A few minutes later, they arrived in the cafeteria on the golf cart and had some dinner. People slowly filtered in and out of the cafeteria while they ate. As they ate, Hannibal expounded more upon the machines the governments used for weather modification, mind control, and seismic weapons, including the chem-trail geo-engineering programs the US and other governments used against the people of the US and the world. Dan and Jerry walked up to the table as they finished eating and sat down.
“We’ve found something I think you should see, Hannibal,” Dan insisted.
“What is it?” Hannibal asked, finishing his drink.
“We uncovered another chamber leading to a lower level,” Dan reported. “I think we might have uncovered the entrance to the power plant for this facility. You need to come and see. It’s a level of technology that makes the portal look like a crystal radio.”
“All right,” Hannibal replied. “Let’s see what you’ve got. Would like to come along and see what we have, Harry?”
“Sure,” Harry answered.
“Would you like to see where we have fun while they check out the new level?” Jerry asked Mary and Dennis.
Mary glanced at Harry, who said, “Yeah. That would be a good idea. Why don’t you go with Jerry, honey?”
“Okay,” Mary replied. “I’m just a bit curious to see how you all have fun and unwind.” Dennis’ eyes lit up with anticipation. “Let me first put these dishes away so they can be washed,” Mary added, seeing that everyone was done.
“Good…good,” Hannibal chimed. “Do you know the way back to your quarters?”
“Yes; I think so,” Mary replied pleasantly as she gathered the dishes. Selina rose and helped her clean off the table.
“Make sure they get back to their quarters, Jerry. They’re between me and Nathanael in the barracks,” Hannibal ordered.
“Sure,” Jerry replied as Selina and Mary returned to the table after depositing the dishes in the dirty dish rack. Then to Mary and Dennis, Jerry said, “Let’s go check out the game room.”
“I’ll see you later, honey,” Mary said to Harry as she and Dennis followed Jerry to an awaiting golf cart. Moments later, Jerry drove them away.
“Okay Dan,” Hannibal said, rising from the table. “Lead the way. You guys might want to come too. Your expertise may be needed,” he requested of Nathanael and Selina. Everyone followed Dan to an awaiting golf cart and climbed aboard. Dan took the wheel and drove them deep into the bowels of the machine area. Nearly thirty minutes later, they emerged from a tunnel into an enormous chamber that dwarfed the portal chamber. Dan stopped the golf cart and they disembarked, gazing with scientific awe and curiosity at the immense chamber before them.
They stood in the periphery of a dome-shaped space spanning three-quarters of a mile in diameter with the ceiling seven hundred feet high. The walls, floor, and ceiling consisted of the same strange metal seen everywhere else in the machine area. From the center of the chamber rose an impressive edifice of machinery far beyond the expertise of 21st-century man or that of the Kaitian Empire before the supernova. The machinery rose in a dome nearly four hundred feet in height, spanning three thousand feet across in the exact center of the chamber. Strange-looking conduits ran along the surface of the dome and dozens of giant crystals protruded from the dome, each crystal being thirty feet long and eight feet in diameter. The dome looked as if it consisted of a fusion of metal and crystal. Power surged and crackled across its surface and between the crystals. The whole chamber emanated enough raw power that it made their hair stand up slightly and nerves tingle. Occasional massive bolts of power would surge from the crystals on the dome to the ceiling and walls where more of the great crystals that were laid out in a pattern exactly matching that on the dome. Around the dome, huge crystals protruded from the floor. A marked path large as a two-lane highway led from the entrance of the chamber through the crystal field around the dome to the dome where what appeared to be an entrance door big enough to drive a semi-truck through sat. The whole chamber flashed and pulsed with the discharges between the crystals, dome, walls, and floor. Everyone stared in absolute fascination at the massive edifice.
“My God,” Hannibal breathed. “This is beyond belief. No way did humans make this. You were right to bring me here, Dan. Has anyone penetrated the dome?”
“No,” Dan answered. “We did have some injuries though when we first came in here though. We found out the hard way that you’d better not stray off the marked path here. Watch this.” Dan pulled a quarter out of his pocket and lobbed it into the area to his right among the crystals. As soon as it fell between the crystals, a tremendous jolt of power surged between the crystals, pulverizing it to powder.
“Whoa!” Harry snorted. “No one better go out there.”
“Over in there, the forces are lethal. Right here just off of the edge, the power is much less, but enough to do some serious injury,” Dan informed as he pulled a telescoping probe from his pocket. It had an insulated handle that he held as he pulled it out to nearly three feet. “Watch,” he ordered as he probed just off the path. The probe reached almost three feet off the path when a surge of power pulsed out of the nearest crystal, which was almost twenty feet away, and zapped the probe, electrifying and melting two inches off the end of it as if it were a welding rod. Dan reflexively dropped the probe as the electrical current surged into his hand and up his arm, making him stagger back from the power of the surge. He stood there a minute, shaking his arm and clenching his hand trying to dissipate the charge.
“Are you all right?” Hannibal asked with concern as everyone gathered around Dan.
“Yeah…I’ll be all right,” Dan answered, kneeling down and retrieving the probe.
“You took quite a jolt there,” Nathanael observed. “You’re sure that you’re okay?”
“Yes,” Dan said as he stood, showing Hannibal the probe. “I’ve been hit by worse. It’s like being hit by two-twenty volt AC current. Two of my guys were hit like that because we didn’t know about the power field among the crystals. At that point, we backed off and I took them to Station Seven before coming to get you.”
“What’s Station Seven?” Harry asked as Hannibal continued to examine the end of the probe.
“It’s the closest of the healing chambers. It’s five levels up,” Dan informed.
Nathanael and Selina gazed at the machinery with great curiosity as Hannibal finally spoke. “The power of these crystals is absolutely mind-boggling. I definitely think we’ve found the power plant. Come. Let’s take a closer look. Stay inside the marked area,” Hannibal ordered, leading them toward the dome.
Selina watched as enormous surges of power flashed over their heads between the crystals either side of the path. “Could I see the probe?” she asked as they walked.
Dan handed it to her and she examined it carefully. “Do you have an idea, princess?” Nathanael asked while they walked.
“Yes,” Selina answered. They gave her their full attention. “I think what’s here is a giant…what do you call it, power regulator. Look at the power surging over our heads. I think this whole chamber is nothing but a control mechanism for dispersing the power to the rest of the Temple. The reason we aren’t vaporized by the power in here is that this path is shielded magnetically to protect the access point here,” she speculated. As she spoke, a tremendous discharge hit nearby, shaking the floor they were standing on. “This path has to be shielded somehow. I remember that on Kaitia, we had similar ways of accessing high energy environments without risking injury,” she added.
“Very good deduction, princess,” Nathanael congratulated as they stopped six hundred yards from the dome. “That’s exactly what I suspect we have here. And to prove it, let’s try an experiment. Let me see the probe,” he ordered, taking to probe from Selina. “If we’re really in a magnetically sealed passage, if I throw this straight up, when it emerges from the magnetic shield, the power will vaporize it.” At that, he threw the probe straight up. It flew up about twenty-five feet and a surge of power between the crystals immediately vaporized it. “I think your theory is proven, princess,” he crowed as the group began moving again towards the dome.
“Your knowledge of what your people accomplished with their technology continues to be an asset here,” Hannibal declared to his Lynxian friends.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” Nathanael admitted, “especially when compared with what we’re seeing around us. This place puts our technology to shame.”
“But your scientific knowledge has allowed us to comprehend what we’re looking at,” Dan stated as they finally reached the dome and the huge door in its face.
“That’s true,” Hannibal agreed. “Who knows how long it would’ve taken us to realize this path is sealed magnetically to allow access? Now let’s see if we can gain access to this dome.” He turned toward the door and everyone gathered around to examine it. The door was wide as the marked path and twenty feet high, covered with the same strange writing found in the Library books.
Nathanael looked closely at the door and rubbed his chin. “You know, I think this is the same metal that the books are made of,” he reported. “This is truly unusual. This is the first time I’ve encountered it this deep in the machinery. The other places we found it were out in the periphery.”
Hannibal examined the glyphs on the door closely. “This is the Stone Language,” he announced. “It’s the same as is in the books.”
While he was speaking, Harry glanced casually at the right-hand side of the door and saw what appeared to be some form of control console. He looked at it closer and Selina noticed that something had captured his attention, so she went to see what it was.
“Hannibal,” Harry called out while he examined at the console, which was roughly two feet by three feet.
“What have you got there?” Selina asked.
“I think it may be the way into this thing,” Harry answered. Then he called out more forcefully, “Hannibal! There’s something here.” Hannibal did not hear him because he was in the middle of doing a rough translation of the glyphs on the door. “Hey!” Harry shouted. “Get your ass over here, Hannibal!”
Selina grinned as Hannibal finally looked at Harry. “What do you want?” Hannibal asked.
“I think I’ve found the way to get in, but I’m not sure,” Harry informed, stepping aside to let Hannibal get a closer look at the console. Dan and Nathanael continued to study the door itself.
Hannibal took one look at the console and said, “Nice going, Harry.” Then he called to Dan and Nathanael, “Hey guys; come take a look at this.” They walked over, seeing the console.
“Ahhh, a control panel,” Nathanael breathed as Hannibal examined the glyphs on the buttons.
“It looks like the same writing that’s on the portal console,” Hannibal murmured, following his finger across the panel and the various glyphs. “Mmmm…this should open the door,” he said calmly, pressing a series of buttons. A bang echoed through the chamber, and then a rumble. Everyone stood on guard, ready to flee if necessary. The door split in the middle vertically and the two halves of the door rumbled open to each side. Hannibal stared intently through the door without going through. Everyone stood behind him. Inside the doors, a long passage with all manner of conduits running along the walls stretched into the bowels of the machine.
“What’re you waiting for?” Harry asked.
Hannibal gazed intensely at the passageway, feeling ill at ease. “This is too easy,” he stated. At that he reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter and tossed it into the passage. It clanged on the floor. “Wait here,” he ordered as he cautiously entered the passage. He walked carefully to the quarter and picked it up, looking around warily. Suddenly he heard a noise above him and he instinctively looked up in time to see a glowing crystal in a turret pointing directly at him. He bolted for the door as a beam surged from the crystal, burning a hole in the floor where he’d been standing. It shot several more times while he dove through the door. One beam connected with his arm, grazing him. He clenched his arm in pain as he got up.
“Are you all right?” Selina asked with concern as everyone gathered around.
“Should’ve known there would be a security system,” Hannibal growled as he went back to the control panel. Selina stopped him and looked him in the eye. “I’m all right,” he assured her. “It just grazed me.” Satisfied with his answer, she stepped aside so he could look at the console. This time, he noticed a small, insignificant spot pulsing. Hannibal eyed it carefully and rubbed his face as he considered the console. Everyone stood silently as he pondered what to do. The only thing heard was the discharges from the crystals. He suddenly slapped his forehead as he realized what he needed to do. “How did I miss that? There, that should do it,” he said as he pressed a couple of more sequences on the console. Going back to the center of the door, he pulled the quarter out again and tossed it into the passage again.
“You’re sure this time?” Harry asked.
“Yeah…I think so,” Hannibal answered, cautiously entering the passage. He immediately looked up at the remote sentry and noticed that the crystal in the turret was no longer glowing. He looked down the passage and saw several more turrets with their crystals dark as well. Boldly walking to the quarter, Hannibal picked it up. “Come on, it’s all right,” he called out. “The sentries are deactivated.” They all started into the passage cautiously, looking around. When they saw the turret not respond to their presence, they began to examine the structure as Hannibal led them down the passage.
“This is incredible!” Harry said in amazement as they walked.
Hannibal stayed in the lead, ever watchful for more security devices and booby traps. “It seems they didn’t put much security here. Maybe they thought because of its location that it wasn’t necessary,” Hannibal mused. They walked five hundred yards and the passage opened into a chamber fifty foot square by twenty feet high. There appeared to be no exit other than the way they came in. The wall opposite of the entrance appeared to be made of a transparent material backed by another wall. As they came in, a door sealed the chamber before they could turn around and the room began to feel like an elevator going down.
“I hate it when it does that!” Dan said with some irritation.
“We’re in another elevator,” Hannibal said as he probed the periphery of the room. Suddenly, the opaque backing of the wall opposite of the entrance disappeared, opening into a great chasm lined with machinery and crystals. Everyone went to the strange window and looked out into the void.
“Holy God!” Dan exclaimed as he looked out the window. Before them loomed a tremendous shaft that they were descending. The shaft spanned at least a thousand yards wide with the bottom shrouded in darkness. The walls of the shaft were lined with the same mix of machinery and crystal that the dome consisted of. Immense bolts of energy raced up the shaft, arcing from side to side as they moved.
After getting over the shock of what he saw, Nathanael said, “This is incredible. This technology is far beyond even what we had and we had tamed a black hole for our own purposes. The vastness of the power being generated here is beyond comprehension.” Harry stood there in silent stupefaction at the vastness of what he was seeing. Dan gazed silently into the abyss they were plunging.
“Looks like we’re going to see the power plant, isn’t it?” Selina said after getting over the shock of the sight.
“Looks like it,” Hannibal agreed. The elevator sank for forty minutes, taking them down almost three miles below the dome. As they approached the bottom, the darkness of the shaft slowly dissipated, revealing a colossal spire made of a fusion of metal and crystal four thousand feet tall sitting in a lake of molten lava. The spire connected to the sides of the shaft with several bridges that allowed access to it. Giant power discharges shot from the spire to the walls of the shaft. The elevator dropped past the spire and came to a rest some two hundred feet above the magma lake, just at the level where the spire connected to its base, which covered a third of the lake.
Nathanael gazed in awe and fascination at the spire. “The spire is made of that metal the books are made of,” he declared upon recognizing the metal.
“Are you sure?” Hannibal asked as they scrutinized the spire.
“Absolutely,” Nathanael answered. “I’ve studied the material enough now to recognize it.” As he answered, the left wall opened, revealing another passage. Hannibal checked for turrets and sensors. Upon finding none, he led them down the passage that stretched for fifty yards and turned right, terminating in a domed chamber consisting entirely of the strange metal the books were made of. The chamber stretched a hundred feet across by seventy feet high. The far side of the dome was transparent, showing the magma lake and the spire. In the center of the room stood a tremendous control panel that was itself a dome seventeen feet high and twenty feet across. Strange buttons, displays, and switches covered it. Glyphs labeled everything and above the console floated a hologram of the spire and the lake. The hologram revealed a complex of machinery and conduits inside the spire that channeled the energy being generated. In the center of the spire, down in the very base almost in the magma, the hologram showed the core of the generator. The core spanned two-thirds the diameter of the spire with eight rings that rotated independently around it. In the very center of the spinning rings sat a device that consisted of a strange fusion of the metal and crystal nearly thirty feet in diameter. It rotated fluidly on three axes, shining with a blinding radiance that reached out to the rings, which reached a good sixty-foot radius from the center crystal. Everyone gathered around the console and observed the hologram of the spire and the core. They watched intently as the core generated power on a scale unseen or heard of in the history of man. Hannibal looked at Harry with a growing smile on his face.
“This is it. We’ve found the core of the Temple!” Hannibal exclaimed in triumph. “Before us is a source of power that is far beyond anything modern man has ever conceived or dreamed of.” As he spoke, the hologram showed a tremendous pulse of power emerging from the core and racing up the spire. Giant bolts of raw power erupted from the spire, striking the walls of the shaft, racing up at unimaginable speed. Hannibal, Nathanael, and Selina began to examine the console with some care. Strange-looking displays and gauges were scattered over it. “I think we had better not mess with the controls here,” Hannibal said after considering the console for a few moments. “This machine has generated power for God knows how long and not failed. I fear that if we go monkeying with the controls, we may unleash something no one can control.”
“I believe that’s the proper thing to do here,” Nathanael agreed. “We know nothing about the capabilities of this machine. Our only hope in understanding this thing is that we find some kind of manual that shows us how it runs.”
Dan stood by the window, looking out into the magma, observing the spire and its discharges. The magma bubbled and popped viscously. Fountains of molten magma rose from the surface of the lake rising nearly two hundred feet as bolts of power occasionally struck the magma lake. Dan then noticed something odd about the magma lake. “Hey guys. Come take a look at this,” he said and everyone walked to the window, looking out. “Look at the lava. It looks like it’s being drawn to the spire,” he said. They watched for a minute, seeing the magma seemed to spiral in toward the spire.
“It sure is,” Harry agreed. “It’s being pulled to it.”
“That sure is strange,” Hannibal mused. “But everything about this place is unusual.”
“That’s the truth,” Selina agreed. “What do you think is making the lava act that way, Dad?”
Nathanael gazed at the strange phenomena and rubbed his jaw and chin with his hand as he pondered it. He then glanced at the hologram of the core, and then back to the magma, saying, “I don’t rightly know but I suspect that the core is doing it.” He then went back to the console and looked intensely at the hologram. Everyone followed and gathered around.
Hannibal gazed at the controls and tried to decipher some of the glyphs without much success. “Does anyone have a camera?” he asked. No one had a camera at hand. “We need to take pictures of the entire console so the writing can be deciphered,” he said, gazing at the controls. He continued to examine the glyphs in one spot on the panel.
“What do you think?” Selina asked Hannibal.
“I don’t know. I’ve a strange sensation about this place and it’s not a good one,” Hannibal said softly as he did a rough translation of the glyphs on the panel. He then abruptly looked around and said, “I’ve been here before.”
“You have?” Harry asked. “How? No one has been in here for eons.”
“It’s déjà vu, Harry,” Hannibal said. “And it’s really strong. All of you were here as well.” As he spoke, a tremendous discharge struck just outside the control room causing the room to rumble. It attracted everyone’s attention. “This is a very dangerous place,” Hannibal said sternly. “We have to keep everyone out of here.”
“I think that’s a good idea,” Nathanael suddenly said. “The power here is beyond all of us. I suspect the core is tapping a source of power that is capable of destroying this planet if it’s not controlled properly.”
“Nathanael, come look at this,” Hannibal said with some insistence in his voice. Nathanael walked over to Hannibal and he pointed out a strange-looking display that resembled some form of meter. “If I’m deciphering this correctly, this display is a measurement of the magnetic field in the core,” Hannibal stated.
Nathanael looked at the display with that in mind and raised an eyebrow. “If I’m reading this right,” he said, “the magnetic field in there is half a trillion times greater than what the Earth itself can generate. Your species in this day in age has no way to generate that kind of field.”
“Half a trillion times that of the Earth?” Dan asked in a stunned tone. “Holy shit; what’s that capable of?”
“Well,” Selina answered. “It’s capable of shredding the fabric of space and time itself.”
“Yes,” Nathanael agreed. “A magnetic field of that magnitude I’ve seen generated naturally in only one place: a rotating black hole like the one in our home system.”
“You don’t suppose this machine is twisting the fabric of the universe into a knot to generate its power, do you?” Hannibal queried.
“I don’t know,” Nathanael answered. “But I suspect it is. It may even be tapping into the gravitational energy of the planet in the process. That may be why the magma is flowing to it like it is.”
“I don’t mean to be a kill-joy here, but what kind of destructive power potential are we looking at here?” Harry asked.
Nathanael, Hannibal, and Selina looked at each other with very concerned looks on their faces, and then looked at Harry. “Just from what we understand now, this machine has the potential capability to vaporize the entire planet. It very well may be able to alter our perceptions of reality as well,” Nathanael declared. “Who actually knows in what manner this control panel manipulates the awesome power being generated here. There very well may be weapons that are controlled from here.”
“One more reason for us to limit the access in here,” Hannibal said sternly.
Harry chewed on the idea of the machine actually being capable of destroying the whole planet. “This is unbelievable,” he said. “What do we do about it?”
“We keep a massive lid on it,” Hannibal answered as another discharge hit near the control room. “Whoever controls this technology will become the undisputed master of the world. We can’t let any of this fall into the hands of the governments of the world...none of them. We can’t trust them with power of this magnitude. No one comes down here under any circumstances without my permission. This place is officially off limits to everyone except us.” He looked out of the window at the magma lake and the spire. “We need to find something about this generator in the Library. Come, let’s leave this machinery to do its job without our interference,” he said, heading for the passageway to the elevator. Everyone followed without question. “We need some pictures to document this find. We’ll come back down later with the proper equipment to document it,” Hannibal informed as they reached the elevator room. When they entered, the wall slid shut and they started back up the shaft toward the dome.
Harry showed up at his quarters three hours after he left Mary and Dennis in the cafeteria. He walked in and plopping down in his recliner with a groan. Mary sat on the sofa listening to some soft classical music when he walked in. Fatigue and concern showed on his face. Mary saw it and asked, “Are you okay?”
“I think so,” Harry answered. “I just saw something that I still can’t yet comprehend.”
“Would you like something to drink?” she asked.
“Yes, that’ll be good,” Harry answered.
Mary went to the kitchen and got him a glass of cold water. “What was it?” she asked innocently as she handed him the drink.
Harry took a large swallow from it and sighed deeply. “I saw the generator that apparently runs this place,” he replied, after which he proceeded to explain to her what he saw and what Hannibal had ordered about the entire area. She listened intently as he explained what he saw.
“No wonder you look so tired. That would drain even the strongest person,” Mary said sympathetically. “How far down was it?”
“I don’t rightly know,” Harry answered. “The dome is down almost a mile vertically from here and the control room in the shaft is at least three more miles farther down. That’s my estimate but I may be wrong about that. The point is it’s the deepest point Hannibal has ever been in here.” Mary sat on the edge of the sofa and held his hand. “I feel like I’m in some kind of weird sci-fi nightmare, even though I know it’s for real,” he murmured after finishing his glass of water.
“It’s been a long day. We’ve seen things today that most people only dream of,” Mary said softly. “What you need is a good hot bath and a nice soft bed.”
“That sounds good.” Harry replied. “How was the game room?”
“Very nice,” Mary returned. “He has pool tables, pinball machines, video games, workout machines, free weights, a basketball court, and even a swimming pool. There’s even an area where martial arts can be practiced…complete with weapons to practice with. He has a very nice set up. Dennis loved it. He actually made friends with some of the other children Hannibal brought here.”
“That’s very good,” Harry chimed. “It’s good that he’s been able to make some friends; how about you?”
“Oh, I got to know some of the mothers who brought their children to the game room,” Mary answered. “They’re very nice and Hannibal had helped out all of them in one way or another. Everyone that’s here are apparently very close. It’s like he has a sort of Christian community going on here.”
“That’s an interesting notion,” Harry returned as he rubbed the side of his face. “I wonder if he had that in mind when he first brought these people together.”
“I don’t know,” Mary replied. “But it’s apparent to me that these people have a tremendous amount of love for each other. I’ve never seen anything like it and frankly speaking, I think it’s quite refreshing.”“Yes, I expect it is,” Harry agreed. “Not having to deal with the people of the world does indeed sound like a very good thing.” Harry sat there in silence for a few moments, and then got up, saying, “That bath sounds like a good idea. I think I’ll take it now.” Mary took the glass back to the kitchen and put it in the sink as Harry went to take his bath. She then disappeared into their bedroom and went to bed. Harry joined her after a half hour in the bath and they both slept soundly throughout the night.