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Author Topic: The Frozen Tundra [jadenscam & RentheOnly]  (Read 612 times)

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Offline JadeTopic starter

The Frozen Tundra [jadenscam & RentheOnly]
« on: November 30, 2009, 07:35:25 PM »
“Jay, don’t forget the spare parts kit. I packed you a first aid kit and some extra blankets incase you get cold. Also I fixed up the transcommunicator so when you reach the next city you can contact me—“

“Liam, I’m going to be fine,” an exasperated voice spoke from above. A young girl’s head peered down from the second level of their crowded cell. Long black hair fell forward, tickling her face as the blood rushed to her head. She grinned at the upside down image of her older brother. “Here, catch.”

Jaden tossed a dusty wrapped parcel, no bigger than her own hand, at the brother before disappearing back to their storage room briefly. With practiced grace, she slid down landed on her combat-booted feet with a thud. Pieces of machinery littered their floors. Piles of gears both oiled and rusted sat in the corners. The persistent smell of machine oil stuck to everything in the room.

The siblings wore similar clothing, standard issue for working class mechanics of District 9. A once white tank top was now permanently stained in oil smudges and grime. Dark grey coveralls were rolled down and tied around the waist where a utility belt sat. Their golden skin was covered in a sheen of sweat as they constantly moved in 90 degree weather due to the proximity of the underground city to the earth’s core-- that and the fact that their support system was dying. She stood at a mere 5’6” whereas her brother towered over her in his 6’0”. The sibling resemblance was obvious, especially when standing next to each other. With soft black hair and slightly tilted, warm brown eyes, they looked for the most part, Asian despite their Caucasian father.

Liam was busy coughing up he dust he’d inhaled when catching the soiled package. “The hell is this?”

“Something the Councilmen gave me to hold a few weeks back. Said I shouldn’t open it until the day I depart.” She plucked the small parcel from his hands and started to rip the wrapping.

Liam allowed a disgruntled sound escape his throat before slumping down onto his cot. He placed his head into his hands, running his calloused hands through his hair. “Why you? Why did they have to send you?”

The young girl paused for a moment. She looked down at the bags stuffed to the brim, momentarily wishing their lives weren’t as complicated as they were. “Because I’m the best of the best! It’s in our blood.”

“I know!” he wailed, cursing their misfortune. The city was in ruin and they needed an ancient, thought to be lost, piece of machinery. Their family had been mechanics for generations, going back to the original engineers that built the city’s support system. Now, centuries later, the Core was dying and the resources to build a new one had been lost ages ago. That was why the Councilmen hoped to send a team out into the frozen wasteland to search for another Core.

“Whoa, Liam. This is dad’s handwriting.” She stared at the open parcel, barely believing her eyes. Sitting inside along with a letter was a large round metal object attached to a chain-- similar to a pocket watch but nearly twice its size. It was slightly larger than her palm, covered in intricate designs.

“It’s beautiful,” she murmured, never having seen such delicate detailing on a piece of technology. She caressed the surface, feeling its cool metal under her thumb.

“What does the letter say?” Her brother asked, momentarily distracted from his mourning. Their father, dead for nearly a decade had been one of the mechanics lost to the dangers of working the Machine. They had commissioned him to fix a broken region in the Core and due to the cruel hand of fate he was crushed during his work. Jaden sat down next to him on the cot and opened the letter.

To my beloved Jaden and Liam,

If you are reading this, then it means I am dead and the city is not too far behind. If there is an afterlife, then I am missing you both dearly right now. I have no doubt that they did not tell you the true nature of my death, but that is of little importance. Judging from the look of things, they will choose Jaden as the next Engineer (sorry Liam)…


Despite the situation, Jaden laughed, receiving a light smack to the back of her head.

...While it breaks my heart at the thought of either of you embarking on this quest, I hope you understand what is at risk.

What you need to know is that you are not the only one searching for the Core. You will embark on the same journey I attempted to go on however many years ago. You will face the same dangers I faced and when the time comes, you may be forced to do things you do not wish to do, but remember that you will not be alone. And there will be the Compass.

Enclosed in this package is a piece of technology that will lead you directly to the nearest Core. The stronger the reading, the healthier the Core. You may not have realized it, but you were both trained for this. You have within you the knowledge passed down from generation to generation on how to build and destroy a Core as well as how to read the Compass.

Be careful of whom you trust and reveal the Compass as little as possible to outsiders. It is the last one of its kind since the only other one will have perished with me. I must end this letter now, but know that I love you both with all my heart. Good luck. God speed. And as much as I miss you, I hope I don’t see either of you anytime soon.

Love,
Dad


They sat there for a moment, rereading the letter in their heads. A knock on the door broke the silence and Jaden yelped in surprise. “Quick, hide it,” Liam hissed as he got up to check the door.

She stuffed the compass and letter into an empty compartment in her utility belt before busying herself with the bags again.

“It’s time,” she heard a man say. It was one of the Councilmen. Jaden lifted her eyes to meet her brother’s, allowing her emotions to flow through for just a second. He walked over solemnly to pick up a couple of her bags. She zipped close the last of her luggage and grabbed the new fur coat she had received from the Council.

“Let’s go.”
« Last Edit: November 30, 2009, 10:53:07 PM by jadenscam »

Offline RenTheOnly

Re: The Frozen Tundra [jadenscam & RentheOnly]
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2009, 08:13:51 PM »
The terrain was cold, but that was a given when the entire planet was covered in ice and snow. Hardly anyone lived up on the surface when the only food that could be consumed was the thick furred beasts that could tunnel through the thick ice to get to the fish and other life forms that lived below the surface. They were a dangerous creature to kill with their sharp claws, teeth and the spikes that protruded from their backs. Kubracks were what they were called, and there was more than any person could imagine.

Just below the surface, in the mid region between the surface and the city below was the loading dock and market area. It was long abandoned but it was still the only connection between the surface and below. The markets were full of small puddles of water that crept between the cracks in the air ducts and debris from what was left behind. Cans and baskets were discarded in the streets left to collect dust and lay motionless. A few cans and baskets were gently tapped as boots clicked against the metal floor, breaking the silence that had filled the marketplace. Trails of wet boot prints were left in their wake as the figure walked towards the elevator shafts.

“Riley King?” A voice came from the Councilman waiting beside the elevators. He sat on a stool as if he had been waiting there for a long time, which he had.

The man that had been walking towards the elevators stopped, his boots let a low thump ring through the metal floor. He was cloaked in thick layers, which no one could determine unless he pulled them all off. Lifting his arms out from under his shall, he pulled back his hood, letting short blond hair shake out. He lifted goggles from his eyes and a single distinct scar ran down over his left eye to the middle of his cheek.

“Who else would come down here?” He said in a hoarse voice. Stubble peppered his chin from lack of shaving for a couple weeks and it looked as if it irritated him with the way he scratched his chin lightly as he let his hand fall from his goggles. “This place has been abandoned for nearly fifty years, only the poor that manage to climb the elevator shafts get up here.” And from the lack of people, it was obvious no one made it. When they did, there was nothing waiting for them, so they just waited until they died.

The man on the stool stood up and shifted a bit, his bones ached from being so close to the cold surface above. “You are cruel to this old man.” He chuckled lightly and picked up a suitcase, “This is the first half of your payment. You will receive the other half when you return back here with the young lady and the item we seek.” He tossed the suitcase across the floor. It hit cans and baskets until it slowly stopped at Riley’s feet.

The scavenger put his foot on the case to stop it. “And what if we don’t return? What if I take off with the girl and the money and leave your city to perish?” He tilted his head, chuckling low in his throat. “Up there, I am one of the only people that can navigate the barren snow-scape.” He grinned.

The Councilman shook his head, “Trust me, you will have to return if you want to or not.” He sat back down on his stool. “Now, just stay there while we wait for the girl.” He wrapped his arms around himself again, sighing lightly as the cold chill covered him again.

Riley sighed and shook his head, tugging his shall off, letting it drape over his arm as he unbuttoned his first of many layers. When he was done, he had three open jackets, exposing a muscular form covered by a form fitting black shirt. It was hot in the marketplace to him. He tugged the scarf that was around his neck off and threw it over his shoulder and his gloves were tucked into his pockets. Riley wanted to leave quickly, but he knew that it wasn’t going to be. When he was finally done, he pulled off the three layers he wore and walked over to the Councilman, putting it over his shoulders, “Prepare yourself next time. Be grateful you are not going to the surface.” He shook his head, pocketing his hands into his pants before walking over to the suitcase, sitting on it.

Now… it was time to wait.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2009, 08:18:58 PM by RenTheOnly »