DAY 35 8:30 AM
The captain sits in his study, analyzing today’s resource figures. Wood, steel, and coal are all producing as normal. However, the yield of raw food is slightly lower than yesterday’s. Confused, he calls in one of his engineers into the study.
“William. William! I need you in here, now!”
William rushes in, dusted with a light layer of snow.
“I want you to look at these figures.”
“Of course. Let’s see… Coal: 1800 units. Wood: 160 units. Steel: 80 units. Raw food: 80 units?”
“Exactly. We are producing 10 less than we should each day. Find out why.”
“I’m on it, sir.”
William opens the door and leaves. Returning to his work, the captain overlooks the requests the citizens have put in today. The usual requests are there: double food rations, more coal for homes, extra moonshine, etc. However, there is one request that stands out. A request for an automaton! What would someone need one of those hulking metal beasts for? Looking at the slip of paper in disbelief, he calls the guards in.
"Who's Mike Auburn?"
"Let me see…" the guard pulls out a clipboard from his bag and runs his finger down a list.
"Auburn…Auburn…Auburn! Here he is. He’s an engineer, currently working at the workshop."
"What position is he?"
"Alright. Find him, and ask him what the hell he needs an automaton for!"
As he is going over a paper written by one of the doctors in the infirmary, the captain is interrupted by a loud buzzing. Looking up, he sees the Morse code pager is active. Rushing out, he hurries to the beacon to receive the messages sent by the scouts.
Checking the thermometer, the Captain sees that it is still -60 outside. Hopefully this "weather anomaly" wouldn't affect the city.
DAY 35 11:12 AM
Pulling out the book of laws, the captain pours over the pages. Nothing really seems to catch his eye. Triage, prison, oaths of binding; hopefully he would never have to sign any of those. As he flips the page, he feels a light draft rush over his skin. Looking up, he sees William standing at the door.
“Ah, William, you’re back! Do you know why we aren’t making as much food?”
“Well, no sir.”
“What? Why did you come then?”
“It’s something to do with the hothouses sir, they’re not producing as much as they should.”
“Well, go find out why!”
“That’s the problem, sir, we can’t! The temperature is correct, the insulation is sound, the humidity is above 70, and the soil is moist. Everything is in perfect order!” “Check again!”
“We did sir, and as I said, everything is in perfect condition!”
“Do we have any specialists?”
“Arthur, sir. Arthur Morgans.”
“Find him, and have him inspect the crops.” “Alright, sir.”
DAY 35 12:03 PM
Sloughing through paperwork, the captain barely notices the door creaking open and the guards walking in.
“Captain.” Seeing no response, the guard raises his voice slightly. “Captain!”
“What! Yes, yes. Have you found Auburn?”
“Yessir. Right here.”
Stepping through the doorframe, a slight but sturdy man appears.
“I am here, captain.”
“Alright, guards, you can go.” The guards shuffle out.
“I’m going to get straight to the point. Why do you need an automaton?”
“I believe I could make several improvements if-”
“Well, I’m not exactly sure-” “Come back when you’re sure.”
“Well, I do have one overarching goal. I want to be able to put automatons to work in infirmaries.”
“That’s ridiculous! They’re far too large to even go inside of a medical post, let alone work there!”
“How would you even be able to make the automatons work on people? They have spikes as legs, for god’s sake! They’re taller than watchtowers!”
“Well, if I were able to add extra appendages, they could heat the infirmaries and work with patients.”
The captain sighs.
“I will give you one, and only one, automaton. If you break it, I will banish you.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Don’t. I’m doing this for the people, not you.
DAY 35 3:05 PM
The captain has just received news of a commotion occurring in between some of the houses. As he ascends one of the guard towers, he notices something odd on the horizon.
“Potter, what is that?”
The captain points to the shapes on the edge of the cliff. Pulling out a pair of binoculars, Potter stares at the area.
“I don’t know… wait. I think it’s… it’s… people!”
“Yes, it’s more survivors!”
Rushing down the ladder, the captain runs to the edge of the crater wall, with a crowd of citizens in tow.
“Are those survivors?”
“Who are they?”
“More mouths to feed…”
“Will they be useful?” “How did they survive?”
Asceding the small flight of stairs chiseled into the crater wall, the captain meets the large group of people.
“Who are you?”
“Nansen’s… group…” one of them sputters out.
“Come on. Let’s get you out of this cold.”
The survivors and the captain descend the staircase, all of them freezing.
“We need houses! Get to work people!”
Rushing to the stockpiles, a group of citizens begins construction on several homes.
DAY 35 4:06
Now that the group has been treated and warmed, the captain is able to get some information out of them.
“Where did you come from?”
“We were escaping London, with polar explorer Nansen guiding us. And we were doing well, but we were never able to set up a permanent settlement. But one day, he looked at the horizon and he told us to run. Run as fast as we could. And then he collapsed. We saw your beacon, and there are more on the way.”
“Did he tell you why?”
“Alright. You will all go to work tomorrow. Stay in your homes until 8, and be prepared for work. Rations are at the cookhouse.”
DAY 35 5:23
The captain sits in the study, with his head in his hands. One of Nansen’s refugees has just died. Barely 2 hours, and they’re already gone. God, how is he supposed to deal with this? As he is wringing his hands, Arthur and Willam fling open the doors.
“Captain!” Arthur shouts.
“Something is very wrong!” Willaim continues.
“What is it? Tell me!” the captain replies.
“We think the plants aren’t getting enough sunlight,” William explains.
“This is to be expected, but not to this degree.” Arthur finishes.
“Do we know why?” the captain asks.
“No, but we are trying to figure it out right now.” William answers.
“Tell me when you have an answer!” the captain says, frustrated, “Why is everyone giving me half-assed work?”
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