SyncPoint
J.A. Waters
(1 reviews)
Completed on 20160516. Sidella Solston has decided to skip work for a couple of eons. In fact, ... Show More
Genres:
Adventure, Comedy, Cross-Genre, Fantasy, LGBT, Paranormal, Sci Fi
Tags:
dirnaut, scifi, science fiction, multiple worlds, multiple universes, fantasy, strange, multiple reality, other realities, syncpoint

One

Sidella’s evening had become quite productive as she attempted exploration of parallel universes. Abnormally, hours at work had sped by without her notice. Then again, wormhole creation and reality folding weren’t in her job description. What productivity she’d managed wasn’t for her employer. But that was probably because business models for such a venture were something of a hard sell. Many companies find no benefit in advertising for untested or nonexistent technology.
 
She moved from artifact to artifact through a long storage room. Its walls were lined with cabinets. The shelves were packed with boxes of ‘specimen' museum bits and pieces that might one day make it to the showroom floor. The specimen room, F3.5, was one of many within Sidella’s domain. It was her job to maintain and clean and sort and tag. Usually, she spent her time inspecting chipped tools and stone bits attempting to understand history. However, over several months she’d converted the storeroom into something else entirely.
 
She scrutinized a sprawling tangle of devices with the caution used for picking eggshells out of a frying pan. Historical errata were mounted on little devices that Sidella had devised through research and intuition. Each gizmo had a group of wires running toward the opposite end of the room. All terminated into small electronic hubs. These hubs were wired into a laptop with a mash-up of electrical tape and USB connectors. In essence, the whole construction looked cobbled together and crackpot. That’s because it was.
 
Sidella didn't care what it looked like, she only wanted it to work. It seemed highly unlikely that it would, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t try. With everything connected just right, there might be a chance. The odds were probably far better than winning the lottery, finding your long lost twin, or getting along with in-laws.
 
Hopefully a careful inspection would increase those odds even further. Each little station had an accelerometer, crude spectrometers, a magnetometer, and other varied sensors. These sent signals back to the PC. The PC responded to these signals by adjusting four servo motors controlling the base of each station. They could rotate and shift on every axis through the magic of Radio Shack purchases, all the while radiating a varying pulse of current. The science behind the mess was mostly theory and internet speculation, but prior tests had been promising.
 
Yesterday, Sidella had tested each of the stations for connectivity, control, and overall responsiveness. It was the final step before she could try for an escape. All of it was madness, but it was a rational kind of madness. Moving away, changing jobs, even drugs were just more of the same reality. The only real escape seemed to be death, though Sidella was still unsure if that would be permanent. All other choices exhausted, it seemed as if sanity's final recourse was madness.
 
Still, the setup seemed fairly tame compared to her childhood's view of a lunatic scientist. She had no high-voltage arcs of electricity shooting through the air. There were no giant switches to throw in a shout of triumph. Instead, she sat down rather unceremoniously at her keyboard and hit the enter key.
 
The device unlocked and she started a new diary entry. A little light at the built-in camera blinked to life, “So, day 72 of the ‘project.’ I’ve figured out the last bit of arrangement for my devices. Someone showed a correlation between disappearances and some key symbols used by travelers throughout history. It can’t work any less than the other thirty attempts. I think I’ve got the right mix of materials too, stuff from the Aztecs, Myans, Egyptians, Maori, Mycenaean; all the world’s greatest hits. I don’t think it matters where so much as when and how spread apart the cultures were.”
 
She glanced at the self-view and winced. Her hair was frizzy, reddish-brown strands wild from a mix of dry rooms and carpet. What concealer she’d smudged on earlier did little to combat the harsh lighting of the specimen room, and it made her nose look even more hawkish than normal, cheekbones even more sallow. Sidella shut off the diary program.
 
With a couple of keyboard shortcuts she pulled open the scripts to run her cobbled-together system. What had started as a silly hobby with her ex-girlfriend had become an obsession of escapism. Most of the escapism was in building the thing. A possibility of going Elsewhere wasn’t too bad either.
 
Staring at the script window, Sidella took a breath, “Work…”  Then she hit the little play button.
 
The office came to life. She felt the shaky heat of excitement rushing through her. Something was Happening! The work she'd been struggling with was showing Results!
 
Each of the stations had started twitching, vibrating, and performing tiny balancing acts. The computer program was taking in a stream of data from the sensors and feeding back careful changes. Those changes, Sidella hoped, would help her alter reality.
 
Amazingly, that was what began to occur. She stood slowly, feeling the room's air thicken around her. An energetic thrum filled her body and her mind began to feel muddled and slow. She could swear that the room was starting to darken, and... twist. The walls were bending inwards toward the machinery and a peculiar change to the air made her think of grease-spots on the window from your forehead.
 
She moved into the midst of her devices. They surrounded her, each twitching in smaller and smaller movements. The artifacts were finalizing their position, honing in on something unheard and unseen. One internet contributor, JurrasicFark11, believed in the continual probability shift of reality and possibilities of affecting that shift toward the less likely. Sidella hoped that were true as she felt her jaw drop open. Her breath seemed caught, air unyielding. It was becoming harder to be there, harder to exist as she was...
 
Then there was a pop, tiny and significant. Out of the corner of her eye she saw one of the artifacts topple and roll along the floor. The back of her mind dutifully forced a dry spoken comment, “Belt ornament, circa 500 BCE, probably Mayan, jade, condition excellent. To store for museum display. Capacitor overload.” The air cleared, her mind steadied, and the room seemed to brighten and solidify. Her head swam and she was overwhelmed by dizziness.
 
On her knees, Sidella watched as the lights flickered and returned to their regular pleasant glow. Her back was covered in sweat and her joints ached. She suddenly felt very tired and ready for hot tea and warm blankets. Glancing at her watch, its hands were frozen in place. The wall clock didn’t appear to be of any use either, it was running backwards.
 
She stood, forced to hold onto a shelving unit. It was hard to think, hard to believe what her senses spoke. The world felt thin, a sheer fabric projection that she'd suddenly fall through. Stumbling to the computer, she glanced at the screen and watched its readout. It hummed along just fine, apparently far enough away not to be affected by the Field.
 
The readout showed perfect performance, all except for that one platform. The rest of the gadgets were still twitching, small movements of adjustment too small for the eye to follow. She exited the system and gave the command to shut down. The time had shown nearly two hours after her watch's frozen hands and she didn’t like that glaring fact yelling at her. Reality was supposed to do one of two things: remain unyielding or allow itself to be stripped away. Gray areas were just confusing and annoying. The devices stuttered to a stop, the room suddenly still and quiet.
 
Sidella flipped the lights off. It hurt to leave right then. She was so close, but it was also hard to move, let alone fix the busted machine. It was too difficult to concentrate and there’d probably be soldering involved. Too many burnt fingertips went with tired use of tools. She needed sleep, needed to clear her head.
 
‘Tomorrow.’ The thought resounded with certainty.
 
As Sidella left her office, she locked up and swiped her access card to set the security system. A little camera flash made her remember the state of her frizzy hair and she groaned. Making way to the front of the building, Sidella was met by the security guard at the front desk.
 
"Ms. Solston! You've been at work this whole time?"
 
Sidella looked up from fumbling with her keys, thoughts far from anything in the current world, "Oh? Oh, yes." She found her throat tight and dry, voice rough after so many hours of silence. She leaned up against the desk, trying not to show how much she needed its support, “Yep, another one of those nights, Jim. I get wrapped up in work and when I look up, it's tomorrow already."
 
Jim was a mid-forties security guard with graying sideburns, portly belly mismatched against the frame of a linebacker. His eyes always followed Sidella with a bit more interest in the thinness of her shirt than the possibility of stolen museum property. “Oh I know,” he said, eyes rising to meet hers, “But I thought you'd gotten away from spending too much time at work. It's been months since I've seen you here this late. You and Rebecca doing okay?"
 
Sidella gave a tight, pained smile, "Oh, you know, relationships are like the tides, or rollercoasters. Whatever." It was the best she could do in her current mental state, especially seeing as how Rebecca had left months ago. Still, small talk might keep Jim from questioning the late nights, might give him some dry hope for something beyond chitchat. Let him think her ‘work ethic’ was due to relationship woes and not a mad science experiment.
 
She steeled herself to stand, pushing away from the desk. She found herself feeling steadier, possibly well enough to walk away without arousing suspicions of drunkenness. That’d sure look great on her record. Just as long as Jim didn’t feel any reason to review the tapes before tomorrow night, she didn’t really care. Tomorrow she’d be long gone, well, if everything worked.
 
Jim pulled out a pen and notepad, beginning to scribble, "You know, me and some other guys from around here meet up before the night shift starts. You should join us." He ripped the page away from its pad, sliding it toward Sidella.
 
"Well..." She paused, peering at the writing without actually reading, "I don't know that I'd be the best company..."
 
Jim cut her off, "No, come on. It's just a couple of the other university faculty. We don't really drink so much as sit there complaining about kids and politics. Bipartisan complaints are welcome!"
 
Sidella took the paper to shut the man up, folding it carefully and keeping her eyes on the task, "Perhaps, yes? Will that stay your urging? I think the last thing anyone wants is a morose teetotaler shifting uncomfortably at the corner of the table. I do a mean impression of a wall, but walls are probably friendlier."
 
Jim raised his hands defensively, "I'm not pushing, just... offering. You've been working here for years, and you're starting to get sucked into this place. Much longer, you'll turn into another of the school's artifacts."
 
Sidella grimaced a little, "Perhaps, but these relics are treated quite well. I’d give up a little freedom to be so nicely cared for. They get nice little anti-static blankets and everything." She turned to go.
 
The guard called out as his point-of-interest reached the door, "Have a good night, Ms. Solston. You're always welcome at the pub."
 
Despite Sidella's rudeness, Jim seemed hopeful.
 
The door clanking shut was still the only response.
Log in to add a comment or review for this chapter Chapter updated on: 3/28/2016 5:52:43 PM
  • Yashita Ghazi commented on :
    5/28/2017 6:03:32 PM
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  • Kast L. Hicali commented on :
    11/8/2016 3:50:20 PM
    "I do a mean impression of a wall, but walls are probably friendlier." Also, a wall is one tough S.O.B. to have if you get into a fight with the west side ... Show More
    • J.A. Waters Haha, walls are probably the toughest fighters in a fist fight, and they don't even have fists! But yeah, the desire to get away from social stuff hits pretty close to home, so it gets reflected here pretty hard. Glad the pre-change dissatisfaction comes across well here! Thank you for reading, sir!
      12/21/2016 11:08:06 PM
  • Kathy Joy commented on :
    5/30/2016 5:31:10 PM
    I live the tone of this. I'm not sure why but this reminds me of Steins Gate. Great first chapter!
    • J.A. Waters Ooh! I just looked up Steins Gate and I can totally see some of the similarities. Plus, that just looks like a fun game for the various reasons written in its Wikipedia article. So glad you checked out this story's first chapter though, Kathy! It's definitely a weird ride, but it was super fun to write! Thank you!
      6/12/2016 8:28:08 PM
  • anna brown commented on :
    3/31/2016 12:26:32 AM
    Hello good day, i will like to meet you in person, am miss Anna, am from France and am leaving in London, please contact me on my email id at (annh1brown@hotmail.com), ... Show More
  • Kit Karlsson commented on :
    1/22/2016 9:22:04 PM
    Great first chapter! I've seen this serial around the site and I'm so glad I finally got the chance to start reading it.
    • J.A. Waters Heh, you've reminded me that it's nearly been up for about a year. I'm glad you've given it a chance. It's super fun to write, so hopefully it's entertaining as well. Thank you!
      1/24/2016 1:04:13 PM
  • A. L. Ross commented on :
    7/17/2015 11:55:01 PM
    I'm excited about this! Really great set-up and language. :D
    • J.A. Waters Well thank you for starting SyncPoint! It's certainly a fun one to write and it's always great when silliness can be shared.
      7/18/2015 1:04:24 PM
  • Ada Redmond commented on :
    6/15/2015 2:47:27 PM
    This was a great first chapter, lovely narrative voice, good pacing and really easy to read. I'm interested to find out why Sidella seems so intent on escaping her ... Show More
    • J.A. Waters Thank you for the lovely comments! This is definitely enjoyable to write as well. I'm glad you liked the "lab" descriptions!
      6/22/2015 5:46:29 PM
  • Nathan Daeodain commented on :
    6/4/2015 10:48:38 PM
    Wonderful introduction of the main character, and I loved getting her appearance by webcam. There are also a number great descriptive phrases, that just made me smile. ... Show More
    • J.A. Waters Yeah, the webcam was totally a bit of a gimmick but I liked it; it's the modern mirror protag look? But thank you for reading and I'm glad you got a kick out of it!
      6/5/2015 12:00:56 PM
  • Bill Larsen commented on :
    6/3/2015 12:40:50 PM
    Incredible! Only time to read the first chapter right now, but I can't wait to read more by the start of things. (:
    • J.A. Waters Thank you! It's a fun story to write and I hope you enjoy it. Welcome to JukePop by the way! Best of luck and I'll try giving your story a look soon as well.
      6/3/2015 12:49:07 PM
    • Bill Larsen Thank you very much! Seems to be a great community so far. (:
      6/3/2015 12:54:21 PM
  • Allison Spector commented on :
    5/14/2015 1:56:48 AM
    This is fun. And now I have "Desdemonda's Building a Rocket Ship" stuck in my head. Oooh, I love mad science!
    • J.A. Waters Haha, that's probably a pretty good soundtrack for Sidella's journey; now it's stuck in my head too.
      5/18/2015 7:05:03 PM
  • Sarah Kelly commented on :
    4/13/2015 8:37:26 PM
    Ooooh, I'm already interested! Sidella seems like my kind of main character. Incidentally, have you ever played Half-life 2? Its beginning might interest you.
    • J.A. Waters Haha, played one and two, they are fun games. It's hard for me to play anything without a strong storyline though. Glad this provoked some interest, and thank you!
      4/15/2015 6:42:25 PM
    • Sarah Kelly Awesome! I was like, he has goooot to have played them. At least a little bit. Same with me. Call of Duty's somewhat strong storyline couldn't be saved, though. The gameplay is too horrible.
      4/15/2015 9:27:50 PM
  • Embe Charpentier commented on :
    3/14/2015 2:11:04 AM
    Well, this was a new twist - . Sidella's little lab was well-described. Strong, powerful voice and evocative descriptions made this story fun to read. By the way, your ... Show More
    • J.A. Waters Thank you! I'm glad it was fun to read and that the cover worked to give it some attention. This is a fun story for me to write and I like DirNaut there on the illustration.
      3/14/2015 7:12:30 AM
  • K R Williams commented on :
    3/3/2015 1:42:59 AM
    Sidella's certainly an interesting character and there were tantalizing glimpses into her history and personality in this. I look forward to reading more from this serial!
    • J.A. Waters Thanks a ton for reading, and I'm glad you find Sidella interesting! She's been a fun character to develop!
      3/4/2015 4:39:42 PM
  • Andre Clemons commented on :
    2/22/2015 2:08:50 AM
    As a sci-fi and fantasy fan, this right here immediately grabbed my attention. The contemporary twist on the "mad scientist experiment" really appealed to me, and I loved ... Show More
    • J.A. Waters No need to apologize, questions are great, and I hadn't addressed Sidella's name on JukePop. Honestly it was a backwards process. First I called her Del', then kind of started wanting something longer and started adding sounds. My name creation process is kind of ridiculous though. Anyway, I definitely appreciate the comments, and thank you for reading!
      2/23/2015 1:31:19 AM
  • Ryan Watt commented on :
    2/17/2015 9:21:11 PM
    I love the idea of a scientist who studies ancient relics trying to build a machine to alter reality/jump timelines. Something also tells me she was more successful ... Show More
    • J.A. Waters Thank you for reading; I've struggled with this storyline for quite a while and am finally getting it where I'm comfortable to move forward with it. I'm glad it's coming through well.
      2/18/2015 10:38:37 PM
  • Evan Marcroft commented on :
    2/15/2015 11:24:48 PM
    Dang dude, doubling down On the serials. You're hardcore. I'll try and check this out when I get back from vacay and get my laptop back. In the mean time, a cursory skimming has been very interesting.
    • J.A. Waters This is an older story idea that I kind of cherish. I started with Lyncia since I was less likely to pout as its developments have no anchors in my head. Thanks for the quick look!
      2/16/2015 12:37:41 PM