It turns out that uncooked lizard tasted about what you think uncooked lizard tasted like.
All during their walk to the first stolen object Maverick began to feel… Different. He didn’t feel bad awful. Though that lizard was felt as if it was trying to fight back and didn’t know which road to take.
It was like cracking you knuckles. Not necessarily painful just something of note.
For one thing Maverick’s skin was starting to peel and his sense of smell was becoming sharper.
His hunger had also diminished but Maverick labelled that had more to do with self-disgust than his hunger being slated.
After two days of some of the worst god awful bush and jungle, the three made it to the edge of Gapachu and Cali territory.
If possible Incisor was on more high alert than normal. It was official, Maverick had finally reached the bad part of town.
As they cautiously walked on a new symbol appeared on the map about twenty kilometres. It was a tent dyed red as if in blood.
It was the symbol of home base in many of the games Maverick played, but the fact that it was red indicated that somebody had already claimed it and they would not easily give it up.
“I think there is a Cali camp about twenty kilometres that way.” Maverick said pointing in the direction.
“What is a kilometre?” Scratch-Ear asked Incisor, who was walking beside him taking in every scent and sign of danger.
The Gapachu warrior shrugged, but she knew what Maverick was saying.
Years a male and his small group of females ran from the Cali war chief T’Chull. The young Cali male had already conquered much of the jungle and was in the process of expanding his harem to absurd levels.
T’Chull had challenged all the other males in his area and killed all of his rivals. As Cali custom dictated, T’Chull than ate all of the defeated Cali’s male offspring and impregnated his new women.
T’Chull was a clear power and a clear threat in the jungle. Which was only made worse as he held most of Sydney’s items, including the Spear of Orga. The legendary fire spear which could turn entire villages to ash.
Not wanting to die and have their own little kingdoms usurped, most smart Cali males retreated further into the jungle and into Gapachu land.
Maverick really didn’t like this. There was no way that this T’Chull was going to just hand over the toys.
The more he heard about this planet’s lore, the more Maverick wanted to crawl under a rock and die.
With Sydney’s tools in play the Cali went from a tribe of brutes to pyromaniac slavers. These assholes took everything and the only reason that they have not taken full control of the continent was because of their traditions.
The Cali were a selfish destructive race that were more interested in being lazy, raping each others wives and daughters, and killing their kids.
This was a society that was doomed to either burn itself out, or, and this was more likely. Literally burn away every other sentient life form that breaths the same air as them.
As they walked, Incisor keeping an watchful eye on her sounding’s Scratch-Ear began to ask questions that had been on his mind since he was put into the cage three days ago.
Scratch-Ear could still not understand. Burned-One was a Damu-Sarmi and though there was an ounce of familiarity about her he was sure he would have heard of a burned old woman bringing community to the Gapachu.
Perhaps she belonged to another tribe, but the way she spoke of the Dumu-Sarmi was as if she had spent a great deal of time with his people.
His courage and curiosity desiderated what fear he had and Scratch-Ear sought to know. “Tell Scratch-Ear of Burned-One.”
It was not often that Incisor spoke and most of the time it was short gruff replies of yes or no. So both Maverick and Scratch-Ear were surprised when the Gapachu spoke answered.
“Shamans found Burn-One years ago. Half dead and as you she her. Burned-One escaped being Cali slave. Said Burned-One watched her children being eaten by Cali. village gone in Great Fire.” Incisor said.
“You sound as if you respect her. She isn’t even one of you.” Maverick said.
“Gapachu respect elders. Burned-One wise. Burned-One hate Cali more than anything.”
Yeah, Maverick and Scratch-Ear could attest to that last part. The old Damu-Sarmi was horror movie scary, the Cali had done a true number on her and it showed.
Not wanting a confrontation with village of cannibals Maverick and the rest of his escort felt that it was best to give the Cali stronghold a wide birth.
Maverick’s job was not to liberate the world, his job was to get Sydney’s things and run like hell. No heroics, no living with the apes, no getting attached. Incisor and Scratch-Ear were just cannon fodder.
A half a mile onwards Incisor knelt down and gestured the others beside her. Her large eyes were on several broken branches and foot prints.
“Omtwy nest.” Incisor whispered.
Maverick noticed that the trees in the area were mowed down as if a team of escalators had been brought in. He could see a group of those dinosaur pricks running around the place.
“How many?” Maverick asked really not wanting to stay around here.
Incisor kept her eyes on the tree past the scared trees and broken foliage. “This is a nest, Maverick. One bull female. The males fight against each other to try and mate with the female.”
Each of the group accepted this information differently.
The Gapachu shook her head as if trying to pull free of the temptation to ran far away. “We need to get far away from here.” She said sensibly.
Scratch-Ear leaned forward to examine one of the larger foot prints. He had yet to encounter an omtwy. The thought of killing one and dragging it back to the tribe, to his mother’s borrow filled him.
Unexpectedly Maverick neither wanted to flee immediately or suffer some self-delusion that he would survive another meeting with the omtwy.
The omtwy were the biggest bad asses in the jungle and they were easily pissed off.
He decided to add a maker to his map for reference later.
As the rain started to come down and the sun began to set the group decided to secure themselves in the nearest dry place.
Maverick’s map came to the rescue and after getting turned around a bit in the mud and dark the group secured themselves within the underground roots of a piccelo.
Apparently a shaman had lived in the area before the Cali had taken over. Shaman’s being a stubborn group had lost his life when he had stood up to the brutish conquerors and his tree had been deserted ever since.
While Scratch-Ear and Maverick kept themselves dry Incisor had respectively taken residence in the tree.
Laying in the dirt with dozens of insects crawling over him, Maverick took the chance that he was going to be eaten and exited the hole in the ground.
“I am seriously getting tired of this shit.” Maverick said. He shivered as the rain travelled down the tree branches and smacked him on his bald head.
High above the mud and getting stinking wet Incisor growled “How did Maverick, survive?”
“I’m wondering that myself really.” Maverick said still thinking about how he had almost died at the hands of the vigilante. Funny, he didn’t think Ballarat was big enough to have its own psycho angle of death.
It then occurred to him that through the unusual circumstances that he knew nothing about his companions.
A mistake that he had thought he knew to avoid. Several times Maverick had dealt with unknown variables in his unscrupulous activities and every time they had led to him to troublesome times. The very recent of this was one Nancy Harrington.
A frown covered his face as he once again thought of that traitorous slut.
“So what’s your story?” Maverick asked the female Gapachu above him.
The Gapachu kept watching him. “Incisor has no story.”
“Not true.” Scratch-Ear said from inside the tree. “Gapachu have no female warriors.”
Was that true? Maverick had no idea about this society, mainly due to him not wanting to know. In haze that had been the jungle walk he had tried to raise an conversation to release the boredom of it all, but the panther had not interest in talking.
“Incisor has no story.” Incisor said with a growl indicating that she was an eyelash away from drawing somebody’s blood.
Maverick had the feeling that if this was a book or TV show that some asshole wrote, he would have tossed it in the bin by now.
There was no back story, no communication. And though he had no first hand proof of this, he suspected hard core marines at least occasionally speak.
Incisor was a complete unknown in this. She wasn’t after money and judging from her people’s antisocial behaviour she didn’t care about anyone. It didn’t help that she was stuck in spooky ninja mode all the time.
Maverick didn’t completely buy the explanation that she was trying to sabotage the Cali status quo.
Sure he could understand good old revenge and savage spite, but… And this sounded ridiculous, but Incisor didn’t feel the type.
This cat was quick to anger, a ticking time bomb and somebody that would rather draw blood than talk.
Normally Maverick used these types for only one reason and discarded them quickly. The rough types tended to draw way too much attention and got funny ideas about being in charge.
“Why didn’t you sell me out to your friends?” Maverick asked.
There was no answer. There would be no answer. Scratch-Ear and Incisor might as well be part of the background, a prop in the scenery.
This world was about survival of the fittest, not the smartest. And in this world he was at a disadvantage in every aspect. The only advantage he had was that he knew where he was going.
The grey skinned youth closed his eyes and concentrated on his inner map. For now he needed Incisor’s assistance if he ever wanted to get out of this alive.
He still did not understand what the damn fuss was about, The Cali just pinched some crumby plastic junk from a store house.
He focused on the yellow dots that indicated the appearance of Sydney’s things.
That was when he noticed the red dots tracking them.