Third Corridor, The
Jerad watches with disbelief as the stunning, raven-haired beauty tumbles from nowhere and falls through the skies. Ordained as Keeper of the Key it is his duty to seek the wisdom he knows she possesses, the knowledge to unlock the mystery to the Edict of Oneroi...
Word Count: 100,331
Genre: Sci-Fi/Futuristic Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Eliza Black, April 2004
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
"What’s happening?" Garret pulled the reciprocator from his head, dropping it to the floor as he rose quickly from the cot. The standby medical team immediately began their protocol examination, drawing fluids, checking for physical changes, and a barrage of questions to determine his mental status.
"What’s your name? Where are you? How many fingers…"
Garret pushed them aside, and approached the habiliment, a large computer panel displaying rapidly changing numerical readouts. Just above a keyboard, a Kineto-Neural Optic Emission, or KNOE scanner, displayed a variegated, three-dimensional brain image surrounded by a near translucent skull.
Melissa turned her head to acknowledge Garret, allowing her eyes to momentarily leave the KNOE. "Your adrenaline levels were elevating and your heart rate was almost to a hundred and ninety. Your vitals were at critical levels. I had to reanimate you."
Garret bent over the console. He scanned the screen in front of him.
Melissa glanced upward again. "You’re bleeding."
Garret touched his forehead and looked at the blood on his fingers. "What happened? Did I hit my head?"
"You tell me. That wound formed just before I disengaged the signal." Melissa was calm and professional, her eyes scrutinizing the monitor, and her fingers rapidly tapping at the keypad.
"How badly is she injured?"
"She has a mild concussion." Melissa pointed at the screen, which now presented a cross sectioned scan of a brain. A series of numbers was registering at the lateral sides of the KNOE.
Melissa traced her finger along the brain composite, stopping at the frontal lobe. "These readings are puzzling, though. Her serotonin levels are elevated and steady, but only briefly did they correlate with the same desynchronized beta waves you were projecting during rapid eye movements. However, I am now receiving high frequency beta waves from the frontal and parietal lobes."
"A neuropathy perhaps?"
"No, all neuronal transmissions are functioning normally, but she seems to be creating memories we typically find during alert wakefulness." Melissa stopped tapping the keyboard to look at Garret. "It’s as though she’s in an altered state of awareness, the same readouts the scientists recorded when conducting this experiment before."
She turned back to the screen touching it several times until a full body-scan appeared. She pointed to a deeply reddened area across the figure’s left shoulder.
"What is that, a fracture?" Garret asked, touching an area on the screen.
"No, it’s a physical wound," the staff physician interrupted. "Odd though, it is disappearing almost as rapidly as it appeared,"
He reached over Melissa’s shoulder and tapped the screen to view the scan of the skull. "The concussion seems to be subsiding, also at a high rate of speed. Interesting." He rubbed an index finger across his lips. He then picked up his blunted stylus and began scrawling notes into his palm recorder. "She’s stable. I see no reason not to continue."
"Should I try some cortex manipulations, Garret?" Melissa asked.
"No. I don’t want to alter her natural thought formations. It may obscure the details of any data we collect." Garret fingered an intravenous line, now detached from its tubing, positioned over the inside of his forearm. Then he abruptly turned to Melissa. "Ah Melissa, it was invigorating. It was like being trapped in a vortex. We were accelerating, spiraling in a violent whorl. I thought my brain was going to implode. Then the ground came rushing through the blackness with such force..."
His expression grew smug. "Good thing you pulled me out or my body parts would’ve been splattered all over this room." He touched his forehead again and looked at the blood, mindful of the horrifying tragedy that took place, terminating the experiment twelve years prior to this. Garret managed to convince the Committee on Research Expansion, or the C.O.R.E., to resurrect the project, but he was warned to move forward with great caution.
"I only had enough time to initiate emergency shut down with your transmitter," Melissa informed him. She continued to work without looking up. "The disconnection between the two reciprocators must have nullified the event. When you became disengaged it caused an interruption in her brain patterns. A good thing too. Probably saved her life."
Garret leaned over the back of Melissa and pressed his lips to her ear. "You chose me. How touching," he whispered. "I believe you would have let her die. Nemesis does persuade you."
Melissa shrugged him off of her. She hated his frequent references to the Greek gods as though they controlled destiny. "I’m not jealous, Garret, and this is no joke. We need to re-examine this. If anything happens to either of you, the C.O.R.E will shut this study down for good."
Garret stood erect. "Coordinate my headset. I’m reconnecting with her."
"I can calibrate her readouts to your headset, but it may take you awhile to re-engage with her."
"Do it." Garret turned toward his cot, then stopped and looked over his shoulder. "Oh, and Melissa, don’t abort under any circumstance. Not until the full eight hours has expired."
"But Garret..." Melissa ceased her calculations to object.
"That’s an order Captain." He stifled her protest with his authoritative command.
Melissa snapped her teeth shut and jutted her chin forward. "Yes sir."