The story is a work of fiction and has no basis in reality.

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Gaylactic Knight

Chapter 4

"Edward, you know that we can't allow Mr. Buchard to fraternize with the other boy." Argued Professor Dengheim.

"Julian, they are young. What could be the harm?" Replied Professor Hamilton.

"You know that it is against policy for a Class 5 to fraternize with the lower classes."

"It's a stupid policy."

"I don't agree with you Julian. You know that we can not allow our secret to be discovered. Think of the consequences. Think what would happen to us if that happened."

"Maybe it would be for the best." Said Professor Hamilton, staring at his colleague. Looking to see if his remark had any effect on the other.

"How can you say that Edward. We have spent the last year working on this project. If we succeed, Epsilon will be the center of commerce. It will be the center of this galaxy."

Professor Hamilton looked at his colleague, obviously very disturbed and said, "I'm not sure that will be the result, Julian. I could be the opposite. Think about it Julian. Think what could happen if we make one tiny mistake. It could destroy this planet and possibly this entire solar system. Just one little slip. It scares the hell out of me."

"Edward, we have taken all possible precautions to prevent something like that from happening. I am very comfortable with the measures that we have taken. The percentages are on our side."

"Damn it Julian. What the hell do percentages matter when you are talking about millions of lives. I know, I have seen the figures. Less than a 1 percent chance of any failures occurring. But those are failures, what about human error? What about luck?"

"Luck? Are you turning superstitious on me Edward? This isn't like you at all." Professor Dengheim said as he stood and walked to the door of the office. "I'm going to turn it right back on you Edward. Think about the possibilities. Think how much better life will be for all life forms in this Galaxy if we succeed. Isn't that worth the chance? Isn't it worth gambling with the odds so heavily in our favor? I think. No! I know it is worth the risk."

With that Professor Julian Dengheim left the office. The door slid closed behind him. Professor Edward Hamilton sat at his desk, his mouth hanging open, looking at the closed door. Thoughts were going through his head so fast that he couldn't keep them separated. Usually he could work on three or four problems at the same time and keep each one from mixing with the other. "I must be getting old." He thought to himself.

"I have to do something about young Buchard. He is a smart kid. The highest int-scores I have ever seen. He is going to go a long way in the company. That is if we live long enough." He thought to himself.

Edward sat there trying to keep his thoughts separated when the door chime sounded announcing Peter Bouchard.


The door slid open and a shy Peter entered.

"Ahhh, Mr. Buchard, just the person I wanted to see. You must have been reading my mind." Professor Hamilton stood and grasped Peter's hand in greeting.

"First why don't we talk about why you are here."

"Professor Hamilton. Last night I discovered that with this Class 5 security clearance, I can't even talk to my new best friend because he is a Class 3. Sir, that just isn't fair. I would prefer to take a demotion than not see Josh again." Peter said lowering his gaze to his lap.

"Mr. Buchard, it seems that we are both have the same thought. I was just pondering that very subject when you rang at my door. I may have a solution."

Peter looked up at the Professor, a huge grin on his face.

"If I can keep you out of the Dyrogene lab, I might be able to lower your security clearance to a Class 4. That would put you at a disadvantage though. You would only be able to associate with the upper class' inside this facility. Obviously we can not function without communication between the lab professors and the technicians. That would also lower your salary by one quarter. Does this suit you Mr. Buchard?"

"Oh yes it does Professor. That is perfect." Peter smiled. You could see the excitement on his face.

"Ok then. Go back to security processing. I will inform them of the change. They will issue you a new ID badge. Oh! Mr. Buchard, one more thing."

"Yes Professor?"

"I'm going to let you keep the flutter."

"Thank you Professor. That's great." Peter reached for the Professor's hand, vigorously shaking it with gratitude.

Peter was ecstatic with what the Professor had told him. He immediately went to security and had his badge changed. Then he went looking for Vic Rawlings.

He announced his presence at Vic's office door and seconds later the door slid open.

"Mr. Buchard, welcome back. I just received a call from Professor Hamilton concerning your security clearance. It seems that Professor Dengheim won that round after all."

"Well, not exactly Mr. Rawlings. I requested the reduction." Peter replied.

"That is odd, but it is your life. Shall we get started?"

Vic Rawlings stood up and walked toward the office door.

"This way Mr. Buchard."

Peter followed him out the door and down the hallway toward the elevators. Once again, Peter noticed how happy everyone seemed to be here inside Energy. They were a lot happier than the people that he had observed in town. He was wondering why the difference. Why those outside were always walking around like they were going to a funeral. While those inside were jovial and looking forward to tomorrow.

Once inside the elevator, Vic instructed the elevator to take them to Lab 7. Again Peter felt himself become lighter as the elevator dropped deeper into the earth.

Copyright S. John Holder 2000

If you have enjoyed reading this story, you will find other stories by me at John's Lovescape

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