Disclaimer: These characters, actors and title do not belong to me, but to Telescene. I do not know any of these people personally, I just made up their personalities, so please don't sue me! I sort of got the plot from the movie "Galaxy Quest". I am no scientist or engineer, so please excuse my out of this world attempt at guessing how these electronics work. It all came out of my imagination and none of it is true.
Antea Roberts 2001

THE LOST WORLD

It was a bright sunny Sunday. The cast of the television show "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World" were in their dressing room. It had been a hectic week. Since the show became popular in the U.S, the actors were forced to do commercials, photo shoots, and, worst of all, conventions. They all loved their fans dearly, but some could get mighty obsessive and down right scary.

"Do we really have to do more of these things?" questioned Peter McCauley, renowned stage actor, and now Professor George Challenger on the series.

"I think they're fun. All these people coming from all over the place-so many fans. It's exciting, really." said Rachel Blakely, otherwise known as Miss Marguerite Krux.

"You're talking. At least you're a character that people love. Have you seen the on line polls lately? Marguerite is in the lead with 75%." Said the soft spoken David Orth, who plays reporter Ned Malone.

"It's not my fault that my character is so interesting." she replied with a shrug of her shoulders.

"And just where the hell is Will?" questioned Peter "He should've been here an hour ago. What does he think we are? We have lives you know."

"I'm sure he'll be here soon. He never misses these things." the flaxen haired Jennifer O'Dell spoke up.

"Of course he wouldn't miss it. The girls screaming his name, everyone pushing and shoving to get a glance of him. Why, since "The Lost World" became a hit in America, he's been absolutely smitten with himself." Peter scowled.

"Give the man some credit. After all, it is he who gets us these jobs. God knows we don't make millions on the show. Since it is our vacation, and we do need money in our pockets, I say 'Well done Will!'" commented Michael Sinelnikoff, who was written out of the series in it's second season, but brought back by popular demand.

"Of course you're sticking up for him. The fans love you. Without them, you wouldn't even be here!" retorted Peter with an evil eye.

"Can we all stop bickering? Michael's right. We do need the money. Everyone just sit down and relax. He'll be here. It's not like they'll start without us." Rachel said peacefully. She was getting rather peeved at the group- they were all getting mighty grumpy these last few months.

In he walked. He was beautiful to behold-muscular, tan and down right sexy. There was an air about him. When he'd walk into a room, everyone would drop what they were doing. He barged through the dressing room door with his one of a kind grin and his second explorer's hat.

"Hello all. They didn't start without me did they?" he questioned Rachel with a smirk.

"And just where the hell have you been? They're going crazy out there. They'll start a riot!" Peter blazed.

"Don't get your undies in a bunch Pete! I'm here now! Let's get the show on the road!" he answered, smacking his comrade on the back, heartily.

"That's the spirit, lad!" Michael replied, returning his grin.

"Well, let's get this bloody thing over with. I'm always first. Save the best for last I suppose." Peter glared at Will.

"And now! The cast of the wonderful Lost World! Let's give it up for Mr.- Peter- McCauley! Otherwise known as Professor George Challenger-the brains of the operation!" came the booming sound of the introductions.

"Ok guys! Knock 'em dead!" Will said as Peter made his way out on stage.

There was massive cheering, clapping and whistling, the few minutes it took to introduce everyone. When it got down to Will, the crowd went wild.

"I thought we're all supposed to be even." Peter whispered in David's ear. He shrugged and watched the crowd yell for Will.

He loved it. He wasn't a vain guy, but here he was-going from an Australian model and soap opera actor to an American celebrity. This was the big league. He basked in his glory. He thought he'd never get there, but here he was. It was wonderful.

"Man! Will you look at him go!" mumbled Jennifer "He could stand up there all day."

"I think it's adorable. Let him have his five minutes of fame." said Rachel gazing at Will as he bowed over and over.

When the commotion had died down, the actors took their respected chairs for autographing pictures. An older woman followed by a few other females, ranging from teens to thirties, approached the table. They were dressed in explorer gear, some like Marguerite, some in their own concocted uniforms.

"We'd like to say, on behalf of all "The Lost World" fans-thank you." she said with a wide grin. The six actors returned it in full.

"Now, we'd like to get some important information." she went on, whipping out a pad and pencil. The others remained where they were, staring in anticipation.

"Now, in episode 14, season two..." she began. Will looked from one cast member to the next. As the woman went on and on with her questions, their eyes got wider and wider until they looked like they'd burst from intimidation.

"Umm...Now miss, we thank you very deeply for your sincere enthusiasm, but we do not know the answers to your questions. We're just actors. This is just a TV show. Nothing on it is real. I'm not Roxton, she's not Veronica- The writers create a script and we put it into action." Will said, glancing at his friends who could only stare at him in utter disbelief. The woman looked back at him in shock. All her friends did the same, some whispering about the appalling scene they just witnessed.

"I don't mean to come off as rude," he tried to cover up his mistake.

"No, no. Of course not. We all know it's just a TV show, don't we girls?" she said quietly, as she turned to look at her companions. They stared in absolute incredulity.

"You know, we're not obsessive nuts or anything. We get it's TV, we, we're, we're just big fans. That's all." she continued, focusing her gaze on her hands, as her fingers twisted around each other nervously.

"I didn't mean to upset you." Will said in a low voice, leaning forward, with concern and embarrassment written all over his face.

"Um. Will, I think it's time for the next person." Peter started, trying to end this awkward situation.

"Yes, of course, I don't mean to be self centered." answered the elderly woman, backing up mechanically, along with the other girls.

~~~~~~~~

He felt horrible the rest of the day. He didn't mean to go off on a fan like that. God knows he owed his success to all of them. It was just disturbing how someone could be so hung up on a show.

"Excuse me, Mr. Snow?" he came out of his daze to face a teenage girl- around 16 or 17 years old. He recognized her from the group earlier.

"I am truly sorry about this afternoon," he began.

"No , no. Think nothing of it." she said, waving off his apology. "I am a huge fan of the show, and I think all of your characters are so wonderful. Especially yours and Ms. Blakely's." she said, looking at the table while a blush crept up her neck. "Since, well, Marguerite and Roxton are always so close to getting together, I mean, do you think they ever will? Get together I mean." she went on, her voice becoming softer and softer.

"Well, we do like the way their relationship is going," Will began, glancing at Rachel as he gave her his signature smirk.

"But, we don't think they'll get together anytime soon." she continued for him.

"Well, that's what she thinks." he replied, winking at the girl, whose face went a deep crimson.

"You are impossible!" Rachel huffed, standing up from her seat and marching to a group of girls waiting for their picture to be taken. Will slowly got up and followed her, waving away fans waiting for autographs.

"Sir," started a man clad as a tribesman who somewhat resembled a lizard man "We are Curtrans from the Eastern side of the plateau, we need your help."

"Is this about the convention tomorrow? Listen, I really don't know if we can make it. I didn't talk it over with the others and I don't think they'll be too happy about it."

"But Lord Roxton, our city's in turmoil, we have heard about your many adventures and great victories. Please-help us." he replied, grabbing Will's arm with a desperate plea stamped on his face.

"Fine, fine. I'll talk to them. Just make sure a car's there to pick us up." he replied turning away.

"Car?" the man asked his followers "What is this car?" they shrugged, turning to leave.

Will crept up behind Rachel, placing his hands on her shoulders "We need each other- like a cat needs a ball of string-" he whispered in her ear.

"...To play with." she started, turning around "It was cute before you got big." she walked towards the group of girls who were still waiting to take a picture with her. He stood there watching her for an instant and then turned to leave.

~~~~~~~~~

Will got up the next morning with a grin on his face. It had been a wonderful week, but ugh, another convention. He got out of bed, jumped in the shower, and dressed in his finest chinos and silk shirt. He sat at the kitchen table, poured himself a bowl of Captain Crunch, and read the newspaper. On the front page was a huge picture of the entire cast of "The Lost World". His face fell. He had been through everything with these guys. It was their 4th season of the show and he remembered their very first episode. Memories of the last 4 years went through his mind as he stood up and walked to the front door. It was 11:00 and would have to be there by 1. Every Monday, the cast would meet at the studio building. There, they would find out about their plans for the week- photo shoots, conventions, signings, etc. He would meet the gang, and then they'd be driven to their "convention" that day.
He didn't only do this for himself. He wanted to make his friends happy. He was certain they wanted all this publicity- all these fans. Why now, it didn't seem like they were as happy as he was? He brushed that idea aside. Of course they were happy. This is what they always aimed for. World fame.
Will got in his Lexus and drove over to the studio building, only to be attacked by his screaming fans. He made his way around back where the public wasn't allowed, and was about to go in when he felt a slight tap on his shoulder.

"Lord Roxton." came a voice. Will whipped around to come face to face with the "tribesman" from the day before.

"You're not allowed to be back here. Did you bring the car around?" he asked the man.

"Well, not exactly Lord Roxton. We could not come in contact with one of these "cars"." he said dismally.

"Fine, fine. Whatever you have. We need to fit 6 people in it though." he answered, opening the door to the studio.

"Yes, yes. They will all fit." he said with his head bowed.

"Fine. Wait here. I'll go get everyone and then we can head out." Will answered as he disappeared around a corner and out of the man's sight.

"I hope we will arrive in time." the man said, gazing after him.

~~~~~~~~~~~

"Come on guys...It's just for a few hours." Will coaxed his friends.

"I have had absolutely enough of these conventions." Peter spoke up "Don't you think we're famous enough? I am sick of being recognized for this show. I used to be on the stage you know."

"Yes, yes, we've heard it a hundred times, Pete. It's just this last one. I promise. Then no more. Pleeeeease?" Will begged, giving his friends puppy dog eyes.

"Fine. Fine, fine fine. But this is the last one, I'm warning you." Peter replied sternly.

The six cast members made their way back to the impatient Curtran.

"Will the rest of the party be accompanying you?" he asked Will with eager eyes.

"Yes. We do this as a group, or not at all." Michael stated.

"Good. We must be on our way, then. The others are expecting you and I promised that I would be able to bring you back." he said, turning towards the door. The others followed.

"So, where's the car?" Jennifer asked when they were outside.

"He couldn't get one. He probably got us a bus or something." Will said, looking at the Curtran.

They followed the man down to the ocean, for it was just a few blocks away. He led them to a secluded jetty, and stopped.

"What is this?" Peter demanded.

The man pointed to a ship tied to the dock.

"What?! You don't expect us to get there on that do you?" Peter asked "Where the hell are you taking us? Australia?!"

"Peter, really. Apparently they had no means of securing a car. Maybe it's up the coast. Be nice." Rachel shot Peter a glowering stare.

The gang boarded the ship warily, a little surprised and very perplexed. What was going on?

After 2 hours on the boat, the cast started to get antsy.

"How much longer will this take my good man?" Michael questioned "Where exactly are we?"

"We will be there by sundown. I have found a air balloon that will take you the rest of the way. My men will travel by foot and be there a day later. I will give instructions to Mr. Malone in the morning." the head tribesman replied.

*He must be absolutely out of his mind* Michael thought *He really thinks we're the explorers. Oh, this is bad, this is very bad* he kept going over it in his mind as he made his way below deck to tell the others.

~~~~~~~~~~

"WHAT?!" Peter almost yelled "He actually thinks we're the real thing?! Where is he taking us? On a safari? This is crazy. We have to get out of here."

"Well, it's too late. He said we'd be there in a few hours. We have no choice but to go along with it." Will started.

"Are you as crazy as they are? We can't trek around in the wilderness." Rachel stated, apprehensively.

"Why not? We don't have anything planned for tomorrow. We trot around in the brush, they can take pictures of us with our guns or whatever, and we're back for tomorrow's supper." he said, looking around at his friends, who seemed to be mulling over the idea.

"Really people. You cannot possibly think this is a good idea." Peter said, standing up and staring around the clumsily constructed table.

"Peter. It'll be a great chance. You'll really be able to dive into Challenger's brain. How he survives in the jungle, everything. Think about it." he said, standing up abruptly and placing a hand on his friend's shoulder as he stared off into the distance.

"It might help me understand Challenger's motivation. Why he wants to be such a famous scientist. How he will relish in his glory once he gets back to England and tells about his discoveries." he said in a daze, also staring into Will's distance.

"That's the spirit, man! Now, is anyone else with us?" Will said as he slapped Peter on the back.

"Sure. I'm in. I was going to stay home and watch cartoons anyway." David said.

"I guess so. We'll get some fresh air and a break from the fans." Jennifer agreed.

"Michael? Are you in?" Will questioned the elderly man with his brow raised.

"Sure. We could use some adventure!" he replied, nodding his head.

"Now, five down, one to go- Rachel? My sweet? How about a little hike through the brush? A little exercise? Whaddya say?" Will pleaded with her.

"I suppose. I guess I wouldn't mind a day off." she said, shrugging her shoulders.

"Then it's settled! We're going to stay! And my friends, you will not regret it!" Will exclaimed, smiling widely as they all retired for the night.

~~~~~~~~~~~

The gang woke up the next morning to cheers and yelling.

"Oh, great! They've managed to track us down!" Peter yawned wearily, walking into the common room.

Each person made their way out of bed, putting on the clothes that were given to them the night before by the Curtrans. It was their explorer gear from the show- exact sizes and everything.

"Oh, no. They cannot expect me to put on those clothes." Jennifer said, pointing to her skimpy bikini lying on her bed.

"Well, that IS what Veronica wears on the show." Rachel said with a shrug.

"I don't care! This isn't the show! They can't expect me to put these on! I won't!" she stated, stamping her foot. It took a lot of persuasion, but they all convinced her to wear it. After all, it would only be for a few hours. She complied, but wasn't too happy about it. The 6 ate their breakfast and made their way up on deck.

The people that were cheering for them were all dressed like the Curtrans that sailed them there.

"Challenger Expedition. We are ever so grateful for you to agree to help the Curtrans. I am Thonk. Aid to the chief and his first advisor. Chief Kramtar wished to be here to welcome you, but he had to watch over our people." stated the man, coming up to each of them and shaking their hands appreciatively.

"Yes, well, we are happy to be here. Now, if you please, we'd like to get down to business..." Will started.

"Oh! Good. We were hoping you'd say that. You must work as quickly as possible. Our people are in great danger and we knew to come to you. If you please, we have secured the air balloon. Mr. Malone?" said Thonk, pointing to the massive flying object, chained to two trees.

"Huh?" David questioned Will, with raised eyebrows.

"They think you're Malone, and he knows how to fly a balloon. Just go with it. I don't think it's that hard." Will whispered to him.

"Whatever." he said, shrugging his shoulders and walking to the balloon.

The group clambered into the airship, packed with provisions, and Thonk gave "Malone" directions to their village.

"Once past the great mountain, go down the slopes until you reach a river, at the river, continue forward. We have informed our people of your arrival, and they will be prepared- they will be sending smoke signals and are ready to bring you down." he assured the six.

"Well, uh, thanks. We'll get there. Hopefully." David whispered the last word to Will who patted him on the back reassuringly.

They were up in the sky and floating over the mountain. A weird screech filled their ears as a pterodactyl flew overhead.

"Look! Oh my Lord! It's a dinosaur!" Rachel murmured to Will, grabbing his arm. Everyone looked up in astonishment.

"Look! Over there! It's a, what're they called? A brontosaurus!" Jennifer pointed below them.

"It's real. It's all real..." Peter whispered, clutching his hat and leaning against the side of the balloon.

"I can't believe it. How is this possible?" Michael said, grabbing his friends' arm with a bewildered look on his face.

"Oh, shit! David- the tree!" Will shouted to the balloon's driver.

"I don't know how to raise this thing up! They don't teach this stuff in acting school!" he shouted back, tinkering with the nozzle and control.

Soon, the balloon was in a tree, and the explorers were scattered along the jungle floor. David was hanging in the tree, still in the basket, Peter and Michael popped out from under the now deflated balloon, Jennifer was sitting precariously on a branch, and lucky Will's fall had been broken by Rachel.

"Well, it does seem like the scripts have been written for us!" he laughed as she shoved him off of her.

"Yes, it does, doesn't it?" she growled at him, quickly getting to her feet and brushing herself off.

"Is everyone all right?" Will called out, to be answered by "yes's" and "uh-huh's" "Good. Now, how are we going to get to the village?"

"Does it not seem odd to anyone else what we just saw?" Peter questioned his companions.

"Well, off course it does Pete, but what can we do about it? We're here now, we promised to help those people, and that's what we're going to do." he stated brushing himself off as well.

"But think about it, son. Think. Where we are. It's exactly like the show. We're IN the show! Isn't it amazing?! It's fantastic! Extraordinary! Why, we must explore the land!" Michael said, coming up behind Peter.

"Mike. We're not the Challenger expedition. We're a bunch of actors. We're not supposed to even be here. Let's just ask those Curtran people to get us back home." Jennifer said as she climbed out of the tree with David's help.

"Yes, and those people. They're not just dressed up in costumes like we thought. They're real! It's ALL REAL! For heaven's sake people, look around you!" Michael exclaimed.

Everyone breathed a heavy sigh and stood there for a moment letting it all sink in.

"It IS amazing..." Will started, raking his hand through his hair. "It's unbelievable. I mean, we AREN'T explorers. What if it IS like the show and we never get off this plateau?" he asked, looking around at the anxious group.

"How are we supposed to survive? What will our fans think? What the hell are we supposed to do?!" Jennifer questioned frantically. The realization of the situation finally settled in on everybody and they were frightened. Frightened for their lives, their careers, everything. What could possibly happen now?

Their thoughts were interrupted by a screech as a T-Rex bombarded in on their meditation session.

"Oh, son of a bitch! What the hell are we gonna do?!" Rachel yelled to the others who tried taking cover under the balloon. They managed to scramble under the cloth, for they weren't supplied with weapons to save themselves. There was nothing they could do to scare away the huge beast. Luckily for them, the T-Rex was chasing a larger pray, and he passed by them without even a pause.

"Great. What if another one of those things comes? We don't have guns or knives or- anything. We're totally useless. What were we thinking? We can't help those people. I don't know how to throw a spear. You don't know how to use a whip." Jennifer said, pointing at Rachel.

"That's what you think." Will said teasingly, only to be slapped in the arm by Rachel.

"She's right, you know. We're here, under this deflated balloon, cowering in terror. I don't know about anyone else, but I've never shot a rifle." David said, uncovering the group, who stood up and started to pace back and forth.

"Look, I know how to shoot a rifle, you've tried your hand at balloon sailing. We've been on the show- we know a little bit of survival skills." Will said.

"And half of those "survival" skills were made up Will! You know that!" Rachel said, stopping in her tracks and shaking her head.

"Look. We have no choice. The Curtrans asked us to help them, and we promised. You can go back if you want, but I'm staying here." Will said, folding his arms and looking around the group.

"No. We do this as a team, or not at all." Peter said, joining Will. Everyone else sighed and joined the two men.

"Great! We'll do it guys! Come on, have some faith!" Will said happily. This was going to be an adventure. He was going to prove to his friends that he wasn't some self centered jerk. He really cared for them and wanted them all to know it.

"Well, how do we get to the Curtrans' village?" David questioned out loud.

"Umm.. Well, they said to go over the mountain and then we'd come to a river. I guess we'll just walk straight until we get to a river." Michael said.

"Yeah, good idea. But which way is straight?" Peter said bluntly.

"Look, man. I'm not the tour guide. Don't we have a compass somewhere in that pile? I remember we started off going east." he replied, trying to keep his cool. The sun was blazing by then, and all six of them were starting to get agitated and hot.

"Calm down boys. East is this way." Will said, leading the group.

"And how do you know that Lord Roxton?" Peter asked him sarcastically.

"I don't. But if we all just stand here bickering all day, we'll be stuck in this jungle with a T-Rex and god knows what else near by." he said, continuing to walk. The others shrugged and continued on behind him. What did they have to lose?

By mid day, they reached the river which was shallow and smooth.

"Well, at least ONE thing is going right." Will said as he waded into the water.

"Wait! How do you know there aren't piranhas or alligators or something?" Rachel asked anxiously.

"I think I'll take my chances." Will stated as he clambered into the water while the rest of the group stayed on the shore.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" he asked them.

They glanced at each other and then proceeded to trudge through the river.

"Whoa!" screamed Rachel as she slipped on a rock and flew backwards into the deeper end of the river.

The gang tried to stifle their giggles as Will made his way over and helped pull her out.

"What's so funny? She asked them, pulling her heavy hair out of her eyes.

"Nothing, my dear." Peter said as he quickly turned around and continued further.

Rachel shot him an icy stare, but pulled herself out of the water and continued on. When they got to the other side of the bank, they were tired and hot.

"I think it's time for a rest." Michael said, lowering himself to a rock by the bank.

"Fine. But only for a little while. We want to reach the village by night fall." Will said, sitting in the grass.

~~~~~~~
"Do you see them?" Thonk asked one of his men.

"No sir. They disappeared a few hours ago and the men from the village have not signaled their arrival. They must be lost."

"That is not good. The Chongors will be coming in two days. If the Challenger Expedition is not here, they will take over our village, and then the plateau. We must find them in time or we will all perish." he answered, staring off into the sky.

~~~~~~~~

"Ok everyone. Up and at 'em. we need to get moving." Will said, standing up and signaling his friends to do the same.

"Oh, but it's so hot." Jennifer said leaning against a tree that was providing just a hint of shade.

"Too bad. Once we get to the village, we can rest all we want. Come on, guys. We really need to move." he said, pleading with the lazy members of the new "expedition".

"Fine. I'm up, I'm up." Rachel said, dragging herself to her feet.

"That's my girl! Let's get everyone else a movin'." he replied, pulling Peter to his feet. With a lot of work and coaxing, they were all up and heading towards the village in a matter of minutes.

"Look! There's smoke! Right there!" David said, pointing into the distance.

"Oh, thank God." Peter replied, quickening his pace.

They made it to the village by nightfall, thankfully not coming in contact with another dinosaur before they got there.

"Oh, good! You've made it!" greeted Thonk "We were worried you wouldn't get here, so my men and I hurried and came back before we needed to."

"There was no need for that! We would've found our way eventually." Michael assured him.

"Where is the balloon?" asked Thonk, looking at Will.

"Uh. We had a little accident. We'll replace it." he said with a grimace.

"Oh, no need. You must come and meet the chief. He is excited to meet you and will explain our situation a little bit better." Thonk said, leading him to a massive hut.

"Come in, Challenger Expedition. I am very pleased you have made it to my village. Welcome." said the chief, who sat in a great throne.

"Thank you kindly Chief, Kramtar, is it?" Will asked, bowing before him.

"Yes. I bet you are a little bit confused as to why I have asked you to help us. I have heard many tales of your adventures and you seemed to be the people we could count on." the chief described.

"About that- how did you hear about us?" Rachel spoke up.

"My men found a way off the plateau a few months ago. They traveled by ship many miles up the coast. There, they got off and explored the territory. They came to a hut with many picture boxes. They saw the documentation's of your voyage to our land, and the many tribes you have helped. They came back and told me of your victories. You see, there is a tribe- the Chongors, who want to overthrow my village. We are the most wealthy and prosperous village on this side of the plateau. They have been trying for many years to control us, but they have recently devised a plan that will repress my people. If they take over my village, they can eventually take over the whole plateau. I have held them off for as long as I could, but our people are not warriors. We will not be able to protect ourselves for much longer. My men have told me of your fire sticks. We might need them to defeat this tribe." the chief explained to the group.

"Well." Will sighed "Our "fire sticks" as you call them, are not with us. We have not known their location since we got off the plateau."

"Of course. They are in your treehouse. My men will take you there in the morning. You must hurry, though. The Chongors have said they will attack us in two days. That doesn't give us that much time to prepare." he said.

"Treehouse?" Jennifer asked

"Yes. Your treehouse. The place that you live. Certainly you haven't been away that long to forget about your own home, Veronica." Kramtar said, perplexed.

"Uh, no. Of course not. I...I just thought maybe it- maybe a T-Rex tore it down or something." she mumbled.

"Please. Rest. In the morning, we will have everything ready for the trip. It is only a few hours walk. My men know the where abouts."

The group thanked the chief and were led out by one of his guards. They all stayed in the chiefs' enormous hut, for it had many rooms, and each person got their own sleeping quarters.

~~~~~~

Will couldn't sleep. The reality of the situation finally reached him, and now he felt guilty for dragging everyone in on this. If anyone got hurt- or worse- he would never forgive himself. He paced the room for close to an hour, then decided he needed to talk to someone. He left the room, and went next door- whomever occupied that chamber would do.

When he got to the bed, he realized it was Rachel.

"Rachel, are you asleep?" he whispered, sitting on the bed.

She woke with a start "What the hell are you doing here?!" she hissed, pulling the sheets up around her neck.

"I couldn't sleep. I needed to talk to someone. Just for a minute. Please."

"Fine. What's on your mind?" she said, calming down and sitting upright.

"I feel so guilty" he started, only to be cut off by a stale laugh

"Well, you should! Look what you've dragged us into!"

"Not helping..."

"Sorry. Look. We all chose to come. You didn't pressure us. If we really wanted to go, we would've. Don't be so hard on yourself. We'll have the Curtrans here to help us- don't worry." she said, gently placing her hand on his.

"I knew I could always count on you-" he said, bringing his other hand up to her cheek, stroking it gently. She stared into his eyes- a little afraid, and a little excited.

"You should get some sleep." she said, quickly turning her head away.

Will took one last look at her, before letting his head fall to his chest. He stood up and slowly turned to the door.

"Good night." she whispered to him.

"Good night." he said as he left her room. She watched the door for a few minutes after he left before placing her head on the pillow and falling back asleep.

~~~~~~
Everyone woke up pretty early that morning. If they were to reach the treehouse by lunch, they had to start moving. Thonk got six men to travel with the explorers. Since they did not have their guns, the Curtrans carried spears. That would hopefully scare off any predator they might come across.

"So you said it's only a couple hours walk?" Will asked one of the Curtrans. He nodded a little in awe of this noble lord.

"What will happen when the Curtrans realize that the treehouse isn't there?" Peter whispered to Michael who looked at him with wide eyes and shook his head.

Thankfully, the only dinosaur the group came across was a single raptor, which one of the Curtrans speared. By lunchtime, the group still hadn't come across the treehouse.

"Great. We're going to have to tell them the truth. There is no treehouse- we'll just be wandering for hours until they realize it." Peter said to Will, who nodded in agreement.

"I'll tell them." he said, as he walked up to the lead Curtran.

"Look. About the treehouse" he started

"Lord Roxton, I am very sorry we haven't found it yet, but..." before he could finish his sentence, there it was. The enormous treehouse that was seen in the show. How did it get there?

"Oh, my lord!" Jennifer exclaimed, hurrying closer to it.

"I assume that you have missed your house, Miss Veronica." said the first Curtran.

"You don't even know." she replied, while the rest of the group ran to the clearing.

"How did it get there? This makes no sense." Peter said to David who could only stare up in disbelief.

"We will walk you inside. I expect that you will be able to manage from here. We will come back in the morning to get you." said the Curtran, walking towards the treehouse.

"Yes- we'll manage all right." Will assured the Curtrans, who turned to leave.

The six explorers now boarded the elevator which they did so many times before. Except this one was real!

"I don't know what to say- How can this be? Who built it?" Michael pondered out loud.

"Jen, have you been keeping something from us?" Will joked, only to receive blank stares from the rest of the group.

"Look. We can't explain how it got here. It would take us all night. Let's just forget about it and go to bed. Ok?" Rachel said.

"Fine. Everyone, I suspect you know where your respected rooms are." Peter stated, and everyone gave a bemused shrug.

"Oh my God!" came a shout from Rachel's new abode.

"What? What is it?" yelled Will, running down the stairs.

"Look! All of Marguerite's jewels! All her clothes! Everything!" she exclaimed, picking stuff up and shoving it in his face.

"Yes, Rachel. We've already concluded that the treehouse is exactly the same as the show." he said, placing a hand on the woman's shoulder.

"Yeah. I know. Haha. It's just really unbelievable, ya know?" she said, pacing back and forth.

"It sure is. But we should all get some sleep. I'm sure we have a busy day ahead of us." Will said, walking back up the stairs.

"When will you teach us how to use the rifles?" she asked him.

"In the morning. We'll start bright and early." he replied as he made his way to his room.

~~~~~~~

The next morning, Will did just as he promised. They found the rifles and guns, loaded them, and went to the jungle floor to practice their shot. Rachel caught on right away, but it took the men a few hours to get it down. Jennifer, like Veronica, had to practice using the knives, and after an hour or so of knife throwing, was able to spear a banana on it's tree.

"This is actually kinda fun." she said, going back to retrieve the weapon.

"Yeah, because you can actually USE yours!" said David, still figuring out how to load his gun.

"Now, I'd like to figure out how to work this whip!" exclaimed Rachel, since she got the rifle AND pistol down flat.

"Well, I don't think it'll be that hard for you, since you figured out how to use the other things." Will said, patting her on her shoulder.

After a few hours of practicing in the early hours of the morning, everyone had learned how to use their respective weapons. They were ready to go. Following a quick breakfast, and a check on their supplies, the group waited by the base of the tree for the Curtrans to come and get them.

"We won't have to fight anyone, will we?" Rachel asked out loud.

"I sure hope not. Maybe we can reason with them, get them to agree to our terms." Will said, checking his rifle.

"I didn't prepare for a battle, Will. I'm prepared to protect myself from raptors." she answered, looking worried.

The Curtrans arrived in a hurry, ushering the group along.

"The Chongors have sent word that they will be coming by late afternoon. We must hurry. We have no time to waste. And Challenger" signaled Thonk "I have prepared your generator."

"What?" he questioned.

"Yes, I am sorry professor, I didn't mean to take it from the treehouse, but I presumed you would need to use it. I am not a man of science, that was the only thing I could find, but I assumed it would come in handy. It is back at the village."

"Ok...What am I supposed to do with it?" Peter whispered to Will, who could only shrug.

They reached the village in a matter of hours, and Chief Kramtar welcomed them hurriedly.

"I am sorry to have to push you, but we are in a rush. As you've heard, the Chongors will be here soon. We need to formulate a plan." he said to the group.

"We are not one for fighting, Chief." Will put flatly.

"We are not either. We know you have helped many tribes in turmoil, and all we can ask is for you to try. We do not want bloodshed over this matter." the Chief said seriously.

"Bloodshed?!" hissed Rachel.

"All right. The Chongors want to take over your village because you are prospering. What if you two join together and rule the plateau?" David asked.

"That would never work. The Chongors want a dictatorship. Either they rule the plateau, or nothing. If they ever took control, they'd kill us all." Thonk spoke up.

"Ok. Well, we'll cross off that idea..." said Will, scratching his chin roughly.

"Well, what are you so affluent in that they would want?" asked Rachel.

"We have a special plant that produces fruit by the bushel. When you pick one fruit, another one magically appears. We trade with other villages for things we need- clothes, tools. It comes in handy."

"Well, that certainly would be good to have. So, they want to take over your village in order to have control of the plant? Is that it?" asked Jennifer.

"Yes. Then, they will be in control of trading." he replied, crestfallen with the idea.

The group had no clue what they were going to do. They wouldn't, and couldn't, fight the Chongors, they had nothing to give them, no promises, besides that of giving up the plant, which would not be wise. All they could do was wait and hope they would come up with a plan by the time the enemy arrived.

"Well, I have to use the little ladies room." said Rachel, nodding to Jennifer, who nodded back as they turned to leave.

"Maybe I should go with you." offered Will, jogging up beside her.

"We'll be perfectly all right. We're just going to the bathroom." she said, shooing him away. He resigned unwillingly.

"So- what about this situation. A real downer, huh?" asked Rachel to Jennifer as soon as they were out of earshot.

"You're telling me- what are we supposed to do? It's just so confusing." she replied, warily.

They came up to the Chief's hut where the nicest bathrooms were, and made their way back to the rooms they used two nights before. Rachel went one way, and Jennifer went the other- promising to meet up in that same spot so the men wouldn't be mad when they realized they left each other alone. Rachel had no sooner stepped inside the room, when two men grabbed her from behind, grasping her mouth, and holding a knife to her throat. They pulled her inside the room, and sat her on the bed.

"You make one move," the man said "and you're dead on the spot."

They were tall humans, very unkempt and wearing only loin clothes. They wore paint on their faces to blend in with the brush and had no shoes on their scraggly feet.

"We are from the Chongor clan. You're coming with us." they managed to say before they were tying a gag around her mouth while hauling her out of the window.

~~~~~~

"Where is she?" Jennifer whispered to herself, pacing back and forth, a few minutes later. "If she left me here..."

Will surfaced five minutes later "Well? How long does it take to go to the bathroom?" he said, running up to Jennifer.

"Calm down Will. What's the matter? Did the Chongors arrive yet?" she asked worriedly.

"No, no. I'm just worried that when they DO arrive, they won't give warning. I don't want anyone caught off guard. I'm just making sure everyone is accounted for." he replied

"Well, I've been waiting for Rachel for almost ten minutes, now that you mention it. Maybe she decided to wash up." she said, trying to get the anxious look off his face.

"I'm going to check, just in case." he said, walking down to the rooms. He knocked on the door a few times before he let himself in. There was obviously a sign of struggle, and the small window was open, the wind blowing the curtains madly, as if trying to tell him something.

"Where the hell is she?" he said neurotically, as he caught a glance of a note on the bed.

"We have taken the woman." the note said "If you wish to see her, you must surrender the village. She will be at the Water Cave. Hurry, or this is the last you'll see of her." Will finished reading and collapsed back on the bed.

"I knew I should've gone with you two! This is all my fault! What the hell is this "Water Cave"?! We'll never get there!" he cried, with his head in his hands.

"Will, don't worry. We'll tell the Curtrans- they probably know where this cave is. We'll get to her in time." she said, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"What if we don't?! If they touch her, I'll kill them! I don't care about the no bloodshed promise!" he screamed, frantically jumping up from the bed and heading to the door.

~~~~~~

"Water Cave? I have never heard of it before. On the far side of the plateau, where we never venture, there are many caves. We must hurry, though. It is not a safe place." Chief Kramtar told the group.

He turned away to discuss the situation with his men as the five remaining explorers put their heads together to try and come up with a plan.

"Ok. The Curtrans can get us there. I don't know what this cave is, but we can take our chances." Peter said to the group.

"No, no Pete. We can't do something like that. What if it's booby trapped, and we all get knocked down? Then we'll be of no use to Rachel. We need to construct a better plan." Will replied, rubbing the nape of his neck exasperatingly.

"Well, what plan have you got?" he questioned facetiously.

"Look. It's not helping Rachel if we're just standing around yelling at each other." David spoke up, glancing at Peter. "I remember something in my engineering class- about electricity and wires. We have that generator thing, can't we construct some type of communication device?" he asked.

"This isn't Gilligan's Island, Dave. I can't make a bomb out of a coffee filter and a toothpick. And unless you were a writer on "McGuyver", I have a feeling you don't know either." answered Peter, rolling his eyes.

"No, I don't know how to make a bomb out of a coffee filter and a toothpick- but I remember something about connecting batteries and lighting a light bulb."

"And what's that going to do? Blind them to death?" Will asked.

"No. Haha. We can just tinker around. We figure out how to set up the generator to be a phone or a telegraph, and we can contact people to help us." he replied.

"We don't have that kind of technology, Dave. Think. This is a 1920's jungle we're talking about. There are no phones." Michael debated.

"Well, the Chongors set up a lab for "Challenger". Let's see what they supplied us with." David answered. The group made their way to the hut attached to the stables- a clumsily constructed shed, probably made a few days before. They walked inside to find a table, bench and a pile of junk sitting on the desk, waiting to be fiddled with.

"Okay. We have some copper wire, a piece of scrap metal, and jar, of- Ugh! God, what is that?! hmmm. A pipe, headphones, a nozzle, a pulley- wait! Headphones! Where'd those come from?" Peter stated, picking them up and showing them to the group.

"Well, those can come in handy, Pete! Save 'em!" Will said, taking them from his friend and placing them on the bench.

"Okay, What else? A switch- we could use one of these..." the group continued like this for a half an hour, going through the debris, until they had gotten all of the necessary equipment they assumed would be needed for their new project.

The Chongors were supposed to be coming in a matter of hours, so they had little time to make their "telephone". The Curtrans would be able to hold off the enemies; all they had to do was get out of the village before they arrived. The Chongors would not attack until it was absolutely sure that Rachel was not freed.

~~~~~~~
The Water Cave was an intricate pattern of underwater caverns. When the tide came up, they were completely submersed, and the only way to get to them was to dive into the river and swim against the current. They would have to move fast if they wanted to get there before the tide came up.

"Ok. We connect this thinger-ma-bob to this jingly jam, and then the switch hooks on to the flabbermahoosit, and, voila!" Will said, as he flicked the switch, it made a "whir", and then died.

"Very technical terms, huh Will?" Jennifer joked with him.

"Ok. So I don't know what the hell I'm doing. We don't have much time guys!" he said as he slammed the poorly created hammer down on the table.

"No one panic. Let's move backwards. We need the headphones to create the sound. So we connect them to this wire, which is then connected to the generator. The generator hooks on to this thing here, which is then assembled to the part we already made here. The switch goes on to this, and, hopefully, this works." he said, placing the headphones gingerly over his ears as Will flipped the switch. The generator began to buzz, and crackling noises could be heard from the headphones.

"Ok. Something is working! Will, attach that thing to the generator's nozzle. Jennifer- put that thing over there. Ok. No, wait, switch it to that one. Now screw on that knob with the, yes, there. And Peter, get me a beer!" Michael demanded, as the generator whirred louder and louder. "I'm getting something! Yes, I hear voices!" he cried, clutching Peter's arm.

"Mike! You're a bloody genius!" Will declared, slapping him on the back.

"Ok. That little microphone thing! Hand it to me!" they had constructed a mini microphone from the little supplies they had.

"Man! I can't believe the two classes on engineering I took in college would be so useful!" David announced.

"Hello! Hello, can anyone hear me?" Michael spoke into the "phone". "Yes! I hear more voices. They sound like they're having a conversation!" he told his friends.

"Well! Tell them we need help! Say something!" Will demanded.

"Excuse me- who am I speaking to?" Michael asked into the phone. "Oh! It's a girl- yes, hello! This is Michael Sinelnikoff- oh! You do? How wonderful! Oh, thank you. Yes, really? That was a good one..." he continued, receiving a poke in the back from Will.

"Oh! Hold on a moment! Don't hang up!"

"What are you doing? Now isn't the time to make small talk!" Will said.

"They know who I am and are a fan of the show!" he replied.

"Oh! This is good then! Tell them our situation and that we need help!" Jennifer told Michael, ushering him to speak again.

Michael put the ear phones on, but Will turned one out so he could hear what was going on.

"So you guys are really from "The Lost World"?! Why are you calling ME? Is this some kind of joke?" asked the girl.

"No. This is real. I'm Will Snow- and who do we have the honor of speaking to?" he asked genuinely.

"Oh. I'm D.R. I met you at the convention the other day." she replied.

"Oh, yes, yes! You were in that group, and I was a little harsh with you." Will replied with down cast eyes.

"Forget about it. I know it's just a TV show. We all know it isn't real. We're all just really big fans and have been-"

"It IS real though! All of it!" Michael screamed into the phone.

"What?! What are you talking about?"

"We're in the show somehow! We met some lizard men, they brought us to the plateau, and we have to fight off these bad guys, but they took Rachel, and we made this phone to get in touch with someone, because if we can't get to her in time everything will go wrong and we just need someone's help!" Will frantically screamed.

"Ha! I knew it was real! My friends and I are always saying how it is! We have a map of the plateau and everything and I knew it wasn't just something made up! Even though it does sound a little scary, I-"

"Yes! That's wonderful, but as I said, we need help! You say you have a map of the plateau?" Will pushed.

"Oh, yes, from watching all the episodes so many times, a bunch of people got together and formed a map of the plateau- where the head hunter and cannibal territories begin, the rivers, the fissures, pretty much everything."

"That would be wonderful- do you think you could- describe it to us, I guess?" Michael asked, signaling to David to get a pad and pencil.

The next 45 minutes were spent drawing, redrawing, and overdrawing the best map they could come up with. Since the Water Caves were never mentioned on the show, D.R. could only assume where they were located. She could help them maneuver around the plateau, but once they were in the caves, she could not help them.

"Oh! Thank you SO much! We are ever grateful to you Miss D.R!" Michael said gaily after all the information was put down.

"Well, it wasn't only me who did it- everyone helped plan the map." she said timidly.

"Then we are ever grateful to all The Lost World's fans!" Will said as he let go of the headphones and stood up, grinning at David, Jennifer and Peter.

"Oh, we really are thankful! How will we be able to get in touch with you if we need you again? It picked up your conversation- I don't want you to leave your phone off the hook the whole day...yes, we used a generator. Indeed, it was the one on the show. Oh, really? Maybe that is why. Ok. Thank you very much. We might be in contact again. Good bye." said Michael as he switched off the generator and smiled at his friends.

"It appears that a "Lost World" generator has been manufactured, one that you can put together yourself, just like Challenger. Our little life saver has apparently bought herself one and to our advantage, our generator picked up the waves from HER generator! They were automatically linked. And since she was on the phone while her "generator" was on, we picked up her conversation! Miraculous!" he explained to the group.

"Yes, it's fascinating Mike, but now we need to get to Rachel!" Will said, heading out the door of the shack with his friends at his heels.

~~~~~~~

It had been an unconscious 2 hour walk, but Rachel was now waking up, realizing she was slung over the back of one of her marauders. She struggled to get free from the bonds. The two men stopped, put her on the ground, and took off her gag.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!" she yelled, struggling to undo the knots at her hands and feet.

"We are taking you hostage. If your friends do not come and save you, the Curtran village will be ours." said one of the men.

"Well! We'll see about that! My friends are probably on their way here right now! They could be hiding in the bushes for all you know!" she screamed at them.

"You're beautiful when you're mad." he replied as he stroked her hair. She stared up at him in disgust. "It's a pity you'll have to die." He put the gag back on her mouth and picked her up again.

~~~~~~~

"Ok. The map says that if we go past that rock, it will be head hunter territory. We just have to walk right until we get to the tree shaped like a Y, and go straight again. Then, we would've walked around it." David said, studying the hastily drawn chart.

"Good! At this pace, we'll be there in a few hours. Come on guys! We can do it." Will said, leading the group.

Suddenly, a raptor jumped out of the bushes right in front of Will. He cocked back his rifle, and a clean shot flew straight through the beasts' neck.

"What a shot! You were made for the role, Will!" said David, patting him on the back and continuing forward. He tipped his hat and followed his friends.

After a few short breaks, they finally reached the landmark tree.

"Well! That wasn't so bad!" Peter acknowledged.

"Don't jinx us Pete!" Will replied shaking his head and bending down to take another look at the map.

"Hey! Look at that on the ground- it looks like someone was sitting in the dirt- right there, and then they were struggling." Jennifer said, crouching down to the jungle floor and studying the plot of land.

"Well, we're on the right track." Michael commented, helping her up.

"All right. It's should be beyond the hill over there, thankfully, not near that waterfall. Once we get to the river, we walk downstream until we see that boulder. It should be behind there." he said, pointing to the precise spots.

After another few hours of walking, keeping a close watch on the elaborate map, they reached the area that the Water Caves were located .

"Ok. I think I can make it from here guys." Will said, handing his rifle and pistols to Peter.

"What?! Are you crazy?! We work as a team or not at all, remember?" Jennifer said.

"I was a commercial diver- I've gone through some pretty rough waters. There is no way of keeping track of you guys under there. You would be better out here. What if some Chongors come by? Huh? You'll have an advantage out here to protect us. We can't carry the weapons under water, and we certainly can't keep them out in the open." he stated matter- of- factly.

"Ok, but if you're not out in 20 minutes, one of us is coming down there to get you!" David stated. The rest of the group nodded soberly.

"All right. Wish me luck everybody!" he said, diving into the water. The four remaining explorers watched until he was out of sight.

"Oh, God! What have we gotten ourselves into?" Michael sighed, sitting himself on a rock and praying that his friends would return safely.

~~~~~~~
Will had taken as big a breath as he could, and was now making his way wearily through the cloudy water. There were no creatures, thankfully, for he was in no condition or mood to fight off any sea monster. He just hoped that Rachel was all right and they had enough time before the tide came up. He could see light above him, and slowly made his way to the top. He didn't know how long ago the Chongors had passed, and did not want to catch himself in the middle of them tying her up. Especially since he didn't have his rifle. Thankfully, no one else was there, only Rachel lying face up on a slab of limestone with a torch by her feet. Her hands and legs were tied, and there was some sort of booby trap above her.

"Rachel! Are you alright?" Will asked, out of breath, as he pulled himself up on a boulder.

"OH! I knew you'd come! I just knew it! How did you find me? How'd you get here?" she asked gratefully, turning her head to look at him.

"Don't move. What is that above you?"

"It's some sort of booby trap. There's an axe attached to it. I'm lying on the rope, and if I'm moved it will coming flying down." she answered, looking up at it annoyingly.

"First, are you Ok? Did they touch you? Are you hurt?"

"No, they knocked me out to carry me here, but besides that, I'm fine. A little tired, though."

"Next- how will we get that thing off? Hmm... You said you're lying on the rope? What if I hold it down, you roll off, and I let it down slowly? That would work, wouldn't it?" He asked, examining the contraption.

"I knew those Chongors were stupid! That's wonderful. Ok. Do you have the rope?" she asked him.

"Yes. Now, roll- roll all the way into the water."

"What? My hands and legs are tied."

"I'll get you before it's too late- just roll." Will directed her. Rachel rolled over until she splashed in the water- Will let the axe down gently, then quickly swam over and fished her out. She came up gasping for air.

"Oh! Thank you! I knew you'd be able to get me." she said as he undid the binds around her limbs.

"We don't have much time. I told the rest of them I'd be back up in 20 minutes. Do you think you can swim? I can provide you with oxygen occasionally if you need it." he said.

"And how will you do that?" she asked demurely.

"Oh, you'll see. You'll have to take a deep breath first. Can you do it?" he asked

"Of course I can. I might need some of that oxygen you promised me, though."

He smirked and held her closer "Hold on to me and I'll swim you through. It's a pretty long one. Ready? On the count of three, one...two...three!" he said as they both took their last swig of air for the next few minutes. They struggled to get beneath the water, clasping on to each other and pushing forward.
After a minute and a half, Rachel signaled to Will that she couldn't hold it any longer. He brought her close to him, took her face in his hands, and gently blew air into her starving lungs. She nodded a thank you, and he grabbed her hand, forcing her on. When they finally saw the sunlight above, they greedily tore through the last yard of water until their heads bobbed softly above the river as they gasped for air.
Unfortunately, they were met by eight Chongors, who already had their friends tied and gagged. They too were ripped out of the water, forced on the ground, and tied up.

"Well, it seems your friends DID come for you. Too bad they're all tied up!" said one Chongor, as he brushed some tendrils of hair out of Rachel's face.

"Don't you touch her, you dirty bastard!" Will spat, trying to kick out his bound legs in an effort to trip the man.

"What did you say?" he asked him, coming so close to Will that they were nose to nose.

"Will, it's Ok. Let it go." Rachel said, squirming her way over to him.

The six abductees were hauled on the back of a wagon and rolled back to the Chongor village.

"If we're held here, will you still fight the Curtrans?" David asked one of the men as they took off the gags and threw them into a cell.

"We will push back the attack, though it will still take place." he replied.

"Well, at least we have that." David grumbled back. Thankfully, their legs were untied, but since the jail was not securely built, their hands were still bound.

"For starters," Will said as soon as the guard left "we can undo these knots."

"They took the knife from my boot, but there is one knife left attached to my belt." Jennifer spoke up, looking behind her.

"Ok. I'll get it." Will said.

"No! No. I'll get it." Rachel gasped, rushing over to Jennifer. Will smiled.

When the knife was located and subsequently used, the explorers heaved a sigh of relief.

"So, were you guys ambushed?" Will asked the four.

"Yes. You left to get Rachel, we were waiting for a few minutes, and the Chongors jumped out of the bushes, grabbing Jennifer and myself. Then David was knocked unconscious, and Michael was tripped." Peter explained.

"Were any of you badly hurt? David?" Will questioned.

"I'm fine. A little sore, but that's all." David answered, rubbing his head.

"Don't worry about me. I'm glad you two got out Ok." Michael said.

"Well, getting Rachel free was a lot easier than I anticipated. There was a booby trap suspended above her that was rather easy to foil."

"Now, we need to get out of here." Jennifer said, looking around their dark surroundings.

"We can't do much. We're in the village and there are hundreds of Chongors watching the place. We'd need some sort of distraction, but we can't be of any use if we're locked in here." Will concluded.

"Then we'll just need to sweet talk our way out." Rachel said, walking over to the cell door.

"Excuse me, Mister Guard?" she purred.

"Rachel, don't." Will said, taking her arm and trying to lead her back.

"What? How else are we supposed to get out of this god forsaken place?"

"Well, this jail is easy enough to break out of, all we have is a knife though. We need to do something big that will distract the villagers." he answered

The group put their heads together, trying to figure out a way to cause a big enough disturbance that the village people wouldn't notice them leaving.

"Ah, ha!" Peter declared "What if we, wait, what if we set fire to the jail?!"

"That's a good idea, but what could we use to set fire to it?" David questioned.

The group sat back and wondered that too.

"Oh! Oh! I saw a torch on our way in. There are two entrances to this place, I think. There's one guard at one end and on at the other. If we could just knock out one of the guards, and take the torch near him, we could light the place on fire!" Jennifer exclaimed.

"Brilliant! That's wonderful. This cell would burn easily because it's just wood. The other cells are made of a type of stone, so how would that work?" Will asked.

"We don't need to worry about other cells. This one is big enough and would burn for a long time. We'll just need to set this one on fire." Michael said.

"All right then. We have to get out of here and get the torch. Jennifer, the knife please?" After about 10 minutes, Will had managed to saw through the door and everyone pushed their shoulder against it and knocked the rest down.

"Peter, David, come with me! We'll knock the guard out. The rest, we'll hand you the torch and you light the place on fire." Will said as they scrambled out of the cell and went to their respected places.

It wasn't that hard to knock out the watchman, for he was already half asleep. Will then reached for the torch, handing it to Rachel, who then ran it back to Michael and Jennifer. They walked around the cell, making sure the dry wood was lit, then ran out.

"Fire! Fire!" Will screamed as he grabbed their weapons that were lying foolishly by the entrance. Tons of villagers ran over to the jail with buckets. No one noticed the escaping prisoners.

When they were a safe distance from the Chongor village, they stopped running. All of them were tired, dirty and hungry.

"Whew! That was a close one! Excellent job guys." Will said, patting David on the back.

"Well, now that that's over with, we should make it back to the Curtrans. Maybe the chief held off the fighting." Peter said.

"I salvaged the map. I don't think it will be that hard to find our way back." David replied, showing the chart to Michael.

"Well, lead the way then!" Will declared to David. The other's stared at him in puzzlement.

"Me? Lead you guys? Are you sure you don't want to do it Will?" he asked in disbelief.

"You're the one with the map, Dave. Where do we have to go?" Everyone cocked their head and smiled at Will.

"What?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing." Rachel said as David turned off down a path, studying the map. The rest followed.

~~~~~~~~~

They had been walking for an hour and a half, and it was starting to get dark.

"We camp here." Will announced to the group.

Everyone was more than happy to stop hiking and rest their feet. Temporary beds were constructed from piling up palm leaves. A fire was started and everyone laid down around the blaze. Will volunteered to keep the first watch, and pretty soon, everyone was asleep.

Rachel roused, looked around for a second, and then remembered where she was. It was rather thrilling- trekking around the jungle, meeting all these civilizations. For once she was doing something exciting. She sat up in her bed and noticed Will on the other side of the fire, staring into the flames. She stood up slowly and walked over to him.

"May I sit down?" she questioned, pointing at the empty space beside him.

"Sure." he said, not taking his gaze away from the fire.

"What's wrong Will? You've been acting differently ever since we got out of the village."

He turned his face up towards hers and then let his head fall to his chest. "I let everyone down."

"What are you talking about? You organized us."

"I couldn't think of a simple way to get us out of that damn jail. I was useless." he said shaking his head.

"Don't say that. If you weren't here, I'd still be in that cave. You saved me, Will. Don't you ever say that you were useless." she said, placing her hand on his. He smiled up at her, put his arm around her waist, and kissed her forehead.

"Thank you." he whispered, resting his head against hers.

They sat like that for hours until David got up and took second watch.

~~~~~~~~~

The gang got up bright and early to get to the Curtran village by mid afternoon. After encountering three raptors, two apemen and a partridge in a pear tree, they reached their destination. Three Curtrans greeted them outside of the village gates.

"We knew you would return. We all thought they had captured you." Thonk said, running towards them.

"Oh, they did, but we escaped." David said.

"You escaped the Chongor village? I knew you were the people for the job." Thonk said with a grin. The others returned it in full.

"So, have they called off the war? Are your people safe? Are we in time?" Will asked hurriedly.

"The Chongors have great respect for us now. They understand where we are in the chain. We do not control them, they do not control us. We are all equal. Chief Kramtar and their Chief Zunda have come to an

agreement. There will be no fighting." Thonk stated. The group went up in cheers, hugging each other and laughing.

"Well, I guess we did our duty. We'll need to head home soon." Peter told the Curtrans.

"Oh, yes. I will have some of my men walk you to the treehouse." he said, gathering some people.

"No, Thonk, we need to go back to where we came from. Where your men found us." Will said placing a hand on his shoulder.

"But we are allies now. We are friends. You cannot leave us. What if you'll need help? What if we'll need help?" he asked, a little bewildered.

The group looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Should they tell the Curtrans the truth? That they really aren't who they seem? Or should they leave and forget about it? What if the Curtrans come back and look for them again? Would they be ready to face another expedition? They decided the best thing to do would be to tell the truth. It might cause resentment, but they would probably not be able to come and help them again. That is, if they could make it off the plateau alive.

"Listen, Thonk." Will started "We are not the people you think we are."

"What do you mean? You are the famous hunter Lord John Roxton, that's Marguerite Krux, Ned Malone..." he went on.

"What your people saw on that picture box was a television show. We were acting. Pretending." he explained.

"You mean it was a play?" he asked.

"Sort of. You see, televisions are common where we come from. Everyone has one. We make shows- plays, to be put on the television. We are actors, we are not the real explorers you think we are." he said, bowing his head and backing up.

"So you lied to us? You pretended you were actually the real people?" he said, getting mad.

"We didn't know you thought we were the Challenger expedition until we were half way here. We all talked about going back, but we wanted so much for an adventure. So we decided to go along. We didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. Then, we realized how to work as a team., like the real Challenger Expedition." Peter said.

Thonk sighed heavily. He looked around at their blank faces. They felt horrible.

"Well, the big question is, how do we get you home?" he said, grinning and patting Will on the back. Everyone let out sighs of relief and followed Thonk back to the village.

"Don't worry. I'll explain this all to the Chief when you leave. We just need to figure out how to get you back." he said, leading the way through the gates.

"Can't we leave the same way we got here? On the boat?" David questioned.

"Our boat sank. There was a big storm on the other side of the mountain, and our boat was not strong enough for the currents. The balloon crashed, so we can't even get you over the mountain." he said. David looked ashamed as his head fell to his chest. Jennifer smiled and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

"D.R!" Michael exclaimed, rushing to the little lab next to the barns.

"Of course! She probably knows how we could get off!" Peter said, following his friend.

"If we never got off the plateau on the show, how is she supposed to know how we get off in real life?" Will asked with a frown.

"Well, we'll take a shot. No harm in that." Michael said, putting on the earphones and turning the generator on. Everyone waited impatiently.

"What if we can't reach her?" Rachel asked.

"We will. Now everyone, cross your fingers." Michael said, flipping on the switch.

Crackling could be heard through the head phones. Suddenly, Michael heard voices.

"I hear something! Someone's on the phone!" he exclaimed as Will turned one earphone out so he could hear as well.

"D.R, D.R is that you?" Michael asked, fiddling with the microphone.

"Mr. Sinelnikoff?" came a voice.

"I got her!" he exclaimed "Yes, yes it's me again. We need your help one last time."

"Did you find your way to the village?" she asked

"We'll tell you the whole story once we get home, but we need some help to do so." Will said.

"Sure. Anything I can do."

"Do you or any of your friends know how to get off the plateau?" Will asked with a wince.

"Well, we all have our speculations. Some people believe it's through a T-Rex cave at the far Western side of the plateau. Some believe it was covered up in that cave in season 1. But I have another assumption."

The two listened intently.

"The Summerlee River. The waterfall that Summerlee fell over during the cliffhanger of season 1. I believe that's a way off. Now, we found in season 2 that it dried up, but I don't think so. In "Survivor", it was a running river, but in "Into the Fire" it was shown to have dried up. I believe that is the only way off." she explained.

"Well, we have no other choice. Thank you so much my dear. Thank you for everything. We couldn't have done it with out you." Michael said gratefully.

"It was my pleasure. Just, be careful, and good luck." and with that, she was gone.

"What? What did she say?" Rachel questioned frantically.

"The waterfall. The one that Summerlee fell off a few years back. She said that that's the only way off." Will stated.

"The waterfall. You must be out of your mind if you think I'm going to throw myself off a 90 foot waterfall. You must be really nuts." Rachel said sitting on the bench and crossing her legs.

"We have no other choice, my dear. Either we go off the waterfall, or we're stuck here for a VERY long time." Michael said, sitting next to her.

"Fine. Fine, I'll do it." she said sourly.

"That's it! Come on, is everyone in? Pete? Jen? Dave? We have no other choice guys. Either we take a risk and jump off that cliff, or we stay here dressed like Tarzan, and fight dinosaurs for the rest of our lives." Will said.

Everyone stood and thought. They thought about staying there, they thought about how their lives would change. Then they thought about going back and doing the show.

"As tempting as it is to stay here, forget our problems back home and live in the jungle forever, I say we try." David said, folding his arms.

"I agree. I need civilization. I need a hot bath." Jennifer shook her head "It really would be great to stay here, but I can't. I really can't."

"All right. I'll do it." Peter said. Everyone else agreed. They would jump off the Summerlee Cliff.

~~~~~~~~~

Using the same map D.R gave them the day before, they made their way to the Summerlee River. A few Curtrans, along with Thonk, joined them.

"Thank you so much for all you have done. We will never forget you." Thonk said, shaking everyone's hand.

"No. Thank you, Thonk. We became a lot closer on this expedition than we've ever been before. This adventure really helped us. We needed it." Rachel said, hugging the lizard man.

"Well, I guess it's time to go. Everyone ready?" Will asked, looking around at his friends. They nodded.

"On the count of three." he said, clutching Rachel's hand as she grabbed on to Peter's and so on down the line.

"One- two- three!" and with that, the six explorers threw themselves off the cliff into the gushing river below. Water showered their faces as they flew through the air. They landed with a large splash and disappeared.

~~~~~~~~~~
A soggy, water logged Will dragged himself onto the sand, gasping for air and wiping the water from his eyes. A few feet away, Rachel was doing the same. He crawled over to her, clasping her around the waist as they stood each other up. Then they stared at the other one and burst into laughter and happy tears. They hugged each other tightly, broke off, and gestured that they should search for everyone else.

"Peter! Mike!" Will exclaimed, running over to the two drenched men, and helping them to their feet.

"Are we there? Am I alive?" Michael asked wearily.

"Well, we're alive, but I'm not quite sure where we are." he answered.

"Will, I found David and Jen." Rachel said, hurrying over to him with the other two behind her grasping on to each other and dragging themselves along the beach.

Once everyone was fully up and conscious, they broke into fits of laughter and hugged each other, saying how wonderful the other person was and exclaiming that they did it.

"We need to figure out how to get home now." Will said.

Suddenly, they heard shouts as a group of about five women ran down the beach, one of which, they recognized to be D.R.

"Mr. Sinelnikoff! Mr. Snow! You made it!" she said, stopping short in front of the soggy group.

"Yes, and it is all thanks to you. We would have never gotten off that plateau if it hadn't been for you D.R, all of you." Will said, leaning down and giving the girl a kiss on her cheek. She blushed madly and hid behind an older lady.

"Well, you're just in time for the last convention of the season. We're only 3 blocks away too." D.R said from behind the woman.

Will looked around at his friends.

"Do you guys want to go?" he asked them.

They looked confused.

"What? Do you guys want to go or not? Because if you're not up to it, if you're to tired, we could all just go home." Will said.

They others shook their heads.

"I'm up for a convention." Peter said.

"Sure. I love those things." David said, putting an arm around Jennifer. Everyone agreed and they followed the girls to the place.

Will and Rachel walked in back, as everyone chatted about their adventure, filling D.R and the others in on everything they encountered.

"I had fun, Will." Rachel said quietly.

"Yeah, so did I." he said, smiling at her.

"You know, that "vacation" really changed all of us." she said, gazing at her friends who were talking and laughing like old times.

"Yes. I'm glad we did it." he said.

"And it was all because of you, Will. We would have never even thought of going if it wasn't for you." she said, putting a hand on his arm. He looked down at it, a little surprised.

"What about all that- "Like a cat needs a ball of string" stuff?" he asked, with one eyebrow arched.

"Well, maybe I was wrong to jump to conclusions." she said, taking his hand.

He smiled down at her. They stopped walking and just stared into each other's eyes. Will's hands went up to her hair and he pulled at a piece of seaweed that had entangled itself into her curls. Her hand reached up and touched his. Their lips met in a soft kiss as he brought her closer to him. They did not realize the other 9 people who had stopped and were now witnessing this moment. All they could concentrate on was each other. When they finally did pull away, everyone was smiling.

"What?" Will asked, with his arm still around Rachel's waist.

"Oh, nothing." Peter replied, as they all made their way down the rest of the beach.

No one noticed the large egg that floated behind them, finally coming to a rest on the soft sand.