Chapter 7, A New Home and Training
7, A New Home and Training
Nan had carefully selected the new home in the lovely suburban town of Reston Virginia. It was an affluent community with a good school for Ralph, nice convenient shopping centers and a bustling shopping Mall, best of all, there was parkland all around. Her home was twenty miles from the Lab; An easy drive out into the countryside. Washington DC was just several hours away. She would be able to do her artwork, drive Ralph to school, and see Thomas off. Thomas would be picked up at eight thirty in the morning, and would be dropped off in the evening at six. There was plenty of time for him to do his homework and get some recreation at home. Although the Lab had a kitchen, Nan decided that Thomas would be better off having Breakfast and Dinner at home with the family.
Nan stood in the driveway, as the movers emptied the van of all her furniture, She supervised the men where to put the boxes and larger items. Ralph, who was a year younger then Thomas explored their new home. He was happy that he was going to have a room of his own again. He selected the small bedroom across the hall from Thomas. He had a view of the back patio, Thomas had the room with two windows, one overlooked the backyard, the side window had a view of the neighbor’s hedge. The moving took most of the day to unpack. Nan had the master bedroom with a full bathroom on the second floor. The men grunted carrying her bed sideways up the steps. Thomas moved his bookshelf from wall to wall determining it’s best place, He wanted his Bed across from the window so he could see out. His work desk got the side window view. Once the furniture was placed, the boxes, labeled in dark magic markers, were brought to their appropriate rooms. By three, Nan was exhausted; She suggested that they go out for lunch, both boys happily agreed. They found a Roy Rogers, and had hamburgers and fries. They got back to the house at four. Thomas and Ralph wanted to explore the neighborhood, Nan agreed as long as they would be back by six. As the boys went off to look around, Nan’s new neighbors came over to greet her, and introduce themselves. Later that evening Thomas and Ralph filled her in about their explorations.
“We found the pool, it looks neat” Ralph said, “They got a diving board, an showers an they are open till seven on weekends through the summer, but we gotta get passes”
“I found the Library, it’s got a great kids section, we need your signature to get Library Cards” Thomas said.
Ralph chimed in, “Oh, ’an the park got all kinds of neat stuff, Swings and Monkey bars, and even a rope ladder, you gotta see it Mom. I’m gonna like it here” Thomas agreed.
It was early May, the days were getting long and the summer lay ahead. On Monday Thomas would have his first day of training at the Lab, but for now the unpacking took precedent and a sunny weekend lay before them.
Early Monday Thomas arrived at the Lab, and began what would be a daily routine He would start with three hours of classes; Math, English and Science, His tutor Mr. Jackson was a young man of a pleasant demeanor. They would work in a classroom on the first sub level. Lunch was served at eleven thirty Thomas would eat in the busy dining hall with all the grownup scientists and staff. Then in the afternoon, he would go on to his special training. The first day was particularly exciting. He met Dr Roth, who would guide him through special sessions.
Thomas was taken to a lab room on the Fifth sub level and fitted with an earpiece with an attached wire microphone. Later as the lessons progressed, he would have this equipment embedded below his skin. The doctor told him not to worry about it, he wouldn’t even know it was there. The units would be much smaller, but that was still some time off.
Thomas was disappointed that he would not be going directly into that central chamber at first, but there were other wonders to see. There was a mock up of the Grow room, a wonder of technology in itself, it was more like an amusement park attraction then a laboratory.
“Let’s do a test run” Said Dr Roth, leading him into the empty room.
“We are going to dim the lights, and then bring them up again. You will talk into the mike and explain what you see. Don’t be nervous, We are just testing out the equipment ourselves, this is the first time we get to do a run with an actual subject. You can sit down on the stool in there if you want, Just relax and tell us all that you see. Ok?” Thomas nodded.
“After I leave, the lights are going to go down, but they should come up again quickly, that will be the beginning of our test” With that, Dr Roth left through the door, when the door was shut, the lights faded. It was kind of spooky, thought Thomas, to be sitting in the dark. In the next moment, the room gradually lightened. There were no bulbs visible, but the room took on a golden glow, faint at first and then getting brighter.
“Hello Thomas, can you hear me?” came the voice in Thomas’s ear. Thomas nodded.
“Thomas, you have to speak, we don’t have a visual on you yet, If you hear me, say something” Thomas replied, “I hear you”
“Good” Came back the voice, “Now look around, and describe what you see” The room was a bit brighter, and the color of the light went from yellow to light blue, and Thomas was surprised to see the room filled with what appeared to be a fine smoky mist.
“It looks like some kind of fog” Thomas said, not sure if his voice was being heard.
“Very good” Reassured the Doctor, “Now tell us what you see” The room had taken on a daylight hue, the color was diffused but the mist was getting thicker. more like a fog.
“It looks like a foggy day” Thomas reported. “Very good” came back the response. Thomas thought he heard something, a sound, which was coming not from the earphone, but from inside the room, the sound at first faint, grew louder.
“I hear a sound” Thomas reported, “ It sounds like an engine of some kind, and its getting louder.”
“What does it sound like Thomas?”
“It sounds like an airplane”
“Very good” came the response, now try to follow with your eye, the direction of the sound” The sound was growing in volume from over his left shoulder, behind him. When he turned around, he was at first startled, then vastly amused. An airplane, the size of a toy model was coming through the mist. It looked like it was in the room, but it was not. It was more like the skeleton of an airplane, defined by a grid of green light, projected through the mist. As it flew past him, disappearing in the mist in front of him. Thomas let out a laugh. It seemed three dimensional, and sounded real enough.
“It’s a plane!” Thomas exclaimed. “It’s real small, and it just flew right past me!” Very good, came the response.
“We are going to send another one past you, Just stand still, let it pass, and tell us in detail what you observe.” Thomas stood listening. This time the plane was coming in from his right side. He stood still, as ordered; the plane like the first one was just a skeleton grid projection, this time a little larger then the first. It was a Jet Liner, with a two-foot wingspan. There were markings on it’s surface, and the outline of windows could be seen along it’s hull. Thomas swore he felt a rush of wind as it passed about two feet from his shoulder. It continued on course and disappeared like the first one into the mist.
“That’s it for today” Came the doctors voice, “Over the next few weeks, we are going to have you attempt to catch them, like in your picture.” Thomas was given a book on Commercial and military aircraft, to take home and study, He would have to identify the various Aircraft they would send his way.
The next part of the days testing puzzled Thomas, he was given a bathing suit to change into, and then was taken to a room with an irregular shaped pool in it. The pool was not large, but its base was sloped. The water was dark and very cold. You could wade into the pool, but before you knew it, it would be over your head. The water was salty, and the floor of the pool had a sandy texture.
“I’m afraid you are just going to have to get use to going into some cold water, we will do this once a day, sometimes the bottom will be sandy other times it will feel like mud, If you jump right in from the deep side, the shock of the cold will dissipate, so they say,” Laughed the doctor. We control the water temperature, and will start you with slightly cool water, but with gradual training you will be able to withstand the coolest of ocean temperatures.
This was not going to be easy, thought Thomas, who hated taking even slightly cool showers. The only good thing about this part of the test, was the warm blankets that the helpers brought him, when he came out. All the while he was wishing to enter into the Grow room, just to see what it was like.
“In good time, Thomas” Dr Roth told him, “All in good time!”