Sand Chronicles

80 years ago, the end began....

It is the year 2033. Through supercollider experimentation, which can change the properties of elements drastically, reaserchers at SERN created a superconductive variant of H2O. Known as Variant_06, this miracle liquid was soon produced in bulk as a fuel source, and cheap, efficient energy was made available to the masses. But, as humans so often do, society lived excessive lives of frivolity in blissful ignorance of the bigger picture.

Because although the fuel crisis had been averted, the water crisis had just began...

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3. From One Darkness To Another

Inside, she found herself jostling and shoving, pushing her way through startled engineers and civil servants in the narrow corridors. It was dark, smoky, and the air tasted of hard work... Ew. the only light came from the red siren fixtures, the occasional sparking electrical socket, and the sharp fork of azure flame emanating from the workmen's weld-and-repair tools. You see, when Variant_06 is burnt as fuel, it's by-product, as one might expect of a liquid fuel, is steam which in turn becomes a water-like substance, that the engineers of The Hidden Quarter call Fizzer. They call it that because, although completely unreactive, it erodes metal, becoming a steam once again, and is toxic even in small amounts. because of this, eventually the water cycle that nature was so heavily reliant on fell into ruin, with acid rain slowly tearing apart cities, and poisoning lakes and forests. Thus the SPC needs constant repair, and salvage teams must regularly scavenge metal from the ruins of their once-great cities. And although, after being purified it can be safely drunk, Fizzer can never be converted back into the fuel mankind so desperately needs.

 

But what Kat desperately needed was a break. the chase had by now remained in full swing for many minutes, and the GIPO's were now stunning engineers and civilians with their weapons to clear room for the Sentinel to make a fatal shot at Kat. they were ruthless, relentless and careless, inhumanly firing upon anyone who got in their way. And why should they be careful? They've been given their orders; reasonable force will be overlooked, if it concerns the protection or wellbeing of the people. "Their" people, that is.

 

But Kat had no time to reflect on this, as she turned a sharp corner, nearly falling down yet another flight of steps. She didn't know how far down she was, but must have been deep, as the engineers were much more sparse, and poor looking. The grind of the city's wheels was much louder now, she could barely hear her own footsteps, or the thudding of her strained heart. It was darker too, almost too dark to see.

 

The stairway opened out to reveal a large antechamber, itself opening out to reveal a larger, empty chamber. She had gained some distance on the Gryphons now, and, swinging the heavy blast door shut behind her, she took a few minutes to relax and survey her surroundings. The room, Kat perceived, was of immense proportion, and the entire left wall appeared to be composed of colossal gears and pistons, turning and gyrating in the low light.  In the far most side the cell she perceived four pinpricks of light, set against the blackness. Doors! she inwardly cried at length. They must be doors! sure, enough, when she strained her eyes, she could see the bolted circumference of each hatch. but as she approached, it became obvious that there was no handle to be seen on any of the doors. Suddenly, an ear-splitting thud filled the room, and a flash drew her attention to the entry postern. She turned, and as she did another roaring thud filled the room. The Sentinel! It had reached the antechamber and was now trying feverishly to blow the doors down with it's Boltshot. Frantic, she searched the chamber for an escape, and on the wall to the right of her she saw a red control lever. drawing nearer, another flash revealed a plaque above the lever. It read "SPC EXIT HATCH RELEASE: QUALIFIED PROVERB SALVAGE TEAM ONLY." But to Kat's frenzied mind, it red only "EXIT HATCH." Without thinking, she pulled sharply on the conduit. Pleased to see the hatches open, she was already preparing to run for the exit. Pausing only once to see the entrance door fly of it's hinges, propelled by an armour piercing round, she ran hard at the open heath.

 

Had she paused twice, she might have seen Protection Officer James Garrus open a side-door in front of her, step out, blocking her path, just time to slow to a halt. But she didn't, and now, stunned by the bright sunlight, she hurtled towards an unforgiving ground, one which a civilian hadn't trodden on for many years, taking Garrus with her...

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