The Valleys – Valley Air Landing Lake
The pilot cut the engines to the twin otter and it glided towards the pontoon jetty at the Valley Air terminal. The flight over the Cobalt Pass, had produced its usual series of bumps, but fortunately everyone this time did manage to keep all their cookies in the right place. Aboard the plane were Jaak, Dieter and Tag, along with Altai and Layan. Dieter had decided to spend the last week of the summer break up in the valleys with Jaak and Tag. If the friendship between the three boys was strong before the recent events and adventures that took them to space and back, it was now cemented rock solid. Something about helping to defeat a maniacal bug queen together tends to do that.
Waiting on the pontoon to meet them was Gazza, Tenzing and Asha. As the plane glided in, and the waiting figures became closer and easier to see through the windows, Tag elbowed Jaak pointedly in the ribs.
Tag: Jaak! Look! OMG! Do you see what I see?
Jaak peered through the plane window that still had droplets of water on it from the landing.
Jaak: It looks like… OMG! They are! They’re … Tenzing and Miss Asha are holding hands!
Dieter leaned across the aisle, and spoke a little louder than was absolutely necessary.
Dieter: Maybe they will ask you two to be their flower boys at their coupling ceremony!
Tag: Aww, shush you, Chewbarker!
Gazza was one of the first to greet them as they got off the plane. He rushed forward and gave Tag a huge hug, rubbing his face against Tag’s.
Tag: Pap! You’re squishing me!
Altai and Layan had climbed out of the plane and were now congratulating Tenzing and Asha and hearing all about their upcoming coupling.
Tenzing: Heh, thanks!
Well, we’ve brought your truck down for you Altai, and we have also got Layan’s buggy here too.
Oh and boys – you gotta get up to that old lava field and take a look – I’m not gonna tell you what happened but when you get there, you’re sure gonna be amazed!
Soon it was time to load the bags into the back of pick-ups and head home. Tag gave Dieter and Jaak one last paw bump, not too upset to be not going with Jaak and Dieter for now, as he knew they would all be seeing each other again tomorrow. Sometimes you just want to go home and eat your Mammy’s home cooking – even if she does make you eat all your vegetables before getting dessert.
Layan got into his buggy, and was in third gear before he had even left the parking lot.
Altai, Jaak and Dieter climbed into Altai’s old blue pickup, Jaak generously letting Dieter have the window seat so he could stick his head out of the window and bark furiously all the way back up to the cabin.
The next day
The boys were hiking up the trail that led from the fire circle and up to the Hot Lake camping area. Their destination today though, was the side trail that led down to the white water rapids on the Hot Creek River and to the old lava field that held the cave and entrance to the tunnel that led to the Blue Cavern.
Jaak: It’s a shame that the Blue Cavern is empty now, but it will still be cool to go back and see what it looks like now though.
Dieter: Do you really think I will be able to get through? I’m a lot bigger than you two are, I don’t wanna get my head stuck in there!
Tag: Oh I’m pretty sure you will be able to get through the first part, it was only the last tunnel into the mine that was really small, but that’s the one the miners made bigger to go in and get all the stones out.
They found the side trail and started to make their way down, the river and rapids increasing in volume at each turn as the trail twisted and turned downwards through the trees. As they rounded the last corner they expected to see the tumbled remains of the old lava field.
The lava field was no longer there.
What they found instead was a huge crater at least 100 metres wide.
The base of the crater still bore signs of recent scorch marks, with burnt rock and dirt all tumbled together. It was as if someone had made an enormous camp fire in it and this was what was now left behind.
The boys stood on the edge of the crater and gawped.
Jaak: That’s incredible! I don’t know what I was expecting but I sure wasn’t expecting this!
Tag: This crater is so big I reckon that the Blue Cavern isn’t even here anymore.
Dieter stood looking at the crater, deep in thought.
Dieter: You don’t think… no surely not… but… maybe… holy shit!
Tag: What? Spit it out already!
Dieter: Well… when we activated the tri-luminal effect up on the TETs, Blaze, my core engineer told me that not only did the effect connect the three stations, but it also connected with three beams of light right down to the surface of the planet forming the shape of a tetrahedron.
Jaak: This must have been where those three beams of light met. Right here, right over where the Blue Cavern was. The Blue Cavern must have been a portal leading right down to the very core of the planet, that gave enough power to make the final blast!
Tag: So… that also means…
The planet used the bugs very own nest, and their last clutch of eggs directly against them!
If that’s true, then that’s kinda funny and kinda cool at the same time!
It was true, and it was exactly what had happened.