The Rugged Explorer Has a Job to Do (Hollow Earth Expedition (Ssn1 ep6)

This post is part of an ongoing story set in the pulp-era world of Hollow Earth Expedition. If you are new to this series, I suggest starting at the beginning of the story.

Jack Steele raised his hand to shield his eyes from the sunlight pouring through the porthole. After twenty-four hours tunneling through bedrock, daylight was a shocking wake-up call to the crew.

In the seat next to Jack, Professor Scrumtumbler lowered his goggles over his eyes so that he could look out into the blindingly bright landscape. “We’re here!” the wild-haired scientist declared. “We’ve made it into the Hollow Earth!”

“Nonsense,” said Professor Limefellow from the next seat. “If we were in a subterranean cave, there would be no sunlight, of course.”

“Not according to my theory,” Scrumtumbler said huffily.

Jack put an end to the professors’ bickering by working the bolt of his Remington .30-06. “You eggheads and dames stay here,” he said. “I’ll go find out where we are.”

Popping the hatch, Jack lifted himself onto the steel deck of the drilling machine and saw that they had emerged at the foot of a mountain surrounded by a vast rainforest. Loud birdcalls rang through the trees, warm air carried the scents of springtime growth, and a herd of enormous animals grazed in the clearing not far from the drilling machine. The whole region must have rested at a very low elevation, because the horizon curved upwards in all directions until it faded into the white, misty clouds that evenly coated the sky. Strangely, this cloud cover did nothing to dampen the light from the bright sun that hung directly overhead, as if it were hung on the near side of a swirling white backdrop.

Professor Scrumtumbler had said that his underground caverns might contain an ecosystem and even its own phosphorescent lighting source, but this place was obviously no dank cave filled with bats and bugs. Jack decided that the machine must have drilled through the crust at an oblique angle to emerge somewhere else on the Earth’s surface. Based on the looks of the verdant rainforest around him, he guessed they were in the Amazon jungle somewhere. Judging from the size of the animals grazing nearby, he revised his guess to somewhere in Africa. Then he got a better look at those animals and decided he had no idea where he was.

The herd consisted of about a dozen squat, gray creatures that he might have mistaken for rhinoceroses, except that they were closer in size to elephants. And the rhino-horn on their nose was accompanied by two longer, thicker horns that drove straight forward from a broad, bony head-plate. They seemed harmless enough as they uprooted the grass and ground it in their parrot-beak mouths, but it still made Jack nervous to see that their grazing was taking the heard closer to the machine. One of them even meandered right up to the side of the drilling machine, looked at Jack with a yellow eye that had a black, vertical slit of a pupil.

Once, Jack had seen an Australian platypus and decided it was the most unlikely hodge-podge of spare parts that existed outside a fairly tale. Now, he was forced to revise his opinion, because these three-horned monstrosities looked like it belonged to a different world. Whatever it was, the professors could quibble about its classification later: for now, Jack had a job to do.

 

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Hollow Earth Expedition was created by Jeff Combos and is property of Exile Game Studio. For more Hollow Earth Expedition action, check out ExileGames.com

About Sechin Tower

Sechin Tower is a teacher, game developer, and author of MAD SCIENCE INSTITUTE, a novel of creatures, calamities, and college matriculation. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
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