The visor fogs up during the cargo’s slow descent down the main shaft and I curse repeatedly, rubbing at it with gloved hands. There’s no question of taking off the helmet, though – without the protection of the suit, I’d be dead in seconds from either contamination or the extreme cold – the Tomb is cooled to within a hairbreadth of absolute zero and kept behind more than thirty metres of lead. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just thinking about the Tomb gives me the creeps. Most guards here don’t last more than six months; there’s something about this place. Something very wrong. The Tomb is something that was never meant to exist – but it does, because we human beings are imperfect. And there is a price for imperfection.

The huge elevator finally comes to a rest at the bottom of the shaft and the package in the centre rolls forwards on automated tracks towards the Tomb, its cargo of depleted hope and high-level regret ready to enter the Tomb. I turn away and try not to see the things beyond the doors.

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