Buried Deep

I don't know, I never know what it's going to be about until I star hitting the keys.
I'll come back to this...

The ship touched down with an incredible bang, which threw grit, rocks and scrub-grass high into the air. A round hatch slid open on the side of the small, ovoid vessel, and two slender beings pushed themselves out and landed ungracefully in a heap on the blasted floor.
"Never can get used to gravity..." Came the muffled voice from the tallest of the suited figures. The other grunted in agreement. With no small amount of effort, and a lot of cursing, the pair dragged themselves to their feet.
"This place is still breathable, right?" Said the taller one again. When a nod of agreement came from the other suit, they both flipped open plates on the forearms of the suits and disengaged the helmet. Almost in sync, the glassy domes slid back into the suit proper, revealing two women, one Human and one Closek.
Shaking her short blue hair, the smaller Closek shot her Human companion an impish grin.
"I bet your 'fabulous blonde locks' are trapped in the seals again, Sandy." She drawled. Though she spoke fluent West, it was intoned with the audible glow of the Eastern dialect.
"Well Pri, at least my armpits and groin aren't chafing because I'm wearing a suit that's too big for me." Sandy shot back. Pir gave her a mock-venomous glare in return, before hitting her playfully on the shoulder.
"Damn you." She said, tugging at the armpits of her suit in a futile attempt at comfort.
"C'mon, we'll unload this junk," Sandy pointed to the ship, "and then you can take that junk off." She finished, motioning the suit in a sweeping gesture.
"Yeah, yeah, I know the drill." Pri replied flippantly. But she was right, both of them could unload their mining equipment whilst blindfolded, and had done so on one particular occasion to scare their supervisor. Turning on her heel, Sandy flicked open a concealed panel under the hatch, and flicked a red switch. As she did, the ship rose about a foot from the ground and began to hum quietly. While Sandy was manning the switchboard, Pri ducked under the hull, and pulled a lever on the bottom. She moved back out from under the ship, and gave Sandy a nod to release the magnetic lock on the cargo doors. The doors slid open with a hiss, and a large drill thudded into the earth, partially burying the bit.
"Engaging drill." Said Sandy, punching a combination of buttons into the panel. The drill began to rotate, slowly speeding up.
"Engaging safety guard." Replied Pri, smacking a circular pad with the bottom of her fist. A hazy blue light covered the drill, and came down in a collumn surrounding it. The drill had reached the optimum speed for breaching the soft desert limestone and was beginning to dig further into the ground. As the debris spewed from the hole, it hit the blue haze and disintegrated.
"Estimated time to core?" Asked Pri. Sandy flicked the drill panel closed, then illuminated the cover by dragging her gloved fingers across it.
"38 hours, we'll hit the core and then another 4 to recover the necessary minerals and load them." Replied Sandy, intently gazing at the readout.
"42 hours on this dustbowl?"
"'Fraid so."
Pri sighed at the answer.
"Well at least there's no one trying to kill us this time..."
"Yeah, it makes a nice change."

As if on queue, there was the sound of a detonation just over the rise. Pri's gaze flickered to Sandy who was, as usual, showing a lot of fear. Once again, Pri sighed.
"Want me to go have a look?" She said. She didn't particularly want to, but she knew they had to find out one way or another, and Sandy would probably rather drink hot oil than investigate an explosion. True to form, she nodded.
Pri acknowledged her response, and added one to the tally of Sandy being less than brave in the face of adversity. Pri supposed it wasn't her fault. While Sandy was a Receptionist-come-Miner, Pri had served in the Western Army for 20 years before joining the Mining Guild as a security contracter. Because Closek's had such long life-spans compared to humans (The average dying age being over 500 human years) they were often taken into positions where a lot of experience would be beneficial to the job at hand. Because of this, and her previous miliary experience, the Guild were more than happy to let her accompany the deep-space miners to unclaimed planets.
This suited Pri just fine. She was young for a Closek, only 86, which meant she still enjoyed travelling to exotic locations. Even if her job required her to undertake tasks such as settling 'disputes' with native tribes. Usually this was done with her pulse laser, since the language of violence was universal, and Standard Western was not. She wasn't adversed to killing, so long as she was payed for the trouble.

Flicking open the clasps which held her space support suit together, Pri shrugged the heavy white plasteel garment off and stepped out of it. Underneath, she was wearing a dark grey tanktop, emblazoned with the Mining Guild's crossed pickaxe emblem, and faded black cargo pants. She preferred wearing dark colours, to contrast with her light blue skin when it came to clothes. Crouching down, she tightened the laces on her combat boots, then brushed herself off and began to walk towards the hill.

Before she reached the top of the rise, she turned around and waved at Sandy, who was leaning against the ship with her arms crossed and a look of concern on her face. She didn't wave back.
Muttering something about gratitude, Pri fired up the shield generator concealed in the breast of her shirt, and drew her pulse laser from the holster at her hip. As she touched it, the laser flickered to life and the barrel took on a blue sheen, similar to that of the drill safety guard. They used the same type of energy, what was employed make things that it touched non-existent.
Pri was well versed in its use.

With a thought, she engaged the small jets in the heels of her combat boots and took to the air, so she could get the drop on whatever waited on the other side of the hill. The boots were lifted from her old armour suit with the Western Military, and they had saved her life on numerous occasions. Among their many traits were two retrojets, which were fueled by kinetic energy.
As she rose up over the sandy berm, what she saw took her breath away.
About two kilometres off by her reckoning, was a Southern Armada battleship, perched on top of what she assumed was once a mountain. From this vantage point, she could see thousands upon thousands of troops forming lines and squares on the dusty plains. Worried they would spot her, Pri cut the power to her boots and landed on top of the berm in a crouch.
What was the Southern Armada doing here, on this uninhabited, desolate rock; millions of lightyears from any sizeable civilisation.
As she looked on, something odd began to happen.
Cracks were appearing where the Southern troops were arranging, and they were discorging... Well, she couldn't tell from this distance, but it looked like the soldiers were expecting it, and the sounds of battle began to drift across the plains.
Suddenly, a huge snakelike appendage smashed from the ground beneath the battleship, grabbed it, and pulled the whole thing under.
It was all over in less than 15 seconds.
The men on the ground began to break formation, and run away from the battle. The soft wind carried the cries of the dying to Pri's ears, and memories she had locked away came back to make her shudder.

Once she had regained control of her raging mind, the fear set in.
Something inside this planet had just destroyed one of the most powerful warships in the galaxy in seconds.
They had to get out of there.

The End

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