After passing through the myriad security checks the military had put in place, he was greeted by his colleagues: Dr. Phil Charles and Dr. Akira Sato. Charles was a brilliant engineer, if somewhat dense when it came to particle physics, and Sato was a glorified lab tech, at least in Peter's eyes. They had both been assigned to "oversee" the project, and thus were government lackeys that happened to have gone to school for a quarter of their lives. Peter was more than happy to work on the project himself, with the able assistance of his graduate student. (Tiffany was the rare type that could keep his head together, and could pass government screenings to receive access to classified information.) But no, they insisted, and who was he to argue? He was receiving millions of dollars in financing.

"Hi, Doctor -" Tiffany said.
"Is the test chamber ready?" Peter asked, hurrying past them all and entering the test room. It was a sizable room with a large metal wall splitting it in half. A Plexiglas screen provided a view into the experiment chamber, wherein a wooden bedside table was sitting. On the narrow table was a simple metal box, inside of which sat a fresh red rose, delivered by Tiffany herself that morning. Above and below the table were wide metal discs embedded into the ceiling and floor. They looked somewhat ominous.

"Yes, we're absolutely ready," Charles stammered, following Peter into the test room with Sato and Tiffany in tow.
"Good, then let's begin." Peter turned on the control panel and began reading out the results. The three were somewhat dumbstruck at this flurry of activity, but managed to snap themselves into action and get to their positions. Peter brought up a screen of formulas and calculations on one of the monitors, double-checking it for errors.
"Sato, what's the power output?" Sato quickly moved to the readouts and gave him the numbers he wanted. "Excellent. Ready alpha station. Beta?"
"Ready beta," Charles said.
"Ready gamma?"
"Gamma ready," Sato answered.
"The experiment is a go." Peter flicked on a row of switches and helmed the activation button, deciding he wanted to do a manual count for this auspicious occasion. An increasingly loud humming noise began to emanate from inside the chamber.
"Five ... four ..." Louder and louder.
"Three ... two ..." Louder still, nearly deafening them all. Everyone covered their ears except for Peter, who was so absorbed in the monitors that nothing could distract him.
"One ... active!" He depressed the red button under his thumb, and there was a brief flash of light. The wall-rattling hum quickly petered out.


Peter spun around and nearly ran to the chamber door. Charles and Sato were surprised at his speed and barely had time to remind him of potential radiation effects, as he turned the seal and swung open the metal barrier. He hurried to the platform and opened the box expectantly. What he saw amazed him.

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