Chapter L
by General (Uncle Claude) Xxaxx
& General (E.J. Gold) Nunan PFC 1st Class Ret.

Completing her psychometric read of Ja Mere’s impression, Woo realized that it was a deliberate message. Ja Mere went to great length concentrating his full attention on the existence and location of this lab in spite of the torment exacted upon him by the bosspersons. He clearly must have been hoping that she would pick up the signal and investigate.

“Ja Mere, I don’t know why you are so set on my checking out your laboratory at a time when I should be tracking you and Little Roy. Hopefully you left a clue as to your current whereabouts in your papers.”

And so, Woo turned her attention away from the now cooling trail to the issues that apparently lay hidden in Ja Mere’s lab.

Diary Note — Sekrit Laboratories: To avoid detection, an egghead’s laboratory must be in a room that is not there and is not missing. Reference to ancient and modern vidis demonstrate scenes in which the hero paces off the distance between two doorways, discovering a sekrit room hidden between two adjoining walls. These film bits are not just entertainment — citizins at large are being trained to look for egghead laboratories. (See reference to Internal Security Considerations of Citizin Detection Stratagems) Spy shows are a deliberate attempt by bosspersons to thwart and uncover egghead laboratories. If Citizins had their way, there would not be any spy shows on the Vidi — too hard to watch. The killings and explosions are nice, but sometimes just following the action is just so taxing. “It’s almost like an eduvid”, is the common complaint. “Game shows that’s for me.”

Scanning Ja Mere’s mental diagram of his laboratory security measures, Woo was happy to have his detailed impression, “As sekrit laboratories go, Ja Mere, yours is in the top ten for location and power consumption, but any second year student could penetrate your security measures.”

Diary Note — Sekrit Laboratories Power Usage: Hiding a sekrit laboratory is only half the security task of an xperimentalist. Power usage is a major consideration. A utility bill of more than the typical kilowatt hours is a dead giveaway — dead being the operant word. Woo, given her training in dragon magic, solved the power problem by use of non-material electrical sources. (See cross-reference: Use of Non-Material Electrical Sources as Security Measure by Dragon Magic Trained Egghead Xpearimentalists) Ja Mere took a more elegant approach. By redesigning the air-conditioning system to be eighty percent more efficient and require sixty percent less space, Ja Mere created a room that was already known to be “in use” and thereby, outside the scope of sekrit laboratory detection, and a source of electricity that could more than meet his modest requirements. By making the system more efficient, it required little or no maintenance. More than pleased to not have to confront a piece of equipment as complicated as an air-conditioner, the building janitors would never look in or check up on the air-conditioning so long as it was, at least, partially operational. Since Ja Mere kept the system going, he was freed from their intervention and possible detection.

Woo thought to herself, “The entrance into the lab could have been more convenient.” Crawling on all fours through fifteen feet of oversized air-conditioning duct work was not Woo’s notion of the ideal entrance. But then again, a totally obnoxious and unresponsive door-sentient was probably not Ja Mere’s notion of an ideal entrance either. I guess it’s all a matter of style.

Wasting little time, Woo moved the table and chair away from the wall where they were partially blocking the air duct from view. The screws on the grill work had to be twisted in a combination pattern before the tephlex-reinforced grill would fall away from the wall. The crawl through the duct into the laboratory was relatively uneventful. Only the standard security traps and snares were used. Ja Mere constructed his entrance so that any second year university student could penetrate into his inner sanctum.

Mumblling to Ja Mere’s absent self, Woo continued her crawl through the air-conditioning duct, “Obviously you planned on having your notes and research papers perused after any untimely absence. Not too picky about who finds your notes are you Ja Mere? A high adept or beginning student has just as likely a chance of making it past this simplistic security system.”

Ja Mere had left a system that selected eggheads with some university training, leaving only a few administrators and politicians unable to enter.

Philosophy/Psychology (Subhead: Great Mysteries) — It is beyond this cyberware system and any other on the Net, why an egghead without vote or legal rights feels a need to become a politician.

As Woo made her way toward the end of the crawlway, she came upon a single vent screen designed to shuttle air from a modified side vent into the main duct. Looking about, Woo found a switch that would allow her to divert the air-conditioner output for the brief time necessary to remove the back panel and enter into the laboratory proper.

Entering the laboratory, Woo’s first impression was of an expanse of space. Ja Mere’s laboratory was much larger than Woo expected. Based upon the impressions that she garnered from Ja Mere’s psychic residue, she expected a very low ceiling space and much smaller floor footage. “For something built inside a gutted air-conditioning complex, the lab is huge. I guess being a genius at engineering and equipment design has its value. There is equipment here that I’ve barely had the pleasure of hearing about, let alone see or own.”

There was equipment everywhere. Most of the space was taken with sensing apparatus and spectroscopic equipment. A long range sensor was built into the exterior wall, affording Ja Mere the possibility of performing spectral analysis of any hapless citizin or goober that happened to walk through the rear plaza.

“Boy o’ boy, you must be the patient little bugger. This had to be patient work. Waiting, equipment at ready, waiting, and waiting, and waiting for an xpearimintal subject to just happen by, must have been the context of your life. No wonder you had such little sympathy for the minor frustrations of other xpearimintalists complaining of minor difficulties in research protocol.”

Woo’s trained eye quickly ascertained that as many hours as Ja Mere put into working in this room, it was not built for his comfort. The room was neat and organized not for just his personal use. “You fully expected your laboratory to be used by a subsequent researcher, didn’t you? Ja Mere, I’m impressed. I never suspected such dedication to the project and near total lack of concern for any egoistic satisfaction in its completion. Anyone with basic training could step into the lab and take up from where you left off. Even your notebooks are referenced by chronology and cross referenced by subject.”

“Let’s see what you have on bosspersons. Just as I thought, a complete listing of dates and journals containing reference to bosspersons. No point dilly-dallying, let’s check out the latest reference.”

“Previous observations verified to within .015 standard deviation. It is now certain: The bosspersons are not individuals. Their bioelectric fingerprint is identical in fundamental with deviation only in harmonic overlay. Appart from slight deviation, bosspersons are each one component of a larger resonant creature. (Cross Reference: PW)

“No absorptive spectra in the 2,2orthopaladrine range. They are not producing standard metabolic degradation by-products expected from bubble hermone and hismone addiction. One must thus conclude a bossperson’s resident bubble has no use for sexual products. This is partially confirmed by sociological evidence of humorists reference to ‘no rainbows at night’. According to the savant theory of bubble-Citizin interaction, a bossperson’s intelligence should be dramatically elevated. As yet, there is not enough direct evidence to confirm or deny this assertion. Perhaps with luck we shall know by next week.”

“Interesting developments,” Woo murmured to herself as she replaced the record book in its slot. On instinctively directed impulse (or perhaps simple curiousity), Woo pulled the file marked “PW” to check the cross-reference.

“Note: must try to get a reference spectra from P.W. I suspect the noted shift in her bioelectric fingerprint is related to the bosspersons’ spectra. Compare second and third order differential transforms . . . “

“How did Ja Mere know about the shift in my bioelectric fingerprint? This note is dated two weeks ago. I didn’t even know about this until yesterday. Something is odiferous in a small country dependent upon a fishing industry.”

“The text of the note left off abruptly at that point. Could it be that the resonant effect of the growing population of bosspersons is affecting the base field in such a way as to alter my bioelectric spectra? I wonder if I can get this equipment operational enough to sample my base spectra and harmonic overlays?”

“Surely, Ja Mere did not expect me to fool around doing xpearimints while he languished in the clutches of the bosspersons? Actually, knowing Ja Mere, that is precisely the kind of response to this situation that would occur to him.”

Twiddling the dials and turning various knobs, Woo not only found the right piece of equipment, she also managed to fire it up into operational status. Using a bit of dragon magic, Woo was able to push the selector switch while standing at the business end of the detector. Nothing that a small telekenetic flick couldn’t handle.

“This really is some of the best equipment I have ever seen. When he said that he put every dime he could lay his fingers on to build this lab, he must have been very busy in the finger laying department. This equipment would normally have required the resources of several egghead teams to assemble. Nothing like dedication to the point of near-obsession to get the job done. Right, Ja Mere? There’s no such phrase as, “good enough for gov’ment work” in your vocabulary.”

The spectrometer was one of the ancient type with a digital memory and frequency step analyzer. Not as fancy as the newer models, but it had one distinct advantage over the newer equipment, it actually got the job done.

Comparing Woo’s spectra to that of the bossperson’s, gave no hint of correlation. Acting on another one of her hunches Woo made for the air-conditioning duct to crawl out of the lab in order to get to a phone. She wanted to call her diary. Fortunately for Woo’s knees and shins, she noticed a phone jack leading from the wall into an ancient FAX-modem built into a desk. It took Woo a few moments to acclimate to using such an ancient piece of equipment. Having done so she succeeded in dialing her home number and got the diary on the line.

1165249917772192 Woo typed into the phone pad.

beep, beep, beeeep, bleep was the response from the diary.

“Don’t screw around with me or you’ll get a lightning bolt up your phone line.” Woo translated under her breath as she continued typing digits on the phone pad. 66370122#8277@11788423##12231

In a moment, the FAX-modem started to print out a copy of her old bioelectric fingerprint. It took awhile to scan the faxed spectra and convert it into digital format. This accomplished, it was a simple matter to cross check various permutations of her old spectra, her new spectra and the bossperson’s spectra.

“Just as I hadn’t suspected, the bossperson’s spectra is a perfect match of subtractive frequencies from my old spectra and the new altered form.” Woo made a few adjustments on the equipment, “Yes, by adding a weighted balance of the bosspersons’ frequency distribution into my current spectra, yields a newly exact match to my previous bioelectric fingerprint.”

Assuredly, the match wasn’t perfect, but it was too close for simple chance. There was a definite correlation. Of this she was sure — the iwas certain. The why, when, how and all those other nagging questions, she had no clue of.

“Was this worth the delay?” Woo asked herself, as she sifted through more of Ja Mere’s records and journals.

Nothing more jumped out at her attention screaming, “Me, me, I’m worth delaying rescuing Ja Mere and Little Roy. I’m more important than cutting short their suffering at the hands of the nasty ol’ bosspersons. Look at me. Look at me.”

“It’s time to leave and get on about the business at hand. Pretty soon, I’ll not only be talking to myself, I’ll be arguing. And that only leads to trouble.”

“Does not,” Woo rebuffed.

“See what I mean?” Woo noted to herself, as she started the awkward crawl down the air-conditioning vent.

Once again in the living room, vent safely back in place, Woo weighed the relative merits of following the bosspersons through the phase-shift versus setting off any sigil of warning the bosspersons may have left. “The trail is cold, and any magic user worth his or her crystalized ionic compound of sodium and clorine can cover a phase-shift trail wrapping the lines of force within the warp of space.”

A sub-vocal construct of Drak affirmed Woo’s analysis, “Quite right, they would have to be stupider than a willow root slug to let themselves be followed.”

“What are we talking about, the phase-trail is already colder than the glutus maximus of an individual who has been hired to excavate a subterranean water source during a month of low solar radiation,” Woo responded to her mock-up of Drak.

“Ja Mere, this little detour of mine into your lab has cost me the trail. I wish I could believe that the delay isn’t costing disaster for you and Little Roy. I hope you knew what you were doing when you insisted on your astral message.”

“If I start now, I can make it back to my apartment just before moon rise. Since I don’t know where I am going, I may as well know where I am starting from.”


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