Title: The Pyramid
Sequel to: The Cave
Characters: Chloe Sullivan, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, AVP Cast, Brief John Winchester, Top Buchannan, and metion of Jack McAlister
Disclaimer: I do not own
Summary: When Weyland wants to meet with Chloe, she has no interest until she realizes that they might know something about Jack, who disappeared months ago. She and Lois find more than they were looking for while in the pyramid...as always.
Note: Written for my Paranormal25 150 Prompt Table. Prompt of the story # 89: Shrine (or temple).
The ship was at standstill. The pack ice had already begun to reform, creating a solid sheet around the ship’s hull.
Quinn and his Roughnecks were hoisting the drilling platforms out of the hold and lowering them to the ice.
A dozen shivering scientists were gathered around, obviously waiting for something. Sebastian and Miller were a part of the audience, as were Thomas, Rousseau and Verheiden. Lois also was there, flirting quite contentedly with Sebastian, who looked immensely flattered by her attentions.
The moon hung low in the sky.
Its dull blue glow provided what little illumination there was. It was freezing cold because the doors of the hold were open.
Verheiden turned to his men. “Move these Haaglunds out!”
In the background, the Haaglunds were being unloaded as Quinn and the rest of his team continued to unload the rest of their equipment.
“I’m surprised that even though Top left you’re still interested in me accompanying you.” Chloe admitted from where she stood above with Weyland, watching the activity below. “Wouldn’t Weyland Industries want this discovery all for themselves?”
“It is true that I invited you because of Mr. Buchannan’s insistence on not being able to work for someone he didn’t trust,” Weyland crossed his hands behind his back before turning to look at Chloe. “But I must admit that I have wanted to meet you in person for a while now, Miss Sullivan.”
The blonde looked at him in surprise. “Why exactly is that?”
“You are a person of interest to me.” Weyland spoke carefully. “And to be truthful, it is mostly because of the way Lionel spoke of you during our alliance. He has pure contempt for his son, but for you he holds admiration, and a not a little amount of fascination. Max also speaks highly of you.”
Chloe looked away, a little uncomfortable with the direction of their conversation.
Ever since her brief partnership with Lionel when she was fifteen, she realized the way he looked at her wasn’t with the mentor-like way that he should. When he’d tried to press an unwanted advance at her one night she’d ended up quitting and walking out on him, and he’d ended up being kneed in the famous Luthor family jewels and collapsed on the floor.
For some reason he’d seemed to like her even more after that.
And after Chloe had discovered her own power by bringing Lex back to life after Lionel had shot him during an intense showdown she didn’t want to even think about, Lionel had become obsessed with metahumans and their powers.
Chloe still blamed herself to this day for that.
“I’m sure you’ll find yourself sorely disappointed.” Chloe announced, returning her attention to the others. “I’m not very interesting.”
“I quite disagree with you on that, Miss Sullivan.” Weyland announced. “You survived that cave, and the gruesome creatures therein. You are of much interest to me. And yet you have been strong enough to control a strong mutation.”
Chloe looked up at him in horror. “What?”
“I believe we have a mutual friend.” Weyland responded.
Chloe’s eyes widened. “Jack.”
Weyland nodded. “When Mister McAlister came to me some months ago talking about caves and parasites and mutations I thought he was insane, but when I took a sample of his blood we were able to prove for ourselves that there was something different.”
Chloe felt horror filling her whole body.
Why would Jack turn to Weyland and give him his blood? Which could have the parasites in it! He would be giving Weyland so much power! And she didn’t trust Weyland to use that power wisely.
“I can only guess what must be going through your mind.” The older man admitted. “But you don’t have to worry, when injected into other hosts nothing happened. Apparently being in a certain environment, or being close to a certain object, is what triggered the mutation, not the parasite itself. When injected into another host, the parasite died within the first ten minutes.”
The Kryptonian Crystal must be the trigger for the mutation.
Weyland gave her a look. “He is doing well. Or, as well as he can at the moment.”
“Why did he go to you?” Chloe asked.
“I’m the leader in modern robotics and other projects people might consider science fiction---he was seeking alternative help.”
“Meaning? Chloe frowned.
“He has requested he be put in a state of cryosleep, while we search for a way to try and regress the mutations.”
“Regress?” Chloe whispered.
Weyland sighed. “The mutations gained complete control. If we hadn’t done this, which completely froze the mutation and its process, he would have completely transformed by the month.”
“I want to see him.” Chloe narrowed her eyes at him, unable to believe that Jack was frozen somewhere being experimented on.
Though…though she could see him choosing this.
“When we return from the pyramid I will take you to see him personally.” Weyland promised.
Jerry Murdock, the new guide, stepped forwards down below to address the scientists.
Thomas took out his digital video camera and began to record the briefing.
Jerry spoke in a simple, low key, matter of fact tone. Behind him were ice axes, tents, stoves, harnesses, ropes, thermarests, neoprene water bottles and first aid kits.
“Everybody.” Jerry spoke up. “Gather round. It’s my job to keep you alive on this expedition, and I need your help to do that. Since I don’t have the time to properly train you, I’m laying down three simple rules.”
Rousseau handed out walkie-talkies.
“One: No one goes anywhere alone. Ever.” Jerry continued. “Two: Everyone will maintain constant communication. Three: unexpected things will happen. When they do---no one tries to be a hero.”
“For some of us it just comes naturally.” Miller joked.
Lois grinned, having heard this.
A few small laughs came from those listening.
Verheiden snorted, shaking his head. “Laugh it up, beaker. You get scars like this when some ‘hero’ on your team screw up their assignment.”
Miller looked at Verheiden, and at the large scar on the side of his face.
There would be no more jokes around him.
Jerry looked at Verheiden. “If one of us goes down, we’re all going after them. Understood?”
“Understood.” Everyone spoke.
The meeting broke.
Lois turned back to Sebastian, who was grinning brightly, and Sebastian straightened immediately, smile somewhat shy.
Chloe smiled as she watched them.
Ever since Clark had left to try and find the safe planet some of his people might have escaped to before the destruction of Krypton, Lois had been somewhat withdrawn around men, and so it was good to see her going back to her flirty self.
Chloe’s gaze went to Rousseau, who was cleaning her automatic handgun.
A gun would have done them some good down in that hellhole of a cave.
After that ordeal Chloe usually kept one on her person just in case.
So it was good to know that at least someone else was being prepared.
Soon after, they left on the five tracked vehicles, and reached the whaling station.
The lead Haaglund topped a snow rise and halted. One by one the others followed suit. Weyland, Chloe and Lois, who were riding one Haaglund, disembarked, followed by the others.
Around them, the snow fell, slow and steady.
“Take those over a little further!” Quinn told his men, referring to the Haaglunds. “Connors! Hold it guys…Keep the engines running!”
Thomas made his way up to Rousseau, grinning at her. “Hi.”
Rousseau said nothing and continued to smoke.
He chuckled, not letting that deter him. “Be honest. You’re a little disappointed that you didn’t get the yellow jacket, aren’t you?”
The woman looked at him at that, snorting. “They give the newbie’s the yellow jackets so that when you fall down a crevice and die, it’s easier for us to spot your body.”
Thomas nodded and moved off rapidly.
Chloe bit her bottom lip to keep from laughing.
Jerry fired a parachute flare into the air.
It exploded in the air and brightly illuminated the Whaling Station in a cool green hue.
“It’s an abandoned whaling station.” Lois stated the obvious, hugging herself against the cold, her breaths coming out in huffs of steam.
“According to the satellite imagery, the pyramid should be located directly beneath it, right?”
Chloe nodded, hugging herself as well.
“And you have a bad feeling about this.” Lois reiterated.
Chloe nodded once more.
Lois sighed. “Okay then, let’s do this.”
There were dozens of wooden buildings in the whaling station, some of them no more than shacks. All of them encrusted with ice and half buried in the snow.
The team walked down “Main Street”, illuminating the bizarre ghost town with their flashlights.
It was creepy as hell.
“Spread out.” Stafford told his men. “We’ll use this place as base camp.” He turned to Quinn. “Mr. Quinn. Begin drilling operations as soon as possible.”
Quinn nodded. “I’m on it.”
A giant black cauldron dominated the harbor. Fifteen feet high, thirty feet across, one of its four feet had been knocked away and it tilted over at a crazy angle. Only the fact that it was frozen solid stopped it from tumbling into the harbor below.
Lois pointed. “What are those?”
“Whalebones.” Chloe looked in the direction pointed. “This station was abandoned in 1904. Everyone just disappeared overnight. It was a big mystery back then.”
Lois sent Chloe a suspicious look. “You’ve researched this place completely ever since being told we were coming here, didn’t you?”
Sebastian reached their side, obviously having heard their conversation and figuring out that Chloe knew some things about this place. “So, is it a witch’s cauldron?” He joked, pointing to the big black cauldron.
“That’s actually the ‘Separator’.” Chloe corrected with a smile. “Throw whale blubber in, heat it, separate out the fat. Whale oil was big business back then.”
The harbor leading to the whaling station was totally frozen over.
Sebastian stared down at the thick ice. “How did they get ships in here?”
“Good question.” Lois piped.
“The station only operated in the summer, when the pack ice melted.” Chloe responded.
“Why was it abandoned in ’04?” Sebastian asked.
Chloe looked away. “Nothing left to hunt, I guess.”
Lois’ eyes narrowed.
There was shouting heard.
Chloe and Lois shared a look while Sebastian watched as Thomas ran towards them, flushed and excited.
“Over here! You’re not going to believe this!”
Sebastian hurried after his assistant.
Chloe and Lois stayed behind a little, Chloe shaking her boot where her gun was hidden.
“I thought you said they mysteriously vanished.” Lois mumbled as they slowly followed behind.
“I did.” Chloe murmured back. “I just didn’t want to scare him just in case I’m being paranoid or something.”
“Paranoid isn’t bad, it’s kept us alive in the past.” Lois unzipped her jacket a little to show the gun hoister and silver blinking in the moonlight. “Let’s just say we’re all a little paranoid.”
They turned around the corner of the mess hall to reveal a gaping hole in the snow and ice. It was perfectly round…ten feet across. Sebastian, Thomas, and the rest of the team were gathering around the hole.
Off to one side was Quinn’s drilling equipment---it wasn’t even unpacked.
Chloe and Lois shared another look.
“It’s drilled at a perfect 30 degree angle.” Quinn announced, looking down into the hole.
“How far does it go down?” Jerry Murdock asked.
“All the way to the pyramid.” Weyland answered.
Quinn nodded to Sven and he lit a flare, then dropped it down the shaft. The fare fell endlessly until its flickering light was finally swallowed in the darkness.
It never hit the bottom.
“How was it done?” Miller asked the question on everyone’s mind.
“Thermal equipment of some kind.” Quinn answered.
“Like yours?” Weyland wanted to know.
Quinn shook his head. He glanced at the building closest to the hole. Whatever cut through the ice had also cut clean through the building, vaporizing wooden beams and metal walls.
“More advanced. Incredibly powerful.” Quinn finally answered. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“I told you I wasn’t the only one with a satellite.” Weyland announced. “It must be another team. Maybe the Chinese…the Russians. Whoever it is, they clearly have better equipment than we do.”
Quinn turned to Weyland. “Listen, whoever cut this, sliced through pack ice, the building, the beams, and solid metal walls. We should find out what cut this before we proceed.”
“I thought you were the best?” Stafford made a face.
Quinn bristled, obviously not appreciating the criticism. “I am the best.”
“It doesn’t make any sense.” Chloe spoke up, looking around. “If there were someone else here, someone who could use a beam so advanced like that---where are they? Where’s their base camp? Why aren’t there any signs at all of anyone else having been here since this place was abandoned all those years ago?”
“She’s right.” Quinn spoke, turning back to the hole. “Something’s not right.”
Lois narrowed her eyes.
“They must already be down there.” Stafford insisted, not listening to reason. “They must have their base camp down inside.”
Chloe knelt down and examined the ice at the mouth of the hole. “No. Look at the ice. There’s no ridges.” She turned to look back at the others. “Nobody’s been down there.”
“She’s right.” Jerry announced after bending down and examining it alongside Chloe.
Weyland frowned. “Satellite passed over eleven minutes ago.” He turned to Stafford. “Get me the data.”
The handsome dark-skinned man nodded and moved off to do that.
“I didn’t know that you knew some tracking.” Jerry turned to Chloe with a small smile.
“I like to read.” She offered, standing up and ending the conversation, not willing to get friendly with any of the guides ever again. She’d made that mistake with Jack while on the Romanian trip and she wasn’t going to get close to someone only to lose them again.
“What are you thinking?” Lois asked after Chloe and her walked away from the group a little.
“I’m not sure.” Chloe admitted, looking back at the hole. “But let’s stick together, okay?”
“No problemo.” Lois announced, watching as Stafford motioned for everyone to come towards him, where he was standing next to one of the Haaglunds.
They headed there with the other and watched as Stafford spread a satellite photo over the hood of the Haaglund for them to see. “There it is. Clear as day.”
There was the familiar pattern of interlocking square shapes that made up the pyramid. Only this time, a long red line (the tunnel) connected them to the surface of the ice.
“And this time yesterday.” Stafford replaced the photo with one taken 24 hours later. The square shapes were the same, but there was no tunnel.
Weyland made a face. “Nothing.”
Sebastian pointed behind them at the tunnel. “So whoever cut this…they did it in the last 24 hours.”
“That’s just not possible.” Quinn shook his head.
“It’s here.” Sebastian pressed. “It’s done.”
“I’m telling you there’s no team and no machine in the world that could cut to this depth in twenty-four hours.” Quinn glared at the scientist.
“The only way we’re going to know for sure is to get down there and find out.” Weyland decided, frowning.
Everyone nodded and got back to work.
Even half an hour later they were busy working at the mouth of the tunnel, readying for their descent into the unknown. Ropes were dropped into the void and Sven, Boris and Mikkel were building a winch and pulley system over the mouth of the tunnel.
At the tunnel mouth Quinn yelled down at his men. “What’s taking so long? There’s a storm coming!”
Chloe pulled open the door to the Haaglund, thinking of entering and sitting safe from the freezing wind for a while, and was surprised when she found Weyland sitting there alone. He was struggling, breathing from a portable oxygen bottle.
Weyland lowered his mask.
His power and wealth were instantly dwarfed by his vulnerability.
Chloe looked him over and entered, closing the door, sealing them inside of the Haaglund and separating them from the others. She sat next to him, and they didn’t say anything for the longest time, just digesting what the other’s knowledge meant.
“You’re ill.” Chloe finally spoke, breaking the silence.
“My doctors tell me the worst is behind me.” Weyland assured her, not looking at her, eyes on his portable oxygen tank.
“When you work for Lionel Luthor you learn the handy ability of discerning when someone’s lying to you.” Chloe decided to warn him.
He gave a small, tired smile before looking at her. “You know, when you get sick, you think about your life and how you’re going to be remembered. You know what I realized would happen when I go? A ten percent fall in share prices. Maybe twelve. And that’s it.” He shook his head with a wry smile. “I need this.”
Chloe sighed and then nodded. “Okay.”
He seemed surprised. “You’re not going to try and convince me to stay here or on the Piper Maru ‘for my own good’?”
“Would you listen to me if I did?” Chloe leaned back against the seat.
“No.” He admitted.
“Another thing I learnt while working for Lionel was to know when a person was determined to see something through.” Chloe replied, looking out of the windows at the activity going on outside.
“Apparently working for Lionel was quite the learning experience.”
Chloe snorted. “You have no idea.”
There was a long, thin viewing window at the front of the spacecraft. Through it there was a majestic view of earth.
Standing against the window were three predators in silhouette, outlined against the blue green globe. There were weapons in their hands.
They were hunters preparing for their hunt.
They assembled their weapons. Metal pieces sliding together to form a Predator spear.
A blade cut through the air, its sharpness being tested. Bandages were wrapped around alien hands, like ancient gladiators preparing for combat. Armor was slipped on, covering legs, face, and torso.
In the background a bank of computer screens lit up the room. Their design all in keeping with the techno-medieval feel of Predator technology.
A grainy image played on the screens. It was a live feed, showing something that was occurring far below on earth.
It was a team of humans standing at the mouth of the tunnel leading towards an underground pyramid.
A full two-dozen members of the team rappelled down the ice tunnel, helmet lights illuminating the scene. Following them were three large sledges being lowered via the winch and pulley. The sledges contained all the team’s heavy equipment.
Lois dropped down parallel to Sebastian.
Jerry was ahead of the group. He pulled out a piton gun to drive pitons on the ice wall, and he hung small lights every twenty feet on the pitons.
Chloe was on the same level as Weyland.
She remembered while in the cave in Romania, who difficult and terrifying this had seemed to her at the time, and yet afterwards she’d trained as she’d promised herself she would, and now she found that she quite enjoyed this.
Stafford lowered himself to the same level as Weyland and Chloe. “Quinn says there’s a storm topside.”
Weyland frowned. “Will it affect us?”
Lois snorted. “We’re 700 feet deep. Quinn could be setting off an atom bomb up there and we’d never notice.”
Suddenly the rope that Weyland was on jerked tight and caught the side of the tunnel, smashing Weyland into the ice. For a millisecond everyone believed him safe, but then the rope snapped and he began to hurtle down the steep shaft.
Max and Chloe desperately tried to grab him but they both just missed.
“Man down!” Sebastian called out in horror.
“Lois!” Chloe cried out.
Lois nodded, reaching behind her into one of the sledges and pulling out an ice axe, throwing it down below towards Chloe, who caught it easily.
Without even thinking, instinct took over and Chloe’s eyes morphed, going golden and feline, as the tunnel suddenly brightened up like a summer’s day and she was able to see everything perfectly. The blonde was glad for the darkness and the distraction, which would both keep people’s attention off of her, as she watched Weyland’s terrifyingly fast descent as he slid past Jerry, who was also unable to grab him.
Calculating, seeing things in a way no one else would be able to and yet not letting it bother her anymore and it would have once, Chloe grunted and threw the ice axe with all of her might.
It flew through the air, twirling around and around, before making its rapid descent and landing with a terrifying thud, embedding itself into the hood of Weyland’s parka, and the ice, leaving him hanging safely and stopping his descent.
Chloe’s eyes quickly morphed back to normal and she lowered her head, taking in a deep, desperate breath of air.
God, her aiming sucked.
A little more downwards and she would have had that ice axe protruding through his head.
Jerry quickly hurried down to Weyland and reworked his rope, securing him in place.
Weyland turned to look at Chloe.
“You think that’s something?” Lois grinned, causing everyone to look at her and away from the blonde. “You should just see her at throwing darts!”
There were some laughter at that, diffusing the tension and surprise.
Chloe sent her cousin a grateful look.
Lois winked at her and smiled in a way as if saying not to worry and leave it all to her.
“What the hell’s going on up there, Quinn?” Stafford snapped into his walkie-talkie.
“A jam in the winching gear.” Quinn’s voice replied.
“Get it fixed right away!” Stafford hissed.
“No problem.” And then Quinn whispered under his breath. “English Asshole.”
Lois burst out laughing. “I like this man!”
Stafford glared at her.
“Thank you.” Weyland had waited for Chloe descend to his level.
“Don’t think about it.” Chloe replied. “You still have to take me to Jack, so I couldn’t have you die, now, could I?”
He smiled at her.
They didn’t realize that in the cover of the storm above, a Predator spacecraft approached at an incredible speed, preparing to land---or
of the massacre that was about to descend upon those still above.