“Dash?” he whispered, struggling to open his bag so that he could retrieve his hand-held lumen device.
Coughing on the thick cloud of smoke he’d inhaled, Archer managed to get the hand-held out and sat back as a soft glow of light fell from it. Dust clouds danced in the air around him and though the light was weak, he was able to make out a small chamber.
But there was no answer and he swallowed a big gulp of dusty air, coughing and choking as the fear in his belly rose up.
Again, nothing. Okay, Archer thought. He could do this. He could be brave and fierce and figure this out. His buddies were close by. They had to be…right?
The chamber was no bigger than the main mess hall on his father’s ship the Reamus. The walls were dull grey but there were no spinning cylinders hanging from the ceiling. A bit of his fear evaporated ( a small bit, but still, that was better than nothing) and Archer relaxed a bit as he took a few steps and got his bearings.
His head hurt where he’d smacked it and he rubbed at the spot absently, eyes moving about until they found his lumen headgear. Crossing over to the other side of the cave, Archer scooped it and gave the contraption a quick lookover, shaking it roughly until it flickered once. Twice….
And then went out.
“Space balls,” he said roughly, glancing at the device in his hand. It only had enough power to last a few hours. If he didn’t find his way out of this cave before then…
“Stop freaking yourself out,” Archer said loudly, half expecting to hear a voice echo his words. That’s what Bruce would have done.
But there was only silence.
“I’m in a chamber,” he murmured, taking a few more steps. “And no one else is here.”
He hoped they’d followed him through the tunnel because if they didn’t…
“Nope, not going to think that way,” he muttered. Of course Dash, Del and
Bruce had made it through. So the question was, where exactly where they?
Archer walked the entire circumference of the cave. He counted his steps. One hundred and sixty-three. There was no opening that he could see. Only the scuff marks along the floor from where he’d fallen through.
What would Dash do in this situation?
Next, Archer studied the entire floor. There were the scuff marks, yes, but nothing besides his footprints in the dust. It was as if no one had ever been in this particular chamber.
“There has to be a way out,” he muttered, stifling the fear inside him. But it was hard. What if he ran out of air? What if Dash and the others found him, but it was too late?
Archer pushed and watched in surprise as his hand disappeared into the wall and came back out with a ‘pop’. He worked his way around, pushing into the wall, until he came to an area where, not only could he push into the soft rock, he was able to rip open a hole. Excitement stole through him and Archer bent so that he could peer through.
No one answered, but he felt a cool breeze ruffle his hair. Holding the one end of this opening firmly, he reached for his lumen device and shone it through the hole. Moving a bit to the side he was able to see that this was another chamber, however, this one was larger. Much larger.
He could hear the sound of water and the low thrum of something. Some kind of energy source?
“Just do it,” he muttered. That’s what his father would do. He’d analyze the situation and realize that even though the only way out was one that might prove dangerous, sometimes you had to trust your instincts.
Right now, Archer’s instincts were telling him that this was his only chance for survival. His only chance out of here.
His only chance to find his friends.
He dashed back to his bag and scooped it over his shoulder. When he returned to the wall, it took a few moments for him to find the softer, more pliant spot, and then another minute or so for him to make an opening large enough for him to fit through.
Holding it as wide as he could, Archer took a deep breath, gritted his teeth, and squeezed through.