by Rob Butler
"So The Ethics Committee's coming to have a look, then?"
"Yeah." The doctorate student rubbed his hands over his tired eyes before glancing up at his supervisor. "This is really annoying. I'm so close to the end of the experiment. I've hardly slept since I fired it up two weeks ago."
The supervisor looked at the vast Containment Vessel and then leaned forward to study one of the computer screens. He frowned at the single red flashing dot.
"How did it happen?"
The student sighed. "I popped out for a coffee."
The supervisor stared at him. He tried to keep his voice under control.
"You had a full-scale Universe simulation at the 99% stage of its life. And you popped out for a coffee?"
The student fidgeted.
"I would have been back well before I needed to check all the final parameters, but...."
"Well, I bumped into Yvette from Accounts, and, er...."
"Well, I've always fancied Yvette, so we got chatting and I, er, persuaded her to come out for a date with me."
"Oh good. I'm so pleased. That certainly makes up for the fact that you've wasted almost the entire budget of this Department for the next two years."