Love, Dinosaurs, and the Clockwork Apocalypse
Very shortly, Petch called 'TIME' and we jumped for the portal. Perhaps our strategy worked, at least we were not shot down instantly as we popped out into the hostile land.
We burst through the portal and hit the ground in a roll. I leapt to my feet and began running! Much too late I realized I had not asked what direction I was supposed to run, so I just ran straight away from the portal.
Petch and Teena hit the ground milliseconds behind me and launched themselves in a different direction, yelling 'This way!' at me. I executed a hard 90 degree turn and headed their direction just as an explosion erupted right where I would have been had I not turned. In our after-action analysis, we later decided that by coming thru first, and inadvertently charging directly toward the citadel I had drawn the machine's attention and fire, allowing Teena and Petch to come through unscathed. Their yell and my sudden, unplanned course correction had saved my very life. My unintended 'wrong-way corrigan' maneuver and sudden course correction might well have saved us all.
Several more explosions happened around us, making my ears ring, but after a bit of adrenalin fueled calisthenics we dove over a small outcropping and hugged the ground, off the radar and out of line of sight of the enemy. We hoped. Teena pushed some debris away and revealed a small cave in the side of the hill.
Now that I was not running for my very life, I became overwhelmed by the heat. Teena had promised it would be hot here. Like a blast furnace! Like the Engine room of a steam-engined freighter in the tropics! The hottest day on our 'Planet OZ' was a balmy spring morning compared to this! It was clear that the heat here would rapidly kill us due to dehydration, if nothing else. The sweat was pouring off my body, and I was having trouble breathing. We were all scraped and bruised from our dive into the dirt.
Ignoring the minor injuries, and doing my best to ignore the heat and control my breathing, I turned my attention to the promised weapons cache.