R ed watched the primitive girl closely as they passed beneath the great arch at the entrance to the parking lot, an arch which read "Welcome to Bluebeard's Cove-The World's Largest Underground Theme Park." She seemed to be in a sort of trance now, and he couldn't help but to wonder what she was thinking as those huge, brown eyes rolled up to gaze at the signage, at least so much of it as would be visible to her, nor could he help but to wonder, again, what the strange color was that lingered just behind her pupils.
"Doc, this is Charlotte. Incoming, with two wounded." The radio hissed as she released the switch.
Red gripped the handle above his door as the Jeep lurched to a stop on the east side of the reception building, next to the security keypad, while Charlotte lowered her window. "What's the code?" she snapped.
"1984," said Red.
The radio squawked as she keyed in the numbers and a voice came through which was barely audible. "Red and Corbin both? What the hell happened out there?"
"Red's fine." She glanced at him in the rearview mirror. "As always."
He stared back at her blankly.
"It's Corbin, and ... a guest," she said into the mic. "Just get your gear; we've got a broken leg and a raptor wound, upper shoulder."
"A guest? What kind of-"
She turned off the radio as the service door beeped and began rattling upward, and they lurched forward into the caged freight elevator. "Red ..."
He was already out his door and pressing the switch.
A moment later they were descending, the mesh door rattling closed behind them, and the primitive girl grunted in alarm as Red climbed back in and darkness engulfed the cab. "Naaygi, Naaygi!" she exclaimed, wrestling with her seatbelt.
Charlotte keyed the radio back on. "And Doc, we're going to need a sedative, a strong one."
Metal creaked and groaned as they continued to lower until at last the light returned and the world exploded into view again-not the world of the sun and moon and clouds and a thousand prehistoric terrors, which they had abandoned, but an entirely manmade one full of dazzling light and color, too much light and color, for everything was turned on just as it had been when they'd first sought refuge there.
"What the hell is MacGyver doing?" said Red. "Jesus, doesn't he understand that all those lights-"
He stopped talking as he noticed the primitive girl's reaction to the spectacular light show, which was one of stunned silence and awe, even, it seemed to him, outright reverence. He tried to imagine it through her eyes, the vast atrium of artificial light with its carnival rides and fanciful structures, its concession stands and lamplit boardwalks, and its manmade river which wound through everything. For it was a place designed to make precisely such an impression. Less obvious, beyond all the glittering lights and flashing signboards, were the 15-foot tall security fences with their tangles of concertina wire and glowing electrification indicators, as well as the moats of muddy water which in time would become clogged with human waste-once the power and the plumbing failed. Once the Flashback had taken its full and inevitable toll. And beyond all those things, in the now semi darkened catacombs of what had formerly been the Havana Flats salt mine, stood a sole cavern raptor-blue-gray skin painted in horizontal shadows from the fence, sickle claws glinting by the light of the carnival rides, its round, white eyes blinking. And as Red squinted, it was joined by another. And another.
Indeed, it was precisely this contrast between what lay within and what lay without that had given rise to the place's nickname: The Devil's Shambhala.
Red got out again and rushed toward Corbin's door even as the elevator touched down. To his surprise, only D