Lava Tube Underground – The Valleys
Jaak: Tag! Where are you! Wait up damnit!
The lava tube twisted and turned, in places Jaak wondered whether or not he would be able to squeeze through, but somehow whether it was by sheer grit and determination or the desperate need to find his friend, he managed to keep going. Wiggling and squirming his way through, he thought once or twice he may have caught a glimpse of a tail disappearing around the next twist in the tube. Finally, the tube became wider and it opened out into a small cave where at last he saw his friend sitting on a rock ledge looking very pleased with himself.
Jaak: There you are! Bloody hell Tag – you gave us a fright when you disappeared like that! You sure can move fast when you want to!
Tag: I told you I can get in anywhere! Do ya reckon this might be the cave where Layan found his stone?
Jaak shone his torch around the small cave and back to the opening where they had just come from – and there it was, scratched in white chalk on the rock wall:
LAYAN WAS HERE – AGE 12 ¾
Jaak: Yup – I reckon it might be.
Tag: Wow! He was here when he was about the same age as me! Do you think there might be another stone in here?
They both shone their torches around the cave eagerly hoping that they might find a stone. There was nothing at all – except…
Jaak: Look Tag! Right back here there is another crack in the wall, and I am sure there is air moving out of it – this lava tube must carry on further! What to you reckon? Can we make another squeeze? It looks pretty tight!
Tag: You know it! You go first – if you can get through then I will be able to!
So once again Jaak wiggled his head carefully into the new crack. It was tight, the tightest of squeezes yet. Fortunately the squeeze was not as long this time, only a few body lengths. This time as he inched his body through bit by bit, he became aware of a soft blue glow, that got brighter and brighter the further he went. As he emerged out of the small passage he could hardly believe his eyes. He turned off his torch – there was no longer any need of it. Jaak was now standing in a vast underground cavern, a hollowed out magma chamber of a long extinct volcano, where the ceiling could hardly be seen. Also, this was no ordinary cavern, the thing that really took Jaak’s breath away was the blue light that shone brightly from every surface.
Cyan stones. Not just one or two. Not even hundreds. All around the cavern there were thousands upon thousands of stones, smooth and round, big ones, small ones, along with sharp formations of blue crystals. It was breathtakingly and stunningly beautiful.
Tag who was not far behind, emerged into the cavern and stood next to Jaak with his mouth open.
Tag: Holy shit!
As they took in more of their surroundings they now noticed that in places all over the floor of the cavern there were large translucent shell like things, in a range of different sizes – they looked familiar – only they were much, much too big – some as big or even bigger than they were themselves – they looked like…
Jaak: Bugs. Big bugs.
Jaak touched one with his foot and it crumbled into pieces. Tag leapt in fright.
Tag: Mreyrooooooooow! Do you think any of those are alive in here?
Jaak: I don’t think so. C’mon lets have a look around.
Carefully they moved through, further into the cavern trying not to step on any of what were the discarded exoskeletons of what must have been huge bug like creatures. As they moved deeper into the cavern and started to cross to the other side they now heard a new sound – it sounded familiar – it was regular, it sounded like machinery. Crossing to the far side of the cavern they saw another opening, this time even Jaak decided it was too small for even him, but as they put their heads closer to the crack in the rock they could feel the same movement of air as before coming out of it, and now they could definitely hear the continuous sound of machinery, and even snatches of voices echoing faintly out of it.
Tag: Well? Shall I give it a crack then?
Jaak smiled weakly at Tag’s joke, and although he wasn’t completely sure about it, his feline curiosity got the better of him.
Jaak: OK – but don’t go too far, just take a quick look and then come straight back.
Tag: OK! I’ll be careful! See ya!
With that Tag disappeared into the crack in the rock. There was nothing for Jaak to do but wait. And look at the huge exoskeleton bug shells – and wonder, and gaze at the soft blue glow of the myriad of stones.
After what seemed like an eternity, Tag’s head suddenly poked out of the crack again.
It was Jaak’s turn to jump and he let out an involuntary whoosh of air as if he had been holding it all this time – a bit cross at being scared, but thankful that his friend had returned safely.
Tag: The tunnel goes on quite a bit further and then — it opens out into one of our mines! I could see lights, machinery and also some of the miners working, but I stayed hidden, so they wouldn’t see me.
Jaak: Wow – that’s amazing this passage must connect all the way through into Big John’s Mine! That will be why we keep feeling the air moving through the tunnels – that’s one of my Dad’s jobs! They pump fresh air into the mine to keep it ventilated!
Tag then emerged fully back into the cavern full of glowing cyan stones and re-joined his friend.
Jaak: I think we had better get back – we have a way to go and Dieter will be getting worried about us.
Before they left the blue cavern, they each picked up a small glowing stone and an extra one for Dieter and pocketed them.
As soon as the glowing stones from the blue cavern were picked up, the blue crystals that surrounded the stones briefly glowed more brightly and gave off a faint but definite vibration.
At that same moment far, far away in another part of uncharted space, unknown to anyone from Cyanos or even from within their own galaxy quadrant — a warning vibration was transmitted from one to another – a chain reaction through a series of quivering antennae.
Insectile Voices: The nesssssssst! The nesssssssst!
The nest has been infiltrated! Violation!
Jaak and Tag then wiggled themselves back into the short squeeze, then through the small cave and then all the way back along the long twisting lava tube, returning to the cave where they had started their underground adventure. Back to re-unite with Dieter and to tell him all about what they had seen and found.
Dieter: OMG! – You’re back, you’re back, you’re back! I thought I was never ever, ever gonna see you again!