The blinding lights fastened to the idling behemoth were obscured in the suffocating maelstrom. When the minors got to the ramp, they raced for the refuge of the transport the way rodents seek sanctuary in a small dark hole
New Gaul was a facility built at the bottom of an impact point punched into the planet's surface by a meteorite large enough to rival some of the planets from humanity's celestial birthplace. The planetary splinter had been plummeting through eternity for as long as 4 million years. At this point in its trajectory, it was due to come within 250 thousand miles of a planet hosting “primitive life.”
The meteorite was composed of several gigatons of precious metals with a multitude of industrial applications that would be impossible to extract while it was moving at nearly one million miles per hour. A team of engineers intercepted the cosmic projectile and redirected it at the nearby planet.
Humanity rode in on the burning coattails of Armageddon. Dust from the massive impact shrouded the world in eternal night. The precipitation of ash and dust eventually extinguished the continental infernos, and permanent darkness settled over the eviscerated planet.
In an instant, Homo sapiens replaced all the native life that had evolved over the many eons of changing natural epochs on the planet. Since they had destroyed beyond repair all of the world's natural life support systems, they had to create artificial habitats on the scorched barren surface.
They had to bring in a population to build and maintain the infrastructure around the cosmic bomb so that they could carry it off piece by piece. They had to cut tunnels miles into the surface, gnawing through the interior the way pass through a corpse.
A titanium web emerged from the cavern and crawled across the depths of the crater like alloy vines. The sprawling complex glowed like a lighthouse in the hazy storm.
The transport crawled up to the entrance of a long tunnel and came to a lurching stop. The reinforced doors let out a hiss and slowly opened while a ramp lowered down to the ground. The rolling blast door at the entrance of the tunnel rolled to its side, and the miners embarked from the vehicle and into the tunnel. The door closed behind them sealing them in. They began to unpack their equipment when the lights snapped off, and turrets sprang from the floors and ceiling quilkly shredding the miners with sheets of led before automatically lowering themselves back into their concealed positions.
“Oh, shit!” blurted a startled technician peering at a live feed of the slaughter.
“Turn it off!” Barked a supervisor.
The monitors of the high-tech supraorganism scattered back to their posts and tried to quickly wrest control from the algorithmic processes, but they were too late. The lights came back on revealing a blood-soaked heap of shredded flesh.
“What the hell happened?” The supervisor furiously demanded.
“Sir I think I found the problem.” one of the techs called out.
“Well, what the fuck happened?” snarled the supervisor
“According to this read out the system mistook their new gear for weapons and initiated riot protocols.” his subordinate informed him.
He mechanical leviathan was an enclosed colony percent regulated by an automated system. Human technicians in a ceremonious role monitoring the systems as the operated, but like the god that spun the top they effectively took their hands off their creation. It would operate predictably as its architects designed it to do so in the situations where they had been able to account for every variable. Every second people lived and worked in New Gaul they were betting each moment would be similar enough to the one it followed. For a time that consistency thrived and people learned to stop worrying. Thier fears didn't matter. They had no alternative.