Peter, a scientist, is in need of a new assistant. One shows up at the lab, and there's something bizarre and archaic about him...
WANTED: Lab Assistant. Must be willing to work occassional long hours, have liking to various sciences, be able to follow detailed instructions. Room provided. Apply at 715 Gyrum Ave., ask for Peter.
Peter ran a rough hand through his hair, clearly exhausted. How many times had he published this ad? Seven? Twelve? Seventeen? Yes, seventeen in the past two years. For some inexplicable reason, no matter what he did, he just couldn't keep an assistant around for very long.
"Perhaps this time'll be different," Peter muttered to himself, then laughed at the thought. "Yeah. That'll happen."
In less than two days, while Peter thoughtfully devoured his oatmeal, a knock sounded at the door.
"Who could that be this early in the morning?" he wondered aloud. He often wondered aloud, as he felt he thought more clearly when he actually heard his thoughts. He opened the door a crack.
"Good morning, sir." A rather lanky young man stood on the concrete step, clutching a dripping copy of the classifieds in his hand. "I'm here for the lab assistant's position. Are you Peter?"
"I am. And you are...?"
"Conduitt. John Conduitt."
Peter took his extended hand, taking this moment to give him a once-over. Straw hair, slightly flattened by the rain that morning; his thin fingers were surprisingly strong. But what he couldn't quite figure out were the eyes, a sort of misty grey clouded by a sort of blue and green. They just had this crafty spark, an intelligent enthusiasm; Peter wasn't quite sure he liked it. But he seemed willing and able enough. He knew he was messing with Murphy's Law, but he shrugged and asked himself, "What could go wrong?"
As he invited Conduitt in, Peter couldn't help but think that the name sounded oddly familiar. Perhaps something similar to a name he'd heard, then instantly forgotten, in a history class way back when? Ah, that wasn't important at the moment.
Still, he couldn't shake that nagging bit of apprehension.