Chapter 34: In the dark

In the second Facility, sitting on a blanket with a flashlight in hand pointed at Eirik, Jack was refining his plan, especially on how to make their way to the level where the decompression chamber was located.

It was with a groan that Eirik regained consciousness and was now trying to roll on his back to get up.  Jack quickly knelt next to him and urged him to refrain from doing so.  Within seconds, Vladimir was informed of Eirik’s condition and provided with his vital signs, which appeared stable.

It took a good hour for Jack to bring Eirik up to speed as he lay on his side in a recovery position.  Eirik took a long time to assimilate the information, on the account of his brain still being in slumber.  Fortunately, the pain in his arm had almost disappeared, thanks to pain killers.  He soon fell asleep, the dog lying contentedly at his feet.

They woke up a few hours later.  Without the benefit of natural light, it was impossible for them to know the local time, which indicated 04:36, Norwegian time.  Eirik’s pain was coming and going, but before taking something stronger, he felt that it would be a good idea for him to walk around and see the situation for himself.  The truth was that the thought of spending one more minute lying alone on his stack of blankets was driving him nuts.

With a bit of help from Jack, they managed to lower themselves through the elevator hole, and soon realized that the elevators were likely working using antigravity or magnets because there were no cables to be seen and, to their dismay, no ladder.  To complicate matters more, the only visible thing inside the shaft seemed to be four guide rails of sorts.  They didn’t have to walk five paces to realize the complication.  On either side of the door—in their case, the hole in the ground—they could see that the shafts were extending in all directions as far as the torch light could reach.  They could also see that the shafts’ railing system was made of a single stretch of track without joints.  There was no place to grab or attach ropes as opposed to the railings on the walls in the corridors.  Unlike normal elevators, these could move in all directions and meant that if the Facility had been upright, they would have been able to see a normal elevator shaft from top to bottom and, also, an endless shaft going from left to right.

It was obvious that if they were to traverse the gap, they would need to make a bridge.  Luckily, only three levels separated them from their destination and there would be time to devise a way later.  They both considered the risk too great to attempt crossing the abyss without the proper equipment.  Both marveled one last time at the multi-directional elevator shaft and then returned to their stack of blankets under the transporters—to the great pleasure of their canine companion who, although lonely, seemed to be adapting to her new, marooned existence rather well.

The people they had left behind in Norway were slowly organizing as well.  The rooms around the transporters were starting to fill with teams of people discussing different problems:  How to power the second Facility or at least the transporters, climbing solutions, long term survival and researching to see if the other Facility might not have been discovered yet by another country.  That final part the Colonel had not forbid, because people with ideas shouldn’t be prevented to investigate their potentials.  However, he warned his staff not to allow themselves to hope too much.  Unfortunately, not every country would be as open as Norway to discuss it with the UN.

One hypothesis that came up, however, had been the reason why the Facility was on its side.  Fangs extrapolated from the idea that Eirik entered in his logs that the complex was built underground to reduce the inhabitant’s footprint on their environment.

Her research had shown that the reactor, being located at the bottom, was capable of generating enormous gravitational energy.  In theory, it could be used to change the direction of where the gravity came from and could switch the ceiling with the floor, if the reactor had been on top instead of at the bottom.  The idea had a lot of merit as it would have been easier for the Builders, with their knowledge and technologies, to build this Facility in a shallower hole like a long tube on the side and change the gravitational direction, rather than to dig hundreds of metres into the Earth.

For Lawson, all these mind teasers and hopeful prospects had not been enough to take his focus off the big picture.  He soon returned to the thoughts that occupied his mind for the past few days.  The elections in the United States were at an end and his old friend and classmate, with no luck at all, could be elected President of the United States.  That meant Lawson would get carte blanche to do everything he wanted and insured that their agenda would be placed on the back burner.