8) The Past – Page 53
They repeated the tests daily. Sometimes the diagrams would be broken apart and he would have to construct them from pieces; other times they would be missing a component and he would be asked to draw it in with the first thing that popped into his head. He worked quickly, treating the exercise like a Rorschach test — any answer was as good as any other. At the end, they would ask him to identify the object. His guesses seemed juvenile. A molecular structure for a fabric that tightens on impact? An advanced replication module for elemental isotopes? He was given a partially drawn picture of a series of shifting chromatic disks. He knew it was missing vital parts; he picked up a drafting pencil to fill in the holes.
What is this? he had asked. Just psych tests, smiled one coat. Don’t worry, there are no wrong answers. Then why was Chandrasekhar repeating this test, day after day? Chandrasekhar hesitated, putting down the pencil. I’m not sure what to do here. The tech had told him to take his time, then got up and left the room. Chandrasekhar mouthed a word to himself, just a wild guess. The next day his time had been split between the spatial tests and time with an enthusiastic therapist intent upon discovering whether there were any blocks in his consciousness that might prevent him from doing his job as intended.
His supervisor was making it clear that the organization considered him extremely valuable, that they were very unwilling to let him go. He stressed the service he had done in the past, the service he could still offer. Perhaps you’d consider coming back as an independent contractor.
The offer was clear: they wanted it, and they would pay for it. Acquisitions was not interested in the legalities of its creation, only what they could accomplish with it. They would assure him it was a gift to mankind, probably tell him he was a hero to his country. He wasn’t inclined to be a hero; he had something else to do first.
I’m sorry to see you go. You can’t blame me for asking one more time: how can we make you stay? There was nothing but politeness in the man’s tone and the lines of his face.