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01 September 2015 @ 05:07 am
_Project Dystopia_ part 19  
 

Paer tiptoed across the poison, and from three meters away, sent light balls to stick on half a dozen ants' backs. She trotted back grinning.

"Does that help?"

Ebsa pulled out his own comp and made sure it was recording everything as the scene lightened.

As the shoe-rock brightened, and the odd perspective showed a huge shoe and . . . an ant with a light on top of it . . .snipping off a hand and carrying it away. In the background, a cavern. Tall rectangular frames reaching up into the dark. Ants swarming other . . . objects on the floor.

A big seething mob barely visible as the lights and cams moved around.

A brief glimpse of ants pushing on something invisible, a sphere . . . shapes inside . . .

"Someone has a shield up. Holy One!"

Ebsa dumped his backpack. Grabbed his spoons and the ropes. He bound the rope just below the bowl of one spoon, just before the bubble attached to the long handle. "Right. I go down, bloody damn fast, grab that guy. If there's trouble, into the bubble with us, you pull us out. Right?"

Paer nodded, face strained. "Take lots of poison."

Yeahza snorted and grabbed one of the bags. "You'll need someone to watch your back."

Ebsa opened the bubble, removed the cooler of food . . . stuffed two bottles of booster in his pack. The carbine . . . he kept that and handed Paer the 12mm.

"Hell, we don't know if we can even get down there. We're a bit bigger than the ants, or the roaches." Ebsa clipped a vid cam to his shirt, handed one to Yeaza. A battery lantern. What else do I need? "Let's try this gap first. I would love to put off meeting any ants until we absolutely have to deal with them."

A grinning Yeahza headed for the gap. Ebsa followed, turning to check that the rope was uncoiling smoothly.

This is not one of my better ideas. There's no way the rope won't snag somewhere. But he squeezed into the gap, and down, around the corner and slid across the marble slab. Doused the light, for a moment.

"I see light down there, reflecting around a corner." Yeahza eased over the edge, turning and reaching out with a foot. Ten meters down. Not a bad climb.

And no other way out except a triangle of dim light from a hole in the rocky floor. Ebsa was surprised a roach could get through. He pried a bit at the stones around the opening, but they were immobile.

:: any more vids of the shield down there? ::

Paer's mental voice was worried. :: The sphere seems to be getting smaller. ::

:: Right, we're at a hole we can only negotiate with the bubble. I'm going to see if I can figure out how to do this. ::

He looked over at Yeahza. "I need you to stay here."

The man grinned. "No you don't. I need to do this bubble thing. Because if it doesn't work, you will figure out how to get me back."

Ebsa eyed him. Looked down the hole. "Right. Listen up. Take a light. On the inside it'll be bronze. You back into it. Look at the edges with the spoon handles. Close them, open them. Immediately. With time dilation, every second you are in there is three hours out here. Rip it open fast. Then look out and see if you can get out. You can stick a hand out and shift it around to get a good look, see if there's enough room to emerge. Got it?"

"Right. Fast open and close. Look before you exit." He took the battery lamp Ebsa held out, clicked it back on

:: Paer, give me about ten meters of slack. ::

Yeahza backed into the bronze rectangle, tucked the light under his arm and pulled the spoons closed. They clattered to the ground. Once sealed, the mass, the weight, was in another dimension. Only the spoons weighed anything, now.

Ebsa dropped the spoons through the hole, measuring out the rope as he quickly lowered the bubble. Thirty meters. The rope went slack, and he jiggled it, but it didn't seem inclined to drop any further.

He waited . . .

Why so deep? Was it the sun? Paer said there was an astronomer studying the sunspots . . . does it have flares? So a lot of things went underground? Or some other climate problem, most easily addressed by building down instead of up? There could be all sorts of relics down underground.

The hole brightened suddenly.

:: I'm out. I see moving lights, probably your ants. Square cages . . . no, they're cases, some even still have glass in the frames . . . It's a museum. ::

:: Excellent. I'm coming down. :: Ebsa pulled up a meter of rope, and put a rock on it. Enough to stop the spoons from hitting the ground too hard, below. He had no idea what would happen to the bubble if they broke. He pulled the spoons up, coiling the rope carefully, and pulled them apart. End of one in the hole, back in, pulled the other across and immediately open, and stepped out beside the grinning Yeahza.

"It's a History Museum. I found some readable labels."

Ebsa stared out at the distant lights. "And it's a really big cavern."

A few shafts of light from hole up above, the little sparks of Paer's lights, but most of it was still very dark . . . And we could get lost really easily.

He squeezed down some power and pushed the spectrum higher. Sent the blue light soaring and stuck in on the wall. Hopefully they'd be able to see it from across the cavern. "I'll leave the spoons here."

:: Ebsa! :: Paer sounded alarmed.

:: We can run faster than you could reel us in, and there are too many things it would get hung up on. As it is, you may need to climb down to where we dropped to haul us up without snagging the line. ::

"Let's go. Point your vid cam at everything as we go. The archeologists can analyze the pics later. From a safe place."

They strode, quick, but looking around. More for ants or roaches than at the dust covered exhibits.

He slowed once to be sure of getting a scan of a wall mural. A picture of the sun in the background, a graph with a cyclically spiky line across it . . . Looks like sunspot cycle charts. . . except for those really, really high spikes . . . I think that explains why there's a huge cavern under their city.

But a pole sprouting square leaves from its top stopped him altogether.

He stepped carefully through the open side of the case, old memories nagging at him.

"What is it?" Yeahza whispered.

"It reminds me of pictures of old dimensional beacons." He bent and wiped dust from a small prism shape in front of the post.

The Location Beacon of the Original Eden Colony

December 1, 2116ce

"Aww fuck. Earth got here before us."

Ebsa shook his head. "No. Well, yes. But this is from the first diaspora . . . A year and three months after the New Prophets escaped to the One World, and six months before Comet Fall was colonized in the Exile. We need to take it. See if you can lift it; get it back to the spoons. I'll find the survivor."

 
 
 
(Anonymous) on September 1st, 2015 01:43 pm (UTC)
Yeahza
Who makes recomendations for new warriors? Unless you're planning to redshirt him, Yeahza sounds like a candidate. Not too stuck up, some weapons proficiency, willingness to put himself in danger. The only thing we haven't seen is a demonstration of his speed level.
(Anonymous) on September 1st, 2015 01:44 pm (UTC)
RE: Yeahza
Could Ebsa recommend him gor Warrior training?
matapampamuphoff on September 1st, 2015 03:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Yeahza
Once I figure out what I want to do with warrior training and certification . . . Probably any Warriors can recommend people, possibly after a bit of sparring to see what their speed is, and if they show any potential to develop that any further. I suspect they will not take anyone without extensive field experience in either the directorates or the military. Police & firemen maybe.

One thing I need to think about is whether the warriors all need to be leaders and/or self-starters. Do they need to be willing to break rules, ignore orders and do what needs doing? Or should they be more disciplined and under command, rather than loose canons?
Bretbretw on September 1st, 2015 03:59 pm (UTC)
There's no mention of an Eden colony in Outcasts, is there? There is a Gaia colony mentioned several times...
matapampamuphoff on September 1st, 2015 04:58 pm (UTC)
I tried to imply several colonies. See Harry's trip to talk to four of them in Ch 24.