λ^14, Third Shift of Steam, DA 4876, Currently Crawling Passage (11-51)
Again into the tunnels, it’s been too long, what with the Exurbs going dark and the passages too dangerous to make the crawl to Igris. Now though, now I travel with Champions, danger will be present but we are equipt to handle any danger. Fear is something for those without Champions beside them, those who stand alone.
The orders are rather nebulous. The destination was not spelled out – the champions are direct the course. Yet, already I hear talk of Ixut, our shame and the hidden scar upon the breast of the Nation. I hear them speak of salvage – perhaps something good will come of that ruin.
My eyes are growing a bit blurry now, time for well earned rest. Duties will be resumed at third shift.
λ^15, Third Shift of Steam, DA 4876, Currently Crawling Passage (52-49)
Well, I’ve only been up awhile, had a long blackout. Seems we crawled into a passage full of some gas – plain shut me and Han’s down. From the way Academician tells it, we were at death’s door. As we left the Vault City of латунь узел, or ‘Brass Knot’, I saw a lovely woman. She was clad in a shawl of diaphanous blue polyester and had the most lovely smile, she reminds me of my mother, Maker bless her soul. I can’t help but pray to the Maker for that woman’s safety, well I’m still worn out from whatever illness took us, so I’m off to my bunk.
λ^16, Third Shift of Steam, DA 4876, Wrecked Chamber (48)
One forgets how dangerous travel can be – certainly when all the monitoring equipment has shut down. I remember when I was a younger man, everything worked so much cleaner. Monitoring systems sending out detailed warnings to crawler pilots and pilgrims alike – you did not simply walk into a death trap going along the main tunnels. One forgets in the safety of the city. The coal dust explosion that rocked the ship, Academician has been at work for hours. I know that without him here, we would be beached. I plan to file a report when we return to Imtu, things have simply become too dangerous, we depended on the Exurb system far too much. How long can Igress continue on alone – cut off from everyone. The leadership must be informed…but I fear they already know. Bahh! Hans is just getting to me. Ship full of Champions and I’m getting depressed, wheres my pride!
λ^17, Third Shift of Steam, DA 4876, Exurbs of Ixut (Chamber 94)
Smooth sailing for the last several hours, bout damned time our luck shifted. Praise Runel! So much has changed from the descriptions Hans gave me of his home, its only a year since he fled this place. A massive steel wall rises up over a hundred feet blocking all access to the ruins of Ixut. Academician tells me molten lava flows within that wall – like the blood of men, ready to flow over and repair and breach of the barrier…from without or within. All around us are the howls of the dead – I can feel them in my mind and clawing at my soul gem. This place is cursed. The Champions are our heroes, but I don’t see how normal men could work here. Sleep is a distant wish and I know it would only be days before madness took me if I had to face those cries. Bolt and the shy champion, Vivitones I think the others call him, they’ve been working to seal the sound-proof this hanger. It’s tolerable between that and the ship – each time they open the doors to the outside its like the assault redoubles itself though. If they want to salvage this place, noble as it may be, I know not have mortal men will endure it.
λ^18, Third Shift of Steam, DA 4876, Exurbs of Ixut (Chamber 94)
The Champions have explored the neighboring passages. From the reports, no one lives here now – only the quiet crystal of our dead and demons in the darkness…well that and one little girl. She’s a sweet thing, the Champions tell me she does not remember her name, but they’ve been calling her Nüt. I’ve never see a mortal with such mastery over the Ex Machina – if I did not know better I’d think she was a drone. She ate my rat stew, tail and all, and after that heart warming smile – no this girl is no drone dancing to another tune. I wonder if Mum’ll care if I bring her home. After all these trials – it’d not be right to force her onto the streets.
I know not if it’s true. I can’t doubt the Champions, but some of them reported a dragon of Ku…please turn your gaze from our path…within the other chamber. Worse, Nüt says dark Ex Machina, she names weavers, have taken all her neighbors and country folk from the western chamber into the ruins. Truly a cursed place. Maker provides and our Champions will crush these threats – we shall reclaim these ruins and come back heroes all. The damned moaning dead, they get in your mind, wear away at you hope. Hans seems to be holding up well enough – sour bastard probably fells blessed for their company.