Time travel. Portals. Parallel universes. Alternate dimensions. All of these seemed only to be feats accomplished in science fiction movies and comic books. Glorified in movies like The Avengers and feats, that mostly all of society, never would have thought could be achievable in this lifetime. Up until a few years ago, James was on of those people too.
After studying computer science in school and graduating top of his class, James was offered a once in a lifetime internship with SpaceX within their coding and programming department. There he was astonished with the work they were doing and how much he still had to learn and was driven to ask questions and learn as much as possible. This gained him attention by department heads and impressed them with his dedication. When they allowed him to write code and be apart of the programming of the first successful SpaceX rocket launch and landing, he thought he had reached is peak, but little did he know there was so much more for him to experience. When his internship was up, he was offered a full-time position, and like any sane college grad, he accepted and awaited to see what his future had to offer.
Two years later, he pulled into the parking lot with the same excitement he had on the day he started his internship, but with a little added anxiousness. The week prior his department head said she had a special project for him but would not give him any more details than that. His mind went wild as he walked in on what this project may possibly be. Finally, he would be able to try and prove he was worth a raise and promotion even, but that all depended on what his superior had for him to do first.
Walking through the halls he was greeted by his fellow co-workers and friends. James, although smart and technologically inclined, never looked the nerdy type that is stereotypically given to science and computer experts. He kept himself in shape by eating healthy and working out at least 5 times a week leaving him with a chiseled and cut physique. This combined with his 6'0'' height and dark complexion, made him quite the eye candy for his female co-workers. He could always tell when they were being a little extra flirty and just brushed it off. Given his looks and success in work, he still was not all that successful recently with women, and after a nasty breakup a year ago, decided to take a break from the dating scene for a little while.
He walked into his boss's office and sat in the chair across from her to hear what she had to offer him. As she finished up a few emails and other items before their conversation, he felt butterflies in his stomach. He nervously picked at the arms of the chair as she typed away at her keyboard. When she finally looked up at him, and he saw the smile on her face, he knew good things were coming his way.
"So James. I have noticed lately how much work you've been putting in and your dedication to the company. Not only have I, but some higher ups have too! We talked and discussed and have decided to bring you onto a special project" she stated.
"That's wonderful! I'm happy to be even considered!" he said, trying to hold back his excitement.
"Great. Come with me, I need to introduce you to some new co-workers and your new office for the foreseeable future."
The two stood up and headed down the hall to the executive's offices. He could not believe it; was he being promoted to an executive position? His mind raced with the possibilities of this promotion. A house of his own, debts all payed off, maybe even a nice trip too. As they got to an open office in the executives area, he slowed to turn into it expecting for her to guide him in, but to his surprise, she continued her strut past the executive area towards a hall that was rarely ever used.
When they arrived at a janitorial closet at the end of the hall, he was beyond confused. She opened the door and gestured for him to enter in first. He cautiously walked in and turned to watch what she did next for at this point he had no idea what was happening. She turned to move some items on the shelf and revealed a keypad hidden in the wall covered by a faux panel behind some supplies. She entered in a combination and turned and smiled, eagerly waiting for his response to what was about to happen. The entire room lurched and the proceeded to lower as an elevator. James was in shock; it was like he was in a spy movie entering a secret layer. He was concerned at first but after seeing his bosses smile and chuckle to his reaction, he realized that this was going to be okay.
When the elevator stopped, and she opened the door he walked out onto a shielded balcony that overlooked a large open lab floor area and a control room to his left. Down below he saw a bunch of hi-tech computer equipment all facing what appeared to be a large steel circle on a platform, roughly 15 feet in diameter. A lot of wires and tubes were running from it appearing to be cooling lines and electric lines that were connected to the computer systems on the lab floor. He turned in astonishment to his boss.
"What exactly am I looking at here?"
"This right here is what we like to call, PROJECT: "DIM. BRIDGE". We've been studying and researching for years the possibilities of alternate universes and how to reach them and make contact. Just only recently have we started to receive signals coming from the other side, but no contact has been made and we are still trying to work out how to open and control the doorway or portal to another side. That's where you come in.''
They start to descend the stairs to the lab floor towards the portal itself. As he listened, he couldn't take his eyes off of the portal. It had steam rising off it from the cooling process and was producing a low, almost tranquil, humming sound.
"We've decided to pick you to join the team to try and code and work on the system to operate and maintain an open portal door for future exploration. Now before you start to think about the dangers and Sci-Fi movies and shows exploiting alternate universes and the monsters that live in them, the signal we are receiving is in fact in English and human made as well. Once we can maintain an opening and hold it, we will be able to take the next step in contact and change the world of science as we know it. So, what do you say?"
He couldn't believe it, was he really about to join in something that could change the world as we know it? The pressure of that combined with the fear of something going wrong raced though his head. What if the contact was from a malicious being, someone who was trying to trick and coerce us? He took a moment to think of the positives too, and decided that he would join.
"Yes, you can count me in. When do I start?" He asked nervously and excitedly
"Right now. We have notes and the start of a promising code that could work. You'll work with the code team to perfect and finalize it."
Just as she handed him the folders and files containing the code and notes to review, the portal started to grow louder and seemed to be firing up. He looked back to all the fellow workers and saw that this was not a drill, and something not planned on there side. They started to slowly back away and move towards the exit and he hastily followed.
An alarm started to sound, and he could see workers in the control room look around in confusion.
"Alert. Alert. Please clear the lab floor. This is not a drill. I repeat this is not a drill." Aired over the loud speakers. Just as he was about to head up the stairs to the control room, the portal lit up and was fully activated. The light was blinding. The force of the pull from it was growing exponentially. He was halfway up the stairs when he started to feel a heavy pulling force against himself, as if it was starting to suck him in. People were yelling for the control room to kill power, but they had no use, it wasn't shutting down.
James saw at the bottom of the platform near the portal a large red "KILL'' button that had to be a last resort shut down/ He decided being the only one close enough to hit it to head down and doo so. Chairs and paper were flying around, all getting sucked towards the portal. He tried to fight the force of the pull by leaning on mounted workstations and pillars.
He finally got to the kill station, but the force at this point was becoming too strong for him to fight. The station he was leaning on started to groan under the force and didn't seem to have much longer before breaking. In one final valiant effort he dove up for the button above him, but in doing so he was tossed over the console and towards the portal. He latched on to the top of it, body in the air being pulled to the glowing bright blue light. He had to let go of one hand to hit the button, but he knew he'd be ripped away from the console. In an act of bravery to save everyone else, he lunged his hand forward and managed to hit the kill button, but was ripped away and sucked away into the portal before it shut down. In that instant he thought he was dead, a loud electrical sound boomed in his ears, a blinding blue light flashed, then it was black.