Work in progress

He wondered how long he had. Staring at Rogelio6’s people setting the spreaders and locking down the braces on the ram didn’t seem to be adding much to their efforts. The laid-out dead had no need of him either, so Edgeroll went to talk to the corridor guards.

Meandering across the echoing space, he marvelled at how his mob had settled in to a sort of temporary version of the Dark Market. Neither the angry chanting animal that had attacked the Civvies, nor the somber, tense hush of waiting, they had simply sat down and begun life again. People were cooking, chaffering, buying and selling, cleaning captured weapons or improvising new ones. There were no children, and the group was set at different purposes that the chaotic commerce of survival that characterized the Dark Market, but it was the same swirling confusion of transaction and information transfer that made up the best of life within the walls.

He found his way to the foundry tunnel, a broad transit way that looped upward to the minus 300s, where most of the heavy recycling and milling went on. This spiralling metal ramp was how they got material and equipment down to the minehead for transfer to the Heat Mines. Though he knew nothing but rumor about what actually went on deep beneath the city, Edgeroll had trouble imagining any kind of physical plant or infrastructure so far below.

A group was set up there behind barricades made of metal sheeting wrenched and wrestled by hand from a nearby stack. A mixed team led by a vaguely familiar bione stood ready, wielding two of the captured heavy weapons — a ballspitter and a zap rifle.

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