These dragons are called Spire Phantoms because they dwell amongst the arctic spires of Socratys. Like the elusive ghosts of human lore, they appear out of nowhere, screaming and roaring to the heavens…stealthily piloting through the icy mountaintops of the planet. Black and sleek, they are capable of flying close to subsonic speed and only slow down once they've spotted the ancient minerals deposits that are a key part of their diets. Coincidentally, the major mining operations of Socratys are located in the mineral dense arctic regions of the planet.
Socratian mining processes are performed by cockroach-sized intelligent robots. These robots have the ability to eat (breakdown and ingest) the rock of a mountain (therefore increasing their mass [Theoretically, it would take a few thousand of these to hollow out a mountain]). The robots responsible for hollowing out an area for the mineral processing plants are only responsible for internally storing mined rock materials until they are ordered by their mother computer to regurgitate the materials into transport vessels. The robots don’t create waste and don't generate heat, so there is no significant environmental pollution from the robots. Other bots (similar in size) scour mineral rich areas around the plant and abroad, gently digging networks of circuitry-like paths into mineral dense grounds, while eating the minerals and storing them internally for transport. To prevent over-mining, both types of bots are programmed to only ingest a certain amount of minerals (each year) before they return to the main plant for storage and harvest.
The purpose of the mining plants is to control local and remote mining bots that are up to 100 miles away. Not every mining site needs a mining plant. In fact, there are only a few mining plants on the planet. As decided by the reluctant, conservationist council, most heavy-duty mining (that would generate catastrophic environmental issues) is done in space. Mining asteroids is the major means of procuring heavy-duty materials for architecture, machinery and advanced technologies. Most construction is completed in Space, and transported to the planet via heavy mass electromagnetic and solar powered transporters, using gravitational pulse technology.
Because mining operations exist in the feeding grounds of the Spire Phantoms, the dragons often see the mining bots as pests or parasites, and will unintentionally disable numerous amounts for the easy access of their food.
I digitally painted this artwork in Photoshop, over a period of 15 hours.
I modeled the mining plant in Hexagon 3D, rendered it in Carrara 3D, and composited it into the artwork.
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