Ridge Trail – The Valleys
Lunch was demolished. Even Dieter in the end had to concede with a slightly guilty giggle that his mother most certainly would not have approved of, that hotdogs were the “best lunch ever”!
The three boys were on the trail leading up to Layan’s cabin.
Jaak: Brucealmighty Dieter! Must you stop at every fluffaducking tree? It does rain here ya know – at this rate it’ll take us all afternoon to get up to Layan’s!
This time Dieter was unabashed.
Dieter: Well Mr. Potty-mouth! I have you know that if we get lost out here in these woods – it will be up to me to sniff our way back!
Jaak: Dude I know exactly where we are! We have barely gone 100 metres – I can still practically see the smoke from our cabin’s chimney!
Dieter gave out a loud snuffle.
Dieter: Anyway… “This is gonna be like – the best hike ever!”
Tag who had been watching this exchange looked across to Jaak with his ears in opposite directions.
Jaak: Don’t worry Tag. You’ll learn to love him. Eventually.
C’mon guys let’s get going.
The rest of the hike up the hill to Layan’s cabin was met almost without incident as even Dieter had to admit that once you had pee’d on one tree you had pretty much pee’d on them all – or something like that.
The rambunctious trio eventually made it to the rock outcrop just before the crest of the trail above Layan’s cabin. Tag instinctively ran over to the nearest gap, and disappeared through it. Dieter attempted to follow, however he pretty much only got his head into the gap, and then promptly got stuck. Tag had gone right through and out the other side and tracked back around to be greeted with the hysterical sight of Jaak trying to pull Dieter’s head out of the gap.
Dieter: Arrrooowwwww!! My head!
Jaak: Well you stuck it in there ya great big booger brain!
C’mon Tag lend a paw would’ya? Come ‘nd help me pull him out!
Jaak and Tag then spent the next few minutes trying to pull Dieter’s head out of the gap – it was no good. The more they pulled the more and louder Dieter yelped and whined. Dieter’s head was stuck firm.
Jaak: It’s no good. He’s got it well and truly stuck in there. I’ll have to go and get Layan – he’ll know what to do!
Dieter: Arrroooooowwwww!! Noooooo! Don’t leave me here! I don’t wannama head stuck in here!
Jaak: Dieter! Quit your howling – you’ll be fine – I’ll leave Tag here to stay with you – okay?
With that Jaak disappeared over the crest to go and get help from Layan. This left Tag minding the back end of Dieter’s body to wait their return.
Tag: Hey Dieter – I’m here. I’m sorry you got stuck.
Tag patted Dieter’s butt.
Dieter waved his tail in reply.
Dieter: Aroow. Thanks Tag – I’m sorry I got too excited this morning and scared you. Thanks for staying with me.
With that Tag put his arm gently around Tag’s middle and snuggled in close to him to wait for Jaak and Layan to return.
After about 20 minutes or so Jaak returned with Layan. He had a small cooking pot and a paintbrush with him. They were greeted by the sight of Dieter’s back end and Tag curled right up into his middle fast asleep in the warm afternoon sun.
Layan: Well, well, then! What do we have here?
Tag uncurled himself, yawned and stretched sleepily. Dieter’s tail waved back and forth just a little.
Layan: Let’s take a look shall we?
Layan proceeded to inspect Dieter’s predicament and decided that his plan would work.
Layan: Right then Dieter – let’s get you out of here. I am going to paint some cooking fat behind your head and ears so we can slide your head out.
Dieter: Aroow. Okay.
Layan then proceeded to paint a generous amount of cooking fat in behind Dieter’s ears and head. He then handed the pot to Tag.
Layan: Scoot around the other side and see if you can paint some of the fat either side of Dieter’s head from the front.
Tag then took the pot and ran around the other side of the outcrop and into the gap. He could now see the front of Dieter’s head and was now confronted with the business end of his mouth and rows of big white teeth. Dieter however looked anything but fierce – rather as soon as Tag saw his big sad mismatched eyes, one blue and one green looking longingly back at him, Tag couldn’t help it – he wanted to like him.
Tag: Hullo. I’m gonna help you okay?
Dieter: Arooph – okay.
Tag then painted the cooking fat along the sides of Dieter’s ears – a little bit managed to find it’s way into Dieters mouth.
Dieter: Mmmm! It tastes like bacon!
Tag called to Layan and Jaak outside on the other end.
Tag: Okay! We are ready!
Then with a little gentle maneuvering, and a little bit at a time, Dieter’s head was pulled backwards and eventually it popped back out of the opening between the rocks. Tag followed behind him a moment later. Dieter was a little greasy, but he was otherwise unhurt.
Dieter: Arrrooooow! I thought my head was gonna be stuck in there for – like – ever!
Jaak: You’ll live ya dipstick.
Dieter and Tag, this is my friend Layan. I’ve asked him if we can go up and see the Tet-Net Station – maybe we can talk to Hanne!
Dieter: Yay! I wanna see it!
Tag: Me too!
Layan: Well – come along then young cubs – and er… pup, the Tet-Net awaits!
Layan led the three boys down the hill to his cabin where they descended into the cave cellar through the trap door. Dieter and Tag were amazed by the size of the natural cellar, and were intrigued with the lava tube tunnel that led out of one end. They made their way through the lava tube tunnel, ducking down through the low parts and eventually they re-emerged out of the other-end and into the warm sunlight.
The reaction for most people when seeing the Tet-Net station for the first time – especially for those that live in the valleys where just about everything is rustic and ordinary looking, is usually one of surprise.
Layan: This way!
They quickly crossed over to the yard and on to the communications shed. Layan then explained to the boys how everything worked and how the ground station was connected to the Tet stations in space via the large satellite dish.
Layan: So from here I can monitor each of the four Tets and their power cores. I can speak directly to the station engineer to ensure that everything keeps running smoothly and as it should.
Jaak: Layan – how did you fix the problem with the power core so that it can’t do an energy spike and explode like it did before?
Layan gave Jaak a hard stare. Jaak was not sure if he had asked the wrong thing, and if he had offended Layan by asking about the explosion.
Layan: Well. Interesting you should ask that. Yes the original power spike was – well – bad. However we learned something very intriguing about how energy can be released from cyan stones. We discovered that if you contain the energy spike properly, it can be directed away and out of the core in a very powerful beam. Think of it as a laser pointer on incredible hulk steroids – very big, very angry and very powerful. Now – if you just so happen to be some alien up to no good with nefarious intentions of attacking our planet – well let’s just say that if that core beam gets directed at you or your ship, you are going to have a very bad day indeed.
The primary function of the Tets is to provide our planet with communications and internet. However they have another secondary purpose in that they provide a very effective wall of defense around our planet.
Let’s just say that attacking Cyanos is not recommended.
Tag: Whoa! Far out!
Layan: Right! Well with that cheery thought – let’s check in on our Tets and see how their cores are doing eh?
Layan sat at one of the computer consoles and tapped on the keyboard and made a few clicks with the mouse. He then called up Tet-2.
A yellow mop of hair appeared on the screen.
Hanne: Valley-1 this is Tet-2 – receiving you loud and clear on channel Felix-1-9er, 1-9er – go ahead!
Layan: Good afternoon Hanne! I have some special visitors here today. I have the valley steampunk engineer and his friends with me. One of them you may already know!
With that Layan motioned to Dieter with his paw to come and sit at one of the consoles. Layan put the audio on speaker so everyone could hear, and also because he did not want bacon grease all over his headsets.
Hanne: Oh hey there Diets! You finally made it to up to Jaak’s! How’s it all been going?
Dieter: Arrooff! Hey H! It’s going great! I have never seen so many trees – its gonna take me like for-ev-er to mark them all!
Hanne: Aroohrumph! You boys are all the same – can’t keep your whiz-sticks zipped for longer than 5 minutes!
Jaak and Tag just looked at each other and wiggled their ears at each other.
Dieter and Hanne continued their banter with each other for a few minutes, with Dieter telling her all about, bumpy plane rides over mountain passes, pickup truck windows, pizza topping bowls, and “hotdogs that you can eat!”
On the way back down to Layan’s cabin Tag asked Layan about the lava tube tunnel, and if there were any more like it in the valleys.
Layan: Oh yes young cub – there are lava tube tunnels all through the valleys. Some we know about and there are more yet to be discovered. Some of them inter-connect with the mines.
There was one tube in particular that I found as a boy – it led into the most amazing cave. That is where I found my first cyan stone – the very one that drives my power generator outside. That was a long time ago though, I was never able to get back there because the tunnel that leads to it is very long and narrow – only someone very small and skinny – well like you actually – could ever get in there. I can’t remember exactly where it is but it was somewhere near the Hot Rocks camping area next to Hot Lake.
Tag: If I found it – I bet I could get in there – I can get into places where no one else can!