PERIL AT THE RELAY STATION
Between the special cranks and fitted tools in the abandoned leather valise and the otherworldly picks in his own satchel, Nick was able to get the power going to the antenna. He switched on the transmitter, through a massive conduit running from a core in the ground. It connected through a sea foam green piece of equipment that looked as if it belonged in the antiquated laboratory of a mad scientist and housed the rotor of the aerial rod. The copper piping ran to the ceiling and the forty-foot antenna perched outside on the roof. If not for the height of the surrounding trees, he might have noticed it long before he arrived.
The whole contraption sputtered to life with a satisfying lurch of humming electric current and reluctant servomotors. He modulated the megahertz of the carrier frequency to match that of the Foundation equipment to avoid disrupting local television signals, something the Federal Communications Commission would field as complaints, and investigate immediately. The range of one of these repeaters was no more that twenty to thirty miles, only as far as the next strategically positioned transmitters were located. With any luck, the other stations were nonfunctional as well, or obsolete, with everyone around them receiving digital signals through satellite microwave, or fiber optic cable. Either way, he was pleased with his efforts and stepped back to admire his handiwork.
He bumped into something.
No. Not something…some one.
His back hit the midsection of a large, furry object that wasn’t there a moment ago. Nick felt down behind him, to rest his hand against lower thigh muscles. Heavy muscles rippled beneath a matted, hairy leg, as thick and immovable as a tree trunk. He turned with his flashlight and ran the concentrated beam into the face of the creature, which bellowed and threw up its arms to shield its light sensitive eyes. Nick leapt away, but it was too late. The giant recovered quickly and snagged him with a massive paw, lifting him from the ground, as the penlight dropped to the concrete floor. It rolled away through the darkness, where it illuminated objects and threw shadows in its path, until it bumped to a stop and created a waning pool of light.