((The Monday Triple: page 1 of 3))
‘Not quite a thousand,’ said Garovel. ‘My knowledge is a bit archaic when it comes to the Undercrust, but as I recall, the average Hun’Kui can comfortably withstand temperatures of up to eight hundred degrees. In thermoregulatory terms, they’re what’s called eurytherms, meaning they can live in an extremely wide range of temperatures. But that’s all relative to the Undercrust. If you tried to take one of them back up to the surface, they’d still freeze to death.’
‘In Fahrenheit, the surface has a temperature spectrum of three hundred degrees or so. One-fifty in either direction, that is. But the Undercrust has a much, much larger temperature spectrum, beginning around five hundred degrees and ending around four thousand.’
‘That... sounds unpleasant.’
‘Just a bit, yeah. For reference, any area that’s more than three thousand degrees is generally regarded as uninhabitable by the people here. They don’t even try to mess around with temperatures that high.’ The reaper paused. ‘Or at least, that’s how it was when I last visited a few hundred years ago. Maybe they’ve made some breakthroughs while I was gone. In fact, I hope they have. I love seeing new technology.’
‘So, wait. They can deal with TWO thousand degrees? That still sounds completely insane to me.’
Garovel pointed a bony finger upward. ‘Take a look up there.’
Hector wasn’t sure what Garovel was talking about. He only saw a dark and very distant cavern ceiling amid a visibly warm haze.
But no, wait. After a few moments, he began to see it, even through his visor. There was something there. His eyes needed time to distinguish the deeper blackness from the rest, to interpret the faint contours in the darkness.
‘Holes?’ thought Hector. There seemed a few of them. Maybe five or six--he couldn’t be sure. They must’ve been gigantic to be visible at this distance.
‘Yes,’ said Garovel. ‘Heat funnels, to be precise.’