I’m sorry that you had to endure this, I tried to stop them but once the Army gets their teeth into a project, there is no stopping them, or they lock you up as a ‘suspected terrorist’. I DID manage to get your belongings sent with you and while waiting to hear anything, I asked around and this is what I found out, though I must admit that much of it may be wrong.
Back around the turn of the century, your great-Uncle David Innes spent the family fortune investing in a mechanical drilling machine built by Abner Perry. They vanished on the first test in 1903 and were presumed dead. Your grandfather Gary, David’s brother and my father, took all of Perry’s papers intending to sell them or perfect the Mechanical Mining Mole. He said something about it revolutionizing tunnel cutting but nothing ever came from it because Perry left a lot of important safety features out.
Ten years later, some writer whose name I forget was hunting in Algeria and met David. The writer passed onto my father, a request for funds to purchase weapons, books and a thousand miles of telegraph wire and other military gear. Dad would have refused but for one fact, David also sent a photo of him standing next to that mechanical mole and a dinosaur, one of the large flying ones and a claim that the world was hollow and that he had spent the last ten years inside with cave men and dinosaurs before they were able to repair Perry’s Mole so David could return to the surface. David then returned to the Hollow Earth and vanished again.
A few years later, 1916 I think, Dad got a telegraph from some people who had found David’s telegraph gear buried in the sand in Algeria. He rushed over by steamship and met that author who had written some fantasy novel about your Great Uncle and was questioning David for a sequel. Dad and David talked over the telegraph for some time, then the lines went dead. The writer said that David described the Earth as being hollow, 500 miles thick with a layer of magma or molten iron halfway between. The writer thought that the magma finally melted the wires.
A few years later, a guy in California named Jason Gridley wrote a book on what he called the ‘Gridley Wave’, the same book I found in an antique store. You always said that if the Gridley Wave existed, why wasn’t it in common usage. In the book, he described contacting the people who lived in the Hollow Earth and people on Mars so I suppose that no one ever took him seriously. Except for me. Gridley also described some Englishman with a German and African crew who build a Vacuum Dirigible just before WW-II which they flew through a polar opening into the Hollow World, taking that writer with them. That was the last Dad heard of them. Dad always told me that he believed what Uncle David claimed, though no one else did, except maybe that writer.
I spent my life tinkering with that radio hoping to get it working so I could make some cash selling air-time to the communications industry, and also to find out if Dad was right and Uncle David was telling the truth and was still alive underground.
Eventually, I met Dr. Kingsley who was also working on the Gridley Wave , only Kinsley believed that he could send matter along the Wave and create a teleporter just like in the old Star Trek TV shows. He and a Dr Moritz had developed a working teleporter using a laser as a feed but that was line-of-sight and a dead end because even if you sent the beam to the Moon the laser would spread out too broad to be received and it would be a one-way trip unless you first go there by rocket and set up a transceiver. I don’t understand all the physics but you have to scan an object and the scanning destroys the original, effectively killing the person. You then send the data in multiple duplicated packets to a receiver that puts them together and rebuilds the person or object from local matter you hauled along. It’s sort of like sending a photo through a copier that shreds the original. But the copy is not absolutely perfect because the human body is too complicated to record completely. The first time is usually ok, but if you teleport someone a second time, the errors pile up and the DNA breaks down and you risk what Kingsley calls ‘integration errors’ which is a fancy way of saying that you materialize inside out. He said that modern technology doesn’t have the ability to completely scan and record the person so one trip is probably safe, two may be safe, but after that, give up.
Kingsley told me that in 1976, they had sent a laser-drill with the transceiver 500 miles into the Earth and it broke through into a hollow world filled with dinosaurs! One of his grad-students, Chris West, teleported down to save some cave-girl he saw through the camera. Kingsley was able to keep in contact until the mantle shifted and had told West that it was a one-way trip but West was a botany student or such and liked it down there.
Ok, now we come to last year. Remember that consultant job I took with the army? Kingsley was working for the Army on the teleporter and recommended me for a problem they had because I was the only other person they knew who was working with the Gridley Wave. The Army bought his plans and brought in some big-name scientist, Dr Harnet, who got the teleporter working, but could never solve the ‘integration error problem’. Then in 2007, they took a bunch of female soldiers and teleported them, armed, to Germany. Now you and I know that no one sends armed soldiers to Germany unless they are expecting trouble so I think it was a set-up! The girls were sent to the Inner World to see if they could materialize someone without a receiver. Harnet’s machine needed a transmitter and a receiver and the only receiver inside the Earth was Kingsley’s. Most of the women died down there before they were able to rescue the survivors using a laser-mole with a portable transmitter.
Now here is the scary part that no one understands. IF you are teleported without a receiver, you usually die! Maybe then, maybe a year later from misaligned nerves and blood vessels, maybe a decade later from all sorts of cancers caused by broken DNA that failed to integrate properly. BUT, if you have a close relative at the reception point, somehow your DNA and theirs read each other and you integrate safely. Thus the Army wanted me.
Using the Gridley Wave, they contacted David Innes Junior, your cousin and current Emperor of the Empire of Pellucidar! That’s right, your Crazy Great-Uncle David Innes managed to start a revolution and free a bunch of cave-people from their dinosaur overlords and set himself up as Emperor using Abner’s technical savvy to make weapons and such. Your Great-Uncle David is long dead and the Empire is crumbling because of a lack of resources. All the surface iron is long-gone and the cavepeople refuse to go into the mines because they think that Hell is underground. So David Jr has offered to retrieve that machine the Army left in ’08 and trade it for enough arms to fight off the returning dinosaur overlords and their ape-man soldiers.
I offered to go but was too old. They checked your brother and cousins but decided that you were the best choice. I fought them on that but when the Army wants something, they don’t care about civil rights or anything. And General Cash who is running the project is an old school military man, the kind his men would frag during the war. There are stories about him being given jobs like this and losing a bunch of men so this is his last chance or he’s retired so the guy is desperate to win no matter what the cost. The best I could do was collect as much of your gear as I could and get them to send it with you after they had removed anything of value. They said it was a security matter to remove all identifying marks. I added camping meals and stove and a sleeping bag and your grandfather’s old military colt 45, all of which they removed. They also said that you’d have to be deeply unconscious and immobile or the scanner might make a mistake. So they kidnapped you, drugged you and sent you into the Hollow World. You are supposed to meet your cousin there, Julag, son of David Junior who will give you this letter and help you find that thing. Then they will send the weapons they need and bring you safely back.
I’m sorry Jude, I did the best I could and by the time I got there, they had already teleported you so I couldn’t even kiss you good-bye. Good luck and don’t take any chances. Come home safe.
Your loving father.
I’m writing this to calm down after that roo incident where I helped save the most beautiful man I had ever seen. Abs like a washboard, shoulders I could hike across, tall, dark and definitely handsome. He’s trying to catch his breath and I need something to occupy myself so, this journal. Pardon the shaky handwriting.
I was watching the jungle because the smaller dinos were running and that always means trouble. Then this man runs from the jungle and heads for the cliff being chased by a roo-raptor who got caught between a couple trees. It tried to force through but eventually its tiny brain realized that it couldn’t and backed up then ran around the trees. By then I had jumped up and screamed “here!” and the caveman changed course and ran for my cliff. He was up the rocks like they were level ground and I put three arrows into the roo, two bouncing off before the roo actually began to climb the cliff. I held my bow for him to grab but he ignored it and was over my wall inches before the roo snapped at him. Then the roo slid back down and tried again. He is down there, staring at us and I am afraid that I pee’d my pants, seeing that head and teeth only a couple feet away.
So the cave man is laying there, trying to catch his breath, I am writing this to calm down and we’ll see what happens next. I just hope it isn’t the ‘knock me over the head with his club and drag me into a cave’ thing though I may just race him, I’m lonely enough.
Later; He looks familiar! But when I introduced myself as “Me Judy, you???” like in the old Tarzan films, he laughed “My name Julag.” Damn! He speaks English. Bad English but still… The roo hissed and screamed and we both stepped back. “That means he is calling his pack!” I said.
“Zarith-vincha, lizard-bear” he said. “Bad!”
“very! Hey, How do you speak English? That only happens in bad movies.”
“Slow!” he motioned. “Not talk eeen-glisssh good. Learn from father father.”
“Your grandfather spoke English? How?”
“Father-father David Innes! Emperor Pellucidar!”
It did take a minute for the wheels to engage but his grandfather is my crazy Great-Uncle David! That makes us… first cousins? Damn! And I was ready to rip his clothes off and risk pregnancy. I was glad he said that before we had three-headed babies like they do in the Ozarks. Well, there goes my fantasy. That probably explains why he doesn’t use any prepositions, cave-speak is probably really simple. “Your father-father-father is my father-father-father.” That should remove any thoughts of consentual rape. Yes, I know that Cleopatra was one of the most beautiful and intelligent women in history even though she was the result of seven generations of brother-sister marriage. And the Hawaiian royalty did the same inbreeding but look at the Royal Family of Europe! Hemophilia runs rampant and Prince Charles has ears like an elephant so why take chances? It figures, the first man I see in months is so gorgeous that I want to rip his clothes off and fuck the shit out of him, and we’re related!
“What now?” I asked.
Julag tossed a rock at the roo, no, at the zarithvincha and asked, “Dinner?”
Was that an invite or a request? I shrugged and led him to my outdoor stove where he pulled meat slices from the smoker and tore at them like he was starving. I just watched him eat. Then he handed me a bundle of leaves covered with beeswax. I pried it open and found a letter! A real honest-to-god letter addressed to me!
“I’m sorry that you had to endure this,…”
“Daddy?” I stared at Julag and demanded, “How the fuck did you get this!” he even backed away a bit, I was so angry.
“Father give. From below molop-az!” He pointed to the ground!
My head was spinning. The Army teleported me here, then sent my bag, then sent my father’s letter to my cousin? Why not to me? And why did it take so long for this guy to find me when the letter indicates that I would appear near Julag. “Julag, Cousin, Where were you? I was supposed to appear near you months ago?”
“Cousin? Month? I not know this words. I here-there Sari, wait, you here-there Sari, then gone! I search.”
Goddamn army! They drug me, kidnap me then risk my life teleporting me to Sari, then they fucking lose me and I materialize here. I’m fortunate my skin is on the outside and my DNA may be a freaking mess. At least Julag was good enough to find me. I am so going to sue the Army when I get home. They can experiment on their own people all they want but I’m a civilian!
We settled in and talked, not much chance of anything else with the Roo-Raptor… the Zarithvincha waiting. From experience I knew that it would sit there and starve waiting for us to fall off the cliff and the only way it would leave is if something else distracted its pea-sized brain.
We talked, I taught him better English, he taught me Pellucidaran and we ate everything I had stored away and the zarithvincha sat down there staring at us as his stomach rumbled in hunger. Occasionally I would throw a rock at it and the thing would stand up and try to climb the cliff until Julag asked, “Why you harass zarithvincha?”
“Because I am tired of just sitting here waiting for that thing to go away.”
“It not go away.”
“So we starve here?”
He shrugged and pointed up, “We climb cliff.”
Climb the cliff! God! I thought only men’s brains fell below their belt. Climb the cliff! I fell to the ground laughing. “Ok,” I started to pack my gear, “Let’s do this!”
Julag tied a rope around his waist, then around mine and we climbed. I couldn’t have made it alone but he was like a monkey, save for that really tight ass and most of the time he dragged me along until we were at the top. I threw one more rock at the zarithvincha which as not that far below, maybe a couple hundred feet, and we marched off into the sunset, or rather the jungle on the other side of the cliff. Once down, Julag turned to the right and led me away until the storm hit.
The cave was a bit deep but there was evidence of people here, long gone I suppose but at the back we found a big flat stone covered in brown stain and just beyond a deep crevice. Julag made a torch which he dropped and there were lots of bones down there. But the strange thing was that just across the crevice in the light of the torch, we saw something shiny. Getting across wasn’t difficult for Julag and his ape-man skills and I wasn’t going until he called out, “Judee, come, look!” His emphasis made me climb over and there we saw two remote-controlled tanks from the surfaced. They even had ‘Radio Shack’ labels on them but had been mounted with cameras and lights but were wedged between rocks as if they had been driven in but got stuck. Exploring further, we found a machine of sorts, a folding dish with some kind of high tech device sitting in a pool of solid rock that looked like cooled lava. Julag raised his torch and exactly above was a lave tube that went straight up forever with sides so smooth a bug couldn’t climb them.
I removed my father’s latter and read,
“Kingsley told me that in 1976, they had sent a laser-drill with the transceiver 500 miles into the Earth and it broke through into a hollow world filled with dinosaurs!”
“This is it!” I exclaimed. “That is the hole they bored with a laser and this is the teleporter.” I looked underneath, tapped it and a small bulb glowed for a second then went out. “That is what happened. The Army teleported me to Sari, then somehow this one got turned on for a second and snatched me here. My cave must be just the molten wall.”
I played with it for a bit which was stupid as I had no idea of what it did. For all I knew it would scan and disintegrate me and with the original project long closed, I’d never materialize. Fortunatly the thing was small enough to fold up and carry, “Never hurts to have a back-up inj case the Army tries to screw you over” and by the time wew got back the storm was over and we continued on our journey.
We stopped for a rest when I asked, “How do we know where we are going? I’m completely lost.”
“Lost? What is lost?”
“Lost is when you don’t know where you are or where you are going or where your home is!”
“Home that way!” he pointed in the direction we were heading.
“How do you know?”
It was difficult to follow but I gathered that the people down here had developed some sort of ‘homing instinct’ that allowed them to find their way home. Like how salmon can smell the exact stream where they were hatched or a homing pigeon can find its nest or maybe it was something psychic. Julag tried to explain it but he used Pellucidaran words that I didn’t understand so gave up. So long as he could point to his home, he’d get there though he had no idea of how long it would take. Me? I had to memorize every strange tree and rock around my cave or I’d wander in circles forever because there was no horizon and so no real landmarks.
After a bit, Julag shot a chicken with his bow, drawing arrow and nocking, drawing and releasing before it ran a dozen feet. But he had used a blunt arrow that broke the chicken’s body without making it bleed. Good thing as any blood would have brought every roo-raptor for miles. Later, he repeated this act and we had two chickens that I plucked as we walked. I called it a chicken but it was a lizard with feathers. It had no beak but teeth, no wings but arms and a long stiff tail and was covered with feathers. And so we left a trail of feathers behind, occasionally stopping for him to climb a tree to fetch fruits and nuts when the fire he made was burning to coals. Good, I wasn’t looking forward to gout.
At one point, when I was yawning, he climbed a tree and made a nest from bent branches and there we slept. Well, eventually we slept. As we settled in, he reached over and kissed me and I was melting before I pushed him away, “what the hell! We are cousins!” Julag didn’t understand. Maybe they married their sisters down here but I wasn’t going to take that chance and the Army did not leave me my Pills or even any condoms. So I rolled away from him and tried to sleep without falling to the ground below.
I have no idea of how many ‘days’ we travelled. We walked until I collapsed, then we rested. We ate when we were hungry and Julag killed something or we found fruits and berries and nuts, though one delicious-looking red fruit he knocked from my hand as poison! And we slept when we were tired. Once he paused and we crouched under a bush, there were no trees nearby and he froze. I’m not stupid and froze as well just as a saber-tooth tiger strode by. It made a lion look like a kitten and the stripes screamed out to the world, ‘I am the meanest SOB on the planet’! I was scared shitless but Julag crouched, his spear at the ready as if that bit of stick-and-stone could stop that monster. Long after it gone, we waited, then he rose and we continued on, Julag looking all around. God that man was … well he was wonderful.
Another time we approached a wooded area and he froze, then looked around, and pointed to some totem that was an animal skull and a bunch of feathers on a stick. “Krolak territory, we go around.” Hours(?) later we were ambushed!
There were six of them and we were surrounded. These guys looked a lot like Julag but stank, their leathers were dirtier but that could be because they were returning from a hunting trip though I’d like to think it was because Julag was civilized and the Krolaks were savages.
Julag argued with them, they pointing at me a lot, I guess redheads were rare down here since the redhead gene didn’t appear until maybe 30,000 years ago, long after their ancestors had moved into the Inner World. And frankly, guys like the exotic which is why Victoria’s Secrets makes so much money.
Julag kept his spear at the ready because his bow and rifle (did I mention that he had run out of ammo?) was across his back and the Krolaks were also spear-ready. This was going to turn out bad unless Julag could talk them into letting us pass, after all, we weren’t even in their country. I reached for my Dhas, finding the release pin with my thumbs and waited. I had never been raped and I wasn’t anxious to be passed around down here.
Then it all happened so fast, the six charged Julag, ignoring me and as two passed me, one reaching for my hair, I drew and cut and one went down raining guts, the other screaming for his lost hand.
That left four who were moving around my man so quickly I couldn’t interfere. In the ninja movies, everyone jumps and moves in a circle, but they all attack one-at-a-time and then from the front. These guys kept charging at his back and Julag had to keep spinning to keep them at spear’s bay. Finally I had a chance as one moved close and I double cut and he went down, spouting blood from the base of his neck. Julag took the distraction to spear one of the men, then he charged one who backed away, suddenly reversing to spear the one who was coming at him from behind. Then he had one man to face and then he alone was standing.
I looked around, covered in blood and ran to him, he holding me until I pushed him away and emptied my stomach. I had hunted before and gutted my own kills but those were animals and these were people! People who might have wives and children at home, people who had mothers and fathers, people whose families would never see them again or even know what happened to their loved ones. So I cried and vomited until there was nothing left. I even shook off Julag’s hand, but saw him in a blur of vision, killing those who were still alive. I guess it was a mercy, considering the lack of medicine here but….
He stripped the bodies of anything of value, covered them as best he could, then cleaned my blades on the grass and we gave their territory a wide berth, finding a stream to wash away the blood. Julag then reached for his spear and thrust it at my face, missing by inches and pulled back with the biggest leech in the world hanging from the point. It must have been three feet long and as thick as my arm and I screamed, and screamed again, “I hate this fucking place!”
Later when washed, we made a nest in the tree and it took me forever to fall asleep, listening to Julag snore softly. We had just murdered six people and he could sleep. Finally so did I but had nightmares of dead people, covered with blood, reaching for me. I couldn’t get away and cried for help until my father arrived and held me and stroked my hair and blackness. In the morning I was wrapped in Julag’s strong arms, he being awake and watchful and I felt safe.
We had deviated from course I was certain and when I asked, “Where is Sari?” He pointed to his left. “Then why are we going this way?”
He removed a device that looked like a GPS and said, “Upper World sent this to find machine. We need machine to trade for weapons and medicine.”
Later I froze and saw something that triggered a bad feeling. It was a white rope stretched across the ground but what it meant I had no idea. “DON’T touch it!” I whispered and Julag froze, inches from the rope. Then he backed away. I loved that about the man, how he listened to me.
I once had a boyfriend who loved monster and SF flicks, but he had one bad habit, he’d always cry out, “Science makes your movie look stupid!” We even got kicked out of a theater one night when he stood up and yelled that during an old black-and-white movie where they had giant spiders attacking a town. On the way home, he ranted about how giant spiders were impossible because they would be too heavy to move and too big to breathe and would spout out math formulas to prove it. God I’m glad I dumped that jerk. But that rope….
Julag followed it to a bush where it was firmly attached, but without a knot because it was glued. Then he followed it to the other end which went under a big round disc that looked like a bad attempt to disguise a manhole cover with sticks and leaves. “Do you know what this is?” I asked. The entire time he remained feet away and walked so softly twigs failed to snap.
“No,” he whispered, “But it looks bad.” We saw a number of these scattered between us and the trees in the distance. Then he touched something white which was a rib bone. That disc or door was littered with bones, some newer than others. We backed away, then startled one of those lizard-chickens which ran, trying to learn how to fly until it touched a cord and stuck! I realized what that was an instant before the door snapped open and a spider the size of a dog ran out to snatch the dinosaur and drag it back into its lair.
“We should leave, carefully,” I suggested.
“Stop!” he snapped and I froze, looked down and saw my foot an inch from another trip-line.
“Please, let’s leave?” I begged, sweating.
“Cannot” he stated as he pointed his spear to the hidden trap-door. “Need machine.”
“Why?” I moved carefully away and followed that fool across the plain, watching every step. “Do you really need those guns?”
“Machine takes you home.” Damn! I hated to hear that.
Hours later, we made it through the meadow and I collapsed by a rock and shook forever until Julag whispered, “get up.”
“I can’t! I’m exhausted.”
“Just a few minutes, please?”
“Big spider comes.” He held his hand to me as he looked past me.
I was up and we ran! Julag led me to a pile of rocks that I hoped wasn’t another nest but was probably the home of giant ants, which he climbed, carrying me the last dozen feet. Then he set me down and at the base, starting up was the biggest fucking spider the world ever saw. You could have shoved a Volkswagon Beetle inside that monster and it was climbing up after us. I don’t care what my ex said about how impossible this was, but it didn’t jump or walk, it dragged its body, it was that big and heavy, but it still came at us. Below was the plain with the trap-doors, beyond a forest covered with webbing, talk about a rock and a hard place. I just whimpered and hoped that my cave man could save me.
What he did was to pick up a rock larger than his head and, grunting with the effort, tossed it down the hillock at the monster. It struck the head with a crack and the beast shuddered. Julag picked up another and flung it down and another crack. The third rock didn’t even make the beast flinch! It was dead, bleeding green blood from an exo-skeleton horribly cracked in three places. I was so happy I grabbed and kissed that man and would have taken him right then and there but he pulled my arms off and pointed to the forest covered in webs. Damn.
We moved off and he pointed into the brush, for they were too short to be called ‘trees’ although some were a dozen feet high. “in there!” and he took a breath and started to enter.
“Wait! Maybe it’s on the other side?” I hoped. So we circled the copse which covered an acre or more with most trees covered with webbing. Below were the dessicated remains of birds and small dinosaurs and many of the webs had dried leaves sticking to them, camoflague? But wherever we went, the GPS pointed inside so Julag readied himself to enter again.
If he died, I’d be alone and both his death and my lonliness gave me an inspiration. “Why not burn it? The fire won’t be hot enough to damage the machine and all those dead leaves will kill the spiders and burn the webbing.”
He nodded and started a fire with my flint-and-steel while I made bundles of grass and sticks and soon we were tossing burning brands into the brush from upwind. The webs didn’t burn but they melted away as the leaves burned. Most of the spiders burned in their webs but some left and a few were running in our direction, which we speared because they were too big to stomp. Remember when I said that I was an independent woman who even killed her own spiders? I will never again be afraid of any bug I find in my house.
After the fire died, we slowly approached, avoiding the trunks and bodies until we found the machine which was similar to the one on Julag’s back and one thing more. A few feet away was the desiccated and partially burned body of a person still wearing the rotting remains of a military uniform. Had it been cotton, there would only be scraps but the synthetics used today remained partially intact. It was hard to tell, the body was so dessecated by the spiders and age but it looked…. I tried to reach for the dog-tags but couldn’t touch them so Julag pulled them free for me.
“Poor girl,” I cried. “She must have been one of the women General Case sent here to test the teleporter. Murderer! She should have a decent burial.”
Julag looked around and carried both teleporters to a nearby tree that had no spiders, set the machines down and as I began to scrape a hole in the ground, he returned for the body.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Digging a grave.”
“You hate her? Is she an enemy?”
“I don’t know her but she deserves a decent burial.”
“yes, in tree.”
I stared then after a moment, I asked why and it appears that these people believe that Hell lies underground and anything buried will be taken to the Molap Az or Sea of Fire which is Hell. Either worms or bugs or other disgusting things will do that. So they put their dead in a tree so the birds can take the person, bit by bit, to the Dead World which is Heaven. Only enemies and criminals are buried in the ground. I tried to argue that Victoria was a Catholic so had different beliefs and in the end, I won but Julag wasn’t happy and helped me cover her with rocks. I guess that he never considered that anyone could have different beliefs. I suppose that Uncle David wasn’t all that religious or maybe he tried and Christianity never took hold down here.
With Julag lifting both machines, I carried his rifle and much of the gear and we headed back to Sari.
I won’t bore you with the remainder of the trip. We met the occasional dinosaur, a lot of giant mammals like an elk with antlers so huge you could hang a hammock between them. We did meet with another hunting party and this time, they were friendly. We were invited to the tribe which did NOT live in caves like I expected but in huts that looked like the pit-houses from England’s Bronze Age. I half expected them to turn on us, especially when Julag whispered to me, “Better they think you are my mate” to which I agreed. Maybe unmarried women were fair game?
But we sat around the communal fire as the women turned a spit over coals and carved off slices from whatever-that-was as they were cooking. It seemed that everyone down here spoke the same language and while talking and eating under that damn perpetual noonday sun, God how I wished for a moonlit night, Julag told of our adventures and what news he had from Sari then the locals would take turns standing, introducing themselves and telling of their adventures and what news they had from other tribes. It seemed that down here, some tribes were friendly and some not, though Julag had said the word for ‘stranger’ is the same for ‘enemy’ but when you are starved for new stories and news, you could pretend that ‘stranger’ means ‘visitor’.
We rested for three sleeps among the Mando Tribe, recovering our strength and collecting more supplies, I sleeping in the same hut as did Julag to whom I pretended to be married. While he was out doing guy things, I was stuck with the women who had me help clean skins, harvest crops and pound grain, typical primitive division of labor stuff. Though of note is that everyone stared and the children never got tired of touching my red hair as everyone here had black hair and dark eyes. Men would take their women aside, talk to them and the women would then ask me where was my country and were there many redheads there and how strong were their men. I gave them some general directions back the way we had come but when I described the strength and numbers of the American Military, they thought I was telling a lie to scare away potential suiters. It appeared that exogamous marriage was common here with men raiding other tribes for brides. A few of these would knife their new husbands in their sleep but most settled in. I guess it was “Rape of the Sabine Women” meets “The Stockholm Syndrome” but I had no desire to remain here and become a cave-woman.
Eventually we left and continued on and had to hide from some other cavemen who all had elongated incisors as if they were Sabertooth Tigers in human form. I knew men who would go out of their way to cause trouble and start fights and I was glad that Julag wasn’t like that. He could and would fight but saw discretion as the better choice. Or maybe he was just tired of lugging those machines and wanted to get home safe.
Did I mention that there was no horizon? The scenery just kept going up and up until it faded in to the distance but after the sabertooth men, I noticed in the far distance (which means in the sky) that we were passing between two mountain ranges, then we came to a real city with walls and such. They had crops in real fields and could have been any bronze age city and there, Julag mentioned that we were close to home. This was the city of Suvi with whom Sari had fought a war over Dione the Beautiful, Uncle David’s wife. Peace was eventually made thanks to the firearms that Abner Perry had built and so Julag negotiated a ride home. And that is how we arrived in Sari, on the back of a wooly mammoth!
I don’t really know what I had expected. Julag wore animal skins and carried stone weapons and all, save for his flintlock for which he had no ammo or powder, so maybe something like a bunch of people in a cave or maybe something resembling an American Indian camp. But I had forgotten that Uncle David came down more than a century ago and three generations had passed and he had arrived with an engineer, Abner Perry. I once watched “Call Me Bwana” with Bob Hope about a famous African Explorer who was recruited by the government to recover something like a satellite (sound familiar) and the comedy was that Hope had been rewriting his grandfather’s journals and passing them off as his own adventures and when he reached Africa, he landed in a modern city but kept expecting Nairobi to be ‘darkest africa’! I had the same shock.
Sari was a city, very similar to any small town of 1900. Only Uncle David had planned it better with sewers and roads and such. Women still carried water on large pots balanced on their heads as it gave them a nice carriage, but the place was clean and people wore clothes! When I asked Julag about his skins and stone tools, he shrugged, “things get lost over a long journey.”
I was introduced to Emperor David Innes Junior who lived not in a palace but a large comfortable house that even had electricity. True, the technology was locked into 1900 or maybe 1920 but it was technology. “Don’t be fooled,” Cousin David said to me, “What you see is dying technology. My father told me how the upper world can travel all over to find the raw materials they need. Here, we are restricted to a few hundred miles from this point and if it isn’t here, we have to do without. That is why we agreed to deal with America, they promised to send us the materials we need such as tungsten for light bulbs, Iron for weapons and tools and the like. In exchange, we return their teleporter machine. Now that Julag has found a second one, our bargaining position has increased.”
“Perhaps you should keep that a secret until later,” I suggested. “You don’t want General Case sending down a company of Rangers to take over.” Then, “As for weapons, if they send you modern weapons, you are dependent upon them for ammo and they may send you guns with a strange caliber round that they don’t use to prevent you from taking and using their ammo.” I had a friend in the Peace Corps who described a church in America which asked her village in Africa what they needed. The response was ‘pedal-powered sewing machines’. The church sent them a dozen modern sewing machines with built in computers to do a hundred fancy stitches. Without gas for the generators, those sewing machines were useless. My friends told me that when the average garden plot is less than an acre, a tractor is useless but a donkey and plow are a life saver. You have to be careful of what you think that you need as often a simplier technology is better.
“We realize that. If the surface thinks that we are poor in resources, they will have little reason to invade though I hear that the Russians have a base near the Polar opening. So far, there is nothing here that they want save zoo animals. We have few resources, but are not as bad off as we pretend. And as our diplomats spread out, that changes but really, outside The Empire, you find little better than stone-age technology which cannot identify or mine or refine raw ores.”
I should mention that before meeting David, I took a real hot bath with real soap and was wearing a dress made from flax and cotton. It was loose, more like a moo-moo with a belt because of the heat but it was a dress and shoes! Julag met and hugged and kissed his mother and father, then introduced me and things sort of settled in.
I was thinking about this, relatives that no one knew existed, my great uncle David… wait! I ran through the family relationship chart in my mind… Dad is my father, Gary Innes is my grandfather, Gary’s brother, David Innes is my Grand-Uncle which makes David Junior here my First Cousin once removed and that makes Julag my Second Cousin! Hot Damn!
I was called in and taken to a natural arena where I saw a number of saber-tooth tigers and roo-raptors behind bars in caverns, “Insurance” David said. From what I knew of General Case, I understood. In the center was the device with one of the underworld ‘scientists’ fiddling with the controls as David motioned me to the plate.
“I want to be certain that it works,” I said. “Ask them to send down someone.” I may be overly careful but they kidnapped me, drugged me and sent me to a world infested with woman-eating dinosaurs. I didn’t trust Case.
David nodded and led me to a house that housed a radio that looked like something out of Boys Life magazine. The operator handed me a set of headphones and a mike and shortly I was listening to a familiar voice. “Jude!”
“Daddy! I so missed you.”
“Are you ok? Everything is ok with you?”
“Fine, dad. I survived for a few months alone then cousin Julag found me and brought me to Sari. How are things ‘up there’?”
“Better. Case was removed, something about his failures catching up and too many complaints from his test subjects and their families. The new guy is more careful. We can bring you home anytime. I’ll be next to the pad to ensure you arrive safely with no transit-damage.”
“Dad, I’d like to remain here a bit until we are certain that it is safe for me to go home. Perhaps some animals or better yet, General Case.” We talked a bit about nothing but it was good to hear his voice again. At the end, I asked to speak to a woman alone, personal girl stuff and made my request to which she said that she’d be happy to help.
There wasn’t much to add. They sent some rabbits that woke up fine, though who knows what was going on inside, plus a bunch of raw materials and David sent back some dinosaur eggs and medicinal plants. And as for me, the first shipment contained a small plastic container of birth control pills. Since Julag was no longer my first cousin, I figured, what the hell! Why not have some fun before I go home.
David is Judy's Grand-Uncle, not her Great-Uncle.
Julag is Judy's second cousin, not her 1st cousin.
Judy asks for bc pills before she returns.
Journey to the Center of the Earth- 2008 by Asylum Films
Mahars of Pellucidar by John Holmes
Pellucidar Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Lost in Pellucidar by Rick Johnson
|ERBzine 1645: Johnson:
ERB Fan Profile
ERBzine 1522: Sociology of the Wieroo
ERBzine 2304: Prelude to Weir-Lu of Caspak
ERBzine 1527: Maltheusian Decimation in Pal-Ul-Don
ERBzine 2388: Bright-Eyed Flower of Pal-ul-don
ERBzine 1965: Rescue In Pellucidar
ERBzine 2296: Where is the Opening to Pellucidar
|ERBzine 1578: Barsoom
ERBzine 1370: Mapping Barsoom I: Can It Be Done?
ERBzine 1562: Mapping Barsoom II: Compromises
ERBzine 1565: Mapping Barsoom III: The Past
ERBzine 1633: Valley Dor
ERBzine 1634: Swords On Mars
ERBzine 1711: A Panthan of Mars
ERBzine 1712: Spy: Arrival On Mars
ERBzine 2165: Battle at U-Gor
ERBzine 2166: Lost On Barsoom
ERBzine 2167: Meeting of the Panthans: Pt. I
ERBzine 2168: Meeting of the Panthans: Pt. II
ERBzine 2169: North to Barsoom
ERBzine 2196: Jahar
ERBzine 2303: Return to Barsoom I: Letters
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