Part 1

Justin never had a second thought as he walked into the lecture hall. When he arrived there was already thirty or so people waiting. He took a seat about half way up the hall and waited. Over the next ten minutes a few more people drifted in, then dead on two o’clock two professors entered the room, two men and a young woman. As they entered the room the door was closed and locked.

The oldest of the two, a grey haired man in his late fifties stood behind the podium. His two associates sat in seats just to his side.

“Ladies and gentlemen, first of all may I welcome you this meeting and ask anyone that is under the age of 18 to leave. Only persons with valid identification will be accepted.

A handful of teens grunted and vacated their seats, disappointed that they had been rejected before the induction had even began.

As soon as they had been left the aging professor started speaking again.

“Now, my name is professor Ryland and these are my two associates, Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Hopkins. We will be responsible for overseeing the whole project. Of course there will be others involved, but you need not be concerned with them.” Professor Ryland took off his glasses and leaned on the podium. “I am sure you all have so questions so how about we start. If you have a concern please rise your hand and I will try to address it. Anyone?”

A rather plump man in his twenties raised his hand and stood up. “Professor, what kind of experiments are you going to be conducting on the volunteers?”

“The experiments are purely social. How the volunteers deal with aspects such as the unexpected, stress, isolation etc. There will be no intrusive medical research done at all at this stage.”

Ryland put his glasses back on. “Next question.”

A tall thin man with long chocolate curls and sparkling blue eyes held up his hand, standing when he was acknowledged.

“Professor, will the experiments be fully supervised?”

“They will and they won’t. Random checks will be made to make sure that all is well, but we want natural reactions, so you will not know when you will be being watched and when you won’t. Next question please.”

A few more questions were asked, one pertaining to the fee and another to whether or not someone could back out of an experiment if they felt they couldn’t cope. Ryland answered all the questions quickly and efficiently.

“I will now pass the floor to Dr. Hopkins.” The older professor sat down in the vacated seat of his colleague.

Dr. Hopkins approached the podium, a friendly smile spread across her face. “As professor Ryland has already done, I would like to thank you all for participating in this research. You were given a number as you came into the hall, we will now use those numbers to decide which experiment you will be participating in.”

She nodded to Dr. Jacobs who stood up and brought a largish box to a table that had been set up. He removed a small cotton bag and then closed the lid again.

Hopkins continued, “In this bag we have corresponding numbered balls, to decide who goes where we will pick out a ball, the person holding that number will then come down and pick an envelope out of the box. Open and read the note then pass it to Dr. Jacobs who will then catalogue the designated experiment.” she paused briefly waiting for her audience to digest this information before continuing. “I must ask you not to discuss your assignments. As soon as you have been registered you will proceed to your designated room to be prepped. There are helpers in the corridor waiting and will ensure that no one lingers to talk to friends what have you.” She smiled once more. “One more thing before we start, there are envelopes with nothing inside, if you receive one of these you will go through the registration then you will be dismissed. We only have room for 25 people. Now that said lets begin.”

Dr. Jacobs put his hand in the bag and pulled out the fist ball. “No. 41.”

A super slim girl with blond flowing locks got out of her seat and approached the table. She reached in and pulled out an envelope she read it and passed it to Jacobs who wrote in his book then handed the note back. Dr. Hopkins then escorted her from the room. When almost half the volunteers had been allocated, Justin noticed that the tall boy with the sparkling eyes was now making his way to the table. He reached out nervously, chewing his top lip and pulled out an envelope. He opened, read it, then handed it to the Dr. to be catalogued. Two balls later Justin’s number was called. Calmly he pulled out his note, frowning in confusion. All that was written on it was Experiment No.4, room 502, D. He handed the note over to be registered, before being led out and to the next two weeks of uncertainty.