Command and Control, 001

“Now, it should be ready!”

“Should be…?”

“Well yes, it should be fine, just go for it!”

Alan grasped the switch with their right hand, looked at Pat and started pulling.

“It doesn’t move!” Alan shouted, their knuckles white squeezing the handle.

“Fuuuck let me help.” Pat said running to the switch.

They clung to the switch with both hands and leaned their legs to the wall, getting their full weight behind the pull. Immediately the switch gave in and they found themselves on their back on the floor, still holding to the switch which had detached from the wall. Below in the engine room they heard the large diesel engines starting up - the control room was elevated and had a large window enabling operators to monitor the three generators, each roughly four meters long and maybe two meters high.

“Ok, good news is that we got the generators to start up. Let’s see what the control panel shows for the output and temperature.” Pat said getting up and offered their hand to Alan, who took it and pulled themselves up.

“Looks like the floor has not been mobbed for a while”, Alan said seeing the back of Pat’s military-green overalls in dust, and started to tamp it off. The dust filled the air making the beams of light coming from the lamps visible.

“Everything here looks ancient and forgotten, luckily the stuff up in the command and control and technical centers is more modern.”, Alan continued as Pat wiped the dust off the indicators on the control panel.

“At least it is reliable as hell, and super simple to fix when broken”, Pat pointed out, “the control panel seems fine for now, we are getting enough power and the temperatures are in control. Look, automation has switched the power delivery from backup batteries to generators, and the batteries are charging up as well. Now we just need to wait and see how long the cooling water holds until we need to open up the outside circulation.” Pat tried to remember how long they had run the generators in rehersals, but couldn’t - possibly just hours.

They didn’t say that even if the tech down here is simple, they had never actually fixed anything related to it in practice. They had heard others talk about it in rehersals, but that’s it. Doing it without experience would take days.

“I wish we could stay detached forever, I don’t want to find out what is happening outside.” Alan said, mainly to themself.

“Yeah, although it gets seamy down here once we run out of diesel and oxygen. I’ll let the command and control room know the power delivery is secured at least for a few days now. We better fix the switch and see how those generators are holding up.” Pat concluded and walked away from the command panel.

Pat took the wired intercom from the wall and informed the command and control room that the transfer to the backup power generators is done and everything looks OK. Those old generators could start acting up at any moment, Pat thought. We should have spare parts for almost anything, but fixing takes time and we don’t have any if those generators are the only source of power. Batteries only last for so long. Pat picked up the detached switch from the floor and took a look at it:

“Luckily this one is just detached, I’ll pop it back in…” Click.

I hope they fix the power lines… or plants or whatever is broken, soon. Running the radars and the whole command center with just diesel generators is not feasible for a long time, and it’s just me and Alan to take care of those machines, Pat thought. Is there anyone left to fix anything? At least the generators seem stable for now, and their remote monitoring works well - temperature is within limits, vibration is ok, and output seems good enough. We should have enough diesel for days, and if they didn’t blow up the containers outside, for weeks. Naturally, it might be that both the containers and the radars are all destroyed already, which would make things depressing.

“All right we can go back to the technical center, let’s check that the remote monitoring works there also. Luckily the internal communication network is unbroken.”, Pat concluded and picked up their EDC bag of tools.

“For now, yeah. I guess our problems are over if they manage to damage the internal communication network this deep below the surface.” Alan said.

Thinking about that, Pat started to laugh: “Hah yeah, the next group concerned about it will be archeologists, and I don’t think even those would be willing to dig this deep just to find two nerds.”

“Distinguished heroes, you mean?”