I woke up in darkness. I was on the ground; cold, moist and rocky. I judged from the smell that I was probably in a cave, but the damp stale air was laced with the smell and sound of electricity. I tried to open my eyes, but I couldn't. Or, if I could, the room was too dark for there to be any perceivable difference. I tried to move, but I found I couldn't do that either. Immediately I panicked, but it was the calm sort of panic that occurs when the body and the mind cannot hear each other; there was no increase in heart rate, no sweating, no adrenaline, no physical response at all. This sort of thing had happened before, and I now noticed that the sounds of electricity sounded underwater and far away, and perhaps it was just the ringing in my ears. Part of me suggested that the cause of my current situation was similar to what had happened the last time I had experienced the phenomena. I mush have twisted my neck, perhaps from falling (since I couldn't do it intentionally anymore) and fallen into a cave and passed out. I couldn't feel any tingling or numbness, which was good, since it meant that my paralysis was probably muscle-related and not nerve-related. This seemed to be confirmed by the sudden realization that something sharp was digging into my flesh in several places. I managed to groan, which was also good, especially if someone was trying to find me. Now that I had noticed the pain of whatever was in my skin, I couldn't stop noticing it. And I still couldn't move, which of course meant I couldn't do anything about it. I tried to open my eyes again and found that I could. It took a minute for my eyes to adjust, but it became clear that I was not in a natural cave. The buzzing sound had actually been electricity, and small lights flashed on the walls. I now could see that the objects in my skin were shards of glass, as other pieces were scattered all across the floor. The pieces were curved, not flat like a window's glass, but rounded as if they had formed a sphere before they had been separated. I still couldn't remember anything, but the theory that I had fallen down a hole on accident seemed unlikely. Finally I could feel the pump of adrenaline, though relatively gentle, and I felt the wetness of my own blood combine with the damp floor.
The next thing I knew, I had been propped up against a wall. The figure of a man was dimly lit besides me, gently but quickly removing the shards of glass from my arm. He had a look that seemed to be a mixture of fear and frustration. I winced and he looked up. "Kid, you- you need to sit still until I get these cuts fixed up," he said to me calmly, but I could recognize a hint of sadness in his speech. "I've.. had worse," I breathed. It was hard to think, the pain was distracting. "I thought that containment procedure would be stable," The man muttered, probably to himself. He said something else, but I had passed out again and couldn't remember what it was.
Finally I woke up again. This time I was in some sort of makeshift bed. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness and I was now able to see my surroundings more clearly, and I was also able to move. My heart skipped a beat as I realized where I was. It didn't take long after that to remember what had happened. "Told you," I said to no one in particular. "Toldyoutoldyoutoldyou!" I winced and remembered the bandages on my arms. I stole a peek under a loose one. The cuts weren't as bad as I thought they would be. They still hurt a bit though.
Once I remembered what had happened, I felt as if I was both a genius and a complete idiot at the same time. I knew that the machine had the potential to open doors into new worlds, even if those worlds were just computer projections of rendered environments. I hadn't actually expected it to open into accessible worlds. Bringing a camera into another dimension was one thing. Bringing a person? The machine had activated by itself. I happened to be nearby, in the room next door, working late, when I heard noises coming from that direction. Cautious but curious, I had sneaked quietly around the corner to peek into the windowless room. The door was open, but it was too dark to see anything except the glowing maroon eyes of the machine's cameras. But the sound still seemed to be coming from the room. I turned on the light. Everything seemed normal. There was a piece of someone's failed claymation experiment on the floor, but everything else was just as it always was. I picked up the piece to examine it, and almost immediately the lights shut off on their own. Panic came over me as I heard the door slam at nearly the same moment. I felt a slight breeze, heard an eerily familiar voice whisper "say cheese!" and saw a flash of blinding light. and that was the last thing I could remember before waking up paralyzed in the dark on a spray of shattered glass.
The man who had cleaned up my cuts earlier had come back while I was awake. "I'm sorry, Stanford," I said to him. He seemed startled upon hearing his name, then continued picking up what was left of the glass shards. "You're one of them," He muttered. "I should have known." When he had finished collecting all the pieces, he put them into a bag and set them aside and sat down near me on the makeshift bed. "Your kind seems to think this is some sort of game. You're all playing with fire, and now, because of you, this universe and everything in it could be in danger. Do you understand?" "Yes, but-" I began. "There's no buts about this, there are no excuses for causing this much damage. The spacial rift you caused to break out of its protective container is now being contained in a glass jar. I will need to get a new specialized container with heat-resistant glass before the temporary one melts or find a way to stabilize its contents (which, by the way have also become even more unstable)." "It wasn't my fault though," I managed. "You're younger than the others I've seen," he noted. "Are you one of the, what, interns?" "What?! No, I'm a student," I honestly felt a bit offended, not really for any particular reason. "They didn't secretly use you as a guinea pig?" "No, I, I don't know what happened. The machine was acting weird, and when I went to check on it I was suddenly here." "Do you know of Bill Cipher?" Stanford asked. "Of course," I responded, rolling my eyes a bit. "Did you-?" "Y-yes. Well, I think-" I said sheepishly. "Auditory or visual?" "Auditory." "This is worse than I thought. We have to destroy the rift immediately." "What! No, I still need to get back!" "I can try to stabilize it first. But at the moment it's way too risky." "If Bill's already on the other side of the rift, closing it's not gonna help anything."