We weren't ready yet. But soon. There was training that had to be completed before it could be safe.

That's what we were told anyway.

We didn't have any authority from head-office to go in on our own. They didn't trust us enough. It was too important. Anything that might jeopardize their plans was going to be tightly controlled. And their plans were expansive.

They had a good idea about what the lower limits were, but the upper limits could have been anything. For that reason, they devoted considerable effort into protecting their investment.

"Soon" was all they would promise. In the meantime, they scheduled us to day after day of grueling classes, meant to protect us, according to them. I suspected they were primarily concerned with protecting their investment.

We had some partial access to the mine, as part of maintenance. Even from our brief visits, we could tell the level of power would be astronomical. They had good reason to protect it. Unfortunately that conflicted with our own initiative.

We gritted our teeth. They were too efficient to challenge. Their classes ran as expected, sometimes late into the night or intruding into our weekends. We had little other choice, but we became measurably more able to handle its dangers, to operate it as expected.

We didn't know when word would come down, but we were also getting closer to the center of control. But when upper management found how far we had gone, they usually tried to roll back our progress, even if large changes already happened on the personal level. 

I suspected it was fear that held them back. Eventually I ran out of hope training was ever going to end. They would always find a new threat that required new training. They put some of their best minds to help us, but their caution led to busywork.

Many were already testing the boundaries rather than wait. They didn't want the approval process to outlast their own lives. Learning on the job probably would've been the best solution, but it wasn't my role to talk about such things. We didn't want to miss out on all we hoped to gain, to more paperwork.

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