Yes, there’s more.


Mining was one hell of a fun job, especially if no-one knew you were doing it. Mining inside the borders of the city was heavily illegal, but the Neste City Police Force were well known for their inability to care about that particular law. It had become so rare to find people mining inside the city limits that it just wasn’t worth chasing them anymore.

The general consensus was that Neste had been picked clean years ago, back when it still resembled a frontier town from a bad western movie. Happenstance Crawford knew something the average man did not, however. He’d bought a very old map from a woman in the far South East, some hideously backwater town in the desert. According to Happenstance’s excellent map-reading skills, there was an untapped source of Ultra-Gold somewhere in Neste.

Happenstance had spent the last four years surreptitiously digging for this Ultra-Gold, with little success. The biggest problem came from finding somewhere to dig without drawing too much attention to himself. Being a crew of one meant that he was naturally discrete, but even one man will attract attention if he starts digging holes in the street. He needed a spacious house with a basement, preferably somewhere in the vicinity of the big X on his map.

There had been a number of close calls, primarily due to his overly nosy landlord, but he’d dealt with that. He had to admit, his solution had been more than a little childish, but it was damn good fun.

He had done it a lot as a child. Take an orange, hollow it out and place a cherry bomb in the centre, sneak it into the fruit bowl and stand clear. He’d expanded upon this trick somewhat by using his adult knowledge of mining explosives. The resulting blast had removed half of his landlord’s southern wall, and deafened the man for life. No proof that it had been Happenstance’s work though, no sir.

A deaf landlord made it much easier to drill without notice, and as a result Happenstance had stepped up his excavation work. He’d been drilling down for the last few months and was about to begin tunnelling sideways to reach the big X. It was hard, slow work, and it had cost him a lot of money to get his hands on all the equipment, but one ounce of Ultra-Gold would be enough for him to buy Neste out from under the council so what did a little expense matter?

Neste was built on very thick granite and drilling through it was strenuous and slow. Happenstance had already broken four drill bits when there was a knock at his door. He tucked his drill into its special hidey hole beside his bed and moved to answer the door. He made it halfway when he door exploded into a shower of splinters.

Happenstance ducked as thousands of wood chips smashed through his apartment, ripping apart his furniture and tearing little bits of flesh from his body. When the wooden cloud came to a rest Happenstance risked looking up. In what was left of the doorway stood a tall man dressed in black. He was carrying a large weapon in one hand and had eyes that could shatter stone. They were firmly fixed on Happenstance Crawford.

‘Afternoon,’ the figure said.


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