Triceratopses vs. Stegosaurs (Hollow Earth Expedition Ssn1 ep13b)

This is an ongoing story about a lost world of hungry dinosaurs, sinister villains, and non-stop action. If you are new to Hollow Earth Expedition, I suggest starting at the beginning of the story.

Maia stood up on the back of the lumbering triceratops to get a better view of the city and saw that somebody had cleared the outer wall of all nearby foliage. It was not the work of animals: this was clearly the result of human labor because the jungle had been hacked back in an even line out to thirty or forty feet, and the cutting was recent. It meant no easy access to trees or logs that could give her a boost over the top, and the bricks that comprised the tall wall fit together seamlessly, which meant no footholds. No doubt there would be gates and perhaps open chinks elsewhere along the wall, but those areas would surely be closely watched by the inhabitants.

As she pondered the best way to get into the city, a herd of four leaf-green dinosaurs roamed out of the thick jungle in search of the fresh sprouts growing next to the wall. These new creatures lacked most of the bulk of the triceratopses, but they stood half again as tall, thanks to the impressive, diamond-shaped bone plates that protruded along their backs. It made them look dangerous, but the real danger protruded from the tips of their tails in the form of thick bony spikes. From her time working with natural history museums around the United States, Maia knew these animals to be stegosaurs, long believed to be as extinct as the triceratops upon which she now rode.

Herbivorous animals were rarely as territorial as predators, but animals of this size evidently felt the need to fight for their patches of grass. The three triceratops bulls did their trumpeting and pawing routine while the family of four stegosaurs turned sideways and thrashed their spiked tails, all the while hissing and howling like angry cats. Showing off their broad flanks like that, the stegosaurs reminded Maia of pirate ships readying a broadside cannonade. This threat was not lost on the triceratopses, who seemed hesitant to charge in; perhaps, Maia thought, they had experienced those deadly tails before.

The triceratopses, who had not cared about that section of the jungle until they saw the stegosaurs in it, moved forward with slow determination, keeping their head shields aimed at the swinging tails. The first triceratops was lucky enough to catch the tail on the backswing. There was a clatter of bone-on-bone as it drove the tail to the ground and pinned it with his three horns against the dirt. The stegosaur, still mindlessly chewing its cud, watched in dull awareness while its tail, moving as though it had a mind of its own, jerked and lashed in a vain attempt to free itself.

The other two triceratopses were not quite so fortunate, because as they pressed in the spiked tails came whooshing out, and horns met spikes with the resounding clack of a baseball knocked out of the park. Mia felt the tremor of the impact through the thick muscles and skin of her triceratops’s back, but the beast upon which she rode seemed unfazed. The fourth stegosaur just watched from where it stood, swinging the tail, its thin head occasionally dipping down for another bite of grass.

The clash between the titanic beasts was impressive, but it would surely draw the attention of anyone inside the city. While her triceratops bellowed and pulled back for another lunge, Maia slid down its thick reptilian tail, rolled away from its stamping feet, and darted over to the head of the nearest stegosaur. While the triceratops dueled with its tail, the surprisingly small head of the stegosaur turned to regarded her with dull eyes. She patted it on its snout, pitying it for its incredible stupidity, then hopped onto its neck and ran up the hillock of its back between its bone plates. She found that the plates were pointed at the top but not sharp along the edges, so she grabbed on and hoisted herself up and over.

She hung by her fingers on the far side of the wall and then dropped herself the remaining few feet. It was a hard landing, but she rolled with it and came up behind the ruins of what might have once been a grain storage or a family home but was now little more than a pile of rubble.

On the other side of the wall, the dinosaurs continue to crash and trumpet. The city’s new occupants heard it, too, because it was only another moment before Maia could hear the stomp of approaching boots and orders shouted in German.


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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

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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