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[Completed]Minecraft; G-ranked Mission; Mizaki
Topic Started: Dec 22 2014, 02:22 PM (2,978 Views)
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A depressing gray dominated both the sands and sky of the Marklil desert, making the two nearly indistinguishable in order to form an emptiness which stretched endlessly in every direction. The only identifiable feature which stood out within this desert was a beaten road on which a large, well-worn pickup truck drove through it. This road had split off from one of the country's eight highways and led to Gakhaji, a small mining outpost in the desert.

A dozen men, quite a few barely into their teens, sat crowded within the pickup bed; new blood for the Gakhaji mines. Many of their faces seemed sullen and morose, knowing that a life of backbreaking work awaited them. Rumor had it that Nasia Daher, the wealthy owner of the mine and mayor of the outpost, had a dark history with the underworld resulting in jailtime in the previous decade before being released on suspicious circumstances and moving there. Not that it made much difference, considering that Nasia (or rather, Nasia's money) is well regarded by the Marklil government and thus granted quite a bit of protection from the outcries of other countries. Gakhaji produced large quantities of iron ore shipped either to Gyren or into Kakin, however other types of minerals have been discovered as well. In particular, suspicion has been spread over a certain... unique mineral with strangely explosive properties having been discovered in the mine. This would be an incredible event, if not for the fact that Nasia has repeatedly denied its existence whenever questioned.

Finally, after several hours, a low mountainous region within the desert became visible in the distance. A small, rural town could be seen at the base of a large stone hill, filled with dirt roads and aging buildings. The truck came to a stop upon entering the outpost, and the driver waved for the fresh blood to pile out as a large man in dark green approached them, having a thick black beard and red beret which made him appear like a soldier at first glance. His commanding disposition and sour expression made it seem likely that he had military experience. Several others followed behind the man, including a tall, heavyset woman in gray trousers and blouse held up by black suspenders. The woman had short brown hair and a grizzled look as she walked using a cane and scouted the new arrivals with astute eyes. A short and scrawny man in a business suit walked beside her carrying a clipboard.

"Welcome new employees," the man in green said in a grating voice, brandishing a cigar in his lips, "I am Almad Isa; Mine Supervisor. We've been short on hands for awhile now, so I'm glad to see that you've made it. Today you will be given living spaces and shown around the outpost, tomorrow you will be trained, and the next day your jobs will begin. Our mine has strict rules and safety regulations which you are all expected to follow to the letter without exception. If there are any questions you might have before we get started, please voice them now." Most of the 12 men, all standing in an orderly fashion out of respect for Almad's authority, shook their heads silently.
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Cogito ergo doleo

Mizaki was amongst the twelve men. Teens, most of them. He wouldn't call himself nor he the thirteen year old standing next to him a man. The world was a cruel place and whilst that was something that, despite not witnessing daily, for he had lived in considerable confort (which probably these men would probably consider an unimaginable luxury), he knew. But, standing there he felt that profoundly. He was a nen user and that would make his life there easier; he was unsure whether he would be able to endure if it weren't for his mission. He had a large amount of willpower and psychological toughness, but after a few days here he would not be able to continue. He smiled at the ridiculousness of his own thoughts. Not being able to continue. It seemed like if any of the men had any choice on the matter. Certainly, they would not be here if they had another option. Maybe, if he hadn't any other option he would endure too. Surely, if he hadn't any other option he would endure too.

The worst part about this was that he knew that this wasn't that bad. There were many places were the workers were younger and labored under harsher conditions. And this was depressing enough. The whole atmosphere was depressing; the gray sky he had found relaxing many times, simply illustrated his state of spirit. Yet, he had to endure; he was a professional and this was his mission. He needed experience, money and reputation and this assignment provided him the three. This man was undoubtly a threat if the rumors were true; if they weren't it was him and not an experienced hunter who would spent his time futely. He smirked ironically one last time remembering than less than twenty four hours ago he had been in one of the most expensive avenues in the world, where purses were sold for more than the combined income of these twelve men for the next thousand years. Mizaki wouldn't advocate that wealth should be distributed evenly; yet this disaparity was obscene. He hated these governments but he knew he could not change the world by himself so easily. Nevertheless, he wished he could.

He fitted well within the group. Mizaki was one of the youngest, yet his moderately muscular body made him look sturdy. He was not a good actor and therefore would prefer to discreetly try to gather information by listening and if necessary a few well-placed questions than arousing suspicion by showing curiosity. Yet, most of them were probably aware of the rumors, so it was unlikely this topic wasn't mentioned. Even if it were him bringing it up, it was unlikely he would be regarded with any wariness. After all, he seemed just like a kid. He carefully considered asking it now. He dismissed the idea; he wouldn't probably gain anything if he mentioned at this moment. Most of the soon to be miners had shaken their heads in negation. It could be intreperted as a questioning of the supervisor's authority or would feel oddly out of place; he wouldn't bother to take that risk as he would have a large number of opportunities to do so. He breathed deeply. His first mission had started. Mizaki had trained intensevely to achieve this and he didn't intend to fail. He hoped the rumors were true. It would be much easier and require much less time and effort to prove them accurate than to conclusively prove that they were false.
Edited by Conjurer, Sep 7 2015, 06:44 AM.
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With no questions offered, Almad grunted. "Very well then. If you are all ready, then I'll have a few of your seniors show you around town; starting with your living spaces and where you can get a good meal. I expect you all to report back here at eight tomorrow morning to begin your training, so be sure to get yourselves settled in and get a good night's rest."

He waved them off and several veteran miners moved to show them around. The first stop was a run down, crowded building where they would be spending their nights at the outpost. They were directed to store their bags in their rooms upon stopping there, not that most of them had much to store.

The entire outpost was aging and coated with a thick layer of sand, but the mess - where many in the mine's community frequented - was especially so. A large man in an apron so badly stained that it was difficult to realize that it had once been white stood behind the counter, and smiled to reveal a toothless grin as several of the new arrivals walked up to him. "Welcome," the man said in a warm, yet gruff voice, "hungry? Meals are free. Drinks and seconds aren't." Scooping up a ladle of ground meat, he dropped it on their plates as they passed by him one by one.

"Why don't you get the newbies a round on me?" a high-pitched voice called out behind them, and a few heads turned to see the clipboard-carrying man from earlier approaching them. "My way of welcoming them, if you will."

The chef chuckled. "As you wish. Nasia won't like you spoiling the new blood, though, you know?"

"True, so let's keep this a secret. What Nasia doesn't know won't hurt her." The man turned to Jeremy, the new miner closest to him, and extended a hand in greeting. "My name is Arnold Lemmings, and am the owner's assistant slash accountant. By the way, I wouldn't recommend getting on her bad side. She can be quite cross."
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Mizaki dismissed his previous thoughts. His analysis was far from reality; he had not yet witnessed the labor environment yet he could conclude that this wasn't as grim as he had pictured it. It wasn't extremely far from reality, but it was, nontheless, exagerated. Even though he was certain that it would henceforth deteriorate. He smiled at his own luck; the fact that just after their arrival, they had been offered drinks by the owner's assistant suggested that it was supposable that he would have many opportunities to inquire those who were most likely to possess any information of Mizaki's interest. Perhaps solely this man, Arnold Lemmings, would behave in such a manner and perhaps only because he was particulary joyful today, but he could as well reveal himself an excellent source of intelligence. And there was another thing that added to his luck, which were the drinks; he was unsure whether the round would be exclusevely composed of alcoholic beverages, but most likely, he would be regarded as a man and therefore, it would. Whilst he had no particular interest in drinking (he thought there were better things worth sacrificing brain cells for - despite his uncertainty whether there had been any conclusive study published concerning this matter, as all he could remember was that researcher's opinions over this were conflicting) and disliked the taste of it, that would mean that gathering intelligence would be easier and that it would be highly unlikely that Nasia's explosive minerals were not mentioned by some inebriated miner.

He looked at the food on his plate; it could be worse, he decided. Mizaki had been expecting worse yet he could not refrain from attempting to calculate the probability of him becoming sick as a result of this. His immunitary system wasn't prepared for it; he had brought a few pills with him that he would have to take for the first few days. "I wouldn't reccomend getting on her bad side", he pondered on these words; they further confirmed his conjecture that he would not be isolated with the other miners and would be able to interrogate Nasia's assistants. If he could somehow acess her accounts via Arnold Lemmings, he could discover valuable information. In case that the rumors were true, Lemmings would surely be aware of the explosive minerals.

Mizaki's worn trainers were already full of sand, but that was something he was used too; he was much more bothered by the worn clothes he was wearing that made him feel like if his whole body were itching. Notwithstanding, it was a requirement in order to complete his mission and thus he ignore it and adopted a confortable posture. Or rather, attempted to.
Edited by Conjurer, Dec 24 2014, 04:00 AM.
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OOC


"Damn quiet... not even a word of thanks!?" Arnold muttered irritably as the new arrivals silently accepted their beers when the chef brought them out; not at all liking their lack of a response. Getting the hint, the nervous group stated their appreciation as they continued to drink. As word would spread to them later, Arnold Lemmings was not an especially charitable man: anything he gave came with the expectation that it would be paid back in some form or another.

That said, he wasn't disliked around town by any means. A pure, Princeton-educated businessman though he was, Arnold was an easy man to approach and barter with; especially in comparison to Nasia's overly strict and at times volatile nature. Workers who found themselves in a tight spot (such as mistakes made during a drunken stupor) often turned to him to keep Almad and Nasia off their backs. If there were two quirks to remember concerning Arnold they would be to never act ungrateful for his kindness, and to always pay back one's debt.

"Pay day is on the first of each month," Arnold explained with a cheerful tone as the group all drank and ate at the same large table, "salary is 40k a month for starting miners like yourselves, but that includes rent and meals. This is a small outpost, but we have enough facilities to keep you occupied. Every place but here that serves food will charge you ... though it is tastier. We have a post office which will also let you wire money to your families for a small tax - that's owned by a separate company so don't complain to us about the fees." As the chef brought Arnold a special, tastier-looking plate he began to chow down while continuing. "As for work itself, well Almad will tell you everything you need to know. I will say, though, the equipment is all owned by Nasia. You will check it out and back in at the start and end of your shifts. If you break something, it comes out of your pay. Carefully inspect your equipment when you receive it... a lot of people working there will just give you the rundown stuff when you go up to check out - don't let em swindle you."

The miner sitting next to Mizaki nodded, taking in this information seriously. As he would introduce himself soon after, his name was Jeremy - a 15 year old coming from a town north of Gyren who had come to earn money for his family.

"You ever done any mine work before?" Jeremy would ask Mizaki as they made their way back to their rooms for the night. "My parents are shopkeepers back home, so this is a first for me. I'm hoping to transfer above ground in a few months and put those skills to use."
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Mizaki started to understand Arnold's nature better as he irritably reacted at the group's lack of response and was one of the first to express his gratitude; he drank the contents of his jug thoroughly, not making any attempt to partially pour liquid on the floor. He did dislike the taste of beer, he concluded; whilst it wasn't entirely repulsive, it was to some extent distasteful.
Arnold was doubtlessly a potentially excellent source of intelligence, he decided, considering his new conjecture regarding his personality. His hopes concerning the drinks and the possibility of gathering information via a miner's drunken remark vanished; everyone had drunk exactly one jug of beer and none had dared to utter more than a few words - it was somewhat likely that this could happen in a future occasion, when the beverages where not bought by Lemmings.

For a starting miner, the salary was considerably higher than what he expected; higher than most miners expected, he guessed, especially considering that it included a few basic living expenses. That made him speculate that it was possible that the rumors were accurate; if there were explosive minerals, the amount of labor accidents resulting in serious injuries or death should be higher - he had researched that information but was unable to find it, which meant that either there were none, there were none yet or there were no records; whilst the governmental support should suffice to cover up for anything, higher wages would mean that, whether there were accidents or not, there would always be men willing to work there.
Mizaki wondered about the fees; most miners would probably want to sent money home and hadn't got many other means to do so, which meant they should be quite high. He would, to avoid suspicion and incoherences concerning his fake identity, send money to a fictional 'home', whose owners he had previously contacted.

He memorized the advices concerning the equipment; they would surely be useful to him for the duration of this mission. Mizaki was thankful for Jeremy's polite conversation, an excellent chance to relate the story he had rehearsed several times.

"No, I've never done any mine work in my entire life" he awnsered "and I am not sure what I'll do next" he added "My parents owned a small farm in the coast, but money's short and and my younger brother turned eleven, so he's old enough to help my father there; as two people are enough to manage the farm and as I am now fourteen, and also because my mother, who used to work on an inn, died this year" he suddenly stopped speaking, sighing and breathing deeply; this particular lie was perfect, as it would probably prevent other miners from approaching the subject of his past. He could observe Jeremy's worried look, fearing he had made a question he wasn't supposed to; he felt guilty, but that, nonetheless, didn't stop him from continuing his story "meaning we lost a source of income, I had to make up for that and saw this mine was recruiting and therefore, here I am"

"Hey, don't feel bad about questioning me" he told the miner, with a clearly forced smile on his face "everything has an end, after all. Plus, you didn't have any idea..." he stopped "but well, good luck on your project. I want a few friendly deals if I visit your shop, remember that" he added, now with a genuine smile.
Edited by Conjurer, Jul 15 2015, 02:41 PM.
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Jeremy shrugged at Mizaki's reply, not particularly perturbed by the information but respectful of his circumstances. "Well, it's not like I'll be owning a shop anytime soon. If you ever visit my hometown I guess you can drop my name at my parent's store..." he chuckled to himself at the thought of either of them leaving the mine anytime soon. This was only their first day, and even those recruits with plans for the future weren't expecting to stick around for less than a few years.

...

The next morning came suddenly; just past five AM bright sunlight seeped onto their beds through the window of their six-bunk shared room. The veterans sharing the room grumbled some annoyances before grudgingly getting up and beginning their routines. Following them, Jeremy and Mizaki (as well as one other new arrival sharing the room) made their way to the cafeteria for breakfast before showing up at an open yard in front of the mines at seven for their training.

Almad Isa stood before them alongside two buff-looking men. They were Almad's supervising assistants and, like him, ex-military hired for their ability to keep the workers in line.

"The mine is open for fifteen hours a day, divided into five three hour shifts," Almad said to them as they stood at attention, "As long as you wish to be employed here, you will work twenty shifts a week. If you wish to inquire about our policy on sick leave or injury claims, inquire with Lemmings for the related documents. Your schedule, and positions in the mine will be decided for two weeks in advance - you can request changes in the Mine Operations building you see to your left. This is also where you will check out your equipment."

For the next six hours, miners followed Almad's assistants and a few other veteran miners as they explained the job and its peculiarities in great detail. For legal reasons, they heavily emphasized the safety regulations such as checking for faulty equipment or assessing stability, as well as emergency aid in the event of an accident. They were under close supervision by the supervisors the entire time, and given a tour of important locations of the mine as what they would be doing was methodically explained to them. Towards the end of their day as they were gathered in a large man-dug cavern, Mizaki would notice a group of retiring miners exiting a lift and heading towards the surface - only for one to sneakily turn away from the group and jump past a specially labeled barrier (which their instructors had frequently emphasized to mean an unsafe area and to never cross) where he disappeared into a branching path.
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Mizaki wondered how much time would Jeremy and the other recruits spend on this mine; he seriously doubted that Jeremy would be able to leave in "a few months" as he had dreamed - and he was probably aware of that fact; he also pondered on how much time he'd spend there - surely less than any of the other recruits, he hoped. Unless some of them end up leaving the mine sooner than expected... If there really are explosive minerals than it's likely one careless inebriated miner does something stupid that might as well happen he thought. Mizaki was certain the plan he designed would allow him to leave the mine at any time yet he didn't intend to do so until he completed the mission, whose duration he hadn't even attempted to predict.

After less than three minutes of pure reluctance to wake up, Mizaki was fully awake and alert. The breakfast was somewhat terrible, but Mizaki ate it nevertheless. He didn't speak much to Jeremy or to any of the other of the miners until he arrived at the yard in front of the mines; only one of them seemed more than half awake and not in a mood for pointless conversation - every new miner seemed to be depressed realizing that they were about to spend years or even decades of their lives at this very same outpost. Yet, most miners also seemed to hear Almad's instructions attentively; the fact that the injury and sickness documentation was handled by Lemmings was good news for Mizaki - that meant that his early assumptions had been correct. He would surely become sick within a few days to further investigate this subject - he had enough knowledge of Medicine to be able to successfully fake a disease even if there were doctors to attempt to discern whether the workers were unable to work. Mizaki carefully analyzed the security guidelines yet he could not find any relevant information that would help him make any conjecture regarding his mission expect for the mentioning of an unsafe area that could as well be an unstable cavern rather than anything else; whilst he didn't expect that even if there were substances with explosive properties in this mine that the entire mine would be dedicated to those substances and that new miners would be entrusted with manipulating them.

Yet, something caught his attention at the end of the day - a man sneakily entering the unsafe zone that was mentioned earlier; Mizaki would definitely inspect it as soon as he had an opportunity to do so, preferably during the night - he could probably sneak through the living quarters and enter the mine whilst it was closed - he wouldn't risk it this night and not only before working there for at least a week and devising a plan adapted to the routines of the workers and security; Mizaki, or rather Jonathan Neville, the name under which he had applied, shouldn't also become sick in the first few days working at the mine - whilst it was actually plausible he'd rather wait for a time before attempting to do so, because it could mean he could be yet again subject to a full examination and if his acting weren't good enough a doctor could decide he was pretending to be sick which would result in compromising the whole mission. Mizaki pondered on the intelligence he had gathered so far and concluded that the best course of action would be to become a regular mine worker for at least the next week. Unless a good chance appears
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A week passed - a long, tedious week as the new miners were quickly thrust into the job. The dozen new recruits were scattered about the workforce in various positions and schedules, although Mizaki would notice that he shared many of his shifts with Jeremy. As he could've expected, even after their training for awhile they were placed under the supervision of veterans miners. It was constant, unending, backbreaking work which left Mizaki with little time to do any investigating.

Little seemed out of place, really. The miners went about their work hours in the mines mindlessly, and then either spent their days throwing money into the various stores and establishments owned by Nasia around the outpost (getting drunk was a particularly famous pastime, as was a small gambling parlor). The free meals offered by the cafeteria weren't especially popular, it seemed, and for good reason. Some looking to earn an extra buck either volunteered for extra shifts, or went looking around the outpost for part time jobs to handle.

Jeremy was one such person, and eight days following their arrival, a large, tattooed man would approach the two of them as they ate breakfast at a table in the cafeteria. "I heard you newbies wanted to earn some extra cash," he said when he stopped before them, "well we have a job lined up that we need plenty of extra hands for. The delivery truck came in with a new shipment of equipment, and we need plenty of hands to move it into the mine area. If you're free come along; payment is 5000 for the day."
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Mizaki had spent most of the scarce free time he had had during the week with Jeremy and another miner with whom he share his room,visiting the gambling parlor thrice, where he put his card game skills into practise, being one of the few earning some extra banknotes that could certainly be somehow useful to fullfy this mission; he also visited a few of the establishments that sold alcoholic beverages but was unable to hear any relevant mentions regarding explosive minerals except for a few jokes mentioning them, but that wasn't able to conclude disregarding that it was not a prevalent conversation theme.

Mizaki nodded in acceptance as the tattooed man proposed them the job. Jeremy would surely agree and perhaps it could be an excellent opportunity to gather relevant intelligence. He did not bother do discuss the payment - Jeremy would bargain if he did not deem it fair; yet even considering it was slightly less than they'd recieve for a day's work at the mines, it was an extra adding up to their salaries and therefore, it seemed unlikely he'd attempt to negotiate it.

"Agreed. Seems fair to me, at least" Mizaki answered flatly. "Money's always welcome" he added. "Jeremy, you're also coming, right?" he asked the miner promptly

If this were no more than the unloading of a delivery truck and wasn't anyhow connected to his mission, today or most likely tomorrow, he'd pretend his own sickness to attempt to research Arnold's accounts; he had analyzed the mine's security suffiently to devise an efficient plan and yet, whilst he believed he was now able to effectively sneak into the restricted area, he would like to inquire a veteran miner about it first; perhaps only the reaction would give him some useful information - he just hadn't got the right chance to do so yet. In an optimistic scenario, he would be able to finish this assignement within two weeks - even if he discovered enough intelligence regardind the minerals this day since unless there was a critical situation that obliged him to leave immediatly, he'd like to wait a few days before leaving the outpost, claiming a relative's death - despite the fact he was using a fake alias, he'd want to ensure he could never be connected to this mine. Realistically, he hoped to finish it within a month and considered he'd be able to complete it without raising suspicion that suggested any information leak
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