Chapter 42: Demolition

On shore in Norway, the installation of the concrete pillars was already completed.  The segments of tunnels were slowly lowered in the water by a barge and two tugboats.  Once completed, another barracks would be erected on top of the pillars to hide the entrance.  As for helicopters, they would be landing on the oil platform in order to keep the pretenses.  Then the people would be transported to shore by boats.  Everyone knew that was a temporary solution, as the platform would only fool people for so long.

The night of the same day, Lawson had received a communiqué which indicated that all attempts to locate Jack, Eirik, and Celina had failed.  He was unaware that two of the Castaways had already managed to dig all the way to the jungle floor and brought Eirik and the dog to the top.  It is at that moment, seeing that his presence was not making things go any faster, that he agreed to take a few days off to travel to the United States to meet the current President and his most valued friend.

After a lengthy meeting with the military personnel responsible for the protection of the Facility, the head of requisition had been requested to bring an assault-team style shield to the Facility, preferably the kind used by SWAT teams–Type III ballistic tactical shields that provided head-to-toe protection and equipped with a small bulletproof window at eye level.  The same for the bomb disposal suit that would be used to protect the soldier responsible for the second phase of the rescue plan.  The security chief had already communicated to Jack that they would attempt to teleport a small aspirin-sized chunk of C-4 explosive, barely powerful enough to shatter a flower vase, but large enough to make it a viable test.  Everyone on the Colonel’s staff who had handled C-4 knew how stable the off-white modeling clay was.  The Colonel himself used it dozens of times since Vietnam and had since commanded men who use it as well. It was the most stable explosive out there.  Hell, he knew you could jump on it, drop it, place it in the microwave or directly in a raging camp fire, or shoot a machine gun round right through it, and it wouldn’t go off at all.  Only a precise enough combination of heat and shockwave, generally generated by a detonator, could get C-4 to explode.  However, the problem was that no one had ever tried to expose C-4 to a matter-energy transporter before.  Like anyone in command of anything, Lawson hated the unknown.  Intelligence had been the key on the battlefield and in anything else he had been involved with since he became a lieutenant three decades earlier.  Unless they manage to teleport something remotely in the next few hours, the plan would have to be put on hold until the equipment arrived.  Considering that the three Castaways in Africa were relatively safe, he couldn’t ask anyone to risk their lives in order to save time.  No rescue team in the world would risk the safety of their members during a storm to rescue people sheltered in a cabin fully supplied with food and water.  No one’s life was more or less valuable than another’s, and Lawson knew that.

Lawson was also comfortable with leaving Johnson, his second-in-command, as acting director.  He had been impressed with his interview and his background as a regional director at Interpol.  Jackson had since been performing exceptionally well since the project started and his level was good enough by the project’s standards.  The man was clearly competent and had been in the field, training African police forces and introducing systems for processing requests and helping investigators to be more efficient in tracking down criminals in the street and in their corrupted governments.

With everyone informed, his mind was able to relax a little as he toured the key locations of his Facility one last time before gearing up and making his way to the surface for a final meeting with the Council and the Norwegian representatives.

As he sealed himself with Johnson and Dr. Novikov in the decompression chamber, his heart became heavy.  He looked around and snapped an absent-minded salute at the two men, feeling that he wouldn’t have the chance to work with them for much longer.

CHRISSY’S DIARY

I can’t write too much on this because I wouldn’t want to put anyone in trouble.  I went along with the idea because I love Steven.  He thinks that if we are no longer part of the project in the future, we can continue on our own.  I think he watched Batman too much.  I don’t see myself leaving here.  So, why would I need money and on the outside?