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AR Chapter 5: Within arms reach.
While exploring the cone shaped hive, insights on the insectoids life style was uncovered. For one thing, the hive had various branching corridor system with a room every forty feet. The rooms can range from housing larva to storages. The storages seem to hold things that the larva couldn’t digest from their meal. This usually include things made of metal like weaponry and armor.
Strangely enough, the hollowed out shells of the snail-like creatures that live above ground were also found. It seems the insectoid’s diet also consist of the snails but there were no traces of the slugs from the abyss.
Not skipping this chance, groups that have found a storage room restock on their supplies. Soon most people were armed to the teeth.
Having finally found things they could protect themselves with, their resolve to find the exit rose.
The green goo lighting up the corridor and rooms were secreted by the insectoids. It seems to be a binding agent that holds the hive together. It also serves as a way to identify their kin. Due to living in the abyss since birth, the creature doesn’t have any visual sensory organs. They depend on pores on their body detecting the smells secreted by other insectoids. They have a keen sense of smell, being able to detect and receive a message from their kin from over a hundred kilometer away.
Near the tip of the cone, a large opening exposing the hive to the outside. It was where the insects enter and leave. It seemed like the only exit but no human can leave from it since the cone hovered hundreds of meter above the ground. Perhaps with a parachute one might be able to survive, that is if they don’t hit any of the other cones on the way down.[Burnst]: No way can we escape this way, it’s far too dangerous.
She looked over the edge at the bottom. Such an extreme height would give people vertigo. People with the fear of heights would have passed out upon looking down. The floor was visible due to the rivers of molten metal flowing through. This explains why the cone wasn’t as cold. The rivers heat up the air and it flows upwards warming the cones. The rapidly rising heated air would create extreme currents.
Sticking her hand out, Burnst felt the hot flow of air. It was far too strong for any sort of parachuting to get through. Due to the rising air getting rapidly cooled as it flow up and drops, the created a sort of convection flow of air. The circulation of air was probably how the abyss stay fresh and have a constant source of oxygen even though being at such a low depth.
The flow was extremely strong near the edge of the abyss.[Burnst]: Gotta keep moving, the three hour time limit is almost up.
Other people were not so lucky. Three people accidentally entered the wrong room and was killed either by the larva or falling through broken areas of the hive. Due to lack of repair, some areas of the hive were falling apart as the goo starts to lose its adhesive properties.[Rigger with red hair]: S-shit, god dammit why?
He was immobilized by fear as his partner was ripped in half by the flying insectoids.[Rigger with red hair]: I thought the goo was supposed to last longer! It was supposed to protect us. WHY…why did this happen?!
Backed into the wall, he could only scream in terror as the insectoids approached him from all sides.[Rigger with red hair]: N-no, don’t come closer, no.no.no.no.no don’t do this, please NOOO…
Four insectoids all lunged on him and began tearing his limbs apart. His scream was muffed as one of the insects attacked his head.
Behind the pile of insects was a slightly larger insect. Upon closer inspection, it was different from the rest. For starters, it was about twice the size of a normal insect. To a human, this was the size of a car. Upon its head was a horn that looked like it was made of amethyst. This creature was worshiped by the other insects. The four that attacked the red haired man offered the best parts to her, for she was their leader, their Queen.
Three hours after they split up, the remainder of the group met up again. In order to retrace their steps, people took some goo and draw lines on the corridor walls to keep track of where they were going. This allowed them to return to the same spot quite easily.
But this also lead the swarm and the queen towards them, but the group haven’t noticed that yet.[Simon]: It seems we are missing a few people. I assume from the screams that we could not save them.
Everyone turned to look at her, staring at her with hope in their eyes. This caused her to become shy.[Woman with dark short hair]: Uhmmm…uh…yea. I-I found a thin piece of wall that was right next to the wall of the abyss. I think it might lead to one of those mythical tunnels you mentioned before. I was too weak to do able damage to the wall but I think when we group up, with our mining tools we should be able to dig our way out. [Simon]: *Eyes gleaming with hope, a large smile slowly formed on his face as he listened* Well, well, well, it seems we have our way out guys. Let’s give a round of applause for our little miss here. What is your name? [Woman with dark short hair]: Uhmm…my name is Naomi. I was bought to the rig three years ago due to various problem with my Ex. [Simon]: We won’t question about your past here, in this situation we have to trust each other. We all are equals. Now, do we have any mining tools? [Man with green shirt]: We found some lying in one of the storage rooms on the way back. We have a few pickaxes and a jack hammer but without a power source the jack hammer won’t work though so we left it there. [Man with turquoise shirt]: Yea, we also found some shovels and flash lights. There seems to be a lot of things in the storage rooms. [Simon]: Since the insects can’t digest inorganic material, I guess they just store them in the rooms once a larva outgrows it. It seems whenever a new larva is born, a new room is made. This means the longer hives have existed longer. [Burnst]: I noticed that too. The rooms close to the wall are mostly empty or are storage rooms. The rooms near the exit of the cone mostly are inhabited by the larva. [Simon]: Let’s hurry, those screams could mean the goo is starting to wear off and they are realizing we aren’t one of them.
Everyone grabbed a pickaxe or shovel and started to walk to the place where Naomi found.
The swarm was approaching from the tip of the cone while the group was walking away from them.
Suddenly the buzzing noise started to get louder and louder.
With a keen sense of hearing, Simon picks up the noise first.[Simon]: Guys, get ready. I think a few insects are approaching us.
From the corner came a dozen insects followed by Queen.
Everyone could only stare in fear as the sheer number of insects darted toward them.[Simon]: Shit, we were so close…