The Fantabulous Nanomorphique Adventure
of M Hardoon Rotman
[Previous Week Plot Review]
Catherine and Cassandra followed the flows of the visitors through the display cases in the rotunda. Cassandra kept telling her mother that there was a man lying on the ceiling. Catherine checked but did not see any strange things on the ceiling.
It was almost the closing time, they went to the elevator and descended to the first level of basement where Catherine’s office was located. She decided to take another look at a piece that was not included in the exhibition – an Amethyst with bizarre “behaviors.”
[ Illustration - Cassandra in front of the mural ]
TWO – Mosaic Replica of “Napoleon’s Coronation”
< Week V >
The entire basement was an open space, all the items it stored, no matter a box, a drawer, or a shelf were in full display. The dimension was about 50 meters long and 20 meters wide, but its height was rather deceiving, because of a sunken area sat in the middle.
This sunken area was enclosed by a walkway about 2 meters wide along the four walls.
At each corner, and in the middle of each side of the walkways, a small 5-step cement stair descended into the sunken well. Thus, this unusual layout gave the basement an extra height, almost equal to one and a half level of regular floor.
Three large desks, a long table, with chairs, and several filing cabinets were arranged at the south end of the sunken area, here, Catharine and two assistants performed their daily duties.
But as one stepped out of the elevator, the real eye catcher was not exactly the vast space, nor its massive storage. The first thing one’s eye would encounter was a huge mosaic mural on the east side wall. Expanding almost half of the length of the wall, the mural was a replica of Jacques-Louis David's ‘The Coronation of Napoleon.’
The historical event of Napoleon and Josephine’s coronation happened on December 2nd, 1804; and the location was Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. David’s painting depicted the very moment Napoleon holding the crown aloft for Josephine’s coronation.
Jacques-Louis David started this painting in 1805, and finished it by the end of 1807. The original painting, now in the Louvre, was gigantic 6 meters by 10 meters. But this mural focused on the two major roles, particularly Josephine whose kneeling figure, with the long train of the coronation mantle embroidered with gold bees, covered two thirds of the lower half of the replica. Also because of it was in mosaic style, the entire mural resonated a breath-taking effect of mesmerising fabrication of color and shape!
This mural became museum's hidden gem; via special request, organizations and groups were granted permission to descend to here and to be marveled by this art piece of its own.
The elevator door opened, and Cassandra bounced up and down all the way to the mural and stood in front of Josephine, the slightly bowing head of Josephine was just about at her eye level. This was almost a ritual whenever she had a chance visiting her mother’s office, stopping in front of the mural first. She would stand there for a long time, not staring at Josephine, but at her mantle, imagining and counting how many bees could be embroidered on it. She had counted with Napoleon’s mantle a few times already.
Catherine went directly to her office, but said to her daughter: "Don't stay outside too long, coming back to the office soon." The "outside" was the walkway, the sunken well naturally was the "inside;" because along the inner edge of the walkway, 18 electronic surveillance columns were installed. 7 at each long side, and 2 at each short side.
The columns were made of aluminum alloy, stood from the floor to the ceiling, and equipped with the most advanced electronic surveillance technology. The columns threaded a 3D invisible grid of complicated net, securing the entire collection on this floor. Each column was about 3 inches in diameter, the surfaces were covered with irregular shallow cuts of lines and iconic designs and they in turn were encrusted with crystal glasses. From these shallow crystal inlays, green florescent lights flashed at random intervals, scanning the outside world. These watchful rods and lights added a surreal atmosphere to the entire basement.
Storage cases, boxes, cabinets were orderly arranged in this sunken well, several movable stairs were available for reaching object on the higher shelves.
This advanced electronic security system was all controlled from the third floor Security Room at the south end, overlooking the rotunda. The room was in fact a glass box, with floor to ceiling walls of black one-way mirror.
All the artifacts stored here, no matter its size, as soon as received by the museum, would be scanned into the system, and the system would start tracking it 24/7. Therefore, to steal or smuggle any piece of the collection out of the museum would not be possible!
Catherine swiped her ID card through a slot on the Electronic Column, then entered into her office. She wanted to take a closer look at the piece she insisted not to be included in the exhibition, a crystal looked like an amethyst.
[Continued on Next Page]