Ossimar vomited. He vomited again, having to look down at the mess beneath his feet every time he did so. Every time he did it heightened the apex of the horror he had witnessed today, and caused him to be even more unsettled. Incredible as it was for a Seeker, he was capable of being shaken.

He stared at the heart in his hands. Every time he focused on it he was filled with jealous anger. This was the fruit of his nausea, in essence. The thought almost made him want to chuckle, but he realized the weight of the situation. He smiled with bits of half-digested food in his teeth, which was odd, because he hadn't eaten in days.

He had left home what seemed like an eternity ago, which was ironic, because it was literally an eternity ago. Before him lay a massive machine, lashed together using bone marrow and filled with blood. It had exploded shortly before, and still what lay before him was a billion times his size. He had witnessed some kind of gathering. Some nexus of disgust coming together to accomplish a foul end. He couldn't quite comprehend it, but he had the distinct feeling that whatever led him here had wanted exactly the opposite to happen.

He stood up and attempted to walk, but found he couldn't. He collapsed again, near the body of the old man holding a strange tool. Ah, the old man wasn't dead. For some undefinable reason, Ossimar could hear his low, uneven breathing.

Without giving him any time to breathe in between vomiting, the wall collapsed, and the machine cracked above him, splaying the cores all over the room. Water flooded into the chasm between him and the very center of the machine, causing the floor to cave in on that spot. It was made of flimsy stone and turned out to be some kind of shale covering over even more water.

He stood and bolted for the door, diving through just in time to hear the water stop in its tracks. As he turned to look, a great maw opened up, swallowing most of the room that he had previously been in. The heart in his hand pulsed, and the door shut behind him, blocking the flow of water.

He collapsed against the door, feeling the vibrations of whatever he had just seen smashing against the walls and floors of the room behind him.

He feinted, the heart beating once or twice, a slight hint of an intoxicating, jealous rage, amber and black and textured like a hurricane of boiling magma rushing through the veins in his hand and directly to his heart. The last image he saw before his vision blacked out was reality peeling away from the heart, which was beating rapidly and glowing like a dying lightbulb.

Launch: Reese's

Craig gave his baby girl to her mother. Tammy bounced the baby on her knee trying to keep her quiet during the service. The pastor preached at the pulpit, his head shaved from chemo. "God," he said, "provides us with the necessities of our spiritual well-being. And to show our faith we tithe. We give back a portion of what he has already given us."

The usher passed the collection plate from the front to Craig's row. Tammy pushed an envelope into his hands. Craig thumbed the flap open to see the money. It was much more than Craig wanted to tithe. He didn't want to at all. The baby needed it more than the church. Craig looked down the row. He saw an elder write a check with too many zeros.

The plate was coming faster down the row. His wife was looking at him. Craig took half of the money and put it into his pocket.

Tammy and Craig had married young, Tammy already with child. Craig worked long hours with Reese's Construction, and Tammy struggled with the pregnancy. But with Julie growing into an almost-perfect toddler, work was regular and they were gaining ground. Yes, Craig was a born-again. But for now, his baby girl took the first cut from his check. Tammy prayed for his soul.

That night Craig made a spreadsheet on his computer. He typed at the oversized laptop, the battery uselessly anchoring him to his desk. "We're millionaires," he said amused with himself. "Come here, Tammy."

Tammy had put Julie to bed and hoped the little girl would sleep for the next few hours. "Did you say we were millionaires?" She wore Craig's shirt like a sleep top. Her wet hair smelled like coconut from the bargain bin shampoo. "If we're millionaires, can we get soap and shampoo that hasn't been discounted yet?" She looked at the future expected value of their savings. 1.3 million in big red digits flashed in the box.

"All I have to do is invest entirely, all my salary in a money market account, and not touch it 'til I retire," he said.

Tammy snorted. "Nice dream," she nuzzled her face against his rough stubble. "You can't let Julie's condition worry you."

"Tammy," he said flatly, "there are lesions on our baby girl's brain. That's something I'll never get over. She needs me."

"Your insurance from your job covers it. You should thank god more than you do."

They slept together. Craig woke early. Tammy pretended to sleep while he dressed for work. He poured some coffee into a thermos and stepped out on the dark porch. The painted white house fit well with the dirty red pick-up and the gravel driveway. H waited for the coffee to wake up his blood, to warm himself under the plaid jacket, to get warm under the last darkness before the dawn. Craig pinched himself. He left cold.

He pulled up to the factory. The sun was peeking over the horizon. A man on the morning shift walked out. Craig called out to him. "Morning," he said. "What are you doing?"

"Walking out," the man said, holding an envelope and a check. "There wasn't supposed to be any layoffs."

"What happened?" Craig asked.

"There are a lot of red cards in cubbies." Craig had seen guys go. The heads like to give people their notices on Friday. The end of the word week made it easier for them to cope with it. Monday was cruel.

In the cubby room, guys had red cards. The trash was full of them. Craig picked some off the floor. His locker neighbor was looking through the slits of his locker. The card couldn't be seen. For the moment, until he opened it, he still had a job.

"Joel," he said. "Did you get a card? Have you looked?"

"No. Give me a minute, I want to be prepared for it." He grabbed the handle.

"Do me a favor," Craig always said, even if he was the one doing the favor. "Why don't we look together?" Joel agreed. They both held the handle to their locker. On three, they both opened their lockers wide. Joel saw the card hanging by the tab inside his locker. The color stopped his heart.

Craig also found a card. It was white with a black dot. "White?" he said. He shut his locker.

Joel heard him and saw the card. "My god, you are so blessed." He threw his red card into the trash. "You're getting promoted."

Craig went up to the office overlooking the factory floor. The letters of the reversed Reese's sign shadowed the iron stairs. Through the glazed glass of the office door, a man sat at Mr. Reese's desk talking on the landline. Craig pushed through the door. With the flick of his wrist, the man sitting at Mr. Reese's desk waved him over. He wasn't Mr. Reese.

The man finished his call, saying, "While you're there, make sure the scuba mask is clear." On the desk, the man had pulled out employee insurance records. Craig saw his name labeling a plain vanilla folder. "Mr. Thomason," the man said, opening the folder. "You found my note, yes?"

Craig showed him the white card with running black ink. "Yes, I got this. Can I ask where is Mr. Reese?"

"He has retired. I've bought this property." Craig was confused. He didn't understand how a good man like Reese would sell the factory to this monster. "I've already liquidated most everything here. But looking over these records, I've found something quite valuable."

"Really?" He wanted to hit him. Nothing was right. How was he supposed to work without the others. The factory was empty except for him and - "I'm sorry, but what is your name?"

"Rockwell," he said. "And I have a position for you, a seasonal job offshore. If you're concerned about your benefits, they will transfer over." Rockwell flipped through the file.

"Why me?" Craig asked.

"You have a good family. Julie is three months. If you take my offer, her operation would be covered, no need for medication. With the raise you'd be getting, you could put down for a bigger home in a better neighborhood." He pulled out an official BankCorp rejection. "The one on Willow Drive across from the park." He put the folder and file down. "I like to help people who have talent. You're a welder, and your work is solid. Do you have any experience working underwater?" Rockwell picked up the phone.

"No."

"Would you like some?"

Away: Sub-Marina

A.G. Industries Sub-Marina. Craig read the sign from his bus seat. He and everyone else wore a blue jumpsuit. They had stopped at the checkpoint and were waiting to enter the harbor. There were few boats, none of which would carry all the people on the bus. Security waved them on through. Craig's head drifted back to the day the factory closed.

He accepted Rockwell's offer before coming back to the house. Tammy screamed at him for not including her in this. What was she to do? "Next time you make such a decision without me, you'll be just that. Without me."

"I'm sorry," he said. "He was right there. Everything just made sense around him. I wish you could see it like I do."

She slammed the door behind her and smoked on the porch.

On the seat next to him, a youthful particle physicist talked about his budding career. His name was Douglas. He was a theoretical genius in black holes. "We know where black holes should exist, but none of their internal properties."

"What are you going to do here?" Craig wanted to keep the conversation going. It passed the time while security looked them over.

"I have a PhD in particle theory and my last research study was in the Large Hadron Collider. I assume the same things. They shoved enough zeros in front of me to fund ten LHC's."

"I was told I'd be doing some underwater construction."

An older blonde turned around. She spoke one brief sentence before disappearing behind her seat, "I train divers." Her name was Angel.

Craig had no real idea what he'd be doing. The conversation with Rockwell flew out of his head not wholly remembered. He wondered if his wife would be there in three months, how Julie's operation would go, if black holes actually had cream filling. He rubbed his roaring stomach. The bus drove on blowing a breeze through the open window. Rank BO made him forget about eating anything. The smell was coming off a man slouched in his seat. It was toxic. The bus stopped and they were led into the main building.

They went through metal detectors and x-ray machines. The armed men intimidated Craig. They looked over the arrivals like everyone had a bomb strapped to them. The smelly man got their attention.

The guards grabbed him. "No! I need it back. Give it back. Bastards!" the smelly man screamed as they dragged him away.

Craig was interviewed. The room was dark and a floodlight blinded him. Strapped to a cold metal seat, a small camera pointed at his left eye. He was asked silly questions about his home and what color the sky was. The camera followed his pupil through the baseline. The screen perched on his right turned on. Craig saw a series of objects. Books, keys, clothes, flowers.

When they let go his head ached, like his brain was trying to eject the images he had seen.

He was shown his cot and given his training schedule. Tomorrow, he would start diving.

Class was in a big pool. His instructor was Angel. She didn't look too bad in a one-piece. He had a gut that hung out from the waist of his swim trunks. Workout versus providing for family.

"For some of you this will be your first experience with underwater work," Angel walked over to a monster. It looked like an astronaut's suit with big bugles at joint points. The right had had a glove but the left was a claw. "By the end of this training, you'll be put into this heavy pressure suit. For such an advanced skill set, it is unlikely that all of you will be prepared by the end of term."

Craig spent the morning in scuba drills, ascending and descending with weights and staying upright. He had lunch in the cafeteria. He got the chicken fried steak. The genius from yesterday waved him over to his table. "How was your morning?" Douglas asked, just barely hiding his own excitement.

"We started scuba diving. In a few months, they're going to put us into suits with claws on them." Craig snarled and hooked his hands into claws. "What about you?"

"I really wish I could tell you. It makes the LHC look like a third-grade science project. The particles on this object behave like nothing I've ever seen. I really wish I could tell you more. Classified by the company." Douglas waved somebody else over.

Angel sat down, her tray filled with sushi and chicken ball meat. "You did well today," she said matter-of-factly. Angel reminded Craig of his aunt from Texas. He guessed Angel did yoga, read diet books, loved that song "Hot 'n' Cold", dated guys from the UK, and loved her twin boys. No way, she was way too calm for all that. But it's always the quiet ones who surprise you.

The first week at Sub-Marina went quickly. Douglas invited them to his dorm. It was a giant suite compared to Craig's. He had a fully-loaded kitchen, a flat-screen in the living room, and a king-size bed in the bedroom. They drank a lot of cheap red wine. Douglas and Angel were on the couch. Her head rested on Douglas's chest. Craig made his leave.

Craig pulled out his cell and called Tammy. The call bounced back at him. "Sorry, A.G. Industries, Sub-Marina does not recognize this device or its permissions to call out. Please contact your network technician for further service."

He slept alone on his cot.

Dive: Lab PI

It was a few days after Craig visited Douglas's dorm. He was tired from swimming and his cafeteria steak burger didn't look so hot to eat.

Douglas asked, "What's up?" He took another spoonful of mashed potatoes he was playing with and added an archway for the heavy morning gravy traffic on the plate highway.

Craig sloughed and ran his hands through his chlorine-soaked hair. The question was obviously coming from the ceiling because he answered it. "Sub-Marina won't let me call home."

Douglas saw Angel coming over and smashed the highway on his plate. "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Hi, Angel."

"Hi, Doug." Craig heard the song in her voice. He could only remember that kind of music from when he met Tammy. She sat next to Doug. "How are you?" she said to the table, but mostly to Doug with her singing voice.

"I'm just peachy." More singing. "But Craig can't call home." Craig didn't want to be the focus of their singing conversation. He wanted to melt into his plastic chair with his eyes glued to the ceiling. He was just about to leave, maybe get some reading in, when Doug said, "Craig, stop for a sec. I want to do you a favor. I have a connection outside. Want to use it?" Angel sat back in her seat and zipped her lips.

Craig blotted up in his chair. "Yes! Thank you so much."

"Glad to make your day," Doug said. "If you could come to my place, after B-shift, I can try to get you to my connection."

Craig could only wait. He walked small rings around his living space. Cigarettes filled the ashtray. He didn't realize how much he'd miss Tammy or the baby. Having no contact with them burned a hole inside him. He left after B-shift, trying not to sprint over to Douglas's.

Douglas answered the door wearing pajama bottoms and a Rolling Stones T-shirt. "Hold on," he said, grabbing his white lab coat. "All right, now I'm ready."

They had hopped on the shuttle bus before Craig said, "You seem underdressed."

"You think? I haven't laid down for bed yet, I don't think I will. Stress," he mumbled to himself. The shuttle bus stopped at the lab farthest on the dock. Douglas swiped his card at the door then again at the elevators.

The elevator was heavy metal with a small glass porthole. Douglass pressed a big green button hooked to a side rail and the elevator fell backward. Craig held on to his rail in a death grip. From the porthole, Craig saw Sub-Marina's underwater lab. As a small disk resting on the sea-shelf below, it looked inconsequential to the surface. Dropping farther down into the black water, the lights haloed the lab with their blinding brilliance.

"You understand I'm doing you a real big favor, right?" Douglas lowered his voice to a whisper only Craig could hear.

"Yeah," Craig said.

"Yes, but do you understand how much I'm trusting you?" This company's pockets are deeper than deep. They pay for their privacy." Douglas looked right at Craig. "You must never tell anybody what I am about to show you."

"Of course."

"No, understand how shady this company is. Ever heard of AGI before they approached you?"

Craig paused to think.

"Yet here we are. Underwater lab on the seafloor. This company is big and hidden, like a monster under the bed. All this is a bad idea, so keep this to yourself," Douglas turned away to the undersea lab.

Thankfully the elevator stopped before Craig felt sick. "I'm not sure I feel all that great about the ride down here," he said, standing straight. Outside the lab, divers in heavy pressure suits lighted an open panel on the lab's hull. Craig felt dread. The money supporting this scientific marvel went over his head.

He had googled the Large Hadron Collider in curiosity. It had cost 9 billion dollars. He had no idea what an underwater one would cost. Craig didn't care about the company. He just wanted to contact his family.

They stepped off the elevator and onto a grilled platform. A C-shift operator waved them in when Douglas showed him his badge. Douglas walked the curve tunnel counting the junctions until he found his workstation, lab PI. Inside, the walls spread along the lab's curve reaching up and curling around the acceleration array above his head. "This," he said, taking a seat at his computer, "is my project. I work under an honest-to-god accelerator. Self-contained, no leaks or radiation. No black-," Douglas stopped mid-sentence. "Give me a second to find some files."

"Sure," Craig said, walking under the array. It looked sophisticated and intricate. He went up the platform to a glass box crossing the accelerator. In the case was a wire scrap looped in a ring. Stepping closer to the box, Craig heard hissing from a welder's torch and felt fire on his hands like he'd left his gloves off. His head felt a hundred sizes too small.

"Don't get too close to that," Douglas said, taking his flash drive from the computer. "Now, about finding an outside network."

Craig forced himself away from the wire. They left lab PI and followed the curve, Douglas counting the junctions as they went. After counting to twenty, Douglas stopped in the middle of the hall. Moving his hands around the wall, looking for the loose panel, he found it and brought out the laptop hidden inside.

The laptop booted up with Chinese characters. This didn't distract Douglas from clicking the familiar links and emailing the files from his flash drive. He handed over the laptop to Craig who, after a few seconds, typed his address and password.

Distancing himself from the strangeness of typing around foreign letters, he wrote his email. Both emails bounced around the undersea cables linking the internet to the world. From China under the Pacific Ocean back to the USA. One to Tammy's home computer in their new home, the other to the University archive where Douglas backed up all his work.

"Good," Douglas said. "Let's go."

Up: Object 283

From: Craig Thomason [email protected]

To: Tammy Thomason [email protected]

Date: September 13 2010

Object 283


Hello Tammy,

Work is going smooth and I can't wait to be back home. I miss hearing you in the morning. It's like you're singing just for me, and the pillow is your mic. Give Julie a hundred hugs and kisses for me.

I love you,

Craig


From: [email protected]

To: <S/13/2010&>

Date: September 13, 2010

Object 283


283 exhibits common behavior of Objects, indestructibility, and psychological as well as physical phenomenon. 283 was available and was acceptable soft metal Object. It will melt but reforms as soon as heat is removed. If this was from a fuse box as the catalog says, this would be useful as a reusable fuse wire. However, 283 reacts to physical contact or proximity.

Putting a hand anywhere near the wire causes it to wrap around the ring finger. Removal includes surgically cutting the finger off. 283 cannot be cut, only melted. The Object is handled in a glass box, which is fine for my concerns. The container does not block out the psychological phenomenon. People have reported hearing small "explosions" coming from 283, as well as feeling extreme heat where a thermometer shows no difference.

The purpose of this experiment is to drive super accelerated proton particles into the Object and identify particles off the Object.

The experiment began with the wire stretched with heated tongs across the particle accelerator's line of fire. 283's resistance was less than usual and let itself be stretched, not melted. Looking at it gave me a headache. I turned on the equipment when I heard a sizzle from the camera. It stopped working. Common behavior for Objects. The catalog says camera malfunction occurred frequently around them.

I went ahead with the experiment. The observations I expected would be too small to see with cameras. My own personal peepshow, the experiment went on. The proton ray hit the wire. 283 turned red hot, but did not melt. In a moment the machine had taken its measurements and shut down. 283 did not stop glowing hotter when the ray quit firing.

From red to blue the wire kept glowing. It snapped off the metal tongs. I shut down all my equipment and was ready to leave. The lab was so hot. I ran for the door and 283 exploded behind me. I could hear nothing but my equipment crashing around the accelerator. The door would not open. I thought I was trouble.


Then everything was calm. The banging stopped and the room wasn't cooking around me. I looked at the wire. It had turned from blue to pitch black. It was a hole in the room where light just disappeared. The worst thing in the world had happened. I had created a black hole. I was pulled from across the room. The glass box collapsed into the hole. My equipment followed. I was flying in the air straight for the blackness. Oblivion, nothing forever, eternal darkness, being nothing. Oh GOD. I prayed in flight. Save Me From Nothing. Let Me Exist.

I was lost into blackness. My mind went blank and I knew I did not exist.

I remember my hand on the box, the wire glued to the glass behind my ring finger. I walked away from it.

Attached to this report are the measurements for analysis.


This is my real report. You never told me something weird like this could happen. I thought this would be simple but my experience has shown me that isn't the case. I need more information about some of these Objects. AGI gave me a catalog. A lot was blacked out. 538. That's not possible. One is too much for this universe to accept.

This work is more dangerous than I first thought. Which means it's more expensive for you. Money. Power. Make me an offer and I'll show you what happens when I fire ten times as much energy at this thing.

Uncharted: Into the Void

Craig felt lighter. Even as the weights on his waist sunk him to the bottom of the pool, Craig kicked up as if he was riding a bubble to the surface. He knew he wasn't alone, separated from his family. In his head, he planned another trip down to Sub-Marina's elevator to the underwater lab just to type on that hidden laptop.

He felt himself beam at his instructor with dopey smiles. Angel, for her part, remained austere. In the locker room, Craig saw himself in the mirror and pinched his belly. He swore he had lost an inch. Angel waited for him outside. She seemed even more serious if possible.

"Craig, I need you to stay back for a sec," she said. At this point, much of the class had left the program. Scuba wasn't for everybody, but Craig had taken to it like fish do to water. Craig and Angel were alone in a few moments.

"What is it?" he said, sitting on the bench tying his shoes.

"It's about Douglas and what he's doing," she said with no particular emphasis. There wasn't a thing behind those words, just cold-hearted judgment. He looked at Angel. Her eyes had no emotion. Craig was back in the elevator, going down into dark discouraging waters. The day had started so well, too. "The company knows he's copying his research and sending it off-site."

"That doesn't mean anything, does it?" he said, fumbling with his shoestrings.

"Yes, it does," she said, ice water in her veins. "It means the company will get rid of him. It's easy to do, but that wouldn't plug the leak or prevent anyone else from doing the same. The company doesn't know where he's hacked the network. Tech-heads have checked both his personal computer and his lab computer. They haven't been tampered with."

Craig tied a knot into his shoes and stood up. Angel had the kind of curves Craig saw on Tammy years ago. She looked intimidating in her diving suit. "Please don't involve me. I can't believe you'd even talk about this to me."

"Thomason, you're already involved," she slipped him a copy of his own email he had sent to his wife. "Work with us. AGI knows the importance of employee loyalty. Keep your health benefits for Tammy and Julie." Her voice didn't even have warmth for names.

"Can I think about this?" he said.

"No. Show me you will help us find the leak in our network. Or I will assume you will warn Douglas we're on to him."

Craig had never betrayed another man. Joel, such a good man, covered for him once. The factory before Reese's, Craig caused an accident. He held his welding torch loose and it had gotten away from him. It dropped to the floor and dangled off the catwalk. The torch hit a man on his forehead. He suffered burns and a concussion. Joel stepped in before anyone saw Craig and took the whole thing on himself. He was fired. Craig wanted to say he would've done the same for him. But that would have been a lie.

"I'll cooperate," he said. He regretted the decision as soon as he made it. He knew there was a hell for betrayers. "What do I have to do?"

"Let Douglas hang himself," she handed him a cell phone. "My number is programmed in. Call it when he takes you to the leak. We'll find you, the leak, and get rid of Douglas. Don't disappoint."

Craig left behind the steamy warm air for the smoky interior of his own dorm. The last of his cigarettes were going like the twenty others. He knew he'd have to quit if he ever worked in the pressurized air of the underwater lab, but that was a thought far from him. There was a knock on the door, it was late for visitors. Craig opened the door for the youthful particle physicist Douglas.

"We got mail."

They took the elevator back down to the underwater lab. Going down, Craig felt his stomach lurch into his throat, urging him to speak. "What's important about this work you're doing?"

"I'm studying what AGI's catalog calls 'Objects'. Scary things, powerful things. At first, I thought they were just weird, something to advance our knowledge of the universe. Now I know better. They have power, more than I gave them at first."

"If they're so dangerous, why don't you just work on them and let the company sort it out," Craig thought about talking Douglas out of hanging himself. "Don't risk sending your reports outside. I wouldn't even ask to send another email ever again."

Douglas smiled, "That's cool of you." He lost the smile. "But I don't like AGI having this power. I'd rather have it for myself. Even the Objects themselves, scary as they are, have an attraction to them. Like looking at pictures of black holes. Or looking out there," he gestured to the porthole. Outside was black, the only lights Sub-Marina, otherwise dark water in all directions. Craig looked and didn't find anything, but he kept looking, searching for any point in nothing. There was forever out there.

The elevator stopped and Craig tore himself from the porthole. They stepped off. The C-shift operator from before was replaced by a man twice his size. He followed them in the far field of his vision. Craig saw him whisper into his jacket. Douglas didn't seem to notice a thing.

They walked around the lab's circular corridors. They found lab PI and walked in. That was when Craig spoke up. "Douglas, the company knows about your emails outside."

Douglas at his desk was just about to copy his work. He looked back at his friend, his eyes wide. "No," he said, mouth agape.

"I thought I could cooperate but I can't." He took out the cell phone Angel had given him. He set it on the desk. "This is from them, I haven't called them. But I figure -"

"You stupid idiot!" Douglas interrupted him. "That's bugged!" He took the cell phone and busted its battery out. He took the battery and showed Craig the electrical device on the back. "It doesn't matter if it's even on. They just heard all that." He ran to the lab doors and locked them.

"All right," he said, sitting back down at his desk. Soon security was banging behind the lab's doors. There was no time, no way out for him. He brought up the last thing he was working on. It was a modification to the firing program.

The doors broke open. Angel and security entered. Security grabbed Craig. He didn't resist. Angel walked over to Douglas. She said, "Stop what you're doing and come with us."

He started the machine. "Nope, I don't think so." She whipped his chair from his desk. Douglas looked right into Angel's cold eyes. "I know what you are, doll. I understand more than I have in my entire life. I know infinity. It's like staring into the dark water, so vast, so empty. You don't exist to the ocean. Only if you will it, do you exist. I think," he snickered to himself. The array fired.

The wire glowed bright red. Blindingly powerful light stung Craig's eyes. The glass box shattered apart. The array melted around the wire before being pulled apart and sucked into the wire. The bright red turned cold blue. The lights shattered like the glass box and the room was covered in blue light. The computer on Douglas's desk flew into the wire.

"Let's all see forever. Let's all test our will to exist," Douglas shouted. He pushed Angel away and ran into the fading blue. The air around the wire lost its light, turning black. The last thing Craig saw of Douglas was the back of his white coat lit by the lights outside the lab. The black hole swallowed him.

The hull breached. Seawater poured in. The water surged Angel, Craig, and the security guards toward the black hole. Craig and Angel grabbed the floor and held their breath. The black hole pulled the ocean into itself while they struggled to hold on. The security guards couldn't hold their breath. They coughed water and flew into the black hole. Craig's lungs burned, the black hole didn't quit pulling him.

He coughed water and flew toward the black hole. Time stopped, he saw Angel still holding on before everything else turned to nothing. There was one thought as he disappeared. It was of Tammy and Julie. And there was peace.