A terrible screech of mechanics split the early morning tranquility of the Owl Mountains like a shot heard round the world. The crowd of gathered contractors, government officials, reporters, and international treasure hunters took rapid notice, moving for safety as the massive tungsten steel circular saw blade borne by a tracked excavator trundled into position. Steel kissed contoured concrete in an ear-splitting cacophony, sending up a cloud of dust and bits of flying aggregate held at bay by the jet of a fire hose.
The scene of industry stood in direct contrast to the otherwise calm of an evergreen forest punctuated by rolling hills, wide valleys, and murmuring mountain streams, far withdrawn from the heavy footprint of man for nearly three quarters of a century.
“As you can see behind me, workers are in the process of making their first cut through the barrier separating them from what could be the largest treasure find of all time.” Holding up her free hand, Luna Galdona pivoted slightly, framing the scene with her fingers to assist the viewers at home.
“Behind that ten meters of concrete is believed to be three hundred tons of gold, jewels, and possibly priceless art works unseen since the second World War. In 1945, during the final days of Nazi Germany, a military train, much like the one you’re seeing on your screen now, was rumored to have been loaded up with this precious cargo and hidden within a vast system of tunnels dug within these mountains.”
Slowly, painstakingly, the giant saw blade continued its surgical insertion into the concrete barrier, spouting the occasional shower of sparks as it sliced through the underlying rebar.
“Fear of possibly triggering a collapse of these nearly eighty-year-old tunnels requires a delicate approach, preventing blasting. Instead, engineers have devised a plan to section and remove a series of three large blocks from the barrier, which should be appearing for you as an animation. Once the blocks are removed, temporary tracks will be laid down, and the train towed out.”
All eyes set upon the blade as it continued its steady progress towards making history, now nearly half way through the first cut.
“Decades of persistence have paid off for the Bakken Brothers, whom after a lengthy court battle with the Polish government, have secured a ten percent finder’s fee on a potential horde of treasure estimated by some at nearly two billion dollars.”
Luna smiled at the camera. “Two billion, with a B.”
The blade violently jerked, halting abruptly. The attached excavator’s arm shook viciously from the sudden shock, the force instantly blowing out a hydraulic line, showering those closest with the reddish-brown fluid as the arm bled out.
“Wait… it looks like there’s some sort of problem…” Luna’s voice trailed off.
Contractors rushed toward the wounded machine as the excavator powered down to an idle. A low din of displeasure quickly descended upon the crowd, the multitude of European languages punctuated by the occasional explicative.
“… it appears that the blade has stopped. The site engineers are moving to investigate.”
A series of guttural explosions rumbled up from deep within the earth. Then nothing.
The gathered crowd fell silent as a collective sense of comingled curiosity and trepidation descended among them. Suddenly the ground began to quiver and shake, buckling inwards.
“Corran!” Luna screamed.
The earth instantly swallowed the excavator whole.