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Rated: E · Fiction · Scientific · #2230642
A hobby turned into a career, that I can't tell you about technically.
In a faraway land where people are far rarer than any other living thing, Someone mined something that left hundreds of square miles of underground tunnels. It was already stocked with small warehouses full of any building material I could think of, along with electric forklifts, welding tools, food, clothing, cloth by the truckload, and on and on. The electronics and parts were state of the art and everything was already sealed and painted to prevent any hint of whatever may have been original to these caverns. The sheer size of the place made even the loudest sounds seem muted. I was the only person around for who knows how far and I was about to outproduce an entire state's agriculture, all by myself.

I had retired and moved out to an old office building in the middle of nowhere to try out my first attempt at a self-running aquaculture setup. I had set everything up over the course of two months and had used every off the shelf solution that I could find and created my own where there was nothing already for sale to do what I needed. It was a closed system that took care of everything from hatching and seeds to harvesting and processing. It recycled everything possible through one method or another and was as carbon neutral as I could manage with the solar power on the roof and for the giant parking lot shade also covered in panels that I acquired along with the building.

I had sensors everywhere to monitor levels of O2, CO2, Methane, Hydrogen, Humidity, and everything else I could buy or make for cheap for both the air and water systems. The tanks of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and feedstocks were partially replenished through the system but had to be topped off every now and then. I ended up having to grow nearly double the vegetation that I thought would initially be needed to replenish the oxygen, but I was able to grow things that were always in demand like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and other salad and kitchen must-haves. Between the veggies, fish filets, live fish, and shrimp sales, I was clearing double my initial investment each month.

The DEA came calling in the middle of the fourth month of active operation. Apparently they thought my sudden wealth was some kind of money laundering scheme. I was happy to prove otherwise and provided a copy of my surveillance take so that they could verify for themselves that every square foot of usable area in this place was being used for the purposes I claim and that my money was legitimate. I even went so far as walking them through a typical day, including fulfilling the standing orders for numerous restaurants and stores from around the area. They walked away shaking their heads at what they had found, but not charging me with anything.

I was surprised when a week later I had an unannounced visitor sitting in my office, reading through my logs. "We need you to do this again, but on a larger scale. What would it take for you to match or exceed the output for an entire state?" The man said to me without bothering to stop reading from the monitor.

"It depends on the state," was my reply.

"Assume it is the largest one," was his quick response.

"It depends on how many people I have helping me but with modern automation and remote systems, the more money I have initially, the quicker it can get going. I had some preliminary ideas on expanding my operations in another folder," I started to gesture but he already had found it as I was talking and had it open to eagerly read through instead of listening to me.

"I would like to hire you, to this," he gestured at the screen, "to your heart's content, but you will have to do it alone, and you can't ever say a word about this to anyone," he finished.

"I would need an enormous initial budget if I have to do everything on my own including setup," I said

"Consider your budget to be unlimited. Including the purchase of this place as is. Name your price for this place and we will consider it your monthly salary," was his riposte

"A billion dollars seems about right for what this will eventually bring," I said, expecting some negotiation.

"Done," he said so quickly I knew I could have gotten much more.

Everything after that point is covered by a non-disclosure agreement, that not even I can afford to pay to break.
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