Dr. Hughes was clutching his box, clinking and rattling about as he shifts his weight. Being stuffed into a boxy little van with a weak, almost non-existent air conditioner with 5 other people for hours on end through a desert has not done anything for either his appearance or mood. Especially since Dr. Edwards seemed to have forgotten what deodorant was before this trip. Souring both the air and mood further. Worst of all, due to little space within the confines of this metal prison, he’s been forced to hold a box of equipment on his lap and his personal bag jammed under his feet. Sarah Deans, a highly recommended engineer and technician sat comfortably in the front, passenger seat as she raves to Marc, a young stick-like man who, Hughes believes, wants to pursue a career in the medical field and, at this time, driving the last two hours of the trip. Lastly, in the back was a David. Just a David. Who snored and took up too much space with his dangly legs, firmly packed in the back seat among boxes, bags, water crates, and bags of chips. Somehow, that space has also become the trashcan temporarily for the drive but David didn’t mind. He just snuffled and rolled back over. Despite, the nauseating migraine that pulsed and screamed from within, Dr. Hughes tried to keep his less-than-polite thoughts to himself since this trip was taking a toll on all of them. He shallowly breathed from his mouth thinking about this trip.
It was exciting, absolutely thrilling in fact. A chance to study where those materials actually came from. The lead, one Dr. Santos, chose them carefully for this expedition that required quite the amount of paperwork to simply be told about the expedition. Then, looking at the fine print, and the not so fine print (actually rather bolded) about security, health risks, confidentiality, and no-contact. Perhaps, that was why Hughes was here, crammed with a bunch of people who were neither the worst nor the best of their fields. Simply put, they were going to be the least missed. The ones who had no one to spill secrets, no one to call and ask where they went, no one to investigate. It’s not nearly as insidious as it sounds, Hughes thinks so, at least. This is just a confidential project. Honestly, there won’t be any fame or glory, anything discovered will probably be buried in some archive of some governmental agency but in all honesty, Hughes just doesn’t care. He wanted some excitement in his damn life. He wanted a purpose and a direction, all the better that he has nothing holding him back. Dr. Hughes thinks of the materials. They were, simply put, beautiful and terrifying in equal measures. Stronger than diamonds, no, harder than w-BN, no, stronger than even lonsdaleite. What is odd though is that this, well, this crystalline structure isn’t exactly making much sense either. It shouldn’t be radioactive, but it is. It doesn’t seem to be formed from carbon, or boron, or nitrogen. It glowed red. Bright, eerie, and haunting. It was labeled Un-51.
Un-51 was retrieved by some distraught tourist; a man lost in the Nevada desert. He seemed to have lost his mind out there, coming back dehydrated and ranting about dogs of all things. He was carrying Un-51 on his person when military personnel seemed to swoop down from nowhere to retrieve him. Then, the government setting their eyes on the prize, began sending men out in the desert in search of the location of Un-51. Either they found nothing and returned empty-handed or they simply didn’t return at all. Hughes was not an idiot, he knew exactly why the government would be interested in such a thing. After all, the sheer advantages this would give the United States over the rest of the world if they manage to get more Un-51... the weapons, the energy, the vast amount of potential that can be found with Un-51 was, quite frankly, terrifying. Hughes thought it didn’t really matter who wielded such a thing, it would cause a disaster but, then again, he was just looking for something interesting in his life and didn’t really care much about why he was there to begin with. After several troops of men were lost in the Nevada desert, alarming in the fact that this was home territory, the composition of those who took these trips began to change. Until, finally, a pattern was discovered. A convoy that had three civilian-consultants had found a town. One that “breaks our known laws of physics” and “Un-51 is everywhere” and “We found Hell. Literal Hell on earth”. None of the soldiers returned, but the three consultants did, rambling and seemingly mad but they returned. This began the pattern. The soldiers, the government officials, all of them would either never find this mysterious town, or completely disappear off the map but the consultants, the scientists, and occasional random civilian sometimes returned. Thus, how Dr. Hughes, Ms. Deans, Dr. Edwards, Marc, and David got selected for this expedition by one Dr. Carlos Santos.
While Dr. Santos has not been inside the town yet, apparently, he has stood on the edges on several occasions. All alone with neither a convoy or weapon. Simply driving from one of the military checkpoints with intent and curiosity until the town seemingly appeared before him. He stood on that edge enough to speak with apparent local government officials and (believe it or not) came to an agreement with them to allow him and a team to study the town. Dr. Hughes had no doubt that Dr. Santos could and would do such a thing. Meeting him that first time a few months ago left Hughes feeling, well, slightly overwhelmed. He was a strangely fit man for a scientist (and that spoke volumes about his usual “projects”) with a mop of brown floppy curly hair that gave credence to the word “mad scientist”. He was strangely sweet and serious with a morbid humor. Outright giggling at the simple question, “what kind of health and safety risks are there?” and responded with “Well, we’ll all probably simply die quickly and painfully. If we’re lucky, we live long enough to observe the process!”. Perhaps, it says even more about this rag-tag group that they would hear that and still agree to this. Truly, a group that is neither the best or worst, simply with nothing to lose.
Well, actually, Dr. Santos should be there now shouldn't he? Hughes thought. Trepidation filled as they wondered the desert almost aimlessly. He should've arrived this morning to make sure everything was set up properly before giving the go-ahead. It took most of the day of dreadful waiting (it didn't help that Dr. Santos would have to actually leave town in order to be able send a message) until, finally, a squalling shriek was heard on the transmitter, relaying the simple go ahead and several code words.
That was hours ago. Now, well, Marc lets out a little warble as a sand storm starts to block all visuals and the radio lets out short static bursts. Practically shrieking in agony.
-WhY--PeRfecT and BeAUTi---
--A sCienTist---alL bEEn ScieNtisTs aT oNe PoinT--
-That LaB He'S RenTiNG--