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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

01-Spark - 9. The Tunnel

Chapter 9. The Tunnel

 

 

 

I opened my eyes and wiped 02-spark from my face. It didn't burn anymore. I spat some of it out; there was blood mixed with it, and for an idle instant I wondered if I was about to die. Then I coughed. Dust was everywhere, choking me.

Andy.

I shifted in my position as much as I could. Something stirred beneath me. Frantically, I dug through the debris, unmindful of how the sharp rocks tore at my hands, and after shoving some small rocks out of the way my hands touched something soft. I grabbed it and it was piece of fabric. I tugged on it, pulled it out. It was Andy's shirt. I pulled again, harder, and Andy suddenly jerked into motion, helping me pull him out. I saw him cough and sputter as his head cleared the debris. I could see him clearly despite the fact that all the lights had gone out. He was covered in spark, as was I, and his skin glowed soft and white in the dark.

“Andy?” I coughed out, struggling to break free of a boulder that was pinning my leg down. “Are you okay?”

I couldn’t hear out one ear, the one that had been facing the blast. It was weirdly disorienting but I was glad to be alive.

Andy retched, coughed something out, but nodded. “Yeah. You, Rick?”

I nodded. “Still alive.”

Andy's eyes widened when he noticed. “You're glowing.”

“So are you.”

Suddenly, something above us began to move, dislodging even bigger rocks. Andy and I moved out of the way as much as we could, and a violent shudder right above our heads turned our eyes upward. The thing above us was breaking free of the rocks, shedding them away with ease as if they weighed nothing.

“It's the queen,” Andy said in a low voice.

“She's alive,” I said, slightly awed. She had survived the explosions and the collapse of the rocks. Her body had shielded us from the worst of it, or else we would have been crushed. Still, the explosions had been so big… It was almost a miracle that she was still alive.

There was a cracking sound, and the queen lifted her body clear off the ground. Like us, she glowed faintly where the spark had fallen on her carapace and coated her legs. She shifted in the darkness, stepping clear over us, pushing rocks and debris away as she made her way up in a pronounced diagonal.

“She's heading for the surface,” Andy said.

“Yes,” I confirmed. “She will dig herself out. She will be free.”

A wordless thrum of emotion echoed my word. Free. Then it was followed by a strong image, an alien thought which my brain translated into a single word as the queen left us behind to claw her way to freedom.

Gratitude.

Andy and I were struck dumb by the thought. It was vast and warm and incomprehensible, and I caught a glimpse of the sentience of the creature, of the alien way she saw the world. Her slavery was over.

There were loud crunching and tearing sounds above us as she made her way. A large pile of dirt fell on top of me and finally released me from the spell.

“We have to follow her,” I told Andy. “We'll be buried alive if we don't. And we have to hurry. She is our only source of light now.”

“Not counting ourselves,” Andy said, lifting his bare hand covered in that glow. The light made our surroundings look oddly beautiful.

“Come on,” I told him. “Let's get moving.”

“Lead the way,” he answered.

It was very hard going. We were basically scrambling along almost blindly, going on hands and knees over debris of various sources, piles of loose earth and irregular large boulders. Where the queen was digging, the going was easy enough as long as we kept directly behind her, but right at the beginning we had to fight to catch up to her and twice she almost left us behind where she used her much bigger body to force her way through the remnants of the tunnel that Bentley had made coming down. She didn't follow this tunnel directly, since most of it was caved in, but she used it to make it easier to dig herself out. I didn't know how she was doing it, and I didn't care. All I thought about was keeping her glowing white body in sight, breathing to calm the burning of my straining legs, and making sure that Andy was following right behind me.

The ascent was endless. It was a desperate mad scramble that simply would not end, a desperate crawling over shifting earth, jumping, climbing, sometimes even running. The queen was tunneling way too fast for a normal animal or even a machine; it seemed that she had been designed to dig tunnels in the first place. Behind me, Andy panted but kept up, the glow he was giving off dimming as time passed, the same as mine. Only the queen glowed as white as ever, the one beacon that kept me going, my one and only goal and direction. Nothing else mattered but keeping up. The darkness pressed all around me, the claustrophobic weight of the earth threatened to engulf me, but we kept on going. We couldn't afford to stop.

Long minutes passed. Maybe hours. The queen wasn’t tunneling straight up. In fact, the slope of her tunnel was flattening out the more we advanced. How long had we walked? I was thirsty, thirstier than I had ever been in my life. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had water or food. My legs were shaking, threatening to give way. My arm throbbed painfully, maddeningly. Then darkness… more darkness… and the faint glow there, ahead. I was certain it had been hours of following, now. It felt like it had been walking forever. But at least now I could actually walk upright, and Andy too. The tunnel was tall and wide, and I hadn't had to crawl over debris in quite a while now. When had that changed? I couldn't remember. I just had to keep going.

Sometime later a stumble and a gasp behind me made me stop.

“Can't…” Andy panted, on hands and knees.

I walked unsteadily back to where he was, grabbed his arm and pulled. He resisted.

“You go on,” he said. “I can't.”

I was too thirsty to speak, but I shook my head, grabbed him and pulled him up by his armpits despite his grunt of protest. Then I slung one of his arms over my shoulders, took some of his weight and walked on.

We were slower now, and at first I tried to keep up with the queen. Soon, however, I saw that it was hopeless. She was too quick. We kept going, though, because I feared that the tunnel would collapse behind her at any moment. We walked and walked, and then walked some more. At one point we began climbing upwards again, and it was almost more than we could take. But then…

“Daylight?” Andy croaked next to me. He was not leaning on me so much anymore. In fact, I was surprised to see that somehow I was now leaning on him.

I looked. At first I thought it was the glow of the queen, but the bright point of light got bigger as we approached, and I saw it was an opening, an actual opening into daylight. I felt an adrenaline surge and picked up the pace slightly. Andy did the same. We walked toward sunlight, unable to believe that the darkness was ending, and soon the opening became the mouth of a cave. Then we were stumbling past rocks into cool air, into warm sunlight, into blessed freedom.

I let go of Andy and collapsed outside, exhausted, just like him. We rolled onto our backs and simply lay there, panting, looking up at the impossibly blue sky. It looked like water. I was so very thirsty.

“I got… a beacon,” Andy whispered, his voice raw. “Dean… will know.”

I shifted my head to look at him. He took something out of his pocket, something that looked like a pen, unscrewed it clumsily and pressed a hidden button. Then he let it fall to the ground, as exhausted as me.

“I'm tired,” I said. Why was I so thirsty? Was I still bleeding from the gunshot wound?

I felt Andy's reach out until his hand brushed mine, then he grabbed it and held it. I gripped him back with all the strength I had. It wasn't much.

“Don't fall asleep,” Andy cautioned me. “Stay with me.”

“Yes,” I whispered, but my mind was wandering. Stay...

“Rick?”

My eyes fluttered closed. I lost consciousness.

 

“Rick! Rick, please wake up!”

I grunted, then tried moving slightly. The anxious voice had woken me up, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to awaken.

“Rick? Give him some more water, Dean. I think he can hear us.”

“Is that a gunshot wound on his arm?”

“Yes. I think so. Rick? I’m going to prop your head up to give you some water. Okay?”

“What…?” I mumbled. I cracked my eyes open a little bit and cringed when I saw very bright sunlight shining straight down on my face. I shut my eyes again and tried to sit up slightly. I felt hands on the back of my head, propping it up. Then I felt something against my lips. A bottle.

The second the cool liquid touched my mouth, I began to gulp greedily, reviving with each mouthful of blessed water. I could not stop drinking. My stomach growled and I felt a cramp threatening, but I still kept drinking. It felt like the difference between life and death.

“Take it easy, man,” a different voice said. “You were pretty dehydrated. I did give you an emergency IV but you were nearly gone.”

I opened my eyes again, carefully. A shadow covered the sun and the light wasn’t shining in my face anymore. I could see Andy inches away, holding the bottle so I could drink. To the side, on my left, was a stranger who looked a lot like Andy. It had to be Dean.

I drained the bottle. Andy took it away, and I was able to sit up all the way on my own after a bit. I felt woozy. I saw another bottle lying there and I took it. I drank it all; this bottle was not only water. There was something salty mixed in with it, and I recognized the flavor of electrolyte powder.

“What happened?” I whispered after I had finished. I had meant to speak louder, but my throat felt raw.

“Dean found us,” Andy said, looking at his brother. “He revived me and then started to work on you. I should probably introduce you two. Dean, this is Rick.”

Dean edged forward and stretched out his hand with a smile. “You're the guy who saved my life on the radio,” he said brightly. “Thank you.”

I shook his hand, wishing my pounding headache would go away. I felt hot all over, and the bump on my skull hurt worse than ever. I was alive, though. “From the looks of it, you were just in time to save us,” I answered, still a bit groggy. My voice was more steady this time, though.

Dean nodded. “I hurried as much as I could when Andy’s beacon started beeping. I thought you would be back at the Plant so I was there originally, but then the bombs went off… It was madness over there, still is. I slipped away when no one was looking. I thought Andy was dead.”

The resemblance between the brothers was strong, but where Andy had a strong brow and a serious expression, Dean was smiling slightly, his features softer than his brother’s. They shared the same hair, light brown and slightly curly, but Dean wore his own long, bound back in a ponytail, not like Andy's neat, close-cropped haircut. He was also thin and lanky where his brother was strong and built-up. And he was also much younger than Andy, at least five years from what I could tell. He was practically a teenager still.

“We almost died,” Andy told him. “Rick had to drag me through that awful underground trek at one point. The tunnel went on and on… but we had no choice. We had to follow the queen.”

Dean caught his breath. “The queen? The queen is alive? How?”

“I don't know,” Andy admitted. “She was standing over us when the bombs went off. We would have been crushed otherwise. After the dust settled, she simply start tunneling. We followed.”

Dean nodded thoughtfully and took out a small electronic pad. “Of course. They're supposed to have been burrowing creatures originally. A landslide would no more affect her than if somebody had sneezed on her. But... we're almost ten kilometers away from the original cave-in. Her burrowing speed must have been—”

I held up a hand. “Kid. Slow down. What’s going on back at the city? I’m far more interested in that.”

“Peacekeepers are trying to get into the Plant,” Dean answered vaguely. “They haven’t been successful. About the queen, though; if she’s alive maybe we can track her! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and—”

I interrupted again. “She's gone. I don't think we would be able to find her even if we tried. We would have to go underground, follow the tunnel again, and trust me, she's a mean bugger. I saw her eat a man today.”

Dean blinked, and put down his pad. “Sorry, sir. It's just… I can't believe you actually saw her. Did she interact with you? Is it true that she has a rudimentary level of understanding of what is going on around her?”

I looked at Andy, one eyebrow raised. He shrugged. “I forgot to tell you. Dean is a biologist, the best exobiologist there is on the Mainland, in fact. That was one of the reasons why they decided to take him as a hostage to, well, motivate me to cooperate. He was the source of most of our information regarding the source of spark.”

“Is that so, Dean?” I asked him.

He nodded quickly. “Yes. I have studied spark all my life, with a particular emphasis on its 02-isomer form and the queen that produces it. She is the last surviving specimen of her species, did you know that? Nobody knows how old she is, and most of the information on her is classified here in the Island, but back home there are certain documents from before the war which I was able to decrypt with Andy's help. Everything about her is amazing. Her incredibly fast healing rate, her theoretically unlimited lifespan, even her parthenogenetic reproduction mechanism. She's a work of art.”

“You do seem to know a lot about her,” I admitted.

“I had actually requested official permission from the Islander government to come and visit this facility before the Mainlander terrorists got to us,” Dean told me. Even though he was young, his demeanor and the way he spoke reminded me of the senior scientists I had met during my training on the Mainland. He frowned as he remembered. “They took Andy first, since they needed an engineer to hack the systems that would allow them to get past the security of the Plant. They only found out we were brothers later, but by then it was too late. They abducted me from the University one night when I was working late. Soon afterwards they made us come here.”

“How did you find us?” I asked him. I was not particularly suspicious of the kid, but I wanted to know for sure.

“Andy’s beacon, like I mentioned,” he explained, taking out a small cylindrical object. “He designed them himself.”

“Oh, that's right,” I said, remembering the blurry moments right before I had lost consciousness. “You activated it before I blacked out, right, Andy?”

Andy nodded. “It was long shot, but I knew that if Dean was around and able to help, he would come. It was good that he did. I didn’t pass out like you did, but after an hour or so had gone by I tried waking you up and you wouldn't respond. That's when I noticed that your shirt was caked with blood from when Bentley shot you.” He paused, and his look grew more serious. “The shot nicked an artery, Rick. You were bleeding out, back there in the tunnel.”

I shuddered involuntarily. I remembered how thirsty I had felt, and how weak. Severe blood loss, then.

“I still don't know how you made it,” Andy continued. “When I saw how serious it was, how much blood you had lost, I began to freak out. I had no way of carrying you out of here, or of getting water, and I couldn’t just leave you. It was awful.”

“You should've seen him,” Dean said, grinning at his brother. “When I got here he was crouched over you, shielding your face from the sun, your head on his lap. He was crying.”

I shot a quick look at Andy, and he gave me a shaky smile. “I thought you were dying,” he said, taking my hand in one of his. He squeezed it, and held it. I squeezed back. “I didn't know what to do, and when Dean came I started shouting at him to do something.”

Dean nodded knowingly. “Good thing I did know what to do. You were lucky I was carrying emergency field rations and standard-issue equipment. I gave you an IV shot of stimulants as soon as I was able to, and got some liquids into you. It took us the better part of an hour to revive you. To be honest, I thought you wouldn’t make it. You looked pretty far gone.”

“Um. There's also… something else which you should probably see,” Andy said. The tone in his voice was guarded.

“Is something wrong?” I asked quickly.

Andy and Dean exchanged looks. “Not wrong, not exactly,” Andy said. “Here, take a look.”

Andy grabbed my forearm and turned it so my palm would be facing outwards. He lifted the tattered sleeve of my shirt from it, and I was surprised at how much of the fabric was stained red and maroon with my own blood. My skin was dirty, a mixture of more dirt and blood, and when he lifted the sleeve higher I saw a few scars crisscrossing my forearm from where I had cut myself with the sharp rocks and random shards of glass while climbing the tunnel.

“Here,” Andy said, lifting the sleeve with one hand and pointing at my biceps with another. “You see it?”

I looked. There was nothing.

“Holy shit,” Dean said. “It's gone, Andy. It was faint before, but now it’s gone.

“What's gone?” I asked anxiously.

Andy reached out to poke a small circular patch of skin that looked cleaner and lighter than the surrounding area. It was a perfectly circular hole, such as a bullet would make.

Suddenly it hit me. I had been shot in that arm, right there were the new skin was. I could remember the pain still, and there was a slight stiffness to my arm that remained. Cautiously, I flexed the muscle. There was no pain, not anymore. And no wound.

I looked at Andy, and then at Dean, hoping for an explanation. They looked as dumbfounded as I felt.

“It was glowing,” Dean said quietly. “That’s what we wanted to show you. When I got here, your gunshot wound was still there, but it was glowing.”

“We thought it was an infection or something,” Andy said. “We cleaned it as best as we could, but even though the wound was there it wasn’t bleeding anymore. I don't know when it stopped bleeding, actually. By the time Dean found us, it had stopped. I had been pressing down on it, trying to staunch the blood flow as soon as I realized you were bleeding out. Then it closed, all on its own.”

“It's just not there,” I said softly, running my fingers over my arm. Nothing felt wrong, only slightly tender around the area. “How is it possible?”

“I have a theory,” Dean said.

Andy nodded. “He already told me,” he said. “And it makes sense. I don't like it, but it makes sense.”

“What is it?” I demanded.

Dean took a deep breath. “It's possible that your exposure to pure, undiluted spark has contaminated you somehow.”

“Contaminated?” I asked, dread building in my voice. I had seen spark junkies lying on the sidewalks, seen the ravages that their addiction had caused. At first they would be overly energetic, violent even, but those who had been taking it for more than a few months became little more than mindless beggars—the spark did something to their minds. Would I be like them now?

Dean look uncomfortable as he explained. “After treatment for use as a fuel source, spark is a highly dangerous psychotropic agent,” he told me. “I'm sure you know this. Spark addicts tend to be dangerous and unpredictable, and Andy has told me you're a Peacekeeper. You’ve probably dealt with them a lot more than I have.

“The same properties that make spark such a valuable electrical catalyst are also responsible for the corruption of the minds of addicts. Of 01-Spark we have only vague, contradictory records. 02-Spark, though, is electrically unstable, and it causes random electrical synapses to go off in the brain, firing their tiny electrical currents out of sync or on random pathways. When I was studying at the University, I read an old experiment report that proved that refined, treated spark would cause neurological breakdown and dementia in mice when they were exposed to it over a period of several months.”

I looked from Andy to Dean. “I’ve seen that happen to people here. Does that mean the same will happen to us? Both Andy and I were exposed to it.”

Andy nodded slowly.

“Dean,” I asked. “Are we going to go insane?”

Dean shook his head. “I don't know. Nothing like this has ever happened before as far as I know. Islander scientists would probably know more about this than I would, since you do have the last surviving queen in here. However, I can tell you this. You were not exposed to the refined form of spark, the one that is actually used in electricity generation. You got it in its pure form, completely biological in origin. It's 01-Spark, and its effects on humans are unknown. Since you're not dead already, it stands to reason that it's not toxic. Also, you didn’t use a sub-cranial injection to get it into your system like an addict would. It just got in your eyes and in your mouth. If anything, I think it might have been beneficial. Your wound is gone, Rick. You healed as fast as the queen herself would have. Andy, too. You had lost a lot of blood and were virtually on death’s doorstep, but look at yourself now. You're almost well again and it’s been less than two hours since I found you half dead. People don’t recover that fast.”

“But what does it mean?” Andy asked his brother.

Dean shrugged. “Like I said, I don't know. We have no way of knowing how the spark will affect you, and now that the queen has escaped there will be no way to get more samples of 01-spark to analyze the substance from a biochemical perspective so I could tell you more.”

His words reminded me that the queen was truly gone. And that in turn reminded me of the fact that an entire city had suddenly been left without its main power source.

“The city,” I said suddenly.

“What about it?” Andy said.

I tried to stand up. The wooziness had receded, and I felt stronger already. The only thing that refused to go away was my headache. I succeeded in getting to my feet on the second try.

“We have to do something, go help,” I said, already looking everywhere to get my bearings. It was easy enough. A gigantic plume of black smoke was rising up into the sky on the west, where the Plant had exploded. It was further away than I thought I could walk, but I needed to go there and help. Somehow. I started walking.

“Wait, Rick,” Andy said, standing up as well and stopping me with his hand. “Where are you going?”

“Back to the city,” I said. “The explosions must have collapsed the entire Plant. There may be people trapped there, or even Peacekeepers sent to try and assess the situation who don’t know what happened underground. I have to go and help them.”

“Islanders are all doomed anyway, without the spark,” Dean said sadly. “Two or three people more helping with the rescue operations won't make a big difference in the long run.”

I whirled on him. “So?” I snapped. “We can't just give up. I can't just stay here and let everybody die. There's got to be something we can do.”

“Actually, there is,” Dean said. “I was going to suggest it.”

“What?” I demanded angrily. I took a step in his direction. “Tell me!”

Dean flinched slightly in the face of my anger, but he held his ground. “We have to find the queen again. Now, before it's too late and she has had time to burrow so deeply underground that we will never find her. The tunnels she is making now are temporary. They will eventually cave in, sealing her from the surface as she builds a nest. When that happens, not even underground thermal imaging will find her. We need to act now, zero in on her position so we at least have that information to bring back to the city. We can make a difference that way. We can help the Islanders by capturing the queen once more.”

“Yes,” I agreed, seeing the sense of his plan. “We can capture her, if we hurry.”

NO.

Andy and I staggered physically from the force of the mental impact at the same time. Along with the word rode a vast and unyielding wave of loathing, and anger, and defiance. Sensing it had been as if I had had two people scream the word in my ears on either side simultaneously while a third person punched me in the gut. For a second I simply could not talk. From the way Andy had gone pale, all blood drained from his face, I could guess he had felt the exact same thing.

“What's the matter?” Dean asked anxiously, looking from one of us to the other. “What's wrong?”

“It's her,” Andy said quietly.

Dean looked at him, mouth agape. “The queen?”

Andy nodded slowly. “She doesn't want to be captured. But I think… I think I know where she is.”

He cocked his head as if listening to something, nodded to himself, and started walking. At first I just stared, but then I heard it, too. Well, I didn't exactly hear it. It was more like an additional sense, something I had never had before, telling me where to go if I wanted to find her. It was like a slight tug from an invisible rope in the center of my chest. All I had to do was follow the direction the tug was coming from.

“Andy? Rick? Where are you going?”

“We can still find her,” I said distractedly, trying not to lose the sense of the direction the tug was coming from. It was hard. I felt it coming from below, but it would flicker in and out of my awareness as I walked. It was almost as if the rocks beneath my feet were interfering with the signal somehow, and it was easier to get reception in some areas rather than others.

We were walking back to the original tunnel, Andy slightly ahead of me. As we reached the tunnel mouth, he looked at me and I nodded. Oh, yes. The signal was much stronger here.

“Guys, stop for a second,” Dean said behind us. “Stop. You're acting really strange now. What’s going on?”

I saw Dean put his hand on Andy's shoulder, but Andy shrugged it off. He tried the same with me, and I pushed it away. Couldn't he see that we needed to act now that the signal was so clear? I stepped into the darkness of the tunnel and Andy followed close behind.

“Stop!” Dean yelled. I heard him scrambling behind us, then stumble in the near-complete darkness of the tunnel. There was no glowing queen to light the way now, and neither Andy nor I were glowing either. We would be going blind into the earth.

I paid no attention to Dean, concentrating instead on listening. There was something…

“Can you hear that?” I asked Andy.

“Yes,” he said. I could barely see his face. “She's calling us.”

I nodded in the darkness. The tug had become a yearning, and there was something else as well. A sense of stopping, of digging. Of exhaustion. “She’s stopping now. Making a nest.”

“Let's go,” Andy said.

“Andy, stop,” Dean protested, shouldering past me to block our way. “Something's wrong with you guys, can't you see it?”

“I don't feel wrong,” I said.

“She's doing something to you,” Dean told us, still blocking the way with his body and his arms outstretched. He was a lighter shadow in the darkness of the tunnel. “Remember what I said about 01-spark? That we didn't know what the consequences would be? I don't like this. It looks like a neural interface to me, the way you claim to hear her, but it’s simply not possible. There is no transmitter, no receptor anywhere.”

Andy tried to push past him, but Dean fought back.

“No! Listen to me, both of you. This connection you seem to have all of a sudden is dangerous. I don't think we should try and follow her anymore. You know where she is. Let's go back to the city and come back with a contingent of soldiers that are equipped to deal with this. You can’t go any further; the closer you get to her, the stronger the pull will become.”

“We need to bring her back,” I told him. “You suggested this idea in the first place. Now get out of the way.”

“Andy!” Dean pleaded.

“Take my beacon,” Andy told him. “Call for help and stay outside the tunnel. Rick and I will go and find her. You'll just slow us down.”

“But…”

“I need to do this, Dean,” Andy said. “I'm responsible for all of this happening in the first place. We can’t leave the city without a power source. I have to try and make it better.”

Approach.

I had started walking before actually deciding to do so, the pull was that strong. Andy followed after giving the beacon to his brother. Then we set out into the darkness.

“Andy! Rick! Dammit!”

But his voice wasn't important. We needed to get there.

She was calling.

Just one more chapter to go! Thank you all for the amazing reviews, and each and every single like to this story. :) Stay tuned next week for the conclusion!

 

And thanks to my editor Caz once again!

Albert Nothlit
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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That was unexpected! Actually I don't even know what I was expecting and that's a good thing, that you are not sure what's coming next.

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Since they could hear her even before they were exposed to spark, I'm not so sure Dean is right. There is a connection, maybe stronger now, but it did exist before. This connection is what made the queen save their lives. Now, perhaps she wants to tell them how to make their own spark? Or she wants to thank them by telling them how to find energy in another way. Or she's feeling peckish...? Or the eggs she laid in them will hatch soon..? And we're back to icky spider!

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Spark is what seems to be an incredibly beneficial substance in its natural state. It isn't harmful until it's altered and perverted. The Islanders have remained stagnant by depending solely on spark for power. You can make parallels with our own reluctance and slowness to migrate to other forms of power generation. It seems time to pay the piper is at hand.

 

The queen, for unknown reasons, has saved Rick and Andy's lives. Now she is directing them to her. We don't know her purpose yet. If she wanted a meal, it would have been easier while they were trapped beneath her in the cave in. She is clearly more than a rudimentary sentient being. I guess we'll see the purpose soon.

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Been out of pocket, had to get caught up. (6 chapters, and I'm out of likes for the day!)
Great tale so far--and really looking forward to what the queen communicates to them; suspect it'll be a major revelation, and will somehow provide an alternate power supply to the city, and (I suspect) much more.)
Fine writing here--truly enjoyable!

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So the queen protected them and ran away, now she's calling to them. Oh boy! What will the Islanders do now that the Queen is free. Spark also has healing qualities? How can there be only 1 chapter left, seems like there's so much to tell!

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Damn glad I finally caught up. Excellent. Are Andy and Rick destined to become food for the new larvae? Or will they return with a new way of powering the city not resorting to slavery? The possible outcomes are many and used to your twists I'll patiently wait. HURRY UP!

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On 06/26/2015 12:56 AM, Carlos Hazday said:

Damn glad I finally caught up. Excellent. Are Andy and Rick destined to become food for the new larvae? Or will they return with a new way of powering the city not resorting to slavery? The possible outcomes are many and used to your twists I'll patiently wait. HURRY UP!

Yes, sir! lol - it's finally up now

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On 06/24/2015 12:38 PM, Defiance19 said:

So the queen protected them and ran away, now she's calling to them. Oh boy! What will the Islanders do now that the Queen is free. Spark also has healing qualities? How can there be only 1 chapter left, seems like there's so much to tell!

I packed a bunch into the final chapter, though :)

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On 06/24/2015 03:53 AM, Robert Rex said:

Been out of pocket, had to get caught up. (6 chapters, and I'm out of likes for the day!)

Great tale so far--and really looking forward to what the queen communicates to them; suspect it'll be a major revelation, and will somehow provide an alternate power supply to the city, and (I suspect) much more.)

Fine writing here--truly enjoyable!

Thank you kindly! I hope the conclusion won't disappoint

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On 06/22/2015 05:27 AM, drpaladin said:

Spark is what seems to be an incredibly beneficial substance in its natural state. It isn't harmful until it's altered and perverted. The Islanders have remained stagnant by depending solely on spark for power. You can make parallels with our own reluctance and slowness to migrate to other forms of power generation. It seems time to pay the piper is at hand.

 

The queen, for unknown reasons, has saved Rick and Andy's lives. Now she is directing them to her. We don't know her purpose yet. If she wanted a meal, it would have been easier while they were trapped beneath her in the cave in. She is clearly more than a rudimentary sentient being. I guess we'll see the purpose soon.

drpaladin, you've read my mind. I was going for just that- stagnation, corruption, dependence

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On 06/22/2015 05:18 AM, Puppilull said:

Since they could hear her even before they were exposed to spark, I'm not so sure Dean is right. There is a connection, maybe stronger now, but it did exist before. This connection is what made the queen save their lives. Now, perhaps she wants to tell them how to make their own spark? Or she wants to thank them by telling them how to find energy in another way. Or she's feeling peckish...? Or the eggs she laid in them will hatch soon..? And we're back to icky spider!

Oddly enough, I picture her longer and more sinuous than a spider...

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On 06/22/2015 02:56 AM, Kalandor said:

That was unexpected! Actually I don't even know what I was expecting and that's a good thing, that you are not sure what's coming next.

Thanks, Kalandor! I'm very glad I'm able to keep you guessing :)

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