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 Going For Gold

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Phlegm

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Number of posts : 764
Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: Going For Gold   Tue 24 Apr - 15:01:19

Going For Gold*

*For legal reasons we wish to make clear that Mr Henry Kelly completely disassociates himself from this post

Hi everyone itís Pattie here again with an update for the Collins Corporation. So we are fully in command of the situation: We have toasted a few bugs and found a bit of gold but we are well off restoring the mine to operation so the Captain orders us to saddle up for bug and return to continue the search for answers and who knows, maybe even some surviving work colleagues.

The peculiar pilot, Garble carried out some healing on Purple, then we descended again to take a gravtruck deep into the complex. Picking out the one that seemed in best condition with several days energy reserves, we piled in and set off. We tried transmitting messages on the trucks intercom and were faintly surprised to make contact with a group of survivors, though not as surprised as them as we slightly foolishly allowed Garble to send the first messages.

Turns out these loyal employees have remained trapped at their posts 4 hours drive from safety, kept alive only by the residual warmth from the massive drill heads. Half way down we passed some bug activity but they seemed uninterested in us. Reaching the limit of the mine we find sixty survivors led by a sixty year old supervisor called Harris. His team seem really dedicated and are still working despite being on quarter rations since the main power failed.

We think we can take ten passengers back at a time in reasonable comfort, the problem being the extreme temperature contrasts in the mine ranging from freezing to near fifty degrees in the depths, after a lot of argument Harris picks out ten miners for the first trip. He describes these as trouble makers, suggesting all is not necessarily sweetness and light in Harrisís team, despite its remarkably profitable track record and the apparently fanatical loyalty of most of his crew.

Harris claims not even to be aware of the bug problem, as far as heís concerned itís just a comms failure and heís been expecting some sort of rescue from his (now slaughtered) colleagues up top. This despite being present at several previous instances of mines being devastated by bug attack. In those cases he built barricades to seal his crew in and successfully avoided horrible death (Spoiler alert: temporarily as it turns out).

On the trip back David Coleman tells us disturbing stories about Harris: Stories linking the bugs with the gift of immortality. We donít know what to think; Harris does seem too good to be true, but he warned us Coleman was a troublemaker. We update Collins on the situation and confine the miners to the ship we found on the landing pad when we arrived.

We drive back, the bugs are still working in the area half way down and we note that they definitely appear nocturnal. Because of this and Garbleís apparent desire to sleep continually after the 8 hour round trips, we decide to overnight underground. This only deepens the mystery for us and proves to be a mistake. (Oops, spoiler alert, sorry).

During our rest period I notice that there is some sort of ritual going on: hourly the entire workforce drops whatever itís doing and gathers together around some drilling operation. I wake the captain and she watches the same operation an hour later, and she confronts Harris about it. He says they are just searching for new goldstrikes but does not explain the ritualistic appearance of the operation that to us says mind control/ mass hypnosis/ zombie behaviour/ telepathic influence. Paranoid, us?

Harris just seems concerned at the mine becoming exhausted but is happy to send the next ten away with us. We are more concerned when we reach the midpoint in the journey and the bugs are clearly making progress blocking off the passageway. We realise we may not have too many more journeys as our route will be sealed within days, perhaps hours.

Even more worrying on our return though Ė the inside of the ship where we left the escaped miners has been transformed: Into gold. Not our ship of course no we couldnít get lucky like that but I digress. We discover three of the miners, similarly looking a lot shinier and golden than when we left them. Turns out to be a veneer though as the captain is able to break off an arm* showing bloody tissue beneath. Ouch.

*Very old readers may wish to insert an obscure Frank Sinatra related joke here but extreme age is required to get the reference so I have not even attempted it.

So either king Midas is on the loose or something very strange is going on. Then we discover the rest of the miners Ė still alive. The gold transformation happens gradually it seems, creeping like treacle through the corridors catching only the unwary. It seems likely that the source of the gold infestation was the bodies of the goldbugs, themselves possibly merely rock animated by living gold arteries, and or the now missing miner, David Coleman.*

*Remarkable (You donít have to be quite so old to get that one)

Further conferences with Boss Collins reveal Coleman listed as dead in an accident some time back which fits. We return to rescue the remainder of the miners, the way back now half blocked. Harris is as shocked as anyone at the news. Seems it was Coleman who had been babbling about the bugs giving eternal life, Harris had heard of his death but assumed it was an erroneous report Ė after all Ė he was clearly not dead, right?

We are running out of time and need to get the remaining 40 miners out all at once. Not a problem as the trucks can run on automatic apart from the tricky bit where the bugs are hard at work. Garble can shuffle back and forth to drive the trucks through the awkward barrier, although not exactly clear how. There was talk of sheep and wolves and cabbages that I didnít quite follow.

Well Iím not a bad driver myself* and consequently I was nominated to drive through in the second truck to avoid exposing anyone to the cold/ bugs. The barrier was almost complete and Garbleís truck squeezed through but mine just kissed a passing bug, tipping over the vehicle spilling everyone all out. Garbleís truck returning got rammed and met the same fate. Well it was carnage: A lot of miners were crushed right there and in the ensuing struggle we engaged several bugs with laser weapons.

*Editorís note, opinion is divided indeed Pat could justifiably put in a spoiler alert here

Purple was badly hurt and so was Garble. His brother slapped on a Lazarus patch but the same attempt by Garble, ironically our medic, failed when he tried it on Purple. The captainís bodyguard finally finished off the beast bug after it took several hits and the smaller worker bugs fell much more easily, I bagged one myself.

We legged it as serious tunnel collapses ensued and pulled out at speed saving 20 survivors but not the unfortunate Saint Harris whose luck it seemed had finally run out. On exiting we decided perhaps appropriately to gild our story somewhat and reported mission accomplished to Mr Collins, who agreed to pay us some compensation but somewhat unfairly dismissed me from service. Seems he wanted no more reminders of the unfortunate events we had participated in.

So Purple is no more, torn apart by golden jaws and I am jobless, forced to throw in my lot with this bunch of well, mercenaries to put it politely. Still things can only get better right? Spoiler alert: Probably not. 21.4.18
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