1330: Kola Borehole
Title text: Tonight's top story: Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, died in his home this morning at the age of [unintelligible rune]. Due to the large number of sharks inhabiting his former kingdom, no body could be recovered.
The Kola Superdeep Borehole is the result of a scientific drilling project by the Soviet Union in what is now north-western Russia that began in 1970 and continued through 1992. It was an attempt to drill as far into the Earth as possible. The deepest hole reached 12,262 metres (40,230 ft). It remains the deepest artificial point on earth.
Megan mentions the well to Hell hoax that the drilling hit a super-hot cavern which is disproved at www.snopes.com: "The Well to Hell". Although super-hot temperature was the reason the project was abandoned, no chamber or voices were discovered. As Megan notes, the hoax plays on the popular notion that Hell is literally a physical place below us — therefore by definition, towards the centre of the Earth — whereas Heaven is above us; often depicted in the clouds.
Megan suggests that the miners therefore sealed the hole to "seal in" Hell. There is no mention in the Wikipedia article about the hole being sealed; however there is a picture with the caption "The borehole itself (welded shut)". If "sealing the hole" is considered to mean filling the entire hole up with concrete or some other material, then given the potential for future scientific data, the 22 years spent drilling and the cost of sealing the hole, this would not seem to be a reasonable thing to do.
Black Hat suggests that if the Hoax were true and the miners did believe they'd drilled into Hell, a better alternative to sealing the hole would have been to dig a canal to the ocean, thereby allowing water to flow into the hole and into Hell. Given the common depiction of a subterranean Hell is characterized by fire and brimstone and extreme heat, filling Hell with water would both drastically alter the landscape and entirely flood Hell.
Megan never thought of that possibility and compliments Black Hat's ingenuity by suggesting that if there were ever a real conflict with Hell, she would want to be "on his side", given his clever suggestion on how to destroy Hell. He responds by suggesting that Megan is "nice" and therefore probably won't be on his side. This suggests Black Hat considers himself evil and thinks he would be fighting for Hell or maybe on behalf of those consigned there, rather than against it. Alternatively, he thinks he is worse than the devil and that Megan would be on the "nicer" side.
The title text parodies a nondescript news report of a person's death. In this case it is about Lucifer being killed by Black Hat carrying out his plan to flood Hell. However, the report is written in a non-descript way that ignores the presumed sensationalism of the story (i.e., that Hell exists and has been flooded). It is notable that "Lucifer" is often used in modern times to refer to Satan and both are used to refer to the "leader" or "keeper" of Hell, although the Bible never directly identifies them as the same entity, and he/they are never tied directly to Hell anywhere in the Bible. Much of the modern image of Hell is derived from Dante's "Inferno" along with a variety of additional details which have been added and changed throughout the years. The reference to sharks is a reference to 1326: Sharks that was released a week before.
- [Megan and Black Hat are sitting in front of their laptops.]
- Megan: Ever hear of the Kola Borehole?
- Black Hat: No—what's that?
- Megan: A Soviet project to drill deep into the Earth's crust.
- Megan: There's a hoax report claiming that their drill broke through into a superhot cavern, and when they lowered a microphone into the hole, they heard tormented screaming. People say that's why the miners sealed the well and abandoned the project.
- Black Hat: Why would anyone believe that story?
- Megan: I guess some people think Hell is literally an underground place.
- Black Hat: No - I mean, why would the miners seal the opening? Why not just dig a canal connecting it to the ocean? Unless they like Hell.
- Megan: ...If there's ever a war between Earth and Hell, I hope I'm on your side.
- Black Hat: You seem nice; you probably won't be.
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