Snakes and Pills

142 - matter

What if this doesn't work?" Zack asked, as his three compatriots scrambled around him. They were plugging cables into their ports and arranging components into their designated spots.

"It definitely won't work if you just sit there worrying about it, instead of helping us to get ready," said one of his friends, Belle.

"Yeah, come on Zack. We've come this far but you know we don't have any time to waste now, so hurry up with the programming," his best friend, Tim, implored. Zack considered this whole mess to be Tim's fault. He had forced Zack and their other friend, Lilly, to follow Belle to the old man's laboratory, where they eventually found themselves transported to this horrible place.

Lilly. Zack gave her a glance, and saw that she was working diligently on constructing the teleporter. She didn't deserve to be here, either, but she wasn't complaining like he was.

He wasn't going to be the one responsible for marooning her here, so he got back to work on the computer console. Among the four, he was the best with computers, but everything in this dimension was weird. The method of inputting the commands was different despite being familiar, and Zack found himself constantly making mistakes.

The instructions that they had received from the old man were not exactly what they could call clear. They had suffered through intense tribulations to find a way to establish any form of inter-dimensional communication at all, so they had to make do with the plans they could get.

Each of them struggled, but Zack was the last one to complete his tasks. As the others sat there watching him frantically entering commands into the console, Belle kept looking at her watch. They all knew the window for cross-dimension transfer was slight, and Zack disliked how she kept checking the time.

"I think this does it," he said nervously as he keyed in the last few commands. He felt even more nervous now that he had completed his job. What if he had made a mistake? What if he hadn't, and the teleporter still didn't work anyway?

"All right, Zack! Let's boot her up, then!" Tim excitedly ordered. With a moment's hesitation, Zack flipped a few switches, fully expecting nothing to happen. They had been fools to think that this could ever work.

On the contrary, the machine that Belle, Tim, Lilly, and Zack had built sprung to life. The sound of wind whooshing toward the transfer point filled the air, and the spot began to glow a bright electrical yellow.

"It's working," Lilly quietly uttered in amazement, while the others stared on, dumbfounded.

Over the next minute, the transfer point stabilized. It had a very similar appearance to the portal which brought them to this dimension in the first place. "Well, Zack, can you get any readout on this?" Tim asked, his eyes still transfixed on the glowing yellow orb.

Zack checked the display on the teleporter. "Not much, other than that it's matching the expected data the old man gave us."

"That's good enough for me. Besides, who knows how long it will stay stable? I'm going," Belle said confidently. She ran forward into the light and disappeared, just like the first time. Tim gave a quick glance back to his friends, and then plunged into the portal, too.

Only Zack and Lilly remained. He knew that they had no idea if the teleporter would take them back to their dimension, or to some other place altogether. A place that could be even worse than where they were now.

Lilly stepped forward. She turned back to look at Zack. "See you at home," she said, and then stepped through.

He hesitated no longer.


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