Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Chapter 5.3 "The Ripley Scroll"

The freezer room at Ripley Cryogenics was nothing like Martin had imagined. In fact, with it's pipes, gauges, and conduit, the place felt more like the engine room of a nuclear submarine than a mausoleum.

Chamberlin was going on and on about the redundant systems that kept the residents in their Kelvin slumber. Martin was not much for engineering talk, but he did find himself summarily impressed when Chamberlin boasted that the refrigeration system was built to stay online throughout power interruptions of up to thirty days.

"When your customers trust you with eternity, the idea of 'always on' takes on a whole new meaning," Chamberlin remarked. "We have an operating budget locked into a trust fund that goes on to the year 2410."

What Martin did gather was that every freeze chamber was set up with an independent set of mechanisms designed to keep its resident near absolute zero until such a time that medical technology was up to the task of curing the ailment that killed them. In theory, the technology to re-animate frozen flesh would also be commonplace by then.

The tour concluded in a small shrine-like area that Chamberlin called the Founder's Room. It's nine kiosk stations formed a semi-circle around a picture-window of the entire underground complex.

Martin tapped one of the touch-screens and was instantly immersed in a multimedia biography of Charlie Anakin, a notoriously drunken benefactor who had gone down on Korean flight 007, which had been shot down by the Russians in 1983. True to Mr. Anakin's wishes, Ripley Cryogenics had preserved the only identifiable part of Anakin's remains--his bulbous, red nose.

"This must have cost millions," Martin remarked.

"Indeed it did, Mr. Dial," Chamberin answered. "And it would seem that your venture will render all this intricacy unnecessary."

"And these founders, they put up the money?"

"That, and a whole lot more, Mr. Dial. And if you can bring them back, our founders have entrusted us with more money than you could possibly need."