The Rugged Explorer
Like a lightning-bolt out of a clear sky, the biplane dropped into a low attack run and the ground around the dinosaur erupted with the impact of bullets. Jack threw his harms over his head to shield himself from the raining debris. The tyrannosaur, struck for the second time that day by .50 caliber machineguns, reared up its powerful head and emitted a roar of challenge at the plane.
The biplane raced past them and the tyrannosaur bounded after this new threat, leaving Jack behind.
Jack struggled for a moment to draw air into his burning lungs and to come to terms with the fact that he was not yet dead. He pulled himself up onto shaking legs and half-walked, half-stumbled the remaining few yards to join the professors.
“What the… hell’re you doing?” he managed, speech still proving difficult for his exhausted lungs. “Get… get under cover!”
“We’re opening a portal!” Scrumtumbler announced proudly. “I call it a Scrumtumbler Space Bridge, and it’s proof of my theory! We can travel through this back to the surface world… if we can attune it properly.”
“Don’t listen to him,” Professor Limefellow snorted. As he fiddled with one of the crystal nodules at the pylon’s base, the ghostly landscape altered to become that of a mountaintop overlooking a sparkling blue sea. “This is merely a trick of light and mirrors. Although it is rather impressive…”
“And now it belongs to Hitler,” von Wartenburg’s voice cut across their conversation.
Jack and the two professors spun around to see the commandant standing behind them, a cold fire burning in his eyes as his hands wrapped around the onyx skull. At his side stood a lazy-eyed trooper who held a shotgun leveled right at them.
“KNEEL,” von Wartenburg commanded in the mystical language of the Atlanteans. Jack strained to resist, but felt his weakened legs giving way beneath him. Beside him, the professors also dropped to the ground, powerless against the words.
As the tyrannosaur thundered through a distant quadrant of the ancient city, von Wartenburg lifted the onyx skull and Jack found himself staring into those empty eye-sockets once more.