Chapter 25: For The Sake Of Survival

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'Now, this bad boy,' Quentin coughed, dust billowing up from the white sheet as she pulled it away from the set of machinery hidden underneath, 'hasn't worked in decades, I'd say.'

Ryn found herself gazing at an expansive array of screens and computers, old-fashioned dials and switches, and other mechanisms that she'd never even seen before. This thing was ancient by today's standards, she'd hate to think how it compared to the computers of the 22nd century.

There were at least twenty different screens, each one containing a minuscule, distorted reflection staring back at her through a dusty black haze.

'What is it for?'

The girl fell back into the office chair that sat beside it, spinning around absently. 'We're not really sure.... I've always thought it was connected to all the cameras hanging up in and around the warehouse, so like a central control system where you could watch what was going on, but there's never been enough power to get it going. We've never really had a need for it....'

'Well, I suppose there's a first time for everything,' Jackson shrugged. 'If it worked, we could use it to keep watch around the place, make sure that no one's going to come stumbling across our little hide-out here.'

'That's what I was hoping,' Colt nodded.

She watched as he moved over to a panel embedded in the wall at the back of the small control room.

With a grunt and the grinding of rusted metal hinges, he managed to pry it open, revealing a confusing collection of switches and colourful hanging wires. Ryn's thoughts were blurring together just staring at the archaic thing.

It was almost grey with a thick coating of pale dust, and she was sure she saw a cluster of old webs suspended from between the wires, though how a spider had managed to crawl it's way in there was beyond her.

'That thing just looks dead,' Darcy observed, peering over Colt's shoulder.

'It's not dead,' Elliot remarked from closer to the doorway.

Several heads turned his way.

'There's some form of electrical signal,' he stepped closer, 'It's weak, I'll grant you that, but it's there. I'm assuming there are cables somewhere in the walls, because there's a pathway arcing around the room. A circuit.'

'But if there's power there, then why isn't this thing starting?' Jasper tapped on one of the monitors.

'Like I said, it's weak. There's probably not enough current to get it started.' He frowned. 'May I...  try something?'

Colt shrugged. 'Be my guest.'

He stepped aside as the younger boy moved up to the panel. His hands felt about the cluster of wires and switches, as though searching for something.

'There's not much of a flow here,' he murmured to himself. 'I can barely see what I'm.... Aha!'

He pulled out a central wire, much thicker than the others, looping around his fingers before diving back into the ocean of colourful insulation.

'Now if I could just....'

Ryn watched carefully, along with everyone else, as he closed his eyes in concentration. Something bright sparked from his fingertips, absorbed by the wire they were curled around.

Moments later, the array of machinery whirred, sputtering several times like a drowning man coughing up seawater. Then a row of stark green lights blinked on, flashing all about and around the monitors as it took its first, shuddering breath.

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