Michael was dressed in a pressure suit and a helmet was placed on his head. He was tested for eye hand response one last time and then brought to another room. In the center of the room was a pedestal, on it a quarter sphere sat, large cables coming from each hexagonal section that made up its form. Inside it was a chair, and Michael knew he was to sit in it.
“Go ahead,” Said one of the team members.
Michael looked around one last time and made his way to the pedestal. He climbed a short ladder that was placed by team members and removed once he crested the rim of the cup. He sat in the chair and looked at the controls.
“Michael,” came a voice over a speaker in his helmet.
“Yes?” he responded.
Michael began the process and soon heard the sounds he somehow knew where supposed to accompany the movements he made. A loud hissing sound erupted from above, and when he looked up, the other three quarters of the sphere was descending toward him slowly. His gaze returned to the control console and he continued the process. Finally, the top of the sphere connected against the bottom and with his last few keystrokes, a clamping sound reverberated through the sphere. “Initial State,” he said into the helmet, his breath slightly fogging the transparent faceplate.
“Good job Michael. We're almost done. Just wait a few moments alright?” said Smalldridge.
“Ok,” Michael said. In the darkness of the sphere, he played back the conversation Dan had with the Colonel. There was something that was said, something that caught his mind. It was the name Cassandra. Once he thought of it, the name became a constant, impressed in his mind. An immovable presence.
“Michael.” Smalldridge's voice once again came through the speaker of his helmet.
“Dan,” Michael responded.
Michael's arms went into action, and the hum of the superconductors winding up in every hexagonal compartment that created the sphere climbed to a high squeal. Nearing the very end of the process Michael grasped the throttle, and froze.
Smalldridge looked up from the instruments and peered at the sphere. He hit the button for his mic to transmit. “Michael, what's wrong?” He heard heavy breathing on the other end.
“Who is Cassandra?”
Smalldridge's face sank. “Michael, engage the throttle one fifth of the way.”
“Answer my question.”
“God damn it Michael.”
“Who is Cassandra?”
“Just do what I am telling you to do!” The Doctor was yelling at the top of his lungs. “Push the throttle forward.”
Michael squinted in frustration. “Ok,” he said, and then drove the throttle to the very end of its travel.
Immediately, the superconductors hissed loudly and the entire sphere began shuddering. Red lights dominated the control console. “Singularity State,” Michael said, with disdain and sarcasm.
“Get out! Everybody get out!” said Smalldridge through Michael's helmet, followed by the clunking sound of the mic falling over.
Michael heard the muffled sounds of men screaming as the device shuddered violently. The red that painted the inside of the sphere was soon dominated by a white glowing light. Michael felt something, it was uncomfortable. Pain coursed through his body, he began to scream and screamed until his breath ran out. At some point during the agony, he passed into unconsciousness.