation that everything was going OK. The doctor signaled thumbs up and mouthed, “Don’t worry, we’ll talk outside.”
The large digital read out on the clock showed a quarter to noon in the morning, also displayed was the projected Zero hour. Even as a practice run, the time and date would remain constant with the real figures used on the day of the actual non simulated jump. On that day, they would be on real time, and would launch at five in the morning. Another clock counted down towards the Maximum Particle Hyper Acceleration Beam activation. Fifteen minutes to go and counting. The machine hummed to life now like a giant animal purring.
Thomas couldn’t stop his heart from racing, even though the doctors warned him of the dangers of hypertension during the initial saturation period. He took a deep breath through his nose filled his lungs, and exhaled slowly through his mouth as the physical therapists recommended.
The red light above the chamber entrance where Thomas was being examined turned to amber then green. Dr Fong Dr Haley and Roth, strolled quickly into the lab area, from the briefing room, already in their “clean suits”. They proceeded to escort Thomas to the restricted waiting platform on the entry level. The door opened revealing the glass tunnel before him leading up to the Grow Room door.
”Feeling good today?” Thomas nodded and smiled, Dr Fong hardly ever spoke to him, he was uncomfortable around children. The chamber was ready for him, the green lights on the panel indicated everything was normal; the readouts, gauges, all systems were in sync, all on “Go”. The doctors gave Thomas the thumbs up, which he returned, then he walked down the tunnel and pressed the entry code on door to the room, he waited as it slid open. He handed the assistants his white robe, turned quickly and walked into the first inner chamber, the door closed behind him. He was now alone, no one could see him. A second door before him showed a light that went from red to green. Thomas keyed in his code and the inner door much thicker then the others, gave a hydraulic gasp, and slid open revealing the inner chamber. What was it that Doctor Mendel said? “The Holy of Holies” Thomas had no idea what he meant, he took his cue, and walked into the center of the chamber as the door slid closed behind him. He was alone in the universe. A small bank of lights slowly dimmed, outside of his earshot, the Accelerator beam was switched on, it now hummed loudly. The room was now almost pitch black, and Thomas felt suddenly very dizzy. A glow started to swirl from a place directly in front of him, like a phantom light. It circled his bare feet, as if sensing his presence, and then from the ground up in widening circles, it expanded around him. All his briefings and drills had not prepared him for what was happening before him. His body felt like it was lifted, and he found it hard to get his breath. His body was now cold, and he felt a strong sensation of being underwater. He could not hear anything in his headset, and was disoriented; now tumbling helplessly in some unseen current. He then heard a snap, clearly coming from inside the room, the feeling of floating was quickly passing but he was no longer on his feet, he was feeling nauseous and experienced a falling sensation. He was able to say aloud only one word,
He hoped he was heard. The swirl of light dissipated and he could make out the rooms artificial lights coming up. The room stopped spinning now, he was back in the chamber, on his hands and knees. He saw the door open and two Doctors in clean suits ran over to him, to help him on his feet. They escorted him out the door, checking him to see if he was awake and able to walk, He nodded yes, groggily, and found his feet back on the floor as they escorted him out. Before he got to the outer exit door, he threw up.
Aftermath of the first Jump;
“It was clearly an error of calibration” Dr. Mendel said apologetically. Then he continued, addressing Thomas, who was lying on the bed in the medical facilities, still a bit woozy.
“We misplaced you, and realized it immediately. We had already canceled the run, even before you called.”
“Where was I?” Thomas wanted to know.
“Way too far out” Replied the Doctor, but we think we have a handle on it, it was an unexpected parallax, but that’s what test runs are for. Anyway, we are all sorry for your discomfort, our tests show that you are physically just fine, just a bit shaken up. Doctor Xavier recommended that you take some motion sickness pills before your next jump. We think that will help stabilize your feeling of dizziness. Our next Jump is scheduled on Monday, after this weekend. We want you well rested and this will give us some time to make adjustments in our figures.” Thomas eyed the Doctor, who continued,
“That was not a great start, but it was of no fault of your own, You have to trust us, we are getting better at this as we go” Thomas smiled slightly, and decided he would not tell Nan all the details about the days misadventure.