The Marvelous Mishaps of Dr. Adrian Valence, PhD PhD PhD
A sigh. Another typical day at the university, another lecture in electrical engineering; the poor man just couldn't seem to pick up a good book for a moment without one of his students poking in. The freshmen were the worst; they always asked the simplest questions, and perhaps that wouldn't be so if he could simply capture their attention for the majority of his lectures.
"That's Dr. Valence, Jonathan. What is it?" the professor asked, nudging his glasses slightly with the tip of a finger. The student, oblivious to his mentor's irritation, hastily placed a mess of solder and circuitry on the older man's desk. Adrian cringed; the soldering on the device was messy at best, and the wires on the individual pieces were not trimmed to an ideal length, leaving far too much wiggle room for the components. The student spoke up again.
"It's a radio receiver." he explained.
"I can see that." replied the teacher, examining the placement of the circuitry on the board. "What seems to be the problem?"
"Well…" the student continued, "It seems like it should work just fine but… The tuning is way off. I'm getting the wrong frequency for the crystal I put in. Do you think the crystal is bad?" Dr. Valence squinted at the circuit.
"That's not the problem." he said, holding the board in his hand. Adrian quickly discovered the real problem: the inductors. "Jonathan, Jonathan. You've forgotten one of the basic principles of induction." he said, placing the makeshift radio back on the desk.
"Wha… How so?" asked the student, unable to see the problem with his device. Dr. Valence continued.
"These two inductors are far too close together." he stated, pointing at the board. "Remember, inductors generate a magnetic field, and when placed together, they can influence each-other's properties. This is useful for some applications, but in this case, you've placed two inductors close together in parallel, that needn't be. They're just causing interference. Move these apart, and your problem should go away." he said with a knowing nod, sliding the radio back towards the student.
"Ah… Thank you." Jonathan replied quietly, taking his work and proceeding back to his desk, just in time for the bell.
Adrian sighed, and closed his book. Only six hours to go.
Adrian Valence was a slightly tall man, with an average build. Neatly combed brown hair, with a matching, neatly trimmed brown beard. Some might say that the beard was his most defining feature; it made him look wise. And wise he was; at the ripe age of 37, Adrian had already received three doctorates for his achievements. He was a renowned expert in the respected fields of computer science, electrical engineering, and mathematics. It was his fantastic combination of skills that landed him his second job.
The school day over, Adrian followed the interstate, at a cruising 65 MPH. The day had been rough, and his students had been especially impatient in class today. But, compared to Adrian's other job…
The professor took a nondescript exit, following the road for several miles. At regular intervals, he took one hand off the wheel to take a sip of coffee, before placing his thermos back into place. Another turn; the road was bumpier, eventually becoming a mess of dirt and gravel, but still Adrian drove on. His destination was quite out of the way.
"Here we are." Adrian stated to himself, parking his car in front of a small building. 'Strawberry Cream Pops' the sign said in dirtied paint. The building looked like it hadn't been used in years. Adrian approached the door; removing a key from his pants pocket, he opened the lock and stepped inside.
The interior was predictably empty, but unusually clean, especially compared to the grungy exterior. Tables and chairs were in perfect order, and the shop in fact looked like it had been in use only the day before. Adrian walked behind the counter, where the ice cream was kept. Unfortunately, the store was out of stock; all of the ice cream buckets were empty. In fact, it looked as if they had been empty from the start. After taking a moment to adjust his glasses, Dr. Valence removed the 7th bucket from its hole, revealing a smooth black panel. Adrian reached his hand into the hole, placing his hand against the panel; it glowed red for a moment, and then, a square space of floor behind the counter slid away, revealing a ladder. Adrian replaced the bucket, and walked to the larger hole, lowering himself and beginning his descent.
The floor slid back into place, bathing him in darkness. A light shone from beneath.
"Time for work."