“Rrrrr!”, he grunted as his left hand gripped the edge of the cliff, his muscles straining against the weight of his own body as he hung there. Sweat dripped off his chiseled brow. The man was grizzly: hadn’t shaved in several days, needed a bath, and probably wreaked that Human stink you get after spending three long weeks in the desert.
Just minutes before, he was in the tomb of a famed emperor, or so he thought. It hadn’t even been the tomb he was looking for; it turned out to be just some random rich guy from way-back-when that spent a bunch of money to make his own tomb and mock all the royalty encased out here.
Of course, that didn’t matter at the moment. the only thing he gave half a crap about right now was NOT. LETTING. GO.
Unfortunately (par for course in this place, apparently), that was about the time the small bit of rock he had a death grip on broke away from the rest of the cliff, kicking off a sudden and probably fatal descent. As he fell, Chance’s thoughts immediately took him home to sweet, sunny California. The home of his parents out in the northern Valley was always cool – never too hot and never -
“LIKE HELL!”, Chance yelled out. This wasn’t going to be his time. NOT. TODAY. While Chance was well aware of the fact that he wasn’t as young as he once was, he still had a trick or two up his sleeve.
Reaching into his satchel, Chance pulled out a small pistol. Luckily for him, it was no ordinary pistol – it was a grappling gun. As he aimed for what appeared to be a sturdy rock wall, Change said a little prayer – a slightly odd thing, considering Chance’s self proclaimed atheistic beliefs.
As his descent neared its end, Chance fired. The grappling line hit the wall flush, it’s various metal points sinking in, just as designed. In a split second the line was taught, and Chance was swinging for the wall. He hit the wall hard, and could feel his ribcage flex with the impact; he was gonna be sore later!
Chance took a second to get his bearings before squeezing the trigger on the gun, which extended the rope, allowing him to descend slowly. Looking around as he went down, Chance finally spotted a perch and started swinging to and fro, even as his slow descent continued.
As his swinging arc widened and the distance between himself and the perch lowered, Chance timed his release. Cutting the line on his grappling gun when he was at the outside edge of his swing closest to the perch, Chance sent himself hurtling toward the small cliff, tucking as he landed. A few tumbles and future sore spots later, Chance finally found himself at his true goal: the Entrance of the Ancient Tomb of King Unpronounceable. Also known to the steadily shrinking Tomb Raider Community as ‘King Unpro’, the Ancient was a member of a believed-long-dead alien race that used to inhabit the planet Chance was on. Of course his real name wasn’t Unpronounceable, but his true name was literally unspeakable to humans; their bodies lacked the vocal sophistication to make the proper sounds.
The next step would be to figure out how to get in the damn thing. At first glance it looked to be your standard glyph-surrounded stone blocking the way. Chance took a second to collect himself, and reload his grappler.
“Thank God for extra re-dammit!” he thought as that pesky religion stuff crept back into his noggin.
After noting a lucky few tears and scrapes to his tan cargo pants and green flannel shirt, Chance began studying the glyphs on the wall. Before long it had been hours, and the heat of the day was starting to bear down on him. To cool off, Chance opened up the flannel shirt exposing a near drenched white t-shirt underneath, and took a sip of water from a drink pack attached to his trouser belt.
Then seemingly out of nowhere, Chance snapped his fingers as his eyes widened.
*Of course!*, he thought to himself, almost out loud as excitement began to flood through his mind. The Glyphs were names used by the alien race. All he had to do was find the one he couldn’t…
After another hour or so of this, Chance was in disbelief, exhausted, and near the end of his rope. It was gonna be dark soon, he had no shelter, no food, and was almost out of water. Hoe the hell was he supposed to figure out which name was unpronounceable if none of them -
“No fucking way,” he mumbled to himself as he swiped his hand over all of the glyphs in rapid succession. As the stone slab of a door slid back into the tomb and off to the side, air rushed in as though the place had been vacuum sealed for centuries.
With a grin going from ear to ear, Chance just stood at the entrance with his hands on his hips, basking in the glory of the moment. Without warning, his ‘moment’ was interrupted:
“Yeah yeah genius yer fuckin’ awesome. Some of us would like a turn at this before the park closes for the day?”
The moment over, Chance grabbed his pack. As he walked off the cliff without falling, the scene dispersed. revealing a small room filled with projectors, gravity simulators, and other equipment.
Heaving a heavy sigh, Chance walked through the door as it whooshed open for him; his face transitioning from that of a ruggedly handsome man in his early thirties to the disheveled, arthritic, bent man in his late sixtes. The scene was real for him once, but that was years ago. All the known inhabited planets had either been explored or quarantined now; the only adventures left for him were the virtual ones he helped design.
“Well, it was fun while is lasted..” he thought to himself as he got into his car, and headed home.