Archaic engineering dormant four thousand years booted up and activated heaters to thaw the remaining five casks forged of dark metal which contained the First Wave Archonte. A catalyst was introduced, forming a slurry which consumed itself; provided the ones in the dewer casks successfully revived. If there were any malfunctions that slurry would escape and eat its way into crust, mantle, and core of the Earth Planet.
“Will the electrical current at The Facility be enough?” Synesthese was reeling from the unexpected separation with the physical shell of Osbourne. Seventh Level Magistrae are known for stoicism, but Synesthese suspected being ripped out of Osbourne’s body and soul compared to a live-skinning by the Earth’s ‘Vlad Tepes’ Clizyati rightfully admired.
“Likely not. The heaters are maxxing, because ‘Support’ didn’t foresee a Richter Seven Event in Portland, Maine, one hundred kilometers north. Very bad timing.” Clizyati kept up the patter, obsessed with mastering their stupid vocal communication protocol.
“Furthermore, a second automated transmission has been received from what used to be our planet. Our planet is gone. We’re screwed; as they say here. It died while we were in cryogenic stasis. Oh! Plan B has begun: legions of dewars containing Troop-Castes are drawing massive electrical current. These troops exist exclusively to kill all living things, including us; in order to breed a fresh renewed herd of Earth-Beasts. Plan B!”
Clizyati realized the root problem was the botched takeover of Kathleen’s body and soul. Only bitterness remained. “That Kathleen. Weakling! Now frozen by her fear.”
Damage control would likely be futile. “Randall Osbourne must die. Immediately! Edward James has escaped, and is roaming, due to the Richter Quake, Magistra.”
“How many other hidden levels opened?” Synesthese knew… Too many.
“Irrelevant. We’re stuck here now. OUR HOME, NGC 4038/4039 has expired, turned into galactic gas and dust,” emphasized Clizyati. “We shall keep the faith. Destiny’s jaws await the Earth-Beasts.”
Edward A James had spent enough time with Eleanor, Barry, and their ‘Family.’ The flat panel-portraits gazed back at him through sapphire-hardened glass. These false windows opened not. They couldn’t be cracked, chipped, or even shifted a single nanometer. It was time to explore other options. This was a dead-end, ancient history. He moved on.
Edward treaded silently across the plush wool carpeted floors in the trapezoidal main room. Like the hypnotic but useless glass paintings, the lack of orthogonal lines combined with the grand height of the ceiling made it impossible to maintain any perspective or directional sense. He moved on anyway.
At the extreme end he saw a rectangular panel of blue-green, the color of the earrings his wife Kathleen wore on special occasions. Edward asked her if the dangling figures were ‘ETs,’ Extra-Terrestrials; as they seemed equipped with angel wings, fish tails, tiny feet, and full feathered head-gear. “Thunderbirds, stupid; they are Thunderbirds!” she’d said.
Were these the very doors leading to Level Zero; painted 1959 Thunderbird Turquoise by Angelique Fraser? Did they still connect to Level Zero? Would Joule be waiting for him?
Edward James kept going toward the doors. Kathleen would have sent Joule down there, she didn’t like Joule. But then, they would break through, to outside! Him, Wife Kathleen, Angelique Fraser, and Randall Osbourne. Joule’s heroic force would save them all.
Edward wondered if the dislocations in architecture had altered the rest of The Arielle Facility. Halfway ahead, he saw the two unfamiliar branching hallways paneled with the darker stone walls, angled toward him.
The right-side ancillary corridor was a shallow niche, terminating with two stainless steel elevator doors that looked too much like the dumbwaiter he had previously crawled inside, in hopes of escaping. The routine up and down circular buttons were there, and triangular directional arrows, unlit. There were no floor number indicators.
Suddenly the lighting in the huge hallway fluctuated, strobed. Edward felt a major shifting momentum. He recognized that feeling. Like the day at Parrot Cove, with the Morrisons, Pamela and Erich; when the Richter Five Earthquake, out of North Carolina, was bending the earth’s flimsy crust.
The left-hand series of darker stone blocks extended much further than the elevator-niche. Mixed lighting from an assortment of fixtures; modern recessed ceiling ports with 6500K twisty-bulbs, irregular serpentine chandeliers of onyx glass blossoming red fiery crystal pendants, and tarnished brass lamps with filament tungsten and decaying silk shades.
Both side walls were stocked with drawer units emblazoned with gold glyphs, and seven-pointed stars. They resembled huge mortuary drawers. Legions of them. And they were leaking steaming acrid fluid.