He lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. The morning was starting to stream in through the window and he knew the daily grind would soon start. There was more work to do before they understood any of it.
“Daaaaad!”. There it was, the day’s starting gun had fired.
“You hungry Yanis?”. From his bed, he already knew the answer, it was the same every day but he liked the routine.
“OK, I’ll make breakfast”.
An hour later, he was on his way to the workshop, after the school drop off.
The workshop was a squat building situated in one of the newer industrial parks south of the city. Unlike the others around it, it was featureless, no signage, windows, anything. A simple garage entry, though it was anything but simple, was the only thing that told anyone there were people inside doing… something.
As he approached, the 3DID scanner embedded into the concrete panels above the door scanned his car then him; yes, he had a private car… here. It registered all the relevant data, organic and inorganic, and the door silently slid open. Driving in, he knew the drill, hard left, where the secondary 3DIDS scanned him again and once past that, he presented his chipped hand to the guard at the boom gate. While he had nothing to worry about, he knew at any point if the system even had a doubt about him, it would have been over in a flash. No question and answer time, just lights out.
On his desk sat the report from last night’s tests. He read through them, which only raised more questions, so he headed to the lab. The samples in question, from the Eastern Rim, sat in the centre of the room in a field generated by the MAG-90 that lined the containment chamber. Nigel was studiously watching readouts on a screen, a look of exasperation on his face.
“I read the reports, Nige. By the look on your face, they must be right?”
“The report’s right. Yes. This thing is off the dial; it makes no sense as what so ever”. Nigel didn’t look up, he was still transfixed by the data streaming out. “If I didn’t know better, this stuff could not be rock.”
For a slow moment both the men stood and stared at the material that was the centre of attention.
“And they say there’s more of this at the Eastern Rim?” Achim broke the silence. As the one in charge of this project, it was up to him to be across all the details.
“Yea, the crews were saying they saw a deep vein of the stuff running below the mantle. They could not get to it though and the loss of those same crews apparently’s a direct result of pressure from above to try and grab it.”
“Typical.” What Achim did not say was that someone was willing, and happy, to sacrifice crews to get this stuff.
When the suits approached him to set up this lab, a lab within a lab, they made sure he knew that what he was to be doing was not to be discussed, with anyone. The building security made that pretty clear. Achim knew what they were doing was, at very best, a grey area. At worst, completely black and the story being pumped out was that they had found huge veins of material similar to MAG-90 in the Southern Rift. That’s what his lab was supposed to be working on. Thing was, this rock was not like MAG-90, he knew what that was and this was not that. The fact that it was from the Eastern Rim mine also made it pretty clear what this wasn’t.
He was not sure who knew what but it was clear there were factions within the corporation, and factions usually meant power struggles. Out here, power struggles could end in disaster.
“I’m heading back to my office. If something unusual comes up let me know”. Achim started for the door.
Nigel looked up from the screen and said to his back “Unusual? Isn’t this thing already off the unusual dial?”
Back in his office Achim sat at with a soft focus on the report on his desk. All this didn’t sit well with him and people dying for it made him even more uncomfortable. It was clear he was working for some very serious people but… an unknown material with properties that defied any level of understanding they currently had. Crews being sent on what were effectively covert missions… no, this was not right.
He tapped send.
Looking for Gods in Maschines:
Spans of the known:
A collection of hard science fiction tales written and illustrated by Gerard Thomas.