The Cavern – Part 17

I gestured for us all to huddle together, ‘we need to be quiet and I think they will go away,’ the medic nodded but I was so uncertain of my statement and yet I could see the need in their eyes to believe what I was saying.

‘We should sleep,’ I said, startled eyes scorned me, ‘we will be quiet and they will go, but to make sure they have gone we are going to have to stay in here for more than a ‘sleep”. Night and day no longer made any since in the dank cavern.

‘How long?’ a thin tall woman with vibrant purples asked, her ear flaps agitatedly jostled.

‘I would say two days,’ the medic nodded.

There was a slight grumble, I knew we were all hungry but the stress of what had happened would make us all more likely to bring the precious food back, plus if we opened the door and the horde were still there we would have to close ourselves back in again as quickly as possible. I settled us all down.

The medic took first watch and I… did not sleep. I could not, all I could hear were the shuffling scrapping noises from without. I tried to relax my muscles though and that did help, I could not afford to be exhausted and everything about our situation would strive to make me more so.

I worked at clearing my mind and began to drift, making mental notes on what we could and could not do and what was a good and bad idea. I don’t think I ever managed to sleep as such but I did float into a relaxation of sorts and felt a warmth haze which I regretfully left when the medic tapped me upon the arm.

I stretched and rotated my various joints and took the cover she offered me, a thermos of stim was already in place and I sat and sipped it feeling the energy flow into me. I watched those sleeping giving the medic some privacy as she settled herself down in my place.

The two patchy furred ones were twitching in their sleep and I wondered how long they would have, the thought of the youngling we had taken to the caving stirred in my mind and I shuddered. How long really did any of us have?

I tried to extend my senses beyond myself, beyond the container. I felt bodies still moving beyond the container – hungry, searching minds devoid of anything much, awaiting… something. I physically gave myself a little shake for spooking myself, I could not have really felt the reanimates beyond. I thought of the hoppers and their hiving, how they all seemed to be connected, but quickly dismissed the feeling. You would not eat creatures you were connected to.

Disturbed the notion of cutting hair and nails entered my mind, I felt sick. I sipped the stim and tried to focus on the problem at hand, I was sure there were still many reanimates out there. How many could a band of fifteen really kill? The creatures were after all far superior to us in strength. All our nerves were stretched.

My lecture joined me for which I was immensely relieved, ‘so what is the plan?’ he in a hoarse whisper.

I shrugged closing my purples in resignation, then I began to list what I thought was our only real options. ‘We shall eat and assess the supplies we have in here.’ The place was pretty crowded as we had pretty much shoved as much as we could in. Boxes, crates and piles of stuff surrounded us making it claustrophobic and tight.

He nodded, ‘I’m sort of hoping we have tools in here that we can dig through the roof with,’ I nodded it had been what we had been discussing when the reanimates arrived.

‘How easy will it be to punch through do you think?’ I asked, he was a material scientist as well as a miner where as I had specialised in electronic mining equipment. I just hoped he could think about the metals behaviour without his computers to do the advanced modelling for him.

He paused and looked into the middle space, ‘it should be but I need very specific things, several ways really just depends on how neat we want things.’ I nodded.

‘What is the list?’ I asked not really wanting to hear the answer as it would mean more problems for me to solve.

And so we killed the time awaiting the others to stir planing how to bust out of the metal box we were in.

Once everyone awakened had eaten we began to sort the piles of stuff, to go through them systematically but it still reduced our space critically and tempers were beginning to flare and I could not even make Stim breaks a regular thing as we were running low on water. We’d secured a good day and half’s water but had been down from the previous day when they had lost a canister and everyone was thirsty for the actual water. Washing and cleaning were out of the question but we would not be able to eat safely for long with how things where.

Sanitation had become a pressing issue literally, early on and our tin can smelt, one corner fouler than any of us wanted to think about.

We were focusing on looking for the tools to blast or bash our way out of the roof. But after hours of relentless searching we still didn’t have what was required.

‘I think they were in the stuff we dropped,’ said one girl, her ears dropping right down. I nodded, that was what I had suspected.

‘Never mind, we now have more of an idea what supplies are actually here and what we need.’ I said with forced cheerfulness.

‘Actually I’ve found enough stugg to make a sanitation unit, we maybe even be able to recycle our waste products,’ the medic was almost bouncing with glee at her discover I admit I felt releif.

‘That would be good,’ I said and almost laughed at how I sounded like a poor imitation of my strict and strident but annoyingly polite mother.

We then set about trying to make the inside of the container more homely, this was a good activity and everyone got into it and were merrily chatting and arguing over the placement of things when there was a large echoing crash on the canister wall. Items toppled that had been placed too near the impact site.

Posted: Monday, January 27th, 2014 @ 10:10 am
Categories: The Cavern.
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