A Boy and his Dungeon XVIII
In the morning, Jill and Claudia went into town for groceries, eight of us being a heavier demand on the pantry than anticipated. Lisa, Conner and I worked on the software, with Cory offering suggestions. Robert offered what help he could to Jennifer as she worked on the new chip design.
Cory asked for, and got, several improvements to the display. The major sections of the brain were enclosed in pale transparent blobs of color, each section could be rendered invisible, the actual neurons were now blue, blood vessels were red, The mass of the brain was a pale gray fog, and the skull, an eggshell white. Every change seemed to bring more life to the image.
“Cory,” I asked, “when we did your scan yesterday, there was an odd area that seemed to grab your attention, what was that?”
“Oh, I should have told you,” he said, “I got clobbered, accidentally, by a cricket bat when I was six or so. My mother said I was in a coma for almost a week. That spot was the old indication of a minor aneurysm . Probably why I was out for a week.”
Jill and Claudia got back from town, we all helped unload and put away groceries, then took a break for lunch. Cory wondered aloud how the scan might work on other parts of the body. I wasn't sure, the brain scans were “illuminated”, for lack of a better word, by the radiated energy for the neurons, the energy that an EEG normally picked up. But neurons, or nerves were throughout the body, so with improved sensitivity and better signal processing, we might be able to look at any part of the body. I'd read about a device that used ultrasound to do something like that, spotting broken bones and major blood vessels.
We worked through the day with only a few small beaks. After dinner we split up, going to our rooms. Tomorrow I'd be able to pick up the new computer and the Anglia as well as meet the patent attorney and make final arrangements with the funeral home. I'd asked Lisa about getting the software to run on a single computer, she said she'd think about it.
Jennifer and I crawled into bed, snuggling together, content with each other, knowing we would eventually have sex in one form or another, but not in any hurry. Jill burst into the room, sobbing uncontrollably! Jennifer and sat up in alarm. Jill threw herself onto the bed between us. Jennifer immediately hugged her, trying to calm her. I quickly joined in. We eventually got her calmed down enough to talk.
Cory had turned her down. Last night he had plead exhaustion, and they had just slept. But tonight, he had turned down her advances because, he said, she was too young and he didn't need a rape charge on his record. This sent Jill into another crying jag and my anger rose as it never had before.
“As soon as she settles a bit,” I told Jennifer, “go get the others to come to the living room.”
She nodded, as I stormed across the hall.
“Cory!” I yelled, pounding on the door, “Get your ass out here!”
I kept pounding until the door opened. Cory looked concerned and a little scared.
“Get downstairs! Living room!” I snarled.
He headed downstairs while I fought for a small measure of control. Following a second or two behind him. Jennifer was practically on my heals, heading for the door as I followed Cory into the living room.
“Sit!” I said, indicating a straight backed arm-less chair. “What the hell gives you the right to disrespect one of my friends?”
He looked around, confused and unsure of himself. The rest of the gang came in at a run, glaring at Cory as the saw him. I asked Jennifer to bring Jill down.
“Well? Are you going to answer?” I demanded.
“Let's all take a breath.” said Conner, “I think we may just have a misunderstanding here.”
“Fine by me.” I snarled, throwing myself onto the sofa.
Jennifer came down with a red eyed Jill and sat her on the sofa between us. Conner indicated seats for everyone else. Claudia, more than the rest, looked ready to kill someone.
“Cory," Conner said, obviously choosing his words with care, “How old do you think we are? Tell us, from oldest on down.”
“Well, Cory temporized, “I'd say you and Lisa are nineteen, maybe twenty, Robert, maybe eighteen, I'd guess James, Jill, and Jennifer are around sixteen or a bit less, exceptionally bright, but underage, and I figured Claudia was Robert's kid sister, twelve, at the most.”
Conner shook his head sadly, Robert restrained Claudia, and Jill began to cry again. Conner motioned for Lisa to stay in her seat.
“You turned down Jill's advances because you thought she was underage?” asked Conner gently.
“Well, of course,” said Cory,defensively, “med students live under a microscope. Any hint of misconduct can ruin a career before it even gets started.”
Well, for your information,” Started Conner, “Claudia is twenty two, doing post grad work in economics, Lisa and I are twenty one, Robert is twenty, Jill is nineteen, and James and Jennifer are eighteen.”
Cory looked around the room seeing eight disproving faces, though no longer openly hostile. He looked at Claudia, studying her closely and carefully pronounced a complex Latin phrase, as a question. Claudia nodded, adding that it was diagnosed when she was fifteen. He got up stepped over to Jill and knelt, gently taking her hand.
“Jill, I'm sorry,” he said, apologetically, I didn't know.”
“You could have asked,” she said,trying to grin through her puffy face, “I could have shown you my identification.
Cory stood and asked all of us for forgiveness. Conner, Lisa, Robert and Claudia accepted, Jill, Jennifer,and I nodded. And everybody relaxed. After a long moment, Jill walked over to Cory, sitting in his lap, after a slight moment on indecision, he put his arms around her.
“When Jill gets tired of you,” Claudia said to Cory, “I'm going to drag you out to my room and do my best to screw you to death.”
Everybody laughed but Cory, who blushed bright red.
“If you stick with us long enough,” Said Conner, “I dare say that one of these days all four girls are going to take you on at once, while us guys will cheer them on, or even join in here and there.”
I pulled Jennifer to he feet, leading her back upstairs, to pick up where we'd been interrupted. Conner, Robert, Lisa, and Claudia headed back to the carriage house. Glancing back, I saw Jill kissing Cory, with his full cooperation. It looked like the first phase of his 'punishment' might happen on the living room carpet.
In the morning, after a hurried breakfast, we were back to work. Cory worked with me, tweaking the software for better images. As a test we wrapped the headset around his elbow. After a few adjustments we got a dim and fuzzy image of the joint. He watched his elbow flex in the display.
"We're going to be working on cleaning up the image quality." I said.
"You'd better add X-ray guys to the people who will be out of business." he said.
"I wonder if a set of flat scanner plates would work better." I said to myself.
"James." Lisa yelled from where she was tinkering with my new computer, "who's your computer guy?"
I named the shop, "Why?" I asked.
"Well, he didn't rip you off," she said, "but he could have done better."
I wrote down the address and sketched a map to the shop.
"have him call me if necessary." I said. "It wont hurt to think about new equipment for the network while you're at it."
"Budget?" she asked, while wrestling the computer to the stairs.
I had to stop and think for a moment.
"Try to keep in under forty thousand pounds." I said.
The room fell silent. Every eye was on me. I looked back, puzzled, then I realized they didn't know about the trust fund.
"I got access to some money." I said, "inheritance stuff."
"Just keep all the receipts." said Jill walking toward me, "Or we'll never get the books straight."
"I'm pretty sure thy're all around here somewhere." I said.
"Just how much is 'some'?" Jill asked softly, not to be overheard.
"Uh, around eight hundred thousand," I whispered, "more or less."
She exhaled forcefully, as if someone had punched her in the stomach.
Early in the afternoon we stopped for a late lunch when Lisa returned. We gathered around the kitchen table. Sandwiches and drinks appeared and disappeared. Talk about various parts of the project never stopped. I supposed this could be called a working lunch. Jill ran out and returned with pads of paper and pens. Jennifer cleared away dishes and refilled glasses.
"For all we've managed to accomplish," Jill began, "we're running this like a high school science project. On top of my other skills," she took a second to pat Cory's shoulder, "I'm a pretty good office manager. Our marketing department, that's Claudia, has been managing to make us some money. Out Games division, Conner and Robert, have provided the products we've sold so far. Research and Development, James, Jennifer, and Lisa, are pushing ahead at break neck speed. Cory is on board as a technical consultant and advisor and I, in my thumb fingered way, try to help wherever I can. I saw at least six projects downstairs that were half done and set aside for something else. We need to get organised."
"You mean with regular hours and schedules and stuff?" said Lisa, "I don't think it would work with this gang."
"No, it wouldn't." Jill said ,"but the dungeon is a mess, the benches are cluttered, the equipment wiring looks like the Gordian knot's grandfather, and there are extension cords everywhere. With everyone working down there, the rooms get stuffy. We need better ventilation. We could probably use a lift rather than carry things up and down those stairs. We need more power and lights to make use of some of the other rooms."
Everyone sat there mute. I had to admit, there didn't seem to be much direction to our work. But there never seemed to be time for everything. I could see everyone considering Jill's little speech and nodding agreement.
"We did set up a company," said Conner, "for the purpose of receiving some donated equipment and payments, but never really treated it like a real company."
"We'll lose a lot of time and momentum if we stop to get organized." Said Robert.
What I think we should do first," said Jill, "is make a list of what needs to improve. Each of you work alone on that. Also write up notes and such on where you are on whatever you're working on and on the projects that have been set aside. When you switch tracks from one project to another, that will help a lot."
There were murmurs of approval all around. Cory stayed at the table to write up our progress so far, I would have to write up the tech side of that. Jill also stayed, scribbling notes as fast as thoughts occurred to her. Robert and Conner moved into the living room to do their writing, and claudia used my Father's office. The rest of us went back down. I started on my bench, straightening and shelving incomplete projects, Lisa didn't have much clutter beyond a pile of loose papers that needed organizing. Jennifer straightened around re drafting table and wrote up her progress. We needed more shelves and storage. We didn't get a lot of 'real work' done but the place looked a lot better. We needed more phone lines too. I had to use the phone and that put Claudia on hold till I was done.
I called contractors, reasoning that the improvements I had in mind were to my property. I asked each of them to send out somebody in the morning, around nine or so to look at what I wanted done and provide estimates.
Everyone wanted my input on what they were doing and that took up a surprising amount of time. Dinner conversation was more about changes than work. I told everyone to submit requests for office furnishings to Jill and told them I was going ahead with ventilation and electrical up grades. Lisa wanted to go back to the drawing board for software and networking. What we had now was a mess of changes and revisions and with my poor initial documentation, almost impossible to work on effectively Jill was having the time of her life, organizing the company from the ground up.
I crawled into bed bone tired. Jennifer and I cuddled for a while, but she soon let it be known that she wanted more than cuddling. She burrowed under the blanket and took me in her mouth. I found I wasn't quite as tired as I thought. After she sucked me off, I mounted her dogie style, pumping into her at a steady pace. She reached her climax in a few minutes and we settled down to sleep.
In the morning Jill took the Anglia, now in excellent condition, to run Cory back to Swansea, promising to be back the next morning. The contractors arrived. I took them around in a group because the projects would have to interact with each other. In the end, with a little back and forth discussion, it was decided that an excavation outside the dungeon wall could accommodate the lift, main ventilation ducts and new electrical feeds.
Jill had left a compiled list of office furniture on my bench. I had to make a call and upgrade the specifications of the proposed lift to accommodate full sized desks. I drew up preliminary specifications of a pair of small high definition scanner plates about one foot square and asked Jennifer to work on it when she could. I ordered shelving and filing cabinets to be delivered. The desks would have to wait for the lift. I spent time on writing up all of the projects I'd been working on. The medical scanner, brain scan and write, the 'Big O', jaberwockie, virtual game touch, emotion sensing and their uses and applications. Work, of course, slowed but never really stopped.
I had a call from the computer shop. Lisa had ordered quite a bit of equipment in my name and he wanted to confirm the order. He also needed a deposit for such a large order. I promised to be by in a day or so.
Jill returned looking rested and slightly smug.
"Don't worry, she said, "He'll have the whole weekend to recover."
There were a million things to do and never enough time. Jill declared a holiday, for the weekend.
Saturday we slept in, rising to a lavish breakfast. We went to town. Everybody needed too do some personal shopping. We went to the cinima for a matinee and then to dinner. We were home by eight and gathered in the master bedroom with it's oversized bed.
It started as a group makeout session, the four girls circulating between us three guys kissing and fondling each other with occasional girl on girl action thrown in for extra spice. I was stroking into Jennifer dogie style, the way she liked it, Conner had Lisa curled almost into a ball driving straight down, Jill was riding Robert in what I thought was called reverse cowgirl. Claudia circulate between us helping out here and there. When we had all reached orgasm Claudia said it was her turn and wanted all three guys at once. Conner was on his back, Claudia on top. I entered Claudia's ass and she was sucking Robert. She choked a little when Robert filled her mouth with cum while she screached out her own orgasm.
Jill took the sidelines while I had Claudia, Conner had Jennifer and Robert was with Lisa. Then we ganged up on Jill, finally colapsing in a heap. We fell asleep happy as a basket of puppies. I woke later to Lisa sucking me while the other girls licked, sucked and fingered her. What a way to end a day.
Sunday was a slow day. We took care of various personal chores, read, watched TV or napped.
Monday was Mom and Dads funeral service. Jennifer and I dressed for it together. When we came down everyone else was dressed and ready to go. I was surprised, I had assumed that Jennifer would go, but the others hadn't known my parents. They came to support me. Mr. Farnsworth and maybe half a dozen local businessmen were at the service as well. I shook hands alot with people I didn't know. I managed to get through it without breaking down, but emotionally I was back to when I first learned of their deaths. Jennifer and Jill stayed close and Monday night they slept on either side of me just as they had before.
Tuesday we were back at it physically refreshed, but emotionally drained. Estimates for the work to be done were reviewed and approved. I had stopped by the computer shop to sign the purchase order and pay the deposit Monday on the way home.
Jennifer, working from a short list provided by Mr. Farnsworth, had located a chip manufacturer in California who specialized in small production runs and offered very good prices if we could use the older 45 nano-meter architecture as they had machines sitting idle. She sent them her CAD drawings. The promised samples within 10 days.
A work crew showed up on Wednesday. They used surveyors tools to match the planned location of the lift in the dungeon to a location on the surface. A backhoe started on a huge hole in the ground.
The medical scanner was on hold until we had the new chips. I was working with the jabewocky program, finding ways to condense and speed up the code when a worker called up to the excavation.
They had run into an old stone structure about ten feet down. The foreman showed me drawings that indicated that this was not part of the dungeon. They had cleared away dirt and found an edge. I climbed into the hole and examined their find. The stone work matched that of the dungeon, but this was a room that extended away from the wall where I wanted the lift. They assured me that any competent mason could repair any damage they might do. I signed a release and asked them to open a hole big enough to look inside the mystery room.
The machine operator was good at his job. He tickled loose the stones and soon had a hole about two feet square opened up. I was handed a torch, then the forman and I took a look. All we could see was an empty chamber, about twenty feet square. One wall appeared to match the dungeon wall. They opened the hole up and a ladder was handed down. We entered the room
An old iron bound chest stood against one wall, otherwise the room was empty. The chest was closed with a heavy and crude lock. After carefully prying a stone loose, we could look into the dungeon room where I wanted the lift. I stopped the work pending a re-evaluation of the project. The crew packed it in for the day and they promised to sent their estimator back out in the morning.
What had we found?