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Mark started in the IT office about a year ago. Mark found it enjoyable, he really likes helping people out with their computers and being a help desk Tech. He didn't have to do the political or paperwork part of his job. But there's certain things, as in every job, that aren't much fun. Mark had to go up to the top floor occasionally to work on the top management's PC's. Mark didn't mind working on the PC's, it was the snide comments that upper management would make at him as he was working. Last time Mark was up there working on a PC he was having trouble correcting the error. The next thing Mark heard was a voice saying, 'if you can't fix that properly I'll find someone who can.' That was really the only bad part of Mark's job. But, Mark cringed and dreaded when his phone would ring and it would be a call to fix upper management PC's. Today was one of those days. Only today it wasn't his phone that rang. His supervisor came over to his cubicle.
"Johnson wants to see you up on the hundred and twelfth floor."
"The CEO wants to see me!?" Mark said.
"Yes, the CEO wants to see you in his office. Now quit yapping and get your ass up there." Mark's supervisor said.
"Alright Paul, I'll head up there." Mark said. Mark collected his IT bag which was full of his tools and headed out for the door which led to the main elevator.
"Not that way Mark. It's busy as hell and you'll be waiting 20 minutes for that elevator. Today take the back elevator, the special one," Paul said.
"That one is reserved for the upper management. If they catch me using that I'll get yelled at and reprimanded," Mark said.
"I'll take the heat for it. Don't worry about it. Besides it's for Mr. Johnson anyway. If they give you any flack for it tell them I sent you that way," Paul said.
"Thanks Paul, I will," Mark said.
Mark took off for the back elevator, the special one. Not many people had ridden in or even seen the back elevator. Mark was surprised at the lavishness of the elevator. The doors were made with pure gold. The buttons looked as if they were made out of diamonds. Mark pushed the up button and waited for the elevator to come. The button did feel solid like a diamond. Mark didn't have to wait long for the elevator to show up. When it opened its doors again Mark saw the lavishness of the corporate elevator. The walls seemed to be made out of silver polished almost like a mirror. The buttons inside seemed to be made out of all sorts of different gemstones. Mark pressed the button for the top floor. It was a diamond as well. The floor of the elevator was very soft carpet and looked to be expensive. Mark was able to request a genre of music to listen to during his ride. Mark always had a thing for Rock and soon Metallica was playing in the elevator.
Mark didn't make it through a full song even though the ride seemed to be slow as if going through more floors than the building actually had. Mark thought maybe they meant to make this a glass elevator so you can look out at the city on your way up but somehow made it into a regular elevator instead. Mark felt those glass elevators always went a little slower. The doors of the elevator opened onto an office that was larger than Mark's last three houses combined. The office almost seemed like a house itself it seemed to have a living room with a TV. A bedroom with a gigantic bed and silk sheets. The office also had a giant bathroom with a walk-in shower and tub. Linens for both the bedroom and towels for that bathroom were stacked on the shelves in there. There was an actual Office Space with a desk that was polished wooden oak very ornate. On top of the desk was Mark's target PC. Mark started toward the PC. Mark was then surprised when Mr. Johnson moved from where he was standing by the window. Mr. Johnson was on the phone. Mr. Johnson had just been listening to the party and had been intent on what they had to say and stood quietly listening to them. So when Mr. Johnson finally did move Mark jumped.
"So you're the tech I asked IT for?" Mr. Johnson said
"I am," Mark said.
"The PC has been running a bit slow. I just want you to see if you can run some simple diagnostics and see if there is anything you can do to improve the productivity of the PC. I am using some heavy autocad software combined with some heavy calc and I need as much computing power as I can get. I have complete confidence in you as I asked for the best we had in the department," said Mr. Johnson.
"I haven't been here so long, only six months. I have gotten to know the systems well in that time but I don't think I am the best; surely there are a few techs that have been here longer and seen more than I have," Mark said.
"Well, the truth is I wanted several people to come look at the PC and get a team to get the most for my money. But Paul recommended you saying 'you're the best tech he's ever seen.' He also said, 'it's like you naturally can speak computer as if at one time you had been one yourself.' I wasn't sure how to take that at first but I feel with such high praises you will be our CIO someday. But, I don't want to give you too big of a head. Let's see how you deal with this problem first," Mr. Johnson said.
Mark wasn't sure how to take the computer comment at first wondering if it was a remark on his lack of a personal life. Mark shrugged it off thinking that he would ask Paul about that later. "Sure thing Mr. Johnson, let me get to it," Mark said.
Mark moved the mouse and the monitor lit up with the typical company background.
"Sir, you should always lock your PC. I shouldn't have any access to your user account," Mark said.
"Quite right. What was your name again?" Mr. Johnson said.
"How rude, I'm sorry sir my name is Mark," Mark said holding his hand out to the CEO.
Mr. Johnson grabbed his hand with a nice firm grip and exactly the kind of handshake you would expect a CEO to have.
"So courteous as well. You are the kind of man I would like to have representing the company. Keep up the good work and you will do well here," Mr. Johnson said.
Mark got the feeling it was a bit of a snow job but Mark couldn't help himself it was nice to hear good things about yourself.
"Sir, before you do any kind of promotion I think I should fix your speed issues before we move on to anything else," Mark Said.
"Quite right, carry on," Mr. Johnson said.
Mark went back to the PC. Since he was already logged into Mr. Johnson's account he figured it would just be faster to work in his account so Mark did. Checking the RAM Mark was surprised to find that the amount of RAM was far above anything he had ever seen, one Exabyte to be exact.
"Sir, the amount of RAM is well... it seems to be excessive. I doubt that the RAM or the chip is the problem. Let me run a speedtest to see if connectivity to the internet might be the problem," Mark said and then clicked away on the keyboard to run the test.
The speed test came back high as well. Mark's face stretched in surprise. "Over 100 Gigabytes up and down. This is faster than any fiber connection we have right now. Are you connected to the backbone? It almost seems too fast of a connection for that either," Mark said and then continued shaking his head softly, "regardless of what type of connection you have this clearly isn't the problem either. Everything looks good chipset, RAM, your internet connection. Wait, maybe the server is full. If the server is full you could see a slowdown when your PC is trying to access the database off of the hard drive of the server." Mark click a few keys and found something odd. The domain was different than the rest of the company's. Which wouldn't necessarily be an odd thing companies sometimes do use different domains for different reasons. Except that everything in this building was on the same domain. So this PC was connecting to a completely different domain to get its rules. So Mark pinged the domain and then the server and found that the servers IP was in a range outside of anything they had assigned in the company. Or at least anything Mark had seen in the company.
"Sir, what server are you connecting to and where is that located?" Mark said.
"You are good, do you really need to know where the server is located?" Mr. Johnson said.
"Hold on one moment." Mark said and pinged the server he had just tracked down. The ping times were dropping and when the packets did send the servers response time was well over a second. "There is one thing I could try first," Mark said and then proceeded to replace the cable. After replacing the cable Mark did another ping test to the server but the results came back the same.
"The ping times from the server are intermittent after replacing the cable I can say it isn't that nor is it the PC since ping times to the internet were good. More than likely it is the server having issues with the hard drive. I'll need to access the hard drive to make sure. I can either remote in but I don't have credentials to log in. So I think I am going to need to go take a look directly at the server," Mark said.
"I was afraid that you were going to say that," Mr. Johnson said and then called down to security.
"Send up a squad the IT guys needs to access the server," Mr. Johnson said into the phone. Then turning back to Mark Mr. Johnson offered Mark something to drink while they were waiting for men to show up from security.
As they sat Mr. Johnson spoke again and Mark started to get the feeling this wasn't going to be an ordinary day.
"So Mark, it looks like you're going to represent the company earlier than I thought and in more of your current role and not a supervisor or CIO. Just remember you signed a waiver when you started working here. What you're about to experience is mainly what we do here in the corporation. What you are about to see and hear are top secret and if word got out, if one of our competitors got word, they could develop their own tech and we wouldn't have the advantage any longer. So again do you understand that this is very important to the company's survival?"
Mark got a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach and chills ran up his spine as he answered, "I understand. I won't tell anyone about what I am going to see."
"Good," Mr. Johnson said slapping a hand onto the back of Mark.
The bell rang and a few men who looked like military with armor and helmets came up in the elevator. Soon another elevator arrived with more men and soon another. All the men were dressed in high military gear and armor. All the men were heavily armed as well. Six elevator cars full of men came into the office and the men started to line up and the men lined up ready to take the back elevator back down. A man who seemed to lead the men came up and spoke briefly with Mr. Johnson.
"Are your men ready Captain?" Said Mr. Johnson.
"They are, sir. What's the assignment?" The captain asked.
"Mainframe duty Captain. Mark here needs to go down and look at the server and why it isn't communicating well with the PC here in my office. Take Mark down to the server room and be sure to take the spare parts if Mark needs to replace anything be sure that he has it." Mr. Johnson said.
"Yes sir." The captain said.
Turning to the men the captain said to his men "First car, server room establish a beachhead around the car until car two arrives then start to secure the room. Once car five arrives there will be enough men to guard the entrances around the room. Don't forget about the ventilation systems, watch those carefully as well. Remember to radio in if anything move down there."
The men groaned a bit about hearing that they were heading to the server room. But the captain said, "Hey none of that we are professionals here. Remember your training and everything is going to be alright."
Mark thought what in the hell did I get myself into and the chills he felt became much stronger.
The men went down one carload at a time. Until Mark the captain and a few men entered the elevator.
"Don't worry about anything Mark. We are going to be right there with you. I can tell you it's all quiet down there, nothing has come back over the radio. Quiet is good. We are going to get you in and then back out with no problems," The captain said.
"That seems comforting," Mark said.
"Now I know I make this sound ominous but it isn't. We are going to walk in there you are going to fix the server and we are going to walk out again," The Captain said.
Mark nodded in the affirmative and said, "I am sure it's nothing. Let's get to it."
The captain punched a button made out of black Onyx and said, "that's the spirit. When we get down there just stick by me. I will drag you out if I have to," The captain looked over at Mark and said, "not that I will need to just that if anything happens I will."
Everyone in the elevator got very quiet and tense. The bell chimed off the floors as they dropped lower.
"Alright boys here we go," The captain said. All the men in the elevator car flipped the safeties off on their guns and made sure one was loaded into the chamber.
The elevator door opened and the men stepped out first. They formed a semicircle around the door and they and the captain led Mark into a room that looked familiar to Mark. Mark paused for only a moment the area did look familiar but he couldn't place his finger on it. Mark followed the men to the server and when he got there he couldn't quite tell what had happened to the server. The server was much more advanced than anything Mark had ever seen. But it was damaged. It looked like claw or bite marks had been impressed into the metal around the frame of the server. The floor and other parts of the server looked melted as if exposed to high heat or some type of acid. The captain shoved a bag into Marks gut and said, "Here, spare parts. Looks like you're gonna need em."
"Thanks," Mark said and then started to remove damaged panels and replaced them with panels from the bag. The Server was made entirely out of those panels. The panels looked like they were part of the circuitry and the smooth and dented metal squares of paneling fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Only about half way done with the repairs Mark saw the lights flicker out for a moment.
The captain said, "Can't you go any faster man?"
"No I am working as fast as I can. I am not even sure this thing will work after I get it back together again," Mark said.
The lights flickered again. The captain said, "men get ready one of them is coming."
The men tensed up again and started looking everywhere in the room. The lights flickered and several of the men lit chemical lights sticks or popped open some flares. The room became multicolored with the different colors from the chemical lights and the red of the flares. The lights then went out as Mark continued to work.
Gunshots echoed suddenly around the room and flashes of light from the muzzles of the gun barrels lit the room. Mark worked as fast as he could "only a few more damaged squares to replace," Mark said.
A dark shape moved across Mark side vision. More gunshots sounded and a few unpleasant crunchy noises and screams.
"What the hell man," Mark said.
"Just finish the fucking repairs," The captain screamed.
Mark fitted the last few panels into place and the server lit up like a miniature city block, "There it's done."
"Great, men move out back to the elevator," The captain yelled as more gunfire sounded throughout the server room.
Mark and the men that came down with him moved back towards the elevator. Then the alien dropped down on them from the ceiling. "What the fuck," Mark said.
The captain pushed Mark towards the elevator door and the men scattered.
Mark couldn't believe his eyes. Mark was looking at the fricking alien, not just any killing alien, the killing alien from the movie. All of the sudden everything clicked in place for Mark. He was on the damn ship from the movie Alien. How is this possible? Acid dripped sizzling onto the concrete near Mark. Shots rang out again and the hissing of the alien went by Mark. After realizing that he was really here Mark ran for the elevator. The captain called out, "go get out and send the elevator back ASAP so my men and I can get out."
Mark did exactly what he was told. Mark punched the button for the elevator and the door open immediately. Getting in Mark almost hit the button for Mr. Johnson's office and then thought better of it. Mark hit the button right above the onyx one that marked his current floor.
Just before the doors shut the alien caught the edges of the elevator and tried to rip them open. Mark moved to the back of the elevator as shots hit the alien from behind and it moved away that long snake like tail gliding behind it back into the darkness. The doors closed again as acid burned down the gold plates of the inside door of the elevator.
The elevator slid up the shaft and soon the doors opened into what looked like a basement hallway. Large smooth yellow bricks lined the walls and pipes ran along the ceiling everywhere. Mark hit the onyx button again and stepped out of the elevator into the hallway. The doors closed behind Mark. Mark heard the elevator move downward. Mark turned walking down the hall. Thinking about the Alien movies Mark thought the alien was a hunter and would find him easily if he stayed close to the elevator. So Mark started walking down the hallway. Mark passed a few doors and some other hallways leading away from his. Mark then heard a strange growling noise and thought its found me for just a second. A moment later a green glob of goo floated around the corner and for the second time Mark couldn't believe what he was seeing. Slimer gave Mark a funny look and raced right at mark and then through him. It knocked Mark off his feet with the force. Gooey slime covered most of Mark's face and torso. Booted footsteps came around the corner and standing over Mark was Dr. Peter Vankman.
"No way," Mark said.
"Egon, I told you it was down here," Peter said then clicked off the walkie talkie.
"Did you see it Peter?" Came Egon's staticky reply.
"Well, no I didn't see it exactly. But there is a guy down here covered in slime," Peter said.
"That's great save some for me. I'll grab the guys and we will head down there," Egon said.
"Dr. Vankman?" Mark said.
"Yes, it's always nice to meet a fan. Here let me help you up." Peter said helping Mark to his feet.
Peter then said, "you should really take it easy after such a traumatic experience. Now if you could point me in the right direction I'll take it from here."
Mark pointed back down the hallway.
"Thanks, you've been a big help and your country thanks you." Peter said before heading down a side hallway a few feet back from where Mark was Peter's voice fading quickly into the distance.
Mark then understood. The elevator must take you to different worlds the ones in movies depending on floor. The alien wouldn't get Mark here because it could come up from the ship to this floor because the ceiling of the ship didn't lead to the basement of this building. Mark headed back to the elevator.
Pushing the button Mark waited a while before the elevator came. When the doors opened the captain and several security guards stood there some with some acid damage on their clothing but they had the head of the alien held in their arms.
"Oh hey Mark, just a little souvenir from the server room. I don't think Mr. Johnson will mind as long as I tell everyone that it is just a prop from that movie. Get in we will head up to the office," The captain said.
Mark hesitantly stepped into the elevator as he didn't want to be in the same room as the alien even if it was only the head and he was dead.
They rode back up to the top floor and walked out into Mr. Johnson's office.
"Another souvenir Captain?" Mr. Johnson said.
"Well you know me I like to keep a memory every now and then," the captain replied.
"Alright you and the surviving men can take the rest of the month off and be sure to pick up your hazard pay on the way out," Mr. Johnson told the captain. The captain nodded and headed out through the regular elevator.
Turning back to Mark me Johnson said, "I suppose you have questions."
"I figured out some of it. That the elevator leads to the actual movie worlds," Mark said.
"No that's not exactly whats going on," Mr. Johnson said.
"Then what exactly is going on?" Mark asked.
"There are an infinite number of worlds out there and we are trying to connect with some of the more recognizable ones. Not just movie ones but anything humanities imagination has come up with over the years. Books, movies, comic books, radio shows, and TV. You name it and it is out there somewhere," Mr. Johnson said.
"So why only the limited number of buttons that an elevator provides?" Mark said.
"You didn't turn the panel the buttons are on did you? That panel turns and we can add to the rotation of buttons as many floors or rather world as we need to as we discover more worlds," Mr. Johnson said.
"So if you slide the panel over you can visit an infinite number of worlds?" Mark said.
"Well yes but we don't have the infinite listed we are able to select worlds that are interesting to us. Worlds that have some context or meaning to us. The elevator allows us to separate the infinite number of worlds that are just like our with only one thing off. We also have doors to alternate forms of history. What if Rome had conquered the world, or in the Nazis had won the war. It truly is the elevator to everywhere." Mr. Johnson said.
"I see, will that be all?" Mark said wanting to be out of this building as soon as he was able.
"For today. Be sure to come back tomorrow. Now that you know about the elevator you won't be working as a PC tech anymore," Mr. Johnson said.
With a growing dread Mark said, "I wont?"
"Nope," Mr. Johnson said, "you will be exploring new worlds and dimensions with us starting tomorrow."
Mark knew that if he didn't come back tomorrow that this man would find him and either make him come back or make him disappear.
"Tomorrow eight in the morning I'll be here," Mark said.
"Please, you're management now Mark. Sleep in and come in around ten," Mr. Johnson said, "You can meet Stan Lee and he can show you around the real Marvel universe."