Marco! Polo! … Shovel?

Commander Rue.Tylar led Hedgymama and the other handful of cadets with them around the cave system, finding no apparent way out. However, they had found a ton of an odd ore-like material that Rue had put in her bag for safekeeping and to test later.

“All right cadets, keep looking for a way out while I’ll try and get the Captains’ attention,” she grumped as she headed under the hole they fell down. “And maybe stay back a few feet.”

She started practicing to get her lightning strikes to come on command instead of only when she was frustrated. Though she had plenty of anger and frustration to pull from, so she just needed to do it in small quick bursts. Control was the key. She got a few bolts to shoot straight up but they didn’t last. But maybe it would be enough for someone to notice.

***********

Meanwhile Captain IronAngel was still working on getting the battered Viking ship repaired, and being that he was the least flustered of the group, his powers were mostly under control. “Anyone seen Commander Rue lately?” he asked wondering where the group that went off in search of rogue ecosystem destroying frogs had disappeared to. After there were a few beats of silence from the cadets and the remaining officers looked around at each other with clueless expressions on their face then shook their heads, he got on the (barely patched up) comm system.

“Captain Elyndra, have all the teams from the frog incident checked back in?”

“Let me check,” Capt Elyndra responded, tapping a data pad, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, and ….oh…no. Rue’s not back. And she’s been gone a while. Nargles!”

“Yea, that’s about what I said. We need to get a search team out. Maybe the dinos know something? Get a couple of people to the observation decks of all the ships; we need to be watching the direction she went off for signs of trouble, or just any signs. Rue’s resourceful, she’s not going to be waiting like a princess in distress. She’ll be trying to get our attention, somehow.  So let’s make sure we’re watching.”

“You got it, and you said all the things I would have suggested.” Elyndra replied. She turned to those in the room, gently directing them to the observation decks of the ships with clear instructions on what to do. “I’ll have Blackberry check with the dinos and get you anything we get out of them.”

“Sounds good, I’ll assemble the search party, but won’t take off until we get more information.”  IronAngel replied.

“Yep, no marching out there blind,” Elyndra agreed.

Kistoway took her coffee to the observation deck of the MLS P. Ninja, searching the horizon for anything. She had started the academy with Rue, they were close. Had to be separated as they could (and often still did) finish each other’s sentences.

***********

Rue, still underground, was getting some lightning to spark above the hole but it was still only brief flashes. It wasn’t holding. At first, she tried sending a S.O.S. with light flashes, which was a lot harder without a flashlight. After about an hour of that, she took a break, grabbed a meal bar and some water before sitting down to think. They needed a better plan. The cadets and Hedgymama were back after having had no luck finding exits. Rue kicked at her tactical shovel lying on the ground beside her gear. And that was when the idea hit her. Her eyes lit up and her brows furrowed.

“Well this is either the worst idea ever or the best. I’d back up a bit if I were ya’ll,” the Commander called to the cadets before standing up. Much to the surprise of the watching cadets, she picked up the shovel and held it over her head. Channeling all her frustration, fear, anger and homesickness into a surprisingly controlled lightning burst that run up the length of the metal shovel, she managed to create a shovel shaped lightning bolt in the sky. Instead of doing short bursts, she just kept pouring emotion into the spark, and it worked! A sustained shovel shaped lightning bolt could easily be seen above the tree line.

***********

Kistoway almost choked on her coffee when the shape suddenly appeared in the sky and immediately called out to Captain IronAngel. “Look west! Right now!”

“Well, I mean, she’s not subtle that’s for sure,” the Captain responded with a relieved grin. “All right, we’re off! I have that location marked. We’re bringing a crew and plenty of gear to get them back.” IronAngel quickly called out further instructions and then rallied his crew and headed off towards where the signal was.

***********

Rue.Tylar managed to hold the signal for a solid 5 minutes before she just crumpled to the ground. Shaking from exertion, she leaned on her shovel next to her. Hedgymama rushed over to make sure it was just from exhaustion and that Rue.Tylar hadn’t accidentally electrocuted herself. Her shoulder length brown hair normally sleek and well maintained looked like she had stuck her finger into a light socket. “I think I zapped myself pretty good.”

Hedgymama reached out to touch Rue’s shoulder and got a mild shock. “OW. You’re still a bit of a live wire it appears.”

Rue.Tylar just nodded. “Yea, I wouldn’t touch me for a while or put me near anything super mechanical or sensitive to static shocks. Keep the cadets close, if anyone saw that, they’ll be here soon.”

“But are they even looking for us??” a cadet squeaked.

“Of course, Elyndra’s very punctual. Since we weren’t back by the assigned time, I’m sure she already has people out looking for us. And IronAngel may not be pleased with my zappy powers, but he would never leave a crewman behind. That’s just not his style.” RueTylar smiled weakly. And the cadets erupted into cheers. Someone would come for them and get them out of this dark hole.

After a while, Hedgymama piped up: “I hear a group of people coming!”

“How? I hear nothing,” RueTylar asked cocking her head. The cadets all puzzling and tilting their heads one way or the other tended to say the same. Hedgymama was the only one who could hear this.

“Yea, there’s like 13 people coming. I hear the foot stomping approach.”

“Mind the hole!!!” One of the cadets shouts out, the rest join in a repeating chorus, to try and get the attention of the approaching party.

Captain IronAngel sure enough did hear the chant, and stopped short of the hole, looking down. “Good to see you alive Rue, Hedgymama, cadets. Everyone okay?”

“Yea, Rue’s a bit extra zappy, but we’re all fine, minor bumps and bruises. Oh and we found this neat ore down here. Rue has a sample.”

“Ore you say? Well let’s get everyone up and then we’ll worry about the rest.” IronAngel smirked and started setting up rigging to get everyone up. Rue.Tylar, as highest ranking officer in the pit, made sure that everyone else was out first and without trouble, before she climbed in the basket of rope and held her gear belt on her lap as the crew above hoisted her up to freedom.

Above the ground, Rue handed over the chunk of rock they were able to get from the caves beneath. “It seemed shiny and possibly interesting. And I know how you are with things that could be interesting.”

“We’ll take a good look at it once we’re back at the ships. Can you walk?”

“I can’t dance, but I can walk. We won’t break any speed records though, that’s for sure.”

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