trucking onwards

It was morning. Obviously. The giveaway with such things was the first light of the sun piercing the gaps in the trees, and blinding you with a ray directly into the eye. Jamie remembered the feeling well, it happened every morning before he had built his house.

He rolled over, and inspected the campsite. Jade, Cass, and Eve. 'Good, the girls are ok.' he thought, sitting up. They were still sleeping though.

Then he noticed that Jaxx was missing. Instantly, he got to his knees for the slightly greater height, and surveyed the area. This part of the jungle was soft mud. Anyone on it left footprints, no matter how hard you tried not to. This was a great advantage for Jamie, as he knew the prints left by everyone's boots.

"Ahha." he said, finding the thick-set boot marks and deep imprints left by the weighty Jaxx. He followed them until they extended beyond the reaches of camp.

"What's wrong?" Cass asked as she opened her eyes and saw the thoughtful look on Jamie's face. 

"Jaxx is gone." Jamie said, just stating a fact.


"he got up and walked... no... ran away. That way." Jamie said, indicating the direction Jaxx had gone. "He was on his own, there's no real sense of urgency in the movements, so I doubt he saw something specifically."

Cass raised a skeptical eyebrow. "So, what do you think?"

A loud flutter of wings overhead caused Jamie to cock his head to one side and listen intently.

"I hear something." he said. Cass accepted that, and stopped talking for a moment.

"It's not a natural sound." Jamie said after a moment. "It's a... truck? a vehicle, at least."

Cass got her terminal out, and set it up. "if it's technology, I can track the energy signals."

Jamie grabbed his bow, knocked an arrow and readied himself for combat.

"It's definitely a vehicle, quite large.. and it's heading this way." Cass said. By this time, both Jade and Eve had woken and were listening to the conversation.

"Ok, hide." Jamie said. "we don't know what their intentions are, and it might be something Jaxx has done. Stay in view of the camp, but get behind a tree, it's coming from that" he said, pointing, "direction."

Everyone got up, and sluggishly moved. Partly because of just waking up, and partly because they were a bit stiff from sleeping on the jungle floor.

A few minutes later, the noise got louder. It was obviously heading directly for them, and when the truck stopped, and the door opened, Jamie stepped out with his bow drawn back.

"Don't move." He called out as a challenge, and stepped around the truck.

"Don't shoot, even." came back the reply. Jamie relaxed his stance, and lowered the bow, returning the arrow to his quiver.

"Where the hell did you get that from?" He asked, and everyone else came out from behind the trees.

"some military guys got it stuck in quicksand, even." Janky replied, indicating the wet sand still stuck to the outside of the truck.  "They pulled it out and I knocked them out when they were tired, even."

"And what were you thinking, leaving us alone here?" Cass asked, irritated once more.

"I was only gone for half an hour, even." Janky replied, not seeing the problem.

"In half an hour, a creatures from the jungle could have eaten one of us." Jamie said, "This truck should save a couple of hours off our trip though. I doubt we'll get it all the way."

"Do we want to alert whoever is there to our approach?" Cass said, scanning the truck with her terminal. "This thing gives off signals like a beacon."

Eve walked up to janky, gave him a stern look like only a wife can, and berated him. "You need to stop taking over Jaxx like this. You're going to get him in trouble. Is he even awake with all of this going on?"

"Lighten up, even. I got us some transport!" Franky replied, justifying his actions. 

"We're running low on time." Cass said. "Everyone in, we will discuss this on the way."

"Which way do we need to go, even?" Franky asked, aimed at Jamie.

"I'm driving." Jamie said. "You can get told off by Cass and Eve while I concentrate on getting us there safely."

*Two hours later*

"Ok, I understand, even. I don't want my cute apprentice to get into trouble for my actions, even." Franky replied, and then let Jaxx take over again.

"We're here." Jamie said. "At least, as far as we can take the truck." he added. In front of them was a clump of trees thicker than the truck, and a gap only big enough to walk through, single file.

"How do the trees grow so close together here?" Jade asked, with interest.

"It's just one plant." Jamie said. "I call it a cluster-tree. From what I can gather, they take over entire areas, just so they can get enough water. We should refill our water bottles before we go on."

They all climbed out of the truck, and Jamie approached one of the tree-trunks. He withdrew a knife, and stabbed it into the tree. He held a water bottle underneath it, and removed the knife. Water poured out and filled all of their bottles. Jamie then slapped a handful of mud on the 'wound', so it stopped emptying any more.

"Are you sure this water is safe to drink?" Cass asked. Jamie answered by taking a mouthful from his bottle. "It's even got some nutrients in it from the tree." he replied. That seemed to satisfy everyone.

"Ok, let's go. It'll take us about an hour to get there from here. Maybe half, if this tree is the only thing around here."

Jamie took point, his bow ready, but not drawn. he cautiously led them as fast as he could through the maze of cluster-tree towards their destination.

A short time later...

"Pantheon, Serraco Enterprises." Jamie said, quizically. "Never heard of it." He was reading it from the side of a pre-fabricated building that looked like it had been dumped a long time ago, and the jungle was starting to reclaim it. They turned stealthy in case anyone was still around, and rounded the corner.

"Ahh, that looks like the source of the explosion." Cass said, indicating the wrecked hulk of a transport.

"Good news then, it wasn't Jay's Jetbike." Jade said, happy that this had turned out ok.

<tag. we're catching up!>

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