Caloris Basin City skirts the giant Mercurian crater edges to avoid the highest temperatures at the center. One would think no one would settle here. Still, the rich amount of silicate rock and close distance to Earth makes the extraction of silicate ideal for The Terra Manufacturing Corporation. To mass-produce ships, they needed silicon to craft semiconductors.
Caloris Basin City was founded by The Hedron Mining Group as a base of operations to extract the silicate rock. Under contract by The Terra Manufacturing Corporation, they constructed a colony out of ceramics and specialized alloy to resist the sun's heat. Buildings are equipped with advanced cooling systems to counteract the intense heat during the day and the extreme cold at night.
Only some people are miners in the Caloris Basin. Some people come here simply for a place to lay low and escape the eyes of the SRM and Marquis De Mars.
That is how a small group of companions formed: Titan, a short but friendly man who would rather be on the outskirts of the system. Potts, a criminal who came by a Laser-Rifle and hoped never to be found. John Smyth, a man who escaped Mars and saved a child from harm. Red Fox - a deserter who stole some arms and hopes to keep away from the SRM. Edward A nearly starved man with a history of bad luck, he took the wrong cargo transport here. Jay Dead - lost exploring the Mercrian Abryss until recently. Additions afflict her.
Jay Dead took a job working for Hedron in the deep mining operations. She has been missing for two weeks.
The small group of outcasts consisted of Titan and Potts. John and Red Fox grew very concerned over how long Jay Dead had been missing. No miner typically works in the hot Mercurian mines for more than a day or two before being on leave.
The group began their search in the commons area of Caloris Basin City. The sound of whirring air conditioning and the smell of dry ceramic could be heard everywhere in Caloris Basin City.
Titan attempted to talk to a rowdy group of miners. He was quickly shut out and retreated to his group's table. He was an outcast to the miners, as he had declined work.
Edward tried to sympathize with a starving miner out of work begging in the corner of the commons. The beggar did not want any help from Edward, seeing him as a half-starved beggar himself. Potts had better success, offering food to the poor soul.
Potts learned that Jay Dead did indeed take work on a deep mining operation. The starved miner informed him that Jay Dead had fallen ill and was taken to a secure medical area close to the mine shaft entrance. She was not seen after this and did not return with any miners after their rotation ended.
To get down to the mines, the group would need to either sign up as miners and take a shift or find less ethical ways to descend to the depths.
Having a contact in the laundry facility, Titan took the group to steal miner uniforms. While keeping his connection with Jimmy in deep conversation and reminiscing, Edward was able to steal enough uniforms for the group.
Meanwhile, John took his son to the open market in the commons. Potts needed a bag to conceal his laser rifle for the trip into the mines. Being low on credits, John distracted the merchant while his child stole a kit bag. The deed was a success.
Wasting no time, the group donned the miner outfits and assembled with the next shift of miners to go down. The uniforms were smelly; they had not been washed the previous day, but it was all they had.
O2 masks were given to all the miners, as the air was thin below. As the gate opened, the heat-blasted everyone coming off the elevator. It must have been over 40 degrees Celsius; even with industrial cooling fans roaming so loud, everyone was sure they would go deaf.
A vast tunnel descended in front of the group, going deep. The mining tunnel was vast, dusty and busy. To the right was an administrative office. Workers pushed hover carts of silicate rock to an automated treadmill that took stones to the professing plant. To the left was an unusual site, a pristinely clear set of automatic steel doors guarded by armed private security officers.
The group quickly put themselves to work so as not to raise suspicion, and while integrating with other workers, asked around about Jay Dead. Titan found out that Jay Dead and many others had been taken through the steel doors, which is where they heard a medical center was. Oddly, the workers said most injured people are brought to the surface. To access the area, the guards use keycards, which Titan could see hanging from their belts.
Titan and Potts came up with an idea for a distraction. Titan punched Potts in the gut and tried to make it seem like a fight had broken out. One of the guards ran over to investigate. While crowded by miners, Edward was able to steal his keycard.
Having keycard access, the group needed a way to get past the guards. Red Fox decided he would put his engineering skills to good use. Red Fox reprogrammed the treadmill to move in reverse at an uncontrolled speed. Rocks flew off the treadmill, pummeling miners and smashing into the walls. The two guards immediately acted in the chaos, allowing the group to sneak into the medical facility. The keycard worked, and they slipped through the doors.
Inside, the group found a sterile, clean environment with high-grade air circulation and cooling systems. The shiny walls and floors sparkled and smelled of bleach and other cleaners.
Moving forward down the hall, the group cautiously approached a T-junction. The corridor split into two ways, left and right. From the left, they could hear a metallic boom coming.
Potts readied his laser rifle. Titan stepped out into the hall to see what was coming. A giant Robotic sentry stopped in its tracks, detecting someone. It had a rifle and a shiny blade. Sires blared from the Robot and stated in a digital voice, "Intruder Alert." Titan tried to wave the keycard and convince the Robot he belonged, but it opened fire.
The rest of the group took cover, but Potts leaped into action, taking a shot at the robot, and missed. Red Fox ran to the Robot and tried to access a panel, hoping to hack it. He yelled as the robot's blade sliced him. Potts tried another shot at the robot, hitting it, but the damage seemed minor. Red Fox could access the robot's programming and put in a simple command to activate its charging mode. The robot settled into a charging bay sleep position, deactivating.
Unfortunately, despite this success, alerts began to blare in the facility, and red lights on the ceiling flashed. The group picked up speed, heading towards shiny side doors near the end of the corridor. Behind them, they could hear running and the slamming of the entrance doors.
The group used the keycard and accessed a side door, which appeared to be some form of utility closet with carts, buckets, disinfectant, and mops. Everyone tried their best to hide, but Titan was too late. The doors opened, and he was left in the middle of the room. The two guards yelled for him to accompany them; he did not want to give away his friends.
Titan was taken down the hall several doors to a different room; as the doors opened, they shoved him in and shut the door behind him. The room stunk like rotting flesh, and there was the smell of sweat, blood and sickness. There were corpses in this room. By the looks of them, these people had a long, slow death, starved to death. To Titan's surprise, one person was alive in the corner: a dirty, underdressed man, a skeleton of their former self.
The rest of the group in the hallway decided they should ambush the returning guards. John pushed a cart into the hallway to block the guard's way while Potts fired his laser rifle and missed. Red Fox, Edward, and John grabbed mops and buckets and charged the guards. One guard began shooting immediately, the other coming face to face with Red Fox, drawing a combat knife. Ed Fox took a severe gash from the blade but, in return, whacked the guard with a steel bucket. John and Edward assaulted the two guards, hitting them with mops. Potts kept partial cover and continued to fire, ever-growing frustrated with his cursed laser rifle as he missed every mark. It was at that moment Potts was blasted with bullets and fell to the floor. John quickly slid over, took up his laser rifle, and continued firing. Seeing the dire situation, Red Fox backed up and took a grenade out of his pocket. The grenade was a keepsake from defecting from the military some time ago. Edward and John leap to cover, and Red Fox throws the grenade; it immediately explodes, killing one guard and sending the other running down the hall.
Meanwhile, Titan continued to converse with the starving prisoner. He learned that people taken to this facility were experimented on, and it seemed like they were trying to determine how long people could go without food. The prisoner told Titan he overheard the scientist going; these ghastly deeds mention Eris Engineers and a response to the Oort Cloud collapse. None of this made much sense to Titan, who pressed for information on his friend Jay Dead. Based on the description, the prisoner said he knew who she was and where she was. He pointed to a mirrored window on the wall and said it was two-way and there was a lap on the other side. At that moment, the door opened, and two men in lab coats, gloves and shaded respirator masks entered. They both had syringes. Titan leaped forward and assaulted the first scientist, prying the syringe from his hand and immediately stabbing and injecting it into him. The other man yelled in fear, dropping his needle, and ran, joining the guard already fleeing in the hall.
The two men, a scientist and a guard, exited through a door at the end of the hall; the panel immediately changed colour to red lights.
Titan came into the hall to the chaos of a grenade that just went off and shots fired from John's laser rifle. He yelled that he knew where Jay Dead was.
Taking a keyboard off the fallen scientist and taking the other needle on the floor, Titan accessed the next room.
In the middle of the room, the group found Jay Dead strapped to a steel mobile bed, though much thinner than they remembered. A desk and computer were near, and you could see into the window where Titan was imprisoned. The group carted Jay Dead out, grabbed the other living prisoner and placed him on the cart. Potts was also slung onto the cart, and they rushed to exit the facility.
No one seemed to be in pursuit of their luck. Outside in the mines, chaos continued. Rocks were still flying off the treadmill, and Red Fox felt proud of his deed. Titan yelled to a foreman that they had a medical emergency, and everyone loaded onto the elevator lift.
Exiting the lift, the group breathed a sigh of relief as they fled the commons area and took Jay Dead home.
Rumours began to circulate in Caloris Basin City that some members of the Eris Engineers were departing on the next transit of Mercury.