Transcription of Unauthorized Broadcast - Attributed to: [-try again, slick-]
Time Since Intercept: 21 Hours
Posted On 2023-08-25 16:59:00

Nora Night Nora Night

Transcription of Unauthorized Broadcast
Transmission Origin: [UNKNOWN VARIABLE]
Time Since Intercept - 21 Hours

> Transcription of broadcast log recorded on: [N/A]
> Intercepted from spaceborne vessel registered to: [direct all docking fees to Nef Anyo]
> Registered serial number: [data corrupted]
> Transcription follows:

NORA: "Another late one, Dreamers. And I do mean late. That kinda solemn, second midnight that doesn't come from no clock. An hour you don't wait for, but travel along — drivin' lonely roads and sailin' empty Rails, no sun to mark your dial. But if you're hearin' this, well, you already know what time it is.

Yet here I am, starin' down another green light blinking back up at me from my line. Who am I to turn away another sleepless soul in their hour of need?"

Caller: "I suppose that's my cue. Hope I'm not interrupting something important."

NORA: "Important? Nah. Just my nightly bottle of million-credit Prisma Champagne, a dip in my private Ducat pool, and too many worries. Take your best shot at improving my mood, mystery caller."

Caller: "Dr. Fidelia Scorse. Though everyone calls me Delia. Of course, you can call me whatever you like, Ms. Night."

NORA: "Hey now, in this house we got room for just one smooth talker, Doc. So, got something on your mind, or just callin' to show your appreciation?"

Caller: "Believe me, I wish it were the latter, but no. I treat a small mining colony, you see. Small enough that the Grineer have left us alone. So far, at least. I'd like to keep it that way, if you don't mind."

NORA: "Discretion would be my middle name — if I told anyone my middle name."

Caller: "Things have been... bad here lately, with or without the Grineer. It was a miner's wife, you see. Dragged her husband into my clinic, complaining about his nails."

NORA: "So far so ordinary. What's the twist?"

Caller: "Fingernails. Cracked and raw and split down the middle. They wanted a supplement to heal and harden them so he could get back to work as quickly as possible.

I'm a person of science, but in a tiny town like ours you also learn a lot about people. His nails were... it looked more like repetitive stress than weak keratin, to me. I supposed he'd been chewing them. Nervous or stressed. Not an uncommon complaint out here, as you might imagine. But he declined to talk about it. I assumed it was something he didn't want to go over in front of the missus."

NORA: "I take it you asked her to leave the room."

Caller: "I did. But he had no confession for me. Just an idiot grin. He had no idea what I was talking about. Said he felt fine — never better, in fact. Said he needed to get back to work right away. Having no cause to hold him I sent him on his way."

NORA: "But I'm guessin' there was plenty of cause."

Caller: "I had no way of knowing, at the time. Then more patients arrived. A lot more. Bruised and bloodied hands. Broken fingers. Then came the insomnia, cases of extreme exhaustion. Dehydration. Malnutrition... Nearly every adult in this colony works that mine to some degree. And nearly all of them have come to see me in the last week.

And then... the patients stopped arriving. Entirely."

NORA: "Sounds like you oughta send some hardliners down into that mine to set straight whatever's gone crooked."

Caller: "It's just me here. No support. Which is why I went down there myself. Three days ago."

NORA: "Okay. I'm trustin' that you made it back intact, right? So... you bein' of sound mind and body... don't keep us in suspense, Delia. What'd you find?"

Caller: "They were all down there. The entire colony. All of them. Digging. Had been for days. Since before I saw that first patient. No rest, no sleep, no food. I went back every day and saw the same thing. Thought maybe they'd get upset, eventually, and try to stop me, but they just kept going — grinning like idiots all the way up and down a twisting shaft."

NORA: “You try askin' any of 'em why?"

Caller: "Oh, yes. They were all too happy to answer me when I asked what in every last hell they were doing.

Digging, they said. Like it was the most natural thing in the world.

They weren't even carrying anything out except dirt. The deeper you go, the harder it is to twist and bend around all the leftover ore and mining equipment. Elliptical scours, partition torches, splitter carts... The whole lot."

NORA: "Hang on. Why abandon the mining equipment? Can't tell me it all broke down before the miners did."

Caller: "It didn't. I saw one of the miners use a wide-bore drill on the second day — right up until it died. Not broken, just out of charge. She dropped it where she stood, picked up a sledge, and went right back to work. She didn't want to take the time to swap the battery. Some of their hand tools had started to break. They dropped those, too, and just kept on... going."

NORA: "Fingernails..."

Caller: "They just kept digging."

NORA: "Delia: can you get outta there? Got a clear LZ? I guarantee you we got listeners out there who'll..."

Caller: "This is a confession, Ms. Night.

Early this morning I loaded the bottom of that shaft with enough explosives to deliver a mountain straight to Phobos. There's nothing left moving around down there now but liquid gravel collapsing in on itself."

NORA: "Delia... How many-"

Caller: "Three. Three miners. That's all."

NORA: "..."

Caller: "I sedated the ones I could carry, locked out the ones I couldn't. I hewed as close to the cancer as I could, but even with the best cuts you still get some living flesh.

None of the survivors have confronted me about it. Everyone is calling it 'an accident.'

We'll put the pieces back together, in time. Find a new place to dig. It's not the first time we've moved the operation. That we can survive."

NORA: "But not what was down there."

Caller: "You should know one last thing. I think it's important.

They dug every waking moment of every day. Down the same path, yes, but not in the same direction. At least not all the time. The mineshaft twisted and turned in on itself, like a spiral staircase rent inside out. It made no sense. And then, hearing you speak to that Corpus - the one on Deimos - is when I pieced it together.

They were digging to somewhere. Chasing it, the mine shaft curving to follow their quarry. They never would have stopped digging. Ever. They couldn't have. Because they weren't being called by something under the ground. They were being called by something on the other side of it: a body in orbit.

They were digging to reach Deimos."

[Transmission Ends]