Time Machines: Part 3

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"Just through there Mr Ludlow. And welcome to UPN" The thin receptionist beamed, before abruptly departing back the way he had come, leaving Ian alone with his thoughts.

Ian paused and took one last moment to try and get a control of his nerves, taking one long intake of air and subsequently breathing out in an equally long exhale, before taking the plunge and stepping through the door.

On the other side he was met with three very smartly dressed people sitting around a large oval table. The closest of which, a grey haired man of older complexion, stood up to greet him as Ian closed the door.

"Ah Mr Ludlow! Welcome good sir, welcome. Please come in and take a seat and we can get this show on the road! All will be explained once we get these dam administrative formalities out of the way."

"I wouldn't call introducing ourselves administrative formalities." A much younger man interjected from across the table. "More like...just being polite."

The older gentleman grumbled to himself. "It slows down the proceedings is what it does!" He remarked as he slumped down in one of the many elegant seats.

"Well even if that is the case, it is what we shall do anyway." A woman from across the table said, rolling her eyes with a small smile on her face before turning her attention to Ian.

"Mr Ludlow, a pleasure to meet you, I'm Katherine Harper. I'm head of this particular UPN branch for this system. The man to my right is Steve Wright and he is our legal representative. And finally we have Arthur Cobold, head of scientific study for all UPN activity for the outer systems." She said while pointing at the energetic old man who seemed so eager to start.

"The pleasures all mine." Ian replied with his most charming smile, slightly intimidated to realise just how important these people were. Pushing his amazement down, he took his very own seat around the silver table.

"Before we start I would just like to thank you making the trip up here, especially at such short notice as I am sure there is a great list of things you would rather be doing, but I'm confident you will come to appreciate the effort in due time." Katherine continued, her silver grey blouse blending almost seamlessly with the table top, making it look like Ian was being welcomed by a severed floating head. "In any case UPN, and indeed everyone sitting around this table, greatly appreciates the time you have given to travel. How was the drive? " She asked with another very authentic smile.

"Oh incredibly smooth. Practically empty roads."

"Splendid." She replied before turning to the man on her right. "Steve do you want to run through your bits and then we can get started?"

"Roger that." Steve muttered as he began to sort through the various forms and documents he had before him. It wasn't long before he slid one of these said documents over to Ian. Along with a silver pen.

"Mr Ludlow I need you to sign this for me. It states that the matters we are about to discus are confidential in matter, and until given the necessary clearance by UPN, you are not to mention anything that is said here to anyone, friend or family." The well dressed man summarised in as warm a tone as he could. Despite this, Ian still felt a slight sense of unease about the affair. What kind of job could possibly require such levels of security?

Ian signed the paper almost instinctively. He needed to know.

"Right is that it? Is that everything? Can we get moving now?" Arthur anxiously spurted out. Ian couldn't tell if he just wanted to get home early, or if he was also consumed by excitement, either way he would soon get his answer.

"Yes that's everything, Arthur the floor is yours." Katherine said while shooting another joking eye roll towards her colleague.

Ian leaned forward, hands placed awkwardly on his knees, his gaze fixed on the older gentlemen who was busy typing away on the tables digital interface.

You've reached the end of published parts.

⏰ Last updated: Jul 10, 2023 ⏰

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