The Mine of the Marble Skull, (Part IV)
A Science Experiment.
The plan was simple, use the cave vines to swing Matt across to the first of the pillars. From there, they could lash together a thick bridge capable of supporting a person's weight.
The discussion was brief, Toby laughed at the idea. Kids do that, but Lily looked apprehensive and worried.
"It does not sound like a smart plan, nor even remotely safe..." Her face contorted in that look of when she has to say something she does not want to, "the thing is, I cannot think of not see another way."
There were suggestions of swimming down the river, but no-one knew where the water ended up, not to mention the waterfalls into the pool, and then falls down on the other side. Billy had done some exploring of the upper reaches of the mountains above them. He'd been working on a way to climb out of the cave meadow and out into the forests above. Even then, one could not see traces of the mine below.
Darius engaged Lily in conversation, to smooth things out and find out more information from the texts she possessed. Matt continued to work on a harness for himself. The swing would be useless without having the means of attaching the vines to the pillar securely, or Matt to go flying down into the teeth of the water pool below. He continued to tinker with the design of the harness, creating loops for tools and materials to work with.
Billy, sitting in his usual cross-legged position, built the fire to a brighter yellow glow to aid in his ability to see the additions he was making to his bow. He had limited arrows and was working on a strap system to carry his spear and bow in the same hand. The spear shaft would hook into the grip of the bow and do to the massive size of his hands made this a none issue.
Matt decided to make a few test runs before slinging himself over open water, that so happened to be over a hundred feet to the canyon floor.
"For this we will need a heavily packed bag," He called out, as if giving a lecture about the science experiment to a large crowd at hand, "I guesstimate this pack is loaded with 300 pounds of rocks, significantly heavier than I, or even Billy, for the purpose of extremes."
Toby watched his father work, it had been some long amount of time since his father had shown this amount of excitement. He was a scientist, to the core. His God was that of an indifferent science-based universe, his proof of creation were the nebulas; these huge formations of gas, dust, ice and various other forms of matter that provided the building blocks of a star and planetary bodies alike. And then produced them like a factory or creator. He always told Toby, "We are all made up of the same stuff, star dust."
And ever since mom died, he has been looking for grand adventures, ancient tombs, and buried mines to fill the void left behind. He had been stuck in the grumpy, over cautious Dad mode, for a long time.
"The weight of this, plus the lashings length..." Matt spoke, snapping everyone's attention back to him.
"Hold on," Darius cut in momentarily, " I feel that the person swinging across will be going too fast. Are you sure..."
But before another word could be uttered, Matt had cast the weighted backpackers' pack over the canyon's edge and it proceeded to swing, rapidly towards the first pillar. As it got closer, the vine tugged and the pack flew up abruptly and landed, plop, onto the first pillar.
Toby and Lily broke out into applause and Billy gave out a short 3-burst whistle of celebration. Darius smacked his hand on Matt's shoulder, a loud clap echoed throughout the mine. "That is how we do it," Darius exclaimed, "pure science and force of will."
Matt smiled then, knowing to enjoy even the smallest of successes. His mind did begin to race elsewhere right after the moment, filling with questions.
We can build wooden support platforms, should we hire workers? Where would we find friendly workers? Does that meadow have a large enough opening to helicopter in supplies? Would she still be alive if...?