Tallie wrestled with the drilling machine: its big curved chute kept catching on the tunnel walls, and on the tunnel arches, and, in fact, on any odd bit of tunnel it could reach. It hadn't been designed for easy transport, although it must have been designed for something. Tallie just couldn't see what.
She'd followed the Book's directions and now, she thought, she must be nearly as far as the Experimental Research District. She stopped to catch her breath and to unhook the machine from its latest encounter with the tunnel.
This was a very old section of the underground. The pipes and cables that snaked through the tunnels here were old, badly corroded and probably no longer served any purpose at all. Except for belching steam, she amended. In the relative quiet she heard a distant rumbling that shook the underground. It sounded like thousands of feet were marching in step far overhead. I wonder what that means, she thought.
But Tallie had a job to do: she gathered herself behind the uncooperative mass of the machine and got it rolling again. It can't be much farther, she hoped - can it?