Down Under - Lunius R'Kiliyian

The sun shone through a haze of overcast clouds, hitting a patch of the barren face of a slope leading to a wide ditch, laden with dark rocks. A young Romulan stands staring up at this patch of warmth, yearning to bask in it, though his thoughts quickly return to the long lecture the older man standing next to him is giving.

He quickly turns his attention back to the man, trying to pick up what he might have missed from the familiar speech.

"--- do this to me! When will you realize your responsibilities?"

Ah, that's where the old man was at... it always went this way. The boy would wander off, whether in mind, or body, and the old man would begin another lecture, griping about the younger generation's shortcomings. Suddenly, the boy is saved by a familiar voice. He turns to see his father striding towards the pair. He's covered in soot, his jacket smudged in places, and his expression as cold as the granite around them.

"Lunius, come." D'Rida gestures to the old man, indicating that he'll return Lunius to him at a later point.

Lunius looks to the old man, giving an apologetic shrug, and hurries after his already departing father.

D'Rida's voice is like the gravel beneath their feet as he speaks, he passes a PADD to Lunius. The PADD shows a series of numbers, figures, names, and a long list of items.

"It's time you learned the trade, son." he looks down at the small Lunius "If you're ever going to get off of this rock, you'll listen to me, and you'll listen well. I'll speak of this once, and only once."

His tone is unforgiving, though at his heart D'Rida loves the boy. He looks at Lunius, seeing his late wife in the boys eyes. He winces and strides on, his face a mask. If he were ever to give the boy a chance... No, he may be stuck on the Mining Colony of Cales II, but he's still a Romulan, damnit, and that means at least a shred of the pride his bretheren on the homeworld are allowed to show is due to him.

He points to a row of names at the top of the list, as he walks alongside Lunius.
"These, are the names of the planets this ore is making it's way out to." he points to a set of numbers beneath them "These, are used to keep track of the amount of ore going out, in pounds, to thoes planets."

He looks down at the boy to see the familiar expression the boy wears when he's trying to keep up. Eyebrows scrunched together, mouth set tightly, eyes honed in on their target. It'd take more than basic concentration, however, to get the boy to understand exactly what he was trying to tell him.

D'Rida sighs and starts over, pointing at the figures again.

"Okay....." he stops, waiting for the boy to notice his abrupt halt. "Here."

After a moment, Lunius realizes D'Rida is no longer striding beside him, and looks up, his eyes darting back and forth, finally, he turns around and spies D'Rida a few meters back. He scampers to his father, blushing at his lack of awareness.

D'Rida seems unphased as he goes on.

"These-" he points to the row again "indicate the amount of ore we send off of the planet. It's very simple, Lunius, if you'd just pay attention. This Dilithium is important to the Empire, which means your job will be important to the Empire."

D'Rida stands, his joints creaking as he does so. He stifles a grunt, as his back throbs, and he continues speaking, gesturing to the entrance of the mine. The sound of machinery and men talking can be heard, as the wind starts to blow in their direction.

"Lunius, someday I'll be gone, and this will be your work to do. All of those men will look to you, when it comes time to meet another quota. The Empire will look to you when those men start to ask questions. Son-" he looks back down at Lunius "you've got to understand how important this is."

D'Rida pauses as he looks down at Lunius, hoping for an indication, any kind of sign, that the boy is really understanding what he's trying to explain. He decides that maybe, just maybe the boy isn't a lost cause, as Lunius finally speaks.

"Yes, Papa."
A few years have passed, and Lunius reaches the early years of adulthood.

"Anyways, if we were to work the shifts into a series of overlapping groupings, we'd be able to increase the output of the mine tenfold."

Lunius squints towards his father, barely able to make out the older man's rigid form in the hazy lighting put off by the luminescent string of bulbs running through the mine shaft. The sound of machinery whirring endlessly makes his father's reply almost incomprehensible.

"Well. If you think it'll work, then we can give it a shot. We haven't been meeting our quotas recently, and I'm starting to wonder if the Old Girl's gone dry...."

D'Rida frowns, his worry lines standing out much more visibly than they had in years past, Lunius can't help but to notice the smattering of grey hairs his father now wears. It'd been a long time since he'd seen D'Rida actually make his way down into the mines. His being here now could only mean one of two things. Either productivity wasn't high enough... or it was time for another round of lay-offs. Lunius takes a moment, and decides it's probably the former

He'd found this position thrust upon him, when D'Rida's time in the mines finally caught up to him. His knees weren't up to the task of crouching in the small crawl-spaces, and his back wasn't what it used to be. Time and time again, Lunius tried to convince D'Rida that this didn't mean he'd lost any sort of validity, but D'Rida seemed convinced that this meant it was time to be put out to pasture, a fate no Romulan would willingly suffer.

Lunius offered a small smile to D'Rida in the dim light

"I'm sure we'll get it all figured out, sir." he cringed slightly at the word. He'd always hated calling his own father 'Sir', but it was proper etiquette, and appearances had to be maintained... even out here on the backwater colony of Cales II.

D'Rida offered nothing more than a grunt, in reply to Lunius' reassurances. The older man turned back towards the mine's entrance, making his way towards the surface. As he limped along, a somewhat downtrodden Lunius sulked slowly behind him.

He'd spent so much time, put so much effort, into learning the trade. He'd always wanted to make D'Rida happy, and that seemed important now, more than ever. Why couldn't he just admit that the colony was going dry? For the past few months, people had been leaving, transferring off-world, to find new opportunities, and new homes. Cales II was not the asset it had once been, the planet being a dried up hulk of it's former self.

Streets that were once alive with the buzz of people, now seemed hauntingly empty. Windows were shuttered closed, doors barred from opening. The only remaining centers of activity were the Consulate's office, and the local bar, the Latinum Tooth, run by the ever present, and the always scheming Freg; a short, dirty, and seemingly constantly drunk Ferengi. It was a wonder he managed to make any profit at all, but somehow he'd found ways to supplement his business, and his personal habits.

As Lunius emerged into the shockingly bright sunlight, he stood still for a moment, allowing for his eyes to adjust to the light. A smattering of miners were sitting around near the mouth of the mine, talking and eating. Remans, Romulans, and the occasional Yridian could all be seen grouped together, soot on their faces and extremities and their expressions as hard as the dilithium they'd been mining for years.

Lunius offered a small smile to the group as he passed by, but only got, the now familiar, cold stares from the men. He'd only been working in the position of Foreman for three months now, and the crew already hated him... this was always a good sign. Lunius sighed and moved on, catching up with D'Rida, as the older man limped on, at a surprisingly rapid pace.

D'Rida's path led the pair through the winding streets of the colony, though Lunius was pretty sure of his father's destination. The Latinum Tooth seemed to be the only place D'Rida was at ease in, any more. Most nights, he'd sit and talk about the colony's 'glory days', over a seemingly endless glass of Ale, to whomever would sit long enough to catch his attention.

D'Rida abruptly turned off into one of the alleys, affirming Lunius' assumption. The older man walked towards a dilapidated building, the sign above it hanging slightly askew, and the ground around the doorway littered with empty bottles, and a sleeping miner.

The older man pushed the doorway open, ushering Lunius inside the darkly lit room. Freg was standing behind the bar, wobbling back and forth a little, as he shuffled to and fro, taking care of the customers at the bar. D'Rida sat on one of the barstools, raising a finger to get the little Ferengi's attention.

Freg shuffled over, and set down an empty glass, pulling a bottle from the shelf behind him. He filled up the glass, its amber contents bubbling happily. Freg slid the glass over to D'Rida, turning his hand over, palm up, waiting for payment. D'Rida slid a slip of latinum into Freg's hand, shooing him away.

Lunius watched the little man, fascinated by his actions. Somehow, it seemed amazing that Freg made a profit at all. His service was horrible, the drinks he offered were no better than watered down Targ's piss.... but somehow, people still gravitated towards this place. It seemed fitting that the hub of social activity on the colony would be a place like this. Lunius left his thoughts for another time, and turned to D'Rida.

"What did you want to talk about?" he asked hesitantly, hoping against all hopes that the answer wouldn't be yet another series of insults. He loved D'Rida, but sometimes the old man drug upon his nerves, with the careful precision of the mining drills in use somewhere below his feet at this very moment.

D'Rida looked up from his glass, then furrowed his eyebrows together. He reached up to scratch at one of his ears. The characteristic point of this ear was non-existent, having been lost in an accident a few years back.

"Do I need a reason?" D'Rida stated simply "You're still my son, and that's got to mean something, damn it."

Lunius couldn't help but to sigh upon hearing this. But, something outside the bar caught his attention. The sound of people speaking in raised voices... as empty as the colony was, it was out of place to hear so many voices converged in one place. He turned back to D'Rida, and gave the older man an apologetic gesture.

"Excuse me for a moment." he said, as he swung his feet around the barstool, and made his way outside.

As Lunius pushed his way through the doors, a shadow passed overhead. He chalked it up to cloud coverage, but then the shadow remained... and didn't move. He looked down the alley, and into the street, and caught a glimpse of the source of the commotion.

A group of Colonists were standing huddled together, speaking hurriedly to one another. One of them pointed to the sky, and Lunius followed with his eyes.

His expression grew into one of disbelief, as everything started to sink in. Filling his field of vision, was a large Cube in the sky. It's surface riddled with odd looking fixtures, a seemingly endless mass of wiring, and conduits. Even from this distance, it was imposing, and terrifying. He'd always heard stories about such things, but they seemed more a tale to tell frightened children at night.

The cube suddenly started to move, and from each side, a series of smaller spheres emerged from it's interior. As they came crashing down to the surface, the group of people's chattering, suddenly turned into panicked screams. People were running back and forth, but all Lunius could do was stand, and stare.

The screams were suddenly overwhelmed by the resounding whine of the spheres dropping through the atmosphere. Rumbling could be felt underfoot, as some came to rest in the planet's surface.

Lunius could only think of one thing, one word to sum up everything he was seeing.