Jenn (kickthehobbit) wrote in secret_cities,
Jenn
kickthehobbit
secret_cities

The Tangerine Dungeon

On the fifth floor of the University of Utah's School of Medicine are the Wittwer Genetics Labs. There are a handful of them, scattered through the labyrinthine halls of the floor. They are research labs, dedicated to finding, among other things, new diagnostic techniques. No one is allowed in them but the lab members. Students, faculty, and janitorial staff are told, politely but firmly, to stay out—for fear that they might distrupt the experiments in progress, or somehow contaminate the sterile working environment. It's a reasonable request, one that other labs on other floors of the School have made.

The Wittwer labs are unique in one respect: they have nicknames. All of the nicknames are engraved on plates, and hung on the door, above the room number—"White Dwarf", "Purple Nebula"—astronomy nicknames, all but one of them. The Tangerine Dungeon.

Those passing through may laugh at the name, thinking it a joke—the School is well-lit, after all, the labs have nothing dungeon-like about them.

What they fail to notice is that the door is never open, but always padlocked shut, as if they are not afraid of someone getting in so much as something getting out.

The lab staff are very polite. Loiter outside the Dungeon too long, and they will ask if there is perhaps somewhere else you need to be. If you do not respond promptly, they will offer you a tour. Say no, and they will nod and bid you good day. Say yes, and they will smile at you, showing too many teeth, and fumble with the lock on the door before holding it open for you, waving you in . . . and slamming it shut behind you.

If you are lucky, someone will hear you pounding on the locked door and let you out. If you are not, well . . .

The funding for the labs has been cut, again and again, and they must keep their subjects fed somehow.
Tags: salt lake city, username: kickthehobbit
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