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Tellurium East

Member Since Nov 20, 2001
198 Images, Last upload Jun 11, 2015

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The ascent to the surface took no more than four hours, but the treacherous roadway was littered with mud and stones making the effort seem like days. Mona led the way with the torch in one hand, and the blue stone held firmly in the other. Her strong and sure-footed stride moved forward with purpose, but was continually hampered by the stumbling and clumsy progress of the hunting party. It was unsurprising, as water was a continual presence in the mine. It seeped from the walls and rained from the ceiling like a light drizzle, a cascade of tiny lights glowing in the torchlight that showed the way ahead.

Although there was an occasional side tunnel or maintenance duct detailed by the artefact, Mona could see that it was this large access tunnel that would bring them quickly to the surface. She remembered as a child, seeing the giant anti-grav mining vehicles descending into the ground through tunnels like this. Once in the underground chambers, these vehicles could move unconstrained in three dimensions across vast excavations and seams of ore, feeding giant counterparts that carried buckets of unrefined material to the surface for processing. It must have been one of those load lifters that brought the strange blue craft down into the mine, else it had chosen to make its way there for its own purpose. Mona imagined it was the former, since the Sansica Corporation that owned these mines was well known for its interests in alien worlds and technologies. If it had chosen to hide something this far from prying eyes, it might be a secret that it was willing to keep unknown at any cost. While Mona listened to the excited chat of her party discussing salvage rights and percentages, she sensed that even when they reached the surface, they might not yet be out of danger.

It was the young woman in the hunting party who saw the ghost first, crying out fearfully as she looked over her shoulder to the depths below. The party stopped immediately, and Mona was forced to return to the group to peer into the gloom with the others. Mona snapped off the torch in irritation, to prove that nothing was there. The blackness of course was profound and absolute, which only served to frighten the young woman even more. Mona set off again and this time did not wait, forcing the party to follow her or be left in the dark. The group complained that they needed rest, only to be reminded that it would be nightfall when they emerged if they did not move faster.

It was in a maintenance bay, nearly an hour before they reached the surface, that they found another decayed body. It wore civilian clothes, and judging by the safety badge and hand computer lying nearby, was a scientist or engineer. The hunting party averted their eyes and moved on, but Mona paused a moment before hooking the hefty handheld device on to her equipment belt. If there was a story to be told about what was in the mine and how these people died, it would be somewhere in the holomatrix of a personal log or notes. A sudden pang of guilt about robbing the dead made Mona glance around to see if the party was watching, and saw what seemed to be a human outline glowing in the dark. She stood quickly and shone her torch down the tunnel, but there was nothing but rock and water. Mona shivered. As vast as the tunnel was, it felt as though the walls were starting to close around them, and she set the pace again with renewed urgency. They would reach the surface before sunset, even if it meant her carrying them there.

(not enough space, story continued in the comments!!!)
May 22, 2009
Science Fiction
162.6 kB

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Image Comments

May 22, 2009 1:18:07 pm
Tellurium East was another of the abandoned satellite facilities attached to Monazite Creek, frequented these days by smugglers and worse. Mona smiled when she remembered how her father had chosen her name, Mona being short for monazite, the ore from which lanthanum and other rare earths was extracted. The smile soon faded though, when the news came of a Sansica representative on his way. Even though her father owned the old buildings at the Creek, the shattered remnants of Sansica still held an interest in the area. Something told her that the old landlord was not interested in their wellbeing.

Mona stood in the cool breeze, holding the blue stone tight in her right hand, while the unaccustomed weight of the computer hung from her belt; a nagging reminder that she ought to be elsewhere when the company man arrived.

V3 figure in Shadow Dancer outfit with customised textures, Erin Hair. Landing platforms and ISO containers are custom models created in Hexagon.

Terrain is a DEM of Telluride, Colorado

Rendered in Vue 6 Pro Studio. Thanks for looking, comments appreciated!

by MarkHirst Homepage »

May 22, 2009 1:29:30 pm
Oof. Into daylight at last. What will Sansica do? Great story unfolding, Mark. And good illustration to keep us in touch with Mona.

by drace68 Homepage »

May 22, 2009 1:41:55 pm
Nice work!

by thefixer Homepage »

May 22, 2009 2:00:42 pm
Cool. Looks like a scene out of the first Star Wars. :)

by amapitodd Homepage »

May 22, 2009 2:06:53 pm
Nice lighting!

by elfguy Homepage »

May 22, 2009 2:23:50 pm
Super storytelling Mark, and an excellent image too :)

by Star4mation Homepage »

May 22, 2009 2:30:22 pm
whoa! good stuff, Mark, both words and render! a bit of "Hothouse" with your own special twists!

by texboy Homepage »

May 22, 2009 2:45:45 pm
Very nice scene great character & lighting quality work!

by Darkglass Homepage »

May 22, 2009 3:01:10 pm
Great scene S.F
i like very much

by phil01 Homepage »

May 22, 2009 3:19:18 pm
great stuff tnx

by Legion1 Homepage »

May 22, 2009 4:05:35 pm
Really nice, great point of view!

by Ancel_Alexandre Homepage »

May 22, 2009 4:05:39 pm

by GRA Homepage »

May 22, 2009 4:14:04 pm
Great work

by A.C.Wolfe Homepage »

May 22, 2009 5:18:35 pm
Great story and scene!

by geirla Homepage »

May 22, 2009 7:01:02 pm
you have a way with words, love the image

by Angelwave Homepage »

May 22, 2009 8:08:40 pm
Beautiful image and great story! Excellent work!!

by kftate Homepage »

May 22, 2009 8:37:58 pm
A fine render--almost photographic. The writing is a bit rough in places, compared to your usual careful crafting. First sentence in third paragraph: "who she"--obviously a revision where the she should have been deleted but wasn't. Then down in the comments section of the story, you wrote:

"...when the news came of a Sansica representative on his way." How did she get the news. The reader has no idea. Sounds like magic. I'm sure that was not the effect that you wanted.

Again, small things, but as they say, the devil is in the details.

by kjer_99 Homepage »

May 22, 2009 8:39:02 pm
Nice render! well executed!

by Osper Homepage »

May 22, 2009 11:36:26 pm
Very nice scene!

by Sue88 Homepage »

May 23, 2009 3:36:13 am
Great concept! Like the background scene!

by BlackAngel66 Homepage »

May 23, 2009 3:47:45 am
Excellent composition, great atmosphere.

by bigbraader Homepage »

May 23, 2009 5:07:09 am
Nice ! :)

by Imaginatos Homepage »

May 23, 2009 7:27:28 am
Beautiful character and scene! I love the lighting and atmospherics :) Superb!

by hoskins78 Homepage »

May 23, 2009 9:40:24 am
Absolutely gorgeous story !!! Very excellent work and render, dear Mark ! Hugs Karin :)

by kasalin Homepage »

May 23, 2009 10:48:10 pm
Very realistic render...excellent modelling and lighting!

by grafikeer Homepage »


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