The most precise clocks we have are atomic clocks which are powered by quantum mechanics. Besides keeping time, they can also let your smartphone know where you are.
On the bottom floor of the building, there is a black soldier fly facility. Take the stairs down and just beyond the toilets and electrical room, there is a regular keycard access door with the label ‘Department of Pharmacy’. That is because the signage wouldn’t stay changed. During working hours the door is usually unlocked, because it is a hassle to keep tapping in and out of the place. And frankly, nobody except those of us who work there on a regular basis, bothers much with coming down here. Even the professor doesn’t ever come in unless there are visitors. I mean the normal kind – she doesn’t bother with any of the other entities that we have to handle.
If you go inside, you will see the default lab benches of the Department of Pharmacy, cluttered with an assortment of plastic containers, cleaning supplies and whatever else. I don’t know how we have been exempt from every Heath & Safety inspection so far, which is just as well since I don’t know how we’d ever pass one. The place is dirty. And if you didn’t already know what a black soldier fly facility was, you’d know once you step in. We have their cages on the ledge beside the windows. They, or rather their larvae, are here to process food waste. The larvae gets fattened up and are good to be eaten by anything that will have them. Their waste, also known as frass, makes a decently good fertilizer. Well, the food waste explains about half of the smell here.
Sometimes our collaborators complain that our frass, when used as fertilizer, turns their plants into quantum beings, existing in this plane and somewhere else at the same time until observed and their wavefunction collapses. They are tired of looking for their plants all over the place and only finding when they observe approximately the area where it will choose to materialize. Usually, it is only a slight hassle, but there was in particular that incident, where a tree from the garden materialized in their lab. Once something materializes, it becomes the same as any classical object, so you can imagine the damage it caused. They blame us for that, but in my opinion, they should have stuck to growing smaller plants.
Also, don’t get me wrong. This place might be non-sterile, but the consensus is that it is pretty safe. If you follow all the rules, at least, and with a good dose of common sense. The physical space itself seems to play tricks sometimes. It may be distracting, sometimes startling, not nothing outright dangerous. For instance, from a particular vantage point, you could see people going about their business in the room, sometimes with a background slightly different from what you’d expect. If you look from any other angle, however, there would be no trace of anyone. It is almost as if there were a screen suspended in mid-air, facing only one direction, but blending into our reality better than any man-made material could.
The prevailing hypothesis is that it is a tear in space-time that shows glimpses of the past. Sometimes you could catch scenes from where this was still the pharmacy lab. Occasionally, it goes further back, like from before the building was here. It would certainly be a surprise to see the facility at one moment, and have half of it become a verdant forest once you look up again. Just be careful not to trip.
You need to be more careful, however, with any deals you make with pure energy beings. Once, we had a student who wanted to get more time for her report submission. She has not appeared in our reality again since then, but we sometimes see her wandering around two years ago. Sometimes she does things that are not in her original project, so we know these are not just replays of events that happened.
Also, there’s the rats which you should ignore. Especially the large one that is half grey and half brown. I’ve lost track of the number of times we have killed it - with glue traps, regular blunt trauma with a hammer, poison, you name it. We still eventually see it around though. We have just taken to rat-proofing the facility as best as we could, and killing them every time they come around again.
Even those of us who work here don’t understand why the place is as such. Some speculate it is because we are just beside the physics department. Their experiments may have done something to distort space-time in this place, setting it at the gateway of multiple worlds where there is an infinite set of possibilities and anything could happen. All we know that there are more tears in the fabric of reality than usual in this place, and we have given feedback, but for all the attention they paid to it we might as well have submitted it to a brick wall.
Sometimes, we get people wandering in here as a shortcut to the other side. Most of the time, you will exit in the same plane of reality that you entered from. On the rare occasion you will not, but we who work here have enough practice in identifying when we are not and backtracking to our own world. Some of the visitors may not realize until it is too late, and we do not see them again.
Sometimes, like now, the grinder starts churning out a questionable mix of something that looks like cat, complete with the sound of crunching bone. Well, nobody said this was going to be easy. I grab the mop and bleach. At least it is organic waste, and we could feed it to the larvae. They wouldn’t digest the bone meal, but that makes for a good fertilizer, right? We could give it to the collaborators to make up for what happened that time.