Moses was a Liar: 3 GENESIS 3: Frontal Attack

Posted: October 15, 2011 in SciFi

The scene in Bennie’s Camp was one of decay and desolation.

The decay was evident from the dirty and neglected appearance of the camp. No movement could be discerned.

From where Karl lay, invisible to the eye, he scanned the entire area but could not make out the whereabouts of the Crew. Their absence from the camp was worrying. He wondered what they were up to.

Sliding back up the hillock so as not be detected, he turned and walked towards the distant wreck of the Airbus. After about half an hour, he concealed himself once again among the rocks.

If Bennie’s Crew were anywhere they would be inside the wrecked and stripped fuselage. Wonder what they are doing? In a circuitous approach to the wreck, Karl crept up to the far side of the fuselage about twenty metres from the edge of the cliff. He could hear people talking inside. There were scraping, hammering and breaking noises. Concealing himself as best he could to observe their exit from the aircraft, Karl waited patiently. Stalking humans was very much the same as stalking prey for the pot, he thought.

After a couple of hours Jim and Bennie emerged with the rest of his crew now down to a total of thirteen. They were carrying objects which Karl could not identify. They looked like square metal trunks about the size of large suitcases. They seemed quite heavy as each trunk required two men to carry it out of the fuselage. There were five trunks in all. After placing them on the ground, Bennie and his crew gathered around and with some laughter pulled a cord sticking out from one of the cases and with a small crack it exploded, causing a bright orange life raft to inflate automatically. Karl jerked in fright almost as if he’d been caught red-handed.

Peering inside the incongruous craft, Bennie emerged with a small survival kit. These were normally equipped with emergency equipment such as GPS, flares, emergency water- and food rations. The whole crew then clambered inside the craft which was designed for twenty persons.

It suddenly dawned on Karl. They were planning an evacuation from the mountain top! There were certainly enough of the life rafts available. It was a crazy idea. Where would they go? The seas were extremely rough and tidal waves were bound to smash the puny craft against the rocks of the mountain.

He heard Jim say to the crew as they re-emerged: “OK let’s get the rest of the canisters to camp. We can store them there. This one we can pull over the ground and use for storage till we need it.”

The four remaining canisters were lifted by two men each and they departed for the camp. The inflated raft was manhandled by the remaining five members of the group and with the assistance of wire ropes attached to the life lines of the raft, started dragging it to their camp.

After they had disappeared Karl emerged from his hiding place and clambered into the giant fuselage. There was not much left, except the seats for which they had little use. Bennie’s Crew had ripped open the cradles in which the canisters had been fastened. Some canisters had been destroyed by the crash and were useless. They had removed the only serviceable ones.

As he scratched through the rubbish, he noticed a small object which had wedged itself under a seat. It had obviously escaped the attention of the survivors. Tugging at it, it suddenly dislodged causing Karl to sit back heavily on his haunches.

It was a small black metal box. The box was locked with a latch and a small lock which Karl easily broke off. Obviously something that is not too valuable he thought to himself. Opening the lid he peered inside to find a beautiful naval brass sextant, clearly an antique: a collectors’ item. It was carefully packed in bubble wrap. He placed it back in the metal container. Oscar may be able to use this, he thought. Clambering out of the wreck, Karl made his way back to Base Camp with the instrument.

When he reached the camp he called out to Oscar who was helping a small group of children to weave baskets from the fronds of the swamp reeds in the wetlands. Seemed like he needed some help as well, Karl thought amused by the sight of Oscar who was considered the informal camp leader, trying his hand at something so alien.

“Look what I found,” Karl said, holding up the black box.

“What’s that?” Oscar asked as he thankfully stood up from his unfamiliar task.

“Have a look, think you’ll love this,” Karl replied.

Oscar took the box and as he opened it, he gasped in delight.

“What a wonderful find, Karl. Where did you get it?”

“It was lying under one of the seats in the Airbus. We must’ve missed it on previous missions. But listen to this. I followed Bennie’s Crew and found them salvaging stuff from the wreck. I hid away to see what they were up to. You know what they found and took back to their camp with them?” Karl asked.

“No.”

“Well, I wasn’t sure at first what the canisters held, but then they fired one.”

“Fired one, a flare or what?”

“No, they hauled out five life rafts and then popped one.”

“Oh shit! I completely forgot those things. What are they doing with them?”

“Well, I heard Jim say that they should take them back to camp until they needed them. The popped one they’re going to use as a storage place. The thought then crossed my mind that they may be planning to leave the mountain and try their luck on the sea.”

“Wow. They’ll come short, that’s for sure. Oh shit, you know what?” Oscar asked without expecting an answer. “Those rafts all contain survival kits.”

“So what?”

“So each kit has a Very Pistol as well as flares.”

“What’s a Very Pistol?” Karl asked.

“Old technology, but a very effective flare launcher, Karl. Also a very dangerous weapon in the wrong hands, it’ll kill if it were to hit you in the guts. For some reason, British Airways decided to include these pistols in the survival kits. I think it had something to do with the normal flares being dangerous in the wrong hands. Maybe these guys are out to get us back and use those weapons to intimidate us or worse.”

“Shit, that’s five possible guns they have then if I understand you correctly,” Karl said.

“Levels the odds somewhat don’t you think?” Oscar replied as he fiddled with the sextant.

“H’m, it does unless we can neutralise them somehow. We must chat to Gary, John and the others.”

“Yes, but don’t let word get out. Some of the women may start stirring up things again.” Oscar was referring to Suzette who had a habit of creating problems where they didn’t exist.

“Is the sextant any good?” Karl asked, changing the subject.

“It’s in perfect shape. The mirrors and lenses seem to be perfectly aligned while the arc seems to have been unaffected by the crash. Pity though that we can’t see the sun or moon. In any case, I would need an almanac to determine the correct time and position of the stellar bodies before I would be able to use it to get a fix on where we actually are on this crazy world. Although, if June’s explanations are right, it makes no difference anyhow. We will not be where we think we should have been.”

 

In Bennie’s camp they were packing out the stuff from the life raft they had opened. It contained a number of things they realised would stand them in good stead. This included a sewing kit, rations including chocolates and energy bars which disappeared very quickly among the delighted crew, a fishing kit and a substantial amount of distilled drinking water.

But as Oscar had predicted, it was the Very pistol and a set of six spare flares which aroused their interest the most. Jim who had served his two years compulsory military training in the South African Navy knew exactly how to use it and what it could do.

He explained how it worked to the rest of the group and then pocketed the pistol and flares. Bennie and Graham looked at him with ill-disguised hatred. The pistol just deepened the schism between them. Jim was aware of this but he had the support of the rest of the group, so wasn’t too concerned with their feelings. He nonetheless knew that he would have to watch his back.

The other life raft canisters were stashed in the open life raft. They would be safe because they could not be opened without the knowledge of the rest of the crew.

As night fell, Peter and Danny lit a fire and soon they were all warming themselves as the bitter cold closed in around them.

Jim looked at the motley group. He wasn’t too happy with what he saw. They looked beat. They were clearly under-nourished; some looked decidedly ill. Time for some team-building he thought.

“OK, listen up. Tomorrow we’re going to stir things up somewhat,” Jim stated in matter of fact kind of way like he was planning a shopping trip to the local mall.

“Stir what up, Jim?” Danny asked.

“Here’s what I have in mind but we have to all work together or we’ll come off second best. OK?” Jim looked around him for affirmation.

They nodded listlessly, without knowing what it was they were agreeing to.

“Tomorrow, before anyone in Base Camp stirs, we must be up and in our positions in the forest,” he started.

Now everyone was listening. This sounded like what they had wanted to do a couple of days ago. But the way Jim was explaining the strategy seemed to be more rational.

They all listened as Jim explained. As he continued, even Graham and Bennie started taking an active interest in the discussions and plans which carried on for an hour or two until everyone was satisfied with their allocated tasks.

After a supper of emergency rations from the life raft which included energy bars and some more chocolate, the crew was in high spirits as they crawled into their huts for the night.

Outside the wind was howling and a driving sleet-rain ensured that even the hyrax and hyenas, not used to the cold weather took shelter in the deepest recesses of the barren rocks.

 

The next morning dawned bitterly cold and wet. Very little movement could be discerned in Base Camp as the survivors tried to get as much warmth from the meagre skins and furs that they could.

In Suzette’s hut, the young Alistair cuddled up into the older woman’s curved body for warmth. She had taken over the role his dead mother used to have during the cold London nights. Hearing a small scuffle outside their skin screen door, Suzette called out softly to allow John Ridgeway into their hut. Alistair was virtually invisible under the blankets.

“Cold isn’t it?” she stated sleepily, as she raised herself from the blankets. He sat down next to her.

“Yes. I couldn’t sleep in my place. Your hut is a lot warmer. Must be the fact that there are two of you here,” he replied, rubbing his hands briskly.

She took his hands and held them under the blankets against her body. Laughing at his discomfort, she said: “Don’t stress John; I am just sharing some warmth with a cold friend.”

“I know, but I am human too, you know,” he complained to the older woman.

“All too well, Father, all too well,” she replied coyly. She had reverted to the more formal address to tease the man in him.

The two of them sat like that for a while; he without removing his hands; she rubbing them slowly against her body, up to her soft breasts. He could feel the heat rising in him, a slow hardening started in his loins; the ache made him moan softly. He jerked his hands from the blankets; blew into them in an attempt to hide the big lump which was quite discernible under his tattered cassock. Suzette looked at him with eyes which also reflected the desire in her. She felt moist and warm; her breath was shallow and rapid. Reaching under his garment, she gripped his rock-hard member and rolling over so that her head was under the fur blankets, placed his cock into her mouth. With her other hand she placed his hands between her legs easily slipping two of his fingers deep inside her wet cunt. The priest’s eyes closed as she softly caressed the veins with her tongue, all the while sucking, licking, sucking until with a rush he felt himself coming into her mouth. His body jerked and his back bent over backwards at the sheer release of years of pent up pressure. His fingers frantically rubbed her clitoris and within a few seconds she moaned in delight as her body pulsated orgasmically.

When Suzette poked her head from the blankets she looked at him with eyes heavy with lust. The two started to bend toward each other when Alistair stirred next to her and they both guiltily pulled away from each other.

A feeling of abject guilt rushed through the priest. Still panting softly, despair swept through him; despair for their situation in a world that had forgotten them; despair of human frailty and especially his own; despair that he had sinned in the eyes of Jesus Christ, the Lord.

As Alistair lifted himself from the blankets, rubbing his sleepy eyes, he looked at the priest with a smile and said: “Morning Father, did you sleep well?”

“No actually I didn’t Alistair. It was too cold so I thought I’d join you two as your place is a lot warmer,” the priest replied averting his eyes from the questioning eyes of the young boy.

Alistair looked up at Suzette. She looked a bit flushed he thought. Coming down with a fever, no doubt.

Suzette rose from the bed and scrounging around the hut, found remnants of the previous night’s meal, which she shared between the three of them. They chewed through the tough bird’s meat in silence each with his or her own thoughts.

Outside they could now hear scuffling as the survivors started to prepare their morning meals in the cold air.

 

Esme, Christine, June and some of the younger girls were getting ready to go down to the bathing spot near the cliff face in the forest. Despite the bitterly cold weather, it had become a ritual of perseverance and survival to bathe. They had something to prove to themselves. They had also built a small fireplace next to the bathing area to warm themselves after their ablutions were done. The fire was normally lit before they went to the toilets in order that a good fire was burning before they immersed themselves in the freezing river water. They would place their clothes on branches specifically cut to spread and warm the clothes from the heat of the fire in preparation for a hasty dressing.

Around the bathing area, Gary and John Duguid had built a screen of tamboti poles that they had cut from the forest. While this afforded bathers a measure of privacy from peering eyes, it did not provide any security from anyone wishing to attack them or steal their possessions. This had however not been a consideration when the screen was constructed.

The women scampered down to the forest with their towels made from the absorbent sisal and hemp fibres which had been woven into sheets and cut into appropriate sizes for each person. Gary had been the manufacturer of the towels and had set up a small wooden table top fashioned by axes and home-made adzes to lay out and dry the pre-soaked and softened sisal and hemp fibres. A couple of women had been taught by Zyndile how to weave the fibres into soft absorbent towels. A smaller version of these towels was also used by the women as sanitary towels.

It was Christine’s turn to make the fire while the other women darted off to the toilets with bursting bladders. The fire was soon burning from brush wood which had been packed the previous day under a small lean-to to protect it from the rain.

As the women returned from the toilets, Christine left for the toilets as well.

Esme and June were the first to plunge into the river with little screams of shock as their breaths were knocked out of their bodies by the icy waters. The younger girls hesitated before gingerly letting their naked young bodies sink into the water. Nobody stayed in the water for more than a minute. Clambering back on the banks, they hurriedly soaped themselves down with home-made soap and then rinsed themselves before grabbing their towels to rub down their blue and pink hued bodies and then jumped into their now-warmed clothes from the branches, to dress hastily. There was so much talking and giggling, that nobody noticed that Christine had not returned from the toilets.

As they left the enclosure, they heard a scream from the direction of the toilets and suddenly realised that Christine was missing.

Led by June, they all ran in the direction of the scream. Bursting into the small clearing around the toilets, they saw some figures running away from them through the trees with Christine slung over the back of one of the group. It was Bennie’s Crew. That much was clear to both Esme and June.

They immediately returned to Base Camp, June at the forefront with the younger girls in close attendance and a pregnant Esme struggling to keep up, shouting for help as they ran into the camp. Gary was the first to reach them with Oscar, John and Donald in close attendance.

An out of breath June shouted: “Christine has been abducted by Bennie’s Crew.”

“What? How did this happen?” Gary shouted eyes wide at the mere thought of it.

“It doesn’t matter how, dammit,” June said. “We just heard her scream when she went to the toilets alone and when we ran to see what had happened, we could see them running away with her slung over somebody’s shoulders.”

“Jesus Christ! I knew that these guys were up to something yesterday,” Karl, who had just joined them, said.

“We must get to their camp immediately and get her back,” June cried in great distress.

“Wait!” Oscar cautioned holding up his hands. “Why would they abduct Christine if they knew that we would immediately respond and attack them? Karl and I know that they are now armed so we need to be very careful how we respond. I smell a trap.”

“What do you mean, they’re armed?” Esme cried in alarm. Christine and she were very close, especially in the light of her pregnancy.

“We discovered yesterday that they had salvaged the life rafts in the plane and had recovered the Very pistols in the survival kits,” Oscar replied, looking at her with a knowing look.

Esme knew very well what this meant. She was trained in their use and knew what they were capable of.

“How many?” she asked.

“Apparently five,” Oscar said. “However when we last heard they had only opened one canister.”

“They were planning this, a couple of days ago,” a voice said behind them.

They all spun around. Tom was standing behind them. They had not heard him approach. Gary still did not fully trust the man and walked up to him: “And you knew this?” he enquired in a belligerent voice.

“Yes, that’s why I left them. They were plotting to attack you and if necessary get rid of some of you. The women were to be a particularly soft target. I didn’t know of the fact that they’d discovered arms though or that they were planning to abduct Christine. They must’ve planned this after I left.”

“So why should we believe you? You didn’t bother to tell us?” Gary asked without moving. Tom had heard everything they had been discussing, he thought to himself.

“I’m not a snitch, Gary,” Tom responded quietly.

“I believe him, Gary.” This time it was Zyndile speaking. She had followed Tom.

“He confided in me after Christine and I looked after his wounds. He told us that they’re after revenge and would’ve killed him had he not given as good as he got,” she continued.

“Sounds a bit too convenient to me,” Gary replied, still unconvinced of Tom’s bona fides.

“Well whatever, all I can say is that you need to be aware that Bennie is no longer the leader. Jim Armstrong has taken over. He is ten times as dangerous because he is a clever and natural leader,” Tom continued.

“Listen guys! While we talk, Christine is being held captive or worse. What are we going to do?” Esme interrupted again in desperation.

Gary was as impatient as Esme and jumped from where he was sitting to emphasise the need for urgent action.

“C’mon guys let’s go get her back!” he yelled.

By this time quite a large group of survivors had assembled and the mood was clearly in support of Gary and Esme’s sentiments.

“OK let’s collect all the weapons you can get hold of. Men only. No women or children. We’ll congregate on the hilltop. I’ll wait for you there. All the women and children are to remain behind,” Oscar ordered. Looking at Esme, he said: “See to it that the kids are OK. Tom you remain with the women. You’re in no position or condition for that matter, to take part and may just complicate things.”

No strategy had been decided upon and it was clear that the head to head confrontation that had been threatening to break for months was about to endanger the lives of at least some of the survivors. Nobody gave this any thought. Their only concern was for Christine’s safety.

The men in the group darted off to fetch their bows and arrows, clubs and slingshots. Most of their owners, with the exception of Karl, Gary and a couple of others, were not very skilled in their use.

Meanwhile Esme gathered the women and children. They went to the small amphitheatre where they were relatively well protected by the surrounding rock walls.

The men met at the hill-top. Some had found time to paint their faces with red mud and the scarlet cochineal dye that they used to decorate the outside of some of their small dwellings to brighten things up on the dreary mountain plateau. The group resembled the Picts of the ancient Scottish Highlands and looked every bit as fierce with their beards, ragged clothing and weaponry. Father Ridgeway and Ahmedi were the only ones without weapons or war-paint.

Oscar was reflecting on their strategy when they arrive at the enemy camp. A frontal attack would be dangerous and could endanger Christine as well. She was no doubt a hostage and they would use her to negotiate something, but what?

“Right, listen up,” he said, doing a quick assessment of the group and their weapons. They easily had the upper hand but one well aimed flare from the Very pistol could wreak substantial damage and possible even kill one of them.

“Gary, you and John take ten men and approach the camp from the south. Karl, you and Donald also take ten guys and circle down to the north side cutting them off from the Airbus, in case they retreat that way. I’ll approach them straight down the hill together with Father Ridgeway, Ahmedi and the rest of you. We’ll be the negotiators and try to keep the lid on things. Gary, you and Karl must try to keep yourselves out of sight, if you can. I think they’ll be using Christine as a hostage to extract some advantage from us, but I don’t know what to expect. Watch the situation carefully. Attack if you think any of us or Christine is in any danger.”

The three groups split up and Oscar’s group moved down the hill toward the encampment. From where Oscar stood he could see the whole of Bennie’s camp. There was no sign of anybody. He immediately smelled a trap; the women and children; Christine had been used as a decoy! He immediately sent two men to call Karl and Gary back to the camp and ran back up the hill.

As he crested the hill and the camp came into full view, his worst fears were realised.

The women and children had been herded into the centre of the camp while five men armed with clubs of some description were guarding them. The other eight members of Bennie’s Crew and Christine were nowhere to be seen.

As he entered the camp with his men around him, Jim Armstrong emerged from the amphitheatre with a hairy arm clutched around Christine’s neck. He was holding the Very pistol to her head. Flanking him Bennie, Graham and the rest of his crew approached.

“So Oscar, who ’as the advantage now, ’ey?” a smirking Bennie cried out. Jim motioned to him to pipe down. Tom was right; Jim was clearly in control.

Stopping near the group of women hostages, Oscar replied: “What do you think you’re going to achieve, Jim?”

“Everything, Mr. Navigator,” came the sarcastic reply.

“What do you want?” Oscar asked.

“Tell your lieutenants to drop their weapons and to come into the arena, Oscar,” Jim instructed. He had noticed that Gary and Karl and the rest of the group were not present.

Karl’s group was the first to arrive and as they rounded the corner which hid them from Base Camp, came up short when they saw the scene that confronted them. Karl was about to duck away when Jim called out to him to throw down his weapons and approach Oscar’s group. Karl had no option but to obey.

“Where’s Gary and his group?” Jim asked.

“On their way,” Oscar answered sullenly. His mind was working at double speed. Jim and his thugs clearly had the drop on them. Better to play along for now. Hope Gary can think on his feet.

“So what do you want from us, Jim?” Oscar asked, quietly. He must play for time and distract their attention to allow Gary time to think what he must do.

“We want it all. We want you to leave this camp and to leave it as is for us. We will keep the women and children as our hostages to ensure that you don’t try any tricks,” Jim said. He had not relaxed his grip on Christine and had moved himself around with his back to the rock overhang to protect him from any attack from behind.

“So now we have come full circle, Jim, haven’t we? When you realised the stupidity of your poor decision not to join us, violence and direct confrontation was the only way out for you. Sounds like Bennie and Graham have affected your sense of judgement,” Oscar replied sarcastically.

“Shut up Oscar. I’m not interested in your opinion. You’ve lost the advantage and now it is you who must feel the effects of living on the edge as we have been since the crash.” Motioning to Oscar, he added: “Move over where I can keep my eye on you. Graham go fetch the pregnant bitch here. You fancy her don’t you?”

“You bastard! Leave her alone. You can see she’s pregnant!” Oscar shouted and tried to leap forward. Jim immediately fired a flare off into the ground in front of him and where the projectile hit, it hissed and burned with an acrid smoke, half blinding everybody standing close.

At that moment Gary came around the hill running from the side of the spring and seeing the danger, hesitated for a second and then just continued to rush in waving his club and shouting at the top of his voice.

Things happened quickly: Jim whirled to face the new threat and as he did so, Christine dropped to the ground to get out of his grip and to clear the way for Gary’s attack. Bennie immediately hurled himself into Gary’s path but years of rugby at the highest level helped Gary hand him off with a rough shove in the face. He winced from the injuries Tom had inflicted a few days earlier as he fell heavily to the ground. Jim levelled his pistol at the charging figure forgetting that it had just been fired and was now useless as it had contained only one cartridge. Meanwhile Karl flung himself at Graham while Oscar, scooping up his fallen club as he ran up to Jim, felled him with one blow to the side of the body.

Within half a minute the situation had been reversed. Graham was squirming beneath the considerable weight of Karl, while Jim, nursing a heavily bruised ribcage, just sat on the ground glaring at Oscar. Bennie had raised himself from the ground with Gary standing over him; the rest of the crew bewildered by the rapid shift of power just stood around sheepishly.

The five men who had been guarding the women and children stood still, not sure what was expected of them. The now useless Very pistol hung like a limp banana in Jim’s uninjured hand. Oscar walked up to him and pulled it out of his unresisting hand.

“You filthy bastard,” he said again hitting him behind the head with the captured weapon. Jim fell forward to the ground with blood streaming from the cut on his head from the blow.

Meanwhile Christine stood up from the ground and ran to Esme and the children, shouldering one of the men out of her way. She hugged Esme in relief with tears coursing down her face.

“They were going to take over the camp and keep the women and children and ban the men to their old camp. They said that they were going to have fun with me,” she shouted through her tears to Oscar.

“So Jim, did you really think you would succeed in your little plan?” Oscar asked. “Christ I can’t believe that you guys thought fit to attack your fellow survivors. Let me tell you right here and now, if any harm had come to Christine you would have paid for it most dearly, you fucking bunch of morons.”

Jim didn’t reply. He was sitting up again nursing his head.

“Well, what are we going to do with you guys now? It seems like you’re hell-bent at trying to destroy what little semblance of life and civilisation we have on this bloody mountain. Clearly we must remove you from the mountain,” Oscar continued.

A startled Jim looked at him uncomprehendingly. He was still dazed by the blow to the head.

“What do you mean?” he asked thickly, tongue sticking to his palate.

“You obviously don’t want to live here in peace with us, so you will have to find somewhere else to live, won’t you? We’ll have to decide how to get you off this mountain top forever, Jim. You’ve tried our patience once too often; maybe we should just shove you all off the side of the plateau,” Oscar said emotionlessly.

“Jesus Christ man, are you crazy! You can’t do that!” Jim shouted. The rest of the group was now showing distinct signs of panic. Bennie and Graham who had joined him plucked at Jim’s sleeve whispering in his ear.

“Look where your brilliant plans have got us now, Jim,” Graham hissed at him.

“We ’ave to do something and do it quickly,” Bennie said quietly to Graham. He knew that their opportunities had disappeared. James’s leadership was no better than his.

Jim just motioned at them to leave him alone to think. He was shocked at the speed the tables were turned on them. Now he faced a similar leadership challenge. Like one, Bennie and Graham leapt up to escape the ring of captors, but Gary was too quick for them and almost in anticipation of their move, he charged Bennie and with outstretched arms drove him backward into Graham’s much slighter frame, causing the three of them to sprawl onto the hard rock surface with Bennie screaming in pain as his broken ribs slammed into Graham’s shoulder. Oscar and Karl quickly turned on the rest of the group and suitably cowed, they sat down on the ground, with Oscar’s men hovering over them.

Motioning to the other men who were standing by with their arms, Oscar instructed them to lock the perpetrators of the failed mini-coup in their small stockade. It was just large enough to accommodate the thirteen men. They sat down in the stockade quietly. Their defeat had been swift.

While they were being locked away, Tom and Zyndile appeared. Before Bennie’s Crew had arrived to capture the women and children, they had walked down to the forest to reconnoiter the area where Christine had been abducted. When they heard the commotion in the camp, they had hidden themselves in the bush and watched the whole drama unfold.

Gary looked at them suspiciously as they approached and asked: “What were you two up to?”

Zyndile explained while Tom stood by her side.

“And did you find anything in the forest?” Gary asked sarcastically as he continued his interrogation.

“Yes actually we did,” she replied. Holding out her hand to Gary she showed him five shotgun type cartridges for the Very pistol.

Oscar walked up to her and took them from her.

“Good work Zyndi. I wondered where the rest of the flares were. Jim did not have them on him. He must’ve dropped them when they captured Christine. Just as well because it could have been a very different outcome for us if he’d had them on him.”

At this Gary and the rest relaxed and started discussing the happenings of the morning while Tom and Zyndile walked to her hut. Christine chuckled and looked at them with a knowing glance. She seemed to have recovered her composure totally.

The whole drama had taken only two hours from the time of Christine’s abduction but it would have an effect on the survivors of the Airbus accident for decades to come.

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