“Dr. Janssen’s device has proven very useful in the past.”

“But I still don’t understand how it’s possible,” Harmon protested. “I mean the theoretical problems alone, not to mention the practical points, would take decades-”

“Enough whining,” Fields snapped. “I’m telling you about how the Janssen Probability Thruster has been, not how it works!”

“All right, then,” Harmon sighed. “How has it been useful?”

“Well, the Modified Antimatter Configuration caused an explosion that threw debris over ten miles, killing hundreds including myself and the entire staff. So we scrubbed the experiment before it was ever run.”

“But how-” Harmon began.

Fields, clearly enjoying recounting the old war stories, ignored him. “Then there was the Diversified Positron Ionization fiasco. That created a black hole that consumed the Earth in a matter of hours, crushing every one of us into a quantum singularity. A tiny adjustment was all that experiment needed to be successful.”

“Still, I think-”

“And who could forget Electrical Osmosis? Sounded simple enough, but it duplicated a piece of lab equipment until it filled every micron of space in the universe! We scaled it back to one, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a major improvement.”

When he awoke, the doctor was nowhere in sight. But clearly someone had been by, since there was a folded piece of notebook paper in his lap.

“…a poem?”

Let me tell you the story of one Etaoin Shrdlu
Not a normal man like me or a normal man like you.
He was only present as a mistake some people made
Until it happened once too much and Etaoin up and stayed.
The printer was astonished and dropped his coffee cup
When Etaoin walked right in and asked him what was up.

It was signed, or perhaps titled, simply Shardborn.