AR Chapter 2: Stranded
After six hours, the horn was sounded to wake everyone up. Time to take your daily vitamin pill and bowl of gruel and get back to work.
The groups of people slowly dragging their feet could be seen separated into two groups. The new arrivals are still hopeful and have muscle on their body to work. The ones who have been here a while are decrepit and boney. The lack of protein really affected their body mass as most barely have enough strength to lift the pick axe and so some just have electric drills taped to their hands for digging.
Finding Glutonium is easier said than done. It usually appear in large pockets dotting the moon. One would have to slowly chip away at the harder black colored stone in order to find the deposit. One can see exposed Glutonium all along the walls of the hole on the way down. These are to be extracted at a later date by drones. Expanding the hole vertically may have a bad effect on the moon as well as the rig hanging from the sides of the hole. The rig might fall if they mine too vertically.[Crule]: Ms. Burnst, where are we digging today?
Due to the large amount of accidents and lack of safety precautions, injury and death happens quite often. Bodies were left there if it was too maimed but if they were intact, some were brought closer to the elevator and buried there. The ones left where they died were eaten by the snails. It seems it has become a stable in their diet and since Metallurgy Inc. manages around 80% of crime and prisons in the galaxy means they have a near endless supply of workers.
To get to the south west sector where they were mining today, they actually have to travel there by vehicle. The hole is just too large to traverse there and back by feet in a day and the cave becomes too dark to maneuver during night. Crule’s group of twenty miners got on the large metal vehicle resembling a dune buggy. It was made out of cheap iron and steel for durability but not for comfort. The ride there usually is so bumpy, few people get bruised along the way.
But they were mostly use to it by now. Bruising was the least of their problems as during dangerous moments when the snails are in the way, people may break their bones during the sudden breaking.
Due to the lack of visibility, even with the powerful lights around the vehicle, at most they could only see two hundred meters around them. This makes traveling quite dangerous but most of the snails tend to avoid loud things.[Crule]: Things seems to be more quiet than usual. [Burnst]: The buggy seems to be slowing down. [Crule]: I wonder why…
When the vehicle had come to a complete stop, the people in the back of the buggy could feel a huge bump.[Burnst]: Feels like we ran into something. [Crule]: I hope it’s not one of those snails.
Suddenly, the people in the back could hear gun fire and screaming coming from ahead.[Burnst]: What is happening out there?! [Crule]: Ms. Burnst, I’m scared. [Burnst]: Don’t worry child, we all are here together.
Then everything was quiet. Too quiet. All the gun fire stopped and no one made a sound. The leader of the group Simon opened up the door to check outside. But there was nothing there. The people normally guarding the vehicle and the driver were gone. There were no traces of blood nor were there corpses. It was as if they were spirited away.[Simon]: It seems there’s nothing here, but all the guards disappeared.
Simon Wu was a former ranger. He accidentally stumbled upon an illegal poaching accident and was blamed for it. He was sent to the Rig after trial. He was a tall man, standing at six feet two. Due to his outdoors lifestyle, he was well built and had a long beard.[Burnst]: This is very strange. The main problem is how we report this. If they access this poorly we may be executed as they suspect us of killing and disposing of the guards. As there are no evidence of a fight here, we lack proof that it wasn’t us. [Simon]: …True. Those assholes assume we are just livestock so they will immediately put the blame on us to avoid unnecessary troubles. This means we got two options here. [Burnst]: Right…but both options are dangerous. [Simon]: indeed. We can either spread out and find traces of where the guards went and what happened or attempt to escape. [Burnst]: You mean jail break, which I remind you is nigh impossible. [Simon]: I know a way, although it’s incredibly dangerous. [Burnst]: Well looking around isn’t very safe too. For all you know, whatever and whoever did this to the guards is still out there. [Simon]: Either way, we are not safe. Do we still have weapons in the trunk? [Burnst]: The guards had the key, we are locked out from it.
A calm looking man with glasses spoke up. He looks like he was only suited for an office job and was in no way physically fit enough for ore mining.[Simon]: Ah, you must be Karl. [Karl]: Do any of you have a thing malleable metal rod of sorts, a paper clip or hairclip. [Burnst]: I always keep a hairclip on me, otherwise it’s far too difficult to work with my hair constantly getting in my eye.
She handed the hairclip to Karl. He turned around to face the trunk of the vehicle, put his ear against the hood, slide the hairclip in slowly and listened for the clinking sound.
*Kaclick*[Karl]: It’s opened, everyone who knows how to use firearms grab one, those who don’t get one of the shovels or pickaxes, having some protection is better than none. [Simon]: Line up people, don’t fight for weapons, we need teamwork to get through this.
The thirty some people each grabbed a weapon. The trunk only had a dozen rifles though. Normally it was for the guards to prevent prison breaks and violence.[Burnst]: Here Crule, take this shovel.
She hands Crule a small shovel for children. Although small, it was made from a strong material that can slice through the tough rocks of the abyss without much trouble. Due to vibrational technology, all of the shovels used by the prisoner was made to easily cut through tough rocks.[Crule]: Mrs. Burnst, will we be all right?
Burnst looked at Crule with kindness in her eyes.[Burnst]: Yes child, we will be all right.
Everyone walked in a circle with the women and children on in inside. The only thing illuminating the place was the dim glow of the various exposed ore of Glutonium and the slight orange cracks of lava seen dotting the walls. Not wanting to waste the battery on their flashlight yet, they advanced ahead. They were slowly walking toward the edge of the abyss.[Simon]: I once heard from an old friend that there are several cave systems along the edge of the abyss that leads outwards. This might be our only hope in getting out of this place alive. [Karl]: The question is, is it just a myth or do they actually exist. [Simon]: It should, on the way here I saw some small cave entrances dotting the moon. Just hopefully we can get through to the surface with no casualty. [Burnst]: Our food supply will only last a week at best. [Simon]: I know, this is a war against time to get out. [Karl]: What are we going to do after we get out though? …Not like we can get away from the moon without a proper space ship. [Simon]: We will just hijack one, there’s like several hundred prison transport ships passing every day, they won’t take notice of one single different one.
Although there may not be able other people beside their group within the nearest kilometer, they still whispered, fearing that loud noises may attract the attention of what or whoever took away the guards.
Crule was shivering. The temperature was fluctuating far too often. Since the pockets of molten metal kept the area surrounding it warm, the areas without it was freezing cold due to the depth of the abyss. Not a single ray of sunshine shines this far down the hole so the only source of heat they get are the molten pockets of metal, their own clothing, and the people around them.
Seeing how badly Crule was shivering, Burnst called to him to come over.[Burnst]: Come here child, no need to be shy.
She gave Crule a piggyback as to give him warmth and to levitate the fatigue he had from walking for so long.[Burnst]: This journey really is taxing on this child.
As the youngest person in the group, Crule was also the smallest and the most susceptible to the cold.
Feeling the warmth of Ms. Burnst’s back, Crule had a flashback to a vague memory of when he was younger. He was being carried on the back by a familiar woman. She looked very tired but also very proud.[Crule]: Mother…
Crule muttered in as he doses off.