Domino clambered through a broken hole in a tunnel wall under Loner Lane. The fowl smell of the sewer hit her and she crinkled her nose. She had climbed out to change into something more sensible and collect weapons to explore the new sink holes. Cut stones from the tunnel walls lay strewn around, broken and smashed by what ever had passed through.
She rounded a corner and found Scottie Melnik standing beside a woman in a long dress she thought was called Edda, and Azura Loring, a young girl with catlike features and a barely understandable accent.
“Hafter finds it!” Azura said.
“To shoot the hell out of it?” Said Scottie incredulously.
“Ter see wot it be.” Azura replied with a frown.
“And if it’s wrecking the city, well, I have a lot invested here. I’d like it to remain standing.” Scottie said angrily, “At least my holdings, anyway.”
“It jus’ an animal, it haf nothin’ ter fear from us if’n it da size ya say, so it haf no reason ter hides.” Azura reasoned.
“You’re assuming it’s not intelligent. You’re assuming that it doesn’t see us as food. Or that it hasn’t been transgressed upon by someone else. You’re making a lot of assumptions there.” Scottie replied.
“It nawt see us as food fer one reason, yer still ‘ere.” Azura stated.
“A lot of conjecture. I say we shoot the hell out of it and find out for sure.” Scottie answered, loading his shotgun.
“Wells, me let yer awl git ter yer hunt. Stay safe an try nawt ter git eated Okays?” Azura answered, turning and walking up the tunnel, her catlike paws making little noise on the stone floor.
“Be careful!” Edda called after her.
The group turned and trudged through the rancid sewer water, boots squelching in the soft sludge beneath. Domino glared at Edda as her long dress became sodden and slowed her.
“any good with that?” the pirate said, pointing to the large sword strapped to her back.
“I can be, if the stars align.” Edda replied, causing Domino to roll her eyes.
The group arrived at another hole, which Scottie identified as leading to the Krakenwell factory. Domino went through first, grumbling about being with a bunch of scaredy cowards. They emerged into a stone tomb under the factory. The floor was littered with broken stone from the wall. The group pondered if what ever made the hole had come from above or below ground.
After searching for a few minutes, not much was found except for several barrels of Mornington’s Beer. Domino and Edda paused to giggle at the ridiculously wide grin the hotel owner had on his face in the picture on the cask.
“Does it remind you of anything?” Edda asked, grinning.
“A used-airship salesman?” Scottie replied, bringing more giggles.
Deciding there was nothing else to be found, the trio exited the tomb and decided to explore the tunnels where “toenails” were common.
“you think the thing is dropping these?” Domino asked, picking one up and feeling the pointy tip.
“I do, yes.” Scottie answered, holding one up to the light. “I think it’s part of the spines on its sides, that grips the walls and propels it through the tunnels.”
Continuing, the group found a milk bottle among the toenails littering the floor of a long, narrow tunnel. Edda made a note of this potentially vital clue.
“Where does this lead?” Edda asked.
“that was goes out to the lake” Domino said, pointing to a large stone archway with a big drop immediately past it.
“Let’s see!” Edda called. The group went to the edge and looked down. The water below smelt much more fresh than that in the tunnels behind them.
Scottie chuckled “No toenails here, though.”
“maybe it doesn’t like fresh water.” Domino suggested.
“Or it can’t make this climb?” Scottie added.
“That’s good to know, and may be how you got away.” Edda said, peering into an area obscured by shadow below.
“Perhaps.” Scottie pondered.
The group turned and trudged back through the sewer grime until they reached the tunnels under Babbage Square. The rounded walls showed scratch marks and toenails littered the floor. A rumbling, scraping sound echoed down the tunnel towards them.
“There it is.” whispered Scottie, raising his shotgun. Domino unslung her own shotgun and Edda drew her sword.
Something big moved in the darkness. As the trio watched, a large, blueish grey mass came around a corner and sped towards them.
Domino and Scottie opened fire, spraying buckshot over the creatures advancing face. It didn’t slow. Scottie grabbed Edda and pulled her into a side passage, Domino followed, but too late as the creature swung it’s head, catching her leg with a large horn. The pirate screamed as the blow flipped her head over heels and opened a deep gash in her leg, sending her spiraling through the air and into the tunnel wall. Her head slammed into the stone surface and the world went black.