Surface

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Summary

They stopped by the hatch and one read the direction. “He went to the surface!” “The surface”. The words sent a chill through her even in the heat of the room and she dropped her torch. The trigger went off, a gust of flame hit the vest and knocked her to the ground, but the breast plate did its job. She was startled but unharmed. They stood silently staring at the hatch. Of course, they wouldn’t follow him, not to the surface, not to sure death.

Genre:
Scifi / Adventure
Author:
J.A. Alford
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
12
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1

In underground Sector 8 no one’s favorite color is orange. Every tunnel, living space and work quarter is saturated with the color. It’s the color of the flames that light and heat their homes and the color of the rust on the overused tools. Like the shovel Adiban was using to pile more rocks into the furnace. They called it coal but it wasn’t coal in the original sense of the word. They fabricated the material themselves and it resembled foggy rock crystals.

She was the only one down there in the terribly hot boiler room, made hotter by the full body protective gear she wore. The sound of the stones overheating and splitting open to release more power had been uninterrupted for an hour. She dutifully checked the gauges and saw that she had successfully balanced the emissions of yet another old tank. Now there were only two hundred twelve more to go before she could start the whole process over again. She took a break to raise her visor and tug at the collar of the protective suit she was wearing. They weren’t that bad. Although the pants and long sleeves were hot, they were a refreshing shade of tan instead of orange. They also provided some protection from the sparks that would occasionally fly out from the furnaces. What was really irritating her was the vest. It was designed with a lightweight reflective shield that would protect vital organs by repelling large and small fiery projectiles. She’d seen firsthand that it was too important to remove, but since the state couldn’t be bothered to provide an accurate amount of women’s vests she had grabbed a small size from the men’s stock. It was tight in all the wrong places and nearly suffocating her. She unzipped the side just a little before picking up a welding torch. Adiban steeled herself to check twenty more tanks before breaking for the day when the door to boiler room flung open. A young man in an excavation work suit ran in. He turned to smirk and wink at her as he ran by. He headed straight past the boilers to the dump hatch. Per safety regulations two spare suits were tacked to the wall next to it. He grabbed a helmet from one of the spare suits and opened the hatch. She stepped back shocked. The move put her just out of sight when the guards came running through the same area just as the man slipped away through the hatch.

They stopped by the hatch and one read the direction.

“He went to the surface!”

“The surface”. The words sent a chill through her even in the heat of the room and she dropped her torch. The trigger went off, a gust of flame hit the vest and knocked her to the ground, but the breast plate did its job. She was startled but unharmed.

“What was that?” one of the guards asked. There were four of them. The speaker was shorter than the rest and he seemed jumpier too.

Adiban slid further into the recesses of the room and hid behind another tank.

“I don’t know, want to check it out?” his partner asked.

Adiban picked up a large piece of the coal and tossed it at another boiler. The lead officer motioned for the fourth to check it out.

“Nothing here,” she said after a moment.

“Hey, don’t waste your time,” the short one’s partner told him. “My old man worked down here. These things always have flares going off knocking around inside the tanks.”

“Yeah forget it,” the first one said. “What about the fugitive? Should we call it in?”

“What do you think?” the lead officer asked sarcastically. “You want to go after him? Up there?”

They stood silently staring at the hatch. Of course, they wouldn’t follow him, not to the surface, not to sure death.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
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