by Marcus Lindemann
A re-write of NIMH: The Final Experiment by Marcus Lindemann. There are no pictures, but that doesn't stop this from being one of the defining works of Robin's Fan-Fiction Archive!
The moon was full.
It had rained earlier, but now the skies were almost clear and nothing obstructed the moon’s gaze. Uncaring, its cold light bathed wide swaths of dark forest below, like a never-ending sea of black. The woods swallowed the light, giving none back. Then the light hit the structure.
Who could tell why mankind chose to build the monstrous tower in this otherwise unblemished wilderness? Yet there it stood, raised on a cleared hillock, a monument of steel, concrete and glass. If its construction was an intrusion, than its design was an affront. A central spire with four subsidiary towers, one on each side, it was a shining glass claw, grasping out from the ground towards the heavens. The building was vast, cold and dark. But deep in its bowels the wheels of progress never stopped.
From a circular window high above the tree-line a solitary figure looked over the expanse of forest. Shrouded in the shadow of an enormous swiveling chair of black leather the observer seemed to be swallowed in darkness. Behind the chair waited a huge rectangular desk, polished, and darker still. Its surface was a black rectangular lake, from which the moon was reflected perfectly. All was silent. But all was not calm.
There was a light. Blinking steadily, just inches away from the chair, words flashed on and off on the shiny surface. The table was more than ornamentation. Its innards held just one terminal in a computer-network that could have been the envy of any intelligence agency on the planet. If anyone outside this building were ever to know of its existence.
The light kept on blinking, an incessant flicker of bright green in the office’s darkness. Showing the status of the recording in progress it was as diligent as it was patient. It had time.
The palatial office’s resident had time as well, all the time in the world. He savored the view from his window, gazing out over his world or at least the world as he chose to understand it. He could feel the light blinking without having to see it. He had watched it many a night as he made his progress reports, late, late when all others had long gone home or retired.
Finally, in a voice that sounded curiously young and ancient at the same time, he spoke,
‘It has been three years since I accepted this position.’
He paused. A sense of immense weariness and cold was in his voice, belying the youthful tone.
‘Since then we have made remarkable progress. We rose above the mistakes of our predecessors and succeeded where they have failed. Looking back we have not simply surpassed their goals, we are now at the threshold of new, undreamt of horizons.’
Weariness was giving way to savored triumph.
‘Now, after three long years of work, we are finally in a position to complete the one experiment that will be the culmination of this entire project. Success is certain, and with it we will gain what humanity has searched for over millennia.’
Another pause allowed the building euphoria to subside back into its earlier gravity.
‘Yet we must not rush. We are at a delicate junction in our endeavor. Every step in the final experiment must be conducted with utmost care. We will begin by retrieving the specimens that have been lost to us for all these years. Then, the future awaits us.’
The speaker paused one last time, savoring the words that passed like wine before continuing.
‘Save and encode the entry.’
From deep within the confines of the vast desk a synthetic yet distinctively female voice replied.
‘Entry saved and locked. Good night sir.’
From around the chair a hand gently touched the polished darkness.
‘Good night, my dear.’