Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language, violence, and mature content.
It was hot here, deep under the planet's surface. The original inhabitants of this place, the chitterbugs, would find it quite comfortable down here. To a human, it was nigh unbearable. The humidity combined with the stagnant air and heavy machinery heating up the place didn't help. And to a certain worker sitting in the break-pod, a room with air conditioning designed to give humans comfort during their lunch break, it must have been what his ancestors believed hell looked and felt like.
This worker sat silently, eating a sandwich. On his name tag read "Harold". He adjusted himself in his seat, coughing a little and clearing his throat. A smile wrapped around his face, he bit into his lunch. It was a BLT, or, well, the Goo equivalent-- BBI. Beef substitute, bush, and iceberry. It didn't compare to the Earth equivalent, but it was sustenance. This satisfied Harold, an air of peaceful meditation about him as he continued to eat. Free from the noise and heat of the outside, the break-pod offered respite. He soaked it in.
This peace wasn't meant to last.
The door to the break-pod busted open. A tall, heavy man ran in, getting Harold's attention. "Hey! Hey, Harry!" He sputtered urgently, tugging the eating man's shoulder, and bringing him out of his zen.
"What? What?" Harold said, surprised by the sudden visit, quickly getting up and setting his sandwich down.
"There's been an accident on this level. One of the bugs jumped into a gravel processor, and a buncha others joined it!" The heavy man sounded exhausted; he was out of breath and covered in sweat. Harold wasn't sure what to do.
"Is it an emergency...?"
"Whaddya mean? Of course it is! C'mon, we gotta sort this shit out! Grab a fuckin' rifle and let's get out there!" The man had a railgun slung over his shoulder, and he gripped it tightly before heading back out the door.
Harold sprung into action, retrieving his company-issued railgun from the rack on the wall near the door. Before he joined the other man, though, he walked up to the table where his sandwich sat and carefully wrapped it up. "I'm not paid enough for this," he muttered, tucking it into his pocket. His administrators weren't going to let him continue this break, after all.
Trigger discipline in mind, Harold readied his railgun to fire upon any of the bugs that decided it would be a good idea to mess with him. He hustled through the caverns of dimly-lit, well-explored mines, hearing wailing and screeching in the distance. A freak-out or two was common in this place, but Harold heard a lot of commotion. He would be ready for anything.
He opened a door that led to the gravel processing plant, noticing several other workers equally armed as he fearfully rushing in. Inside, the sound of a malfunctioning machine and wailing creatures pierced Harold's ears. He aimed his gun at the source of the noise, but lowered it in favor of covering his hearing.
In front of him stood several chitterbugs, clawing at and feasting on the flattened bodies of several others of their kind. They cried as if they had been injured themselves, nourishing their hunger on the fallen. They were not careful to avoid the machinery, and at points others, too, would get caught in the machine. They didn't seem to pay attention. All self-preservation was rendered irrelevant in the face of this strange ritual. In the midst of the sobbing and loud outbursts, there were chants and songs. A few of the chitterbugs even decided to copulate, their sopping chest-tongues slurping all over each other's chitinous bodies.
Someone pulled Harold out of his distressed attempt at alleviating his overstimulation. "Shape up! We have to break this up!" Harold couldn't even tell who said that. Fellow workers took aim and carefully approached the cacophony of sin before them. Protocol dictated that any deviations the chitterbugs took to work should and will be met with a forceful removal from their deviation and a physical reprimanding. There were so many in this orgy of lust and violence, however, that the workers froze up. Encroaching the scene, they had no choice but to act.
In situations like this, an ambassador would be identified and made to explain the disturbance. An ambassador was always deployed in the midst of a group of bugs, so as to build familiarity with the chitterbugs it works with. They could speak rudimentary English and relay the situation so as to bring a resolution. At this point, however, the ambassador could not be identified. Either its armband fell off, or it was somewhere mixed into the swirling and churning gore entrapped in the machine. It was safe to say they were all ferals.
The workers looked around at one another knowingly. Harold's stomach churned as he thought of the two possible outcomes of this situation-- the chitterbugs would be purged and replaced, or emergency response would have to be called. So many, though... it would mean a complete halting of production on this floor. People would be laid off for something like this.
Harold was the first to step up to bat. He slung his rifle over his shoulder in an attempt at a diplomatic gesture and stepped forward. The bugs did not pay attention, and Harold's coworkers didn't stop him. They tried to shout at him to get back, that these things were dangerous, but he assuaged their worries. "Someone has to deal with this," he said. "It'll be fine."
With that, he continued the several foot journey to the site of the orgy.
The bugs still did not move.
He looked back at his coworkers. They were just as unsure as he was.
Steeling his resolve, he knelt and attempted to sing. He knew their language, even if his understanding was rudimentary.
"Why?" He sung loudly in their tongue. "You are dying!"
The human's voice brought most of them at attention. Chittering unintelligibly, those who could walk approached the man.
Fearfully, he had the urge to run away. Everything he had been taught said these beasts were savage, unloving and unlearning, primitive beasts that should not be reckoned with.
And yet... there was not anger in their eyes. Instead, there was sorrow. Their voices raised in desperation. Harold's heart tugged at his chest.
"Peace," they cried, "we want peace!" Their claws stretched out to him. Peace. These creatures, who had such a cruel design, their forms jagged and made for killing, pleaded for peace. An end.
"We are injured, Man! We are injured!" Their chants continued. The creatures unified in their suffering.
Harold's eyes filled with tears. He croaked as he struggled to find a justification for this. Beasts with human souls. He could not help them. He was a human, and they were bugs. That's how it's always been. His fascination could not get in the way of that.
He attempted to reason with them. "You must work... you will suffer..." The administration did not take these things lightly. None of these bugs would survive reprimanding if they did not stop this. The bugs did not respond well. Each of them had something to say.
"Ssssssssuffer... we suffer! We suffer, we suffer, we suffer, we suffer..."
"We work! We live to!"
"We live to die. We live to work..."
"Toil... we toil!"
From what he could make out, Harold understood their grievances. He always did. He knew they suffered. He knew they worked tirelessly. For them. For humanity.
Why? Why did it have to be this way?
He looked up at the creatures. They wanted peace. They didn't care about the consequences of that desire. He could see it in the injured ones. Their expressions uncaring about the blood they spilled. Their crushed legs unaddressed.
It didn't have to be this way.
Death would be their respite.
He stood. The creatures jolted back in surprise. He looked at his coworkers. Harold was the arbiter of it all. He decided when and how the bugs would die.
He huffed, turning his heel and coming back to the line of armed men.
"What's up? What happened?" One asked, and Harold simply drew his firearm.
"They want to die."
"They what? What the fuck?" Some looked shocked, and one man piped up angrily.
"That doesn't make any fucking sense!" They each bickered at each other like this. It was a shouting match.
Whatever. Harold fired.
One dropped. The others screamed.
Another shot. The rail pierced through two, and they fell in each other's arms.
Blood was pooling all over the floors.
Harold's coworkers stopped him. "Hey, hey, stop, stop!" They snatched his gun and pushed him away. He fell on his ass and grunted.
"Listen to me! They want to die!"
"That doesn't give you any fucking excuse to fire at company property," a buff man screamed in his face, "you're gonna get us all in trouble, dickhead! Do you even know what you just did?!"
Harold covered his ears and wailed, just as the Seida. He curled up into a fetal position and breathed heavily. The men continued to scream at him.
The damned had no business going to heaven.