Martin spent the next three weeks getting used to the lab and how everything worked. The days he spent working non-stop on mundane tasks, the nights were filled with research, partly for his cover story and also for his intrigue.
Lab 2A contained three scientists in total including Martin himself. Prof Steven Billids was an older gentleman who was everything but gentle. Within five minutes of Martin entering the lab, Prof Billids made it quite clear that he didn’t like Martin and missed the scientist who had left.
Prof Rebecca Wilson was a kind person to be around. Though she kept her distance from Prof Billids at every opportunity. She was in her late twenties, and she was not striking in appearance but made up for more than that with personality. She showed Martin around the lab and answered any questions he had.
As the newest employee of Active labs, he found himself doing very little in the way of research, more of an editorial role of checking through the essays and reports from the other members of the team. He found that neither had a penchant for clear and concise writing, his experience as a journalist allowed him to pick through each essay and identify anything unclear. Prof Billids often dismissed the corrections Martin provided and called Martin a “Bumbling idiot”.
Martin worked hard to keep up with the assignments set by his more experienced colleagues. Which often meant very late nights and is one of the last to leave the labs each day. When the other two left, he dimmed the painfully bright overhead bulbs and used a desk lamp with a warmer luminosity, which made the rest of the lab dark. Looking from the corridor, the lab looked vacant.
One Friday evening, he received a text from Prof Billids:
Are you still at work? The text read.
A few minutes passed, then his phone vibrated again.
The Weeping Tree, 30 mins
Okay see you then
Martin put the finishing touches to the last report he was working on and left the lab. He was confused, why the sudden friendliness? The thought dominated amongst all the others, he took a taxi and found himself at the pub within ten minutes. Before he left the taxi, he looked down and realised he was still in his lab coat. Dam. He then redirected the taxi back to his flat. After forty-five minutes, he was back at the pub. He took a deep breath and pushed the door open.