Professor Killian worked diligently all through the night on her latest invention. Since the metal crisis, she had been thinking about and working on different ways to get metal. One night she woke up with a brilliant idea. Where is there tons of metal that no one has claim over? Why, the center of the Earth! So she began planning and drawing a special heat resistant machine. After months of exacting labor. she was finally almost done. It was late one stifling August evening when she decided that she would finish building the machine in the morning, because she had been building all day, and she needed a break.
The next morning, Professor Killian woke up bright and early to put the finishing touches on her invention. She knew that it was scathing down there in the center of the Earth, so she put five layers of heat resistant material around her machine. In some places, like the crust, she needed to have something strong and hard to dig through the strong rock. She decided to put a cone-like shape on the front of her vehicle, which would spin around rapidly and slice through the thick rock. She couldn't think of anything else that she needed, so she went inside to eat lunch and prepare for her exciting and dangerous trip. As she made herself~a peanut-butter-and-marshmallow sandwich. she shivered from the thought of the reality of it. She, Professor Margaret Elizabeth Killian, would be the first person ever to travel to the center of the earth. As she licked the leftover peanut butter oft of her fingers, she was overcome by a wave of excitement. She ran into the bedroom and became a packing tornado. She grabbed a duffle hag, and began to throw in all of the things that she would need. She wondered how long she would he there. Five hours, two days, a week? She decided to aim for three days. because it seemed about right. She wondered whether to pack a sweater, just in case, as she ran into the bathroom to grab a toothbrush. She threw it into her duffel bag and paused to think if she needed anything else. Nothing came to mind, so she decided that she was ready. She ran to her machine, opened the hatch, and threw her stuff inside. The last step was to decide where to dig. She went into her backyard and found a warm spot with soft, rock-free dirt. Then she went into her garage and drug her wonderful invention into the backyard. The entire machine was about 3o feet in diameter, and it just barely fit on the area of dirt she had chosen. She took a last deep breath of the outside air, then climbed inside of her machine.
It was a comfortable fit inside, with a big chair from which she would steer. There was enough room to move around if she crouched slightly, and there was a tiny bathroom and a mini-refrigerator that held little snack foods, some cheese and a small hit of meat. It was time to set out She sat down in the control chair and buckled herself in. She took a few breaths to settle her nerves, then hit the big red button that started her machine.
Her machine sputtered, then tilted forward until her cone-shaped digger touched the ground and began to dig, and the machine began to descend through the earth. At first the earth was soft, hut it grew harder and lull of rocks, and the machine slowed drastically. Professor Killian got up, stretched her legs, and went in search of a tasty snack. The vehicle continued to get hotter as it grew closer to the mantle. Professor Killian began to sweat, and she grabbed a frozen yogurt and went hack to sit down. She watched all of the glowing rocks and dirt through the front window and wondered how far down she was. She was plunging very quickly through the ground and, according to her map, she was almost to the mantle. She looked around and noticed lots of red, glowing rocks and dirt. All of a sudden, a little alarm went off on her dashboard, and when she looked she saw that it was signaling her that the outside of her machine was overheating. Professor Killian thought, then hit the button to lower one of the five extra layers of heat resistant material. The alarm fell silent, and Professor Killian reclined back in her chair and watched through the front window as she slowly licked the drops of strawberry frozen yogurt from her spoon. As she went to take another bite, she wondered if she had remembered to pack any water. She knew that she could become dehydrated quickly, and though she was not a doctor, she knew that if she became dehydrated she could become severely sick. And she was aware of the constant rising of the temperature. She brought the spoon of melted yogurt to her mouth. and savored the sweet coolness. She swished the sweet strawberry substance around in her mouth and swallowed. Man, was she thirsty. She just hoped that she would stumble upon a bottle of water soon. Speaking of stumbling, her machine sure was bouncing around a lot. She looked out of the window and saw lots of huge rocks. Her little machine was bouncing around on the big rocks and was tossing and jolting. She looked on her map and saw that she was almost all the way through the mantle and was about to enter the outer core. She was still excited about her journey, hut she had to admit that she was glad that her destination was drawing near. She made a quick trip to the bathroom, and groped her way hack to her chair. The digital map positioning system was telling her that she was entering the core of the earth. She sat down and watched as the scenery slowly change from red glowing rocks to silver liquid. She watched in awe and then she suddenly remembered her mission. She crawled to the back of the machine and began to pull the lever that would activate the back section. The hack part would fill a tank with the metal that they needed hack up on Earth's surface. She started to pull the huge lever, but it was jammed. She lugged and she tugged, but the lever would not budge. Oh, this is great! She thought. I travel all this way and risk my life, and the stupid lever doesn't even work.
She tried to free the stuck lever, hut found that it wouldn't release. She sat on the floor and thought, hut she couldn't think of anything to do to get the lever to move, finally, she decided that she would have to go back up to the surface, fix the lever so that it would move, and then come hack down to finish her mission. She grabbed the handles of the machine and hit the abort mission button. The machine sunk down a few more feet, and then slowed to a stop. The machine drifted about slowly, as if it were in water. As she leaned forward to start the motor, she thought that she saw something small and black swim by the window. Now don't go crazy. You've only been down here about three hours, and you are already seeing things. Of course, it could have just been a rock or something floating by the window. It's no big deal. She assured herself But just as she was about to start the engine again, she saw another black object swim by. This object was a bit larger, and she was sure that it was swimming. Unless, of course, there was a very sharp, strong current down there. She looked hack at the window and saw yet another object, only this time it was more of a reddish color. And she was sure that it wasn't a rock. This object swam around for a minute, stopped, and stared straight at her through the window. She wouldn't call it a fish or a lizard. More like a lizard with a fish-like tail. And instead of legs, it had fins. It had bulging eyes on the top of its head, and now that she saw it more clearly, she saw a vibrant blue stripe down its hack. At first she thought that maybe there was something in her eye. hut she rubbed it and the creature did not go away. Then she realized that maybe when her machine jerked suddenly, she had hit her head on something and became unconscious. She shook her head and realized that this was no dream. This was reality. And she had just made the greatest discovery known to mankind.
After Professor Killian realized what was happening, she was in shock. There were creatures that could live in the liquid metal of the outer core. There were a million questions racing through her mind, none of which she could answer. What do these creatures eat? How many species are there? How big can they get? After a few minutes of sitting there pondering many unanswerable questions, she decided that she needed to do something. She sat there wondering what to do while watching other little creatures swim by. She fingered a lock of her hair, and realized that if she told anyone about this, these magical creatures which lay hidden in the the Earth's outer core, for who knows how long, could he in peril. And she could destroy this secret forever if she told even a single soul. She decided that she would just go hack up to the surface of the earth and pretend that none of this ever happened. So, with one last sigh. she leaned forward to hit the button that would start the engine.
Something was wrong. The engine stayed silent as Professor Killian repeatedly hit the button to start the engine. She shoved the button with all of her might, but the engine would not start. She looked around the panel of her machine to see what the problem could be, trying not to let her panic rise. Suddenly, she noticed the gas gauge. It indicated that the tank was empty. As she assessed the situation, she began to hyperventilate. Here she was, a million miles below the crust of the earth, and she was stranded with a hunch of fish-like creatures, with nothing to power her machine. She wondered how many oxygen tanks she had strapped on to the craft. flow long would it he before she suffocated? All of a sudden, she felt her machine move upward a bit, then stop. Then it happened again. Professor Killian tentatively leaned over in her seal and peered out of the front window. Below her, an enormous black shape was pushing her upwards. At first she was scared, but she thanked God for sending her something to save her. When she looked over again, she saw a giant eye. She let out a shriek, hut the gigantic eye looked so sweet and kind, she sat hack down in her chair and began to relax a bit. She watched outside of her window as she gradually ascended. As she was staring out of the window, she became aware of the ominous growls coming from her stomach.
This is no time to be thinking about food! She told herself. Your life is being saved by a giant fish-creature in the center of the earth, and you are hungry! Eventually, though, she decided that there was no need to starve herself. So she went to the refrigerator in search of food. All of a sudden her machine began to ascend very quickly. As she groped her way to the refrigerator, she lost her balance and fell. When she fell, she hit her head on the thick metal floor and became unconscious.
Professor Killian shook her head. There was a bright light, and she felt the leftover throb of a headache. She slowly sat up. Where was she? She looked around, and recognized the jungle layout of her own backyard. The giant palm tree and the lush ferns that outlined her thick, dark green grass were all the same. She stood up and dusted off her pants. What time was it? What day was it? She rolled her head around, and then she remembered about the hole and the fish-creatures and the center of the earth. She ran to her machine. She looked under her machine, and to her delirious surprise, found no hole. She furrowed her brow, and then peered inside of her machine. She dropped in and onto her feet. Nothing looked as though it had been used. She looked at the gas gauge and found that the tank was full. That's impossible! She thought. But it could have all been a dream... She looked around her machine for any sign of having been used. She could find none. She went into the bathroom, searched around the chair, looked on the floor, but it all appeared unused. Then she opened the refrigerator. She tried to remember what she had had to eat. Juice, fruit, bread, strawberries . . .that was it! Strawberry frozen yogurt. She searched among the five shelves,but could not find the yogurt. That was not very significant proof, but it was all she had. She really did travel to the center of the earth. And she really did discover life forms there. But what had happened to the hole and everything else? It didn't make any sense. One thing was still the same, though. She was still very hungry. She climbed back out of her machine and began to walk toward her house. Then she felt something slithered past her leg. She shuddered, and then looked down at her feet. A little lizard, with an iguana-like head, was standing at her feet, looking up at her with huge, shining eyes. She knelt down to get a closer look at the lizard, and the lizard cocked its head, hut it did not run away. She patted the creature on the head, and the lizard made a purring sound. Then, with one last look, the lizard ran away, went to a corner of the garden, then dug a hole and began to plunge into the earth. Professor Killian slowly and carefully approached the hole. She looked down the opening, and what she saw amazed her. The hole went so far down that she couldn't see the bottom. Way down, she saw red glowing rocks. She assumed that that was the mantle. Even though everything she saw pointed to the same conclusion, her brain refused to believe it. With her mind still reeling, she walked to the kitchen in a trance and made herself a strawberry-peanut butter-marshmallow shake. As she poured the sweet mixture into a glass, she peered through her kitchen window. She saw her machine sitting there, but this time she saw the hole underneath. My life just keeps getting more and more weird! She thought to herself. Next, I'll discover aliens in my living room, for all I know. She giggled at the thought of extra-terrestrials sitting on her couch and watching television. All of a sudden, she saw something move in the hole under her craft. She concentrated on the thirty-foot ditch and saw the movement again. The third time she saw it, she realized what it was. It was a huge eye. She dropped her blender, causing glass to shatter and her strawberry-marshmallow-peanut butter shake to glob all over every surface in her kitchen. For the moment, though. she did not care a wit about the sharp, gooey mess all over the room. She concentrated on the giant, glistening eye. She almost toppled over when she saw the tar-black eye blink. Then the eye sank back into the ground. Professor Killian attempted to run out to her backyard to Catch a last glimpse of it, momentarily forgetting about the shattered blender on the f1oor. She slipped in the thick shake, falling down and slicing her palms in the glass shards. She gasped in pain. She stood up, and tiptoed across the mess, but was unsuccessful and fell again. This time she got a small cut in her thigh. Instead of crying or yelling in frustration, she laughed. She laughed until her stomach ached and she was gasping for breath. Here was the basic layout of her life at this moment:
She was sitting on the floor of her kitchen, covered in pinkish-orange gunk with three cuts from a broken blender. She discovered creepy life forms in the core of the earth, and when she ran out of gas, a giant creature with thirty foot eyes pushed her back up to the Earth's crust. She found a lizard that could dig holes, with his feet, thousands of feet deep, and could breathe and survive in liquid metal. And now she was in hysterics laughing about absolutely nothing.
She stood up, wiped herself off the best she could, and slowly maneuvered herself across the kitchen floor. She made it across the smoothie ocean with no further injuries, and dripped the gook across her house until she got to the bathroom. Even though she did not think that this was quite the appropriate time to take a shower, she really needed one. As she let the steaming water run through her hair and down her back, she felt the smoothie dripping down the back of her legs. As she lathered her long, red hair with shampoo, she debated between whether or not she should tell her all-time favorite person and best friend, Daniel Packwood, about what she had discovered. She knew that he would love to hear about it, and she was pretty sure she could trust him to keep it a secret. On the other hand. she felt that she owed it to these marvelous creatures that saved her life to keep their existence a complete and total secret. She did not know what to do.
And then she remembered the little lizard and the giant, shining eye, and how they had trusted her with their existence. She finally decided to tell nobody about her amazing discovery. She also hoped that in the future, if somebody else happened to discover these amazing critters, that they would keep it a secret and not let the world come and destroy their home. She could just picture a ride in Disneyland, Monorail to the Center of the Earth or something similar. Even though this notion sounded funny at the time, she knew that it could be dangerous and even deadly for these sweet, harmless creatures that have adapted to the harsh habitat of molten iron. So. she tried to think of a solution to keep people from going to the center of the earth. Though, what could she do? She just hoped that nobody else got the same idea that she did to get metal from the center of the earth. That's it! She thought. If I get enough metal 1o solve the crisis, hopefully nobody will have an interest to visit the center of the earth. So she tried to think about another place where she could get lots of metal that nobody had claim over. Not in any other country. She had already tried inside the earth. So ...hoW about outside, in outer space? She was sure that there must he a bountiful amount of metal in space. As she turned off the shower water and squeezed out her hair, she began going over the details in her head. Yes, she thought, this could just work. .and I could save those innocent creatures from the harm of mankind. Professor Killian stepped over the rim of the tub and reached for her towel. As she dried herself she looked outside of her bathroom window. She saw a tiny baby lizard sitting on the window ledge. She smiled. When the lizard became aware of her presence, it scampered down the side of the house and down the tunnel that the previous lizard had dug. She laughed when she thought of her fear of lizards when she was younger. Professor Killian finished drying off and reached for her bathrobe. She opened the bathroom door and felt a burst of cold air hit her in the face. She breathed in deeply, and began to think about her new adventure, into the unknown universe. She walked into her bedroom and quickly got dressed. Then, ready to work, began to head towards the garage. She reached for the doorknob, thinking of what lay ahead. I cannot nail to start building my own personal spacecraft! But first, she thought, I think I will clean the kitchen.
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