This entry is part 3 of 14 in the series Beyond the Darkside

Aldric lay in bed looking out the window overhead. It was one of the few luxuries he afforded himself. Having windows on the moon was expensive, and a little dangerous, but being locked inside his labs for most of his waking hours made him crave the view into the abyss of space. Seeing the stars move overhead gave him a sense of time and purpose. “We should be out there by now,” he said. Margaret mumbled something and rolled over. He didn’t usually bring her home with him, but their work in the lab had energized him, and the visit to his office bedroom was not enough for either of them.

A satellite flew past his window high overhead. It was one of his, he could tell by the pattern of the blinking lights. It was a data collector performing its monitoring duties. The satellite was one of a dozen small units he had orbiting the moon, checking power outputs and grid flow. Aldric’s power system was the safest power source available outside of the waterwheel and air turbine of earth, but it never hurt to keep an eye on things. His satellites often caught someone trying to modify a power converter unit illegally, and that could turn dangerous in a hurry. Without the exact settings and materials, the power converter could become unstable, resulting in an electrical discharge that could leave a dome without power.

Aldric pulled the blankets to the side and climbed out of bed. He did not bother to dress before leaving the bedroom. Margaret was not likely to wake up, and if she did his nudity would be nothing new. He did not feel the need for false modesty, so he walked around naked when he wanted.

The soft glow of his terminal greeted him as he entered his office. Constant traffic from the data stream flowed across the screen. Work on the moon never ceased and every employee was wired in through their homes, offices, and communicators. Soon they would be wired in directly with his company’s data implants. They were still in the experimental phase, but the next batch of human testing looked positive. Unfettered access to the data stream would increase productivity a million times over.

Aldric’s fingers flew over the keyboard as he navigated his way through the layers of security wrapped around his network. He wanted to check on the status of the simulation they started running before they closed shop for the night, or morning, depending on how you judged such things. It might be faster using the voice commands integrated into all data connections, but Aldric liked the old-fashioned feel of the keys clicking beneath his fingers. He was a proponent of innovation and efficiency, but a man had to draw the line somewhere.

The connection to his research system took more time, so Aldric waited while the two systems achieved a secure link. He stared at the screen and watched the progress bar slowly make its way across the bottom of his screen.  A smiling yellow face popped up on the screen when it finished and his lab’s voice cheerfully said, “good morning,” before the image dissolved into the familiar control panel of the research system. A couple of quick commands later the simulation’s data filled the screen. The results made Aldric smile.

Colored lines and corresponding numbers scrawled across his screen in the pattern he predicted and that meant his theory was probably correct. The simulation was only about eighty percent complete, but if it did not fail by the midpoint, where the energy input peaked, then they were in the clear.  The output took over after that and converted the energy into something usable. The only question that remained in Aldric’s mind was what the final energy output would be, and how close his calculations were. Once the numbers were checked, they would begin construction of a scaled-down dimensional reactor and put it through its paces. Within the next couple of years, the current power system would be obsolete, and he would have the means to travel beyond the solar system

He was about to cheer out loud and wake Margaret from her sleep to celebrate when Aldric noticed the power output climbing faster than anticipated. The high output supplanted the need for external power, cycling it through the converter far earlier than Aldric expected. “Margaret, get out here,” Aldric yelled. The numbers kept climbing and the simulated converter began to redline as he watched. “Damn it, Margaret, get up!” His scream bordered between excitement and panic, as he hammered out commands on his keyboard, trying to stabilize the effect so the simulation would complete. He knew it was a losing battle.

“What’s going on?” Margaret asked as she stumbled out of the bedroom in one of his shirts.

“I’m losing it,” he said through gritted teeth.

“Wait, losing what?” she asked as she walked up behind him. She looked over his shoulder. “Holy Shit. Is that the simulation?”

“Yes, damn it,” Aldric said, “now can you get on that workstation and help me here? We’re losing data by the second.” Margaret sat down at the workstation beside him and piggy-backed on his signal so she could bypass most of the network’s security. Her screen flared to life with an image similar to Aldric’s. “Good,” he said, “now help me stabilize this bitch so we won’t have to re-run it.”

The two of them fell into sync, each tackling the work they were best suited for without having to say a word. Aldric’s fingers raced over the keyboard while Margaret spoke her commands. The two of them managed to hold back a complete simulation collapse for nearly an hour, but the output proved too much. A softly chiming alarm preceded their screens displaying large flashing signs that announced the simulation ended in failure. The scientists were covered in sweat and breathing hard from the exertion. They looked at each other and laughed out loud. Aldric’s theory worked, even better than expected.

“That was amazing,” Margaret said between breaths. “That was the best wakeup I have ever received.”

“The best?” Aldric asked as he raised an eyebrow and looked at her suggestively.

“Yes, even better than you waking me up for sex,” she said as she stood up and stretched, the shirt lifting to expose the curve of her butt. She walked over and sat on his lap sideways. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him before saying, “but all of this excitement has certainly put me in the mood to go back to bed.”

“I think that sounds like a good idea,” Aldric said. “You know we’re going to be swamped developing a new exchange unit and we should probably include a larger capacity storage unit as well.” He kissed Margaret back and ran his hand down her back to her ass. “Yeah, we probably should take advantage of the time we have now because it might be the last free time we have for a while.” He scooped her up in his arms and Margaret squealed. He laughed and carried her back to his bedroom. It would be noon in a couple of hours and Evan would be calling once he saw the results and the real work would begin.

Series Navigation<< Beyond the Dark Side: Chapter TwoBeyond The Darkside: Chapter Four >>

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