written by Fyren
The drop pod rattles during yet another orbital insertion. I have already forgotten what today’s mission is meant to be. No doubt mission control will remind me several times. The young dwarves to my left and right are chatting excitedly, while I sigh in a weariness that borders on boredom. I’ve lost count of the number of expeditions I’ve returned from. Sadly, I’ve also lost count of the number of friends I have lost along the way. I look down at my armor mining suit. What was once a bright yellow sheen is now scuffed and scratched, covered in blast marks and resembling more of a brown and black camouflage from the years of abuse. I twitch my greying moustache as the drop pod lands and give my drills a test before exiting into the cavern below.
We set out in search of… something. I am on autopilot, my body going through the motions. My brain is mulling over the offer made to me earlier in the day by the company; retirement. What would I even do if I retired? All I’ve ever known is moving dirt and killing bugs. One thing is for certain though, I’m getting too old for this. BOOM! An exploding bug sends me to the ground. I snap out of it and back to reality. My complacency is starting to get the better of me.
Just a few more expeditions and Deep Rock will either take me out behind the space rig and put me down, or I can take up a hobby and drink the rest of my days away. I just need to finish my contract. Five more expeditions, most of which will be spent training my replacements.
The next days are a haze of hauling rock and stone smeared with bug guts. I get irritable with younger generation. Constantly yelling at them to watch their backs, stay alert, and most importantly to look out for each other. Kids these days have forgotten the importance of team work. I hear them talking, especially after a few drinks, with little regard for the lives of their fellow dwarves. They are concerned with nothing more than breaking records and attaining fame and fortune. Worthy goals for any dwarf, but not at the expense of the group. “We are all in this together.” I explain to a particularly eager bunch after stopping them from all running off in different directions in search of the quota. “We achieve more together. Remember, we leave no dwarf behind.”
Before I know it, the day comes. The old chap in mission control informs me of my eligibility for retirement. “I suppose I’ll take it” I tell him, still unsure of what will fill the days to come. “It’s been a pleasure miner” he tells me “Not many dwarves live long enough to get to this point. You should be proud.” I stow my worn gear in the locker for the last time. I take a walk around the space rig that has been my home for many long years, while sipping on my final purchase from the Abyss Bar. This is it. There were many good memories here, and many terrible ones. I just hope my replacement does as well as I have.