Welcome to "The Diary of a Miner"; a blog detailing the adventures and mysteries that I, Syeonyx, embark upon in my quest to further my mining and survival skills! It'll be tough, there will be good times and bad times, but I'll always be alive to post my adventures... probably...

End of the day couldn't come any sooner!

     Reaching the end of the tunnel, as I picked up my pickaxe, the others all stopped working, looking at me quizzically. I then remembered how I had just ran out on them to tell COLUS about my idea without filling them in about what I was doing.

"Well... Are you going to tell us what that was about...?"

I told them about the connections I made between what has been said recently about SERVERE, and that I was under the impression that one way to prove who used the wooden shelter was to go through the mass number of books down there and translate it all. It would take some time, but it'd distract AMPHIS from what he had supposedly seen, it would hopefully reveal who was there and what they were looking for, and possibly more useful information that we could use. I stated though that I was concentrating on the idea that it might unveil who AMPHIS really saw; I had already connected those two things together as it seemed to make the most sense. When I finished, the quizzical expressions had gone from their faces, and were instead replaced by expressions of... I don't really know...

"I see... Any particular reason why you didn't inform us about this? And if all you were going to do was tell COLUS this, why did it take so long?"

I then had to tell them about me and Amie going back down into the cliff mine and retrieving as many books as we could carry to allow AMPHIS to begin translating them.

"See, you could have told us then. If you have involved us then we could have helped bring more books back."

With the tunnel progress being slightly behind, and the already cramped nature of the lab, I doubt that would have been a good idea. All tunnel mining would have ceased for a good hour or so, as it would be likely that everyone would want to bring up every book from there. That in itself would cause more problems as there wasn't enough room to house them all. The amount we had managed to collect between the two of us was sufficient for AMPHIS to be getting on with, and we could always retrieve more as and when he needed them. By that time, most of the iron will have been used up, hopefully, to build the bracings and the security doors.

"Fair enough, but it would have been nice to be told where you were going. A little disconcerting to see you run off up the tunnel as though you'd seen a Creeper!"

Trust me: if I had seen a Creeper, I wouldn't be running. I would stand with my fellow brothers, side by side, and put down the threat with ease! Or at least I hope I would. I haven't come across a Creeper in a very long time, so it was likely things may have changed slightly. I began to help with the tunnel again, driving the head of the pickaxe deep into the stone wall before me. We weren't that far from needing to head East, so hopefully we'll be able to start that tomorrow. We've come quite a distance, but I still feel sorry for OROTHO and Joe. After putting in the main entrance to the tower entrance doors, they've got to finish with the security doors through the rest of the tunnel. And this wasn't going to be the only tunnel; COLUS had plans for a whole network of tunnels, allowing us to move about undetected. It seemed odd that this one tunnel is only able to allow us to check on the current master portal status...

----

     I am exhausted! I think carrying all of those books took more effort than I had initially given credit for. Then to go straight back into the tunnel and pick up from where I had left off... When COLUS came down to the end of the tunnel and told us to finish for the day, I could have kissed him, I was that tired! Remembering what OROTHO had said, we closed each door after we left that section of the door. They had managed to finish the fourth door, but COLUS had told them not to begin work on the fifth just yet. It was likely that they would become engrossed in that when we burst through the surface and were in need of a door! We closed the final door, and headed towards the entrance which led through to the lab. OROTHO hadn't got to the stage of implementing the bulb security for the fourth door yet, but the other three were off indicating they were closed and sealed.

"How does this work if we plan to have multiple tunnels...? There's going to be a lot of crossed wire..."

"We leave that to OROTHO and Joe to figure out. We're just the manual labourers..."

Heading into the lab, it was odd to see that it was actually empty, aside from AMPHIS, who was furiously writing atop a stack of papers. From the way he had stacked the books around him, he had made his way through two, and was on his third! That wasn't bad work considering he had to first decode it with the pig-pen cipher.

"How goes the decoding AMPHIS? Found anything useful to us?"

"Nothing much yet..."

He didn't even look up from his papers or stop writing as he said that. He had written a lot though, and with a bit of persuasion, we managed to have a look at some of the stuff he had translated so far. Flicking through the papers, AMPHIS was right; there was very little in terms of detail that we could use. Some parts seemed to be suggest a diary, whilst other bits were observations on events, but nothing that actually informed us of anything we could use. Setting the papers back down beside AMPHIS, we headed off to our rooms for the night.

"AMPHIS, remember to get some rest this time. You're no good to us or yourself when you're tired."

AMPHIS just nodded slowly, continuing to write at the same time, whilst we went off to our rooms. Even though Chiron wanted attention when I entered my room, I wasn't in any position to start fussing over him. Oddly, Hermes has started spending a lot of time in my room now too. Maybe he can detect something is up with AMPHIS. Animal intuition and all that...

Syeonyx signing off

Footsteps in the dark...

     Amie was beginning to scare me now. She hadn't moved, but was leaning in the direction of one of the tunnels we had dug, perfectly still and silent. I hadn't heard anything. Nothing unusual or out of place anyway. We were deep underground so it was likely she had just heard something that you'd expect to hear.

"No no... It wasn't... It was like... The sound of... Footsteps..."

A cold chill ran down my spine! Footsteps? I suddenly felt uneasy, and began to look around me in all directions. I hadn't heard anything at all aside from the usual echoing winds blowing through the caverns, and dripping water. We were talking at the time though, so it was possible I talked over the sound. Amie seemed to be looking down a particular tunnel now, not looking elsewhere, just down this single tunnel. I tried to ask her what she thought she heard again, just to make sure I had heard her right, and she shushed me with he hand. A few more moments silence, and then she stood upright, still maintaining her gaze down the tunnel.

"It came from down there..."

Pointing in the direction she was still looking, she began to walk down into the tunnel, completely free of any fear or apprehension. Feeling that it would be safer together, I quickly followed after her. We continued for a few moments, stopping every now and again allowing Amie to listen to the variety of sounds around us, before proceeding once more. This continued on for some time; she would just continue forwards, stop and listen, and then proceed. We passed many torches we had placed intermittently to light our way when digging out the tunnel initially, but they were rapidly running out, and only the darkness loomed ahead awaited us. Amie stopped at the last torch, and peered into the inky blackness of the stunted chamber beyond.

"Did any of you venture this far into the tunnel?"

I didn't, and none of the others had, to the best of my knowledge anyway... I was apprehensive to get back; the others would likely think it wouldn't take this long to retrieve some books, and we couldn't be sure what lurked beyond the safety of the tunnel. I was burdened with a bag full of books, and in no way ready to fight off anything that might attempt to leer out of the darkness and attack! Amie seemed to pick up on this, and turned to face me, seemingly satisfied with her investigation into the unknown sound...

"Maybe it was just my imagination... We should get back. The others will be wondering where we've got to."

I waited for Amie to head back up and out of the tunnel, before looking back into the dark void of a chamber, and shudder slightly. I really hoped she had only imagined that..."

     On the way back up, we've decided to keep the whole footstep sounds issue a secret. It is possible that Amie heard footsteps, but it's more likely she was imagining things. A lot of different events were going on at the time, and it wouldn't be at all too much to assume that her imagination was working overtime. Hauling the large collection of books down the last few steps, we went in single file through the tunnel that snaked through the thin stone wall that joined the cliff mine to the entrance of the base.

"Do you reckon it's worth linking that minecart track to the wooden shelter down there? It would certainly make retrieving the books a lot easier!"

Judging from her face, Amie was joking about it, but I was in a world of my own, and didn't laugh at this comment. Heading towards the lab, I was still thinking about what had happened down there. Was it really possible for Amie to have heard footsteps...? I know I have a relatively loud voice, but I wouldn't think footsteps would be audible in a place like that. then again... It was cavernous! The sounds could and probably do travel for miles; bouncing off dense surfaces, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was sound proofed from the surface entirely! Heading into the lab, I snapped myself from my mental musings, and dropped the bag of books heavily onto the already-sagging table.

"There you go AMPHIS. Plenty to be getting on with. The guys have enough iron for the tunnel, you have your books to translate, and I can help COLUS with whatever he needs me to do."

AMPHIS began to fish random books out of the book, placing them into neat piles on the floor around the table legs. There didn't seem to be any order to the books that we could work out, but AMPHIS already seemed to be sorting them out into his own logical order to work on.

"Take your time with those AMPHIS. Take breaks whenever you need to, and try to translate them as accurately as you can. Hopefully we can learn a little more about this person from what you find out..."

Taking the last of the books from the bag, he gave a single nod to COLUS, before brushing the current papers and books to one side and grabbing a fresh piece and opening the book in his hand. I nodded to COLUS and headed back down to the tunnel where the other three were still working, presumably. It was odd that we operated so well with single actions as simple as nods, and random gestures with our heads and hands. But it worked, it was efficient, and as the old saying goes "don't fix what ain't broke"... Never really cared for that style of grammar... Anyway, on with the tunnel!

Syeonyx signing off

Bookworm

     Despite distracting OROTHO from finishing the fourth security door with Joe - which we initially thought was a bad move - he's actually in higher spirits than he was before! This is likely due to his conceived idea of the security door for the entrance to the tower, which we have yet to decide on a positioning for. But OROTHO has a series of blueprints drawn up, and has practically demanded that AMPHIS copy them for future reference. AMPHIS didn't seem to mind that much; it seems OROTHO demands a lot of him anyway, and at the end of the day, it was another way to distract him from his woes... It seemed now though that everyone had accepted AMPHIS's sighting as fact, rather than analysing it with a certain degree of logic, like COLUS has. Then again, I get the impression COLUS feels happier thinking that AMPHIS did indeed see SERVERE down in the chamber... Even if it is just to prevent the need to think that he's actually dead. They only knew what I had told them, based on what I had seen and read in his diary. It hadn't sounded very promising for him, but if SERVERE was such a thorn in HoN Co.'s side, it would make more sense to try and get him to work for them. A cruel twist of irony in that SERVERE also thought the same of the position he would be placed into. To be able to use his position effectively, but not for the benefit of HoN Co., for us instead. If HoN Co. were unsure of his new allegiance to them, it wouldn't be unfounded to assume they have someone following him, and if he knew that, he wouldn't risk attempting to contact us...

We're continuing with the tunnel... Still! We're still making great progress, but after flicking through my diary over the last few entries, I get the feeling that's all I'm writing about. I can't actually think of anything else we've done, but I suppose it's better than risking our lives continuously going from the base to the tower via the surface entrance. COLUS is right; even if it's not a HoN Co. spy or guard watching us, it's still dangerous to go out on the surface. We've definitely drawn attention to ourselves recently with the destruction of the obsidian mine, so it'd be suicidal based on the predicted number of guards they'd post at the tower now, not to mention how many there could be between the tower and us. Me, THEROS, THEXIS and UOPETA were all working on the tunnel, OROTHO and Joe were finishing on the fourth security door, AMPHIS was drawing up a reference version of the door blueprints OROTHO created, and last I checked Amie and COLUS are retrieving the last small amounts of iron ore from the cliff mine. It hadn't occurred to me how much we had actually collected until it was all smelted into ingots and stored away in the corner of the lab. OROTHO wasn't very happy about it, but he wasn't there most of the time so it wasn't really a major concern. We were all just getting on with our work that we had been assigned to, and hopefully we would be breaking through to the surface, and giving OROTHO and Joe another job...

----

     I'm such a fool! I don't know why this hasn't occurred to me sooner, but a few things that have been said have clicked slowly into place, and the strength with which I believe AMPHIS has just increased drastically! AMPHIS says he saw SERVERE in the chamber close to the wooden shelter filled with books written using the pig-pen cipher and then translated into Latin. I can't remember who, but someone told me that SERVERE was good at Latin. Better than AMPHIS even! It's possible that the two are connected, and that SERVERE did survive the encounter with HoN Co. and is now on the run, or is in hiding or something. Not stopping to inform the others, I threw my pickaxe down and ran off down the tunnel to find COLUS. I had to tell him, because there may be a way for AMPHIS to prove that SERVERE was behind all of this! Finding him talking with Amie about something - I wasn't entirely sure what about - I went up to him and told him about the connections I had made. I didn't know if SERVERE had been one for code and secrecy, but I knew that he was meant to be almost fluent in Latin, which when you consider that a lot of, if not all of the books in the wooden shelter are translated into Latin... It doesn't take much to piece it all together!

"We can't prove that Syeonyx. Yes we know that SERVERE was great with Latin, but that doesn't prove anything. Anyone could have written those books. Remember that book you found? Codex Solis? That was written in Latin, and somehow I doubt SERVERE was involved in writing that!"

I explained though that there may be a way to prove who lived down there. If someone was able to write so much in Latin in whatever period of time they had been given to achieve that, they would likely have made some reference to themselves, or their surroundings or environment which would give some more insight as to who they were. I knew COLUS would agree with me, and I noticed that AMPHIS was now listening in.

"That's a good point... But what do you suggest? We go back down there, and translate all of the books...?"

"Why not bring up a few at a time, and have AMPHIS translate them...?"

Everyone turned to Amie, and I smiled. Tat was exactly what I was getting at! I doubted AMPHIS wanted to go back down there for some time due to the shock he had had, but there was nothing stopping me or someone else going down there and getting them for him!

"It depends on AMPHIS. Are you up for that...?"

AMPHIS just nodded. That was enough for me!

"Alright then, but I'm only doing this because you seem intent on proving AMPHIS right! Go down there are retrieve as many books as you can carry. Take a bag or something with you. The fewer trips we need to make, the better."

"Is it alright if I go with him? This place is beginning to get a little stuffy for my liking..."

COLUS agreed, and I went towards the entrance of the base, to where we had set up the connection to the cliff mine, and began to make our way towards the wooden shelter via my mineshaft. I hoped that something god would come of this! If we could prove that SERVERE was still alive, then there may be a potential way of trying to contact him!

     We're on our way back with as many books we could take from the shelves that we could carry. We avoided taking the ones that were sprawled out across the floor as it was likely AMPHIS had already looked at those. We were easily carrying about forty books between us; we had attempted to choose books that looked like they might contain something useful to us in terms of information, but with most of them either lacking a title, or with it being written in Latin, it was hard to gauge which ones were the best to take. In the end, we took three books from each shelf, hoping that we had covered a decent spread of the shelves. That was based on any system they might have used to catalogue them.

"What are you hoping AMPHIS will find in these then...? Information linking to HoN Co., or indications of whoever wrote them, stuff like that?"

More or less. It would be best to distract AMPHIS from thinking about it too much if we gave him something to do. It seemed counter-intuitive to give him the task of translating the books that are linked to what we're trying to distract him from, but we're hoping he'll concentrate more on the task at hand, rather than the actual content. If there was anything to indicate who wrote these, we might be able to tie SERVERE to them...

"Let's hope for yours and AMPHIS's sake you're right! I get the feeling that COLUS is being reserved about it to maintain a level head. I mean, who can blame him. It's likely the recent events have hit him the hardest, but he's got to ensure that everyone else remains on task without generating unnecessary amounts of hype over something that could be nothing..."

That was the conclusion I had come to as well. COLUS wasn't purposely denying what AMPHIS had seen. He was rationalising it, to ensure that we didn't begin assuming accusations were that of truth, rather than unfounded theories. We left the wooden shelter with the bag of books, and headed for the mineshaft entrance. Amie stopped short, as though she was looking at the area around us. She seemed impressed with the work we had done, but when she turned around to face me again, her expression told a slightly different story.

"Did you hear that...?"

Syeonyx signing off

OROTHO's grand ideas

     We're making excellent progress once more! I don't know the reason for it, possibly the fact that almost all of us now more or less accept AMPHIS's sighting, but whatever the real reason, we're definitely making tracks now! I'm not able to realistically compare our previous progress to now, but I would say we're going faster than we have before. However, I have noticed how much easier it is to mine through the stone. Maybe it's becoming less and less dense. If that's the case, it should be easier for us from now on. We have to stop every now and again to allow Joe and COLUS to put in the bracing, but it allows THEROS to examine the map and almost exactly pinpoint our position below round in comparison to our current progress. It seems really odd that we're creating an access route to a place we've been to before many times, and it's taking us many times longer to get there than if we just walked. Then again, when we finish this tunnel, we'll be able to go directly to the tower in a fraction of the normal time! There will be no need to be cautious about scouting ahead, and we'll be able to take a direct path that leads nowhere else but where we need to end up! Well, for the time being that will be the case, but depending on the status of the primary portals, we will probably need to begin more tunnels that snake elsewhere...

"How far now THEROS? I'm beginning to think we're making a tunnel to nowhere, judging from the distance we've covered..."

"A few more hundred metres in this direction, and then one hundred or so to the East. We'll need to create some concealed way of hiding the tunnel entrance, but we should be done very soon. It may be taking longer than if we had just walked there, but firstly it's safer, it's more direct and it ensures we have safe passage between the base and the tower in the future!"

"We might go behind the optimistic deadline of tomorrow then... Let's just hope we come across a few caverns then. That way we only need to plug them up rather than have to tunnel through more stone and gravel."

We continued with our progress for some time longer without resting, with the thought of nearly being finished strong in our minds. It wouldn't be long until we pushed through to the final few metres, and then we could head East. I really couldn't see us being finished by tomorrow, but we'd definitely try our hardest to achieve a similar deadline..

     As AMPHIS has decided to go back to work smelting iron, we've felt less inclined to have breaks as regularly as we have have yesterday, and as a result we've made massive progress! Since returning from the discussion with AMPHIS and COLUS, we've probably mined one hundred metres or so, and that's only in the past three to four hours! I'm only guessing, but judging from the number of bracings that have been put in since we started, I'd say I wasn't that far off. THEROS has managed to guess where we are as well with a similar degree of accuracy on the map.

"Won't be too long before we're breaking through the top soil, and staring right at the tower in front of us!"

"That's a point: has anyone decided on a good way of concealing the entrance yet? Has anyone even conceived an idea about a hidden entrance way?"

"Well I think we would need something a little more sophisticated than a hatch which is hidden by some tall grass. It likely means that we need to involve Joe and OROTHO in concocting some sophisticated security door."

"Well if we're progressing so well, why don't we ask them now. They're working on the fourth door I think, so now might be a really good time."

"How do you make that out? He's working so he'll likely not want to be disturbed..."

"True, but he's also doing something he enjoys with a passion, so he'll be in a good mood."

"Touché..."

"THEXIS, you take over for Syeonyx, whilst we find out what OROTHO has in store... If he has anything at all."

Handing my pickaxe to THEXIS, I followed THEROS, who still had his map out, down to where Joe and OROTHO were working. They didn't look up or even acknowledge our presence when we neared, but that wasn't unusual.

"OROTHO, do you have any suggestions for the entrance to the tunnel at the conducting tower end?"

There was silence for a few moments; only the sounds of Joe and OROTHO tweaking some pieces of metal with a various array of tools scattered about them. Then eventually, he answered the question in the usual OROTHO style...

"Thousands..."

"Okay... Care to share any with us?"

"... Which ones...?"

"Any of them. We're hoping to break through soon, in the next few days, and we need to have a secure entrance that can ensure we can easily gain entry as and when we need to. We know you're the best person to come to for that..."

That little bit of flattery that THEROS injected into the sentence was enough to capture a little more of OROTHO's attention. Enough to make him set his tools down and stand up.

"Well... I have always wanted to implement an idea where a small portion of the floor retreats, exposing a small stairway heading down. I guess I could look into drawing up some plans for it..."

"Great! When do you think you can begin...?"

"After I'm finished with this..."

OROTHO sat back down again, and picked up his tools once more. Looking at me, THEROS indicated for us to head back to the end of the tunnel with the others.
"Glad we got that sorted out..."

     OROTHO has drawn up a very sophisticated-looking set of plans for the entranceway for the end of the tunnel. Like he said, it was a system which retracted a series of stone steps downwards into the tunnel and then pushed them aside to form a set of stairs leading up to the entrance. When not in use, the stone forms part of the ground which isn't visible from above at all. It was ingenious, but required a mass amount of wiring and control units. It would also take a considerable amount of time to implement, which would mean we would have to set it up some distance from the tower. Either that, or set it up facing away from the tower... We're hoping to set this up as soon as we near the tower. I just hope that OROTHO and Joe are ready for one of the fastest installations of a complex security door ever!

Syeonyx signing off

Explaining myself...

     We passed OROTHO and Joe on the way out of the tunnel; they were laying out mass amounts of wiring for some reason, and to distract them felt like a bad idea. We continued past them, and out of the tunnel entrance into the lab. COLUS was sitting there with AMPHIS, doing a good job of distracting him with a few reports. Approaching the desk, COLUS and AMPHIS looked up.

"COLUS, can we talk to you? Syeonyx has a theory on what AMPHIS may have seen."

"Very well. What does this concern?"

"Syeonyx has deduced a possible supportive theory on AMPHIS actually seeing SERVERE."

COLUS looked at AMPHIS, who was looking at him in return, and nodded.

"Okay then, come to the discussion room. AMPHIS, you come with us. This concerns you as well."

COLUS and AMPHIS stood up and followed us out of the room to the table in the elevated portion of the discussion room. Joe, OROTHO and Amie remained where they were, continuing to work, presumably because they were the three least likely to be affected by the discussion. Joe and Amie had never known SERVERE, much like myself, and OROTHO barely paid any attention to anyone, so he was less likely to have an opinion than the others currently assembled around the table. Once we were all settled, COLUS and AMPHIS looked at me expectantly, and the nerves within me rose up again. I was beginning to feel like I was in a bas position again...

"Right, now what's this about Syeonyx's theory?"

"He has determined a further plausible explanation to what AMPHIS saw down in the chamber, which supports what he says. He believes that SERVERE may have been down there in reality, and not in AMPHIS's head. Syeonyx?"

I outlined my line of thinking; the whole series of connections that made more sense together than individually. The Lone 7 had been attempting to topple HoN Co. for quite some time now, no doubt drawing attention to themselves. With the finding of the Solus stone, and eventually discovering the true purpose of the stone itself, HoN Co. would truly recognise the Lone 7 as a definite threat. Instead of keeping it in one place, the stone was moved between the base and where SERVERE was stationed, depending on which group had found a portal that needed destroying. It was possible that with SERVERE being alone, he may have drew attention to himself and his whereabouts, which eventually caused HoN Co. to confront him. SERVERE felt the need to hide the stone in the hidden library beneath his house, and protect it with all of his might. They infiltrated his house, and found their way down to the library where he was hiding. It's possible that he fought off a large portion of whatever HoN Co. threw at him, and went back to his house when he thought it was safe. HoN Co. may have just been waiting for him to lower his guard, where they then set upon in and put him in a position which forced him to join them... Or face death. With those types of choices, SERVERE would either have attempted to fight them off or join them. And depending on his alliance with the Lone 7, his actions would reflect that.

"So what are you saying? That SERVERE betrayed us and joined HoN Co....?"

Yes and no. I know from talking with the others that SERVERE was clever. Maybe he decided to join HoN Co. and appear defeated, but actually maintain and in fact strengthen his alliance with the Lone 7. With HoN Co. feeling as though they had won, they would no doubt use him to point in our direction so they can put a stop to all of our actions, but instead, SERVERE pointed HoN Co. in random directions, making pointless connections and overall distracting HoN Co. from our true hiding place. It's possible that SERVERE was protecting the members of the Lone 7 from HoN Co. from the inside... There was silence for some time, with AMPHIS and COLUS thinking it over.

"So what you're saying is that AMPHIS did indeed see SERVERE down in the chamber, but without wanting to put us in further danger, he fled...?"

It was definitely possible. HoN Co. would likely have allowed SERVERE to scout out areas alone, and it wouldn't be at all impossible to assume that SERVERE had a place nearby to watch over us, to ensure our safety. It all depending on SERVERE's allegiance with the Lone 7 at the time.

"Well when we found SERVERE, he was in the same position as the rest of us. HoN Co. had more or less destroyed everything he had worked hard for, and he had taken it pretty badly. He had only just managed to escape before we found him and took him under our wing. I would say he was the most grateful for that. His allegiance to us was massive! I don't think there was anything he wouldn't do for the benefit of us all. He had this thing where he felt like he needed to prove to us that he was glad of our decision, and constantly tried to prove himself. Maybe... If what you're saying is right, he's been protecting us all of this time..."

"I hope this is the case. It proves that I'm not going insane, and it shows that we have someone on the inside that is watching over us."

"What did he do when you saw him?"

"He didn't really do anything. He just stood there looking straight at me. He flicked something on the side of his helmet, and revealed his face. I'll never forget it. I could make out that he was smiling... Not an evil smile... Not a cold smile... Just... A smile. Then he closed his helmet and ran off..."

"Why did he run off then if he knew that you recognised him...?"

"It's possible that HoN Co. don't entirely trust him, and they might have someone watching him... I wouldn't put it past them. It's what I would do in that situation."

"So SERVERE couldn't make any attempt to contact us in case it was viewed by whoever was watching him...?"

The room fell silent for some time, as though we had all accepted AMPHIS's sighting as truth. It was still unfounded, but it made everyone feel a little better about the recent events. We continued talking for some time, mainly outlining what the impacts to us as a of group were about accepting this idea. But logic burst through once more, and COLUS finished with the fact that we couldn't prove who AMPHIS had really seen. But from the looks on everyone's faces, they were all consoled to the idea that AMPHIS had seen SERVERE, in the hopes that we each see him return to us.

----

     We've gone back to the tunnel, via OROTHO's boasting about the new system he and Joe have implemented. As we passed the entrance, he stopped us and took us back to where there were a series of bulbs on the wall with signs above them.

"This is the security system that informs us of the current state of the doors. If the bulb is lit, it means that corresponding door is open. If it is not, the door is closed. Every time we leave this tunnel from now on, all of these bulbs must be out. Remember that!"

We waited as OROTHO sent Joe to open one of the doors, watching the bulb remain off for some time. Eventually there was a distance clunk noise, and the bulb on the far left turned on! OROTHO seemed incredibly pleased with his work, and Joe can running back to check on it. Seeing it lit, he smiled to OROTHO and went back to close it, whereupon the light then went off.

"Remember: off is closed, on is open. They all have to be off before you leave for the lab, even in the middle of tunnelling. It wouldn't take much for someone or something to find that surface hole and attempt to gain entry."

Confident we could all remember that on was open and off was closed, we continued to the end of the tunnel. Picking up our tools, we continued mining through the stone as though nothing had happened...

Syeonyx signing off

Day 126: Out of the frying pan...

     I needed that! I think we all needed that! The whole saying about "being asleep before your head hitting the pillow" definitely applied last night. Actually, I was probably already asleep before actually being in bed properly, I was that tired! I slept soundly all night, and still managed to wake up before everyone else. Well, almost everyone. After having something to eat, I went to the lab to check on OROTHO; he's almost always there early in the morning, and I was a little surprised to find him not there at all. Instead I found AMPHIS sitting behind the desk, staring at the papers stacked before him. As I got closer though I could tell he wasn't studying them; he had the long, vacant stare of someone in deep thought. Not wanting to disturb him, and being pretty sure he hadn't seen me yet, I went to tiptoe out of the lab and back into my room.

"He's not awake yet... No-one is..."

I stopped, turning around slowly to face AMPHIS. He was now watching me from behind the desk, but maintaining the same stance as before.

"You're up early. Thought you needed the sleep?"

I could say the same about AMPHIS! He looked exhausted yesterday, and spending hours in a baking hot room performing a dangerous and repetitive task as smelting iron, I'm surprised he wasn't in bed like the others.

"I couldn't sleep... I couldn't get the thought of seeing SERVERE out of my head... I know what I saw, Syeonyx... My eyes have never deceived me yet... It was him, standing there clear as crystal. I saw his face beneath the helm he was wearing. It was definitely SERVERE!"

I stood there in silence for a few moments, trying to think of something to say to break the tension. I wanted to believe AMPHIS, I really did, but none of it made sense. The logical part of me wouldn't let my heart win on this. SERVERE was dead...

"You don't believe me... Do you...? I know it's hard to believe, but it's true... I've never steered anyone wrong whilst being part of this group. Never... Why would I start now...? I would have nothing to gain. SERVERE is alive, and I know it..."

I approached AMPHIS and did the only thing I could think of doing. I placed my hand on his shoulder, blocked out my brain and said the three words I never thought I would say.

"You're just saying that... Trying to calm me down, or something, but it won't work. I know what you really think. You're like the others; you think I've suffered too much stress and I've finally snapped! Maybe I'm not the one with the problem. Maybe you're all in denial. You've already put to rest the idea that SERVERE isn't coming back, and now with that being a possibility it's hard for you to contemplate..."

AMPHIS was right. We all had put that idea out of our minds. SERVERE was gone and was never going to come back. So of course it was hard for them to hear that someone had seen him alive and well... And possibly stalking us! I was in the same pool as Amie and Joe; I could feel and understand the points from both parties, but without actually knowing SERVERE ourselves, we didn't really have a place in this... COLUS had to try and keep a level head by ensuring that no-one started speculating. He was concentrating on dealing with the things we could prove or see. AMPHIS was the only one claiming to have seen him, so it was essentially five against one.

"Maybe they're right... Maybe I have gone insane... It's just so hard to put to rest what was staring me in the face! How can I cast that from my mind or just assume it was due to an overactive imagination brought on by stress..."

I was a little confused by AMPHIS's almost complete reversal of opinion, but from the sounds of it, he had been battling against himself all night. He was tormenting himself, trying to deduce a logical explanation against what he had seen. And with only one logical conclusion he could draw from, he was having issues accepting it. He set his head on the table, arms crossed in front of him.

"I think I need to be alone again..."

I left the lab, and went to the kitchen area where COLUS and THEXIS were eating breakfast. I informed COLUS about AMPHIS, and what he had just said, and he just nodded to me.

"Don't worry, we'll look after him. You go and finish that tunnel, it's nearly finished."

     Me, THEXIS, UOPETA and THEROS had been working on the tunnel for an hour or so now, and it seemed that the long sleep had done us all some good. The morale was back, along with the energy and determination to have this tunnel finished by tomorrow at the latest! However, throughout I couldn't help but think about what AMPHIS had said, and what must be going through his mind right now. None of us could relate to his situation, myself least of all. But it was hard to see someone so close to you tear themselves apart about something even they're not entirely sure of. With AMPHIS being way ahead on smelting iron anyway, I think COLUS will stop him from working today. We have enough to be getting on with, but a small part of me thinks that AMPHIS just needs something to distract himself with. It must be worse for him during the night, when the only things for company he has are his own thoughts.

"We've all known AMPHIS more or less from the start. Out of all of us, he's always been the most level headed. It's probably why he does the job he was assigned. He's the most logical out of all of us; he thinks through clearly, and examines every detail. I suppose those parts of his character are wreaking havoc in his head about now..."

"To be honest... I'm beginning to believe him..."

"What? Why?"

"Well like you say, AMPHIS has always been the level headed one. He's never done anything extreme or over the top to make us worry about him before, so why would he start now...? I reckon he did see someone down there, but no necessarily SERVERE. Maybe someone who looked like him... Who knows, HoN Co. are a huge company, and are likely to hire people with similar appearances..."

"We never knew they were part of HoN Co. though..."

"Well who else would it be...? Who else would have access to a tunnel that overlooked our base? HoN Co., plain and simple..."

"SERVERE could... If he wasn't dead... Which we're pretty sure he is, unfortunately..."

Or both... Everyone stopped working, and turned to face me as though I had insulted someone's mother, and I begun to sense the tension mounting in the air....

"What do you mean 'both'...?"

Trying to think of the right words to use without becoming the enemy, I eventually came out with SERVERE possibly being found by HoN Co., and instead of being put to work as a scout... Or a spy... I used the word 'possibly' so many times I lost count, but it was evident on everyone's face that I had overstepped a mark...

"Are you saying that SERVERE is a traitor? That he betrayed us to HoN Co.? Is that it?"

I had to break down in such a way that it took away the focus of my initial statement. I felt like I was a few words away from having a slightly flatter face! If we were put into SERVERS's position, being faced with imprisonment or even death is something we would do anything to get out of. Maybe SERVERE had offered us his services to HoN Co. and help them locate the Lone 7.

"So you ARE saying that he's a traitor?!?!"

I quickly followed with a line that I think saved myself entirely, and silenced everyone for quite some time. I said that maybe SERVERE had done this initially to save himself, but then use it to his advantage. Maybe working for HoN Co. was a front to ensure they never found out that he was still allied with the Lone 7, and had spent many months distracting them from our true position with false links and connections. Maybe he had been hiding us all of this time, and was close by, watching us, to ensure we weren't ever found by HoN Co. ... The silence seemed to stretch on for a long time, and it was difficult to gauge whether they were considering this as a possibility. After some time, UOPETA spoke up, piecing what I had said together.

"So you're saying that if whoever had been spying on us was SERVERE, he did it to protect us? He was working with HoN Co. only to prevent them from ever finding us...?"

That was the long and short of it. It seemed like the most logical explanation now at this point about what had been going on, but we still had no proof of this at all. It still could have just been a HoN Co. spy, watching our every move. Although, judging from the age of the tunnels and cliff access, it didn't make sense for HoN Co. to wait so long.

"I think we should ask COLUS a few questions. He knew SERVERE the best, and he would know from the start whether SERVERE would ever expose us..."

Putting my pickaxe down and following the others out of the tunnel, I felt like I had just jumped out of the proverbial fire, over the frying pan into a pool of ice cold water! I don't think I should make my strong opinions like that known again!

Syeonyx signing off

Well rested

     The excitement of nearing the end of tunnelling had worn off already, and our working speed had dropped quite severely. I think it was due to the tedious nature of the job, and the fact that we were all incredibly tired. My muscles were practically screaming for a long rest, and we still had the rest of the afternoon to get through! As we became more and more tired, the energy we put into the job decreased, and our progress followed suit. We knew what was at stake, and we understood the importance of us succeeding, but we literally had no energy left! We had been going for so long, with so much resting on our shoulders, that the stress of it all had begun to show. So much had happened in the past few days that it was hard to take it all in. Destroying an obsidian farm in a huge explosion, starting a cliff mine, finding a strange book that mirrored the style of the Codex Solis, finding the underground library full of similar books, AMPHIS seeing SERVERE, the lockdown of the entire base and now this mass tunnelling project... It was exhausting just thinking about it, let alone physically going through ourselves! Eventually we came to a complete stop; resting against the stone wall, breathing heavily, covered in perspiration, I set my pickaxe down. This was soon mimicked by UOPETA and THEROS, and then THEXIS joined in.

"This is just too far... I know what we have to do, but to do that in a short period of a few days... It's like asking for the world..."

Everyone was breathless... Even THEXIS was stooped over struggling to fill his lungs, and he was the one technically doing the least manually exertive job out of all of us!

"We haven't got that far left to go. Just a few hundred more metres and then we can rest..."

"Well you see we can't though. After this tunnel is complete, we need to find a way to conceal the entrance, and then go to the tower and check on progress... We've got to somehow gain entry into that place when we all know that it's going to be teeming with guards! Even if we manage to take out a few, we can't guarantee we'll take them all out, and COLUS's idea of trying to get them to join us seems a lot more of a dangerous option!"

"How...? We managed it with the guards and the workers at the obsidian farm..."

"That's because the guards and workers were told different thing to prevent anything starting off. There are no workers at the tower; just guards and the occasional scientist... The scientists are already aware of what HoN Co. is doing, and will have already made their mind up about the ethics of it. The guards will be motivated by peer pressure and numbers. Ten plus guards against the three of us equals a bad ending for us! Even if that doesn't happen, you really think HoN Co. are going to just send another dozen or so guards down to the base? They'll lock it down entirely!"

"Or worse... They could craft portals around the perimeter, put Affinitas cages in the centre, and let the spawn of the Nether guard that place..."

"Oh, god... Don't even think about that... If that happened then the only way into the tower would be via more tunnels! You do realise where that would put us...?"

"Digging the tunnel, yes I know... We need to ensure that we're very careful with the way we tackle that tower after this tunnel is finished... It might be an idea to scout out the area first..."

"If we did that, I'd go alone. As good as you two are, I work more silently on my own... No offence..."

"Trust me, I can't see me or Syeonyx complaining about that!"

"To be honest, I think we've earned a long rest, don't you? I can't see COLUS complaining about that when he sees how far we've progressed... We can check on AMPHIS too."

All groaning, we got to our feet and headed off towards the lab. Despite being reasonably cool in the tunnel, I was boiling, and I did not relish the idea of going back into the lab where AMPHIS was working to smelt all of the iron... Passing OROTHO and Joe on the way back, it seemed that they had finished with the second door and were testing the switches. From the looks of the wire trail however, they had yet to fix the doors to the lights near the entrance. That would be a pivotal part of the security system, if what OROTHO had been saying was right...

----

     We've taken a very long rest! So long that afternoon has become evening, and COLUS is unhappy with us going back. I can't say that that was our achievement; to rest until the evening, but we're not complaining. Contrary to what I thought, the lab was nowhere near as hot as I had expected. AMPHIS had indeed been busy smelting iron ore, and had so much surplus now that he had combined the ingots into stacked blocks and stored them in the corner of the lab until they were needed. When we needed more iron, all we needed to do was to remove the ties, smelt a few ingots and craft whatever we needed. But as AMPHIS had realised this, he had stopped about an hour before we came back. His work was done for the moment, and he seemed anxious to get back into the wooden shelter in the cliff mine. He said he was over the whole seeing SERVERE thing, but COLUS had refused him from leaving the base.

"Any time we leave the base, we potentially expose ourselves to anyone who may be watching us. As long as we remain inside the base, we won't be spotted."

AMPHIS had begun to wish he had brought one or a few of the books back with him, but all he had was Finis, which he had been through a hundred times or more. The full meaning and purpose of the book was still lost to him, and the rest of us, but the fact that AMPHIS had found an opening that overlooked our base from that wooden shelter was a clear sign that the two were connected. Whoever was watching over us had been for some time, and had amassed a large collection of hand-written books. But that got me thinking... Whoever had lived their obviously watched us for some time, but they couldn't be HoN Co.! There was no reason for a HoN Co. guard or worker to live deep in the earth writing books in strange codes and old test. It didn't make any sense!

"That may be the case, but we can't assume anything other than the worst case scenario. The best we can be is fully prepared for anything, that way we can't be taken by surprise. As far as we know, whoever had the cliff overlook was an employee of HoN Co., and therefore poses a potential risk to our safety."

I suppose coming to the conclusion that this person wasn't connected to HoN Co. wasn't much of a revelation. Knowing who it was even if we knew with perfect clarity wouldn't change anything because COLUS would still have initiated the lockdown. Unless of course... It was SERVERE who was down there... Which, if that was the case... It opens up an entirely new set of more disturbing questions...

Syeonyx signing off

Ahead of schedule

     As I reached the bottom of the steps, I turned around to find that UOPETA, THEXIS and THEROS had made quite a bit of progress in my absence, although it seemed THEROS and THEXIS had swapped jobs. I went towards the end of the tunnel, where they were still working to fetch THEROS. I needed him with me when I spoke to COLUS to pinpoint where I had surfaced. From there, we could determine the approximate distance we had to travel in the new direction before heading towards the conducting tower more inland.

"What did you find? Any indication of how far we've come? Could you see the conducting tower...?"

That was what I was initially looking out for, but my view was obscured by a hill which, after scaling, I found a much better landmark. A landmark which pinpointed our position almost exactly! If I had seen the conducting tower from where I was, I might not have scaled the hill to then find the cave system we had previously visited, so our position would be placed on an inaccurate guess. It would likely have resulted in bringing THEROS back to the surface with me so determine approximate distance based on scale and the distance we'd travelled in comparison to the map.

"Really? The one that went to when we were destroying secondary portals from the report we found at the tower?"

I nodded.

"Well we couldn't ask for a better position then! I can tell you exactly where we are then on the map, and then work out the distance to the tower based on the tunnel length."

THEROS followed me back up the tunnel and past OROTHO and Joe, who were working silently, for a change, on the next door system. Heading back through the entrance into the lab, we found COLUS in the discussion room with Amie, presumably to get away from the sweltering heat of the furnaces. They stopped working as we approached. Sitting down, THEROS produced the map from his pocket and laid it flat out on the table.

"Syeonyx has found out where we are currently with the tunnel. After making a surface hole, he found that our tunnel ran a few metres to the West of a location we've already visited before! On one of the excursions to the tower to find portal locations, we were directed to this location where a potential secondary portal was active. From knowing that, I can pinpoint exactly where our tunnel is, and based on the distance we continue against the scale of this map, I can predict with a reasonable degree of accuracy where we need to stop mining the tunnel."

"Excellent work Syeonyx! We needed something like this to keep us on track. So, where was it you ended up surfacing?"

"According to his description, our tunnel runs a few metres past this point..."

THEROS pointed on the map to where I had surfaced, which was at the exact point where one of the secondary portal icons had been crossed out. From looking at the map, and trying to compare the area with an aerial representation of it, I was very confident that THEROS had accurately located the place.

"This progress is brilliant! We just need to stay on course and we should be linked with the conducting tower in no time! After that, we can extend the tunnels to places further out. Right, go back and destroy the surface hole and continue with the good work! At this rate, we could be making another surface entrance to the tower in a day or two!"

Leaving the map with Amie and COLUS, we stood up and headed back for the lab. Everything was running smoothly. Better than smoothly! I was just worried that something was going to come along and ruin our work, but I kept it to myself to prevent the possible spread of panic in such an instance. I'd probably jinx it if I said anything anyway!

     Back in the tunnel, we've made probably more progress in that last few hours than we ever have before! I wouldn't be surprised if it's due to the exciting news about how close we are already to completing the first tunnel! After we had finished, and we had a concealed entrance, we could check on the progress of HoN Co. in terms of portal activity, and hopefully check for more reports. However, we were preparing for the tower to be infested with guards and other HoN Co. workers due to the massive loss they suffered recently. I had thought that the strange ladder access leading to the top of the cliff overlooking our base might have been as a result of the destruction of their obsidian farm. But judging from the tool markings and the weathering to the exposed rock, it seemed like it had actually existed for longer than that. We had to be very careful about what we do now, hence the lockdown on the surface entrance. We would hopefully have enough darts to go around - OROTHO was able to refill the darts we recollected - but we just needed the chance to use them. And when facing down ten plus guards, even if they're unaware of you, is very very difficult. COLUS is hoping we can convince them to side with us instead, or at the very least to disband and stop following HoN Co. ... If we were able to maintain contact with the small group of workers and guards we had liberated at the obsidian farm, we might even have a direction to point them in... I can only hope that HoN Co. hasn't found them... Who knows what they'd do to deserters...

Syeonyx signing off

Day 125: Below the surface...

     With an entire day's worth of mining under our belt, and the rest having rujenated our minds and bodies, we emerged from our rooms refreshed and ready to start another day of mining! We filled our bellies with a hearty breakfast and proceeded into the tunnel to begin working. As we made our way into the lab, expecting to be met with a wall of heat, but instead there was only the residual warmth left over from the previous day. AMPHIS had not begun his work yet, but with the amount of iron ore left, I didn't blame him. Continuing through the hidden entrance into the tunnel, we found Joe and OROTHO already awake and working on the door. A little confused, we approached them on our way to where we had left off yesterday.

"Erm... I thought this door was finished... What are you doing now?"

"We're wiring it up to a series of access lights at the base-side tunnel entrance. Depending on the state of the light, we can tell if the door is open or closed. It will help to maintain a higher degree of security and safety without compromising our position..."

"I see... What about the levers and wiring we saw on the way here...?"

"That was OROTHO's idea. He thinks that a master override switch at the base entrance would allow maximum security, and lockdown all tunnel access from a single location. It's quite an ingenious solution actually, and it will prevent any of the doors being opened from any of the other sides."

"Well that's good to hear, but don't go trapping us in the tunnel this time... I can't be held responsible for my actions..."

With a smile on his face, UOPETA, myself, THEROS and THEXIS headed off towards the end of the tunnel, to continue from yesterday. We were hoping that today we would be able to determine our position by digging a surface shaft and assessing our lateral position in relation to above ground. Let's just hope we didn't dig into a pool or any other body of water...

     We've managed to make some excellent progress today; we encountered another cavern which ruined the integrity of the tunnel, which had to be plugged with iron plating, and then bracings. Luckily Joe and OROTHO had finished messing around with the first security door, and were preparing the materials for the next door. We helped moved the iron plating into place and secure the tunnel before letting them begin on the next door.

As we waited, THEROS suddenly began talking about the surface hole we were meant to dig to determine our position, and a possible flaw in that idea.

"If I've got the scaling right on the map, and I know I have, then this tunnel puts us directly under a large body of water, close to the shore. In fact the direction of the tunnel just runs parallel along it which means any surface holes we dig are going to flood the base. I think we need to head in land towards the East to counteract. I should be able to gauge a safe location to begin the surface hole when it is necessary, but digging one now is pretty much suicidal!"

With this to consider, and with no work to do at the moment, we decided to have a rest and maybe find COLUS to talk about it, and check on everyone else. Joe and OROTHO were getting along quite nicely; door components and wiring littered the floor around them, as they talked in excited voices about the implementation of this next one. Moving past them and into the lab, once more we were hit with the wall of heat, indicating AMPHIS had started smelting iron again. As we went to head out of the lab and into the kitchen area, COLUS stopped us.

"How is the tunnel coming along? Have you met any complications at all?"

"We're getting along great; we've made very good progress, and aside from a few caverns to plug up, there's been little in the way of problems."

"That's good to hear. Have you decided when and where you're going to mine upwards and look on the surface at your progress?"

"Well we need to discuss that really. THEROS reckons that the tunnel stretches too far out into the sea which would mean flooding the entire place if we did. We'd need you and OROTHO or Amie to confirm that based on the scaling on THEROS's maps."

"Good point. I'll see what I can do then. You have some rest and something to eat. Without you four, we wouldn't be making such great progress!"

We passed COLUS and left the lab for the kitchen to get something to eat.

     On our way back, COLUS stopped us again, with a smile on his face.

"It seems that THEROS was right. You're a few metres offshore to the West which is a bad position to mine up right now. We need you to begin mining towards the East for approximately forty metres or so, and then mine up. You won't be near the conducting yet, but you're getting there. Provided the area is safe, you should just be able to fill it back in again, or conceal it. Good luck, and don' mine up until you're a good forty metres inland!"

With the new instructions, we now knew what we had to do and how to complete it. Provided everyone's calculations were accurate, we wouldn't end up drowning ourselves! Heading back down into the tunnel, OROTHO and Joe were busy shifting large plates of iron into place from along the wall, ensuring that each piece was structurally sound. We continued past them, and went to the far end of the tunnel. As THEROS was the one with the innate sense of direction, we let him guide us in terms of digging direction towards the East, and we began the forty metre or so tunnel back inland. It wasn't really much a diversion, but it would likely help with the security of the tunnel itself. If built correctly, the doors may even create the illusion that the tunnel stopped abruptly, which may at the very least buy us more time in such a scenario where HoN Co. had found us! We continued digging for some time, trying to ignore our aching muscles and back, and get on with the work.

----

     THEROS has stopped us, indicating the likelihood of us reaching the forty metre marker. COLUS had helped THEROS install the bracing to prevent the need to disrupt OROTHO and Joe, which meant the rubble and material had begun to pile up for a bit. As the surface hole wouldn't need to be very big, it was decided only one person was needed to dig it, and I was "volunteered" for the job. THEROS and UOPETA continued with the tunnel heading back in the same direction we had originally set off in, hoping to get in line with the conducting tower before heading any closer to it. I began to mine my way upwards, ever worrying that at any moment, thousands of gallons of water might come gushing through a hole and flood me out into the main tunnel! The trick was to listen out for any sounds ahead of you. I didn't hear any sounds of rushing water above or around me at all, which was a very good sign that COLUS's maths was spot on. After some distance up, I began to notice an increase in the amount of sand in small cracks and crevices of the rocks and stone, and assumed I must be close to the shore. I became anxious again that we hadn't quite gone far enough, and nearly fainted with shock when a blast of light erupted from overhead! I thought I had broken through into a pool of water, or worse, but after the panic was over, I looked ahead and noticed a tree off in the distance... Part of the tunnel had already been dug... Well, it had already existed, as though it had sunk in. It was a fabulous stroke of luck as that meant there was no need to dig any further! I headed towards the light, and went to survey my surroundings.

Cautiously exiting the hole, I peered around, seeing sand everywhere, and noticing a small pool of water within a metre or so of the actual hole. That was a close one! Fully emerging, I wasn't able to determine my position very well, so I decided to scale a nearby hill to see if there was anything of notable worth nearby to tell me where I was. As I reached the top, I looked out onto a small sandy area surrounded by grass, and a cliff with two caverns exposed on the surface. Stopping and leaning against a tree, I couldn't help but notice that this place seemed familiar... Then it hit me! This was one of the locations we had been taken to to destroy a portal! I wasn't expecting to emerge from the hole and see something I recognised. At the very least, I hoped that I would emerge and see the tower off in the distance to at least help me gauge the distance... But this was an excellent reference point as I knew where this was on the map! I rushed down the rustic steps I had created whilst ascending to the bottom to inform the others!

Syeonyx signing off

OROTHO's positive influence

     We were able to once again begin making progress with the tunnel, after the bracing and wall plug went in. We had uncovered a small cavern that stretched across the tunnel which could jeopardise the security of the tunnel, so it was decided that the best option was to plug it up with iron plating. It required a lot of iron, but we had plenty to spare, and plenty left for the remaining doors and tunnel bracing. With the final design set out for the security systems to implement, COLUS was now helping AMPHIS and Joe smelt the iron ore into ingots, and then help OROTHO shape it into bracings. It was hard work, for all of us, but me, THEROS, THEXIS and UOPETA had the luxury of not working in a stiflingly hot environment! instead, we were working in a cool tunnel, deep beneath the ground, pounding through the rock and stone before us! It wasn't easy work, as my muscles had begun to complain, but it was definitely preferred. I always hated too much heat, and working in those conditions would slowly turn me insane...We had managed to put some distance between us and the iron plating that plugged the hole, so we were able to gauge our progress more accurately.

"Let's just hope we don't hit any more tunnels or natural caverns. It certainly makes for a change of pace, but its very iron intensive to plug them up! One is enough for this project!"

I agreed. Even though we were practically swimming in iron at the moment, we still had to be reserved in our nature about using it. There was a very long way to go just simply connect the tunnel to the outer area of the conducting tower, let alone the other areas that COLUS wanted to connect to. A connection to my old house, the HoN Co., the remains of the obsidian farm were all possible locations due to their value in terms of position. Unfortunately, HoN Co. held them all, and the only way to get close enough was either in small groups, which wasn't feasible, or underground. It's obvious to see which method we had chosen... As we stopped for a little break to gain our breath, we observed OROTHO, Joe and Amie coming down into the tunnel. We hadn't reached the next support brace just yet, so why were they coming here now...? Then as they drew closer, the components of a security door became visible in their hands, with THEXIS and COLUS in the background carrying the actual door! They stopped approximately twenty metres away from us, and began to ready the wall close to the bracing. From what I could remember about the idea for the security door, the bracings would be put into place and the tunnel would be continued. Then a brace at a predetermined position would be removed and replaced with large iron plating on rollers. A series of pistons, which OROTHO was carrying, would be position behind the wall, embedded beyond the door. Once the correct circuitry was wired into place, and the appropriate lever flicked, the door would slide into place, providing a very tight and secure seal. The others had noticed that we were watching them, and OROTHO almost took on an air of smugness, as he went about laying out the cabling, and helping COLUS remove the rivets from the bracing.

"Having fun? Don't lock us on this side by the way!"

"Not if we can help it! Anyway, get back to work. Everyone is meant to be working at full capacity! You look like you're lying around!"

"We're having a rest, it you must know... It's very tiring this is... An all over body workout. All that does is tax your brain..."

"True, but mental exhaustion leads to physical exhaustion... Anyway, that's enough staring. We're working, you should be working."

With all of us laughing, we set back to work, with the sounds of hammers banging, scraping metal and raised voices coming from behind us. It made a nice backdrop to the work, and removed the air of monotony that had risen slightly in their absence.

     In the time it's taken them to fully install the first security door, get it working, and test it, we've been able to march ahead quite some distance! We had no idea how far we were beneath the ground, and had to worry about the possibility of underground springs, but so far, we had made excellent progress. Heading back to the base to rest and have something to quench our thirst and growling stomachs, we stopped by at OROTHO and Joe, who were tinkering away with the wiring and control units. They hadn't noticed us, and we continued to watch in silence. A smile crept on to UOPETA's face, and then he announced a question quite loudly, startling the pair of them!

"So! How's it going?"

"GAH! Don't do that!"

"It's only a question... But seriously, how goes the progress...?"

"Before or after you gave me a heart attack? We've managed to install the actual door itself. The rollers along the bottom run in a set of grooves which maintain the integrity of the door without compromising security. We've had to push the ceiling bracing into the rock a little more so the door would fit, but by mirroring the rollers and grooves on the top as well, it slides in seamlessly! The wiring works great, but only on this side... We'll have the same setup as the entrance for the cliff mine. Provided it is locked on this side, it cannot be opened from the other! However, we're implementing a fail-safe so it can still be opened from this side if it's locked from the other, but not vice versa. That's our current issue at the moment. We've got the fail-safe working, but it works on both sides..."

"Well we're off to get something to eat. Do you boys want anything getting on our way back? I know what you're like OROTHO; left to your own devices, you wouldn't eat or sleep until you fall down dead..."

"I can't help the dedication to my job..."

"Don't worry OROTHO, we're not questioning your dedication. Just your health... So, is that a yes or a no?"

Joe opted for anything that was edible and a drink, whilst we managed to force OROTHO to ask for water... He was hard work sometimes, but he was brilliant!

     Returning from our rest and getting something to eat, we had the flask of water for Joe and OROTHO, along with a sandwich and some chicken for Joe. Giving it to them on our passing, we went towards the end of the tunnel and resumed work. Our full bellies soothed the tired and aching muscles to the degree where it was no longer a chore, and I had begun to enjoy it again. It wasn't long that we had started again, when there was a cheering sound from behind us, and the sight of the door closing behind us! Dropping the pickaxe, we raced towards the door, knowing it was too late, but speeding up all the same. Reaching the door, we halted abruptly and hammered on the door. Laughter and cheering was all that could be heard on the other side, albeit rather faintly.

"Alright, very funny. Open up..."

The laughter continued on the other side, whilst THEROS tried flicking the switch up and down, yielding no movement from the heavy iron door.

"Yeah, it looks like they fixed the fail-safe issue..."

The laughter stopped, and the door began to slide aside again, very slowly, revealing Joe and OROTHO looking like a pair of immature teenagers! It was good to see OROTHO so happy and elated, but not at our expense...

"Let's not be doing that again... It's dangerous and stupid... And you know I'm going to get you two back for that, don't you?"

They said nothing; they collected their tools and moved back to the lab with smirks on their faces. I was beginning to think that Joe was a positive influence on OROTHO; he'd helped him come out a little, and show his more expressive side. A side we never even knew existed within him! Heading back to the far end of the tunnel, we resumed the excavation of the stone wall before us. It would be the end of the day soon, and the progress we had made so far was promising. We would likely have to make a surface hole to determine our location, but we would need to be extremely careful to ensure that we did not emerge underneath a river! That was the last thing we needed...

Syeonyx signing off

Digging for justice!

     Reaching the far end of the tunnel used to carry the minecart laden with iron ore, we helped OROTHO and Joe unload the iron and take it to the lab. AMPHIS was still hard at work smelting the ever-growing pile of ore beside him, and he rolled his eyes in jest as he saw us come struggling through the door with our cargo.

"Here you go AMPHIS. Thought you could use some iron ore, you look like you're running low!"

"Thanks guys, it's just what I always wanted(!)"

We all laughed as we placed the iron ore on top of the rest, and remained in the lab watching the others at work. THEXIS wasn't present so presumably he had already started on the actual tunnel. OROTHO had gone back to the minecart to retrieve more of the iron ore, and Joe had gone over to Amie and COLUS as they discussed the layout of the tunnel. We went over to them as well, hoping to gain a little better understanding as to the requirements of the tunnel network we were putting into place.

"THEXIS, Syeonyx, THEROS and UOPETA are all going to be mining the actual tunnel itself. We'll have a rota system; two of you will be up front excavating the material, while the other two are removing it from the path. Every few metres, digging will cease to allow Joe and OROTHO to put a bracing into place. Once in place, mining can begin again. Any ore or useful materials will be put to one side, whilst the rest will be thrown into the lava channel as waste. We have't yet concluded on a security design yet, but we believe we're going to implement a system with locking doors and warning lights. That will be the most time consuming element, and once we've finished the design, I'll join you five in mining. Meanwhile OROTHO and Amie will implement the security system behind us. AMPHIS and Joe will continue to smelt the iron into pure ingots so we have a plentiful supply for security and bracing. Everyone clear on their roles? Good, get going you three."

With our orders well laid out, I followed UOPETA and THEROS towards the hidden entrance where the tunnel had begun. Taking the pickaxe from my back, and picking up a shovel on the way out, I was ready to start making some serious progress!

     The small room beyond the hidden entrance that was opened from the lab now split off in two directions; the right path took you down towards the portal access corridor, whilst the left path took you down a dimly lit corridor where we could just about make out THEXIS, digging away on his own. Before we were able to go down there though, OROTHO rushed through excitedly and pulled the lever on the side of the wall. There was a delay of half a second or so, and then a portion of the wall slid into place just ahead of us in the corridor and then another slid into place right before our faces!

"Good isn't it! Joe helped me conceive this idea! It's a replication of the hidden lab entrance door, but with a twist. If someone on the other side saw that, they would see the back of a piston and assume something is there. With this system, there is a mirrored door which slides into place in the opposite direction, so no matter which side you're standing on, you will only ever see a blank wall!"

"That's pretty ingenious OROTHO... Can we go through it now...? I think THEXIS is waiting for us."

"Oh, of course!"

OROTHO pulled the switch again, and the wall in front of us slid back and then to the left, giving us enough time to see the further wall portion slid into its recess. Beyond that, we could see THEXIS standing there, arms cross looking a little miffed...

"Is he messing with that lever again? If he does that one more time and traps me in here, I swear I'm going to snap it off!"

We moved down the thin corridor towards THEXIS, tools in hand and ready to go! Now that there were four of us, we should be able to make some decent progress.

"Right. COLUS says he wants the tunnel three metres tall by three metres wide. As you can see, it's been slow going up until you arrived. The original idea was to have two of us mining and the other two clearing the material. However, I think we can manage three of us mining and one person clearing material. Anyone want to volunteer for clearing away the rubble?"

THEROS's hand shot up instantly! We knew he wasn't overly keen on mining, and the rest of us were happy with that if he was, which he seemed to be.

"Alright then, let's get to work!"

THEXIS pointed to two more pickaxes lying against the wall in the corner, which THEROS and UOPETA picked up. I still had my trusty diamond pickaxe which had served me well in so many occasions. It had even helped to save OROTHO's life! The diamond edging was still razor sharp, and made mincemeat of any rock or stone in my way, and it showed no sign or wearing down! We set to work, mining at the wall ahead of us, me, THEXIS and UOPETA standing in a row attacking the wall, watching it splinter and crack, and eventually crumble against the might of our combined strength!

     The ache in my arms has begun to creep back in slowly, but looking back down the tunnel, it's not surprising with the amount of progress we've made! We've covered nearly one hundred metres in those few short hours, despite having to stop every few metres to allow the iron bracings to go in. We had stopped for a short rest, before cracking on with the work. Before heading back to the lab, I took a photo of our progress, and smiled. It felt to get back into mining again. Even if it was slightly out of context...

As I stepped into the lab, I was hit by a wall of heat, and my step faltered slightly. A little taken aback, I regained my balance, and made my way through into the sweltering room. Everyone else was hard at work; AMPHIS and Joe were hard at work smelting the iron ore. The pile of iron hadn't shrunk at all, despite the mass amount of pure iron lying around, but judging from the sweat that beaded their brows, they had been hard at work for some time. Everyone else was sitting on the other side of the room, looking all hot and bothered, trying to go over some blueprints. As I went over, I managed to catch a little of what OROTHO was saying to Amie...

"... this way then it'll be easier to determine whether someone is coming or not..."

"True, but won't it give away our position...?"

I sat by COLUS who looked equally as boiled as everyone else... It seems that they had decided on the best way to implement the security doors, and would just wait for us to reach certain stages within the tunnel itself. After a few minutes of sitting in silence, listening to Amie and OROTHO go back and forth between points, UOPETA stood up quickly!

"Nuts to this, it's too hot! I'm going back to work! That's the benefit or working underground; it's colder than in here!"

Emulating the same feelings, I left for the tunnel as well. It was too hot in there to relax, and to be honest, mining some more was definitely preferable to sitting in there! We began to mine again, glad of the cool stone all around us. But it wasn't long before we stopped again. UOPETA had mined into a small cavern which, with a little more investigation, stretched across the entire tunnel width. With large openings on the far walls of the tunnel, they would pose a massive security breach which would leave us vulnerable. UOPETA went back to see OROTHO and COLUS, and inform them. He came back shortly after, allowing them to inspect it, and determine a solution.

"Hmm.... Only seems to be one viable solution... Plug the hole up with iron plating... Looks like you're in need of another tunnel bracing anyway. Let me get the iron ready. We were once again forced to stop to allow OROTHO and COLUS to put in the bracings, but we were able to help plug the hole with iron plating.

After this was complete, we were allowed to continue the tunnel. It was hard work, but it beat risking my life every day trying to stop HoN Co. from potentially murdering billions of people. Woah, when put like that, it makes you think what's really at stake... I really don't want to be thinking like that again... With every life at stake, there's no margin for error. We can't afford to make mistakes. We can't afford to let them activate the master portal. We had to be successful!

Syeonyx signing off

Day 124: Calculated retrieval

     After the empowering speech COLUS gave us yesterday, we discussed further what would happen in terms of reaching the iron in the cliff mine. Myself, THEROS, UOPETA, OROTHO and Joe needed to establish a way of linking the base up to the cliff mine, just in case whoever was spying on us had returned. We couldn't take the risk. OROTHO and Joe seemed really enthusiastic about about solving this issue, whilst the rest of us just wanted to get hold of the iron, and begin constructing the tunnel. We spent a few hours discussing the orientation of the cliff mine respective to the base, and the layout of the cliff mine thus far. We determined that there was a good chance that one of our mineshafts ran very close to the opening of the base.

"If that is the case, then we could start the tunnel tomorrow, and be into the cliff mine within a few hours! We'd need to run a few final calculations... You know, just so that we don't end up flooding the base! I think that would alert anyone watching a lot more than trying to make our way to it via the hatch!"

We headed off for bed; it had been a long day, and tomorrow boasted the promise of an even longer one. We would need our strength to ensure that we finished the work on time, and were able to support the others. Amie and COLUS would be working further towards the tunnel security, whilst AMPHIS and THEXIS will be starting to dig the initial tunnel based on the map layout. Thankfully, THEROS included a scaled system to his maps, and each millimetre is the equivalent of eight real-world metres. THEXIS and AMPHIS would be using that scale to ensure they got the distances right. But by then, we should have retrieved the iron and gold from the storage, smelted enough to start the bracings, and join them in the tunnel excavation!

----

     Despite being incredibly tired, both mentally and physically, I was the first to wake up, and decided it would be more time efficient to wake the others up too. Well, I was the first out of everyone aside from OROTHO and COLUS; they never seemed to sleep at all! Once everyone was awake and full on breakfast, we set straight to work on the tunnel to the cliff mine! With it being early morning, and with AMPHIS and THEXIS still in bed, we had quite a good start on the day, so we utilised it immediately. With guidance from OROTHO, me and UOPETA managed to make a start on the tunnel, whilst THEROS helped Joe construct some basic rail tracks. After we had made a decent amount of progress, OROTHO went to join them in constructing me technologically advanced power rails to boost the cart along the track. Luckily we weren't that far beneath the surface, so the stone and dirt was pretty low in density and easy to make our way through.

"So we continue through this wall for a few more metres, and provided OROTHO was right, we should break into the side wall of one of mineshafts...? It's hard to relate everything being so closely connected, but maybe we were fortunate in the placement of our mineshafts!"

We had all known that we would need to somehow connect the cliff mine to the base with a minecart track at some point, but we assumed we would connect it via a concealed entrance minecart track. Going through close to the entrance of the base directly into the heart of the cliff mine though seemed to make a lot more sense, as less resources were being used, and it was faster and required no need to expose ourselves on the surface!

"Did you hear that...?"

I stopped mining and listened; UOPETA hit the stone wall in front of us again with the same power he had before, and instead of being met with the high-pitched chink sound, we were instead greeted by the inviting sound of a low thud! We were nearly through! If we went along with OROTHO, we should be pushing through to the other side of one of the mineshafts. However, if we'd gone too far in either direction, we could be opening up a way that could flood the base! Eventually, after a few more minutes of hacking at the wall, UOPETA broke through, causing a thin ray of light to splinter through the hole... Widening the hole, UOPETA revealed that we had managed to break through perfectly! We were in one of the shafts!

"This is... THEROS's shaft... Excellent! Obviously it was a good idea to have three separate shafts then."

We went back to the base along the path we had made to inform OROTHO and Joe that we had broken through.

     With all of the actual mining done for the time being, we've been helping Joe, OROTHO and THEROS lay and connect the minecart tracks. Well, Joe and THEROS anyway; OROTHO was busy constructing a minecart with some iron that was left over from a previous project. He didn't go into specifics, stating only that it was "before my time"... Whatever that meant. Presumably before I properly joined the Lone 7... It wasn't long before we had the beginnings of the minecart track started; we had a powered booster at the beginning on the base-end to allow us to send empty carts up to the cliff mine iron storage. Now all we had to do was continue the track up to the actual storage itself.

We had started to run out of iron ingots to smelt into minecart track or pins, so me and UOPETA volunteered to retrieve some by hand from the cliff mine storage. It would take slightly longer than the actual minecart system itself when fully implemented, but we were able to carry enough to help construct more track.

"Bring back some of the gold ore as well; I will need it for the electronic couplings in the booster tracks."

With that in mind, me and UOPETA set off towards the iron storage to retrieve as much gold and iron as we could carry. It turns out that between us, we can carry quite a lot! Obviously we were slower on the way back, but after we managed to get through the small passageway, it was a straight line to the lab! AMPHIS and THEXIS were awake now, and were helping Joe set up a series of furnaces to smelt the iron. On our return journey from our third trip to the storage area, AMPHIS had already begun to smelt the iron for use in the tunnel. Joe and OROTHO had enough smelted iron to make the tracks and booster rails without needing any more, so we began to help with the construction of the main track. Replacing the pickaxe in hand with a hammer, me and UOPETA helped to pin the minecart rails down, bit by bit. Every now and again we'd need to go back to the lab an retrieve more rails, and we'd check on everyone's progress. COLUS and Amie had settled on a tunnel design which would require the least support from iron bracing, whilst AMPHIS and THEXIS had already smelted a lot of the iron ore into pure ingots.

"You might want to hurry things along you two; we've nearly finished the minecart track, so you're going to be inundated with iron ore soon!"

"Great..."

     We've finished! The minecart track is complete, and runs from the base-side entrance of the lava channel up to the actual iron storage in the cliff mine. It's taken a good two hours, and in that time AMPHIS has managed to smelt a decent amount of iron for OROTHO to use for the tunnel bracing. COLUS and Amie gave THEXIS the go-ahead to start the actual tunnel, and we've joined them now that we've finished the main tunnel to the cliff mine. As we put in the final booster rail at the start of the iron storage, we realised that we could make sure the entrance was never found. As the entrance worked on a simple OR piston gate, one or the other lever had to be pulled to open the gate. However, any lever could be used to close it again. However, at this point, the same lever had to be pulled to open it again. If someone tried to open the gate from the outside when it's locked from the inside, the door will remain closed. This was the whole point about the security door. At the moment, as we had left through the entrance, it was closed via the outside lever. If we flicked the lever on the inside, we can secure the gate. It won't open the door, but it won't allow anyone to open it from the outside either! If someone were to find the lever outside, and pull it, nothing would happen. UOPETA flicked the lever down, and dusted his hands off.

"There! Like to see anyone get in now!"

We could now safely access the cliff mine via the base and vice versa, without needing to go onto the surface at all! The cliff mine entrance would remain sealed, and the hatch to the base is locked out as well. The beginnings of our underground transport network had begun! We could now safely travel between the base, the cliff mine and the active portal completely undetected! Our celebrations were cut short however by the sounds of a low rumbling, that appeared to get closer. Standing in silence, with a mixed look of curiosity and readiness on everyone's faces, we waited for the sound to grow nearer. Eventually we determined the sounds was coming back from up where the mineshafts were, and turning to look in that direction, it wasn't long before we found the cause! An object of startling speed rushed forward along the minetrack and we dived out of the way. We then realised that it was a minecart! As we watched, the iron cart came hurtling down the track, worryingly fast. But as it came towards the minecart dock, it slowed down considerably, before resting perfectly against the booster rail end wall. An exclamation from slightly further along the track, and OROTHO revealed himself. He was breathless, presumably from chasing after the cart, just to check on the run from the base to the cliff mine.

"PERFECT!"

OROTHO came down to meet us, and was grinning from ear to ear!

"A perfect run, and a perfect dock! I could't be more pleased!"

"I would check it going the other way too! You do realise that with it carrying a decent amount of iron ore on the return journey, it's going to have a considerably greater deal of inertia and momentum?"

"I know that, and compensated for it! The dock at the base end of the track is longer, so the braking time is increased, and there are no sudden turns from an elevated position to tip the cart over. Let's give it a test tun!"

OROTHO had managed to wedge a large chest into the cart to ensure the cargo reached its destination in one piece.

We fully loaded the chest and managed to close the lid again, before giving OROTHO the honour of pressing the booster button at the dock. Jabbing it forcefully with his finger, he watched with delight as the cart shot away from the storage area, before running after it, like a dog chasing a car! When OROTHO was out of sight, we all burst into laughter! The sight of seeing OROTHO so enthusiastic about something was surprisingly uplifting, and we slowly followed after him. With that complete, all we had to do was unload it, smelt it and let OROTHO and Joe craft it into bracing for the tunnel. The rest of us were on tunnel mining duty!

Syeonyx signing off

State of lockdown!

     Before trying to find a way down, we convinced UOPETA it would be beneficial to try and find some hint or clue as to who built the ladder to the top, and the rest of the hidden passages. Someone obviously tried very hard to keep their tracks concealed, so it was definitely worth it for us to find out who was behind it! I had the feeing HoN Co. was monitoring us; lying in wait, watching our every move, looking for weaknesses to exploit... But I had a feeling that AMPHIS would still declare that it was SERVERE... Unless... We were both right... I really hope that wasn't the case...

"If you find anything, call us to you and we'll examine it. It doesn't matter how trivial it is; it could be something as small as a pile of ash from a camp-fire or something, but either way, alert us to it as soon as you find anything."

With the top of the cliff being relatively small, there wasn't much in the way of ground to cover. Splitting up and taking different parts of the top, we began to search the area for any trace of whoever had constructed that passageway, regardless of how minute it was. After a few minutes, I had managed to find nothing, and I hadn't been called to either of the other two, so they hadn't had much luck either. There was literally nothing up here besides stone, dirt and the entrance to the ladder to go back down...

"Nothing... Absolutely nothing..."

"Well, on the bright side, we've got proof that AMPHIS isn't senile or going insane! That's something."

"If it was HoN Co. spying on us, maybe we could spy on them spying on us! See who it really is, and what they're doing up here..."

"I doubt that's an option any more. With AMPHIS spotting someone and their response was to flee, I doubt we'll be seeing anyone here for some time, if ever. We just need to be prepared from now on. Come on, we need to inform COLUS and the others about this... Our lives could be at risk."

Unable to find a safe way down, we were forced to head back to the base through the way we had come. It was long and arduous, but that didn't matter. What did was ensuring we were as prepared as we can be from now on!

     It seemed that COLUS and the others had done a good job of distracting AMPHIS from what he had seen; he was busy working away with Joe in the corner of the lab, whilst Amie, OROTHO and COLUS were discussing something related to the tunnel. Upon seeing us enter, COLUS stopped talking and moved past OROTHO to meet us.

"What? What's wrong? It's too early for you to be back yet..."

"How's AMPHIS?"

"He's better; we managed to persuade him to help Joe with some documenting of the security door blueprints. He's calmed down quite a bit since the phantom incident... Anyway, what's this all about? Why are you here?"

"We have reason to believe that AMPHIS may have been telling the truth."

The room went quiet, and AMPHIS looked up from the blueprints. Standing up quietly, he walked over to the rest of us, calm and collected, despite what he likely overheard. Maintaining a relaxed attitude, he asked us a question:

"What did you find?"

"A hidden passageway. Where you stopped at the lava pit, Syeonyx find a hidden button which opens up a pathway to a concealed walkway around the lava. It's on a timer, so it's not surprising that you found nothing when you got there; the wall would have slid back into place..."

There was further silence, and everyone was looking at AMPHIS; he was taking this surprisingly well. I had assumed he would start to become nervous again, and state that he had seen SERVERE, or that he may have rubbed it in that he was right. But he didn't; he stood there, head bowed slightly, looking at the floor, obviously mulling over what had been said.

"Where does the passageway lead to?"

"It leads around to another hidden entrance to a staircase that ascends for a few metres, before ending abruptly in a ladder."

"A ladder?"

"A tall ladder..."

"Where does it go? Does to lead into the portal chamber we've sealed?"

"Worse... It leads to the top of the cliff that overlooks the cliff mine and the area below... Including the walkway and entrance to our base..."

COLUS couldn't seem to believe this. It was incredibly hard to understand, let alone believe, but there was an entrance that lead to and overlook of our base...

"What?!?! How do you mean? Can they see the base?"

"Yes, I'm afraid so. Judging from the looks of the age of the passageways, someone has been monitoring us for a long time... Syeonyx, show them the image."

Taking the image of the overlook from my inside breast pocket, I handed it to COLUS, who snatched it from my hand, and studied it intently for a few moments.

"But... This can't be...! We would have known about this, we would have seen them!"

"From the height of cliff, and the position it's in, I doubt we would ever have seen anything up there, even if we had had a feeling about being watched..."

"Do you know who it is or was?"

UOPETA thought hard about the answer to this; AMPHIS was listening intently, likely for mention of SERVERE's name, but turning back to COLUS, he went with the more likely answer.

"We believe it could be HoN Co. ..."

"What? How do you know?"

"We don't... But who else would spy on us...? All they would require is a few days worth of monitoring and they would get a feel of how we operate. If AMPHIS really did see someone, and then chased them to this point, it's likely we've spooked them back to whoever they work for..."

COLUS looked back at the image, studying it further for a few seconds longer, before looking up and pushing it back into my hand.

"Alright, everyone, listen up; head to to discussion room. We've got some very serious matters to discuss. UOPETA, go and get THEXIS. We need everyone informed..."

We all left the lab; a sense of urgency filled the air, and I got the feeling everyone had shifted gears into full action mode!

     The meeting in the discussion room was brief, but all that had to be said, everyone agreed to instantly! We were all in danger, and only cooperation and teamwork was going to get us all through this alive! COLUS had initiated a state of lockdown; no-one was to exit or leave the base through surface means. We've been told that the cliff mine is off limits, and COLUS is pushing the start time for the tunnels up to tomorrow. The only issue is getting the iron from storage in the cliff mine. OROTHO and Joe are already working on a minecart system, whilst Amie and COLUS work on the tunnel to get there. Everyone else is on manual duty. That means we've got to pick up a shovel or pickaxe and literally dig for our lives! COLUS has locked off access to the hatch, and ensured that, even if anyone finds the lever on the outside to raise the walkway, it won't work.

"Tomorrow, we head underground! We cannot take this new piece of information lightly! We must assume that HoN Co. is aware of not only our whereabouts, but also our activities! We have nowhere to go but down, although luckily, our very enemy kindly equipped us with the skills we need to do just that! Tomorrow we start the tunnel project, and we begin to fill this land with a mass network of interconnecting passages to pass from destination to destination undetected! Tomorrow we dig for our lives! Tomorrow we dig for the lives that have been lost at the hands of HoN Co.! Tomorrow, we dig, for justice!"

Ooorah!

Syeonyx signing off