DISCLAIMER: There is nothing in this chapter that is sexually
explicit. Since further chapters will contain a lot less clothing, I'll
include a disclaimer anyway. This story is intended for a mature
audience. People under 18 who even catch a glimpse of it will have
their nose fall off.
WARNING: This story is for people who have a fetish for women laughing
uncontrollably. There are a few lines for people who like women riding
motorcycles, women carrying guns, or women who wear baseball caps on
backwards. All others will probably find it boring. (Even people with
these fetishes still risk boredom.)
Tomb Raider Unnumbered Adventure.
Level 1: The Cave of Sir Tristram.
Cornwall, the end of the southwestern peninsula jutting into the
Atlantic from England, is home to a curious mix of legends and history.
The many diverse peoples that have made this area their home have each
left the memories of their traditions and history with the later
inhabitants in the form of stories and myths. Druids, standing stones,
little people, and similar legends are woven into the consciousness of
the land. Even more curious is that the legends of this area, developed
over a thousand years from several cultures, have been drawn together
around the figure of a fifth century Briton warlord named Arthur.
Scholars of today now examine the old stories engaged in the challenging
task of trying to uncover the historical Arthur that lies behind the
legendary figure of the once and future king. Of course, there is more
truth in such legends than is often suspected.
The shore of this land is marked by tall granite cliffs that stand
guard over a series of small, sandy beaches. The cliffs are topped by
wide grassy fields sometimes sprinkled with flowers but seldom
supporting many trees. Although there are long stretches that are
sparsely inhabited, it is not a quiet place. The roar of the wind and
the pounding of the surf are almost constant. Ironically, this noise
imposes a sense of isolation on those who travel there. People can be
just a few feet apart and not realize it, each lost in the sounds of
nature. Visitors since before Roman times standing at the top of a
windswept cliff while staring at the empty horizon with the sea crashing
hundreds of feet below, combined with this eerie sense of isolation,
have been overcome with a feeling that they have reached the end of the
This corner of England has always drawn those who seek mysterious
legends or the grandeur of nature or a sense of isolation. It is
irresistible to an adventurer who craves all three.
Along the southern coast of the peninsula, a large promontory juts out
from the Atlantic Ocean creating a tiny island just a few yards from the
sheer cliffs of the mainland. Normally, its only remarkable feature is
the ruins of an ancient stone tower. On this day, however, a steel
scaffolding supporting a small platform rose above the jumbled stones.
The platform contained a surveyor's telescope and a small laser pointing
down toward a narrow cleft in the opposite cliff.
A tautly stretched nylon rope supported the weight of a petite,
auburn-haired young woman in a narrow opening between two rocky crags.
She wore tough denim shorts and a light aqua tank top. A sturdy
backpack bulged with equipment, but these were not the things that
people first noticed about her. Two gleaming pistols holstered at each
hip usually captivate one's attention (actually, they are the second
things that males notice). The woman glanced up at the sky and,
satisfied at the absence of clouds, turned to examine the line
separating shadow from sunlight on the granite surface in front of her.
She focused her attention on a small red dot of laser light a few inches
below the line of shadow. She retrieved a compressed air cartridge and
placed it in what looked to be a cross between a harpoon gun and a small
jackhammer. Placing the muzzle over the dot, she pulled the trigger.
With a loud thunk, a square mounting bracket was driven into the rock,
the red dot precisely covering the intersection of two lines inscribed
in the mount's surface. She again reached into her pack but this time
removed a small remote control with a single button. She casually
pointed the remote over her shoulder and pressed the button. The red
dot suddenly disappeared and a muffled explosion sounded as the platform
above her exploded into a fireball. Four smaller blasts sent the
scaffolding tumbling into the sea. The woman looked behind her; four
small poles rising from the ground were all the evidence that she had
ever been to the tiny island. Unfortunately, she did not have time to
erase all traces of her visit. Turning back to her task, she fixed a
metal frame containing two mirrors to the mounting bracket. The first
mirror covered the cross hairs that until very recently had been
illuminated by the laser. The second was placed in front of a small
circular hole in the rock of the cliff face. She confirmed that the
mirrors were still at the precise angle to which she had set them
earlier. She checked her watch: 57 minutes to complete the morning's
tasks. Sparing one last glance at the sunlight creeping ever so slowly
toward her mirrors, she began to climb.
Lara Croft loved excitement. She loved risk. She loved mystery. She
hated surprises. A surprise normally meant that her life was about to
become extremely dangerous very quickly. Surprise meant that she was
not prepared or not lucky, both vital qualities in her occupation. As
she raced along the coast road on her motorcycle, she was surprised to
see a van parked by a field. While it was not uncommon for tourists to
leave their vehicles to examine the scenery, this particular field
contained a Standing Stone that had held her attention for over two
years. She could see the Stone about a mile away, but could not see
anyone over the featureless terrain. Lara quickly checked her watch,
still 9 minutes before the sun reached its highest point in the sky.
She quickly looked over the van. It was a rental. Lara left her
motorcycle beside the van and started to jog toward the stone. She
immediately noticed two sets of footprints. One was a pair of sneakers,
the other quite fashionable hiking boots. As Lara neared the stone, she
slowed her pace and drew her pistols. As she feared, the pair of tracks
ended at a hole in the earth about 100 yards beyond the stone, a hole
that Lara had believed was unknown to anyone but her. Taking a small
flashlight from her pack, she peered into the hole. Still seeing no
sign of the intruders, she dropped through the hole into a long
passageway. She was already very familiar with this passage. It was
long and straight with a slight downslope, ending in a circular chamber
under a cliff on the coast near a rocky outcropping containing the ruins
of an ancient stone tower.
Lara slowed as she reached the end of the passage. She heard two
voices, both female, both American, from the next chamber. Two women
stood near the entrance of a large circular chamber dominated by a large
glass hemisphere hanging from the center of the high, domed roof. The
glass provided a dim light as sunlight somehow found its way from the
surface. Around the edge of the chamber stood dozens of slim stone
columns. Each one was cylindrical, about 3 feet high, smooth sided, and
each had a small circular opening in the middle of its flat circular
Approaching silently, Lara observed two women: a television reporter
and a camerawoman. The reporter appeared to be near thirty with light
brown, gently curling hair falling just to her shoulders. She had a
pretty face that was highlighted by bright blue eyes. She wore dark
denim pants and a flannel shirt and stood rehearsing in the glaring
light of a hand held video camera. The woman holding the camera was
younger, very slim and had straight blonde hair peeking from beneath the
bill of a baseball cap worn backwards. She wore faded jeans, an old
t-shirt, and a faded oxford shirt with all the buttons undone. Lara
could not get a look at her face. The reporter was facing toward Lara,
but the bright light from the camera blinded her to Lara's presence.
"This is Grace Hunter of Eyewitness Action News Team Now reporting from
somewhere beneath the English countryside... Dammit Amy, keep the
camera on me and don't pan toward the skylight until I gesture to it."
"Sorry Ms. Hunter," mumbled the camerawoman.
Lara was pressed for time. Her instincts said that the two women were
not immediately dangerous, and she decided upon a direct approach. From
her previous explorations of the chamber, she knew of four separate
traps that would kill the pair if they made a misstep. There was also
the slight possibility that she had missed one. As she strode forward,
she checked her watch one last time. A little over two minutes remained
before things became quite interesting.
"You two seem a little lost," said Lara, announcing her presence.
"You must be Lara Croft," said the reporter. The fact that the woman
knew her name confirmed Lara's worst suspicions. Someone knew what she
was doing, and she had no idea who. "I'm Grace Hunter," the reporter
continued. "I'd like to make you famous. Amy, put the camera on Ms.
A single gun shot plunged the room in near darkness. It took several
seconds for the two newspeople to adjust from the bright camera light to
the dim, filtered sunlight. They were soon able to see that the camera
had been neatly destroyed with a single bullet.
"I don't give interviews," Lara explained.
"That… You …," Grace stammered, gesturing toward the camera.
Lara turned her attention to the camerawoman. "What's your name?"
"Amy, Amy Parker," the camerawoman haltingly replied.
"Well Amy," said Lara, "I don't know if you realise exactly how much
trouble you're in. This chamber is at least fifteen hundred years old,
and its makers did not care for unannounced visitors. They left a lot
of surprises about just to make sure that this room was not disturbed.
You're quite lucky to have reached this point."
Grace had recovered much of her composure and was beginning to feel
very annoyed as she felt her story slipping away. "What," she exclaimed
performing an impromptu jumping jack, "if I jump up and down the ceiling
collapses?" The sound of stone grating on stone sounded from the
Lara reacted instantly. She performed a back flip with a half twist as
she thought, 'I missed one after all.' She landed at the head of the
passage and began sprinting, but she was already too late. A thick
stone wall sealed the passageway. She heaved against it, but soon
realized that it was not going to budge. She returned to the chamber
with the two other women.
"Are we trapped? … tee hee," Amy asked with a little giggle.
"I don't see anything funny about this. … Hee hee ha," said Grace,
but she let out a giggle also.
"Hee hee hee… Do you smell …ha ha … something? … Hee hee," Amy asked,
trying to keep an irrepressible chuckle from her voice.
Lara was trying to comprehend the attitude of the two women when she
noticed a ticklish feeling in the pit of her stomach. She let out a
chuckle. The chuckling of the two women seemed funny, somehow, and her
own confusion about what why they acted so funny just made them seem
funnier. She was unable to stop herself from giggling.
Meanwhile, Grace and Amy were starting to laugh unstoppably. "Ha ha ha
ha ha … Stop it, hee hee hee… Amy. You're making me hee hee laugh. Ha
ha ha ," laughed Grace.
"I can't. Ha ha ha ha," laughed Amy.
As she started to laugh, Lara noticed the room seemed dimmer. Looking
up, she made out wisps of a light mist. She suddenly realized why the
three were laughing. "Hee hee hee hee… It's … Ha ha ha… laughing gas…
Ha ha ha ha ha ha," laughed Lara.
The knowledge of what caused their uncontrollable mirth proved to be of
no real help. None of the women could regain their composure for any
length of time. Lara knew they were in serious trouble, but she could
not focus her concentration without breaking into a fit of laughter.
The laughter of the other two women proved contagious, too.
Intellectually, Lara knew she should be worried, but it was hard to be
serious when so many things seemed incredibly funny. She had to try to
stay alert for their one chance at escape.
"Look, Ha ha ha ha ha ha," Amy shouted, pointing to a bright beam of
light striking the far wall. The beam illuminated a large switch in the
wall as it crept downward almost imperceptibly.
Relief swept over Lara, lightening her already high mood. "Quickly …
hee hee hee," Lara tried to talk while laughing as she reached into her
backpack. She pulled out three carefully coiled cables. They seemed to
be wires wrapped in plastic insulation but had clear glass cylinders at
each end. "Fibre-optic … Ho ho ho ho ho …" Lara laughed as she pointed
to the cables. "Must … ha ha ha ha ha ha … match colours." Lara
staggered forward, laughing as she tried to hand two of the cables to
the other women. The two did not quite understand the joke, but they
sure thought it was hilarious.
Suddenly the light in the room swirled into rainbow colors. This
shifting pattern quickly split into six beams of light: three pair of
red, blue, and yellow rays. The rays settled on six of the pillars
around the edge of the chamber.
Drunk with laughter, the three women staggered toward the illuminated
pillars. Amy wove toward a pillar bathed in red light. Still laughing
loudly, she tried to focus as her shaking hands put a glass cylinder
into the hole on the top of the pillar. She giggled in delight as she
finally slipped the cylinder into the hole and saw the other end of the
cable glow red. Sinking to her knees, she crawled toward the other red
pillar dragging the cable behind her. She was feeling very sleepy and
nestled the other cylinder in place mostly by touch. She collapsed to
the ground as exhausted laughter softly emerged from her lips.
The chamber was quiet now except for the sound of Lara's continuous
laughter. Her head was spinning, and she felt disconnected from her
body, unsure of whether the laughter she heard was hers. She slipped a
glass cylinder into a yellow-lighted pillar and then looked at the
switch on the wall still bathed in a shaft of sunlight. As she
staggered toward it, she hoped that the other women were able to put
their cables in place. The thought of one end still lying on the floor
was too ironic, and Lara collapsed to the ground in an awful giggling
fit. Summoning the last of her will power, she lurched to the switch.
She pulled downward, falling to the ground, unconscious.
No one was left awake in the chamber to observe the blinding light that
filled the area for several seconds. The light slowly faded, leaving
the chamber empty except for a few lines of quickly cooling glass on the
Cornwall, England: Next Day
Several police officers were examining the ground around a van and a
motorcycle parked by a field. About a mile away, another group of
officers examined a neat circle of burnt grass on a cliff overlooking a
rocky outcropping containing the ruins of an ancient stone tower.
"The van was rented by two American news journalists," reported an
officer to the detective in charge of the investigation. "They arrived
at Heathrow yesterday on some hot story."
"Looks like a local lad is having them on about UFO visits," said the
detective. "A lad with a motorcycle, perhaps."
"About the motorcycle," said the officer, "it seems to be registered to
a woman named Anastasia Romanov."
The detective snorted. "A comedian." He paused looking at the other
officers examining the ground and then began to walk away. "Well I
suspect that our two Edgar Murrows will turn up in a couple of days with
some story about Martians visiting our lovely countryside. Not much
else to do here," he told the officer. "Anastasia Romanov indeed.
Whoever had the nerve to pull this scam must be laughing her head off
Wonder what the hell's going on? Stay tuned for vague answers and more
confusing questions in Level 2: Under the Sea, coming in the future.