A case worth uranium
rating: +4+x

A kettle started whistling, alarming a young man delving in his thoughts on the couch. Reluctantly he got up to turn off the gas on the stove. He turned the knob, turning off one of the three burners of the portable cooker, sitting currently on an aluminium countertop. He poured the steaming water into a mug filled earlier with coffee.
"Aren’t you getting to much into your shell?"
Fairly tall fifty year old man, dresses in work overalls decorated in numerous oil and grease stains entered through material curtain covering the jamb of a medium sized room that they both inhabited. In his hand he holt a mug sticking out a part of a tea bag.
"And who is saying that?"
"I’m savoring the taste. You are just being prompted by chemical processes in your shell."
"Stop talking shit."
"Okay, but pour me too, there is no point to waste gas, especially that we have to cut costs again."
Young men poured the rest of the water to a mug, that was almost passed under his nose. The moment when water stopped flowing the mug immediately pulled away. The man who was holding the cup with infusion took out a sugar bowls from one of the cupboards, and started to pour the crystalline particles into his drink. Meanwhile the man with the coffee opened small, almost empty, fridge from which he took out a little milk carton, which’s content quickly landed in the mug, changing the tone of the coffee.
"What do you mean cut costs? I thought we are already doing that."
"Ye, but complications appeared in our small project."
"Small big, or small small?"
"Is there any difference for you?"
"No, but we are already scratching a living."
"Don’t worry, we will rebound after the next commission."
"I’ve been hearing that for the past five."
"This time will be different, of course if your evaluation is correct."
"Fuck off, I’m still learning the trading system of this place."
"Tell that to yourself. Anyway, I checked something and these smoke detectors won’t do."
"What do you fucking mean? You said yourself that they are good, when I bought one for a test."
"Ye, but I couldn’t test them then. Now, that I made a try it turned out that americium is inapt."
"Fucking hell. Assemble them back together, close and we will make a reclamation."
"What did you do with them?"
"To get the needed element I had to disassemble few parts and none of them are working anymore.
"Are you trying to tell me, that fifteen thousand have been wasted for nothing and now we have no way to make that back?!"
"Well, kinda, but I’ve got an idea how to get what we need for free."
"I’m listening."
"I will tell you in a moment, but we need to move or we will be to late."
"I just made my coffee, let me drink it at least."
"Alright, you have 10 minutes. I will ready the gear and transport in the meantime. And dress yourself into a work suit, because I guarantee that where we are going is definitely not clean."
The older man walked out the room in fast pace. He stood in reverie for a moment and took a sip of his aromatic drink, that almost burned his tongue. After putting away the mug, he approached an oak chest of drawers. He took off dark blue jeans, black shirt and white undershirt, and folded them into squares. He placed them in a drawer and took out long sweatpants that had their best years behind them, stained grey fleece and yellow shirt that was supposed to be white. After putting on the new clothes, he untangled his brown hair and he tied them into a ponytail again.
"How long will you adorn this shell?"
"I’m finishing, are you ready?"
"As ready as before the first fusion, you just have to help me get the stuff to the car."
"Don’t get your knickers in a twist, or you will start leaking."
"I will give you leaking! When you didn’t even exist I was already able to unloose on strand the size of this electrons, or so they call it."
"It was a joke oldman."
After getting dressed he walked up to the mug filled with still hot coffee and drunk it in one go. He put it in the sink and went to the neighboring room. It was a big workshop brimming with different car parts, tools, devices and substances for various purposes. In the middle of the room there were two platforms with car jacks, where under the tilt were waiting their unfinished works. He immediately saw a black metal box with four handles located in the corner of the room and his cotenant standing beside it.
"Finally. I packed the rest, but I can’t move it alone."
"Then take it from the back, I will get the front."
Both of the took the handles and with effort lifted it from the ground.
"Holy shit, what is inside it?"
"Nothing, but the box is made out of lead, so it weighs a ton."
Not waiting for their bodies to let go of the cargo they walked through the door next to garage gate. It was dark outside, even though it was only afternoon. Two man walked out from entirely not distinctive concrete building in the middle of nowhere where even lights don’t lighten up the roads at night.
"Get it in the vehicle and we are going."
Younger man turned his head to look where they are going.
"Is this some fucking joke?"

"I can't believe you forced me to drive this clunker old man."
Man with the ponytail with effort turned the gearbox one up and the dark green Żuk imperceptibly got faster.
"Don’t complain, this machine is doing it’s work and I was able to squeeze it into the budget that you gave me."
"Ye, but probably we won’t even get where we has to. On the topic, could you finally tell me where the fuck are we going?"
"We will get there, I serviced it. If it had enough fuel it would get even to the their moon. And about the way, just ride in the direction of South Silesia, when we get close I will say where exactly."
"Can I at least change to gasoline? This vehicle is slow even for this world."
"Alright, I won’t change it. You are a real penny pincher when we are trying to close up the budget."
"It’s not about that."
"Did you make some improvements?"
"For sure I did."
"Could you at least once rummage in a car and not add something to it?"
"It’s just how I am, their mechanical engineering is something you could learn in a minute if you wanted to, and I am an artist in my field."
"Artist from a burned down theater."1
"Hey, cut that out. Remember whose fault it is that we are stuck here and who is the person who can get is out."
"Ehh, I'm sorry my savior and redeemer of this world. I'm just stressed out about the fact that everything is going too slowly. Their whole trading system is making everything painful and now we have a second group on our tail."
"Because you insisted to sell it to that drunk."
"I admit that it could've been a bad business decision, but we had a recession."
"Now there is even no point to argue about it, what's important is that we stick to the plan and won't allow any setback."
"Could you finally tell my why we are driving to that industrial land?"
"Do you want a version with the technical details or without?"
"I required a certain radioactive element if the project is going to succeed. I thought americium would be suitable, that's what I needed these smoke detectors for. But to be able to do anything with them I would need at least a hundred."
"That happened in the workshop, then why are we driving to a place where they are handling steel and coal?"
"When it didn't get going with americium I've done precise calculation on that basis of what was wrong and I've concluded that we would need uranium. This one is much harder to get and we need a lot. That's why I researched where uranium is being excavated in this country."
"On the back I've got gear needed for excavation and transport of uranium. But unfortunately I'm not able to do this alone because this shell has serious limitations. Anyway, I already made an appropriate contract, but it won't protect us from the law of this region."
"So you just want to go into a radioactive area, get a rock you need and that's all?"
"Pretty much."
"But won't it destroy our shells?"
"We won't be there long, but if you are worried just perform magnetic wave interference adjusted to gamma radiation."
"Wait, you don't know to do magnetic wave interference?"
"What in the hell?! How did you get licence to drive vehicles if you don't know such things. Without it, if we landed in wrong place, the only thing left of you would be a temporary fluctuation of background radiation."
"I didn't make the rules. Furthermore, nothing happened."
"You got lucky, two times at that."
"Do you want to rebuke how lucky I am, when I had such a critical failure with a mechanic onboard."
"Yes, it's one of the greatest pleasures I have down here."
"I don't have the patience for it today, just tell me about the interference. Just let me get on the highway, then you can be the know-it-all."
They both looked at the poorly lit road, with a green road sign on the side, informing on the entrance to a highway. When the slow vehicle entered the highway, the man with the ponytail started moving the loose wheel. He hardly started driving the pickup truck with the turtle speed, on the road, before beginning a long lecture.
"I will start with what exactly interference is."
"It will be a long drive."

"Now turn left."
"To this dirt road? But the suspension won't last."
"You don't trust my skills again."
"I do have some trust in your skills. But I don't trust this."
"Right, start turning instead of talking. Yeah, unless you want to lug this chest for several dozen times greater distance."
"If you present it like that."
The żuk got off the elegant asphalt road in the middle of a forest. Almost immediately after turning to the uneven road made out of compacted earth headlights illuminated a tall wire fence. They drove up to a gate, locked using a chain and a padlock. A yellow, triangular sign warning of radioactive contamination hung on one of the gate's leaves. The older of the men took bolt cutters resting on the back and got off. He quickly approached the gate and with a quiet click cut one of the chain's links opening the way for the żuk. The older man went back to the car, which immediately entered the contaminated area. After a while a change of scenery occurred, from among the trees emerged numerous industrial buildings really bitten by the tooth of time.
"What is this place?"
"Industrial Plant R-1. Decades ago, uranium ore mined in nearby adits was processed here."
"I still can't get used to the fact that time here is calculated based on the rotation of a rock around a star."
"It's a good system for them."
"You're right, but for me it's a damn nonsense."
"Okay, we could discuss time measurement methods for several hours, but radiation surrounding us isn't good for the equipment and shells, so turn the engine off and let's get the gear."
When the engine stopped they both got off and went to the back of the vehicle. Besides the chest, which they had brought into the vehicle earlier, there were pickaxes, headlamps, and gloves and safety shoes. Both immediately equipped the gear.
"So where now?"
"I'm not sure, I couldn't find any exact images of this place."
"Are you saying that we were driving such a long path and you don't even know where to look?"
"Don't worry, I have a feeling."
"I have a feeling too, but it's better for you to not know what kind of."
"Don't get pissed off like that, because you'll get distracted and that'll be it with the shell's protection."
"You said it's not dangerous yourself, but have it your way."
"And now don't grumble, the longer we stand here, the less time we have to work."
"Let's say, that we'll find this adit and what exactly do we need to look for there."
"If we'll find a good tunnel there should be black veins running along the rock inside. Then we spread the canvas and mine."
"And how much do we have to mine?"
"If we'll find a good vein ten kilograms is a minimum"
"That much?"
"Yes. Don't grumble like that, if you'll get your hands dirty one time it wouldn't kill you."
They both moved deeper into the industrial plant lightening up the way with cheap but decent headlights in search of the needed ore.

When first glimpses of the sun appearing just before dawn started to emerge from among the trees two dirty and clearly tired men lugging a black chest began to approach the van. Heavily breathing they carried the load to the vehicle, then they fell to the ground from fatigue, the only thing coming out of their mouths was loud breathing caused by several hours of effort.
Unfortunately, desired rest didn't last long. While both men enjoyed fresh air nearby a siren of a police vehicle began to howl. They jumped to their feet and got in to the loaded vehicle, they immediately turned to leave the plant. When they were leaving the premises, they saw the police car blocking the road, which illuminated the area with blue light.
"Fuck! We stayed there for too long."
"It isn't the right time to think about it. May your suspension really last. Hang in there!"
Without slowing down partly turned to the overgrown roadside filled with roots. Wheels bounced on the uneven ground testing the strength of the chassis. Exiting the road saved enough space to squeeze past the police car, of which the surprised driver did not react at first. He immediately began to chase the old żuk that had just passed them and entered the asphalt road.
"What now? We won't escape from them with this wreck."
"Do you remember when I told you not to start gasoline?"
"Now it's time to switch it. But be careful, we'll reach the speed of one millionth of a permil of speed at which we came here."
"I can handle this, but I don't know if it will last."
"It isn't time for your ignorance."
Suddenly pointers of all indicators began to drop, the vehicle started to lose its speed, and the police car, which was already catching up, now was approaching as if it were crazy.
"What is going on?"
"No idea, it should work. Switch back, I'll come up with something."
He switched the switch once again. Gas filled the engine giving it a little bit of power, that started to propel the wheels again, however it in no way slowed down the speed at which the police car approached. The older of the men opened the glove compartment, in which multicolored cables and electrical systems were located. He began to inspect the elements in search for the fault.
"Give me a while, I'll fix this."
"I don't know if we have your while."
"I won't do much more."
"I have an idea."
"Say it, time is passing."
"Sacrifice the shell."
"You're surely nuts!"
"It's the only way."
"I'll give you the only way. Observe."
He picked up two yellow wires, and then bent them together. Something in the back of the compartment shot off a few sparks.
"Try now."

""And it's all in this release of News, we wish you a good evening.""
"You we're right, they're not talking about our performance at all."
"I told you. If I listened to you, these guys would probably find out what we're doing, and we can't allow that."
"I know, and now don't sadden and give me a beer, the match will start soon."
The older man opened the fridge, from which he got a fourpack of beer. He went to a folded couch, on which sat a guy with a ponytail changing a channel on an old LCD TV. He sat down next to him, took one of the beers and handed it over.
"Cool, but you have to think about what you're doing more often. You can't so recklessly plan to change a shell. Keep in mind that shells have relations with each other, when you take one of them, questions will appear. And the answer is contained in the question, so the more questions, the more answers, and therefore a bigger chance to find this answer."
"Sorry that this all is new to me. I have never been on such a vacation."
"I'm not surprised, on my first I too lost my head, and I could evacuate anytime."
"I have a good feeling, I hope that soon we'll be able to, too."
"So, let's toast. For "Szwagier&Szwagier Motorized"."
"And for forced vacation."
The two men bumped with their cans and drank the bitter content, at the same time an image of a green appeared on the screen, two teams in differently colored shirts run onto it, and the commentator starts a one-and-a-half hour long talk about that, which happened, is happening, and could happen.

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