With the gaslamp beating back the darkness and their footsteps racing ahead down the echoing cavern, the three marshals pressed on into the new home of the Indian tribe. Given the carnage outside wrought by Ithaca’s bullet test flight, the welcome would be as cold and hard as the stone walls that surrounded Kane, Lightning and Wilhem. Regardless, there were wrongs on both sides to be righted and Justice does not skulk in the shadows.
Nevertheless, it was agreed that Kane should lead the way down the tunnel to avoid any surprises. A wise decision as the mountain man triggered a trap that sent a heavy rockfall hurtling to the ground and was wary enough to avoid being pummelled.
Clearing the path was no chore and the journey resumed deeper and lower underground. Not waylaid by further traps, the marshals eventually arrived at a cliff drop some fifteen metres into shadow. the cavern had opened up in gigantic proportions that would comfortably hold an several Indian tribes at full strength. Having no choice but to scale the cliff to continue the search and unable to pierce the gloom to see what lay below, Wilhem drew his flamethrower from the cast iron armour and washed the floor in flame. Surprisingly, something caught alight at the stone floor and through the shadows and noxious smoke, they could see it was some kind of red coloured root that could thrive in rocky and dark conditions. The powerful odour from the burning roots caused Wilhem to wear his gasmask. Jack and Kane were not so equipped or fortunate and instead had to endure stink. As the three made ready to descend the cliff face, Jack Lightning took advantage of Kane leaning over the edge of the cliff and tried to shove him off!
Jack was most reknowned for her deadly aim, reflexes and weaponry but she was no slouch when it came to two-fisted combat either. Fortunately the mountain man was a man mountain and brushed the blow aside. Then, to Wilhem’s growing shock, Kane grabbed his trusted companion and threw her off the cliff in return and it was only the providence of one of the red roots growing out of its stony face that saved Jack from being spattered across the ground. Before Wilhem could even wonder or demand to know what was going on, Kane turned his attention to the iron-clad marshal and the last thing Wilhem saw was a red film where white pupils once were. Then he too was flung over the cliff.
No root or outcrop could save the German scientist while encased in his marvellous armour but fortunately Wilhem didn’t travel anywhere without his grappel launcher. Firing a piton into the ceiling, the marshal’s fall was arrested by stoutly spun steel cord and as he dangled over the yawning drop, Wilhem’s mind deduced that the gas released from the red root’s ignition was the cause. Seeing that Jack Lightning was not only safe, but ready to resume the fight with her lightning coil guns, Wilhem’s arsenal of gadgets produced a fire extinguisher that flung a chemical retardent into the faces of both Kane and Lightning before coating the flaming floor. With the fire out and the Marshals’ faces covered, sanity returned as the red discolouration fled from their eyes.
Was this natural vegetation, or something nefarious devised by the Indians. The marshals climbed down the cliff to find out.