Scott stared through the one-way glass window.
"How long's he been hooked up?"
"Two hours," replied the white-coated technician.
The short, grey haired man got up from his desk and walked over to join Scott at the window.
"No, nothing. I've not seen this before. Sometimes it takes longer to get meaningful information, particularly if we are looking at ageing data, but with this one, we aren't getting a thing. To be honest, we might as well have hooked all of this up to a potato for all the good it's doing." He said pointing the bank of monitors surrounding the bed.
"How's that possible?" Scott asked, looking down at Andrews, trying to gauge how truthful he was being. Until recently he wouldn't have doubted anything the technical team told him, but in light of recent events, that had changed.
"Sir, I really don't know." Andrew's cheeks flushed a little as she shrugged his shoulders.
Scott looked back at Zeke, who lay prostrate on the bed; the only sign of life was his slow, yet regular heartbeat flickering away on the nearest monitor.
"Is there anything you can try? Briggs is beyond impatient right now."
"I have a number of combinations to try, but I am concerned that if there is data there, the process might corrupt it."
"We are using particularly invasive technology here. Under normal circumstances, this process is risky, but we're now talking about using drug combinations that are untested. Irreparable brain damage is quite possible."
"Ok, take it slowly and carefully and don't take any unnecessary risks. I want regular updates."
Scott walked over to the door, but turned back. "Don't let anyone, other than you and me near Matheson. That's an order."
With the door closed behind him, Scott stopped for a moment in the corridor. First he wiped his clammy hands on his trouser legs and then he patted at the holster behind his back and the one around his chest, comforted by the feel of the hard metal nestling there. He didn't know why the downloading process wasn't working on Zeke, but was sure grateful it wasn't. The ComDat in his inside pocket vibrated with a message. Without looking at it, Scott knew it to be Briggs and with a weary sigh, he set off to meet him.
"Hiya, Tom, long time-no call."
Scott looked out of the open lift car and found himself facing the pretty Finance Manager who worked on the floor below Briggs.
She smiled widely at Tom, clearly pleased he had remembered her name. She moved forward to the lift and came close to his ear.
"I've missed you," she whispered. The sweet scent of her perfume, which had smelt so good on her as he lay entangled in her long, tanned legs just a few weeks earlier, now smelt cloying and sickly.
Tom decided he would rather walk the last flight up and side stepped the woman who he had lazily pursued for a couple of weeks.
"Call me," she urged and then added in a quieter voice, "please."
Tom winced and then hurried off down the corridor towards the stairwell, feeling uncomfortable and not really sure why. Something in Tom had changed; he could feel it and he didn't like it. Trying to erase the feeling of uncertainty was gnawing at his gut, he reached the bottom step and powered up till he reached the top, his leg smarting a little. Thoughts of Hannah dragging him to safety sprung up in his mind which prompted him to check the locator on his ComDat again. The green dot still hadn't moved and he felt relief and unease at the same time. If it hadn't been for Briggs's call, he would be there right now.
YOU ARE READING
The NumberedScience Fiction
Imagine the second you're born, a consultant removes you from your mother's grasp and runs a battery of genetic and physiological tests on you. Thirty minutes later they give you a score out of one hundred which denotes your level of perfection. If...