Chapter 3: Boiler and Flaming Fireflies
Cars were loaded, bags were tossed around. Everyone was working together to get everything ready for the journey ahead.
"Okay people! Get ready! Lieutenant, I want this convoy moving five minutes ago!" Alvin shouted task for all the crew members.
"Tuffnut, you're on point!" Heather shouted as she walked over to one of the trucks she would be riding it. When she saw Snotlout heading towards the wrong truck she corrected him. "No Snotlout, Astrid's taking the oiler. You know the rules, I want you fifty yards behind that truck at all times. And Ruffnut…. Put out that cigarette."
Alvin looked around as he watched everyone get into positions. It wasn't until he heard that god awful beep that he turned to see Hiccup playing with the truck's horn. Hiccup continued to play with it until Alvin ripped the horn off the truck and tossed it onto the ground.
"Are you sure you're checked out on this class of vehicle?" Alvin wiped his hands on his shirt and saw Hiccup give him a confused look. "Can you drive a truck?"
Hiccup watched as Alvin pointed to the vehicle next to them before sliding into it to demonstrate his semi knowledge of it. "Pftt hehe. What not to get? You got your steering … and your gas and your break… and, of course, this metal uh looking...thing"
Alvin gave Hiccup a broad unconvinced stare as Hiccup played with the leavers.
"Okay, so it was a bumper car at Coney Island" Hiccup let out a huff when he got caught. "But it's the same principle"
Few minutes later, trucks, cars, and large motorize, such as the giant drill, were honking and beeping at the small trunk, driven by Hiccup, in front. Yelling could be heard as Hiccup desperately tried to get the truck to go but soon came to a stop right after.
This intern caused the new siltation of tying Hiccup's truck to the digger. Hiccup mopped since there was nothing he could do but play with the steering wheel as they climbed the steep hill.
Climbing their way through the deep caverns, coming across pillars and old relicts that meant they were on the right track. Through the maze they went. Navigating tunnels and stone like roads. Careful not to fall, for a steep drop was below. Coming to cliffs, they had to use ropes. Steadily pulling down the vehicles to the lower side below, for one wrong move, they could come down on the jagged rocks.
At last they met with two paths that went through both eyes of the skull like face of the mountain. Halting their cars, they waited for Hiccup to scan the book to know which way to go. Hiccup pointed to the right one, sure as he was, they drove up to the right eye, and a large worm monster shot out and tried to attack them. Quickly turning around, anger of unhappy face as the group blamed the boy for his mistake. Hiccup turned the book trying to figure out what went wrong. When he saw it was the other way, he was embarrassed as he pointed the other way.
They went into the stalagmite cavern, a beautiful water fall to in the rafters. Some masked creatures were trailing in the far cavern from the group. Following after them, like they were curious about the fellow crew.
A short break they had. Hiccup looked in the supply cart and spotted a water canteen. He began to unscrew and drink from it, but then saw Snotlout come over to him and look at him in horror.
When he saw Hiccup wipe his mouth off, Snotlout said "You didn't just drink that, did you?"
Hiccup nodded his head in satisfying his thirst.
"That's not good" Snotlout voice began to panic. "That's nitroglycerin"
Hiccup panicked at what Snotlout was telling him and grabbed his throat because of reflex.
"Don't move. Eh, don't breath" Snotlout backed away slowly. "Don't do anything except… pray…maybe"
"BOOM!" Tuffnut screamed behind the poor boy.
Hiccup jumped about 5 feet in the air. Once he knew it was all a joke, he sighed in relief. He was so humiliated as the two walked by him and laughed at how well their prank worked.
The journey moved forward. Hiccup could feel the unwontedness from the group. For instant, they all had to climb up some steep rocks by foot. Gobber helped Snotlout first, then Tuffnut, and last Astrid. But when it was Hiccup's turn to be helped, Gobber and the group just walked off, leaving poor Hiccup to get up on his own.
Another time was when they were all surrounding the camp fire, telling stories and eating together, but Hiccup. No he was busy alone looking through books and maps to figure out the road and terranes from the journal. He just figure since they've been together since there last journey and he needed to prepare them for the journey ahead, he tried to not let it get to him.
They traveled father until they reached a big pillar. Snotlout was busy surrounding the pillar with explosives and the rest listened to Hiccup raved about the pillar.
"Good lords, look at the size of this. It's got to be half a mile at least" Hiccup was then grabbed by Snotlout but still went on bantering. "It must be hundreds, no thousands of years to carve this things"
Hiccup watched as the beautiful work of art fell and made a bridge.
"Look at that! I made a bridge" Snotlout gloated back. "It what…took me two seconds? HAHAHA"
Continued on their way, but still were followed by these unusual creatures. Snow banks and tunnels they want, until they reached a blacked path.
"Looks like we have a little roadblock" Alvin and the group stared at the giant stone wall. Alvin turned to Snotlout for answers. "Snotlout, what do you think?"
"I could unblock it, if I had about 200 of these" Snotlout held up a dynamite stick, but then looked in his bag for what else he got "Problem is I got about ten. Plus, you know five of my own….And a couple of cherry bombs… a road flare." He them smirked as he called over to Hiccup, who was still by his truck reading, "Hey Hiccup, too bad we don't have some nitroglycerin"
Hiccup banged his head against the steering wheel for falling for such a stupid trick. Tuffnut and Ruffnut laughed their heads off at Snotlout's joke from inside the digger.
"Looks like we're gonna have to dig" Alvin looked up at Tuffnut.
"Yes! Finally!" Tuffnut gave a joyous cry as he got the drill started up.
All was going great at first, a hole was beginning to form from the drill when the machine began to have a major backfire. Tuffnut coughed when the smoke encased his cockpit and cried while banging his head on the steering wheel when the digger wouldn't start.
"I don't get it" Astrid opened and climbed into the back engine. Trying to figure out what went wrong. "I just tuned it up this morning"
Hiccup looked inside and saw that the engine was the same one as the one in the museum "uhhh"
"It looks the rotor's shot" Astrid yelled to the crew which means it's going to take a while to repair. "I'm gonna have to pull a spare…"
"Don't you dare touch" Astrid gave Hiccup a stern demanding glare. "I'll be right back"
Hiccup watched her go. Quickly putting down the book, he grabbed nobs and twisted them. The engine hissed and groaned as Hiccup hit it with a hammer.
"SHE LIVES!" The engine sparked on with Tuffnut in glee. He started the drill up again and into the wall it went again.
"Hey, what did you do!?" Astrid could not believe Hiccup fixed the complicated machine.
"Well, you know, the boiler in this baby is a Humac model P54/813. Now we got the 814 back at the museum. The heating core on the whole Humac line... have always been a little, you know, temperamental. So sometimes you gotta... boom! Persuade it a little." Hiccup was happy to show how smart he was, but Astrid found it annoying.
"Yeah, yeah. Thank you very much" She pushed Hiccup out of the way and closed the back. But before she head back to her truck she was going to pretend punch him, but flinched. "Two for flinching" she made light jabs at his arm, but still hurt the skinny boy.
"This is it"
It was a large clear area and it and a bridge that led to the gates of Atlantis. Up above them was a weird creepy looking stone chandelier with a green glow coming from it.
"Alright boys" Alvin go out of the car "Well set up camp here"
"Why is it glowing like that" asked Astrid, who was staring at it with awe.
"Pah! Its natural phosphorescence" Tuffnut looked at it with a huff.
"That thing…." Snotlout pointed at it with annoyance in his voice. "Is going to keep me up all night. I just know it"
Darkness came, if that even was possible. Lights from the campfire could be seen as the group crowed around the fire. Mildew came whistled with his large pale full of slop.
"Come and get it" Mildew chimed
He came up to each one with sly cruel comment for each. With every scope of crud, he put on them on everyone's empty plates. "For the appetizer… Caesar salad… escargot….. and your oriental mutton"
"I wanted the escargot"
"Knock yourself out"
Mildew finished them off then wheeled himself over to Hiccup, who was alone again. "Here you go Hiccup. Put some meat on your bones"
"Thanks Mildew. This looks…(gulp) greaser than usual." Hiccup, like all the crew, did not look forward to Mildew's cooking.
Mildew knew was sarcasm but could not resist dumping more on his plate. "You like it? Well, have some more. You're so skinny if you were to turn sideways and stick your tongue out, you'd look like a zipper." Mildew carted away laughing.
Gobber looked at Hiccup with pity "You know, we've been pretty tough on the kid" Gobber turned to the group. "What do you say we cut him some slack?"
"Hey Hiccup! Why don't you sit with us?" Astrid called out to him.
Hiccup looked up from his book to look like he just hit the jackpot. "You guys don't mind"
Hiccup walked towards the group and Astrid patted seat next to her. "Nah, park it right here"
Hiccup was so grateful that he didn't notice Snotlout put a woopy cushion under his butt. "It's an honor to…"
Both Snotlout, Tuffnut, and Ruffnut laughing their butts off as Hiccup blushed red in embarrassment.
"Snotlout!" Both Astrid and Gobber gave them an upset face.
"Sorry, sorry" Snotlout tried to calm the group. "Could not resist"
While they continued semi eat their food, Astrid watched Hiccup still get wrapped up in his book while eating. "Don't you ever put that book away?"
"Yeah, you must have read it a dozen times by now" Gobber agreed with Astrid.
"I know" Hiccup let out a sigh as he scanned the pages. "But this….this doesn't make any sense" Both Gobber and Astrid stretched to see what Hiccup was taking about.
"See... in this... the shepherd talks about source. He calls it the heart of Atlantis, but then it cuts off. Almost like there's a missing page"
"Kid, relax" Snotlout relaxed on his chair. "We don't get paid overtime"
"I know, I know" Hiccup put down his spoon and waved the book at everyone. "But hey, that what this is all about, right? Discovery, teamwork, adventure. Unless…" He already knewing what they were going to say but the fear grew inside him any way he tried to act casual. "You're only in it for the money"
"Money" They all said in unison.
"Well, I guessed I set myself up for that" Hiccup rubbed his neck. He knew that not everyone was like him.
Gobber came up behind him and looked at Hiccup's neck. "Something wrong with your neck?"
"ya, must of hurt it when we….."
Gobber grabbed Hiccups head and cracked it.
"Woah!" Gobber fixed up Hiccup's neck and he felt better than he did before. "How did you…."
"An arapho medicine woman. Gothi we called her" Gobber amused himself in memory.
"Get out of here" Hiccup became fascinated.
"Born and raised" Gobber got out an old picture of his folks "My father was an army medic. He settled down and met my mother"
"Nope" Gobber pulled his necklace "Got this sheepskin from Mulch U. And a boar tusk from old Iron bucket." He put his necklace away and looked at the flames. "Halfway through med school, I was drafted. One day I'm studying gross anatomy in class… the next I'm sewing up roughriders on San Juan Will."
"Main course" Out popped Mildew with his cart of crud.
"I couldn't eat another bite"
"I'm watching my weight"
Mildew laughed at their desperation to get him away "Hahahah. Don't worry. It'll keep and keep."
"Thank god, I lost my sates years ago"
They all dumped their food in the fire and the flames were put out by the slug.
"Aren't you going to pitch your tent?" Snotlout, like everyone else, were ready to hit the hay, but had to stop and stare at Hiccup's pitiful attempt to put up a tent.
"Uh, I did" Hiccup was shoved out of the way as Snotlout fixed is tent. Rubbing the back of his neck and letting out a nervous chuckle. "I guess I'm a little rusty" Hiccup thanks Snotlout as he put down his mat to lay on. "I haven't gone camping….well, since my father took me"
"What was he like?" Astrid was still setting up her tent and was about to put her mat down. "I never got to meet him"
"He was a big grizzly man with a kind heart. It was me and him against the world. My mother died when I was just a kid." Hiccup started to chuckle as the memory.
"What?" Astrid asked curiously.
"Well, when I was small, my father and I would go hiking along the stream and I saw something shinning in the water. It was a genuine arrowhead. Well, you think I've found a lost civilization, the way my father carried on about it. It wasn't until I entered college that I found out it was just compressed shale mixed with the zine pyrite that had fractured into an isosceles triangle"
Giggles could be heard as Tuffnut walked by holding a yak doll. "That's cute"
Hiccup shrugged then looked back at Astrid with a question "say Astrid, uh no…no offense but how does a teenager become the chief mechanic of a million dollar expedition?"
Astrid thought about it before she explained "Well my Fadir retired. He always wanted sons, right? One to run his shop and the other to be middle weight ax throwing champion." She tossing the mat into her tent. "But he got me and my sister instead"
"So, uh, what happen to your sister?"
"She's twenty-four with a shot at the title next month" Astrid shrugged and laid down on her mat. She acted like it was obvious what her sister did. "Anyway, I'm saving up so me and my Fadir can open up another shop"
"I just love to blow things up" Snotlout placed the mask on his face and stuck a match behind his ear.
"Come on Snotlout, tell the boy the truth" Gobber pulled back on the mask and let it snapped back into Snotlout's face.
"Ugh" Snotlout hated his life sometimes "My family owned a flower shop. We would sell rose, carnations, baby's breath, you name it. One day, I'm making about a dozen corsages for this prom. And everybody and I mean everybody came. 'Where is it?' 'When is it?' 'Does this match my dress?' It was a nightmare. Then as if it was a sign from the gods. I guess there was a leak next door…of gas or what. BOOM! No more Chinese laundry" Snotlout gave a creep grin "I found myself that day"
"Grunt, grunt" Digging could be heard from Tuffnut as he made a hole in the ground.
Then came Ruffnut with another yak doll and pillow came by them.
"Forget something Ruffnut?" asked Hiccup.
"I sleep with Tuffnut" She stated as she climbed into the hole. "Soggy alone place"
"What's they're story?" Hiccup was afraid to ask.
"All you need to know is that their twins and on the last trip they acted like they had one brain. Now Ruffnut is a radio operator for some hush hush business and Tuffnut…well you get it" Gobber blew out the lantern and all went to sleep.
As sleep consumed and snores were heard from the camp site. Strange warrior creatures bonded through the cam. Strange they were mask covering most of their bodies. Two looked to have bodies of rabbits while the others had bodies of humans. One grabbed a bag and started looking through it. Curious by the strange objects inside that came out until it saw a picture of Stoic and Hiccup. Putting its hand on the picture and looked at the two. All was stopped when ruffles were heard and they bounded out.
Hiccup flicked the flash like on. Late at night water drinking had taken its toll and it led to usage of the toilet was needed. Grabbing a roll of toilet paper, he walked out of his tent to find a place to do his business. Pulling his pants off and was unable to hold the flashlight, thus the light hitting the chandler. Out came these glowing bugs, kinda of like fireflies. Amazing as they were, once they touched the tent, blasts of fire scorched them.
Unknown to Hiccup, he pulled his pants back up, to finally notice them, when one of the firefly came by him. Trying to swat it away, he turned to see the chaos before him. "Fire? FIRE!"
Let's just says Alvin hated being woken up by an annoying certain person. "I'm gonna kill that boy" Alvin looked and slammed the clock down before coming out of his tent. "Haddock! Go back to slee…" The heat of the flames stopped him in his tracks.
Everyone was panicking, not knowing what to do as they tried to put out the flames. The fire kept on going because of the sheer number of fireflies, everything stayed a flame. Alvin grabbed Heather and told her to head to the vehicles.
"We need to get out of these caves"
"You heard the man! Move it!" Heather yelled as everyone climbed into the vehicles.
Cars began to driven but the swarm kept getting bigger. Leading the way was the digger along with cars trying to push each other out of the way.
"Hiccup grab my hand!"
Hiccup grabbed Astrid's hand as he got into the back of one of the trucks just in time before the truck behind them exploded.
The cars kept moving. Once car full of oil caught fire which caused a huge explosion. Breaking the bridge and the road to fall. The bridge broke like the Titanic with its tail going down. The problem was that the digger was in front of the group. Thus when the bridge collapsed, the digger, being a heavier object, dragged all the cars behind it to fall into the caverns below. Breaks were no help as the cars crumbled to the ground and wheeled down the steep slope. Crashes could heard and the cars banged into rocks and each other. Everything went dark and glass could be heard breaking.
The lone flame from Alvin's match was the only light that could be seen. "Alright, who's not dead? Sound off"
"Dang it. I think some of those lightening bugs bit my butt. Somebodies gonna have to suck out the poison. Hehe" Soon followed by a loud punch."OW!"
Alvin sighed with frustration as his eyes like everyone else began to adjust to the darkness. "Astrid give me a damage report"
Astrid glared her flashlight at the destruction before them. "We totaled rigs two and seven, but digger looks like it can still run."
"Man, it's lucky that we landed on something soft." Snotlout sighed happily.
"We are standing in a dormant volcano" Tuffnut explained. He looked at the dirt then pointed up.
The group looked up as Heather got out her flare gun and shot it "It just keeps going. That must be our ticket out of here"
"The magma has solidified the bowls of the volcano." Tuffnut pointed to the cap.
"I got the same problem with outcast food" Ruffnut spoke.
"Wait a minute. Back up. Are you telling us that this can explode at any time?" Gobber became fearful a she looked around.
"Don't worry. The only way for that to happen is if there is a massive explosion" Tuffnut sort of calmed everyone's nerves.
Everyone turned to glare at Snotlout, who was repairing one of his bomb clock. "I guess I'll work on this later"
Heather and Alvin continued their talk as they looked at the cap. "You know, if we blow the top of that thing. We can head straight to the surface" Alvin then turned around "What do you think Mr. Haddock."
Everyone turn around when they didn't hear Hiccup. They then noticed that Hiccup was not there at all.