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Thursday, September 24

God Shall Tread: Part 8 – The Gate

A fully armed Hammer followed Ssruthaa and Jim-Bean down to the Level Six. Little attention was paid to them. It was a busy level. People ran down the hallways, many in odd jumpsuits, combat boots, gloves and helmets.

The final level underground was a maze of pressure locks, airlocks, huge, reinforced steel and carbon bulkheads and more. Colored lines meandered on the ground and on the walls, leading particular groups through the maze of rooms.

As Ssruthaa led them towards the gate, moving through various rings of airlocks, the air pressure, humidity and temperature seems to shift. Near the center, humidity was nearly eighty percent, and the temperature was approximately ninety-eight degrees.

"I don't like this," Hammer said to Jim-Bean through the telepathic link. "How do we know we can trust—"

"You have no other choice," Ssruthaa interrupted their mental conversation.

Hammer's eyes widened but he said nothing else, inwardly or outwardly.

Finally, they gained access to the Gate room, an enormous room the size of a concert hall, filled with equipment, personnel and the Duxbury gate.

It was immediately recognizable — it was identical in every way to the Hellbend gate.

The gate was a thirteen-foot wide by thirteen-foot high tall stone archway with slots on the left hand side of the large portal. The stone was odd—it was a deep black soapstone-like substance with an almost metallic quality, unidentifiable by modern science. The slots each fit a 2.718” gold cube. The archway was filled with a deep gray mist; much like steam, which did not seem to drift far from the door. There was something odd about the way the smoke drifted; it occasionally seemed to twirl, twist and congeal into tiny storm-like collections of clouds; and it never drifted far from the stone doorway before evaporating.

Next to the gate was a small, odd, wheel shaped device covered in Aklo writing. It was obviously an alien device retrofitted to a human constructed machine that operated the gate. Huge, thick power cables ran from the device up into the ceiling of the Gate room.

Ssruthaa disconnected the cables with his bare hands. "Fools," he snarled. "You have no idea the power you trifle with."

Several Brownshirts whirled. "Hey, get away from there!"

There was another trumpet behind them. Rhan-Tegoth was coming.

"Did that thing…take the freight elevator down here?" asked Jim-Bean to nobody in particular. more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:43 AM


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