His feet clomped along the uneven tall grass of the bluff in the late morning. Sea air from his left flipped his shaggy black hair around. He took a deep breath of it, not to enjoy just the usual brine off the water, but to capture the current scent of the almost-wet wheat-like grass.
His wrist buzzed. He looked down at his watch. Two minutes to get back! Alarm must’ve gone off once already.
Max froze in place and raced back the way he came. Break time was almost over. Dr. Floyd would not be pleasant this afternoon if he didn’t make it.
The ridge, with the sea now on his right, wound back and forth like the spine of a really long snaking dragon. He hadn’t left sight of the lab, but if he held out both hands flat, he could easily block his view of its two story terraced shape. He had generally good feelings at seeing it. Most of his adventures started with it. He’d started as an intern last month, but so far working there really meant “Don’t get in the way, and clean that up over there.”
Just as he got to ten meters, his watch beeped again. In looking down at it, Max’s feet tangled. He curled his back in time to make his fall become a summersault down the steep embankment. His hands snatched at the grasses. The clumps that pulled free did slow him, but not enough. He dug his heels in, but flopped onto his stomach spread eagle, his toes trailed behind him acting as a drift anchor. When his head cleared the drop off, however, he finally stopped. He had a great view of the jagged black boulders five meters below, smashing surf and all.
Max entered the steel door and slipped into his lab coat. It hid the grass stains nicely.
“Ah you’re just in time.” Dr. Floyd smiled with a predatory glint. “You get to do some real intern work finally. Go sit in the chair.”
Max looked at the chair in horror. It was the obvious focus of the rooms powered-up devices. Their cables ran in thick snakes over the floor towards it. Max walked towards the chair and sat. It felt like a throne some Aztec sacrifice sat in just before execution.
Dr. Floyd lowered a sensor array over his head. The cold metal fingers that held the sensors got adjusted to poke through most of his hair with their cone tips. It felt like he was about to be mind-probed by an alien robot.
Dr. Floyd turned on his heel and strode away.