Archive for container

Under Investigation

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2012 by javedbabar

On Shama’s third day as Lucerne’s Building Control Officer, he found a file marked “UNDER INVESTIGATION” in the stack of papers on his desk. Let’s see what’s going on here, he said to himself. He pushed aside the executive toys left by his predecessor, and opened the file fully across his desk.

It contained a hand drawn map and the record of an anonymous telephone call, reporting someone building without permission. There were a few sheets of illegible notes; people had terrible handwriting these days, and the day was dawning when they’d forget how to hold a pen altogether. The application forms on his desk bore testament that this day was fast approaching; he couldn’t read any of them without guessing half the words.

He located the place on a large scale map of the Lucerne Valley. It was in the Upper Valley, 25 kilometres out of town, where cell phone reception was non existant. When he reached the location he found the “hidden driveway” shown on the map, two tire tracks in the bush. There was an old brown truck at the end of the driveway, but no sign of any construction activity.

Shama saw two lengths of rebar stuck in the ground, with ropes tied around them bearing tension. What were they tied to? he wondered, and looked for a large item they may be securing. The ropes went through some forest, over a small bank, and into the River Lilly. What was going on?

Maybe it was a hunter keeping game cool or chilling beers for after. He’d also heard of people “icing” champagne in the Lilly’s glacial waters. Was it someone living off-grid, storing dairy products?

Shama heard strange sounds coming from the river: regular thumping and gurgling. Was it a trapped log being battered by the flow, creating air burps?

It sounded mechanical though, somewhat like a diesel generator.

He saw a cable rise and float on the water, followed by a slimy brown mass – was it a bear, fishing? He prepared to run, but then saw that it wasn’t was a beast. It was a very hairy human head. The hair seemed to wrap right around it, like a small inflated skin.

“Hello!” shouted the head. “I’m just coming. Wait there!” He swam over and hauled himself out. “You’re the BCO? What happened to the other guy? He was snooping around here. He wouldn’t believe me when I said I wasn’t building anything on land.”

“Well, are you?” asked Shama, bemused.

“No way! You think I want to get in trouble with the Building Control Officer?”

“Well, what are you doing then?”

A smile burst in the hairball. “Want to see? Good! The last guy didn’t, and that’s why we didn’t get anywhere. Here, put on this diving suit.” Shama did so. “Now, hold onto these ropes and come down. Don’t let go, the currents strong.”

After twenty metres, they reached three joined containers on the riverbed. They went through an airlock and emerged in a warm dry room. “What is this?” said Shama.

“The answer to global warming for millions of people around the world. This is a prototype. It runs on water power, uses aqueous gas exchange, and has arctic insulation.”

Shama thought that he’d better change the file name from “UNDER INVESTIGATION” to “UNDER WATER”.

Magic Cabin

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2012 by javedbabar

The man was hungry, he had travelled for days. He had awoken, unknown and alone, atop a white mountain, climbed down to the valley, been welcomed to and then chased out of town, traversed cattle and horse farms, followed the black river, encountered bears and deer in the forest, and now came to this driveway.

It was barely discernible though in occasional use, as shown by the parallel tire tracks, between which grew tall thistles. He followed the tracks for a hundred metres and entered a clearing, also overgrown, but devoid of trees, except for two young maples growing side by side, and a clump of ghostly birch.

At the centre of the clearing was a strange rippled steel structure. He thought at first that it was a cargo container or a garage. Then he saw hidden windows, all shuttered, and a discreet door. Was it a bunker?

It seemed to have dropped from the sky, brought in by helicopter, or maybe it was a spaceship and had landed of its own accord. That would explain the circular clearing – it was a blast radius – but not the remaining maples; they weren’t fast growers, and cottonwoods would have risen before them. He couldn’t see the river, but heard it strongly washing by.

The door and windows seemed impenetrable. He wondered if it was waterproof, and if it would float. The valley stretching between the white mountain where he awoke, and the dark mountain that he was drawn to, was a floodplain. Its creators were rivers of water and of lava.

Something sparkling was nailed to both of the maple trees. When he drew closer, he saw that they were wooden signs set with diamonds. The sign on the straighter left tree said Love Thy Neighbour. The sign on the curly-trunked right tree said Strangers Welcome. How were they welcome, he wondered, in a place so remote and so sealed.

Then he thought, I haven’t actually tried to get in yet. He had just assumed it was locked. Pushing the door caused a click, and the door opened wide. Inside was a cosy lounge with a pair of dark sofas and a fireplace ready stacked. He stretched out on a sofa for a while and then wandered to the adjacent room, where he found a kitchen set for tea time. He boiled the kettle, brewed some black tea, and added powdered milk and sugar. He also raided the biscuit tin and found lemon shortbread. It was his favourite treat as a child; his grandma always kept some hidden.

A set of steep metal stairs led to a low bedroom with double bed, soft pillow and check blankets. Maybe he’d stay there tonight. In the far corner was a gunmetal writing desk maybe a hundred years old, from the1940’s. A book with maroon leather cover lay upon it. He opened it and read the handwritten title, “Diary of a Pioneer”.

It began, “I found myself atop Mt Alba, unknown and alone. How I got there I cannot say, only that I was blessed by God with the power of mind and strength of body, and also with a calling – to reach the dark mountain at the far end of the valley. It is a dangerous journey, with swamps and monsters to battle, both of the forest and of the mind, but I am beckoned and so must heed. I feel that I am the first of many. I have prepared this humble rest stop for those that come after me…”