Prologue

  The air pirate stood on the edge of the deck, his ship propelled slowly
forward by four steam powered propellers, each weighing more than a ton. The
giant metal ship crawled forward, circling the massive crater that had been
mined from the earth. He pushed his white hair from his eyes and crossed his
arms, staring at the giant white, circular gate that rested in the center of the
pit. In the middle of the gate was a large clock, ticking its way to zero. Wind
blew his olive green trench coat; his gloved hands tightened on his cold arms.
Steam puffed from vehicles that resembled frogs, two large legs for walking and
an open cockpit for the pilot; a drill was mounted on the nose of each machine.
Someone stepped out of one of the mining machines and held in his hand what
appeared to be golden rings.
There was a pause before he picked the first one up from his hand and examined
it. The pirate looked off into the distance and spotted the towers and puffing
smoke in the horizon: Tideria. The Industrial capital of the world. They would
seal there own fate...


        1

  The miner named Fran Ulrick Pushed the walker's drill further into the thick
granite, tearing the rock to shreds as if it were paper, little pieces of gravel
and pebbles flying everywhere like confetti. His mind tended to wander when he
worked. Being a member of the Republic, he thought of revolution. "I can't wait
until I don't have to mine in this freakin' quarry anymo--wha...?" his drill
struck something hard and bounced off. He narrowed his eyes as he stepped
closer, brushing away a thick layer of dust. He stared at what lay before him
with confused astonishment-- writing. But not any language he had ever seen. It
appeared to be some form of ancient text. He drilled away more rock and revealed
a great sight-- a dusty, pale-green wall with ancient looking designs spread
over it. He drilled more, peeling away the gray boulder piece by piece, until he
came across a triangular door. The door sunk into the wall about six inches, the
flowing designs seeming to grow over it like a vine. He blew away the dust and
touched the door lightly, as if it would shatter under the pressure of his
greasy hands. But it was strong and thick, despite it's ancient age. He jumped
back when a blue light began to glow above the door, generated from a circular,
eye-like apparatus. It admitted a low hum, followed by the sound of moving
gears; turning, clicking. A high pitched steaming hiss leaked from inside as the
door slid smoothly open, separating in three diagonally cut plates. An
unshakable darkness covered what lay beyond the ancient gateway, shrouding it in
a fearful mystery. Only a moment passed before a series of dim lights flickered
on, revealing a long hallway. "So it's true..." he thought, "There really are
underground cities...all those myths that i had been told as a child in the
temples...they're true!!"


*.    *.    *.    *.    *.

  Fran stood in an office of a lovely mansion. A dark brown wooden desk shined
in the lights from above. The red velvet carpets felt soft under his mining
boots. The copper colored marbled wallpaper complimented the room nicely, giving
it a very expensive look. Some exotic plants sat in the corners in large vases
that must have cost a fortune. Sitting behind the desk was a man in his forties;
tall, well dresses in a dark aqua green suit and jet black hair. His hair was
short, very much business like, with a well-trimmed goatee. His circular, silver
framed glassed rested on nose as he questioned Fran.
  "...And you're telling me that these myths, these bed-time stories that our
mums used to tell us about the Gods, underground cities, the ancients...they're
true?" the business man said it with a precise, skeptical, almost sarcastic
tone. His English accent added that extra bit if class to top it off.
  "Well, I didn't say all that..." Fran began, "...all I'm telling you Is that
I found what looks like an entrance. It could go into a tomb, ancient ruins,
or...a city. I don't know, I'm just telling you what I saw. I'm just a miner."
he shrugged as he finished his last sentence, turning his head to a blue-green
uniformed body guard toting a machine gun. Fran shifted and tensed his large
muscles, trying to hide how nervous he was. He came in again, "But, I mean, if
you don't believe me, Just go look at it yourself. It's not like it's going
anywhere."
  The man smiled and stood up, nodding to one of the guards. "Prepare one of
the ships; we're going to that quarry immediately. Mr. Tides."
  He introduced himself, holding out a white-gloved hand. Fran took it, shaking
it.
  "Fran Ulrick."
  "Pleased to meet you, Mr.Ulrick."

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