Categories > Celebrities > Beatles > Future Imperfect

Chapter 1

by Cyber_Moggy 0 reviews

There's a power outage in the complex, and some very important people are trapped

Category: Beatles - Rating: G - Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-fi - Characters: George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2006-09-11 - Updated: 2006-09-11 - 2183 words

"Hi, George!"

George looked up from the schematic diagram of the complex that he was studying to see the morning shift walk past on their way to the locker rooms. "Morning," he replied, and stretched. Joints cracked and popped all over his body. He yawned.

He'd been present at the maximum security defence complex since two in the morning, supervising the night shift's attempts to trace and repair a critical malfunction in the wiring which had resulted in a complete lack of power to everything but the security systems (which were running off recently installed power lines and their own generator and were much more reliable than the originally installed power lines which had been there for as long as electricity had existed) in the offices of the Project's senior management. To make matters worse, Sir Paul had been paying a visit at the time to see how his old friend Sir Richard, who, in true British fashion, was running the whole project. Which meant that he had the head of the Civil Service trapped in an elevator. George just hoped that he wasn't claustrophobic.

He muttered the almost-traditional curse against the heritage requirements that prevented them tearing out all the old wiring completely and reinstalling it properly, and another almost-traditional curse against the government for being too stingy to build them a new facility, instead of housing them in the catacombs of the long-ruined monastery.

"For Gods' sake," he muttered, "Britain is the richest empire on the face of this planet, and they won't build us a proper bloody facility. Instead, they house us in a heritage-listed ruin. A falling-down pile of rubble with a heritage listing."

"Hey, Boss!" Sammi said as she stauntered into his office, having changed into her official coveralls. "How come we had to take the old manual-shaft this morning?"

George looked up from his schematics, and dropped his pencil onto the desk in front of him. He rubbed his face tiredly, and wished that he dared drink more coffee. He'd already had more than was good for him. Any more and he'd be shaking. Besides which, it wasn't doing him any good any more. What he really needed was sleep. But he wasn't going to get any until Sir Paul had been rescued from the elevator, Sir Richard had been freed from his office, and the power had been restored.

He looked around to see that all the techies had arrived and were waiting for him to give them a proper briefing. "Power outage," was his first, two-word explanation. He poked a few buttons on his computer, and a schematics diagram was projected onto the wall. He picked up his laser pointer.

"We have managed to trace the short to somewhere in this vicinity," he added. "Unfortunately, it could be any one of a very large number of potential short circuits, and we have to check every single one individually. The night crew got about half-way through. Now it's your turn."

"Fuck," one of the techies said, summarising things very neatly. George couldn't help but agree with him.

"Sammi, take a team to the main elevator shaft. Sir Paul McCartney is currently trapped inside the blasted thing. He's been there all night. All the other team managed to do was to give him an air hole and a bit of light."

Sammi's jaw dropped. "What in the name of all fortune is he doing here?"

"Visiting his old pal, what else?" George replied, raising an eyebrow. "Apparently they were supposed to go out to dinner last night."

Sammi rolled her eyes. "I suppose that idiot Jack Henderfield was in charge."

"That's enough of that," George told her firmly, although privately he agreed with her assessment of the man.

Quickly, he divided the rest of the techies up into teams, and sent them out into the darkness to trace the faults, and they left. As they were walking out the door, however, Sammi paused and looked back at him. "Get some sleep, Boss," she said quietly. "Jenny can keep track of us all for a while."

"I'll sleep when their lordships are safe," George replied firmly, "and the power is back on. Scat."

She left, and George sat down with his schematics again. He really hoped that His Nibs wasn't going to be difficult about this. Sir Richard, he knew, would be understanding about the whole affair. This wasn't the first time he'd been trapped in his office all night, and with the best will in the world, it wouldn't be the last. Sir Paul, on the other hand, was an unknown quantity.

As if reading his mind, Jenny spoke up. "If they're going to house us in places like this," she said firmly, "then they should expect power failures. We've only been here a couple of months, and the wiring has been here for nearly a century."

George looked up at the department's sole administrative assistant, hearing a waver in her voice. She had been raked over hot coals at her last post because her superiors had been unreasonable about something - she still refused to elaborate about what it had been - and it had only been because Sir Richard had asked for her that she had been appointed to the base at all. She tended to get nervous in situations like this. She, like he, had been there all night. They had both managed to get a couple of hours sleep each, taking it in turns to man the communications console while the other slept on the office's single, small camp bed.

"Don't worry about it, Jenny," he told her soothingly. "I might be next to useless at the practical side of electrical engineering, but I can protect this department against the whims of the bureaucracy. And that includes you."

"Thanks, Boss," she said with a grateful smile. She sat down at the communications console again, and waited for the teams to start reporting back. "Do you know anything about the pictures?"

George looked at her sharply. "What pictures?"

She blinked at him. "The pictures that are supposed to have started this project in the first place."

George sat back. This was the first he had heard of any pictures connected with this. He'd heard all sorts of rumours, and certainly the level of security in the place was far above any normal operation. He'd assumed that they were helping with some top secret weapons project. It had made sense to him, given the state of the cold war against Russia. "I've heard nothing about any pictures."

"Oh, I...I thought you would have, given that..."

She broke off, her eyes widening as she realised that she may have said something silly.

"Given that what?" George asked intently.

She shook her head. "I'm sorry - it's nothing."

George's eyes narrowed. Once again, it seemed, he had been lied to by the people in charge. They had done nothing but lie and cheat and manipulate him since they'd decided to bring him onto this project. He had been perfectly content with his small business in his small community. He had left dreams of glory behind with his youth, when he had finally managed to reconcile the difference between his wants, and the amount of effort he was willing to and capable of putting into getting them. Then, in had come Sir Paul and Sir Richard. They had decided, for some reason, that they had wanted him to run the maintenance team on the project, and they had got him. He had not come willingly.

And now, it seemed, they had had some other motivation which they had not bothered to tell him about. "Jenny," he said quietly, "Tell me about the pictures."

She sagged. Evidently, nobody had wanted to tell him about this. Or they thought he already knew. "Photos, from the Sixties. You're in some of them."

"What sort of photos?"

"I don't really know. I haven't seen them."

Bewilderment joined the anger already brewing in him. "Who else is in these photos?"

"Sir Paul, Sir Richard. Some other people I don't know about."

"Why didn't anybody mention them to me?"

She stared at him. "We all thought you knew about them. We all thought that you'd seen them."

He stared back at her. "Then why didn't anybody ask me about them?"

She looked down at her hands, twisting nervously in her lap. "You always got so angry whenever somebody brought up how they'd been hired, that nobody wanted to."

Absurdly, he felt ashamed of himself. He had never done anything to the staff that he thought should have made them afraid to talk to him. Generally, they weren't afraid to talk to him. But they did avoid that one subject. "I think I'll talk to Sir Richard about them after we've got the power back on," he said in a tone of voice that made Jenny drop the subject.

He stared back down at the diagrams again, as Sammi radioed in to tell him that they were climbing up the shaft to see what the situation was. Pictures... His memory flowed back to the time when he'd been recruited, but he shied away from them. He'd been over that territory many, many times, and the memories and their associated emotions didn't get any better for the repetition. Knowing his luck, they were intending to use the pictures for some kind of blackmail if he tried to do anything they didn't like.

"Sammi," Jenny said tiredly, "stop leaning on the radio button."

George snapped back to reality, and looked around at his assistant. "Again?" he asked.

She nodded. "I wish she'd learn how to use that thing properly."

A resolve started to form in the back of his mind, and it must have shown on his face, because Jenny frowned at him. "You're not thinking of going out there and getting your hands dirty, are you?"

"I don't need a babysitter, Jenny," George said warningly, frustration bubbling to the surface. It was just another in a long list of things that were making him unhappy in this place. He stood up. "I am a fully qualified electrician, you know."

Jenny sighed. "George, last time you went out to fix a circuit yourself, you spent three weeks in hospital because you electrocuted yourself. That's why Sir Richard put you in charge of the tech squad, after all. Besides, you've been up all night, and you know that they don't want anybody who hasn't slept in 24 hours to do anything practical. You'll get yourself penalised."

He sat down again with a thump, dropped his pencil, and put his head in his hands. He sighed. "This place is driving me insane!" he said. He would have said more, and said it louder, if he had had the energy for it. Jenny gave him a sympathetic look. She was about to stand up, when a stream of cursing broke out from the radio.

They looked at it in surprise, but settled down when they realised that it was Sammi, cursing Jack Henderfield for all she was worth. Then, another voice came reprovingly through the radio. "Language," the male voice said mildly.

Sammi swore again, finishing with "...Henderfield could have had you out of there in fifteen minutes if he'd actually had a clue!"

"Ah," said the man, whom both George and Jenny realised just had to be Sir Paul. "You don't seem to have a very high opinion of the man's abilities."

Sammi went to swear again, but cut herself off as she realised that she'd been about to give opinions of a fellow tech's abilities to a man who could very easily have had him fired. "He...he's...a fine member of the team," she said as sweetly as she could, which wasn't very.

There was a pause, and then Sir Paul chuckled. There was a burst of static, and sounds of shifting equipment around. Abruptly, the sound cut off as Sammi stopped leaning on the switch. Jenny and George rolled their eyes at eachother.

"You'd better call around and get updates from everybody," George told her. Jenny nodded, and turned to do so. George turned back to his schematics.

Five minutes later, the computer told him that power had been restored. Jenny called Sammi to tell her the good news, and to ask her what the situation was there. The elevator had some extra safety switches on it that prevented power from returning when there was a tech team in there. It had saved them some very nasty accidents in the past.

"Thanks, Jenny," Sammi replied. There was some shuffling, some scrapes, and a loud clunk. "Okay," she said. "Everybody is clear of the shaft. You can turn the power back on now."

"Acknowledged," Jenny said formally, and shut down the communications.

George got up, went to the computer, and was about to switch power through to the elevator shaft when he noticed that a warning light was still blinking. "Get Sammi on the line," he told Jenny. "The computer's telling me that there's still a problem with the elevator."
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