Act 1, Scene 4: Ducts and Death Traps



Honeyberry: "*HA...HA----HATCHOOOOOOOOOO*"

%SND% echo .... chooo chooo chooo chooo...

Honeyberry: "Wow, nice acoustics."

Marconi: "Sorry, it's pretty dusty down here."

Honeyberry: "Is this some sort of air duct?"

Marconi: "Hell no. Even if you were small enough to fit in, they're pure filth. Ask me how I know."

Honeyberry: "So how do you know?"

Marconi: "Believe me, you don't want to know!"

%ACT% Honeyberry groans

Marconi: "Anyways, this is the maintenance level. It's where most of the supply lines, including the air ducts run through. Why they built it this way? I have no idea."

Honeyberry: "How many people are living in this place again?"

Marconi: "Hard to say. Somewhere between a few hundred and a thousand maybe."

Honeyberry: "Are there no official numbers?"

Marconi: "Oh, I'm sure there are, but for some reason it's one of the topics the higher ups really don't like to talk about. As if it wasn't obvious that the population is dwindling. Polaris is slowly turning into a colony of greymuzzles, and almost no children to take their place."

Honeyberry: "Wow. Are people no longer interested in raising children, or is the underground life making them sterile somehow?"

Marconi: "It's neither. You need the council's blessing to raise a child, and it seems they're intentionally letting us die out."

Honeyberry: "But why would they do such a horrible thing?"

Marconi: "I wish I knew. There are so many things they know, but won't to tell us. There are so many things about this place that make no sense, but if you dare to ask even a single question about it you'll end up in hell's kitchen."

Honeyberry: "Very mysterious!"

Marconi: "If you like mysteries, then Polaris will be right up your alley. Did you know that there's another level below that is absolutely identical to this one? It has working lights, furniture, heating, water, everything. But nobody lives there anymore. You can only get there through the cable shaft. And the ladder goes down a lot further than that. Five more levels with the doors welded shut, and then it's suddenly all filled up with water. Is that how you would leave your home if you intended to come back one day?"

Honeyberry: "Fascinating! I can't wait to unearth the history of this place."

Marconi: "You really think Hawking will let you? Good luck with that. Oh, be careful, watch your step now ..."

Honeyberry: "Marconi!"

Marconi: "Oh, uh, sorry, I forgot ... uhm, may I guide you?"

Honeyberry: "Please."

Marconi: "Here's my paw. Now take a big step forward. A little bigger. Slowly. Yes, good. You're safe to go on now."

Honeyberry: "What was that?"

Marconi (ominous): "The junction box of **doom**. Only few who touched it lived to tell the tale!"

Honeyberry: "Uhm, I don't want to be nitpicky, but could you please warn me a little earlier before the next death trap?"

Marconi (laughs): "I'm just kidding. It's not a death trap at all. It's just a box with a half molten terminal block in it, and nobody knows how to turn it off. The last worker trying to fix it lit her whiskers on fire, and after that we decided to wiggle it **just** right until it worked and never touch it again."

Honeyberry: "That totally IS a death trap!"

Marconi: "I wish I knew as much about technology as you. I used to work in maintenance, and still they barely even gave me a glimpse of the knowledge our Masters had. I know how the steam pipes work - but where the heat comes from? No idea. Can't go there. Same with power. I know enough to not kill myself when I change a broken light, but that's about it. Most people in here believe it's all our Masters' magic. They'd think differently if they knew how often stuff breaks. Our Masters left us with warehouses full of parts, but no way to build anything of our own. But I'm not allowed to talk about it. That's how I lost my job."

Honeyberry: "And they still allow you to roam around down here?"

Marconi: Of course not! But they can't stop me either. Security is pretty tight up above, but down here in the ducts, all the locks are either broken or have been missing for ages. And since none of the highborn bigheads ever set a foot down here, there's zero motivation to fix it. Okay, T-Junction coming up, we're turning right here."

Honeyberry: "Wow, this is amazing! Every direction smells different. Let me guess. This way is the kitchen?"

Marconi (nods): "Hmm-hmm!"

Honeyberry: "Aaand ... this way smells like ... steam and soap. A washroom?"

Marconi: "Correct. And if you smell rancid boots and farts, that's Hawking's room."

Honey (laughs): "So where are you taking me?"

Marconi: "Just wait for it. It's going to be a surprise!"

Honeyberry: "Am I going to lose my whiskers when I touch it?"

Marconi: "I've been dusting it off for years, and it hasn't blown up in my face a single time!"

Honeyberry (not encouraged): "That's encouraging!"

Marconi: "You'll love it. Next one left ..."