Scooby Doo and the Secret of the Maroon Caverns

A group of paleontologists are investigating a system of caves, known as the Maroon Caverns which are said to be billions of years old. The depth of this cavern system exceeds even that of Krubera Cave in Ukraine at 9,000 feet. They receive their name because the cavern walls have an inexplicable dark reddish color. While chipping away at the cavern walls, however, one of them comes across some eggs. Expecting them to be fossils, they examine them, only to be surprised that they've been recently hatched. They then hear a terrible shriek, and an arachnid creature leaps from the cavern walls. The scientists try to escape, only to find even more arachnid monsters climbing down the cavern walls and surrounding them. The scientists are then eaten alive by the creatures. Meanwhile, Velma is staying over at Shaggy's house, while her house is being painted. She notices, however, that Shaggy is depressed. When asked why, he gives her the big news: Emmajene is pregnant. Because of this, Scooby Doo is not exactly the way he used to be: he's not as hungry, he's much less fearful, much more serious, and is always concerned about Emmajene's welfare. This annoys Shaggy, as he misses the friend he used to have. Velma comforts him, reassuring him that Scooby is just becoming a father, and that Shaggy will be that way some day. They hear a sudden crash outside. Alarmed, they run outside to see what was causing the commotion. It turns out to be Daphne, who's apparently been drinking, and didn't wait long before she started driving. After taking her inside, Velma demands why she would make such a reckless decision. In her drunken state, Daphne tells them about all that she learned from her father about her family being illegal Russian immigrants. She also tells them about how close she was to quitting but, after receiving encouragement from her dying mother, decided to rejoin the gang. Although more than happy to have her back, Velma says that she would have preferred her to come back in a more sober state. Nevertheless, she offers her a bed to sleep on, until she recovers from drunkeness. Later, the rest of the gang decides to hit the sack as well. Shaggy is having a difficult time sleeping, though because ever since Scooby's been acting the way he has been, he's started feeling lonely. He thinks back to the time he broke up with Velma after they had solved the mystery of the Fright Hound. He begins to regret breaking up with her. The next morning, he nervously approaches Velma when, to his relief, she's distracted by something on the Morning News. Apparently four paleontologists have gone missing while investigating a labyrinth of caves in western Canada, known as the Maroon Caverns. Surprisingly, even Scooby and Shaggy are a little interested as they understand that these caves have only recently been discovered and, therefore, little is known about them. Daphne, however, is still in bed, recovering from a hangover. She goes to the bathroom to take some tylenol and a shower, while trying to recollect what happened in the past few days. Meanwhile, Velma goes online to research more about the scientists' strange disappearance and the Maroon Caverns themselves. Unfortunately, there is no reliable information to be found. Shaggy suggests that maybe an earthquake caused the cavern walls to cave in on them, but Velma states that if it were so, the earthquake would have been reported on the news as well. She decides that it would be best for them to go down to the Maroon Caverns and investigate. By now, Daphne has come down stairs, having regained her memory (although still struggling with a hangover). Velma explains to her what they've just heard on the news, and how they're going to investigate the case of the missing scientists. Scooby, however, is reluctant to go, not wanting to leave Emmajene in the state she's in. Daphne offers to stay behind and take care of her. Velma, however, firmly tells her she has to come along, as she might start drinking again if left by herself. She then calls a friend of hers to watch over Emmajene and make sure she's alright. Once that is settled, the gang splits up to buy spelunking gear, and other supplies that they might need. They meet back together at the airport and head for Dark City, British Columbia, near which the Maroon Caverns are said to be located. Ironically, despite having the word, "city" in its name, Dark City is actually a very small town surrounded by miles of woods. They stay at a "hotel" (which is more like a three story cabin) to rest for the night. Before going to sleep, however, Shaggy nervously asks Velma if he could talk to her privately. She reluctantly agrees, having a feeling where this is going. Approaching the subject carefully, Shaggy mentions how they used to go out before he broke up with her after Scooby was locke up in the Animal Asylum. He explains that, at that point, he wasn't expecting Scooby to form a relationship with anyone that would put distance between the two of them. Speaking very quietly then, so Scooby can't hear, he asks if she wouldn't mind giving him another chance. Velma gets angry with him, saying she's still bitter about what happened and doesn't want him to bring it up ever again. Shaggy goes to sleep heartbroken.

Velma, using a map, leads the gang to the Maroon Caverns. On the way, Scooby notices that Daphne is lagging behind a little. He approaches her and asks what's wrong. She explains that she still can't quite get over what she learned about her parents. Scooby says that he understands and lets her know that she's not alone. Daphne asks him to explain what he means, but he says he would rather not talk about it. Daphne ponders over that, but then just lets the matter go. When the gang reach their destination, Velma is confused as she sees no cave. As she steps forward, though, she almost falls. Shaggy grabs her, only for Velma to angrily push him away. When they look down, they see why they didn't see the entrance: it's a pit cave.

The gang takes a moment to stare down into its depths, which, until now have never been explored. After muttering "jinkies" under her breath, Velma gets out a nylon kernamtle rope for the gang to use to climb down into the caverns. Shaggy and Scooby are, as usual, nervous, but they don't cling to each other like they used to. The gang carefully repels into the cave. After twelve hours, they gang finally reaches the cavern floor. They nearly faint from exhaustion. They are so far from the mouth of the cave, that its half the moon's size in the night sky, and the sun's light cannot reach where they are, leaving them in pitch blackness. With whatever strength she could muster, Velma reaches into her backpack to pull out a tilly lamp. She turns it on, and it releases a blinding light. When their eyes are finally able to adjust, they observe their surroundings.

Feeling too tired and hungry to investigate, the gang decides to call it a night. Velma is not sure how they can eat without a fire to cook the food. Shaggy, however, has come prepared: he brough a skillet, firewood, a lighter, and gasoline to fuel the fire. Velma is actually impressed, despite still being bitter towards Shaggy. They have dinner and then rest for the night. Because it is so dark, Velma thinks it best to leave the sunlight would probably not wake them up the next morning, so Velma sets the alarm on her iphone to wake them up at 8:00 a.m.

The next morning the gang begins their investigation of the caves. After hours of searching, and not finding anything unusual or with valuable information, Velma decides they should split up: she and Daphne will take one tunnel, and Scooby and Shaggy will take another. When they're far enough away, Shaggy decides he's got Scooby right where he wants him. He confronts him about how he's become a horrible friend. Scooby naturally defends himself by explaining that he's just concerned about Emmajene. This just makes Shaggy even more angry, saying that it's not fair that while he's not allowed to form a relationship with Velma, Scooby's allowed to hook up with Emmajene and fuss over her. This gets Scooby angry and this leads to a physical fight between the two of them, causing a lot of ruckus. While they're fighting, however, Scooby hears a subtle hiss. He tells Shaggy to be quiet for a second. Not taking him seriously, Shaggy continues to fight, until Scooby, pins him to the ground. Shaggy struggles until he hears rustling. Knowing that it couldn't be him or Scooby, he begins to panic, but Scooby tells him to stay where he is, hoping that whatever it is might reveal itself.

They lay still for a few more minutes, hearing nothing at first. Suddenly the rustling is heard again, more clearly this time. Scooby is also able to locate where it's coming from. He asks Shaggy to shine some light in that direction. When he does they see a faint silhouette of what appeared to be some kind of arachnoid creature, it's six eyes glaring at them. They see it only for a split second, though before it scurries away into a hole. Upon seeing this, Shaggy gets out his iphone, and calls quietly calls Velma to let her know what they saw.

When she and Daphne arrive, they show her the hole. Judging by the details they gave her (and the fact that they spoke calmly about it rather than with fear) she believes them. Still, to be sure, she decides that it's best to investigate the area for any clues. Despite not finding anything of valuable information at first, Daphne says she found some sticky material that resembles spider silk, though a lot stronger and thicker than that belonging to regular spiders. Velma decides to investigate this material a little bit more back at where they camped.

The gang waits hours for her to finish her study. After looking at the material through her battery-powered microscope, she tells the gang what she's found out: this spider silk is like none other she's ever seen. Most spider silk has pyrrolidine and hygroscopic properties, but her sample is composed of chemicles, which she can't identify. Also most spider silk has a pH of 4; her's has a pH of 27. As much as she hated to admit it, for the first time in her life, she was stumped.

On that note, the gang decides to call it a night. As they sleep, however, Scooby hears what sounds like teeth gnawing on nylon. He wakes up and, grabbing the tilly lamp, walks in the direction of the noise. He is then horrified to see that the arachnid creatures are eating their nylon kernamtle rope, their only way out of the caverns. He races and wakes Shaggy up, who, as usual, goes into a panic attack. He tries to wake up Velma, but she pulls the covers over her head. In desperation, he yanks the covers of her, sits her upright, and pulls her eyelids open. Without her glasses, though she can't see anything, and so angrily pushes Shaggy away. Thinking quickly, though, Shaggy grabs her glasses, and puts them on her before she can get back to sleep.

On seeing the arachnid creatures surrounding them, she also begins to panic. With the kernamtle rope chewed up, they are trapped down there with the spiders. The creatures surround them, cornering them against the cavern wall. As they do, Scooby accidentally trips on a stalagmite, and as he opens his mouth to yelp, the tilly lamp goes flying through the air, before it hits the ground. As it shatters and starts a fire, the arachnid creatures scurry away in fear like cockroaches. The gang takes this opportunity to run. Using headlamps, since their lantern's history, they run into the first tunnel the see, and try looking desperately for a way out. But the further they run, the deeper they only seem to be getting into the caves. Suddenly Velma haults them. She realizes something: Daphne's missing.

Daphne, had been in a deep sleep the whole time this was going on and so was unaware of what just happened. However, she is awakened by the smell of smoke. On seeing the fire she immediately uses her sleeping bag to put it out. With no lantern around, she gets out a headlamp. She then wonders where the rest of the gang is. It isn't long though, before she starts to hear scuttling and sees glowing orbs all around her. When she directs the light towards the orbs, she sees the spiders. This of course, freaks her out, but she thankfully notices her friends left a backpack behind. She rips it open to see if there's anything she can use for self-defense. Unfortunately, it's all kitchen stuff that Shaggy brought. However, she sees a huge kitchen knife. As one of the spiders comes close behind her, she slashes at it with the knife. She then makes a get away, deciding to take the whole bag with her in case she finds anything else useful in it. Like her friends, she heads down the first tunnel she sees, though it is not the same one the rest of the gang took. As she looks behind, she sees a ton of giant spiders swarming across the walls and the ceiling. As she continues to race down the tunnel, she sees another tunnel to her right. She looks behind again. To her relief she sees she made enough distance between her and the creatures to hide.

Meanwhile Shaggy, Scooby, and Velma are searching for a way out of these caverns. Nothing has gone according to plan, and the whole case has become life-threatening. As they are searching for some kind of opening to the outside, the mysterious stench becomes unbearable for Velma. In exasperation, she asks Scooby to identify where the smell is coming from and what it is. Despite also feeling sickened by it, Scooby breathes in the odor, carefully tracing it to it's source....which ends up being the cavern wall. Velma and Shaggy are confused by this, and ask Scooby what this stuff is on the wall. What Scooby says makes their skin crawl: it's blood. For the first time in her life, Velma is almost as scared as Shaggy.

Daphne holds her breath as the spiders make their way down the tunnel they were chasing her down. She hopes that they don't trace her scent to the other one she just ran into. Thankfully, they don't, and they continue on their way.

Note: This article is in progress and isn't complete yet. I am publishing it now, though to save the work that I've done so far.

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