01/27/3065 Pillars of Heaven “Aemidat Alsama” Mountain Range, Astrokaszy
Fariq and Hakim climbed up a steep incline, their picks and crampons dug deep into the hard grey stone coated with frost. Their packs were heavy with supplies and they sometimes had to winch the packs up sheer cliffs to get them up the mountain. After the climb they found the trail they had been using to provision their new camp and their pace improved.
Their cousins would arrive in two days and the group would only have a a few months to make their year’s income wildcatting in the mountains before it became too hot. They had scouted out a good location to mine last year and established a new camp.
As they neared the camp Hakim stopped to load his rifle; they could never be to careful. The camp was camouflaged but other wildcats wouldn’t hesitate to steal supplies or wait for the owners to return. The Sheikh’s men were well known for that kind of behavior, he sought a cut from everyone and had enough rifles to enforce his will. Anyone who crossed him ended up in a shallow grave with their family after being sentenced to hard labor.
Once they got close by the pair stopped Fariq pulled out his old heavily used binoculars and Hakim set up. They waited for about an hour making sure everything was in order, they had several tells built into the camp that would betray bandits or the Sheikh’s men. Seeing nothing they walked through the scrubby conifers that clung to the mountainside.
The prospecting camp was built on a ridge near a massive rockslide which had exposed rich copper ore. Hakim preferred silver but copper was just as good and had plenty of market potential. Their small furnace wouldn’t have to work as hard either to smelt it into bars.
02/17/3065 Near Angel’s Fire Prospect Camp
Muhsin prepped a round of mining charges to shatter one of the larger boulders that was precariously positioned uphill of the operation. Withdrawing to a safe distance he wired the charges in and pressed the plunder. The blast was loud but controlled, the boulder was blasted apart and exposed metal was visible under the rubble. He radioed Hakim and Fariq and they arrived from downhill.
The cleared the rubble away and attempted to dent the metal, it bent the mattock.
F: What could it be Hakim?
H: Don’t know its not natural though it looks like the landslide may have covered a tunnel.
M: A tunnel to where? No one lives here. There isn’t a proper road in the entire valley, certainly not one large enough to take whatever bored the tunnel up here.
H: Yet here one is Muhsin. We should investigate, might be an even grander find then some copper.
F: I don’t know Hakim, we don’t know what’s down there. You have to think about Omaira, we shouldn’t go inside. We can tell Rakim and he can get the Mountain Rifles up here.
H: Or he turns on us and tells everyone we died in a landslide. I don’t trust Rakim even if he opposes the Sheikh. Fariq we are going to have to do this on our own, go and bring Rashid up here with the tools and lights. I will help set the charges.
The four of them cleared the rubble throughout the day resting at night before coming back in the morning. Hakim led the way looking for traps rifle drawn, the other had tools on their backs and lanterns in their hands. The tunnel went on for 50 meters before ending in a doorway, none of them could read or understand English but they recognized the insignia.
11th Hussar Regiment, XLVIII Corps, 17th Army
Colonel Heinrich Braumsteed