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It was an ordinary morning at Quasar Laboratories- a government-funded research facility and academy located in Washington D.C. Across the entire campus, countless students hustled around between the various aboveground classrooms, while countless scientists simultaneously hustled between the various underground labs. Among these scientists was Doctor Ivan Wissenschaft, a tall, fair-skinned man with brown hair, a short beard, and blue eyes behind round-rimmed glasses, wearing a red button-up shirt and black pants beneath his white labcoat. He passed several other scientists, students, and even some robots of all backgrounds while traversing the subterranean corridor, eventually reaching a thick metal door labeled "Project: CORE". After swiping his ID badge, having his fingerprints and retinas scanned, and entering a four-digit passcode, the door smoothly slid open, and Wissenschaft entered.

Behind the door was a large, circular room filled with many different people and computers. However, in the room's center was a large glass chamber containing a massive white crystal in the shape of an elongated octahedron, which had several wires attached to it. Some of the scientists turned to look upon hearing the door hiss open, and after a moment all but one had returned to their work. She was tall and slender, with pale skin and black hair that went down to her shoulderblades, and wearing a white labcoat and blue jeans. She rushed over to Wissenschaft from the other side of the room as soon as she saw him enter, making sure to grab a tablet form the desk next to her.

"Hey, Ivan," she huffed as she reached him, catching her breath.

"Hello Nikara," Wissenschaft replied with a smile, before realizing something was wrong, "What is it?" He had a somewhat deep voice with a light German accent.

"We've detected an abnormality in the Core," she answered, handing him the tablet, "and are concerned that today's procedures may have... consequences." The tablet displayed what appeared to be a small crack in the crystal's center, no more than a few cubic centimeters in size.

"A crack?" Ivan asked, giving the tablet back, "I don't see what's so 'abnormal' about that." He began walking towards the chamber in the center of the room.

Nikara frowned, quickly following him. "Well, it developed late last night and hasn't healed at all," she explained, "In fact, it's been getting gradually larger. We think it's caused by the stress we've been putting on the Core recently, so we're of course worried that today's procedure may worsen the problem..."

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