"Is there anything we can do? Can you stop the rift or whatever it is that's happening? What the hell is that thing?"
The panel paused for a moment as if to think.
"1. No. 2. I can initiate hard reset, this is not recommended. For more information refer to your manual. 3. Non-recognised multi-dimensional lifeform based on quantum signature memoisation of a sample of this universes carbon atoms."
Hal and I just blinked at each other.
"Manual? What manu-"
"25 seconds to failure." the panel interrupted.
I looked at Hal.
"Crap! Just do it! Do it! Initiate reboot!"
"Rebooting. Please stand by."
Suddenly hissing filled the air as the coolant usage shot of the charts. We could feel the machinery straining under the load, the temperature fluctuating up and down like a yo-yo. I only hoped we were not too late and that Serina was still alive.
While I panicked, looking at the machinery as stress cracks began to form in the cooling rods, huge cylinders of metal that slowly decended into place against the hull of the Chamber, Hal interrogated the panel.
"Why is the reboot not recommended?"
"High-level interface not loaded. Do you wish to enable the low-level interface?"
Text ran over the screen. Hal read it the he grabbed my arm.
"This doesn't look good."
"You think I don't know that!?"
"No, I mean this really doesn't look good." He beckoned me over to the screen.
Examination Textual Interface V100204002
Stage 1 complete. Reality isolation systems holding.
Stage 2 complete. Formatting reality to within Chamber parameters.
Stage 3 processing. Reinitialising universe based on initial seed content from time constant 0. Estimated time to completion 23 seconds. Processing at a rate of 23.4e10 years per second.
"Does that mean what I think that means?"
"I think so. We just started the big bang in a box."
I had a feeling that Serina was not going to be all right.