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 Chapter 40: Falling to the Endless Abyss

It was an odd time to remember, but Ephraim recollected a quote he couldn't forget. One his former professor quoted from Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts, not from theory."

Ephraim wanted to hit himself. He was filled with assumed speculations. He couldn't think straight as he watched the monsters approaching every second he dwindles. The sound of gunshot deafened his ears.

Archeology. What can he do that would help them at this time of crisis? What did he learn that he could apply right now?

Ephraim stares down to his reflection.

Think!

What did he learn in archeology?

Historical archaeology . . . Ethnoarchaeology . . . Experimental archaeology? Archaeometry? What sub-discipline could help him in times like this?

"Aah!" Esmeralda squeals as one of the creature managed to advance towards her. It was Hiroaki who was able to ward it off with his arm hauling the creature, sending it a distance away.

"Save your gun, Sam!" Hiroaki says when Samuel pointed to shoot the creature Hiroaki sent to the ground.

"Miss Sanders, are you alright?!"

"I-I-I'm a-al-alright," Esmeralda replies, trembling to her knees.

The monsters continued to come.

Ephraim didn't have much time. He pressed his forehead to the glass, its arctic surface etching to his skin. Think. He has to think.

Geophysical survey.

Ephraim blinked.

Is it possible?

He then retrieved an object from the holster adjacent to a belt wrapped in his calf.

A small custom equipment ArcheoSGM-RGIM01 created by UHE itself. It was handed to the archaeology graduates the exact time their diplomas were being handed along with another ballpoint pen-sized equipment meant for other uses in aspects of archaeology.

This small equipment takes the form of the size of a ballpen. It had pointed needles that could pierce into depths of the ground. ArcheoSGM-RGIM01 is designed by The University of High East - College of Archaeology that is deliberated for a quicker geophysical survey.

ArcheoSGM-RGIM01 is a piece of equipment intended to take samples of Ground-based geophysical surveys ranging from Seismic Surveys, Ground Penetrating Radar, Magnetic Surveys, Radiometric Surveys, Gravity Surveys, Induced Polarity (IP) Surveys, and Electromagnetic (EM) Surveys. There are other variations given to them that are meant for other uses such as for analysis, computational and virtual archaeology, etc. which was found in his other holster belt.

Ephraim stares at the glass, his uncertain reflection looking back at him as he held the ballpoint pen-sized archeological equipment into his hand. This was impossible. How would one pint-sized pen pierce through such sturdy glass? It was Anna who told them the glass was almost similar to metallic glass. The stomping monsters weighing several pounds doesn't even make it break.

But he never used it. Maybe it could give him answers. Maybe if he knew the composition he could send these monsters to the abyss. Ephraim knew he was hoping for the impossible. But he doesn't have any other choice. He can't just wait for the bullets to empty and let these creatures open the death doors for him and his team.

Ephraim glowers at the vibrating glass floor as their impending doom comes. The large monster hunchback was coming towards the task force terrifyingly close. Ephraim cursed as he clicked the button atop the pen, releasing a thin needle projected to pierce through the grounds for geophysical survey in archeological digs.

He pressed the needle towards the vibrating glass as he awaited the pen to analyze the data. He closed his eyes as his brow furrows.

At this point, he was hoping for a miracle.

\u003c\u003c BREACHED \u003e\u003e

\u003c\u003c LOADING \u003e\u003e

\u003c\u003c UNIVERSITY OF HIGH EAST NUMBER 3331 \u003e\u003e

\u003c\u003c EPHRAIM IGNACIO HUGHES \u003e\u003e

Ephraim blinked as a hologram projection of the text appeared before him and the walls of the room. The door shut itself as blinding lights took over the whole enchilada.

\u003c\u003c ACCESS GRANTED. STATE YOUR COMMAND \u003e\u003e

"R-raim?" Berthold utters as the task force turned towards Ephraim with a bemused and bewildered expression.

Ephraim's gaze drifted to the equipment given by UHE. His eyes widened as he reads the analysis of the glass.

[Glass from Another World]

"Glass from . . . another world?"

\u003c\u003c ACCESS GRANTED. STATE YOUR COMMAND. \u003e\u003e

Ephraim raised his head, the voice coming from everywhere. State his command? What does it mean?

"QUICK, EPHRAIM!" A voice from-the system itself-says, "STATE YOUR COMMAND BEFORE IT GETS CORRUPTED!"

"Anna?!" Ephraim exclaims, "where are you?!"

"There's no time to explain!" Anna says. "State a command! Tell the system what you want it to do!"

"What?" Ephraim utters.

"Quick-"

Anna was cut off shortly by an ear-piercing white noise. Ephraim covered his left ear as he stares at the equipment pierced through the glass. His eyes widened as he sees the glass . . . glitching?

"AAH!!!" Esmeralda screams as the hunchback gets through them.

"Damn it, I'm out of bullets!" Samuel yells as he started to haul the creatures launching themselves towards him with his uninjured arm.

"Sam!" Berthold calls as Samuel's wounds reopened, his blood marking through his bandages.

"GRAAAAWWWW!"

The creature unleashed a plea as the monsters started to swarm Samuel. Samuel cursed as they started attacking them in numerous hoards. Berthold began shooting to no avail as the creatures jerked to hurdle towards him as well. Esmeralda sobbed as she tried to shoot the monsters with her trembling hands-only to struck the hunchback's eyes, thereby angering it further.

"GRAAAAWWW!!!!!!" The hunchback proceeded to attack her-and Esmeralda wasn't able to do anything but to collapse to her trembling knees as she sobs continuously. Hiroaki went in front of her to block his arm to the creature with a dagger in his hand. He was also out of bullets.

\u003c\u003c STATE YOUR COMMAND \u003e\u003e

"Terminate the subjects!" Ephraim exclaims, panic evident in his voice as he sees his task force getting more and more closer to danger. To death's door.

\u003c\u003c INVALID COMMAND \u003e\u003e

"Summon Project ANNA!"

\u003c\u003c INVALID COMMAND \u003e\u003e

"Ephraim!" Berthold yells, with his agonized voice. "Help!"

"Break the glass!"

\u003c\u003c INVALID COMMAND \u003e\u003e

Ephraim panted, confusion laced all over his face as he stares at the pen. The glass floor was still glitching and pulsating. What does this mean?

He then turned to the analysis of the ballpoint pen by double-clicking its button; a hologram tab appearing in front of him as a result. He didn't have the time to be astounded by such technology, so he started to evaluate the glass' information.

And then it occurred to him.

Archaeometry.

He has to systematize archaeological compositions in terms of the application of analytical techniques from physics, chemistry, and engineering-meaning he has to use a field of research that frequently focuses on the definition of the chemical composition of archaeological remains for source analysis. . .

The system wouldn't understand a simple command such as 'break the glass,'-and so Ephraim figured he had to decompose the molecules one by one!

He started to state the command, closing his mind as he utters the chemical compositions one by one. It was a good thing he was a scholar. There was also the tab for analysis on what the type of glass it was, which made it both easier and harder for Ephraim. Easier because he knew what the particles are, harder is to know which are polar and nonpolar which was critical to break the glass' crystallinity.

". . . Trinitite, Fluoro-aluminate, and Borosilicate."

His eyes narrowed to the unknown compositions in front of him,

"Isinglass, Tellurium dioxide, and . . . ANDROMEDA Crystal. . ."

Ephraim clenched the ballpoint equipment.

"DECOMPOSE."

\u003c\u003c COMMAND ACCEPTED \u003e\u003e

The blinding lights instantaneously steered clear, as the darkness enveloped the whole vicinity. Ephraim's trembling hands reached to the glass which now stopped glitching as it gleamed a cyan-colored glow. He didn't want to look at his team-he doesn't want to know how much he had sacrificed for this certain command.

\u003c\u003c ERROR \u003e\u003e \u003c\u003c ERROR \u003e\u003e

\u003c\u003c ERROR \u003e\u003e \u003c\u003c ERROR \u003e\u003e

\u003c\u003c ERROR \u003e\u003e \u003c\u003c ERROR \u003e\u003e

\u003c\u003c ERROR \u003e\u003e \u003c\u003c ERROR \u003e\u003e

\u003c\u003c ERROR \u003e\u003e \u003c\u003c ERROR \u003e\u003e

The whole room was yet again filled with red hologram texts. Ephraim stares at the abyss-to that endless chasm.

His eyes widened.

He decomposed the particles without thinking! Now all of them will be sent down along with the monsters!

Ephraim lifted his gaze as he meets the eyes of someone else-Anna?

"Ephraim," Anna looks at him with a saddened expression. "Please, take care."

"A . . . nna?" Ephraim then shifted his gaze to the task force and the monsters.

And it seems like his heart stopped beating.

A monster high across the air, and Samuel in the ground being covered by Berthold. Esmeralda and Hiroaki warding off a monster. The creatures silent as their mouth gaped.

Even ooze was caught mid-air.

Ephraim couldn't believe what he was seeing.

It seemed like time has frozen.

"Anna . . . what the hell is this . . ."

"When you awaken," Anna says, cupping his cheeks-which was supposed to be impossible because she was a hologram. But she was able to do so. Ephraim found himself going crazy. Everything immobilized as if time has stopped, and now Anna could touch him?

"When you Awaken, Ephraim . . ." Anna repeats, with a tear dropping on her left cheek. "Find Andromeda."

Ephraim's eyes widened as Anna slowly vanishes going aloft to the air as his vision narrows . . . no, it wasn't Anna who was going up. He was going downwards!

The glass shattered with pixelated crystals slowly faded to thin air. Ephraim didn't have the moment to even digest the happenstances as time once again, continued to flow. The growling monsters and the team's calls.

"Raim!"

"Ephraim!"

"Leader!"

He sees the task force along with the monsters tumbling down with him to the darkness below. But the next thing he saw was nothing but darkness. All of them fell.

He extended his arm to the light of the laboratory as he desperately tried to grab something he wasn't able to reach. Like a dream someone desperately adhered to. An insipid hope slipping through his grasp.

Ephraim screamed as he finds himself falling to the path of no return . . .

Falling . . . to the endless abyss.

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