The Cavern – Part 9

A pressure seemed to clamp down on my head and a strange, clang that reverberated through my bones and awoke me from a deep slumber, I felt muddled and then the horror struck me – we were sealed in. Panic struck me, I couldn’t breath, I felt the panic tighten around my chest, I moaned and whimpered, and around me every other Suma did the same.

We are strange creatures in many ways we will happily go caving and exploring but to actually be trapped? Then my mothers voice seemed to fill the air, I realised they must have set a sound system up around the caves, it gave me a moment of clarity – they had not used it yet to try ad shock us out of this panic, this fear, this chaos looming. I felt sick but my mothers voice reassured and demanded that we begin digging at once.

A calm began to filter out through the cavern and I recognised it as something very young hatchlings have with their mother or any suitable parental figure, and then I felt comfortable and dozy and a smell that reminded me of Blint and the warmth of home at that festival. As my eyelids drooped I surmised they had pumped a hormone around. It was the mother snuggle hormone, I wondered if it would work on all the adults, I was still hardly out of the Youngling phase of development. In many ways my physiology was so much more different to those of the elders.

A sharp pain in my arm shocked me out of my half dream state, ‘sorry to be so brutal’ Jenleg said, ‘but we need you now.’ I staggered drunkenly out of the covers, I felt strangely whoozy and sick. I went to get dressed but was forcibly dragged by the arm away from my sleeping quarters. My mouth was fuzzy and seemed full of ash, I could not find the words to protest. I was sat down at the council table, everyone seemed to be yawning and a fresh vat of stim was placed in front of me. I gulped it, scalding my mouth and then put it out for a refill, I had a feeling I was going to need to be attentive.

‘As you have probably guessed Ginglar we have drugged the general population, but that will not hold them for long, we need to have occupying work in place as and when they start to come round. Things are going to be tough now, very tough.’

‘I have three points at which we can begin digging,’ I said another great yawn escaping my lips. ‘Do you wish to focus on one spot or to go with all three keeping people more occupied?’

My mother and father looked at each other, I could see the hopelessness there and felt its weight dig into me. ‘How likely are we to get out that way?’ my father asked strained.

I shrugged my shoulders, ‘it is not going to be easy, we can’t use explosives, we can’t even use hammer machines on the one that is closest to the surface as the scaffolding wont take the pressure and the sound would be deafening in the main cavern. We can use them on the side tunnel we found though but even with them it will take a long time.’

‘And the third option?’ my mother snapped.

‘There is a cavern… another cavern below that I can see in the scans, it could contain a) a way out and b) a source of water, and if it contains water then we may have a way out via that though it could be vary dangerous. Breaking through to the cavern could be dangerous too, I have no idea if there is a gas build up in there or not…’

‘We can give you another air lock for that,’ I nodded wondering why I hadn’t thought of such an obvious solution, of course I had no idea how many of the things they had.

‘We going with all three options?’ I asked – it was a risk, using up the resources on three different routes could mean we wouldn’t get out of any, but there was issues with each so maybe this was the best way.

I spent the next couple of hours showing other stim fuelled people where to set up equipment. At about the point I was getting a stim headache and the horrible bleeding taste in my mouth, my father announced that some people were coming around and that they were being rounded up for me. I felt sick. My fur crawled and I wanted out.

I nodded and headed off to sort them into working parties. I had them up and on the scaffolding chipping away laboriously at the rock. It was a central location and the other people awaking would see the activity, the means of possible escape – the hope. I was weary as I climbed down the ladder but lifted my head high to greet the crowd that now surrounded the tower in the middle of the Cavern. ‘Friends as you can see we have started the Escape! I need two more teams for another two routes, one to water and one to help the sick and elderly exit more easily.’ I was making it up, I saw the nods and the desperation with which they clung to my lies.

I set up the digging down into the below cavern, again using only hand tools as I didn’t want to ignite a gas chamber and obliterate us all. I was starting to drag my feet now and wondered how I was going to get through the hammer training when Jenleg appeared with another shot for me. ‘There will be stim bought to your last location.’ She said business like as she rushed away on some other errand.

To my surprise my old lecturer was there and seemed egar to help me demonstrate how the machines worked, I hoped that they would make short work of the mountain wall but worried that it would be too much for the cave structure – I did not want any more cave ins but really this did seem the only option to me.

Posted: Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 @ 9:04 am
Categories: Series, The Cavern.
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