Chapter 16: Bottomless gold mine

The weekend had passed too fast.  They had barely explored anything; most of the rooms were mainly all the same or with desks and panels they couldn’t use or comprehend.  Eirik figured that it would take years for anyone to explore and catalogue everything, and probably take decades then to understand and learn how to manage the place.

They had also been unable to discover any clues of who the builders had been or how old the Facility was.  Although Eirik had theories, he felt that each of his hypotheses was tainted by his view of the world.

One theory that Eirik liked and Jack hated—to the point that he had called Eirik a sentimental fool and a “tree-hugging son-of-a-bitch”—was the theory that the Facility might have been built to reduce its builders’ footprint on the environment.  As a marine biologist, he thought the idea had a lot of merit, but soon he stopped all speculation, feeling that one couldn’t talk about political views with people because no matter how truthful one’s statement can be, people with beliefs have a tendency never to open their minds to one’s arguments, mostly by fear of being proven wrong.

Overall, they felt that the weekend had been extremely exciting to say the least.  Jack replicated his backpack a few times and had placed a lot of the replicated things he wanted to take back with him to the surface, and stored all the electronics in the underwater container.  He also agreed, to Eirik’s surprise, not to bring any of the local equipment they found to the surface.

Jack had just discovered a bottomless gold mine and he wasn’t going to let anyone else learn of its existence.

Minutes before exiting the Facility and returning to reality, all their gear and equipment were aligned along the wall next to the decompression chamber, and the container was sitting on an anti-gravity platform that Jack was now operating rather skilfully.  They left the rest of the MRE and replicated items in the room they had slept in, to the dismay of Eirik who liked things neat and tidy, but now felt that this room would never be organized again.

After dressing up, Eirik started to drag the container to the exit.  As he turned, he found himself standing face-to-face with Jack who was looking at him with a look of puzzlement, rage and fear all combined, an expression that said it all.  A mist-like force field was up; they had encountered that phenomenon several times before in secure areas generally indicating that an invitation was required by a higher-level person, in their case, Eirik.

Seeing the situation unfold, Eirik, who had not been refused access to any room so far, placed his hand in front of him by instinct and stepped purposely forward.  For the first time, he hit the wall with his outstretched hand.  Panicked, Eirik started pressing the purple button madly.  The door appeared and disappeared, but each time the mist returned. After several attempts, he kicked the mist and hit the panel with his opened palm, nothing happened.  They were trapped.