After the gathering and multiple bitch slaps from those bastard cats, Maverick had finally figured out what the dots on his map was for.
Whoever had made designed the patch that went into Maverick’s head must have played a few video games in his life.
Following gamer logic, green dots represented friendly NPCs, or at least as friendly as one could expect 270 pounds of man eating cat could be called.
The purple dots identified persons of interests. Not so much in quest givers in the typical game sense but individuals whom could provide information, which when it came to Maverick mostly consisted of “Fuck off.” and “I will eat your face off if you don’t get the fuck out of here.” Not those exact words but pretty much on those lines.
Red was self explanatory, and Maverick had enough brains to stay the hell away from that lot.
The map itself was self-updating, with multiple highlights for Maverick to use. One somewhat useful destination was the Gapachu equivalent to a shop, which was given the classic dollar sign as a land mark. Too bad Maverick had nothing to trade and the Gapachu were weary of giving anything to outsiders besides a growl.
But what Maverick was really interested in were the scattered yellow dots across the map, marking out where Sydney’s stolen shit resided. The nearest of them was 20 kilometres across some of the densest piece of shit jungle you could imagine.
The yellow dot looked to be in a lake or something and ominously enough appeared to be moving.
That was just great now wasn’t it? Maverick thought to himself drowning or getting eaten by a swarm of piranha or some shark into going. Oh, but before I get that far I have to beat Croc-rhino into submission with my bare fist.
So here Maverick was, taking a stroll through Jarasic Park, barefoot, and smelling like cat piss and shit.
Maverick might have just counted himself lucky that he hadn’t been turned into cat shit yet, but it was hard to be positive when you are pushing your way through ferns and low hanging branches.
Maverick was not a nature lover, he understood the importance of nature, but could only trees as perches for evil magpies or at best a cheap place to hang a tire swing.
Nothing against the greenery but if Maverick had his way this place could be better served as a Subway.
“Motherfucker!” Maverick cursed. Once again he was forced to stop as a hidden twig pierced the soft skin of his foot. “Fuck you Greenpeace.”
“Maverick make too much noise.” Came a female’s voice from the world above.
Not trusting Maverick not to make a run for it, the kitty council thought it best to give Maverick a guide. Of course guide was not what Maverick would call Incisor, more like a parole officer mixed in with a prison guard.
“Hey. Maybe if I had some fucking shoes. Owe, Jesus.” This was sucked. In the video games it would have only taken about ten minutes to get to the objective, but the terrain was making things slow. “How exactly am I going to kill this thing?”
“Bite its throat out.”
“Okay,” Maverick trailed off. “Let me rephrase that. How am I going to realistically kill this thing? And don’t you usually work your way up the food chain? Rabbits, then deer, than the fucking dino thing?”
Incisor growled at Maverick’s use of words. “Maverick fouls the jungle with his words.”
“Maverick rather befoul the jungle with a bloody carpet bomb or chainsaw.” Maverick had been given nothing to deal with the omtwy problem, all he had was this dumb body and a useless panther who criticised his every step.
There was no sound as Incisor jumped from branch to branch, growing Maverick from a position of power. The way she moved reminded him of Assassin’s Creed.
“The omtwy are the most dangerous prey of the Gapachu. Their skin is like bone, their teeth are sharp, the jungle shakes as they run.” Incisor said.
All of these characteristics Maverick had noticed when he was running for his life.
As best Maverick could put it an omtwy was the by product of a crocodile fucking rhino on steroids.
From the nature documentaries he had seen Maverick had done the only right thing last night, he had forced the omtwy’s mouth closed and limited the opportunity of him being eaten in half, but he would really not like to get that close again.
A swampy patch was coming up and Maverick was forced to jump onto a nearby log.
“No.” Incisor called but it was too late.
On the far end of the log two pairs of eyes opened in surprise. The log turned on Maverick like a snake, its mouth opened to reveal rows of twisted teeth.
Realising his mistake Maverick jumped back and watched as the log monster attempted to take his leg off.
A black shape fell to the ground like an meteor and slammed into the creature with no mercy.
Maverick was thrown back and watched the show.
A creature made of midnight and teeth was wailing on a what looked like an six legged iguana.
The iguana fought like a bull trying to thrash and buck the Gapachu off its back, but the panther had her claws embedded in the beast’s flesh and she roared in fury.
On his ass Maverick crawled away, his eyes fixed on a scene that that would be at home on any B-Grade monster flick. Only it quickly ended when the Gapachu warrior went Crocodile Dundee and brought down a obsidian dagger into the iguana’s eye.
Blood spurted from the roaring monster. Not a geyser like you see in the movies, but that primal bellow shook Maverick’s soul. The fucking monster had a piece of stone in its eye but still it fought on to live and eat.
All the while Maverick watched he wanted to fight, but he couldn’t even run. He was like that daft blond in the movies, no worse. Even the frightened, stupid bitches in every horror flick could utter a scream.
He was the deer in the head lights, his mind had no room for flight or fight, his only instinct was to watch.
Her mouth opened up in a silent roar, Incisor yanked free her stone tool and brought it down again, and again. There was not room for skill, with every strike more bloody pulp came free of the six legged iguana.
The bark skinned creature gave one last shutter before it dropped to the ground, its brain pierced, and its heart beating no more.
Maverick turned his startled gaze up from the oversized gecko and up at the panther who was panting.
Fuck anime cat girls, Incisor was the real deal. Her body was covered head to toe with black fur, her head looked almost exactly like it belonged to a house cat, and her claws dripped with the blood of her kill.
Maverick flinched as Incisor quickly turned her his way.
The look Incisor gave Maverick was one he had seen from his father and teachers number of times, it was coated in disappointment and boiling rage. Incisor did not speak to Maverick but issued a small hunter’s pray for the beast that had no reason to die for another’s stupid mistake.
To defuse the situation Maverick decided to revert to an old habit. “So thanks for…”
Incisor would hear nothing for it. She pushed Maverick against a tree and was tempted to eat out his soft throat. “Useless. Maverick is nothing. Gapachu child would know better.”
Maverick lowered his head expecting shouts and physical abuse but it was clear from her gaze that Incisor didn’t see the point. Maverick was beneath her scolding and that the one at fault had been herself for saving his worthless hide.
Not for the first time did Maverick wonder what Sydney was thinking when the squid monster had chosen him. He was no hunter, he wasn’t a fighter, he was just the guy who talked to when you wanted cheep smokes.
How was he going to survive out here when he couldn’t tell the difference from a log and a camouflaged lizard. He wasn’t even able to comprehend how he was going kill this omtwy and Sydney’s things back while not dying.
He needed help otherwise he was going to die for real this time.
As useless as he felt, Maverick could not help but look at beautiful creature in front of him.
The little light that pierced the tree canopy was reflected off the Gapachu’s beautiful back fur, the bone decorations and earrings made her look like an cross between an Aztec priestess or an Egyptian god.
Unable to help himself, Maverick fantasised what this creature would be like if she were human and envisioned an Nubian huntress/princess that fought crocodiles and evil barbarians in her spare time.
“Thank you.” It was all he could say given the situation.
Incisor needed no gratitude from this outsider, from his size and muscles he should have been able to take care of himself. “Come. It will be nightfall soon and then the hunt will be on.”
Gapachu, like all the major tribes were nocturnal in nature. They mostly slept during the day and performed their main duties at night, and though Maverick was as nocturnal as the next immoral teenager, he had this idea that he did not want to be stumbling around in a jungle after dark.
“Um. Can’t you. Um. What are we going to do with that?” Maverick gestured to the log monster.
It was uncertain on how much meat there would be on the animal but its tough hide and teeth could be useful to Incisor’s clan in some fashion.
Incisor shook her head. “Phymate too heavy to take into the trees.”
So this thing was called a phymate. Not what Maverick would have called it but camouflaged log with big teeth doesn’t have the same ring. “You moved the dino… Omie-tree.” He knew he didn’t pronounce it right but at least he gave it a go.
“Took village to move Omtwy. Just Maverick and Incisor.”
Maverick had raised a point, it would be a sin to leave such meat alone, but the Omtwy would not wait.
It was surprising how something so big that made a mess where ever it went could be difficult to find, but the Omtwy were like tornadoes, there one minute and gone the next and when you got to the area it was best to avoid them, that’s was if you were lucky enough to be given the option.
Maverick jabbed it with a stick as if the phymate was a dog shit.
If he could maybe build a wheelbarrow… Nope, a device like that would be too complicated. Maybe a stretcher would be better, but then it would still be too heavy
As he continued to poke at the monster’s carcass, Maverick contemplated on just how heavy was this thing was. With the knowledge that he was most likely going to regret his action Maverick got both his arms under the monster and lifted with his knees.
The phymate weighed more than a four hundred pounds but to Maverick it weighed about a hundred fifty. It wasn’t impossible but the thing threatened to take his back out.
Incisor stepped back with wide eyes. The thing called Maverick was able to lift an adult phylate with his hands while gritting his teeth and moaning, normally such an act would have taken two to three Gapachu to do the same.
Unable to take the strain any further, Maverick dropped the beast back onto the ground. “Bloody hell.” He said, surprised at his own strength.
Suddenly the stretcher idea didn’t sound too far fetched. “Do you have any rope?”
The word rope translated loosely and there was some clear lag between lip movement and meaning, but Incisor did get the idea.
Incisor stood back from the Maverick thing, she was uncertain of its intentions. “Maverick was meant to hunt omtwy, not phymate.” she also mumbled that it was not even his kill but hers.
“Listen… Incisor. I’m not a hunter. I’m a business man. A merchant. Trader.” Maverick wasn’t sure he was getting anywhere but he definitely knew his limits.
It was all easy to play a hunting simulator in a video game but it was another thing doing it in real life.
He had heard plenty of stories of how stupid kids joined the army thinking it would be all headshots and medals, too late they figured out that it was all push-ups and washing socks.
Maverick thought about what his little quest was about and decided to play a little word game with Incisor. “Your council told me I had to kill an hommie, right?” He cursed himself, he was never going to get the wording right.
“Yes. Incisor’s father said this clearly.”
So, Incisor’s father worked in the council, or perhaps he worked as an assistant. Maverick put this information away for later use, if there was an opportunity to gain a friend with connections to power, he wasn’t going to let it go. “Did he or anyone say when I had to do this? Or how?”
Incisor thought deeply on this and her current orders regarding the thing called Maverick. “No. This is your hunt. But Incisor did have to kill Maverick thing if he destroys another piccelo tree.”
Maverick made a small promise to be a little more ecofreindly in the future, “So.” he trailed off. “I could do my hunting later? Maybe I could get a knife like that?”
There was something deceptive about Maverick’s words. Incisor was under the impression she was being assaulted but there was no clear attack, was this thing trying to place a spell on her?
There was a snarl on her tongue as she spat, “Knives are for Gapachu warriors.”
Maverick had been around clients and suppliers that did not like to press the issue any further and this was it. He had hit a hard spot that was not about to change, but that didn’t mean the issue was closed.
During his time in prison, formally known as high school. Maverick had done a semester in wood and metal classes, he was even given a passing grade when he presented his foot stool. Making a suitable weapon shouldn’t be that hard, but like everything he needed funding.
“Tell you what. You give me seventy percent on this phymate, and I help you carry it back to camp.”
Again Incisor felt as if she was being attacked. “What is seventy percent?”
Oh this was just precious. The naïve alien was about to meet her first salesman.