In which expensive things are found
Free Flower was lost.
It was annoying, but there you go. She just wasn’t good at the insides of building.
She knew she had seen, among other things, a well equipped emergency room, numerous rooms filled with sturdy looking equipment which she hadn’t recognized, and absolutely countless break rooms; filled with cigarette machines. She tried to remember the order they had come in, but failed. Then she tried to retrace he steps back to where she had come in, but failed. She was truly lost, and it was annoying her.
She couldn’t even say how long she had been, alternatively walking and resting, she felt sure that it must be at least morning, but she had no watch to check. The beetle seemed to follow a schedule of its own, sometimes the corridors were swarmed with workman, and sometimes it was completely deserted.
She had been worried, at first, about the number of people who had seen her, and she had tried to appear businesslike; as though she were someone important. After a while she had realized it didn’t matter, no one was going to report the half naked woman wandering the corridors, she suspected they were afraid that someone would make her stop.
She was in yet another endless corridor with doors lining both sides. She walked along, testing door handles as she went. One opened for her, but it was a broom closet, containing nothing more interesting than a worn down mop. She closed the door and walked on.
As she walked, one of the doors opened for her. She turned on the impulse and walked in, brushing against the exiting technician as she did so. The man made a shocked kind of flutter as the door closed between them, but the door didn’t open again, and she hadn’t really expected it to.
The room was filled with squat monoliths of plastic and aluminum. They didn’t visibly do anything; they just sat there, looking grave and important. Free Flower didn’t know much about computers, but she noticed that the room was air conditioned, and she knew enough to read that as a good sign.
The technician looked as though he had been doing something important, his tool kit, filled mostly with abstract pieces of plastic, was still sitting open by one of the monoliths, which she noticed was open too. Free Flower thought about what she was going to do if the technician came back, but she decided that she could probably handle him no matter what his intentions.
She looked inside the monolith; it wasn’t any shinier than the outside, but it hummed deeply, like a choir of Franciscan monks celebrating the apocalypse.
Free Flower took a step back and thought about her next move. They were here to shut this whole operation down, and she had clearly stumbled upon an important place in the beetle, maybe even the nerve center. There were probably more elegant ways to close down a logging operation, but finding such an important place was incredible providence, and in the story of her life she would be doing herself a great disservice if she ignored this plot device.
She noticed that, sitting out of place in the technician’s toolbox, was a fifteen inch crescent wrench.
She took one last look around the high tech canyon. This looks expensive, she concluded.