Chapter 24 - Plans

Tynun and Neyr had grown accustomed to their daily routines after a week. The journey to and from the mines took much less of a toll on their bodies. Their stubby legs built up muscle, and even in this short period of time Tynun felt he could carry more than he ever could have in the past.


At the end of each shift, rows of humans with covered faces stood before a giant wall of Parti Tabs at the Signing Chamber. As each Zinnal walked through a gate, they were scanned and a machine grabbed their corresponding Parti Tab to hand the human. The humans never said a word, only activated the Tab so that they were transported into the room to rest.


Every night The Voice sang praises about Tynun’s achievements in physical fitness. His numbers rose each time he entered the room, and he swore he felt his body changing almost daily. Neyr, too, seemed to be pulling his weight more than Tynun ever thought possible for a younger Bakkon.


The two brothers marched into the cave, meeting with the Frakkal brothers once again for their exhausting shift.



“I have to say, I’m quite impressed with your progress.” Reok said. “Usually after this first week, we lose our partners. I’m glad you two are sticking around to help us achieve our goal, in no time we’ll definitely take those humans!”


It may have been tiring working faster and harder than everyone else, but it provided some free time in breaks for the four to discuss and figure out a means to escape. No one could complain as long as they put in extra effort and showed they were in the top ranks for extraction every day. Though Reok made sure to not let any of them work hard enough to take the top thirty spots for extraction for some reason.


“You two must be leveling up like crazy, huh?” Shan asked.


“Yeah, I’m level 6 and Neyr is level 3 now.” Tynun said.


“Not bad, not bad.” Shan picked up the tool and struck at the rock wall. Neyr joined at his side.


“What about you two?” Tynun said.


“We are both level 10. Took awhile to get there, and it only seems to get harder after that. We’ve barely made progress with our levels in months now.” Reok picked up his tool and swung. “Well, we should probably get to work now.”


Tynun scuttled to the other side of Reok and moved his body against the rock wall, catching debris as it fell. He was much better at this now, he could distinguish which materials were about to fall before they left the rock wall. And as each fell he leaned to the left or right. Keeping the warm materials on the left and sparking on the right, though if standard rocks fell he scuttled out of the way. It was almost like playing catch with the Gurdens, only if they were throwing stones instead of small packages. Though, Neyr was no where near proficient at this yet, as he still watched as they fell and sorted them with his legs.


The sound of clanking stone became as second nature as the birds back in Jalla, waking up all the Higher Being—Zinnals around. Rattling, echoing throughout the dimly lit caves, noise keeping him awake and focused on his immediate task. He would find his friends.


Tynun and his group stayed in their own section of Mount Dai, occasionally moving when the wall had been cleared of the specific mineral they had been sent to retrieve. The two Frakkal brothers always found new areas where no one else gathered, which was imperative to discussing their plans.


It wasn’t as if the other Zinnals in the vicinity could directly tell the humans about the group’s endeavors, but both Frakkals had said that somehow a few of the others in the caves seemed to be able to transmit ideas to the humans, and that those who plotted escape always ended up being captured when they spoke openly about breaking free.


The group’s plan processed slowly. Each day the four would sling around new ideas, none that would initially stick, but with more ideas floating in their brains, a plan congealed. The first part had been decided. When they would commence operation. They decided that to ensure some chance of success, that the Bakkons needed to grow stronger. And both Frakkals figured that once the Bakkon brothers reached level 10, perhaps they would be strong enough to begin.


“You know, I heard a rumor. Well, it’s more than a rumor to be honest,” Reok said.


Tynun lifted his head toward the Frakkal. “What’s that?” Debris fell into his back.


“I’m sure you yourself have noticed, there are quite a lot of different sizes and shapes of Bakkons here. And maybe you can’t tell because you aren’t used to being around Frakkals, but there are quite a variation of our kind in here as well.” He slung his tool, chipping the wall.


“Yeah, I’ve noticed. They’re from around other parts of the world, right? Our tribe had told us about the many forms a Bakkon can take.”


Reok shook his head. “No, only some of them are because of that reason. There is another reason why so many are different.”


“What’s the other reason?”


“The humans tampered with their physical makeup.”


“Oh?” Tynun’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t know what you mean.”


“I’ve heard that as you level, when you get to a certain point, some kind of evolution of our bodies can take place. Though, only the humans have control over it.”


Shan and Neyr had quieted their work, and listened in.


“So, you’re saying that these giant Bakkons used to be the same as me and Neyr?”


“Not exactly the same, they had a few spiked in the side of their bodies, but I remember seeing them around your size with my own eyes,” Reok said. 


“That’s hard to believe.” Tynun looked down the long passage of the cave, examining the larger Bakkons leaning against the walls.


“I understand, figured I would tell you a little bit of information about this ‘outside world’ at a time to ease you in. Jalla is one of the more secluded areas, after all.”


Neyr piped up. “So, me and Tynun could grow to be as big as the others if we work hard enough?”


Shan nodded. “Yes, it’s essential for our plan to succeed. We all need to work just hard enough to prove our loyalty and worth to the humans so they will evolve us.”


“And they can’t turn us back to normal if we disobey?” Tynun asked.


Reok shrugged. “I’ve never seen it done before, but I guess I can’t say that it’s impossible. Let’s just hope it is. Though even if it isn’t, we still would need to worry about the humans not demanding our return. We’d need to steal our individual Parti Tab before we start the operation, and that’s easier said than done.”


Tynun thought deeply as rocks pummeled his back. He could grow much stronger and return to Jalla to defend his colony from more human invasions. If he grew strong enough, he could protect everybody. “How long is someone usually here before they evolve?”


Shan dropped his tool. “Those guys down there.” He pointed out to a couple larger Bakkons and Frakkals. “They’ve been here for years now, or so I’m told. They told me they were able to evolve after being here for six months, but then there are those other guys.” Shan pointed in the opposite direction. “They’ve been here for over eight months now and still haven’t changed form.”


“Hmm, so we just need to work harder than all the rest?” Tynun said.


Reok shrugged. “See, that’s where I’m not sure. If we work too hard, perhaps we will just be wasting all our time. The smaller ones down there have been working harder than anybody that I know and they still haven’t evolved. Yet those larger ones didn’t get as much work accomplished before they changed. Perhaps the humans only modify the ones that need it for motivation. If we try too hard, perhaps they think we will attempt to fight back and are only working for the sole purpose to evolve. But if those smaller ones worked much slower, they’d get punished. Though if they worked just enough, maybe the humans would invoke the evolution process to keep them on track. It’s hard to say with those demons. They’re smart, you know. They know how to mess with everyone’s minds to their own advantage. That’s why we need to only worry about ourselves. Come up with a plan to escape and manipulate the humans to give us what we want.”


Shan picked up his tool again. “Reok, you always know how to pump me up for the future. We won’t fall for these human tactics. It’s only a matter of time before we win.”