Aaron was staring out his office window in Chicago, the rain beating down in vicious sheets. He sighed heavily. The one time I leave the umbrella in the car, he thought. Of course, the car was in the parking garage almost a block away. Much cheaper on the company to pay for those lots than in the large high rise the headquarters occupied. It was nearly six thirty, it had been pouring for an hour and showed no signs of slowing by the time he'd have to leave after this last print finished in, what the computer told him, would be another 44 minutes.
Gates was late at the office yet again working on his pet project. Although he oversaw the direction and vision of the company, he liked to still keep a finger in the pie that was R & D. He was hard at work at making the first fully efficient and commonly available conductive filament for 3D printing. Other filaments existed on the market, and they could work, just not without adding some resistance to circuits. Aaron envisioned rapid prototyping of circuit boards themselves, the process of which had been figured out to a degree for repeatable, industrial applications, but not with flexibility and availability in mind. He believed he was almost finished with the project. This was trial 137, as recorded by the tally marks in his little black notebook that sat in his pocket. He was very close, he was sure, and now he was even more hungry for success.
44 minutes later, Aaron used a small lab spatula to remove the print: a copper coil encased in a special, flexible polymer filament. The thought was to make something that could be easily tested in a variety of ways to determine how close the filament was to 'traditional' copper wiring. He inspected the coil carefully, making sure that there were no fidelity issues with it; a habit that had become somewhat superfluous as the quality of his machines gradually improved, but an old one that was hard to break. Happy with the structure, Aaron pocketed the coil and gathered his things.
As Aaron rode the elevator down to the first floor, he pulled out the coil to admire and play with it. He turned it in his hands, pulled it, twisted it and otherwise contorted it. It was flexible like copper wiring, but the special black casement filament caused it to gradually bounce back to its original shape. Honestly, the casement served more for amusement than for practicality. Once in the lobby, Aaron bade the building receptionist good night and braced himself as he exited the revolving door, thunder shaking the building.
He trudged through the torrents towards his parking garage as the lightning seemed to be becoming more and more powerful and frequent, almost as if it was insisting on being heard and noted. Aaron rounded the corner and neared his parking garage, he pulled out his keys and fumbled with them as he dropped the coil. As he reached down and grasped the coil the ground seemed to almost erupt with energy and Aaron writhed with pain. A massive lightning bolt had struck him, the sound nearly deafening him as he crashed to the ground in agony. Then all went black...
Aaron awoke with a splitting headache in a dark space. He could feel the cold of stone as he lay there. Dully, he noted that he still had the coil in his hand, almost in a deathgrip, his keys looped around his curled index finger in the other hand. Slowly, he relaxed his hands and opened his eyes. A faint, yellow light and the echoing of voices emanated from his right. He slowly rose and shook his head lightly. Curiously, he didn't seem to be scorched, or battered in any manner, only his head hurt and the pounding was decreasing rapidly.
His first thought was to check his phone - no bars. He almost used it as a way to guide himself towards the voices, but he suddenly thought better of it. Torches. Stone. No signal. Wherever I am, I'm probably a long ways away from a charger. I may need my phone or the battery later, best to feel it out for a bit now rather than waste juice. He took his phone out of his pocket and removed the battery before replacing it and feeling his way to a wall and calling out. He listened for the voices to respond as he followed the wall towards them and greater light, continuing to hail them.