Nestled in the base of the satchel lay a collection of metal tubes fifteen centimetres long and two fingers in girth. He took out one and studied it for a moment in the palm of his hand. These powerful seismic charges never ceased to amaze him. He had an avid love of history and tried to research who actually invented them. No one could name the inventor although historians assumed it originated somewhere in Australia.
“What’s wrong?!” demanded Deklin.
“Nothing,” Ian said.
He held the canister aloft. Its red gem flickered then fully illumined. With his fingers on top, he twisted, setting off the fuse. A low hum emanated in his hearing and gradually built in pitch before he dropped the canister within the hole. The other workers fearfully looked on as he walked away. Experience taught him he had nothing to fear. Thirty seconds later, the hum would crescendo into a powerful, but controlled explosion.
His studies into the past revealed the methods of explosive excavation. Centuries earlier in the 1900s and the turn of the millennium, men set off crude materials such as dynamite. History documented cases of deafening explosions and geysers of earth erupting and showering down, sometimes even killing workers in the process.
A dull thud emanated beneath the earth. The ground rippled, spreading from the core like rings in a pond. Earth-moving machines rocked on their chassis.
Deklin threw his cigarette aside.
“Alright, let’s get to it.”
The men began to move off when the ground shifted. Soil around the excavated hole slowly angled down, broadening as it collapsed, forming a massive sink hole. Ian protectively thrust his arms across his fellow workers to stop them advancing. Amidst the forming dust cloud, he heard a thundering crash, echoing somewhere beneath him.
“Stay where you are!” Deklin cried.
They waited for the dust to settle. The last of the cloud settled within an opening in the ground, thirty feet wide.
“Oh great!” Deklin lamented, then glared at Ian. “I knew I should have looked at the plans myself.”
“You wouldn’t know how to read them.”
“At least I wouldn’t have missed a major,” he looked over the edge, “what is it; a water pipeline?”
“Deklin… I checked the plans thoroughly. There’s nothing on them. This shouldn’t be here.”
“Well then you missed something.”
“Do you want me to rip the plans off the wall and show them to you!”
Ian shouted the words, causing them to glare at each other. He would not tolerate this contempt of his ability from the likes of Deklin. The man couldn’t be more than thirty. As far as Ian was concerned, Deklin was born five minutes ago. Ian on the other hand hand, had set detonations in mines across the country for the past thirty years. Thus he had earned his place in life; Deklin was yet to.
The other men watched warily. They had all witnessed Ian’s temper. His strength and sheer tenacity, along with his club like fists ensured the victory in any violent confrontation.
Deklin’s eyes flickered as he looked aside. He threw his hands over his face for a moment, then pulled them away.
“This’ll ruin me; do you know that? I’ll have to fix this mess now. How am I going to pay for it? Not to mention, when I do, it’ll put us way behind schedule. I’ll end up building these units for nothing!”