The Four Horsemen
hellstrome Session 10
Hellstrome Kid, Journal Entry 9
3d Aug, 1879
With Zach’s help, I managed to build a car that can run along the train tracks. It uses muscle power to go, but once moving, we only need to provide enough muscle power to keep it from slowing due to friction. It’s not fast, but it’s way faster than going on foot would be … and eventually, it got us where we needed to be. I think it may have been 3 days, but it’s hard to tell time underground like this. Also, the air in this tunnel remained fresh, despite a lack of ventilation tunnels. I’m not sure the cause, but it was convenient. Interestingly, a few hours into the trip, we started hearing the sounds of another steam engine approaching, and got off the tracks as fast as possible – but the train never came. It made me worry that there might have been a fork in the track that we missed, given we just had one mining lantern for illumination.
Day – 3 (that’d be 3d Aug), I’m going to call it, even if we could have been a day or so off of that date – we ran into a barricade. It was manned by Hellstrome Industries robots that were using gatling cannon to prevent anything large from coming up the tunnel. They stopped us, and our train car got wrecked in the process, but soon after we were picked up by some rather surprisingly well-mannered security guards. They took us to a station in their own train car. This station was in the middle of the tunnel we’d been traveling in, and seemed to support a large work force as well as the man in charge of it all Dr. Darius Hellstrome, himself!!
The great man described his purpose here, and extracted a promise from us that we’d stay with him for a few days, until he wins the railroad race, and proceeded to treat us all with great hospitality. We were honored to have a tour of the Hellbore™ as well as help replacing our equipment that was damaged in the accident. Dr. Hellstrome was even generous enough to devote a lot of time to talking with me about my own scientifical aspirations. He even gave me an autographed blank book for recording blueprints. I doubt I’ll ever be able to surpass the great honor he showed me.
Lacey O’Malley was there, too, and told us a bit more about the Explorer Society, and gave us a task we could do for them. I suppose it’ll be a good idea, but I’d really like to get the good Doctor’s opinions on the scientifical background of what the hoi polloi call ‘magic’. It clearly works, so it must have a basis that can be understood, but he seems reluctant to discuss that topic. I have to assume it’s related to some sort of secret work he’s doing, alas. There’s so much he’s apparently unable to tell us.
Anyway, we finally got on the train. It was a good trip. Just a few days – until we started up the spur towards Denver. The train crashed. Most of us were not badly hurt, but Cassie broke an arm. We had our hands full, getting everybody – those who survived at least, not all – out and safe. All the supply cars had fallen into a collapsed mine, along with the main engine car. We were lucky: there was a lot of mining equipment, and we rigged up a sling to keep them from crashing – and keep them from dragging the rest of the train down with them. It also let us get the bulk of peoples’ supplies out so the people from the train had a chance to finish their trip.
It turns out there’s a town just 30 miles or so up the road. They should get there in a couple of days, but we decided to go down into the tunnel. It was built by one of the real Hellstrome Industries mining vehicles, and they’re using it to run trains across the great divide. I’m expecting them to win the race, given how big an advantage their tunnel maker gives them. The problem is that the tunnel’s not stabilized. It tends to collapse, largely due to the fact it’s drilled in mixed materials. If it was all through granite, it’d be solid. Still, we’re hoping to be able to use the tunnel to get us to Denver a lot faster than the people who stayed on top. I have to admit – I’m also eager to see more of Hellstrome Industries’ work. I bet I’d learn a lot from it all.