The Rugged Explorer
Jack held the Amazon at arm’s length, paralyzed with the realization that she was, in fact, a woman.
She, however, felt no such hesitation about Jack’s gender. She grasped his wrist, pulled her throat away from his fingers, and then wrenched his arm down and outward, causing him to stumble forward.
He managed to keep his feet under him, but when he stood back up she was already behind him, one arm locking in place around his neck, squeezing his throat shut.
He tried to shake free, but she pulled him back and off balance so that he could only stagger after her. He pried at her arms, but her hold was too tight.
His vision narrowed and the world seemed to flush with red before it began to fade to black. His feet trembled, and he felt a quaking in his chest as his lungs struggled for oxygen.
The Nazi spectators, safely protected by the tall arena wall, roared in sadistic joy.
The trembling grew in Jack’s body. An odd thought struggled up through the growing blackness to capture his attention: it wasn’t him that was shaking. It was the arena.
With a deafening roar and a shrill whine, a spray of rocks burst from the ground at the base of the arena wall. Suddenly, the Nazis weren’t cheering any more: they were shouting in panic as something massive and ripped its way up through the earth at their feet. It pulverized an entire quadrant of the arena wall and then settled there, a massive, noisy shadow veiled by a cloud of dust and sand.
The Amazon released her grip and Jack’s vision cleared as blood rushed back to his brain. She must have been thinking the same thing he was: now that the wall was broken, they could get up into the stands. Once again, the Nazis were their mutual foe—provided they could get past whatever had burrowed up from the ground.
The dirty cloud settled down to reveal the source of the destruction: the gigantic, shining tube of Professor Scrumtumbler’s drilling machine, its nose-cone still spinning in the air.
The hatch flipped open on the back and Scrumtumbler, his hair as unkempt as ever and his lab coat even filthier than usual, popped out into the open.
“Scrumtumbler ex machina!” he shouted, raising both fists into the air as if he had just won a prize fight.