Chapter 17 - Mining

Tynun and Neyr made their way into damp darkness. Sounds of clanking pelted their eardrums as a species Tynun had never seen before today stood on the edges of walls, swinging some kind of tool. They were shades of dark blues and reds, striking over and over at the crumbling perimeter.


“Tch, I should probably explain to you what we do now,” a Bakkon who had been silent the whole trek finally spoke as they noticed the two brothers confused. “Just go over to those two Frakkals. They must be your partners as they also have no Bakkons beside them. I heard you two mention you were brothers to some others while we walked, you’re in luck, they also happen to be brothers. Perhaps you guys could bond over that.”


“Bond? Don’t we just load up on these rocks then make our way back?” Tynun said.


The older Bakkon laughed. “If only it were that easy. Go on.”


The two Bakkon brothers made their way to the Frakkal brothers. The Frakkals stood sturdy, almost looking like rocks themselves, though they seemed to have a large covering over their head that connected to their arms—one brother was red and one was blue. And in that covering, a tool stuck out. Below the upper body, where their face and lower body were located was a dull gray color covered in white scratches.


They too, headed out to greet Tynun and Neyr, using their arms to help move their bodies. Each strike at the wall from other workers around caused the Bakkons to flinch as they merged closer.



“Ah, finally we’ve got some transporters. Was beginning to think everyone was just avoiding us,” the Frakkal on the left said. “Guess we should probably work a bit faster now, eh, Shan?”


“I suppose so, don’t wanna get on the humans’ bad side today. Though we totally almost took on that one loser haha!” the Frakkal with a blue upper body said.


Tynun stepped forward. “You go against the humans here?”


“We do as much as we can, anyway. Most others don’t even try. We can handle the punishment. I can’t say the same for the rest of the Frakkals, or perhaps they’ve just been here too long and given up. I’m Reok by the way.” He pointed to the red part of his body as he spoke.


Tynun and Neyr introduced themselves.


Neyr piped up. “What kind of punishments do they give for not obeying?”


“Beatings, mostly.” Reok said and pointed to a few gashes on his chest. “I would recommend not getting on their bad side. Though, me and Shan can’t help it. We’re training for the day we can bust out of here.”


Neyr looked down in disappointment. “We want to get out too…”


“We will get out,” Tynun corrected.


“Oh?” Shan smirked. “I like you two already. Most of the other Bakkons refuse to pair up with us and force themselves to be a part of another group because they’re afraid of being lumped in with Zinnals like us, going against the system. They want no trouble. You’re fine with a little rebellion, though?”


“Zinnals…? Yes, absolutely!” Tynun strutted up to the wall. “So what do you need me and Neyr to do?”


“Well first off, we need to do enough work to not get slaughtered all together. That’s the thing. We are still useful enough that they don’t kill us. You need to strike a balance if you want a chance of escape.” Reok slung the tool over his back. “So first off, one of you stand beside me and the other beside Shan.”


Tynun stood beside Reok, and Neyr walked over to Shan.


“Now, we are going to have to give today some extra effort. Especially because it’s your guys’ first day, we don’t want to raise any suspicions, so we will be working pretty hard.” Reok swung his tool at the rock wall. “I’m just glad we finally have partners again. Wasn’t sure if we’d ever get any again at this rate.”


Shan stepped toward the falling rubble that Reok caused. “If you look close enough, you can see that within these dull gray colors of stones, there are some minerals that sparkle and some that emit heat. For now while we break at the rock wall, if you guys could sort out the shining materials from the dull warm ones with your legs and keep them in separate piles, we’ll help load them into your backs at the end of our session. Saves us time at the end by sorting ahead of time so the process at the Unload Station doesn’t take too long. We need full loads every time we return.”


The Unload Station must have been one of the buildings he had seen all the Highers returning to earlier. “Seems easy enough,” Tynun said. “How long does it usually take to finish a whole shift?”


“About ten hours to fill up on average, I’d say,” Reok continued smashing the wall. “Though we do stop to take small breaks for water and pissing every so often.”


“And then we have the three hour walk back to the humans’ headquarters,” Neyr said, disappointed.


“Yeah it sucks, but what can you do.” Shan walked back to his portion of the wall and began slinging his tool against the rockface.


Scuttling of others could be heard in between the strikes of the Frakkals. Chatter between Highers was kept to a minimum as it was hard to hear over the piercing collision of rocks breaking. That provided long hours of thinking, which Tynun used to his advantage for coming up with multiple ideas to speak with their partner Frakkals about in the coming days when the humans would trust their work ethic. He hoped they could proceed with a plan after a week of slaving away.


Tynun felt his mind break as the end of his shift came close. His legs were sore from pushing large clumps of rock from  corner to corner as he and Neyr helped build up piles of minerals. Bakkons’ legs were not made for this kind of job, though he couldn’t deny the carrying them part was a perfect use of the evil humans.


There was definitely enough of the shining and warm clusters to fill his and Neyr’s back now, and both the Frakkals were taking longer between each swing, panting. Neyr’s body was resting atop the ground with only his front two legs moving the pile of rubble haphazardly. Bakkons walked behind them in lumbering steps.


“I think that’s about it for today, huh?” Reok said and stretched out his limbs. He looked at both piles. “You both did pretty well for your first day, now let’s get our goods loaded up.”


Tynun and Neyr both lowered themselves all the way to the ground. The two Frakkals took their time packing the minerals into the Bakkons’ backs, Tynun carried the warm stones, while Neyr’s back was sparkling. It felt almost like a massage, and Tynun could feel his eyes growing heavy.


“Hey, if I have to work, you can’t be sleeping!” Reok laughed.


“I know it’s hard to stay awake after all this, happens with every Bakkon.” Shan leaned over Neyr’s back. “Even myself, I feel like I could collapse on this bed of rocks in your back.”


“Please don’t.” Neyr smiled. “I’m not as strong as some of those other Bakkons, I wouldn’t be able to move.”