Arya and The Healer spent all day talking to each other. Her head was filled with questions about her Grandfather, this facility, the Seven Hour War and Vort was a good talker, a true story teller. He told her about the events following the war, the reappearing of the Borealis and also about the remaining survivors, Vortigaunts and several scientists.
The next day, Arya and Vort headed out to the north tunnel, some of the old trams were still working. They were going to the dormitories on Level 3, which meant going through the green line and then changing to the red line in the lower levels. This would only take around fifteen minutes when the entire network was working, however, these days it would prove to be quite a task; None of the lines were fully operational on their entire length, there were cave-ins in a lot of places.
They boarded the tram and it started sliding slowly forward on the monorail. Arya was amazed at how the automated systems still worked after all this time and all the damage they must have taken. Even so, some of the fluorescent tubes on the car’s ceiling were flickering while others had a dirty yellow tinge, with dirt filled casings casting gloomy shadows. Most of the lights on the tunnels were turned off or malfunctioning, so visibility was low.
The tram was going at a slow but steady speed when all of the sudden it stopped with a loud metallic sound. A started Arya tried to look outside the windows to figure out what happened, but with the low visibility all she could see was the walls of the tunnel and some kind of debris in front of the tram. Vort told her that they reached a collapsed section of tunnel ahead and they needed to continue on foot through a side passage.
Exiting the tram, the first thing that Arya noticed was the deafening silence. There were some odd critter sounds here and there, but no other sound could be heard, it felt unnatural; It was as if something was preventing any sound from being heard, yet, she could hear Vort and be heard as well. The air was cold, the humidity was a bit high and she could feel the slightest of drafts coming from the other end of the tunnel.
She started towards the side passage lead by Vort. The walls were covered in some kind of moss; a strange thing since there were no sunlight inside and the UV lamps have been turned off for who knows how long. After a while she noticed that the moss started to glow and not just the part the was illuminated by her headlight.
“Amazing. This moss has some kind of phosphorescence. What is it Vort?”
“We do not know. They have been brought here by the combine from a different universe.”
The side passage was a tight corridor, around 50m in length, bypassing the collapsed tunnell. It wasn’t a service corridor or something like that, it had no lights or utilities. On the big tunnel there were all sorts of tubes along the walls, but not here. It was bare rock or concrete, as if a machine simply carved the passage through the wall opening up rock and concrete alike. Arya saw Vort going out of the passage onto the tunnel beyond the rubble and quickly followed.
Just as she was emerging from the small opening on the wall they both froze. A female voice coming from the P.A. system could be heard out loud and Arya immediately started typing on her virtual keyboard. The sentences weren’t making much sense, so she would have to try and figure it out later. Vort cried out four times in the Vortigaunts’ own language and then went silent.
Arya waited for a reply.
Instead, she heard another voice. A man’s voice. Shivers ran down her spine, goosebumps rose all over her. She never heard this voice but it felt so familiar it was frightning. It was not coming out of the speakers, and she was alone with Vort in the tunnel, but the voice could be heard as if the man was around her, in front of her, inside her head.
“Prepare for unforeseen consequences”