The Daredevil Pilot
The battered S-1 landed with an undignified thump in the mossy field of the Irish countryside. Kate blamed the rough landing on the stress to the wing-rotation joints in their recent dogfight, but she might just as easily have blamed it on a combination of the black, moonless night and her bad eye.
She double-checked the coordinates they had taken from the Nazi files. This was the place, she decided, although it looked like nothing but a field overgrown with wild grass. Doctor Scott blabbered something about the stones beneath their feet being able to open the bridge, but Kate didn’t care about the details. This was where they could open the gate to The Hollow Earth.
“All’s you hafta do is hook up them there wires and turn it on?” Clem asked Dr. Scott.
“Well, mostly yes,” the doctor fiddled with his stolen machine. “This is a bit out of my area of expertise, but I gather that it will bypass space to a sympathetically linked location at a remote destination.”
“Come again?” Reggie asked, pausing in the act of unwrapping a candy bar.
“It creates a magic doorway,” Dr. Scott said with a sigh of resignation.
Kate looked at the dew-damp field around them and decided to take it on faith. In fact, she had enough faith to unbuckle the holster of her pistol, just in case.
“If it’s a doorway,” she asked. “Where does it lead?”
“Theoretically, it could lead anywhere,” Dr. Scott said distractedly as he fiddled with the output dials. “In practice, however, it’s got to be linked to other gates and will open only to those locations. If we can find one that happens to be near Professor Scrumtumbler, then we might actually have a chance of rescuing him and his expedition.”
As he spoke, the air around the monolith shimmered and warped, emitting a strobing radiance that lit up the field around them. Kate hissed in amazement as the grass by her feet began to gyrate and move, braiding itself together and then laying down as if each strand were a charmed snake. The strange effect radiated out from Dr. Scott’s machine in thick, graceful lines along the ground, forming an intricate pattern of circles and lines.
“Crop circles…” she muttered. “I’ve heard of them, but I never knew where they came from.”
“Amazing,” Dr. Scott whispered.
“And me without my camera,” Reggie shook his head before consoling himself with another bite of candy.
“That’s far enough, gents,” When Clem spoke, he did not sound like his usual self: his western drawl had been replaced by a crisp, British style of enunciation.
“What’s with the funny accent?” Reggie asked. “I mean, what’s without your other funny accent. Or—you know what I mean.”
“I have deceived you, I’m afraid. And now I will be taking that device which opens the portal.” With that, he held his Colt peacemaker level to Kate’s head.