"Oh crap! Every body get out! NOW!" I yelled as I dived for the exit to the Chamber.
Hal dived out after me, the shape expanding wildly behind him, colours and sounds changing rapidly, faster than our senses could register them.
Serina reached the door as the shape absorbed the rest of the lab equipment but the emergency measures kicked in and the door locked behind us. Silent, immovable and utterly indifferent to the wide open mouth and hammering of fists on the other side.
Poor Serina. I looked on in horror, Dr. Hal next to me panting and bent over from the exertion, as she faded from view, the Chamber automatically shielding the outside world from it's contents of any form. Nothing would leave that chamber now, not light, not sound. Nothing. Not even black holes had the sheer force to contain as did the Chamber.
We would never see Serina again and for what? Science? All we had learned was that playing with things we didn't understand cost lives. What we were doing wasn't science, it was children playing with fire.
And Serina had to burn to save us.
"Damn it! DAMN IT!"
"It wasn't your fault." Hal said, as if reading my mind, still out of breath. He put a hand on my shoulder. "Look, lets go the the diagnostics panel. Maybe we can find out what's going on, maybe she's still alive."
I let out a shuddering sigh and nodded.
The Examination Chamber was situated near Geneva on the old site of the Large Hadron Collider, which was appropriate. The being who had sold it to us had first come when the LHC finally discovered the Higgs boson, the God particle. The experiment ran, the results came in, the aliens appeared. It had all been a matter of moments. They told us that further experimentation was unwise at our current level of technology, showed us proof that self-destruction was certain unless we took our time. Of course, they knew we were an impatient race, so they came to make a deal. Why let a race destroy itself when they could profit instead? They sold us the Examination Chamber, a place where we could run any experiment we desired without fear of the consequences ever having an effect on the outside universe. They offered it for the low, low price of the majority of our suns energy output for the next few thousand years. It seemed fair enough at first, after all the human race wasn't using it anyway. So they built a Dysons Sphere around our solar system.
It's still strange to look up at the night sky and see no stars.
We walked through the maze of mezzinine flooring until we reached the diagnostics panel. It required immense cooling, due to the work it did. Of course, you couldn't make observations without effecting the results, especially when you needed to observe effects of experiments that might destroy the entire universe inside the Chamber. The diagnostic panel worked, as far as our limited understanding to comprehend, by not observing the results in our reality, but by extrapolating the results by looking at the shadows the reality within the Examination Chamber cast on other realities. That required a lot of power and lots of power required lots of cooling. Until now we had never turned the diagnostics panel on. The cooling required was enough to freeze the oceans ten times over, so understandably messing around with it wasn't something any one took lightly.
Hal switched on the panel and we waited as the machinery spun into action, the bitter cold of the activating cooling units prickling our skin like daggers.