After a few minutes of hoofing it again Sharon piped up out of the blue,
‘I’m pretty sure nothing got transmitted from that drone other than a location, I’m not picking up any other transmissions or scans, and boy did you fry that thing good, no one is getting anything out of it without a massive amount of rebuilding work, if at all.’
‘That was kind of the plan’
‘How’s your urges to smash now? Feeling better?’
‘Much thank you, any clue what I’m coming up on with this facility, surely I should be able to see something by now, but there is nothing on the horizon, just this flat grassland’
‘You trust me, right? It’s there, but if just anyone could see it, what would be the point.’
Fair point I suppose, but I was feeling very exposed right now, and that drone just underlined the situation. Speed was my only friend so I unsuccessfully tried to push the pace a little.
I got the range down to 500m according to my handy little (lack of fitness) tracker, so I pulled up short and tried to get some more air in my aching chest.
‘What am I looking for, pretty sure there should be something in sight by now’
‘I’ll overlay the beacon I’ve been picking up, very weak signal, I think it’s designed only to guide you in the last leg, probably on foot as well, but I’m getting a strong ping from it now, so that should give you a clue’
A nice little inverted cone floated into my view, hovering ahead of me fading out at the top but pointing down to a rock surrounded by an unassuming patch of grass. I jogged forward keeping my eyes open around me for anything which could indicate I was now on top of a major survival facility. I made it all the way to the cone without seeing anything and looked down where it was pointing, at a rather unassuming flat slab of irregular rock not much different to several other rocks I’d seen sticking out of the grass. I knelt down to get a closer look, and scrapped around it with my hands, the earth seamed no different from the dirt I was eating earlier, except it was a little dryer, which made me think, so I stood back up and took a careful look around.
‘Sharon, can you give me a false colour overlay? I’m looking around at the grass, I can’t see much of a colour difference, but something tells me there is a difference in the water table’
‘Good idea, can do, give it a moment or two.’
I waited, continuing to look slowly around me, and gradually the colours of the grass began to diverge, to my back and away to the crash site the grass got a much darker artificial green, and as I turned me head I could make out odd patches not quite as lush, nothing odd there. As I continued around there was a marked difference right around me and for a good distance ahead, the grass was definitely underfed or under watered and not as lush, for quite an area. It was impossible from the ground to make out the shape, but it stretched for quite a distance. If I moved around a bit I could probably get Sharon to give me a 3D render, but as entertaining as that would be, my focus was to get inside, particularly as I now know for certain there was something big, right here, and completely out of sight.
So back to the stone.
I walked around it checking it from all sides, it was weathered roughly square, about 2m to a side give or take stuck out of the ground about 30cm, mostly flat on the top with the colour and texture of sandstone, and pretty much like every other stone I’d seen. I gave it an experimental kick, felt solid enough. I jumped on top, no hollow tell-tale sounds, just a chunk of stone on solid ground. I dropped down one side and scrapped in the dirt some more, again, pretty solid. I was at a loss, with a maddening cone floating just before my eyes like an arrow pointing to a salvation I could not see.
‘You tried asking nicely to get in?’
‘What, like Open Sesame or something?’
‘Well you could give that a try or maybe something more enlightened such as Entry Code Authorisation Alpha Three Nine Tango Hotel Victor One Five, for example’
‘Are you joking me, you had the entry code, and you just let me wander around like some sort of moron for a good five minutes, exposed and in danger instead of telling me?’
‘And now you know the entry code you’re still wandering around and giving the lady who gave you the code a hard time about it too, now who looks silly?’
Muttering to myself about correcting some bugs in the system with a mallet one day, I gave the verbal code nice and loud to an inanimate rock. Then just stood there. The cone representing the signal disappeared from view, and the false colour overlay with it. What was I expecting, a fan fair or something?