Previously On The Theoretical Science Foundation:
Our heroes plunge into the depths of an abandoned mine, facing assault from enormous arachnids and mutated insects, to rescue their errant colleague.
Having returned Jeff to the farm house and broken to him the sad news about the demise of both his assistant, Jimmy, and his sister, Jill, we grabbed some shut eye to recuperate from the ordeal of the battle with the strange giant insects... little knowing what the next day would hold for us.
Come the morning, Jeff, having regained his senses, was super-excited about his discoveries and insisted on showing us a photograph (at top) of Jimmy in a new cave system that had been opened up by the recent tectonic shifts.
He pointed out the existence of series of man-made steps in the cave and convinced us that we should accompany him on a fresh expedition.
We loaded up with caving equipment and set off into the snowy wilderness.
Jeff led us to the entrance, just up a ridge from the old mine we have visited the day before.
Our guide told us he had been exploring this new cave when he'd been grabbed by the "mantis creatures" and carried back into the mine, but then he believed a subsequent rock fall had cut off the connection between the two subterranean systems.
Descending into the cave, through the hole in the ceiling, we spied ancient paintings on the walls, depicting primitive men hunting creatures that resembled large buffalo and mammoths, but also worshipping the fires of a volcano.
Freya (Clare's photojournalist) began snapping pictures to document our journey.
Following the ancient steps, Buck (my explorer) and Jeff both noted the odd cleanness of the lava tubes that formed a network of tunnels stretching down from this first cave further into the belly of the Earth.
With an eye to an easy escape route, we struck out in a generally northwards direction, slowly picking our way through the labyrinthine tunnels.
At one point, Jeff spotted a piece of worked gold in some rubble at the side of the path. It appeared to be part of a small hoop, so we held onto it for later examination.
As with the mine, the further we went the hotter the air became, and that's probably what dulled our senses a bit and made us prod at a large pile of rocks.
This turned out to be a pair of enormous vicious rock crabs, their shells about a metre wide, their pincers able to inflict some serious damage.
When it became obvious that we couldn't really hurt them, we turned and ran down the passageway, while Dick (Kevin's G-man) guarded our rear.
One of the creatures had slipped by him which now meant it was between Dick and the rest of us, so Dick heroically leaped on its back, pressing his pistol at the base of the creature's eyestalks, pulling the trigger and giving the beast a massive headache.
|Artist's impression of Dick on back of giant rock crab|
The befuddled creature turned away from the rest of us, deciding it was time to return to its mate, so Dick sprung off and re-joined his fellow spelunkers.
Having found an unbearably hot tunnel leading to an underground lava river, we backtracked and came upon the nest of an inconceivably large lizard creature (which Freya identified as an enormous, poisonous, fire salamander).
As the creature advanced on us down the narrow tunnel, we, once again, decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and fled as best we could... but the monster caught up with us easily.
And it would have devoured us all as if we were flies, except for Onyx (Erica's cat burglar) tossing a couple of lit sticks of dynamite under it, blowing off a leg and its tail.
The creature was still pulling itself towards us as we reached the end of the corridor, turned as one and those of us with firearms - everyone, bar Fr. Ned (Simon's priest) - let loose a volley of bullets that finally slayed the beast.
While trying to move the giant corpse carefully out of the passage, Dick came in contact with the lizard's skin, accidentally poisoning himself.
After the body was moved, Dick collapsed, wracked with muscle spasms that none of us knew how to stop, although Oynx - the only one of us with any medical skills - was confident it would soon pass.
Meanwhile, we explored the salamander's nest and found a pool of warm water, in which floated a number of football-sized eggs, and a pile of lizard faeces, containing human bones, rusted mining equipment, and the remains of a broken, golden crown that slotted into the part we had found earlier.
Pieced back together, it became obvious that the crown had strange markings on it.
Free-thinker Buck, obsessed with finding a passage to the Hollow Earth, believes this crown could be some magical artefact from a lost civilization and that it could be the clue he has been looking for all his life.
To Be Continued...
- Buck Hannigan - played by me
- Dick Tate - played by Kevin
- Father Timothy 'Ned' O’Flaherty - played by Simon
- Freya Larson - played by Clare
- Onyx Jones - played by Erica (absent)
Showrunner - Pete