The curious facility was planted in the middle of a bountiful green field and surrounded by lush forests. The compound was arranged into colossal rings constructed from space-age materials that when viewed from the air was reminiscent of a crop circle. It was a deliberate design that seemed to convey a message unintelligible to the casual observer.
It was a multinational project built as a symbol of cooperation between the nations of Europe.
Within its confines, scientists from around the world tinkered with the building blocks of existence itself and attempted to unwind the precariously woven threads of reality. At least that was the claim.
Arthur Van Sloot, a Dutch accountant, was sinking into just one of several large leather armchairs in the reception area outside of Doctor Jagansuess's office.
The diminutive middle-aged bureaucrat was silently watching the 5'11 modelesque receptionist play games on her phone. He looked at his watch and sighed. He had been waiting nearly half an hour. He figured the head of one of the world's most prominent particle physics lab must be a busy man, but surely he had been informed Arthur would be dropping in today, right?
“Excuse me,” Arthur said.
The receptionist didn't seem to notice. Her fingers continued to tap vigorously on her phone. She bit down on her bottom lip completely engrossed in her electronic game.
“Excuse me,” Arthur repeated.
She looked up. Her large breast pushed out against her low-cut sweater. Arthur could feel himself turning red and quickly looked away.
“Sorry to trouble you but do you think you could page Doctor Jagansuess and let him know I'm here?” Arthur meekly requested.
The receptionist smiled displaying rows of immaculate pearly white teeth.
“Of course.” She replied cheerily with an accent Arthur pegged as Swedish. “Um, what did you say your name was?”
“Arthur Van Sloot, I was sent by the European court of auditors.”
“Ohhh.” The receptionist's friendly smile twisted into one of concern.
“One moment please.” she said as she sped away from her desk.
She disappeared into the small hallway that connected the room to Jaggensuess's office. Arthur heard her knock on the door. He could faintly hear the exchange of brief slightly panicked whispers and after a few seconds the door slammed shut and the smiling receptionist nonchalantly returned to the waiting room.
“Doctor Jaggensuess will see you in a moment.” she said.
“Thank you.” Replied Arthur.
After a few moments, Arthur could hear the unseen door at the end of the hallway open again. There was the sound of two female voices giddily chattering in Italian. The doctor emerged from the corridor flanked by two olive-skinned beauties the likes of which Arthur had only known to exist in high-end fashion magazines.
The doctor was a tall man bespectacled man in his early 40's. He appeared quite a bit differently than he had in the newspapers or magazines. His hair was disheveled, and his clothes looked like they had been picked up off the floor.
“Alright Doctors that was a very good conversation about relativity and singularity but, unfortunately, we will have to continue it another time.” The doctor said speaking loudly and deliberately. The girls giggled again, and one of them said something in Italian before taking a sample sized bottle of liquor out of the pocket of her tightly fitting jeans and taking a long swig.
“Ok, then Ciao ciao.” The doctor said nervously as he pushed them out the door.
Arthur could hear the stilettos of the giggling girls tapping rhythmically down the hallway. The doctor shut the door and sighed before turning to Arthur.
“Hello, I am Doctor Jaggensuess. I run this lab” He said extending his hand
Arthur quickly stood up and vigorously shook the Doctor's hand.
“I am Arthur Van Sloot from the European court of auditors. Nice to meet you Herr Doctor.” Arthur said. “I hope I am not interrupting anything important.”
“Oh, no, of course, not Mr. Van Sloot.” Jaggensuess said reassuringly. “They were just umm colleagues from another research facility I worked in.
“Ah, of course.” Said Arthur. The two men stood in silence for a moment.
“Why don't we got step into my office, and we can talk further.” Jaggensuess suggested.
“Right.” Agreed Arthur.
Jaggensuess gestured for Arthur to go ahead. After he had turned away, the doctor discreetly zipped up his pants.
Jaggensuess's office was a cavernous space decorated and furnished at the height of fashionable luxury. On the far right wall in front of a window that gave a portrait-like view of the almost divine scenery outside was a large leather couch. A necktie hanging precariously off one of the plush looking arm rests.
The doctor walking with the stride of a prince made his way over to his throne like seat and planted himself down. Directly behind him was a bar, fully stocked with bottles of liquor whose origins spanned the globe. Hanging above that was a flat screen television with an image quality that detailed everything to levels almost inconceivable to the human eye.
"Please make yourself comfortable." Jaggensuess said pointing to the chair directly in front of his desk.
Arthur took his seat. He was immediately overwhelmed by the number of ways it adjusted and reclined.
"It was originally a massage chair from Tia Land." Jaggensuess said in amusement as he watched the bewildered dutchman fiddle with the chair's settings.
The doctor reclined in his chair and clasped his hands in a stately manner. “So how can I be of service today Mr....
“Van Sloot” . Arthur said. “I was sent here because of your request to the European Union for 1.2 billion Euro in addition to your annual budgetary allotment.”
Jaggensuess nodded his head seeming unfazed by what he just heard.
“The finance minster's office seems to think this is an awfully large sum I was sent to assess the fiscal prudence of activities here.” Arthur finished.
“I see, very well.” Jaggensuess said straightening himself up.
“You see everything in the universe is made of atom and...
“I just need to know why you are asking for 1.2 billion euros.” Van Sloot interrupted.
“Alright, I understand.” Conceded Jangehoffer as he slid back in his chair and held up his folded hands.
“Are you familiar with the God particle?” Jaggensuess asked.
“You're referring to the Higgs boson particle?” Asked Van Sloot
Jaggensuess scoffed. “They might as well call that the Jesus particle it's of at best secondary importance to what we have discovered here Mr. Van Sloot. What we're working within his facility may be the difference between eternal prosperity and relatively imminent total annihilation.” Said Jaggensuess.
A heavy silence hung in the air as he leaned forward his intense, unblinking eyes locked with the now intimidated accountant. “Mr. Van Sloot this could make us masters of reality and propel us to Godhood, but if left unabated could also banish all of existence into oblivion.” He said in a whisper.
Time seemed to stand still, and a heavy silence lingered in the room.
“What exactly have you found?” Asked the awestruck Dutchman.
“If I may.” Jaggensuess said as he stood up and placed a sleek nearly flat ivory colored projector on his desk and aimed the light at the wall on the far left of the room. He began fervently scribbling equations in often barely legible writing.
“If X is time and Y is the variable for decay then Q must be raised to the Nth power. Since we can surmise light will travel H kilometers in a standard planetary Dozolbar...
“I'm sorry a what?” Van Sloot asked.
“A Dozolbar.” Repeaed Jaggensuess.
The accountant shrugged.
“Ok well, a Dozolbar is a unit even smaller than an atom, and it dictates the rotation of the outlying rings of electrons so when you have a....
“Wait what do you mean?” Van Sloot said shaking his head.
“Hmmm let me see how I can put this.” Jaggensuess mused. “It's probably best I just start from the beginning.”
“OK.” Van Sloot nodded.
“14 Billion years ago the Universe was a....
And so the doctor's explanation turned into a lecture and before long the bureaucrat from Brussels was lost in confusion as the torrent of unintelligible jargon swept away his attention span. Every word required a new explanation and every explanation produced another word completely foreign to Van Sloot.
Before long Van Sloot was reduced to nodding his head while feigning an expression of understanding, by the time Jaggensuess concluded Van Sloot was more confused than ever.
“So you see that is why 1.2 billion Euros is the absolute minimum amount to fund our research and maybe the only way to avert an imminent Armageddon.”
“Wow.” Said Van Sloot said in reference.
Jaggensuess answered with a somber nod.
“Perhaps I should see how this the work is done so that I could better understand it.” Suggested Van Sloot
Jaggensues lead the bewildered accountant through a subterranean concrete hive. Occasionally they were passed by speeding golf carts. The grinning drivers blasted techno music from high-end sound systems wired to the little vehicles. The pressed down on their horns to greet the head scientist.
There were steel red doors at regular intervals throughout the structure. For the most part, the thick rectangular planes of glass built into the doors were portals into mostly dark empty rooms. There was one though that even at a distant Van Sloot could see a brilliantly flashing light blinking through the glass.
“What is happening in there? Van Sloot asked peering into the hypnotic strobe.
“Get away from there!” Jaggensuess shrieked, he pulled Van Sloot away from the door.
“Keep your wits about you! You are likely to get vaporized around here.” The physicist advised mid-stride.
“Oh, Thank you.” Said Van Sloot straightening out his button down.
Before they could pass the door, it burst open. Music blared from inside the chamber, and a shirtless man in a Zorro mask emerged with a woman wearing nothing, but a lab coat emerged from the flickering light that fragmented in the spilling fog.
“Alright, baby let me show you how we smash particles around here.” A raspy Australian voice said.
Arthur paused and watched them disappear around the concrete bend.
“Come, the laser lab is this way.” Jaggensuess said ignoring the incident.
Van Sloot found himself standing over a labyrinth of metal and glass emplacements that were meant to guide the laser. He still didn't understand what particular purpose the high energy beam served but for some reason the good doctor felt it was important to demonstrate its power.
“Ok, now watch as I cut steel with light!” The elated physicist announced as he lowered protective goggles over his eyes. Van Sloot quickly followed suit.
“Doctor Alois if you would please.” Jaggensuess requested.
“Yeah, why not? Let's do this!”Shouted the boisterous Norweigan physicist manning the switch. He put his goggles over his eyes and switched on the laser. A red beam fired into the steel plate. There were sparks and a tearing sound. The mesmerized accountant watched the fiery crimson light cut the steel like butter.
“So you see that is what we do here!” Jaggensuess proudly proclaimed at the end of the demonstration.
Van Sloot removed his goggles. “Doctor Jaggensuess that was very impressive, but I am afraid it didn't give me any more insight into the purpose of this lab.”
“But...that was a laser everyone is always impressed by the laser.” Jaggensuess said sounding confused.
“Yeah, it's super cool number one.” The Danish physicists chimed in.
“Herr Doctor I am afraid I have no other choice, but to recommend your request for 1.2 billion euros be denied. Furthermore, I am afraid I must also recommend an immediate investigation into the spending at this facility. Frankly I have seen waste at levels I can't help but find insulting.”
Jaggensuess exchanged glances with Alois. He then turned his squinted gaze on Van Sloot.
“Alright, Van Sloot I get it.” Said Jaggensuess.
“You get it?” Repeated Van Sloot
“You want in on this is that it?” The doctor asked. “That's fine. You can drop in and make use of the facilities any time you want. Help yourself to any one of our open bars and we store the blow in the optics lab. If you want a woman, just pick up any one of the phones and dial nine then dial the number for the type of woman you want sent to you followed by the pound sign. I believe 3 is for Asian, 2 is for Italian, and if you want Spanish..."
“Doctor Jaggensuess I must stop you there. I am a servant of the citizens of the European Union and as such it is my duty to be sure their money is being used prudently and responsibly towards projects that will better their lives. I am afraid I have to shut you down permanently,” Declared the dutiful bureaucrat.
Jaggensuess shook his head. “Well, I am sorry things had to turn out this way....Now Alois!” He shouted. Before he had any time to react Van Sloot's skull was pierced by the laser. The burning photons drilled through his skull and into his brain killing him instantly. His body hit the cold floor with a thud.
“Well, that was most unfortunate.” Muttered Jaggensuess.
“Ja.” Agreed the Danish doctor.
“Draft a new proposal. Ask for something smaller this time, one...two hundred million Euros maybe.”
“But Doctor...” Gasped Alois.
“I know I know.” Said Jaggensuess. “It will be tight. Kobe beef night might have to be prime rib night, and we might have to start getting local prostitutes rather than flying them in on the jet for a while, but we'll be fine. It might even do us some good to learn to live with less for a while.