Sunday, 20 December 2015

Intruders: Blog the Book 9.1

This week we get an update on the trapped miners. To read this book from the beginning, go here. My idea of Sam Ryan is the actor Leonardo de Caprio when he was younger.


Intruders chapter 9 scene 1

On Level Two all work on the cave-in had stopped as they concentrated on digging to the trapped miners.  Using the camera they had lowered through the pilot hole to survey the shape of the void, the miners had determined the best route to enlarge the hole.  As the hole was enlarged, dressings, fluids and pain killers had been lowered. Under Ryan’s instructions Huw Thomas had treated both himself and John Rees.  Now the hole was big enough to pass down thinly rolled blankets to put across the quartz crystals to make them more comfortable.  The next plan was to get an armoured blanket and roof supports down there to protect them and try to prevent another collapse as work proceeded.  As it was, they couldn’t prevent pieces of rock and crystal falling on the men as the hole was enlarged, however carefully they worked.
Ryan crouched at one side, trying to keep out of the way of the drilling, monitoring the condition of the trapped men.  He kept them talking so he could monitor their level of consciousness, but also, to take their (and his) minds off the situation.  He only had a microphone, and it was hard because of the noise of the drilling machine and the extractor brought in to try to keep the dust down. He felt under pressure from all sides, but tried not to let it show.

‘Tell me Huw, have you always been a miner?’ Ryan asked.

‘Never wanted to do anything else.’  Huw replied.  ‘Runs in the family.  My father, my grandfather, and several uncles were all involved in mining in one way or another.  It’s not such backbreaking work as it used to be, of course.  Now, John’s story is very different, isn’t it John?’

‘What?’

‘Ryan is asking if you’ve always been a miner.  He’d never guess would he?’

The monitor showed John's grin.  ‘Not a hope.  I sort of fell into it, you might say.’

‘What did you used to do?’ said Ryan.

‘Accountant, I was.’

‘Bean counter, you mean,’ said Huw.  ‘They sent him here to check the books, and we lured him underground.’

John nodded.  ‘Most people hate being under … I loved it.  Hated counting.  Applied for the job straight away.’

‘We were short staffed,’ said Huw.  ‘Glad to have him, even though he was a rookie.  Still keeps an eye on the accounts, though.  What about you?’

‘Me?’ said Ryan.  ‘I come from Orion Three.  It’s a reversionist colony. They do things the old way, sweat of the brow and all that.  Trouble is, there’s some technology that shouldn’t be abandoned.  My brother lost his leg in an accident and it ruined his life.  I saw traders with prosthetic legs living a normal life, but we had no doctor skilled enough to fit one.  Skilled medical staff don’t want to work in a backwards society like Orion Three.  I decided to go and get qualified as a doctor and go back to help my people.’

‘What are you doing out here then?’ Huw asked.

‘Once I got away from home and saw what life was like outside, it made it hard to go back.  I had the chance of a posting to the Fast-Response Fleet as part of my training, and I jumped at it.  Do you know, I’d never even seen an alien until I left home?’

Huw laughed and nudged John.  ‘What about you, John? Had you ever seen an alien before you left home?’

‘What?’

‘Pay attention, man! Have you ever seen an alien?’

‘I don’t know,’ said John with a wan smile.  ‘You look pretty weird.  I feel pretty weird too.’

Ryan wasn’t happy with John’s vital signs.  He had lost a lot of blood and his lack of concentration indicated concussion at least.  He turned to Dai Williams and covered the mic.

‘John’s not doing well.  We need to get him out quickly.’

‘We’re doing our best, but the drilling is loosening crystals that fall on them, and if we rush we might bring the roof down.’

‘I’m not telling you how to do your job, but I think you should take some risks if you want to get them out alive.  I need to get a message to the doctors.

[Next week we see the fight between Darrow and his attacker]

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