Chapter 44: Explosive experiment

At the designated time of 1900 hours, the detonator, ten times bigger than its micro-charge, was placed on the pad leading to the bottom of the African Facility.  The Marine, in full body armour, was ready to step on the pad and activate the transporter.  Just like Steven when he was sending containers to the Castaways, the Marine was also afraid of not having enough time to step off the pad—understandably enough, considering the forty kilos of protective coverings.  The armour limited his ability to walk down to mere centimetres at a time.  As he stepped on the pad, he noticed the next two problems with the plan.  First, the lack of flexibility of the armour had made it almost impossible for him to raise his hand in the confined depression in the wall and remained in the middle of the pad at the same time.  Second, the high padding of Kevlar on his shoulders reaching above his head was making it difficult for him to even see the display, let alone press the symbol to select which pad would receive the charge on the other side.  To make things even worse, the normally warm and comfortable temperature of the Facility was making him sweat like a pig.  The icing on the cake was that he was sending only the detonator and a micro-charge first.  He would have to repeat the same process with a full stick of C4 next.

To the relief of the Marine, the C-4 vanished from the pad and his team called Jack.  As requested, Jack knelt and picked up the detonator and the charge, which lay harmlessly on the pad at the top of the Facility.  After being walked through the testing procedure, they concluded that the detonator was functioning properly.  He called the demolition expert back to inform him of the results and the rest of the load of C-4 appeared next.

 

At the same time, Celina was walking on the jungle floor, looking for a good spot to bury the equipment they received from Steven and Chrissy.  The hardest part was done.  Everything had been moved to the exit section using a winch that they had requested so that they can move Eirik and a makeshift pulley system that Jack made once they found the exit.  All they needed to do now was to dig.  She grabbed her FastCom, marvelled at the fact that she was using it outside amidst the trees, and contacted Chrissy to request shovels.

Eirik, feeling more comfortable in the shade of the Facility than the warmth of the jungle above, was waiting for Jack to return inside to help him get out.

Jack soon arrived with the C-4. He called Celina and, within an hour, Eirik was hoisted to the jungle floor.

By noon that day, they had already established a small perimeter.  It had taken longer than expected to take Eirik out because they had to remove enough roots, dirt, and loose rocks to widen the exit.  They were happy to emerge in an area consisting mainly of tall trees, with their large branches and leaves totally blanketing the sky.  Less than a metre from the hole stood a small mountain of dirt, which had likely drifted and accumulated over the years due to many landslides.  If they had used C-4 instead of an axe to remove the roots, Celina thought, the whole mount would have come crashing on them and likely buried them alive.

Jack had seen the problem in another light.  His military experience in demolition gave him an idea to burn their bridges, so to speak, and prevent anyone from following them.  A plan was soon discussed to make use of the situation to their advantage.  They already had the location where to bury the equipment.  The precious gold and the diamonds were already inside the watertight containers.  They also agreed not to worry about the means by which they would take the equipment out of Africa.  All in due time, Celina had said.

She was at ease, thanks to her experience in the jungles of Belize and the fact that they possess a GPS.  As soon as the equipment was buried, she would get all the coordinates:  the real location of this Facility, the coordinates of their burial site, and lastly, a fake location far from their newly buried stockpile to tell Johnson where they had supposedly exited and then be guided out from there.