The loudest, roughest, blood-curdling scream rang out from the other end of the engineering floor.
The entire floor stopped working and raised their heads to look toward the directions of Colin’s office.
Adam and Allison ducked into Allison’s cubicle.
“Was that Colin?” Allison asked.
“Yeah.” Adam said.
“Which one of us should go in there?”
“Why does it have to be one of us?”
“Would you rather have a random engineer find out about Colin’s room?”
“Shit.” Adam said.
Adam got up and sprinted towards Colin’s office. Another engineer was almost done turning the door handle.
“Back off, man. I’ve got this.” Adam said, nearly slapping the engineer’s hand away.
“Does it really matter? He could be hurt.”
“Dude, I worked with this guy for two years. Who do you think he’s gonna respond better to?”
Adam sighed and opened the door to Colin’s room, which was less of a traditional office and more of a very nice suite that you’d find at a resort. Adam shut the door and locked it behind him.
“Colin? Buddy? Where ya at?” Adam yelled.
Running water could be heard from the far end of the room behind a closed door.
“Colin? Come on, man.”
Adam inched towards the door and shut his eyes as he opened it.
When the feeling of hot air hit his face, Adam opened his eyes to see a large room that was once a restroom, now a small spa area. A spacious shower was near the back, the hot water running at full blast.
Colin was on the floor near the shower, looking up at the florescent lights.
“Colin!” Adam yelled.
“Gah… Not so loud…” Colin muttered.
Adam turned to valve to the shower to shut off the water, only to find no valve on the wall. In its place was just a metal plate where a control mechanism of some sort would have been.
“How the hell do you shut this thing off, man?” Adam asked.
“There’s a dial over by me.” Colin waved his right hand up in the general direction of the wall behind him.
“You’re alive, so that’s good.” Adam said.
Adam looked down at Colin, still staring at the lights.
“And you’re wearing pants. That’s good, too.” Adam said.
“Mind giving me a hand?” Colin asked, holding his right arm up.
“Sure thing, Colin. Hold on.”
After going over to the control dial and shutting off the water, Adam grabbed Colin’s hand and tried to assist in pulling him off the floor. After a second or two, Colin had enough strength to pull himself up, groaning in pain the entire way.
“God dammit.” Colin said.
“What happened?” Adam asked.
“I was about to get in the shower when my back gave out.” Colin said.
“Did you lose consciousness?” Adam asked.
“No. You came in about a minute after I fell.”
“Yeah. We heard.”
“Yeah. That was loud. Really friggin’ loud.”
Adam looked around the room. In the opposite corner, there was a large multiple-person hot tub.
“A goddamn, spa, man?” Adam said.
“Yep.” Colin said.
“Is this legal?” Adam asked.
“Of course. It’s not even really a secret.” Colin said.
Adam and Colin walked towards the spa’s exit. Colin grabbed his workshirt from a rack near the door.
“How? How the hell did you get a friggin’ spa, on top of that office out there? It isn’t even an office! It’s a goddamn hotel suite.” Adam said.
“It’s too complicated to get into right now.” Colin said.
“Oh, come on. Look at this place, man! This is nuts.” Adam said.
“It’s not even that interesting.” Colin said.
Adam and Colin exited the spa and entered Colin’s main office, which was furnished without the traditional office furniture. Instead, it contained a queen bed which sat opposite a large console that held two large wall-mounted televisions and two large industrial fans.
“Oh? What is it, then?” Adam asked.
“Remember last year, at CES? When that crazy guy tried to swipe one of our prototypes for the Arcast Exceed?”
“Yeah. That was an ordeal.” Adam said.
“Guess who finally cornered the guy in the middle of a Starbucks?” Colin asked.
“Hah. A Starbucks? Why there, of all places?”
“Most likely, he was trying to use the free Wi-Fi there to upload photos of the phone. The damn thing wasn’t even a working prototype. Dumbass.”
“And for that, you got a hotel suite and a spa to work in?”
“Pretty much, though I don’t really work in here.”
“What’s it for, then?”
“You know what I do here, Adam. Asset reacquirement is rough.”
“I need the downtime. And Leah’s alright with it because she knows I can produce results.”
“You’re the only one doing that kind of stuff, right?”
“Yeah. Right now.”
“Are they going to get any more? Lighten your workload a bit?”
Colin adjusted his clothes to look presentable.
“No reason. I actually don’t mind it. It’s something to do. Something I’m good at.” Colin said.
Adam opened the door for Colin to step out of the room. As both of them stepped into the main floor of the engineering wing, the whole office stared.
“Everything’s fine. He’s alright.” Adam announced to the floor.
Everyone proceeded to lower their heads and sink back into their projects.
“You gonna be alright, man?” Adam asked.
“More or less.” Colin said.
“I think you need to get checked out.”
“I’m fine, Adam.”
“I’m sure you are, but I’d feel better if you went to an urgent care center.”
“And wait for six hours?”
“It’s an urgent care. Not an emergency room. You’ll be out in 45 minutes.”
“I’m fine. I promise.”
Adam gave Colin a thumbs up and headed back to his cubicle.
Colin sunk back into his room. After locking the door and covering the small window near the top of it, he proceeded to lay on his bed, retrieving his cell phone from a nearby nightstand where it had been left to charge. Colin tapped the screen a few times and dialed a number.
“Hey, Tron? How’re things? …Good. Good. Listen, it happened again. Pretty bad this time…”