Shadow on the Sun Ch.4: The Rector by Nils Durban

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SUMMARY: In which we are introduced to The Rector and his underworld operation, and we bear witness to an encounter that will set wheels in motion with the potential for cataclysmic consequences.....

The goods elevator descended slowly and steadily, the dull yellow lights embedded within the shaft walls passing by and disappearing upwards as it carried it's lone passenger down to the very bottom level. The man in the long greatcoat stared patiently ahead through wraparound shades, seemingly lost in thought. Not until the lift came to a jarring halt at the base of its shaft did he stir. The concertina door's electronic operator was faulty and so he was required to manually slide it aside, opening the way to a long dim concrete corridor, along which the few barely operational lights flickered in a relentless and somewhat foreboding manner, their accompaniment the steady dripping of water from the ceiling into the puddles which covered most of the floor.

He strode with purpose now, his boots splashing through the water, soon soaking the hem of his coat. He passed metal doors which were staggered along both sides of the corridor. Beyond each of them, he knew, were vast storerooms, each of them the size of a small warehouse and each of them completely bare apart from their endless rows of racking which had never seen use.

After some three minutes his brisk pace brought him to the end of the corridor where an oval shaped steel door, reminiscent of a submarine hatchway, confronted him. He reached within his coat and brought forth a small plastic disc which depended from a silver chain about his neck, momentarily offered it up to a small black pad which was set into the concrete wall beside the door. A solid clunk signalled the operation of the locking mechanism and there was a sudden hiss of escaping air as the pressure seals parted company. The door swung silently inwards and the man stepped through immediately, no thought in his mind of securing the hatch behind him.

He continued forwards for several dozen paces along a corridor that remained identical in all aspects apart from the fact that the lights that lined the walls glowed brightly and the floor and ceiling here were devoid of moisture. He came up to a makeshift desk upon which a monitor was positioned and from beyond which a burly bald headed man dressed in khaki fatigues was rising quickly to his feet.

"Rector. I c..called in as soon as I noticed any change, I assure you," he stammered out, nervously.

The man who was known as The Rector ignored his underling and instead bent to study the monitor's screen closely. He cursed under his breath.

"Open it, now," he ordered.

The nervous guard hesitated momentarily. "But..."

The Rector spoke in a harsh whisper which wavered on the edge of control, "I said, now."

The man searched his pockets briskly, eventually drawing out a single key attached to a red fob. He shuffled around the desk, carefully maintaining what he felt to be a safe distance between himself and his superior, and made his way around a corner at the end of the passage. He turned about to ensure that The Rector was following, almost tripping over himself when he realised that the tall shape of his master was looming immediately over his shoulder.

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