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Old March 15th, 2016, 05:27 PM
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Default In the Mines

Dusty air filtered through Jana's lungs. She coughed, eyes opening.

She saw sunlight streaking down from an impossible height. It glinted on cliffsides that reached up, up. She was in a cave. Crawling forward, she looked down, a long way. The cliffside went down, down, and the sunlight followed it. At the bottom were tiny people moving around.

She was filthy. Dirt smeared her arms, a plain shirt, trousers, belt with strong loops, and shoes. All caked with grunge. How did she get here?

Behind her was some commotion: more people were here, stirring. A man, another woman, another man? More. Some groaned. Others just got up and filed over to a rough stair cut into the cave wall. There were some metal implements there. Jana moved nearer to examine them. Stone hammers, trowels, chisels, crudely made and heavy.

People took a couple of each and headed down the stairs. The other woman started to do the same. When their eyes met, Jana recognized her with a start. She was the captain. Sharik was her name. But Sharik's stare was blank, and she simply turned and headed down the stairs.

Jana hurried after her, and tried to speak. Her voice merely croaked, a dusty choking sound. She doubled over into a coughing fit, nearly losing her balance on the stairs. She lost sight of Sharik, but continued down the stairs to an open area.

Tall creatures or things were standing at strategic points in the cavern, handing out a sludgy purplish drink in edible cups. Each person mechanically accepted a cup. Jana stayed with the nearest group of humans. The group had a skinny young man with them, and she steered herself in his direction. She managed not to get noticed by the guards (or whatever they were). Her group filed through a rough passageway leading into the rock, away from the sunlight.

Eventually they spaced themselves out along the passageway and began to dig. Cutting at the walls with rock hammers and chisels, they filled buckets with debris which others carried away and replaced. Regular breaks kept most of them from falling down. During these breaks, Jana tried to speak with her fellow laborers, to no avail. They all seemed to be in a stupor.

Lunch was something green in another edible cup, and this time she took one and ate it hungrily. The skinny kid she had followed collapsed sometime in the afternoon, and two of the tall creature-things eventually came down and dragged him away. Jana never saw him again.

She did, however, get a good up-close view of the creature-things. They had multiple biologic arms, but were clearly synthetic beings. Robots with a high percentage of organic components. Their head was a nightmare of machine hardware and organic senses. She recognized three different types of eyes. Fern-shaped structures poked out of their heads at strange angles. The effect was not pleasant.
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Last edited by robject; March 15th, 2016 at 05:48 PM..
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