The Mezzanine Floor Tour

Between the first and second floors of Building 1 there’s an off limits mezzanine level. Sometimes when I was transferring instruments through the facility on a large rolling cart I’d have to use a freight elevator. Every once in a while I’d catch a security guard stopping the elevator at the mysterious mezzanine level. They put a key in the control panel to unlock the elevator doors and then step out there and vanish. Nobody has access to it besides those guys and maybe some building maintenance workers. I always thought that was kinda strange.

Mentioning my observations to Dr. Fist about the sneaky security guard elevator action he laughed. He told me they have a secret command bunker in there. I was like, what the fuck? We’ve got what I thought is THE security command center in our main building’s lobby. Dr. Fist told me that’s just for show. The real one is hidden up there where nobody can get to it. Real doomsday kinda stuff I guess. Weird. Our other facility up on the hill was built during the height of the Cold War and I knew it had some crazy built in features. There’s four buildings stacked up on a hillside and they’re all inter-connected with underground bomb shelters.

Dr. Fist said, “Building two also has a mezzanine level.” I often heard workers trampling overhead on metal catwalks somewhere up there but I never thought much of it. I asked if we could go check it out, it was kind of slow in the area anyway and Dr. Fist has a proxy card that grants him access to nearly everything on the campus. He agreed and we went up to take a look around. Shoelaces joined us as well. Dr. Fist warned me though. Apparently there were hidden cameras along the catwalks and security would see everything. So I better not do any stupid shit.

We walked out of the production area to a nondescript door. Dr. Fist used his proxy card and the electronic lock gave way. After climbing up a steep ladder and opening another door we entered into a strange world. Instead of being inside an industrial building it looked more like I was wandering around inside the hull of a ship. We had to crawl underneath large air ducts, climb over series of pipes, and I had to watch for low ceilings. Not more than five minutes into the adventure I managed to bust my skull on a section of overhead pipe. Really fucking hurt, too.

I never realized how much equipment is needed to run a building this size. I mean, you wouldn’t see it unless you were a maintenance worker I guess. There were rows of autonomous computer system racks that looked like something you’d see in a science fiction movie. Dr. Fist told us what each one of them did. One was for controlling the fire suppression systems and alarms, another handled all of the phone traffic in the building. A separate section handled the building’s computer networks. Continuing the tour I was surprised to see small maintenance worker desks. They had been let go some time ago and a few of their workbenches still had paperwork mixed with a sprinkling of hand tools scattered on them. One of them even had a clock that had stopped. It was as if they had all suddenly died.

Climbing up a short flight of stairs we opened a tiny door and cruised out into a rat maze of cat walks. The light switches were all controlled by timers so if you were going to be working up there for a while you’d have to guess how much time you needed and set the timer switch accordingly. Every few hundred feet there were obsolete computer terminals covered in thick layers of dust. The monitors reminded me of old monochrome green Apple IIe computers. I bet none of them had been used since the early 1980s. I didn’t know where in the hell Dr. Fist was leading our clandestine tour to until we stopped inside a large room with an odd looking machine in it. It was the size of a bus and painted pure bone white. Seemed like it was brand new.

“Do you know what that is?” Dr. Fist asked me. I didn’t have a clue.
“It’s an air scrubber.”
“A what?”
He said, “Back when they were building this section of the facility one of the top managers here wanted to use this building for a new PC board division. He was trying to get corporate to set it up and place himself in charge of the whole operation. The building was intended for high volume board production. Solder wave machines would exhaust smoke fumes through special ventilation shafts into this air scrubber. It uses water and a series of filters to catch all the chemicals and then spit clean air out of the building. After it was installed by heavy crane through the roof, corporate killed the new PC board division idea. This machine has never been used.”

Wacky. And what a waste of money. I’d never seen anything like it before. Climbing around the machine’s base to get a good look at it I stumbled across something that made me laugh. One of the maintenance workers had rigged himself up with a covert bunk so he could sleep on the job. Heh. Lazy bastards. No wonder we got rid of ’em!


~ by factorypeasant on September 23, 2006.

2 Responses to “The Mezzanine Floor Tour”

  1. In case you all missed it, FP put up a link to Boomer’s new blog. Should be pretty good reading for anyone who’s into home brewing and/or obsessed with Boomer. And who can’t spell. And has a sometimes friend/sometimes enemy nameed Skeez. Yes, “Bill and Dave’s” halftime show appears to have relocated to Boomer’s Beer Blog. Apparently they’ve kissed and made up and are now best of friends. It should give us all hope that the mideast peace process can now be solved.

  2. the funny thing about battle fronts,
    is that they move back and forth…

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