“Sector 14 is cleared now, sir,” the message sent to HQ by Jerome on the telepathic air band, told a familiar story of another day’s search ending with nothing to show for the searches.
Jerome Brand and Darrel Quilley were two of the top researchers for the Lost Works. Lost Works is a division of the Supplemental Reading Association, a group whose purpose is to locate lost works by writers that had been neglected.
SRA is part of the conglomerate known as Metrocore; which is one of the largest and most diverse areas of Populace; Populace is the main reading centre which had for many years held banks of files needed to access the old computer networks, but in this day of telepathic communications the files are needed less and less and those who recalled how to use the system grew fewer each year.
“Okay Jerome. You and Darrel do a final sweep of the sector and return to HQ; your shift is over for the day,” the reply was sent and received by the pair.
“On our way, we should be back in about twenty minutes,” Darrel replied.
Jerome walked slowly down the road, his tired legs wanting to rest after another several hours of what appeared to be a fruitless search for the lost writings noted in the archives, “Okay Darrel, let's get to it. It's getting chilly now the thermo-controlled temperature is dropping fast, we don't have much time before the sidewalks become icy.”
The two men were on their way towards the boundary fences which had been erected to separate the sectors because of the rumours that lost works may bring hidden knowledge back to the people and the authorities could not let this happen - control the reading and you control the people was the credo - when Darrel glanced an old building cut off from the main sector by a wire fence and hidden by the trees, “What's in there, Jerome?” asked his friend.
Jerome switched to grid referencing mode on his visor and flipped the pages of the sector guide which had been issued to all junior officers at SRA. Darrel wished he had passed the exam last year, as he saw Jerome flip the pages; he had to wait two years on the roster to re-take the exam.
Jerome stopped the tele-maps as the pages flicked across his eyes, “I can't find any reference to a building here; I'll try a direct digital codex link,” Jerome put the map down for a few seconds in order to locate the whereabouts of their position, the called into the map section, “Junction 22 and Meadows Road.” For a while the map did nothing but buzz, this was normal when trying to locate a direct point as the codex zoomed in, “I’ve found the building codes for our location, Darrel,” said Jerome as his friend walked around looking for an entrance.
“What do they tell us?” Darrel asked.
“According to the digi-map readout, the space is empty.”
“But, we are looking at a large building; there must be a record somewhere; we've surveyed the Metrocore regions for months now, how did we miss something this large?”
“Most likely because we are so desperate to get back, we turn left and walk passed this point without seeing this building; we came across this by chance, usually we send the message about 500 metres down the road and cut the corner out as we go back to base.”
The friends walked to the fence and tried to stare through the branches which had overgrown the railings surrounding the building, Jerome said, “What do you think was the purpose of the building? The building is big and dominates this area, which means whatever is inside must have been important at some time.”
Quickly walking over and rubbing his hands to keep warm Darrel replied, “This is something we need to get cleared by the Archivist Section; there may be some record of what is in the area; for now, can we get back, please? My fingers are going numb and I can do with a drink to charge my battery, things are going grey now the cold is getting a hold.”