“Stem Officer Gondre’Fashaemuela reporting from the new pit, sir. Stem Officer Han’Decivieri just reported that his mans found some kinda hole in the ground and told me to tell someone. He said it’s pretty deep and he’s gonna go check it out real quick, and to send someone after his if something happens. I don’t know what he’s talking about, but it sounds kinda dangerous. Should I go stop him, or-
“But sir! If he should hurt himself-
“I see, sir. I don’t understand, but I sure know my place, yes sir. I’ll go back and tend to my mans, and I do hope you send someone along soon. He’s my friend, you know.”
Ren couldn’t find an easy place to dig after all, so he was struggling with a larger stone with the other men when the supervisor returned…
The supervisor approched the hole and looked around until he spotted Ren and waved him over. The other men glanced at Ren warily, and one waved him along.
“We got this, go on an’ see what he’s wantin’.”
So Ren came back to the hole he’d found. The supervisor was sitting at the lip of the hole, wrapping a rope around his waist. The hole was big enough for him to slide in one way, being a wide hole, almost like a crack in the ground. He handed Ren the other end of the rope.
“I’m going down a bit.”
Ren frowned. “Why in the hells would you want to do that? You have no idea what’s down there, and you have machines that can find that sort of thing out for you.” At least, Ren was pretty sure they did. Hovering monitor cameras we in development to patrol the cities last Ren had heard, and he hadn’t been to a city in almost ten years.
“Maybe so,” said the supervisor, “but I’d rather see for myself.” With that, he hopped down the shaft, falling slowly, using the sides of the shaft to slow his descent.
Ren looked into the hole, wrapping the rope around his waist as he watched his supervisor bob his way down, down, down. The rope still had plenty of slack when the supervisor stopped moving. Ren saw a little light come on some thirty yards down and guessed that the supervisor had taken out a flashlight. The oher men had managed to move that boulder several yards by then, and were nearing the edge of the pit.
“It’s opened pretty wide down here, and the falling rocks are splashing into something below,” said the surpervisor. His voice echoed up the shaft clearly. “Maybe it’s an undergound lake? I’m going to try to come up now. I don’t think- SHIT!”
The sound of falling rocks echoed up the shaft, and what was left of the rope coiled at Ren’s feet was rapidly slipping into the hole. Ren didn’t have time to get a good grip on the rope on his waist before the weight of the falling elf on the other end pulled him head-first into the deep hole. He raised his hands to keep his head from hitting anything hard on the way down, but he couldn’t see and he ended up tumbling painfully down into the darkness. One of his arms (he wasn’t sure which at the time) hit something jagged and he heard something crack.
Eventually he felt himself free-falling, and the sinking feeling in his guts as he fell into the unknown was worse than the pain of tumbling through the shaft.
He could almost hear the rope tumbling into the water before he splashed in headfirst himself. Despite already being surrounded by the deepest black Ren had ever known, somehow everything went dark when he hit the water.