Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

Book: Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Daniel H. Wilson
coming, either. Says we’ve got it under control. He just told me to make sure the communications antenna was steady and out of the wind and to bolt it down extra tight. Said if comms get knocked out between us he’s gonna be real unhappy. I gave him the regular roughneck response: “Whatever you say, boss. Just make sure your checks keep cashing.”
    Other than that, uneventful day. Ice pad is coming along faster than expected, what with the wind blasting through here hard enough to push a grown man down. All our buildings are huddled up next to the well site, close enough to eyeball. Still, I told the men not to go wandering off. Through this nonstop howler you couldn’t hear an atom bomb detonate from a hundred yards away. ( LAUGHTER )
    Uh, one more thing. I had a chance to check out that groundwater monitoring package this morning. The thing we’re supposed to install? It’s out back, on pallets and wrapped tight in a black tarp. Honest to god, Lucy, I never seen anything like it before. It’s this big pile of curved wires, yellow and blue and green. Then, there’s these spiral pieces of polished mirror. Each one is light as carbon fiber, but razor sharp around the edges. Cut my sleeve on one. The thing is like one of your grandmam’s crazy jigsaw puzzles.
    Weirdest thing though … the monitoring equipment is already partially hooked up. A line is runnin’ from a black box that looks like a computer all the way back to the communications antenna. Can’t tell for the life of me who could have set it up. Heck, I don’t know how I’m gonna put it together. It’s gotta be experimental. But then how come no scientists got sent with us on this project?
    It’s not ordinary and I don’t like it. In my experience, weird is dangerous. And this place isn’t very forgiving. Anyways, I’ll let you know how it turns out, darlin’.

    Lucy, baby, this is guess who? Dwight. It’s November twelfth. Ice pad is complete and my boys have assembled the dozen or so pieces of the drilling rig. You wouldn’t believe it, Lucy, how far the industry has come. Those hunks of metal are futuristic . ( LAUGHTER ) Small enough to chopper in, and then you just get ’em close and in the right configuration. The pipes and wires reach out to each other and the pieces self-assemble, just like that. Before you know it, you got yourself a fully functional frontier drilling rig. Not like the old days.
    We should be drilling by tomorrow noon, first shift. We’re ahead of schedule, but that hasn’t stopped the boss man from chewing me out over the phone. Mr. Black thinks we have to be finished and out by Thanksgiving, no matter what. That’s what he said, “No matter what happens.”
    I told Mr. Black, “Safety, my friend, is number one.”
    And then I told him about the hole already being here. I still haven’t figured out why that is. And not knowing poses a serious risk to my crew. Mr. Black says he can’t find anything on it, just that the Department of Energy put out a call for proposals to get it monitored and that Novus won the contract. Typical. There’s about a half dozen partners on this project, from the cooks to the chopper pilots. The right hand is ignorant of the left.
    I checked Black’s state drilling permits again, and the story adds up. Even so, the question still teases me: Why is there already a hole here?
    We’ll find out tomorrow, I guess.

    Dwight here. November sixteenth. Uh, oh boy, this is hard to say. Real hard. I can’t hardly believe it’s true.
    We lost a man last night.
    I noticed something was the matter when that steady hum of the drill started kinking up. It woke me from a sound sleep. That drill sounds like money falling into my bank account to me, and if it stops, I take notice. While I sat there blinking in the dark, the sound went from a deep grumble you could feel in the pit of your belly to a squeal like fingernails across a chalkboard.
    I threw on my PPE gear and got upstairs to the rig

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