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notmuch_23

A long way down

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One blast after another rang out through the otherwise peaceful land, shards of pulverized rock and clouds of dust billowing up from ground zero. Grant wore no ear protection, any damage the sound and pressure could do to his ears would be healed practically as soon as it was inflicted. After a while there was a certain rhythm to the proceedings. There would be an explosion, then a few moments of peace while they let things settle, and then another explosion. It vaguely reminded him of a time when he had been shelled with a group of other mercs trying to take a fortress. A shell had landed just a few feet from him, blown him to pieces. Thank god for his healing factor.

"So what happens when we're done today? I mean, after all the explosions, of course. 

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1 hour ago, danzilla3 said:

"So what happens when we're done today? I mean, after all the explosions, of course. 

"Lift the broken rock out, get it somewhere else, drill more holes, set more charges, shoot again, and keep goin' 'till we're deep enough to extract the vulxanium. Then the lift goes in, equipment, utilities, supplies, and miners go down, vulcanium comes up," Thurgood says, "honestly, the initial shaft alone is gonna take the better part of a year, unless you've got a vertical tunnel boring machine or somethin' you haven't told me about."

If the entire crew can manage a twelve-foot deep shot every three days, this will take around 267 days. The main limiting factor is the depth of the holes those steam drills can sink. Of course, Thurgood could have just filled the core hole with methyl nitrate and shot it to start the party, but the blast would be spread over so much rock that results would be wildly incinsistent and potentially disasterous.

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Grant laughed, "I actually might have a line on a giant tunneling machine. But for now we'll have to get by on our own."

The prince would work with the crew for the rest of the day, helping to lift the shattered rocks out of the tunnel they had just blasted. With his enhanced stamina and strength, he was able to work even when the other workers had needed to take breaks. This made him quite popular with the other men, who seemed to regard him with a bit more respect than they had at the start. By the time he left, he was finally starting to feel tired, but not without some degree of satisfaction. He had forgotten how rewarding physical labor could be. Perhaps he would return every now and then to help out, if Thurgood would have him.

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All the lifting the crew needs to do to the rocks is make sure the clamshell can scoop them up. Thurgood goes down with Grant and the rest of the crew, bringing a rechargeable flashlight to send messages to the crane operator.

"I have got to find a source of dry-cell batteries," Thurgood says, thinking about the devices he has at home that rely on them, "with the shit we've got, most of the functions are only available through remote control." It's not like anybody else would understand what the hell he's saying. While he's down there, Thurgood also marks the locations of the upper part of the second shot, obviously not being able to mark the lower ones until the rock gets moved out. Once it is though, those holes get marked, the last thing Thurgood does for the day, riding up in the personnel basket as the last bit of daylight yields to the clear night sky.

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