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.
Maia Parker slipped her fedora over her black hair and slung her shotgun onto her shoulder. “Well, I’m not staying inside this tin-can just because some chauvinist thinks I can’t take care of myself,” she announced as she scampered up the ladder and out into the bright sunlight.
Out on the steel deck of the drilling machine, she surveyed the thick rainforest that stretched in every direction and the clearing which surrounded them. Throughout the clearing, enormous, three horned animals casually grazed on the grass or scratched at the dirt in search of roots and tubers.
“Triceratops,” Professor Scrumtumbler said as he joined Maia in observing the animals. “Soon they will be known as Tri-Horned Scrumtumble-saurs. Much more catchy name, I’m sure you’ll agree.”
One of the enormous beasts looked up at them and snorted. The blast of air from its nostrils smelled like garden compost.
“They look friendly enough,” Maia said. “Bet you a sawbuck I can ride one.”
Scrumtumbler shook his head and mumbled something about being trampled to death, but Maia figured it was just because he knew he would lose the bet. If he wouldn’t go for it, maybe she could sucker one of the other crewmembers into the wager. And if none of them took her up on it, she would just have to find some other excuse to ride one.
The others soon emerged from the hatch, even Celeste, the blonde-haired actress who had been an unintentional stow-away. In the bright noon-day sunlight, Celeste’s red, sequined dress sparkled so brightly that Maia had to put her hand to her brow to block the reflected brilliance.
“Something seems to be spooking the beasts,” Professor Limefellow observed, pointing down to the nearest triceratops. It was shaking its enormous gray head-plate and bucking its horns threateningly into the air. Two more of the massive beasts joined in with the threatening display, their bellows mixing the sounds of elephant trumpets and lion roars. Behind them, the other members of the herd responded to the commotion by forming a tight, defensive circle around their young.
“They seemed so nice before,” Celeste said. “What’s gettin’ them all riled up like that?”
Maia studied the three bulls squaring off against the drilling machine. In the bright sunlight, their head plates seemed dappled with red pinpoints of light. As they stabbed at the air with their horns, they squinted and blinked against the flashing glare of something in the direction of the drilling machine.
“Your dress,” Maia said to Celeste, pointing to the actress’s red, sequined outfit. “You’re like a walking red cape at a bull fight.”
Before Maia could shove Celeste down the hatch, the three triceratopses roared once more and charged in. They ran together, flank to flank, rushing forward like a thirty ton tsunami of prehistoric muscle and bone.
The ground shook with the thunder of dinosaur feet. Celeste gasped. Scrumtumbler and Limefellow both tried to get down the hatch and into the drilling machine, but they collided with each other and neither of them made it inside.
Maia crouched down and timed her jump for the instant before the beasts slammed into the steel hull.
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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