"Gentlemen," he began, "I think we should have a toast." Charles, Sato and Tiffany looked at him.
"A toast? But we had one after the first test," Charles answered, obviously not one for frivolous celebrations.
"Yes, yes, yes," Peter said, "but this is our final protocol before compiling and publishing our results. We need champagne, which I've prepared. Would you all please join me in the conference room?"

The three shared skeptical looks, but who were they to pass up free champagne? They set their work aside and exited the room, filing two doors down to the conference room. Peter followed up the rear, but stopped himself at the threshold of the room.

Tiffany stared at him, puzzled. "Doctor?"

"I'm sorry, I have to do this," he said. At that, he unceremoniously slammed the door and pulled out his keys, locking it from the outside. A moment later, the banging began.
"Izof? Izof!" It was Charles. "This is absurd, open this door immediately." But Peter paid no mind to him and returned to the experiment room.

He scanned the control panel and typed in a series of commands, overriding several safety protocols and boosting the device's power output by several magnitudes. He activated the countdown, quickly ran into the chamber and closed the lead-lined door behind him, sealing it from the inside. The metal discs at the top and bottom of the room began humming, the power inside building up. Peter quickly moved the table holding the box out of the way and stood directly on the floor plate.

He looked through the glass, seeing Charles, Sato and Tiffany enter the room. They were shouting something that he couldn't hear through the glass and noise. Sato busily punched buttons on the control panel, but was unable to stop the process. Helplessly, they watched as the energy climaxed and released, sending out a pulse of blinding white light that absorbed Peter and spirited him away.

When his vision cleared, he realized he was standing in the middle of the desert, no one around for miles. High in the sky, the sun was at its noonday position. Peter reached into his pocket and removed a compass. After taking a moment to find his direction, he began to walk.

***

Aside from the project itself, the most taxing part of the whole mess was collecting a few hundred dollars in 30-year-old money. It was an inexact process and had taken him weeks. Still, he had managed and was now exiting the bus he had paid for with that very money.

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He had inquired about the date: July 13. It was the right date; his calculations had been perfect, he thought with pride. Now all that was left was to use the other object he had brought back with him and finish what he had started. He took off at a slight jog, very sure of his destination in the fading light.

When he reached the old house, he had forgotten how dilapidated it looked from the outside, at least before it had been refurbished. He went to the door, carefully unlocking and opening it. He listened for footsteps discovering his entry; hearing none, he entered the house and closed the door softly behind him. He crept through the front hall and rounded a corner into a carpeted room. From the nearby kitchen he could hear a television.

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