by A21 Reporter Andy Clems
The walls moved nearer with each passing second. Scarlet’s mind raced. Was there a way out? No, the chamber was sealed. The only entrance seemed to be the hatch in the ceiling he’d fallen through, but there was no way to reach it. Unless…
The deadly wall spikes were now mere feet from Scarlet as he pressed his hands outward, trying to slow their advance. Yes, it might just work, if only he could time it correctly. Placing his boot on the flat surface on top of the nearest spike, Scarlet pushed off the floor and reached upward. His outstretched hand clasped around the side of the spike above and he pulled himself up, hanging from the side of the terrible instrument like a gymnast hanging from a bar.
Moving his legs back and forth, he began to build up momentum until he kicked out at the top of the swing. His boots thudded into the hatch, jarring it free and revealing a corridor above. Suddenly, he lost his grip and fell, scrabbling for a handhold. Scarlet’s side caught on a spike, tearing an awful gash down his torso as he crashed into the solid floor. Now there were only inches between the spikes and his body and no time to get back up. Scarlet closed his eyes and braced himself for the agony that was to come.
A loud bang sounded from behind the wall and instantly the room was plunged into darkness. The walls stopped moving, the nearest spike just grazing Scarlet’s cheek. There was silence. Then, running footsteps somewhere above. In seconds, Captain Blue appeared, shining his torch down into the chamber.
“Paul! Are you alright?”, Blue called, his voice grave with concern. “I’ll be fine, Adam. Thanks, you got here just in time.” replied Scarlet with relief. With infinite care, Scarlet maneuvered himself into a standing position and then managed to climb the immobile spikes to the hatch where Blue helped him back to the surface.
Captain Blue brought Scarlet up to speed as they moved quickly back to the heart of the fortress. “Cameron’s on the move, she’s got some kind of jungle vehicle parked in the old stables. If we hurry, we can catch her before she gets to it!” Scarlet clutched his wounded side, he shook his head to clear the pain. “Come on Captain Blue, back to the helicopter, on the double!”
The two men sprinted out of the huge structure and through the trees to a patch of clear ground where the Spectrum helicopter stood like a great silver and blue insect. Clambering inside, they heard the roar of a powerful engine and movement in the jungle to their right as a large all terrain vehicle blasted its way out of the fortress and smashed off towards the road. Captain Blue fired up the helicopter’s motor and in moments they were giving chase above the trees.
Emerging from the dense cover of the jungle, Professor Cameron’s craft hurtled along a dusty road only a few kilometres from the outskirts of the village. In the helicopter, Scarlet’s condition had worsened, he’d lost a lot of blood. “We can’t… let her reach the village, Captain. Too many….people. They could be hurt.” With a groan, Scarlet collapsed in his harness. Blue was certain his friend would be alright, but even so the sight of the wound in Scarlet’s side made him grit his teeth before he turned his attention back to the pursuit.
The professor’s vehicle was approaching a rickety looking bridge over a muddy river. It seemed to be as good a place as any. Blue powered the helicopter ahead and locked onto the flimsy structure. At the touch of a button, two deadly missiles flashed from the Spectrum craft, traveled the short distance to their target and blew the bridge apart just as the ATV’s tires began to move along it.
The vehicle was thrown into the air, spinning 180 degrees before crashing down on its roof and bursting into flames. The Mysterons had lost another operative and Spectrum had scored another victory. Captain Blue radioed Cloudbase to report the situation, then turned the helicopter around and began the long journey back. Scarlet’s eyes flickered open and with some effort he asked, “What happened?” Captain Blue smiled at his friend and replied, “I’ll tell you all about it later, but I think I’ve burned my bridges.”