Broken Mirror: Apophis 2029 (6 page)

BOOK: Broken Mirror: Apophis 2029
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  The fact was that most people were left without anything that could be used for tender since most everything that related to currency was done through credit cards or implanted ID chips.  All that digital information was wiped out in the EMP surge.  With all the electronic money gone, a good many people who had once considered themselves well-off solely by the amount digital capital and the placement of the decimal points in their portfolios and bank accounts; suddenly found themselves destitute in the collapse, and where left to beg and scrape just like everyone else.

  It was a pitiful display to see how individuals who had valued themselves solely by their possessions let themselves be so entirely stripped of their character. Personally, I found it a fundamental disappointment in the human race as a whole to realize that so many people lived such shallow lives in our day and age.  Many individuals with that type of mindset became even more erratic and mentally dangerous than the infected themselves, for there's nothing more dangerous than someone who has nothing left to lose.

  Within the chief’s own office, were an array of digital tablets stacked upon color-coded shelves; their lifeless screens made them expensive paperweights since printed data was rarely ever used.  There was a hologram photo of the plant's boss and his family hanging on the wall.  They looked like your typical upper class; domesticated trophy wife standing beside her overweight husband, their two children wearing identical school jumpsuits typical of the day.  Their robotic nanny poised in the background merely as a status symbol to their peers.

  The quartz display on the wall that would have brandished his name was now blank, all the electronic devices were either destroyed from the EMP or merely dead batteries that had corroded and destroyed the innards of the devices.  The only thing of notable value was a diagram of the factory levels hanging on the wall, which is where Haiti took a note of special interest.

  "Hey, Thorn, come take a look at this." Haiti motioned.

  We all followed in kind, wondering what it was we should be looking at.  The holographic glass frame allowed a three dimensional image of the building's interior layout to be viewed at a variety of angles.  Such laser engraved glass was typically used by contractors and architects for prestige since they were fragile and had little practical use in the field.  Haiti pointed to an array of large circular structures located in the basement.  What they were was not quite clear.  It was an area they had not yet been able to access since that section was locked behind some very large secured doors.

  "Ah, that must be the area behind the bulk doors at the ass end of the lower dock, on the bottom level," Thorn responded, as he pointed to the hologram, "maybe its time we took a look down there," he suggested.

  We slowly made our way down from the top floor, prying open any locked doors we passed along the way to see what we could find.  From what I saw, their crew had done a decent job of barricading the facility from the inside, allowing only for a single hidden entrance and an emergency escape by a coiled rope off the second story balcony.  Their preparedness and foresight helped me feel a bit more comfortable, since they seemed to have a better grasp of sensible necessities than most groups of people I had ever met.  Shit could go wrong in a heartbeat; we all knew that from experience.

  The lower dock angled in from the ground level, though any access via the storm shutters had been closed off.  Several large hauling trucks were chaotically arranged within the garage, as if randomly parked and abandoned in a rush.  Blocked behind them was a large set of sliding double doors running nearly the entire width of the sizeable carport.  After initial inspection, it was clear the gates were disabled and could only be opened by the remote switch located in a small booth to its side.  Without electricity, there was no way to operate it by hand.  The doors were too large and the gears well sealed behind the thick barrier wall.  Whatever was inside, was well protected.

  After mulling over our options, we rolled one of the trucks out of the way and Haiti came up with a workable plan to rig the access conduit by directly connecting a line to the electrical grid outside the lower building.  It was the same fenced off area that I had almost climbed into when I was being chased outside the day before.  Thorn finally got around to clarifying why he had taken the liberty of putting a few pop shots in my direction earlier in the courtyard; while humbling himself under my tempered and accusing glare.

  "I had an eye on you since you exited the forest, and the group of afflicted that were in pursuit.  When you climbed over that wall I was trying to take out the Weepers whenever I had a clear shot, but saw you were about to run into the grid," he explained, "so I tried waving my laser sight in front of you as a warning not to go that way, but you were either ignoring the signal or didn't see it, so I placed a few warning shots at your feet as a final resort."

  I recalled seeing a few transformers and wired scaffolding beyond the fence there through the sheets of rain, but did not realize it was still active.

  "You mean that power grid is still live, but how?"  I inquired, knowing that electrical lines everywhere had been down for years, especially so in a place this remote.

  "After a few weeks here we realized just how dangerous that section of the yard was, especially during electrical storms," Haiti answered for him over his shoulder, "it's like a lightning magnet, and anything in range of it gets fried.  Ole' Thorn here kept you from being barbequed," he smiled at me with his cheesy grin while patting Thorn on the back. 

  The mish-mash of steel and busted capacitors held residual electricity from any lightning strikes for weeks.  Dangerous voltage would hum through the structure for days after being zapped by a thunderbolt.  A few of the lights would still hum on, but most had been fried or popped from the frequent power spikes.  They pried open the back access door to the grid are
a
with a wooden rod to show me; pointing out a few smoking remnants of dead bodies of weepers that had recently wandered into that mess.

  "It lit them up like a match," Haiti gleamed, as if it had been a spectacle to behold, "Eh! Don't touch nuth'in, girl!" he warned as he quickly lifted my arm away with the wood pole from contacting the metal handrail just outside the hatch, "It'll still give you a good zap," he cautioned.  I didn't want to get cooked, so I took a step back at his lead.

  Though the storm had passed I could still hear a low hum coming from the Grid and could feel it in the ground at my feet.  This place was still juiced, and we worked out a way to make use of it.  We went back upstairs and pulled out all the excess wiring, tying together any conduits we could find.  Felix came along to help us, while giving helpful instructions not to bother with anything below a certain gauge of thickness.  After several hours of work, we had pieced together a cable starting from the access panel in the garage that led all the way to the outer hatch where Felix stood alone; decked out in black rubber gloves, thick dark goggles and a makeshift handle from a broken broomstick.  I could tell he was not feeling so keen about being at the charged end, his stuttered speech gave that away.

  "Ah, okay, you ah, you guys ready down there?" he shouted down the hall to Serena, who in turn gave me the verbal signal that I relayed to Thorn all the way down to the garage where Haiti stood waiting. 

  The dark skinned islander had previously wired up the conduits under the panel.  With a final shrug of his shoulders, he turned and gave us a thumbs up; hoping he had gotten the polarity right.  Felix made the connection and angry sparks shot out the stray bits of wire down the line, we all jumped back, as did Haiti when the panel in front of him erupted like fireworks.

  "Ah! Eee, Stop! STOP ya ginger headed freak!" the black man screamed as he fell back, shielding his face, "Telk him to only make contact in short taps!" he instructed Thorn to relay up the line as we followed in turn, shouting the orders back to Felix, who sat there nervously at the smoking end of the hot cable, trying his best not to choke on the burning rubber from its tips.

  Following his advice, the crackle of sparks shot down the wire where Haiti had fixed the connection in haste.  With a clank and squeaking of metal and grinding of dry gears, the colossal doors began to part.  After resisting a few feet, the creaking metal began to stall and Haiti yelled back for Felix to halt.  Felix disconnected the power cable and resealed the outer door, and we all in turn made our way back down to the garage where he was waiting.  The group of us gathered close to peer into the dark narrow gap beyond. 

  Thorn snatched his rifle as did Haiti, who grabbed his favorite shotgun while stuffing a large machete in the back of his belt.  Serena donned a pistol, though she did not appear too worried about needing to use it.  She contended that if this area had been sealed off like this for the past several years, then there likely was not anything left alive inside.  We decided to take our weapons just the same. 

  My solar light had fully charged from sitting out on the balcony the entire afternoon, and we let Felix go back to clean the rank of soot and burnt scraps of rubber from his hands.  The four of us could handle this alone, and we really didn't like the idea of calling it a night leaving this door cracked open without knowing what was on the other side.  The trailer beds in the outer dock suggested that there was something big in there.  We doubled checked our gear and ventured into the still air with light steps.  An eerie silence greeted us as we made our way inside, the kicking of every small pebble echoed off distant walls shrouded in the darkness beyond the reach of our lights. 

  The ramp-way extended just a little farther into the basement until it leveled off.  Within, we were faced with half a dozen tall stainless steel doors arranged in a semicircle.  High above I could make out a set of conveyor rails, their hooked chains retracted onto thick spools.  It was a real mystery as to what they were for?  None of us had seen anything like it before.

  "What the fuck is this place?" Serena blurted out, reflecting everyone's added dismay. 

  Thorn wandered off to inspect one of the large rounded doors, and tapped on a glass plate located next to one.  There was a similar box next to each of the six sealed doors.  Using the butt of his rifle, he tapped the glass hard once, smashing it in on his second try.  He looked at us and shrugged just before depressing the large red button that it had been protecting beneath the broken glass. 

  We were startled when its frame lit up and a loud siren wailed with flashing red lights above the door where he stood.  Some sort of emergency back up power connected to it was still in operation and we took several steps back as the silver door slid out then folded up like a submarine hatch as thick steam seeped out around its edges.  With a hiss, the thick door jolted to a halt, and after a moment of shock, we dared to peek inside.

  A dim blue light pulsated around a sizeable central dome, its edged speckled with polished silver bars.  I was completely baffled, and by the look on Serena's face, so was she.  Haiti ventured to step inside to get a better look at the device, brushing aside the mist of ozone with his hands.  It took him a while to determine a hint of what it might be as he shined his flashlight into every crevice for a clue to how it worked.

  "What is it?" Thorn finally inquired with impatience as he squeezed up next to him.  Haiti tucked his finger under his chin in though for a moment before speaking his mind.

  "Ya know, if ya ask me, I would swear this was a hydrogen generator," he exclaimed, tapping the side of the cone, "and this here is the coil." as it made a metallic 'thunk' similar to a water-filled tank when one of the many silver rings he wore touched the outer plate, "Them there are magnetic coils around the edge," he mentioned while pointing at the polished plates, "when engaged, this thing lifts itself up on a magnetic field so it can spin at high velocity while ionized water is injected from below ...or above, I can't tell which." he corrected himself while standing on his toes to inspect the top of the cone. 

  That could have explained why the system was still powered and there was a transformer array outside the building.  This complex was an energy bank.  However, that analogy still confused us all.

  "I thought hydro was made into a gaseous fuel, not electrical energy." I wondered aloud.  Haiti looked confounded for a brief moment, and then raised his finger as his eyes widened.

  "You're right lass!" he smiled back, "The design of these creates wave energy meant for battery storage, but must have some other secondary purpose." Haiti rattled on, but he still seemed confused about something, since the piping in this room failed to present any answers to where exactly the hydrogen gas was being pumped off too. 

  Any industrial complex with such a dangerously flammable substance would have enormous external silos for storage, but there were none to found in the area.  Given that fact, and that we could not figure out what these large trucks could possibly be hauling in and out of this lower bay.  We knew what we had found was incredibly valuable; the question was, how could we make practical use of it?

  The men mulled over the thought that there might be an underground pipeline sending it off somewhere like a buried gas line.  Fossil fuels had run thin during my adolescence, especially with petroleum, creating a serious energy crisis that peaked every few years and gravely strained the global economies in every nation.  After that period, it seemed like more and more resource wars began to spark worldwide.  Everybody was stuck in their old ways and the corporations that controlled the flow of energy didn't want to take such a large loss on their old investments by going cold turkey and transitioning to new technologies and renewable energy.

BOOK: Broken Mirror: Apophis 2029
2.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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