The Machine

PART SEVEN: THE VOID

Avery tried to convince her mother Aurora and her mother’s project partner, Dr. Paisley Clarke to resume their groundbreaking work in finding viable means of connecting to and therefore exploring Alternate Realities but was unable to do so for several days following the failed first attempt of testing out Avery’s quantum jumping abilities.

What was worse was the Director of the Department of Defense fully supported the idea of discontinuing with the project, diverting the resources allocated to the Top Secret project to other Science Division Units and reassigning both Dr. Clarke and Aurora to other responsibilities.

Avery felt that her quantum jumping abilities were being underutilized and was determined to spare her son from becoming a test subject once he turned 21 which was what she assumed would happen should some higher ups ever see the documentation on the Machine Project and want to take it on once more. To Avery, the only way to spare her son from future experimentation was to achieve what the Project had aimed for from the very beginning- connecting to at least one Alternate Reality.

Avery then decided that the best course of action was to perfect her quantum jumping abilities. By then, she knew that they were triggered by fear particularly concerning her son’s safety.

During the last attempt to better understand her abilities, Avery had managed to jump into a timeless void and had only managed to escape it by focusing on her unspoken promise to her son which was to return to him alive. Automatically, the void had responded by transporting her to the exact location where her desired target was in the current Reality.

Avery wanted to test her abilities further and see whether she would be able to use the void to transport her to another target of her choice. She strongly believed that the void would somehow help her connect to Alternate Realities although she was unsure of how it would do so. She was baffled that she so strongly believed in an unfounded belief.

Aurora was completely adamant in her denial to test Avery’s abilities any further. She threatened to involve Emre should Aurora have learned that Avery was planning on testing her abilities despite Aurora’s strong warning against it. Aurora even went as far as to involve Director Shaw who always ensured Avery was chaperoned wherever she went and kept an annoyingly close watch on every little thing Avery did.

Back at home, Emre was on full alert despite being reassured that his beloved Avery was safe and off the dangerous Secret Project. He took nothing to chance and continued to keep an eye on her, aiding Aurora and Director Shaw’s efforts to ‘protect’ her. Their coordinated efforts saw to it that Avery did not have an opportunity to practice her quantum jumping abilities at all which greatly worried her.

Avery knew that she had to find a way to explore those abilities and avoid detection from her eagle-eyed squad of protectors. She had no idea what happened in her present Reality whenever she entered the void but from the previous experiment, she knew that time ceased to exist in there. Avery wondered whether she could control her moment of re-entry into her Present Reality to avoid detection.

There was only one sure way for Avery to know the extent of her abilities for sure and so she masterfully diverted away from her chaperone, locked herself behind a dark room and attempted to trigger her abilities by focusing on her greatest fears concerning her son.

The last thing Avery became conscious of before drifting off into the void was an entire team of protectors bursting into the room in search for her. She nearly had a nervous fit of laughter as Reality shifted into the peaceful nothingness of the void.

Avery’s consciousness settled into the void but as with the first time, her mind attempted to fill the silence of the void with thoughts and memories. She peacefully went through the memories whilst trying to get her bearing. She found that she lost her ability to tell time entirely and in a blind panic, attempted to find a way back to her Present Reality.

The first thought that came to mind was when she had avoided the team of protectors assigned to bring her back no matter what. Avery wondered whether she could return to that specific moment in time or if she could only ever present at a future time in her Reality. She would soon learn that the answer when she suddenly reappeared in Present Reality at the precise moment the team assigned to her burst into the room.

The team all looked at her as if she was a ghost, backing away slowly whilst suspiciously observing her. Avery sighed and decided to go to see Director Shaw straight away, mentally bracing herself for the storm she had created for herself.

She was surprised that Director Shaw and Aurora both looked so worried about her.

“Avery, please present yourself to the Med Bay immediately,” Director Shaw stated worriedly.

“Okay, I’ll do so in a minute but may I ask why everyone is acting so weird?”

“What do you mean?”

“The team you sent to catch me before I went into the void, they-“

“Wait a minute, what do you mean before you went into the void?” Aurora asked her daughter in shock.

“Well, I managed to slip away into the void anyway and came back,”

“Director?” Aurora asked surprised.

Director Shaw and Aurora reviewed the camera footage from the room Avery had barricaded herself in. For what appeared to be a fraction of a minute, a blindingly white light obstructed the view of the camera obscuring Avery’s image but then resuming less than a minute later.

“You are saying that you somehow managed to slip into the void?” Aurora asked Avery.

“Yeah,”

“It must be what the ominous white light means but how can that be? This light obscured the camera for less than a minute. The last time you entered the void, you were there for hours. What made today different?” Director Shaw asked.

“Nevermind that, Avery, you need to go to the Med Bay immediately! Your Bio-Tech is most probably fried again,”

“I don’t think so. I feel fine. I don’t feel disoriented like the last time,”

“Are you sure that you managed to slip into the void? Are you sure that you didn’t just imagine it?”

“Oh I am pretty sure I was there. I just made a conscious choice to be back here, in that moment and then I was here,”

“Report to the Med Bay, Avery,” Director Shaw ordered. Avery sighed but did as instructed.

“What could this all mean, Aurora?”

“I do not understand it myself, Director. It appears that the void allows Avery to reinsert back into any time in the Present Reality she desires,”

“What’s more confusing is what the team I assigned to get to her report. It seemed that for a few moments, none of them could recall who Avery was or what their mission concerning her entailed,”

“What?”

“The team leader even went as far as to say that it was as if for a moment, Avery had ceased to exist entirely at least for them,”

“Director, what does it all mean?”

“It means that we need to invest resources into understanding this void that Avery travels to. Essentially, this void functions in a way that is not very well understood and knowing Avery… well, we both know she won’t stop until she has achieved her goals. To better protect her, we need to understand exactly what that void is and how it works,”

Meanwhile, Avery reported to the Med Bay but found that she did not require any further assistance since everything was in working order. She reflected on her achievement for that particular day and looked forward to exploring the void more.

Avery was interrogated about her experiences and later learned that the Director had tasked the Space-Time Division into understanding the extra-dimensional void she traveled to and its potential for possible harm or gain for all life across their Present Reality.

“Would it be too much to ask for you to not go back to that void, honey? At least until we understand it better,” Aurora asked Avery.

Avery shook her head. “I’m so close, mom. I can do this. I’m getting the hang of it,”

“You are endangering your life, honey. Why can’t you just drop it?”

“Because I don’t want Blaize to become a lab rat in future. I can do this so please, just put me to task,”

Aurora shook her head. “I never should have allowed this… Look at what I made you do,”

“It was my choice, mom. And I would make it again in a heartbeat for my son,”

Aurora sighed. It was abundantly clear that Avery would not give up on her mission. Only time would tell what that would mean for Avery.

TO BE CONTINUED…

A determined Avery cannot be stopped or can she? Stay tuned to find out. Links to the previous parts are listed below;

  1. The Machine Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3
  4. Part 4
  5. Part 5
  6. Part 6

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