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fanfiction Amissa, The Lost Ark.

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Amissa, The Lost Ark

 

(CNN) — "Watch out for dinosaurs."

I smile at our guide's warning and enter the lush jungle growing inside Hang Son Doong, a 3-million-year-old cave in the central part of Vietnam. Water drips from a gaping scar in the ceiling over 100 meters (328 feet) above us. A spectacular sunbeam starts to creep down the side of the serrated cliffs. The shrill call of birds and macaque monkeys echoes off the limestone, drifting in from the unseen world beyond the skylight.

"Watch out for dinosaurs. That's what we called this place when we first discovered it," caving expert Howard Limbert, elaborates. The prehistoric atmosphere made the reference obvious.

We continue on, stepping deeper into the void that is considered by some to be the largest cave in the world.

Located in the heart of the UNESCO-listed Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam's Quang Binh province, Hang Son Doong is one of the most captivating destinations that can be experienced in Southeast Asia.

More people have stood on the summit of Mount Everest than have witnessed the surreal beauty inside these enormous chambers. Translated as Mountain River Cave, it was first discovered in 1990 by Ho Khanh, a local farmer who was seeking shelter from a passing storm in the jungle.

He noticed clouds and the sound of an underground river gushing from a large hole in the limestone, and reported his findings to the British Caving Research Association (BCRA), who were stationed in Phong Nha at the time.

Unfortunately Ho Khanh lost his bearings during his return, and the exact location of the cave remained lost for 18 years. In 2008 while hunting for food he stumbled across the entrance again, and returned the following year with Howard and Deb Limbert from the BCRA.

 

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/vietnam-hang-son-doong-cave/index.html

 

Located near the DMZ in Vietnam, how did this cave manage to be hidden from the North Vietnamese, the locals, and the US military until discovered by a local farmer in 1990, then lost until 2008 when it was found again? How was it never found by the French during their colonization of Indochina? How come was it never found by the Japanese or British during WW2? That is the real mystery.

This story is about a fictitious Special Forces recon patrol, sent into the western area of the Quang Binh province in January of 1968 to look for a hidden North Vietnamese bases rumored to be located in the area. A week later, all contact is lost with the patrol.

Given that the story is about military personnel, Frack will be substituted for the usual F Bomb as was done for Battlestar Galactia.

 

Some common military terminology in use during the Vietnam War;

 

AK-47 – The Soviet Block automatic rifle that was issued to the enemy. It fired the Soviet standard 7.63 mm cartridge, but could also use the standard NATO 7.62 round, but, not the other way around.

Arc Light – A B-52 carpet bombing mission.

ARVN – Army of the Republic of Vietnam.

Click – To hike a thousand meters.

C-Rats – Military issue C rations. They contained a tin of the main course, bread or crackers, a dessert, cigarettes, pack of tissue, book of waterproof matches.

Gook – This was the enemy

HQ – Head Quarters

K-Bar – A Marine’s combat knife

M-16 Over and Under - The M-16 automatic rifle with the 40mm grenade launcher attachment.

NVA – North Vietnam Military

PRC-25 – Commonly known as a Prick 25, this was the first standard issue field radio that was designed around the transistors.

Starlight Scope – A night vision device that amplified available light.

VC – The Viet Cong, the Communist from South Vietnam.

 

The Special Forces Recon 12 Man Patrol;

1.Point; Sargent Lance, Specialist in tracking and path finding. Armed with the short barrel AR-15

2. Local Guide; Nicknamed Officer Tim since no one can spell or pronounce his real name. A local police captain from the village of Kae Sanh. He joined forces with the patrol due to his extensive knowledge of the southern Quang Binh province. He has an extreme hatred of the NVA for first driving him out of his homeland, then for butchering his wife and three children and hanging their mutilated bodies in the town square. He is armed with a Thompson and his 1911-45.

3.Rifleman; Private Miller, Specialist as a Tunnel Rat and Hand to Hand combat. Armed with a Thompson with a 1911-45 for tunnel work.

4.Gerinader; Sargent Powell, Expert in the use of mortars. He is armed with the modified M-16 mounted with an M-40 grenade launcher nicknamed the Over and Under.

5.Machine Gunner; Corporal Meyer. He is carrying a Thompson on this mission along with some Claymore mines.

6.Ammo Bearer; Private Root is packing Claymores as well as trip flares and WP grenades. He is also armed with a Thompson.

7.Squad Leader; Lt. Johnson. Unlike the usual 90 day wonders, he signed up for Ranger Training and has had extensive experiences conducting recon patrols in enemy territory. He is armed with the short barrel AR-15.

8.Radioman; Private Washington. He is carrying the PRC-25 with a long range antenna and spare batteries. He too is carrying a short barrel AR-15.

9.Medic; Corporal Mays or Doc. His backpack contains an extensive amount of medical supplies to handle any combat emergency short of a blood transfusion. He is armed with a 1911-45.

10.Intelligence; Lt. Kim, ARVN Specialist in communication surveillance. He has brought along a radio tuned to the known channels being used by the NVA military in the area. He is armed with a Thompson.

11. Sniper; Sargent Cisco, Expert in hitting targets at extreme range, he is armed with a modified M-14 fitted with a sniper scope. He also carries a 1911-45 as a close in weapon.

12. Rear Guard. Corporal Jefferson, Specialist in Hand to Hand Combat. He has brought along a small telescope to work with Sargent Cisco as his spotter. He is armed with an Over and Under for this mission.

 

Chapter One, The Cave.

 

Kae Sanh, Vietnam.

It is January 6, 1968 during the beginning of the siege of Kae Sanh that a 12 man special forces recon patrol is being assembled and briefed on a special mission they are about to conduct.

“Intelligence reports indicate that the NVA are constructing a supply base just North of the DMZ in the Quang Binh province. Your mission is to find that base, report its location to us, and get the frack out of there before we hit it with an Arc Light. I have assigned Officer Tim to help guide you as he used to live in the area you are heading. Lt. Kim, surveillance specialist from ARVN Special Forces is going along with you so that he can eavesdrop on NVA communications in the area.”

“I am also assigning a sniper, Sargent Cisco, to go along with you. We believe that one of Ho Chi Minh’s top generals may be supervising the construction of that supply base. If the opportunity arises, Sargent Cisco will put a bullet through his head. Otherwise, you are to avoid any contact with the enemy if at all possible.”

“Given that the NVA is already dug in around this fire base, we will do everything we can to help get your patrol past enemy lines before dawn. As soon as it gets dark out, we will launch a mortar and artillery barrage along the path you will be taking North. That should keep their heads down so you can sneak past their positions. Maintain radio silence until you have confirmed that you have found their supply base so that the NVA don’t discover that you are looking for it. Once you get 10 clicks beyond our base, you are on your own.”

That evening, under the cover of darkness and the advancing artillery and mortar fire, the special patrol heads out on their mission in search of a North Vietnamese Base Camp rumored to be located somewhere across the DMZ. Armed with the new short barrel close in support AR-15, along with the reliable short range Thompson Machine Guns, this patrol is designed to travel light. They do not carry any M-60 machine guns with them. Two of the men are armed with M-16 over and unders so they have the ability to launch M-40 Grenades with the backup of an automatic rifle if they need it. Otherwise, other then ammo, nylon blanket, and a poncho, they are only packing a map, a radio, spare battery, a Starlight Scope, C-Rations, grenades, a K-Bar, first aid kit, and water purification tablets. With the point man armed with a Starlight Scopes and the help of the harassing artillery barrages, the Marine patrol is able to sneak by the numerous NVA positions and activity in the area. They manages to get past the buildup of NVA forces around the Marine base and clear of the tangle of bombed out jungle by dawn.

There is only whispered conservation among the men as they continue their way North through the rough terrain of the Central Highlands, avoiding the trails and easy paths where North Vietnamese forces could be waiting for them in ambush or be able to detect their movement. One needs to be constantly listening to the environment for any signs of a threat, even be able to smell the environment, if danger is present. Therefore, this special patrol is made up of seasoned veterans, none of who have ever drank, smoked, or used any drugs.

Sargent Lance, who is on point, motions the patrol to stop and take cover. One of the macaque monkeys in the area has sounded out an alarm up ahead. The smell of marijuana and rank body odor now blows through the hot humid air towards the patrol.

“Do you see anything?” Corporal Meyers whispers to the Sargent.

“No,” he whispers back. “I can see some movement in the vines to my right.”

“If we can, let them get past us,” whispers Lt. Johnson to his men. “If not, we run 100 meters to the left, turn right 50 meters, and set up an ambush.”

The patrol, hidden in the jungle by wearing camouflage, remains motionless as the NVA forces travels close to them with armed soldiers, civilians pushing bicycles loaded with supplies, and a rear guard that stops for a moment to take a break before moving on. Ten minutes later, the NVA patrol is long gone. “Time to move out,” whispers Lt Johnson to his men. “Take the trail those NVA left for about a click, then break off to the North. Sargent Lance, keep a lookout for any tripwire traps those Gooks may have left for us.”

“That frackin Gook peed on me,” complains Private Miller in a whisper to Sargent Powell as they move out.

“It will just make you smell like one of them,” Sargent Powell whispers back.

“Should I alert HQ about that Gook convoy?” Private Washington asks Lt. Johnson.

“No,” answers the Lt. “We only break radio silence if we are hit or find our objective.”

The patrol has continued on when a trip wire is found leading to a grenade. Sargent Lance disarms it taking the grenade and trip wire with him. “I’ll set this up where we leave the trail,” he whispers to Lt. Johnson.

Suddenly, after traveling another 200 meters on the fresh trail, an explosion is heard up ahead. Black smoke can be seen in the distance as a deer, leaving a trail of blood from a stomach wound, bolts towards the patrol, then dashes off the trail to the right crashing through the jungle.

“Set up your trap here,” orders Lt Johnson. “Then, get the frack out of here before those Gooks show up.” Quickly setting up the trap, the patrol heads off in separate file to regroup a short distance to the North. Five minutes later, a grenade goes off followed by the screams of the wounded and the cursing of several NVA soldiers as several automatic bursts of AK-47 rounds go flying through the trees in random directions.

“Aw, too bad, they just got a taste of their own frackin medicine,” whispers Sargent Lance.

“Lets get as far away from here as we can from here before they pick up our trail,” orders Lt Johnson in a whisper.

The patrol continues North as the afternoon monsoons come pouring down where they find a small VC camp up ahead in the jungle. “It looks like it has been abandoned for the past several weeks.” Sargent Lance reports after checking it out.

“Search this place thoroughly for any signs of booby traps or any other activity,” orders Lt Johnson. “If it is all clear, we will set up camp here for the night.”

“I hope that we don’t get an Arc Light called in on us,” comment Private Miller.

“We should be safe,” Sargent Lance assures Private Miller. “General Westmoreland knows that there are friendlies in the area. He plans to Arc Light what we find as soon as we break radio silence.”

“We’ll camp here inside this hooch for the night,” orders Lt Johnson. “Four man watch every two hours. Don’t leave any trash behind from your C-Rats. Flatten out all of the cans. Bury it where you take a $hit before we leave.”

The night is far from quiet as the moon comes out casting an eerie light through the jungle canopy. Some macaque monkeys start screaming making it difficult to hear what may be approaching them in the distance. A pair of beady eyes show up down the trail through the Starlight Scope, then vanish when Corporal Meyer throws a stick at it. The monkeys calm down as the unknown predator moves on to hunt elsewhere. Still, all night long, there is the constant thump of exploding artillery shells along with random burst of heavy machine guns and the occasional high pitch whine of a Gatling Gun being fired from a circling propeller driven aircraft in the distance.

At daybreak, the patrol packs up, fills their canteens from a nearby jungle stream, buries and camouflages their trash, and continues on through the rugged terrain North.

“What’s going on?” ask Lt. Johnson after the patrol has traveled several clicks through the hilly terrain and has come to a halt.

“My compass is not functioning,” reports Sargent Lance.

“There must be something in the ground that is interfering with them,” reports Lt. Johnson after he takes his out and sees that it is not functioning either. “Lets try to navigate by the sun if we can.”

“This is most unusual,” reports Sargent Lance when the patrol takes a break in the afternoon. “I have not seen any trails at all for the past several hours, not even any game trails.”

“This area is totally unknown to me,” warns Officer Tim.

“I’m not picking up any radio traffic at all,” reports Private Washington. “In fact, I can’t even pick up Radio Hanoi.”

“I’m getting no chatter at all from the usual NVA channels,” Lt Kim reports.

“I hate to admit that we are lost,” answers Lt Johnson. “I have not been able to find any landmarks that make any sense in this area. “I do know this, we are now in an area that remains basically unknown to any of us in the outside world. It would be most ideal for the NVA to be hiding a base of operations here. Lets continue on to some higher ground until we can re establish some radio reception and figure out exactly where we are.”

It is late afternoon when Sargent Lance spots something unusual up ahead in the valley below. “Does that look like a cave entrance down by that river?” he ask Lt Johnson.

“It certainly does,” the Lt. answers. “I just don’t see it marked on my map. It must be somehow hidden by the jungle above. Lets go check it out but watch for any signs of the NVAs. It would certainly make for an excellent place for them to hide a forward supply base.”

“So far so good,” Sargent Lance reports as he proceeds towards the cave entrance. “I see no signs of any trails anywhere.”

“Here’s a stream coming out of here. The water is clear. I see no Gook footprints in the sand at the cave entrance. Officer Tim, do you know what could have made these giant chicken footprints over here in the mud?”

“I don’t know,” Officer Tim answers. “There are rumors where I lived from my grandparents about a place where one could find dragons. It is just that nobody has never seen them. This area is so remote that nobody has ever explored or hunted over here.

“The interior is huge,” reports Corporal Meyer. “It must be over 100 meters in height. How could no one know about this place?”

“They say that Indochina has vast areas that have never been explored,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Given a world war, French occupation, Japanese invasion, and the Indochina war that led to the defeat of the French, I find it odd that there are no signs of civilization in here at all.”

“I wonder if there is another way out?” ask Sargent Lance.

“There most likely is given the amount of water that is flowing through that stream,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Lets look for a sheltered place to camp here for the night, it will be dark soon. Then, we will see how far we can go in once the morning sun lights up the entrance.”

Heading into the cave interior in the evening twilight, they find it filled with jungle vines and other plants hanging down from the ceiling which has several gaping holes in it to let in the remaining daylight. “If the rest of this cave is like this, we should have no problem going through it in the morning,” reports Sargent Lance.

“Lets set up camp behind these boulders,” order Lt. Johnson. “It should be easy for us to see and hide from anything that comes through this cave. Four man night watch as before.”

The night in the cave is a far contrast from the night before in the abandoned VC campsite. There are the restful sounds from the flowing stream down below. A comfortable breeze blows through the cave to the outside world. It is a sharp contrast to the warm sticky air of the jungle night. The chirping of crickets fills the night air as it is occasionally broken by the sound of some macaque monkeys communicating with each other. Gone are the sounds of combat, the thump of artillery rounds, the whine of the Gatling Guns and the rhythmic staccato of the 50 caliber.

“I never knew that one could actually find a tropical paradise in this all expense paid vacation the military gave us into the armpit of the world,” Corporal Mays tells Lt. Johnson as they are on guard duty.

“Doc, Have you been shooting up on morphine?” Lt. Johnson asks him.

“No sir,” he answers back. “I’ve seen too many of my friends get fracked up from shooting up on that stuff. It’s bad $hit to get addicted to.”

Deep in the cave, a distant roar is heard from some huge unknown creature. It echos throughout the length of the huge cave. “What in the frack was that?” Sargent Lance ask Officer Tim as they are pulling guard duty.

“I don’t know.” Officer Tim answers nervously. “Perhaps my grandfather was right. There may be dragons living in here.”

“Whatever it was, it sounded like that it was a long ways off. We’ll know for sure when we can continue checking this place out in the morning.”

With the dawn’s early light, the cave get lit up reveling stunning rock formations that have formed in the limestone from the dripping water from above. “Wow, it sure is beautiful in here,” comments Private Root as the patrol prepares to continue on.

“If we stay along the rocks, we shouldn’t leave any footprints” Sargent Lance tells the others.

“Be aware of your surroundings as we continue on,” orders Lt. Johnson. “look for places where you can find cover in case we run into something ahead.”

The patrol continues on through the stunning stone sculptures. The landscape soon changes to a different type of rock formation as they pass through a dark area, then a returning twilight where the other entrance can be seen in the distance. “Frack! Why am I getting so tired,” Sargent Lance starts complaining.

“So am I,” complains Private Miller.

“$hit, we never brought any gas mask with us,” Lt Johnson says in a panic. “Get the frack out of here, NOW!”

Too late to escape the effects of whatever is putting everybody to sleep, they all succumb to the effects of the sedating air and drop to the ground unconscious.

Edited by rpicardi1

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Chapter 2. The Red Jungle.

 

It is early morning in the cave as the normal jungle noises continue on. A gentle refreshing breeze blows into the cave over the patrol who’s members are starting to regain consciousness from whatever had put them to sleep.”

“Ohhh!” moans Sargent Lance as he regains conscious. “What the frack just happened? Where’s the frack is my gear? What is this thing doing in my left wrist?”

“Everyone, look around, QUICKLY!” orders Lt. Johnson. “Sound off with what you find.”

“I see nothing behind us, Not even our footprints.” Corporal Jefferson reports. “What is this thing in my left arm?”

“It’s all clear up front,” reports Sargent Lance. “No signs that anyone but us has been in this cave.”

“I don’t see any tracks other then ours,” reports Officer Tim.

“OK,” Lt. Johnson answers back. “Everyone report in with what gear you still have on you.”

“I have my K-Bar, my compass, my canteen, and that thing in my left wrist,” reports Sargent Lance. “Interesting, the date on my watch has reset itself to one and the time to 0605.”

“I have my pocket knife, my canteen, my police whistle, my pocket watch that reads five minutes after six and that strange gem as well,” reports Officer Kim.

“I have my K-Bar, canteen, and this embedded gem, reports Private Miller. “My watch has done the same thing.”

“K-Bar, canteen, and this frackin implant,” complains Corporal Meyer. “My watch has set itself to 0605 with a day of one. What could that mean?”

“I don’t know,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Lets continue the report, then we can try to figure out what the frack is going on around here.”

“K-Bar, canteen, my watch, trip flares, and that strange gem.” reports Private Root.

“K-Bar, canteen, my watch, this Prick 25, two spare batteries, and that glowing gem,” reports Private Washington.

“$hit!, they took the medical backpack and all of its supplies,” reports Doc. “I still have my K-Bar, canteen, that implant, and my watch.”

“I have my bayonet, canteen, my NVA radio, spare batteries, my Chinese Rolex, and this strange gem,” reports Lt. Kim

“K-Bar, canteen, the sniper scope to my rifle, a watch, and that strange gem,” reports Sargent Cisco.

“K-Bar, canteen, spotting scope, watch, and that gem,” reports Corporal Jefferson.

“That is so strange,” reports Lt. Johnson. “Why would the frackin Gooks take all of our stuff but leave us with our Combat Knife, canteens, our watches with the dates and time synced on them, and selected gear such as a radio, my map and binoculars? How did they manage to implant these gems into our left wrist? How did they manage to knock us out, then leave without a trace of them being here? Why didn’t they just kill us or take us prisoner?”

“That is a good question,” answers Officer Tim. “That is far from normal VC, NVA behavior, or even that of their Communist advisers.”

“Washington, Kim, are you picking up anything on your radios?” ask Lt. Johnson.

“No,” Private Washington answer. “All channels, but three, are clear. Channel 4, 16, and 28 are receiving a clicking tone that sounds like code. The sound is of a different pitch on each of those three channels.”

“I’m getting the same signals on those channels as well.” reports Lt. Kim.

“Can either of you get a bearing on those signals?” ask Lt. Johnson.

“Not while we are inside this cave.” Private Washington answers.

“Then, lets head outside and see if you can get a bearing on any of those transmissions.” orders Lt. Johnson. “Then, we’ll find someplace high, figure out where the frack we are, set up the long range antenna, and break radio silence.”

It is a strange world of red vegetation as they step outside of the cave into the morning daylight. “Has something happened to our vision?” Sargent Lance asks Doc.

“No,” Doc answers. “What gear we have is normal in color. It has to be this frackin jungle that we stepped into that is colored so weird.”

“Did this area get sprayed with some chemical defoliant?” ask Officer Tim.

“No,” answers Lt Johnson. “That frackin stuff just kills everything that’s growing, it doesn’t just turn it red.”

“Do you think that your military may have used some tactical nukes in this area to stop the NVA supply lines?” ask Lt. Kim.

“No,” answers Lt. Johnson. “The Pentagon has discussed the possibility of tactical nukes in this area but decided that they weren’t worth the risk of having the Soviets escalate in kind by giving some of their nukes to the NVA. Besides, the terrain around Kae Sanh is not suitable for their effective use. If this area had been nuked, everything around here would have been flattened by the blast wave, not turned red in color. Also, our watches would have quit working, not have their time and date reset to the first day of the month.”

“That is strange,” reports Corporal Meyers. “When I picked up a stone to look at it, it just vanished out of my hand. Then, I got this strange message in my head that said, ‘Added one stone.’”

“Oh Wow!” Private Miller reports. “Look into your implant. That is so weird! It looks like something out of that Beatles tune ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.’”

“Interesting,” reports Corporal Meyers. “I’m getting this display in my head about all kinds of information about myself.”

“What a medical dream this is,” reports Doc. “I’m getting readings on health, torpor, stamina, hunger, fortitude, hydration, strength, oxygen level, and a bunch of other medical stats.”

“What is stamina, fortitude, and torpor?” Private Miller ask the Doc.

“Stamina is a measure of how tired you are getting. Fortitude is about how tough you are in resisting what the environment throws at you such as the heat and humidity we faced on our patrol the past few days. Torpor is a measurement of if you are about to pass out or not,” Doc answers.

“This is most interesting,” Corporal Meyers reports to the others. “My implant says that if I get a wood and ten thatch, I can use the stone I picked up to craft a primitive pickax.”

“Give it a try,” orders Lt. Johnson. “See if some of these sticks and palm leaves that are lying around here will give you want you need for that pickax.”

“Where did you find that stone age pickax?” Sargent Powell asks after seeing it appear in Corporal Meyer’s hand.

“I did what the Lt. told me to do,” answers Corporal Meyers.

“This is most frightening,” Private Root reports. “When I check out what is called my Specimen Implant, I find my name, a serial number and a message ‘Survival Quotient undetermined’”

“OW!’ answers Private Miller. “That’s sounds like whatever has fracked with us is betting that we are not going to be around here much longer.”

“We’re Special Forces,” replies Lt. Johnson. “Lets get our $hit together and prove them wrong.”

As the men continue discussing the discovery of the properties of what are called the Specimen Implants, some of the local creatures are starting to show up to investigate them.

“Does anyone know what this cute little chicken size reptile is?” ask Private Root. “OW! That mudder frackin ba$tard just took a chunk of flesh out of my leg!”

“Here comes some more of them!” warns Sargent Lance. “Kill them mudder frackers! Use your K-Bar.” Six little vicious chicken size reptiles, known as Compys, soon bite the dust.

“That is interesting,” reports Corporal Meyers. “My implant told me that it was a Level 4 female Compy. When I used my stone age pickax to kill that thing, it just vanished with a message that said that I got 4 hide and 12 raw meat. In fact, my implant says that I am now carrying 4 hide and 12 raw meat in one stack. Oh oh, I’m being told by my implant that raw meat is unhealthy to eat and that it will start to spoil in six minutes.”

“Where did that thing bite you?” Doc asks Private Root as he comes over to examine his injury.

“Right here,” Private Root answers. “What the Frack! I could have sworn that thing took a frackin chunk of flesh out of my leg. Now, it’s all healed up.”

“If that little chicken thing can take a bite out of your leg,” ask Sargent Lance, “what in the frack can its big brother that made those huge tracks we saw in the mud last evening do to us?”

“We had better get some better weapons to defend ourselves with before it’s big brother shows up,” orders Lt Johnson. “I have a bad feeling that if whatever made those huge tracks should ever find us, we would be just a tasty little snack for it.

“Our Specimen Implants are telling us that we have just earned something called Level Ups.” reports Doc. “You can apply those to your personal stats to make yourselves tougher. I would suggest health and stamina for now.”

“Everyone, get a hatchet and spears for now,” orders Lt. Johnson. “Then, we can work on clothes, campfire, and construction materials for a shelter.”

“I need some frackin flint to make that primitive stone hatchet,” complains Private Washington. “Where am I going to fracking find that?”

“Try hitting this rock with your stone pickax,” orders Corporal Jefferson.

“Thanks, man. The boulder is giving up flint and stones.” answers Private Washington. “What the frack! That boulder just blew up into pieces.”

“It must have something to do with this strange place,” answers Corporal Meyers. “It’s like that compy suddenly vanishing when I was hacking at it with my pickax.”

“The same thing just happened to this tree when I was chopping it down for wood,” reports Private Miller. “Where in the frack can I find fiber for a spear?”

“Try picking at some of those fern like plants over there,” answers Sargent Powell.

“Yes! Fiber.” answers Private Miller in excitement. “Anybody know anything about these berries I am gathering?”

“My Specimen Implant tells me that you can safely eat any of them,” answers Doc. “Just don’t eat the black or white ones. While they won’t poison you, the black ones can speed up healing an injury but will make you sleepy, the white ones will give you an energy boost but will badly dehydrate you. The rest are listed as just plain tasty.”

“That will certainly be better then eating a cold can of ham and mudder frackers with all of that greasy lard on the top,” answers Corporal Jefferson. “When we can build a fire, we should cook up some of that raw compy and see what it taste like.”

“I’m willing to bet that it will frackin taste like grilled chicken.” answers Private Root. “After all, those Compy things looked like chickens, it’s just that these frackin Compys come with very sharp teeth.”

“These spears don’t have a wear bar associated with them,” warns Corporal Jefferson after he crafts up one of them. “I have a feeling that we had better make make up three or more of them.”

“Good idea,” answers Lt. Johnson. “That way, we can throw a spear at whatever attacks us to slow it down, then finish it off with the extra ones.”

As everyone continue learning how the Specimen Implants work, a shrill chirp suddenly interrupts Sargent Powell. Turning around to see what has made the sound, he gets a face full of green slime. “Aggg! I can’t see!” he screams as the bipedal lizard rushes in to attack. It runs into Corporal Meyer’s spear which breaks on impact. The creature gets killed when a second spear thrown by Private Miller hits it dead center in its body.

“What the frack was that thing?” Sargent Powell asks Doc as his vision slowly returns to normal.

“My implant calls it a Dilophosaur,” Doc answers as he helps Sargent Powell wash out his eyes with water from a canteen. “It registers as a Level 24 male.”

Looks like a bigger chicken tried to frack with you,” comments Private Washington.

“That’s not one bit frackin funny,” Sargent Powell answers back in disgust. “I couldn’t see a damn thing after it spat that frackin green $hit all over my face. Look at all the teeth in that thing’s mouth, it could have taken my arm off with one bite.”

“That must be how they hunt their prey,” answers Sargent Lance. “They stun their prey by blinding it, then move in for the kill.”

“What are these frackin Nerdy Glasses doing in it’s inventory?” asks Private Miller.

“Who the frack knows in this weird frackin place!” Lt. Johnson answers back. “My inplant is informing me that we can now craft up some thatch clothes. Lets get some clothes crafted up, then start heading for some higher ground and get out of this red jungle.”

"Hey, these don’t look half bad,” reports Sargent Powell as he crafts up a set and puts them on.

“Well, at least you don’t look like Tarzan,” Sargent Powell kids back.

A storm rolls in as they finish crafting up what is known as Thatch Clothes. A campfire is cooking up the dilo and raw compy meat. Three more Dilophosaur show up but are quickly spotted and ambushed by the patrol members as one of them acts as a bait. “So long as you see them coming, it is easy to dodge that green spit,” Private Root tells the others. “They stop and raise that frill on their neck when they get ready to spit on you.”

“Excellent, we can now make slingshots, clubs and bolas,” Sargent Cisco reports.

“Look what I just found!” Corporal Jefferson reports as he carries in a strange looking flightless bird. “I thought that these creatures went extinct a century ago.”

“They did,” reports Doc. “A Dodo Bird. They have to be one of the stupidest creature that ever existed. We must be in the Land of the Lost. At least they aren’t going to try to take a frackin bite out of you even though they have chicken feet.”

“Just let that noisy thing go before it attracts a bigger chicken that will take a bigger bite out of us.” orders Lt Johnson.

“Ow! Ow! OW!” Private Root is yelling as he runs through the temporary camp as a large bipedal creature with a horn on the back of its head keeps pecking him as it chases him. Corporal Jefferson tangles up its legs with a bola as the rest of the group hit it in the head with rocks from their slingshots thus knocking it out.

“Why was that frackin thing chasing you?” asks Lt Johnson.

“I found this egg laying on the ground, so I picked it up.” answers Private Root.

“A warning to everyone!” warns Lt Johnson. “Don’t pick up any eggs you see lying about. Their mamas are going to have a frackin royal fit and go after you.”

“What is that frackin thing that attacked me?” ask Private Root.

“That is a Parasaur,” reports Doc. “They went extinct millions of years ago with the Dinosaurs.”

“Dinosaurs?” questions Private Root. “How did we end up in the land of the Dinosaurs?”

“The stories from my Great Grandfather are starting to make sense.” Officer Tim announces. “He told me that he had found a lost land while exploring the rugged jungle near our home. Everyone just laughed at him when he was describing the creatures that he saw in that place. I’m beginning to think that he was not as crazy as everybody was telling me now that I have seen it for myself.”

“This is most interesting.” Doc reports as he examines the unconscious Parasaur. “My implant says that we can tame this creature if we want to by just placing berries in its inventory.”

“Lets just recover the bola and let her wake up,” orders Lt. Johnson. “Leave her egg with her. We can explore this taming thing once we can find a safe area to set up a more permanent camp where we got some protection from the area predators. Lets head for the high ground and try to reestablish communications.”

With the high ground to the North, the patrol starts heading in that direction. The color of the jungle changes to normal as it thins out to more open terrain. As they stop to take a break at a small stream, a level up gives everybody the ability to craft up a primitive bow with arrows.

“Excellent,” Sargent Cisco reports. “Not only were these bows easy to make, they appear to be quite accurate and deadly at range.”

“Oh! Oh!” reports Sargent Lance. “I see three of those chicken thing heading this way. They look to be twice our size. Oh $hit, they got teeth and claw hooks on their feathered wings.”

“What are we going to do?” warns Doc. “Those look like raptors. My science book says that they are pack hunters that can leap on their prey and disembowel them with a claw hook.”

“Lance, Miller, Powell,” orders Lt Johnson. “Pick out your target and tangle up their legs with your bolas. The rest of us will use arrows on them with spears as backup.” The tactics work as three raptors race towards the group, get taken down with the bolas, and are killed by the arrows and spears.

“Good job everyone,” Lt Johnson praises his men. “Lets butcher them up and move out.”

Edited by rpicardi1

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Chapter Three. Amissa Village.

 

“That was most interesting,” Doc tells Private Washington as the patrol continues heading for higher ground. “Those raptors, with their mouth full of sharp teeth, didn’t have chicken feet at all, but that Parasaur, which just had bony plates in it’s mouth, did.”

“Then, it looks like that we can’t judge if a creature living here with chicken feet is going to want to eat us for lunch or not,” Private Washington answers back.

As the patrol continues up the boulder strewn slope, Sargent Lewis spots something large up ahead heading their way.

“Oh $hit!” warns Sargent Lewis. “Quickly, take cover in those rocks!” The ground is soon shaking as the huge thunder lizard reaches where they are hiding and starts looking around for an easy snack.

“What is it?” ask Lt Johnson in alarm.

“That looks like a frackin T-Rex!” warns Sargent Lewis.

“Kill it!” orders Lt Johnson. “Use hit and run tactics on it. Don’t let that frackin thing catch you in the clear.” The huge predator cuts loose with an earth shaking roar that carries for miles, then tries to bite at its antagonists.

“Our arrows are mostly bouncing off of its tough hide,” warns Sargent Lewis. “How can we kill that frackin thing?”

“Find something tender on it to shoot at,” orders Lt Johnson. “Aim for its eyes. Shoot arrows inside of its mouth. Hell, stab that frackin thing in the balls if its has a pair!”

Using the rocks as cover, the 10 marines and their two Vietnamese counterparts, attack the Thunder Lizard from all sides. It roars in pain and frustration as it gets an arrow into an eye, then a spear into a tender area of its underside. Thrown off balance by being partially blinded as it has stepped up on one of the boulders, it loses its footing and ends up wedged upside down between two boulders.

“Hatchets!” orders Lt. Johnson.

Screaming in pain and frustration as it thrashes about trying to get back up, the Thunder Lizard eventually succumbs to the death of a thousand cuts. It then ends up in everybody’s inventory as raw meat, raw prime, and hide when it vanishes.

“Anybody hurt,” Doc yells out.

“I’m still frackin alive if that means anything,” Corporal Meyers shouts out.

“Who $hit their pants?” complains Sargent Cisco.

“I think that everybody did when it made that thunderous roar,” reports Doc.

“What the frack!” complains Private Washington. “This raw prime doesn’t stack and it will spoil in two minutes!”

“It must be unique to this place,” answers Lt Kim.

A check of everyone finds only the expected amounts of cuts and bruises from the strenuous activity of combat with the giant predator. “We got lucky with this one,” reports Lt Johnson. Had we been caught in the open by that thing, I’m most certain we’d be all fracked up by now.”

“Now I know what the frack made those giant chicken footprints I saw in the mud at the cave entrance,” Sargent Lewis comments as everyone catches their breath. “My implant called it a T-Rex, Male, Level 55.”

“Incredible,” comments Private Washington. “We just fracked up the biggest frackin predator the prehistoric world has ever known. Yep, I even see some mudder frackin Brontos in the distance feeding on those trees. This really is a freaking Lost World.”

“What an interesting inventory this creature has,” reports LT. Johnson as he picks up a bag left behind when the T-Rex vanished from being butchered. A set of leather clothes, a metal pickax, assorted berries, a Journeyman Crossbow, and a pike pole.”

“This is really good news” reports Corporal Jefferson as he examines them. “Those items are going to be most useful especially once we can make them for everyone. How do you suppose that frackin T-Rex obtained them?”

“Probably from someone that thing killed and ate for its dinner.” answers Private Miller. “Who the frack cares, so long as it didn’t eat one of us for its frackin meal.”

“Does that mean that there may be other people stranded here with us?” ask Sargent Lewis.

“I don’t know,” answers Lt. Johnson. “We’ll have to figure out if they will represent a threat to us or not should we find them. Lets get cleaned up and find some place where we can better defend ourselves in case that thing’s mate should shows up.”

As the patrol continues on, the ground levels out to grasslands with large deciduous trees with smaller bushes and boulders scattered about. To their right, a massive cliff is seen. On the left, the Red Jungle along with some other mountain peaks showing above. And far ahead, what looks like snow capped mountains can be seen.

“Wow,” there is nothing recognizable here on my map,” reports Lt. Johnson It is as if we are no longer in the Quang Binh province. “In fact, I doubt that we are even anywhere in Southeast Asia at all.”

“There is no way one can see snow capped mountains from anywhere in Vietnam, even while flying high up on a cargo plane heading towards Kae Sanh,” answers Lt, Kim.

“Then, we have definitely ended up in a Lost World,” answers Private Washington as the patrol starts heading North once again.

“Take cover!” warns Sargent Lance. “There’s a settlement up ahead.”

“Lance, Miller, Powell, go check it out and report back here,” orders Lt. Johnson. Using all available cover, the three men proceed to carefully head over to the outskirts of the village, then they go inside. Half an hour later, they walk back to the waiting patrol to file their report.

“That settlement is most interesting,” reports Sargent Lance. “It looks like that it was just built yesterday, yet, it has been totally abandoned for years. There is a thick layer of dust on the floor, the gardens are overgrown with vines and ferns, the pond has fish in them, but no signs that anyone or anything has ever been living there.”

“Lets move out and search the entire area,” orders Lt. Johnson. “If all is in order, we’ll make this our base of operations until we can figure out where the frack we are.”

The patrol enters this strange village made out of stone structures. It is laid out with a town square with a pond in its center. The surrounding structures are laid out what what looks like trading markets followed by housing units. All are made with white granite stone of the same architectural design. There are doors and windows, but no actual door or glass window frames. Some furniture is found inside. Balconies and walkways abound, many of them elevated and fenced in with stone railings.

“It looks as if this village was abandoned before anyone moved into it,” reports Sargent Lance.

“I do not recognize the construction style at all.” reports Lt Kim. “Probably the closest thing to that style are the old temples in Hue.”

“It looks like a good place to set up camp,” reports Lt. Johnson. “The doorways and window openings are small enough to keep out any Rexes interested in us. The balconies and walkways those raptors and spitting things. The two ways into the village are easily defended.”

It is late afternoon when one of the members of the patrol finds a strange box in one of the rooms where they are setting up camp. Lt. Johnson opens it to find a journal written in Chinese. He hands it to Officer Kim who is literate in that language.

“It is a journal written by Mei Yin Le,” he reports. “She was one of the warriors of the Yellow Turban Rebellion that occurred in 184 AD. She found herself trapped here when she and the surviving warriors with her sought shelter in a strange cave far South of their homeland in China. She describes herself as the beast queen for her ability to tame the creatures living in this strange land. She calls this place Amissa Village. It was constructed for a secure place for her and the warriors with her to live in harmony with the temperate environment found on the plateau until they could find a way of escape from this island.”

“An island?” questions Lt. Johnson. “How could have we possibly ended up on an island?”

“She does not know,” Officer Tim answers after reading further in the journal. “She describes this island of having several intersecting rivers that divides it up into several distinct regions. An arctic wilderness containing a temple in the side of an active volcano that is nearby here, This temperate grasslands, a vast swampland of dangerous water borne creatures, that Red Jungle we walked through, a redwood forest with giant glowing mushrooms, another located along the seacoast, a vast desert with a tent city, a high mountain plateau with a temple in the sky, and an island inhabited by invisible dragons.”

"Invisible dragons?” asks Private Root.

“She says that they are of the four legged kind with no wings, but can glide and become blended into the terrain.”

“Did they ever try to sail away from this land?” ask Lt Johnson.

“Yes,” answers Officer Tim. “They tried sailing South to a place where they could see pyramids, but ran into an invisible wall. They then sailed parallel to the wall to find a way around it but lost one of their rafts when it was attacked by a giant fish. As far as she could tell, that wall surrounds the island and goes far higher then the Mountain Dragons can fly.”

“What does she write about the beast that inhabits this island?” as Lt. Johnson.

“She says that most of them can be tamed for our use,” Officer Tim answers. “Even that giant thunder lizard that we had to kill earlier today.”

“So, it was not some kind of mistake when my Specimen Implant said that we could tame that Parasaur that attacked Private Root,” Doc answers.

“And, even those raptors and spitter things,” answers Officer Kim.

“So, how do we get out of here?” asks Lt. Johnson.

“We will have to explore this entire island to learn its secrets in order to find the exit back out of here,” answers Officer Tim.

“There’s some kind of a light beam coming down to the ground close to here,” reports Sargent Lewis. “It looks like some kind of a spinning capsule has landed on the ground next to it.”

“Lance, Miller, Powell, go check it out,” orders Lt. Johnson.

“What is that thing, some sort of alien spacecraft?” ask Private Miller as the threesome approach the spinning object.

“No,” Sargent Powell responds. “My Specimen Implant says that I can access it.”

“Go ahead,” orders Sargent Lewis. “We’ll cover you.” Sargent Powell uses his implant to access the spinning capsule which soon shatters into a kaleidoscope of crystals that vanish.

“What happened?” ask Private Miller.

“That Loot Crate, as it is called, went into self destruct mode as soon as I took everything that was in it.” answers Sargent Powell.

“What was in there?” ask Private Miller.

“It had a complete set of leather clothes,” answers Sargent Powell.

“Interesting,” Sargent Lewis comments. “We can craft leather clothes now, but, it looks like that the little green men that brought us here has given us a set of them for free. We better head back to the village before it gets too dark to see.”

“Wow, look at that sky to the North,” comments Private Miller as they head back in the growing darkness.

“I’ve never seen anything as brilliant as that, even when I did a tour in Alaska at NORAD.” reports Sargent Powell. “This is one most unusual place.”

Back in the village, a planning meeting is being held before the guard rotation is set up for the night. “Private Washington and Lt. Kim both have reported that they are getting a directional fix on those three channels.” report Lt Johnson. “The strongest signal is coming on Channel 28 on a heading of 330*. The one on Channel 16 is coming from a heading of 160*. The weakest on on Channel 4 is on a heading of 220*. I’m going to recommend that we send out a patrol to the North in the morning to find the source of the signal on Channel 28. The rest of us will make improvements to our location here. We will experiment with taming some of the creatures around here as soon as we have tranc arrows to safely knock them out. Four man watch for the night. We have a busy day tomorrow.”

Edited by rpicardi1
Finished the chapter

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Chapter Four, Getting established.

 

It is the morning on the second day on Amissa. Everyone’s watch is now dated as 2. Strangely Kim has noticed that his Chinese Rolex doesn’t register the day of the week, it only displays just the word day. “That is so weird,” Kim reports to Lt. Johnson. “There is no way this Rolex can suddenly have the day of the week blanked out to only display the word day.”

“That is even a greater mystery,” answers Lt. Johnson. “None of us have been able to reset the time or dates on any of our watches, Lets set off on a patrol to the North and see if we can reach the source of the signal on Channel 28.” With those orders, the patrol leave behind all their extra items in their newly crafted storage chest in the village camp and proceed to head North out of the village.

It is an interesting trip down the hill to the grassy plains where several types of herbivores are observed grazing on the trees and bushes. “I wonder if those Trikes can be tamed and ridden?” ask Sargent Lewis. “They would certainly make good armored mounts with those horns that could be used to attack any predators.”

“Mei Yin’s says that they are an easy knockout tame that is best done using tranc arrows or darts,” Kim answers. “We just have to be careful that their friends are not nearby when we go to take one down or we will have to deal with all of them coming to defend it.”

“What does she say about these giant eagles?” ask Doc.

“She says that as long as you don’t do anything to harm them, they won’t attack you,” answers Kim. “Otherwise, they will tear you up with that sharp beak and their talons. They can be easily knocked out with tranc arrows and tamed. But, they need a saddle made with some materials that we haven’t seen so far if we want to ride on one.”

“I think that we have a problem,” Sargent Lewis reports as they reach the river that is up ahead. “That looks like it is the Ice Age on the other side. Even worse, this water is ice cold.”

“Lets build a raft to sail across and confirm your suspicions,” orders Lt. Johnson. “If it is a cold as it looks, we may have to wait until we can get cold weather gear for everyone.”

With the raft constructed, Sargent Lance and Private Miller head across to the other side.

“Do those look like frackin piranha?” Ask Private Miller.

“They sure do,” answers Sargent Lance. “They’re huge. And a frackin good reason to not go swimming across. Brrrr, it just got bitterly cold.”

Turning around, the two men head back. Sargent Lewis files his report. “As I expected, it is bitterly cold on the other side. Through Corporal Jefferson’s spotting scope, I can see what looks like some sort of Alien Obelisk lying half buried on the mountain side. It appears to be powered as it is emitting some sort of pulsating light.”

“There also appears to be some sort of a temple on the slope of that mountain where the fallen obelisk is located.”

“I saw all kinds of Mastodons, giant elk, bears, saber tooth tigers, and what looks like oversize wolves. Oh, that river, stay out of the water. We saw piranha the size of those spitter things along with huge salmon that looked about as dangerous. Other then those Devil Fish, it looks like that area had been taken straight from our Ice Age.”

“Then, we will definitely need to obtain some cold weather gear before we can go check out that temple and that alien device,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Lets secure the raft in these shallows for now. We can use it later to sail down the river to that sea in the distance.”

“It now looks like that we can craft tranc arrows, a refining forge, and a Smithy. We’re going to need metal ore and lots of narcoberries. Lets spread out in teams of four as we head back, gather the berries, look for metal ore, and kill any predators we see along the way.”

The three groups heading back have managed to gather several stacks of narcoberries that will be needed for the tranc arrows. Lt. Johnson’s group find an outcropping of yellowish rock that yields all the metal ore that the four men can carry. The metal pick has proven most useful for providing a high yield of this much needed ore. Raw meat and hide has been collected from the pesky compys and the thieving gulls that fly in to harass Sargent Lewis’s group.

Back in the village, two refining forges are crafted up and stocked with raw metal and wood. Sparkpowder is being crafted from the extra stone and flint along with the narcs from the rotten meat and narcoberries. Narc arrows are ready in short order. Packing two newly made saddles and a second crossbow, Sargent Lance, Officer Kim, Private Miller, and Sargent Powell head out to look for a pair of trikes to tame. Remembering the warning from Mei Yin, they find a male that has wandered away from the rest and bola him.

“That didn’t frackin work!” yells Private Miller as the angry male destroys the bolas and charges him.

“Get up on that boulder,” orders Sargent Lance as he and Sargent Powell hit the trike in the head with narc arrows from the crossbows. It soon falls to the ground unconscious.

“Now, what do we feed it for taming,” ask Officer Tim.

“Lets put all of the berry types on him and see what he eats.” orders Sargent Lance as he removes the tranc arrows from the trike’s head.

“Looks like that he prefers the Mejoberries,” Sargent Lance reports.

“We better get him tamed and use him to harvest more mejoberries before we go after the others,” Officer Tim tells them. Protecting him from any predators that could be in the area, the taming process goes well and they soon have a Trike they name Mike.

“With a saddle place on him and Private Miller riding, Mike the Trike is soon put to work harvesting the nearby bushes. “This has sure saved us a lot of time gathering berries. Mike already has gathered four stacks of narcoberries and six of mejos.”

“Lets go get his mate, get her tamed up, and head back to the village,” orders Sargent Lewis. In short order, they have their second trike named Trixie. Sargent Lewis saddles her up riding her back to the camp gathering berries all the way.

Back in the village, more tranc arrows are crafted up from the saved spoiled meat and collected narcoberries. A hunting party has brought back more raw meat and hide from the dodos, those pesky primitive seagulls, and several pig like creatures that were tangled first with the Bolas before they were killed. “We could have tamed those pig things to ride but who wants to be riding on a meal for a T-Rex?” comments Doc.

“The good thing about them is that we now have enough leather for ten more Trike saddles,” reports Lt Johnson. “Lets go out, and tame a trike for the rest of us, then get more metal ore so we can arm everyone with a crossbow.”

The taming process ends up taking most of the afternoon. The experience of the first taming hunt has proven the value of going after high level Trikes so the teams have become more selective of the ones they take down for taming.

“We now have our tank trike army,” reports Lt. Johnson after the last four trikes have waken up tamed and are saddled. “Before it gets dark, I would like to build a stone pen where we can secure them for the night. Craft the wall sections as you harvest the stone with your metal ax. It will weigh far less then the raw materials.” With those orders, teams of two set out crafting sections of stone foundations, walls, and a pair of dino gates. A pen gets built in a flat grassy plain at the North end of the village next to the commons area.

“Who would ever believe that such large creatures could be so gentle around us,” comments Private Washington as the patrol gets settled in for the night.

“Actually, if this were the real Jurassic World, we would probably had been all gored to death by now,” answers Doc.

“As it was, some of almost got gored while we were trying to knock them out,” answers Private Miller.

“Where’s Private Root and Corporal Meyers?” ask Lt. Johnson.

“They took off on foot to the South after they had tamed their trikes,” answers Sargent Powell. “They said that they would be back by nightfall.”

“Here they come now.”

“Oh wow, they tamed themselves a pair of Parasaurs.”

“I’m surprised how sweet this girl is,” Private Root reports as he brings them into the pen. “I have forgiven her for being so mad at me yesterday when I took her egg. She is a fast mount with good carry weight.”

“Her mate is just as sweet,” reports Corporal Meyers. “The Trikes are good for our protection so we’ll still want to take them with us. These Parasaurs will make good fast recon mount.”

“We’ll look at adding some of those eagles once we can make saddles for them,” responds Lt. Johnson. “That would give us some eyes in the sky.”

“This has been a very productive day,” reports Lt. Johnson at their evening meeting. “As soon as we have crafted up better tools and weapons for everyone, I would like to send out a mounted patrol following the river to the East to see what is out there. Sargent Powell says that we should have a sniper rifle ready for Sargent Cisco by morning. Four man watch rotation for the night.”

The second night in Amissa Village remains peaceful. The sky has cleared to reveal the brilliant display of the Northern Lights over the distant fallen obelisk. A wolf howls in the distance. Otherwise, it is a quiet night, something that can be most unusual in a place otherwise known as The Ark.

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Chapter 5. The Patrol to the Sea.

 

It is day three on Amissa, or at least, that’s what the watches are displaying, as the morning is spent preparing the supplies for the extended patrol. With the discovery of a construction process that had been given the name “Structures Plus”, a portable pen has been built, disassembled, and is ready to pack on the three spare trikes. Lt. Johnson, with the help of his night watch team, has manage to find a lone Argy to drop for taming. He has found a saddle for one in one of those spinning supply drops the night before. Another team is out on the Trikes on a wood and metal run. They plan to fill the forges with metal ore and wood and let them run until all the wood is consumed.

Sargent Cisco has been busy on the Smithy crafting up the first Long neck Rifle along with some ammo. Unable to get his sniper scope to work with the new rifle, he crafts one up an Ark version and uses it.

With the new Longneck rifle fitted with a scope, Sargent Cisco gives it the first test dropping one of the pesky gulls sitting on the mast of the stowed raft with the first round. “This will frackin do the job as a sniper rifle,” he reports to Lt. Johnson. “I can put up with the slow reload $hit of it’s bolt action so long as it has the ability to frack up what I am shooting at.”

With the Argy now tamed, Lt. Johnson places a saddle on him for a test flight. He takes the bird up into the sky along part of the planned route of exploration, does some hunting with him, then returns to the village. Looks like Mei Yin is right.” he reports to Sargent Lewis. “We are on some kind of an island. I can see the sea from high up in the sky. It looks to be about half a days march from here. If we follow the river, we should have no problem getting around the high mountain to reach it in time to build a pen and shelter for the night.”

It is noon when they are ready to go. The patrol lines up with Sargent Lance on point continuing in that order. The one exception is with Corporal Meyers and Private Root. Lt. Johnson has decided to use them on their parasaurs to scout up ahead of the slower Trikes to find the best route to travel. Being much faster then the lumbering Trikes, the parasaurs have the ability to quickly get away from danger.

“If only my frackin high school buddies in the First Cav could see me now.” Sargent Cisco comments. “Riding on these Trikes give a whole new meaning to the words, armored cavalry, even if it is a prehistoric one.”

Scouting up ahead on the Argy, Lt. Johnson has spotted possible trouble in the planned river route. He flies back to the point scouts on the Parasaurs, who are already heading back to the patrol and orders a change of course. “I’m going to have you take a path around to the South of this rocky hill. There is a swamp by the existing route that doesn’t have any dry path by the hill that one can use to stay out of it.”

“Thanks for finding us an alternate route,” answers Corporal Meyers. “Patty and Perry were getting very nervous about us getting too close to that frackin tangle of vines and heavy brush. It is as if they have some sort of built in sensor that warns them of danger up ahead. I couldn’t see any safe way to avoid wading in that frackin mess given that the vertical cliffs from that hill came straight into the water. From what we could see, the flies in there were gigantic with the frogs feeding on them even bigger. A mammal almost as big as an elephant was feeding on the trees and vines in that swamp. Then, we saw something that was about the size of that frackin T-Rex with a huge sail on its back. It appeared to be after the fish in the water.”

“South around the hill will take longer, but looks to be a lot fracking safer.” reports Lt. Johnson. “Just watch for the frackin predators out there hunting the smaller mammals. I spotted a pack of three raptors harassing some ostrich like creature.”

“How are you liking flying recon?” ask Corporal Meyers.

“This giant eagle is great,” answers Lt Johnson. “He’s slow enough that I don’t have to do a lot of circling around. He feels like that he can fly all fracking day without getting overly tired.”

The overcast is now clearing some as the patrol resumes on it’s new heading. Soon, it is possible to see the tops of the high mountain cliffs from the valley they are traveling in. The one top looks like that it is snow capped, the other like a temperate forest. A waterfalls comes cascading down the slope from the top.

“Are those actually floating islands?” ask Officer Tim as he spots a series of unusual rock formations floating high above them.

“Unbelievable,” answers Sargent Lewis as he places a spotting scope on one of them. “Not only are they floating, they are even interconnected with what looks like a floating stone bridge. They appear to form a pathway connecting the two mountain tops.”

“That means that there must be a path somewhere we can use to get up there,” answers Officer Tim.

“Can you identify that strange looking bird that is flying up there?” ask Sargent Lewis as he hands Tim his spotting scope.

“My God!” Tim responds after studying the flying creature for several minutes. “It looks like a dragon. Great Grandfather and Mei Yin, you were right. The Mountain Dragons do exist.”

“Do they represent a danger to us?” Sargent Lewis asks Officer Tim.

“According to Mei Yin journal, as long as we don’t do anything to harm them, they shouldn’t be a threat to us.” answers Officer Tim.

About then, the parasaurs scouts come running back to the patrol as the lead Trikes start to get a strange orange glow around their heads. “That frackin raptor pack is after us!” warns Corporal Meyers.

“Form a defensive line” orders Sargent Cisco. “Arm your crossbows with stone arrows. Let that frackin ostrich thing go past us. Then, we will see what kind of tanks we are riding on and charge them head on.”

Armed with crossbows, the nine men riding on trikes turn to face the advancing raptors. The ostrich like creature goes flying between them as the trikes, now with their heads glowing brightly, paw the ground like a bull getting ready to charge, then take off at a dead run with the three big horns aimed like lances at the attacking raptor pack. A salvo of nine arrows hit the attacking raptors. Two of the raptors get impaled in the trike horns and are killed. A third has managed to leap over a charging trike at the last second. It gets two arrows to it’s head from the scouts riding the Parasaurs, then gets put down for good from a shot to the head from Sargent Cisco’s new long neck rifle.

“Is everyone all right?” ask Lt. Johnson as he comes in to land next to the dead alpha raptor.

“We’re fine,” Doc answers back.

“How are the trikes?” asks Lt. Johnson.

“Not a single frackin scratch,” answers Private Washington who was riding one of the trikes that has speared a raptor and has it’s horns and face covered in blood.

“Good job everyone,” Lt. Johnson praises everybody as they regroup and harvest the three dead raptors. A shotgun is found on the pack leader and assigned to Private Miller.

“It looks like that we have found a new friend,” Private Washington comments as the patrol continues on through the valley. “That big ostrich thing has decided to travel with us.”

“It just wants the assurance of our protection,” Doc tells the others. “It sure does look skittish.”

“You would be too if you had three frackin raptors chasing you all day,” Lt. Johnson tells Doc as he takes off back into the sky with his eagle ride.

The patrol completes their detour coming back to the river. Up ahead, one can see the sea with several palm covered sandbars. A small snow covered island is in the distance along with a rocky one near the horizon. Closer to the South, a mountainous mound of tree covered rock can be seen along with a stretch of palm covered beach.

“We seem to be getting closer to the source of the signal on Channel 16,” Private Washington announces. “The source seems to be coming from that green beacon on the southern horizon.”

“When you reach the beach area, look for a good spot to set up camp for the night,” orders Lt. Johnson. “I’m going to fly over to that nearby island with the high cliffs and check it out.”

Reaching the shoreline at the mouth of the river, the patrol finds a suitable flat area to place the pen for their tames for their overnight camp. There are harvest able resources nearby to fill out what they haven’t packed with them. A quick survey with the Parasaurs finds the area to be quiet with no major threats in the area. The Gally that has tagged along comes in to the newly constructed pen with Doc. She has calmed down a lot even letting Doc pet her as he gives her some berries to eat.

“There’s a giant frackin fish stuck in the shallows,” Corporal Jefferson reports to the others. “Who wants grilled fish for supper?”

“We’ll never have a better opportunity then now to take out one of those raft killers,” reports Officer Tim. Ten of the men of the patrol grab their spears and hatchets. They proceed to attack the stuck Leed which gets beached even worse, finally killing it.

“That is a fabulous fracking amount of quality hide we got off of that creature,” reports Sargent Cisco as he takes inventory of the bounty that has been harvested from the dead Leed.

“What are we going to do with all of this raw prime fish?” ask Corporal Jefferson. “It doesn’t stack.”

“Lets cook up as much of it as we can,” orders Sargent Lance.

“Blackin Cajun coming up,” Private Washington tells the others as he prepares one of several fires to start cooking up the prime fillets.

Lt. Johnson comes flying back from the stone island. Both he and his Argy look quite scared from the experience as his exhausted bird lands in the pen. He is stroking Andy’s neck feathers as they both start calming down.

“What happened over there?” Doc asks him.

“I had just landed on the tropical beach near the base of the huge stone mound.” answers Lt. Johnson. “I could see that a large section of the stone mountain was actually hollow. It was quite beautiful in there with the towering trees and glowing fungus hanging from the vines. I was about to get off of Andy when I saw a shimmering shape moving towards us. It dissolved to reveal a huge four legged creature staring right at us. It gave off a loud hiss as those feathers on its head displayed a war bonnet. We were out of there in an instant as several others of those creatures suddenly materialized close by. Fortunately, they didn’t try to follow us over the water to come back here.”

“That must be Rock Drake Island that Mei Yin referred to in her diary about a species of dragons that live over there,” answers Officer Tim. “You’re lucky that you both didn’t become its meal. Fortunately for you, the Rock Drakes can’t fly even though they can glide quite well. They do not possess a ranged weapon which is why you were able to escape.”

“Still, someone must have been over there at one time,” Lt. Johnson answers back. “I saw a wood shack just inland of the beach similar to what we have packed with us. There also was a raft pulled up on the beach. It looked like that one of the rock drakes even had a saddle on it when it materialized out of nowhere.”

“That is most interesting,” Officer Tim answers back. “It must have been one of Mei Yin’s egg tames. Or, it could have been one of the wild adults she made friends with given that wild Rock Drakes cannot be tamed.”

“Then, it looks like the two of us need to go back there to investigate what happened to Mei Yin. Would you be willing to take that risk?”

“I’ll go with you,” answers Officer Tim.

“Then, we’ll craft up a raft in the morning and go check out the shack.”

It is later that evening over a delicious meal of blacken fish steaks that Officer Tim explains in detail Mei Yin’s description about the dangers lurking in the swamps on Amissa. “She says that the Amissa Parasaurs have the ability to sense danger from a distance long before they can see or smell anything that could be a danger to them. That is likely why they were getting so skittish when you were approaching the swamp before Lt. Johnson talked to you. She also says that the Trikes will do that orange glow to bolster their courage together when facing a dangerous foe.”

“The swamps are a place to avoid altogether. Besides leaches as big as house cats, which could infect you with Swamp Fever, the water is filled with mega piranha. Giant boa constrictors also live in there. Then, there are the giant flesh eating flies and the huge frogs that feed on them. Worst of all are the two types of crocks that live in the water. The first is something called a Sarco. They will grab its prey by a limb and tear it off by spinning their body. The other is a smaller croc that will ambush you by jumping out of the water, then pulling you under where you will drown. Both can attack you and your tames even while you are on a raft. There are also huge spinosaurs that live in those swamp. They are mostly fish eaters and are not a threat so long as you keep your distance from them. The Parcers are big enough that the swamp predators don’t represent any threat to them.”

“She has a recipe that Doc can use to make a medicine to both prevent and cure Swamp Fever in case we ever need to go in there to gather some rare resources. There is also a recipe for bug repellent.”

“We’ll make this camp a temporary base of operations for now,” orders Lt. Johnson. “In the Morning, Officer Tim and I are going to sail over to the Rock Drake Island and check out the shack. While were gone the rest of you can send out a patrol to check out that radio source to the South.”

“This has been a most productive day. Hopefully, we’ll find some answers about how we got here and what we need to do in order to get back to the real world.”

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Chapter 6. Rock Drake Island.

 

Day Four on Amissa, at least, according to the watches that have a date counter on them. It has been a mostly quiet night for the guard duty watch. A creature that looks like a robotic machine has been seen glowing in the distance. It looked a lot like a Stegosaurus covered in angular metal plates. Most unusual was the appearance in the moonlight of a giant sauropod near the mountain that had the look of Godzilla of the Japanese Science Fiction movies. “I hope that frackin moving mountain stays away from here,” comments Sargent Lance as he observes it in the spotting scope.

“Do you think that it has the atomic breath of Godzilla?” ask Private Miller.

“No,” answers Sargent Lance. “I don’t see any of those glowing rubber like fins on its back. This thing has jagged boulders on its back. Unlike Godzilla, this thing is walking on all four legs and tearing through the trees like they are just broccoli.”

With the arrival of dawn, preparations are being made for both a patrol and a visit to Rock Drake Island. Officer Kim and Lt. Johnson are constructing a two man canoe on the beach. They have decided that it would take too long and be much too dangerous to sail the raft back at the village down through the swamp.

Doc has managed to find enough metal to craft up a saddle for his new nervous friend who has stayed close by his side all night. He puts it on her and takes her out for a test run. “I now understand how she was able to stay away from those raptors,” Doc tells Lt. Johnson. “She is even faster then the parasaurs.”

“Go ahead and use her as your ride for today,” answers Lt, Johnson. “Let your Trike serve as the patrol armor backup. They were working well together yesterday when they helped eliminate that raptor pack that was after your new friend.”

“According to Mei Lin’s journal, your new friend is a Gally.” answers Officer Tim. “She is one of the fastest dinosaurs that can be found on this island.

“We’re ready to go,” Sargent Lance reports. “Is it going to be safe for the two of you to sail over to that island?”

“We don’t know,” answers Lt. Johnson. “I’ll let you know what kind of fun and games we run into over there when we get back.” With that answer, Sargent Lance leads the patrol out of the gate with Doc on his new friend running scout, and Corporal Meyer and Private miller, running flank with their parasaurs. Sargent Cisco is flying cap with Andy. All the extra trikes are going along to serve as mobile armor or pack animals.

“Lets get this over with,” Lt. Johnson tells Officer Tim as they secure the overnight camp before leaving. Launching the canoe, they set off with Officer Kim in the bow. It takes the two of them an hour to paddle across.

As they are crossing, a Leed is heard growling deep below the surface of the sea. It ignores the canoe which looks a lot like the primitive dolphins that are tagging along with them as escorts.

“Anything near that beach side cabin?” Lt. Johnson asks as they approach the island.

“Just some Dodos and small mammals,” answers Officer Tim. “I don’t see the Rock Drakes anywhere. But then, they could be hiding from us in stealth mode.”

“Lets land next to the raft and go check out the cabin.” orders Lt. Johnson. Landing, they drag the canoe out of the water placing it next to the raft, then check it out. “This is interesting” reports Lt Johnson. “There are several Rock Drake saddles in the crate on the raft. Whoever this raft belongs to must have tamed some of them.”

As they walk towards the cabin, it starts to shimmer. Large claw prints are now noticed in the sand.” I think that we have company,” warns Officer Tim. “My implant is registering a Level 150 wild Rock Drake standing in front of me. Now what do we do?”

“Talk to it in Chinese,” orders Lt. Johnson. “Either it knows Mei Yen, or we are both going to be dead soon.”

It is a most strange several minutes as Officer Kim speaks in Chinese to the shimmering object in front of him. It answers back in Chinese, then materializes to reveal what it is as the conservation continues.

“This is Meu Cheng,” Officer Tim tells Lt. Johnson. “He is a good friend of Mei Yen.”

“He’s gorgeous,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Does he know what happened to Mei Yen’s and her warriors?”

“Mei Yen found something called a portal and went through it. The rock drakes couldn’t go through the portal with them, so they came back here to their home island to wait for their return. That was a month ago. They miss her.”

“That is so unusual,” answers Lt. Johnson. “He registers as wild. Mei Yen must have somehow ran into them and managed to become their friends. Given that some mid evil period fantasy books mentions that dragons can talk, I can see how that can become possible.”

“How is it possible that Mei Yen was here only a month ago?” ask Officer Tim.

“This place must reside in some kind of a time warp. It’s the only thing that can explain Mei Yen being here only a month ago when she came here from the second century in China.”

“What just brushed up against me?”

“Stay still,” Officer Tim tells Lt. Johnson. “Meu Cheng’s mate, Lin Cheng, is next to you checking you out.”

“Is it OK to pet her?” ask Lt. Johnson.

“You can pet me if you wish,” answers Lin Cheng as she materializes out of stealth. “I’m sorry that I scared you yesterday when you flew over here on your bird you named Andy.”

“That is quite all right,” answers Lt. Johnson. “I didn’t know what to expect when I first saw you appear. How is it that you know my language?”

“Your Specimen Implant allows us to talk to each other,” answers Lin Cheng as she lays down next to Lt. Johnson.

“Your skin is a lot softer then what I expected for a dragon,” Lt. Johnson tells her as he rubs her neck.

“That feels so good,” answers Lin Cheng. “It’s been a long time since I was last petted by a human.”

“Did I see a Rock Drake with a saddle on it yesterday?”

“Yes, you did,” answer Lin Cheng. “It was on Min Chow. He sort of forgot that he was still wearing it. I took it off of him yesterday and placed it into the chest on the raft with the others.”

“Was he a tame?” ask Lt. Johnson.

“No,” answers Lin Cheng. “He is wild like I am.”

“That is most interesting,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Wild Rock Drakes that allow us humans to ride on them. Are there any other creatures on Amissa that are as intelligent as you are?”

“Only the Mountain Dragons,” answers Lin Cheng. “You will need to be very cautious if you go into their territory. They can be very skittish about the presences of strangers in their home land. Unlike us, they can attack with fire, lightning, or poison bombs.”

“We will certainly be very careful if we find the path to the temple in the sky,” answers Lt. Johnson.

As they are talking, ten more rock drakes materialize out of nowhere and walk over to the two men. Lin Cheng, introduces them to the others who have now climbed up on the cabin roof to be at eye level with the rock drakes.

“How did you humans end up on Amissa?” ask Min Chow.

“We are part of a 12 man recon patrol that were looking for an enemy supply base,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Officer Tim is familiar with the terrain we were searching in, but even he didn’t know where we were when we found a cave that led us through some kind of a portal into your world.”

“That’s what Mei Yen told us,” answers Min Chow.

“In spite of all of the wars that have occurs in Indochina since Mei Yen found refuge in Amissa, the cave to the portal has remained undiscovered for over 1800 years.

“Do you think that we may possibly find Mei Yen and her warriors?” ask Officer Tim.

“Given the time warp that has brought us this close together, it may be a possibility.” answers Lt. Johnson. “We will have to find the portal where she left Amissa and continue the search from there.”

“Is it OK if we have a look inside the cabin?” Lt. Johnson asks Lin Cheng.

“Yes, go ahead,” answers Lin Cheng.

Lt. Johnson finds a map of Amissa in the cabin on the desk. He checks it against the travel data marked on the Spawn Bed finding that there is one located back in Amissa Village, inside the Fallen Kingdom, one to the Sky Temple, and one in the desert tent city. “Interesting. One can fast travel to other locations using the spawn bed.”

“Is it possible for us to fast travel using these beds?” ask Officer Tim.

“No,” answers Lt. Johnson. “The beds are specific to the tribe that has created them. We cannot use them for fast travel or respawning.”

A further search of the cabin yields a spare set of clothes, weapons, and tools. The preserving bin, as expected, is empty.

Back outside, Lt. Johnson shows Lin Cheng the map and tells her what he found inside.

“Would you like us to give you a tour of our island,” Lin Cheng ask.

“I’d be delighted,” answers Lt. Johnson.

“Put one of the saddles on me so you don’t have to worry about falling off,” answers Lin Cheng. “We are fully capable of climbing up vertical cliffs with ease.”

“Do you need the bridle?” ask Lt Johnson.

“No,” answers Lin Cheng. “It is not necessary for me to wear it.”

“Let me know if I have placed the saddle on you properly,” answers Lt. Johnson. In short order, both rock drakes are saddled and ready to conduct the tour.

The two Rock Drakes start out by taking the two soldiers on a trip into the interior of the unusual hollow mountain. Massive trees soar to the sky above. They are aglow with purple flowers. A huge rock column forms a support for the open rock ceiling. The two drakes now climb up the vertical cliff to the plateau above. The view is impressive with another fallen obelisk seen laying against a mountain in the far distance to the West.

“There’s those pyramids on that far distance island,” reports Lt. Johnson. “Mei Yen’s was right about their existence.”

“Lin Cheng, I see a green beacon on the mainland. It is far different from anything marking a supply crate. Do you know what it is?”

“It marks one of the three terminals of the fallen Obelisks,” answers Lin Cheng. “We can take you there if you want us to.”

“The rest of our patrol is headed over there,” answers Lt Johnson. “It is the source of one of those radio signals we have been monitoring on our field radios.”

“How do you plan to get us there?”

“We glide quite well,” answers Lin Cheng. “It is an easy flight from here.”

“How will you get back if you take us there?” ask Lt. Johnson.

“We will glide part way, then swim the rest of the way back,” Lin Cheng. “We are good swimmers.”

“Then, lets go,” answers Lt. Johnson.

With a running start, the two Rock Drakes take off in a glide. “You glide quite well,” Lt. Johnson tells Lin Cheng. “I can see the patrol up ahead. They have just arrived at the Green Beacon. Circle them so that they can see that you are saddled and we are riding you.”

“We can go stealth if you want,” answers Lin Cheng.

“That won’t be necessary,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Land by the lead Trike.” The two rock drakes circle around the astonished rest of the patrol, then come in to land.

“Stand down,” orders Sargent Lance as the two rock drakes land in front of him. “It looks like Lt. Johnson and Officer Tim have made some new friends.” Everyone gathers around the two rock drakes as Lt. Johnson gets off the one he is riding.

“This is Lin Cheng.” Lt. Johnson announces. “She and her mate Meu Cheng are good friends of Mei Yen. She tells us that Mei Yen and her tribe were here a month ago.”

“She is able to talk to us?” ask Sargent Lance in surprise.

“Yes, we can talk to you humans,” answers Lin Cheng.

“That is remarkable,” answers Sargent Lance. “Is there anything you can tell us about this terminal?”

“Mei Yen told us that you can upload your tames, your supplies, and yourselves to travel to other places that are called arks or store them in status. A month ago, they placed tributes in there in an effort to return back to their world. We haven’t seen them since.”

“Thank you for that valuable information,” Lt. Johnson tells her. “We will track down every clue, every lead to find out what happened to them as we look for a way back to our world. Is there anything we can do for you?”

“Just being our friends will be reward enough,” Lin Cheng answers.

“Let us take the saddles off of you so you don’t have to carry them back to your home island. We can store them on one of the trikes should you wish to come visit us at a later time. If we find out where Mei Yen went, I can fly over on Andy to visit.”

“What about your canoe?” ask Lin Cheng.

“Just leave it next to the raft.” answers Lt. Johnson. “We have no need of it at this time.”

“We’ll be back to visit in a day or two,” answers Lin Cheng as they climb up onto a high hill in preparation to glide back to Rock Drake Island.

“Thank you for the tour and the ride back to my patrol,” Lt. Johnson tells her as she takes off.

“What an amazing trip that was,” Officer Tim tells the others. “Mei Yen writes in her diary that dragons cannot be tamed. She never mentioned about being able to make friends with them.”

“Indeed,” answers Doc. “They registered as wild. Do you think that we will be able to make friends with the mountain dragons when we find the path to the sky temple?”

“Lin Cheng says that it is possible,” answers Lt. Johnson. “We just need to be careful with our first contact with them.”

“Private Washington, Lt. Kim, anything you can tell us about the radio signal?”

“The signal from Channel 16 is definitely from here,” reports Private Washington. “I just have no idea what it is or what it does.”

“I concur,” answers Lt. Kim.

Inspecting the terminal at the base of the green light column, Lt. Johnson finds out that it is as Lin Cheng has described it to everyone. “It’s just as Lin Cheng told us. We can store out tames and supplies here, or use it to transfer to another location. There is nothing in there about using this terminal to return to our world. Lets head back to camp,” orders Lt. Johnson. “We can plan to explore the desert next in the morning and find a way to the red one in the distance.”

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Amissa has received a major update that will impact the next chapter as it is being written. The addition of the pyramids in the desert are going to be a key to the puzzle of how the patrol gets back to the real world. Do expect additional chapters to take weeks to compose.

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Chapter 7 The Desert.

 

Heading back to the temporary camp, the discussion continues with Lt. Johnson and Officer Tim riding on their trikes. “Those were such remarkable creatures” Sargent Lewis tells Lt. Johnson. “That was so fortunate to find such intelligent creature to be friends with in this strange world.”

“It was certainly the last thing I expected to happen, being able to actually talk to these creatures,” answers Lt. Johnson. “How was your patrol to the Green Terminal?”

“It went smoothly,” answers Sargent Lewis. “Doc covered a lot of territory with his new friend. The spitters kept their distance from us. We saw mostly Dodos, small mammals, and some larger herbivores. He got a close look at that stego machine. We should see if we can take it back with us so we can figure out just what it is.”

“There it is up ahead,” reports Officer Tim.

“How do we control this thing?” asks Sargent Lewis as he gets alongside the machine that registers as a Tec Stego.

“Let me see if I can find a control panel,” ask Private Washington. “OK, here it is. I have control of it now. It is now set to follow us back.”

“What powers it?” ask Lt. Johnson.

“That’s what is so interesting,” answers Private Washington. “It eats the same thing as a wild Stego does. The food is what powers it. And, it is a girl.”

“Such a strange land this is,” answers Lt Johnson. “Tamable dinosaurs, intelligent dragons that we can talk to, and now a machine that is for all practicable purposes a living creature?”

“A very strange world we have stumbled into,” answers Sargent Lewis.

“We have enough daylight left to send Doc, Corporal Meyers, and Private Root on their Parasaurs and Gally back to Amissa Village to get more rifles and ammo made during the night,” Orders Lt. Johnson. “If you can, pack up the Smithy and Forge and bring them back with you in the morning.”

While the three soldiers head back to Amissa to complete their tasks by dark, the rest of the patrol is out looking for metal ore. They have found that the round river rocks and rock piles will yield several metal ore with their metal pickax. With the trikes enough narcoberries have been harvested to process the spoiled prime fish into trancs. “That will help us prepare tranc darts if we need to defend ourselves from the Mountain Dragons,” reports Officer Tim. “After talking to Meu Cheng, we definitely don’t want to harm any of them should we be forced into a confrontation with them.”

“Better to have them and not need them then to need them and not have them.” responds Lt. Johnson. “When we have enough darts made up for the Longneck Rifles, we can test them out on some of the desert creatures before we make the trip up to the sky temples. Lets set up our guard rotation for the night and be ready to leave when Doc and his party return in the morning.”

It is Day Five on the watches as preparations are made for the first excursion into the desert. It had been decided to move the temporary camp by the shore to the Green Terminal at the edge of the desert. That move gets completed as Doc’s party returns from Amissa Village with the forge, smithy, and four more Longneck Rifles with ammo.

“Lets just take a Trike patrol out today and let the scouts rest in the camp.” orders Lt. Johnson. “I’ll fly scout on Andy.” With the preps complete, the patrol starts off heading Northeast along the river that separates the open plains from the desert visible across from it. A mesa can be seen in the distance from its towering cliffs. There is a waterfalls coming off of the jungle plateau that feeds the stream. They soon encounter a stone bridge crossing the narrow part of the stream.

“Any idea what the significance of this stone angel is?” asks Sargent Lewis as he stops to check it out.

“I don’t know.” Officer Kim answers after checking it out. “It must be some kind of a landmark. There are no markings on it to identify who placed it there or for what reason they used it.”

“There are horses out in that desert,” reports Lt. Johnson as he flies in on Andy. “If you want to have some faster rides, you better get out there and rescue them from the wolves that are chasing after them.”

“How do we tame the horses?” ask Sargent Lewis.

“Just feed them rockarrots,” answers Officer Tim. “The wolves are a knockout tame.”

“Will we need saddles once they are tamed?”

“No, they can both be ridden without saddles.”

“Roundup time,” orders Sargent Lance. “Help the wolves get them up in the box canyon with the Trikes. Once they are in there, tranc the wolves and see if you can passive tame the horses once they have calmed down.”

It is one strange roundup as the wolves and horses get cornered into the box canyon. The alpha wolf, realizing what is going on, tries to make a break for it but gets blocked by the horns of the trike, then dropped with a tranc dart. The rest of the wolves are quickly dropped with tranc darts. With the wolves knocked out and the trikes blocking the exit, the horses mill around, then settle down.

“Five wolves, seven horses, taming time.” orders Lt. Johnson. “Pick one out and get to work.”

“Who has the rockarrots?” ask Private Washington.

“I do,” Doc answers. “There was a patch of them by the spring. Take some with you and go tame yourself a faster ride.”

“Excellent,” answers Private Washington as his offering of a rockarrot is accepted. “These guys can be ridden bareback with ease.” It isn’t long before the seven horses are tamed and being ridden.

The taming of the wolves is a longer process. Given that they had to be knocked out so they wouldn’t kill the horses, the taming process turns out to be placing raw meat on them for them to eat. “We need more raw meat to tame these guys,” warns Lt. Johnson. “I’ve just ran out.”

“We’ll take care of it,” Sargent Cisco responds. Riding out on their newly tamed horses, Sargent Cisco and Corporal Jefferson head out into the desert on a hunt. In short order, two shots are heard being fired in the distance. Several minutes later, the two return at a gallop.

“Get this prime on those wolves before it spoils,” Sargent Cisco orders the men taming them.

“Where did you find raw prime?” Lt. Johnson ask the Sargent.

“We killed a Carno just past that hill,” reports Sargent Cisco. “It took two shots to kill it. There appears to be Egyptian ruins and a huge pyramid just beyond the ridge.”

“Were those the ones on an island beyond the barrier?” ask Lt Johnson.

“No,” answers Sargent Cisco. “These are part of the desert mainland. The ones on the island are much further out in the sea.”

“Once the wolves are tamed, lets get the trikes back to camp, then scout out the area with our faster mounts.” With raw prime from the Carno, it isn’t long before a pack of five wolves are tamed.

The even stranger convoy has left to return to the temporary camp when Sargent Powell asks doc, “Why did you stick a horn on the head of your white horse?”

“I never put that there,” answers Doc. “She came with that horn on her forehead.”

“You mean that Doc has found himself a Unicorn?” ask Sargent Lance.

“It appears to be an actual Unicorn,” answers Doc. “Still, other then those Direwolves, it is just a horse like the rest of you are riding.”

Arriving at the temporary camp, the Trikes are unsaddled, fed and turned loose in the pen. The patrol heads back out with Sargent Lance riding on the alpha wolf. The Parasaur scouts come along with Sargent Cisco riding on Doc’s nervous friend. Lt. Johnson is on the Argy flying scout. With the rest riding the horses, it leaves the four wolves free to work with Sargent Lance as they cross the stone bridge back into the desert.

It is quite a contrast as they see the open jungle across the inlet to the left, along with Rock Drake Island in the distance, as they travel across the hot sand. Primitive kangaroos are seen browsing on the brush. A strange porcupine like creature is chasing after some unknown mammal along the beach. “Frack, that think can pitch its quills,” warns Sargent Lance as he watches the creature knock out it’s prey. “Safe to say that we better fracking stay away from them,”

Continuing around the ridge, they finally see it, a huge pyramid that soars high into the sky. There is a large stone wall enclosing a courtyard in the front. The main entrance is adorned with huge statues of some important figure of royalty. “Looks like this frackin place is straight out of 3,000 BC Egypt,” comments Lt. Johnson as he flies back to talk to Sargent Lance. “It looks so brand new. Don’t head to the main entrance, there are way too many strange looking frackin predators hanging around there. Stay along the sea side of the entrance structures. There is a side entrance into the courtyard that is free of those nasty frackers.”

The patrol heads on as instructed along the shoreline. Palms and berry bushes are found in clumps along the low spots near the water table. The side entrance is soon located where everyone enters into a large open courtyard. There is a gate at the main entrance which has kept the predators out.

At the North side of the huge pyramid, an entrance way towers above. Like the main gate, it is adorned with statues of Pharaohs and other of royalty. A pair of huge wooden doors are framed by two imposing figures that look like priest with horns on their heads. “Do you think that the early Egyptians were responsible for this strange place?” ask Officer Tim.

“No,” answers Lt. Johnson. “While the early Egyptians had figures of bird headed Gods and other creatures, there is no record of individuals like these with horns like these on their heads. It is highly possible that some little green men may be responsible for this place. They may have been influenced those early kings or may have influences the early Egyptians architecture that is here. Sargent Lewis, Officer Tim, Sargent Powell, Sargent Cisco, Corporal Jefferson, You’re with me. The rest of you secure the entrance while we are inside.” With a spooky creaking sound and a cold puff of misty wind, the left side door is pulled open. The interior starts to light up. “Everyone be on guard, the torches on the wall have just lit themselves.”

It is a strange sight in the entrance chamber with the flickering torches lighting up the rows of statues of Pharaoh Kings lining the main corridor to the interior. A strange hum, like the sound that was picked up on the radio, vibrates throughout the corridor. The place is very clean with hardly any dust on the floor and no cobwebs anywhere.

On the wall there are paintings and hieroglyphic symbols from the 3,000 BC era. Most strange are the symbols of the three Obelisks floating in the air, each with a distinct colored beam of light ascending into the sky. Several individuals are observed standing around the alter while a single figure floats above it. “This is most strange,” Officer Tim comments. “The green alter we observed yesterday did not have an obelisk floating above it. It did have several stone figures holding globes surrounding it.”

“Something must have happened to the obelisk causing them to fall from the sky,” Lt. Johnson answers. “When gliding over there on Lin Cheng, I could see it lying on its side in the ocean against a rocky island. It was still glowing as if it still was powered. Something must have happened to them to cause them to crash to the ground.”

Reaching the end of the corridor, the six man patrol find another door. It is made from metal and is mounted on a metal frame embedded into the stone wall. “Frack, it’s locked,” complains Sargent Lewis. “It looks like that we need a key to this door before we can proceed any further. There is no way we can possibly force our way through that. Whatever lies beyond the door appears to be the source of that sound.”

“Where do you think that key may be located?” ask Sargent Cisco. “We have seen nothing here where it could have been kept in storage.”

“There is this picture on the door of a red castle located in a canyon with what looks like a lava river,” reports Corporal Jefferson. “Could the key to this door be located in there?”

“I guess that the only way we can find out is to find where that canyon is and go to the red castle to search for the key to this door,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Until we can open this door, we can’t go any further in here. Lets get back to camp and figure out what we should do next to find the way back to our world.”

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Chapter 8. The patrol West.

 

Back in the temporary camp, Lt. Johnson holds a meeting to plan the additional exploration of Amissa. “While flying back, I took a quick recon of the main desert area. It doesn’t look good for trying to head over to where the fallen Red Obelisk is. Besides being way too hot, there is a large barren area to cross that is just crawling with predators. The pyramid are such that we would have to sail around them, then follow the shoreline to stay away from the land predators. With all of the Leeds in the water, I can’t see how we can avoid losing some of the rafts and our tames to them. There is no path along the cliff to get out of the desert from the North. According to the map, the best way to get there will be to head back to the village, head back into the Red Jungle, and continue East through the Mushroom Forest into the open plains.”

“I wonder if there is a shortcut somewhere up the ramp that I saw to the higher forest by the mountain,” ask Sargent Lewis.

“We could send a fast patrol up there in the morning,” answers Lt. Johnson.

It is morning when the fast patrol, consisting of the wolf pack, with Sargent Lewis and Private Miller, are sent out. The rest of the patrol spends the morning disassembling the temporary base and packing the components on the 12 trikes. The task gets completed just as Sargent Lewis returns.

“The trail just led to a tunnel, then into a box canyon,” reports Sargent Lewis. There are some large lakes and lots of open deciduous forest in the canyon. Like what you can see from here, the cliff are far too steep to scale to the top. I did see two Mountain Dragons flying high up near the top of the cliffs to the mesa above. They did seem aware of our presence but kept their distance. Other then those two, the area was pretty quiet. Just some birds and small monkeys scurrying about.”

“Well, the shortcut idea was worth a shot,” reports Lt. Johnson. “Lets head back the way we came back to Amissa Village.”

On the way back, a Spino is observed fishing in the river. “We definitely wouldn’t have got the raft past that,” Lt. Johnson tells his men.

“According to Mei Yin, there are more of them living up the river,” reports Officer Tim. “Even though they are fish eaters, they can get quite aggressive if you get too close to them. They prefer to live in the swamps and rivers of this land.”

“So long as they don’t become a threat to us, it is best to just give them a wide berth,” orders Lt. Johnson. “Save our ammo to deal with the T-Rexes if we need to.”

It is late afternoon when the patrol makes it back to their camp in Amissa Village. The Trikes are happy to be back in familiar surroundings. They are turned loose after being unpacked to roam their homeland area.

“I wonder if we could leave the Trikes here when we head West to the Red Obelisk?” ask Sargent Cisco.

“Given that much of where we will be going is jungle and the edge of the swamp, we’d be best to take them along for our protection,” answers Sargent Lewis. “These rifles are no good for taking anything down in a hurry at close range. The trikes are more suited for doing just that.”

It is late evening when Lt. Johnson has returns from a recon flight with Andy. He has flown the length of the intended path through the Red Jungle and Mushroom Redwoods to the edge of the plains. A meeting is called with the patrol. “Sargent Lewis is right about taking the Trikes along. The jungle area is dense enough to hide Carnos until they are on top of us. While the Mushroom Forest is more open, there are some wolf like predators that could pose a danger to us and our tames. There are also cat like creatures up in the trees that can pounce on their prey. We will have to be very careful traveling through those areas, keeping a watch for ambushes by the predators, until we have reached the clearing of the plains.”

In the morning, the full patrol has been assembled. The plan is to be gone for several days so the portable pen has been packed on the trikes and the seven horses to keep the weight down on the Trikes that will be used as tanks. Lt. Johnson flies recon. Sargent Lewis and Sargent Cisco are riding point and rear guard on the parasaurs. They are taking advantage of parasaur’s awareness of danger to alert the patrol of any nearby predators that may be waiting in ambush.

Heading Southwest, the river is crossed in a shallow area with no issues. There is a strange tunnel to the South that is formed by giant trees that is avoided as a shortcut due to the fact that it is flooded. Some Amissa ruins can be seen beyond along with a water wheel and small grindstone mill. Heading up the hill, it isn’t long before the Red Jungle is entered.

“We can move a lot faster if we stick to the game trails,” Lt. Johnson tells Sargent Lewis. “Unlike Vietnam, we only have to worry about the predators. If we are moving along at a decent pace, they won’t have much of a chance to get into a position for an ambush.” Although some raptors and compys are detected, they keep their distance due to the presence of the 12 trikes working together and the wolf pack. Alerted by his Parasaur, Sargent Cisco takes out a carno coming up on their rear with a head shot. It provides raw meat for the wolves and argy. A metal pike, with the usual low level cloth armor and berries, is in its inventory. Overall, the trip through the Red Jungle remains surprisingly quiet.

Not so when they enter the Mushroom Forest.

The patrol has stopped for a noon break at the boundaries of the two forest. The Parasaurs have been placed on alert but have not detected anything of danger nearby. Doc and Private Root have started to investigate the new plant life in the area especially the ground mushrooms.

“These are really interesting,” Doc comments. “There are varieties that act like the berries, even some that will re-hydrate you.”

“These huge ones look like something out of a Beatles Album,” comments Private Root. “Fungal wood and other items from these giant light emitting trees. Here are some red ground mushrooms.”

“AWK! What the Frack! AGggg Gag! Can’t Frackin, GAG, See! Or breathe!”

“GET OUT OF THAT RED FOG!” warns Doc in alarm. Holding his breath, Doc races in and knocks Private Root out of the red fog. They both land outside of its boundary gasping for breath.

“What the frack is going on?” ask Lt Johnson in alarm.

“Those red mushrooms must have released some kind of toxic spores,” warns Doc. “Private Root was staggering around and $hitting all over the place.”

“My vision was like a blur of spinning colors,” gasps Private Root. “I couldn’t see or breathe. It felt like I was drowning. It happened when I went to pick one of those red mushrooms.”

“Get some rest,” orders Lt. Johnson. “Everyone, stay away from those red mushrooms.”

“Is there any way that I can get a sample from one of those red mushrooms?” ask Doc.

“I’ll see if our Tec Stego can safely harvest one,” answer Sargent Lewis. He gets on the Stego, rides it up to the edge, backs it in to the patch and harvests them with no ill effect. “Here doc,” Sargent Lewis tells him as he hands him a package. “Those mushrooms contain something called biotoxin. It must be what was in that cloud of red spores.”

Excellent!” reports Doc. “It may be possible to make an antidote from that material.”

“Lets just avoid those red mushrooms for now if it is at all possible,” orders Lt. Johnson. “Stay on the trails. We will continue as soon as Private Root can recovered enough to ride on his horse.”

A nearby stream takes care of Private Root being able to get himself cleaned up. A rope bridge crosses it near the cliff edge where the stream cascades over a waterfalls into a swampy area below. “Good thing we are not down there,” comments Sargent Lewis. “It is teeming with crocs and giant snakes.”

“One at a time crossing the bridge. We don’t know how much weight it can handle.”

Up ahead, a sheep is seen crossing the trail just as the Parasaur Sargent Lewis is riding on, sounds an alert. “Tranc Darts,” he orders the patrol as the lead nine patrol members form an attack group. “Something unknown up ahead is making my ride extremely nervous.” Three werewolf like creatures pounce out of the brush and attack the sheep from three direction killing it. They are quickly dropped with nine tranc darts from the Long Neck Rifles.

Landing on the trail next to the strange creatures, Lt. Johnson proceeds to examine the three strange creatures. “What are these things?” Lt. Johnson asks Officer Kim.

“I don’t know,” Officer Tim answers. “There’s nothing in Mei Yin’s journal about theses creatures.”

“They sure look like werewolves,” Lt. Johnson reports. “My implants says that we can tame these creatures with mutton. Lets butcher that sheep and put it’s mutton into their inventory. That should speed up the taming process.”

“My implant tells me that they can be ridden, but need a saddle.” answers Sargent Lewis. “The materials needed are available in this forest. I can unpack the Smithy to craft them up while they are taming.” Sargent Lewis is able to craft up three saddles as the three strange creatures, known as Ravagers, quickly tame up with the mutton.

“Hard to believe that such a vicious looking creature can be so gentle among us,” comments Sargent Lewis. “With those claws and wicked teeth, these werewolves should be able to take out anything we may run into.” Everyone goes on alert as there is a large crashing sound in the jungle up ahead.

“Why didn’t the Parasaurs go on alert?” Sargent Cisco asks.

“It’s just a large plant eating mammal that is making all of that noise up ahead,” Lt. Johnson report. “It won’t harm us so long as you don’t harm it. Lets continue on. The path will soon end in an open clearing where we can set up our camp for the night. Lets get out of here before something else unknown to us shows up.”

Nearing the end of the path, the lead Parasaur has gone on alert. A Carno shows up just as the patrol reaches the edge of the strange forest. Before Sargent Lewis can use any of his weapons, his pack of Ravagers tears up the Carno. It yields a pistol from its inventory. “I sure hope that these creatures are only native to that strange forest. We will be dead for sure if we ever get jumped by a pack of them.”

Heading into a clearing on the high plains, the patrol finds a pond next to some ruins. “Lets set up camp here,” orders Lt. Johnson. “I see some fish in that pond we can catch and cook up for supper.”

As the patrol set up their camp for the night, Sargent Lewis has a talk to Lt. Johnson. “Something doesn’t feel right about this place. Other then the fish in the pond, there appears to be a total lack of any other creatures in this area.”

“Take Andy and have a look around,” orders Lt Johnson. “I’ll have everyone load their rifles with regular ammo just in case there are T-Rexes hunting in the area. The stone wall is strong enough to keep them away from us and our tames should they try to attack us.”

A grilled fish dinner is had by all that evening. The area is observed to be clear by Sargent Lewis’ patrol. It remains strangely quiet beyond the stone fence of the tame pen. The normal noises of the evening are just not there. Extra torches are lit as a precaution and place outside as well as inside the pen.

It is around midnight when Lt. Johnson orders everyone on alert. The two Parasaurs have become extremely nervous as all 12 Trikes emit a red glow around their horns. The ground starts to shake from the stomping of huge footprints. Then, a huge roar is heard as a giant carnivore head appears above the stone wall. “That’s no frackin T-Rex!” warns Sargent Cisco as the creature, known in Ark as a Gigasaurus, tears down the wall with its jaw and front claws.

“Head shots,” orders Lt. Johnson as all hell breaks loose among the tames.

The wolves are all over the monstrous carnivore’s legs as it rushes in to the pen grabbing the Tec Stego by its back into it’s huge shark like mouth. The horses, parasaurs, and Doc’s nervous friend are cowering in a corner as the Trikes form a wall of horns to protect them. Andy has taken off and comes in behind the huge carnivore to sink his talons into the back of the neck.

Roaring with rage, its eyes glowing in the light of the torches, the crumpled body of the Tec Stego hits the ground, smoke and sparks flying from the shorted out machinery inside it. 12 bullets find their mark into the open mouth as the monster rushes towards the patrol. It hits the ground when the wolves have caused it to lose control of its leg. At that moment, 12 trikes impale their horns into the side of the huge predator. Another 12 rounds find their target inside that open mouth as it screams with rage. With the spine of its neck severed the huge predator lies paralyzed on its side as the wolves and trikes tear into its tender belly, blood and innards flying everywhere. The battle is soon over.

“Damage report!” orders Lt Johnson as everyone recovers from the shock of that surprise attack.

“We lost the Tec Stego,” reports Doc as he finishes up inspecting the tames for any injuries. “That thing crushed the armor plating into her body. Other then $hitting their pants again, our men are OK. The trikes and wolves got banged up a bit from being tossed about but appear to be OK. Andy lost some feathers, but he is fine. Patty, Perry, Gally, and the horses are shaken but unhurt.”

“Half of the North Wall has been destroyed.” reports Sargent Lewis. “We have enough materials on hand to rebuild it for the rest of the night. I doubt that there will be anything else around here to threaten us at this time given that this thing has killed everything around here for miles.”

“One thing is for certain,’ reports Lt. Johnson. “We’d better craft up some rocket launchers and ammo so we can better defend ourselves should we run into another one of those huge predators.”

“Lets clean up this mess and get the wall repaired for now. We’ll spend tomorrow resting our tames and getting the resources needed to craft up four rocket launchers with ammo. Officer Tim and I will do a full inspection of those ruins in the morning.”

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Chapter 9 The Desert City

 

As the rest of the patrol has been allowed to sleep in to recover from last night’s raid by the largest predator ever to hunt on Amissa, Lt. Johnson and Officer Tim are out searching through the damaged structure by the pond. An old jar with a lid on it is found tucked among the broken stone blocks piled on the floor. The note inside has a picture of a huge beast, but is written in Chinese.

“This note describes the creature that attacked us last night,” Officer Tim reports. “Mei Yen calls it a Gigasaurus. Fortunately, she writes that they are very rare.”

“Thank goodness,” answers Lt. Johnson. “We would have never survived that attack has we not been armed with our rifles and our aggressive tames. As soon as we can, we need to craft up someing more powerful such as RPGs to deal with such creatures.”

“The damage to this structure appears to have been recent.” reports Officer Tim.

“That’s no surprise given how that thing tore down our stone wall with ease to get at our tames,” Lt. Johnson answers back. “I’d like to get over to the edge of the bluff so I can survey a path over to the Red Obelisk and those ruins in the distance. Until Andy’s damaged flight feathers can grow back in, he is grounded. We’ll have to plan our path to those ruins from what we can see through the spotting scope from here.”

Back in the camp, Lt Johnson and Sargent Lewis saddle up the two Parasaurs, Perry and Patty, for a quick recon along the bluff to look for a path to the Red Obelisk. As they head West along the ridge they notice that some of the smaller creatures are now coming out of hiding. A short distance later, they find a path that heads down to the North Shore of the desert. Using the spotting scopes, they plan a path of travel to reach their destination.

“This looks good,” Sargent Lewis comments as he studies the terrain ahead. “If we stick to traveling along the beach, we should be able to make good time using the wolves and horses. Travel should be a bit cooler along the shoreline then it would be in the desert proper.”

“It looks like that there aren’t too many threats down there either,” answers Lt. Johnson. “While I see some thorny dragons and sabercats in the area, I can also see horses, some Kangaroo creatures, those big mammal, something that looks like a camel, and other smaller creatures. We can easily avoid the predators with our faster mounts. The only unknown is what may be on the other side of that bluff. Otherwise, unlike the Eastern side by the Pyramids, it looks like it will be far less dangerous to travel in this area. Lets plan for a fast patrol in the morning and leave the trikes back in the pen.”

Heading back, the two of them are able to observe the high terrain to the Northeast. “It looks like that there is a pathway to reach to the top of the high plateau,” Sargent Lewis reports to Lt. Johnson. From there we should be able to reach the sky bridges to the temples on the floating islands.”

“I see no way to reach that ramp from here,” reports Lt. Johnson.

"It looks like we will have to reach it through that redwood forest,” answers Sargent Lewis. “We’ll have to go through the woods between the two plateaus and swim across the inlet by the waterfalls. There is no way to cross that canyon separating us from the Mushroom Forest. Besides, I don’t think that we want to go through there again if we don’t have to.”

“Agree,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Lets get back, report to the rest of the patrol, and get ready to head out tomorrow.”

Unlike the previous night, this one is much quieter. That is, if you consider that there all that noise from the creatures and insects that inhabit this open plains. Gone is the spooky silence of the night before, the dread of something unknown waiting to attack. Even the tames are all resting comfortably as the patrol rotate their guard watch to look for any threats of large predators that could be out hunting during the night.

It is day Nine on the watches as a beautiful sunrise bathes the temporary camp on the Amissa high plains. With the wolves and horses, the patrol has mounted up and are heading out to the location of the path down to the North Beach and into the desert.

It is already getting quite warm as the patrol ride down to the sandy beach. Everyone has stripped down to cloth armor. The sandy beach is bordered by a cliff to the South and the sea with its cooling breeze to the North. A pair of Thorny Dragons are out chasing Dodo Birds. They keep their distance upon seeing the wolves being ridden by the patrol, especially, the pack of Ravagers.

Spotting silk flowers along the beach, the patrol has stopped to gather them up for crafting into desert cloth. “Excellent, we can now craft up something cooler to wear.” reports Corporal Meyers. “My implant says that we will need the Smithy to craft this material into desert armor.”

“We can use the one built into the Unicorn Saddle,” Doc tells him.

It is an hour later before enough silk has been gathered to dress everyone into the much cooler desert clothing. “This is so much better.” reports Corporal Mays. “It is a lot cooler then even the thatch clothes.”

The wind has started to pick up as the patrol clears the sandstone plateau to the South. The blowing sand is soon starting to obscure visibility. “Head up into those castle ruins,” orders Lt. Johnson. “We’ll seek shelter in there until this weather clears.”

By the time they have reached the shelter of the castle ruins, the wind has now turned into a raging sandstorm. “Where did these tents come from?” Sargent Lewis ask in surprise as they enter the shelter of the castle area.

“Everyone, into these tents with your tames.” orders Lt. Johnson. “We’ll figure it out later when this storm has ended.”

The storm continues to rage for the rest of the morning as the sky turns black from the blowing dirt. Jagged bolts of lightning flash about with the loud crash of thunder. Pieces of stone shower down on them when a bolt of lightning hits one of the castle turrets next to a tent. Then, as quickly as it hit, the storm clears out. The sun is soon shining brightly as the sky starts to turn a hazy golden orange as the heat builds up to dangerous levels.

“Megaheat,” warns Sargent Lewis as he quickly returns from a scouting mission to the Red Obelisk, sweating profusely. His wolf is panting up a storm. “Keep our tames in the tent out of that sun. We’ll have to wait for it to cool down before we can leave this area.”

“Get into that nearby pond with your wolf before you both pass out from heatstroke,” orders Doc. “Thank God this place has an Oasis.” he tells everybody. “There are plenty of berries here, fish in the pond, and some creatures we can kill for meat if we need any. Stay in this area for now. Even our desert clothes are not enough protection from that furnace out there. You and your tame will die for sure from heatstroke if you try to go out into the open desert at this time.”

Taking advantage of the cooler conditions around the castle ruins and their desert armor, the patrol goes exploring on foot through the tents and stone structures.

“Do you think that this is the Red Castle?” Sargent Lewis asks Lt. Johnson.

“No,” Lt. Johnson answers. “The drawings clearly showed a lava river next to it. Not only is this castle white, there is no lava river anywhere around here. Just that small stream and waterfall coming from the spring into the pond.”

“I found a parchment scroll in this old tent,” reports Corporal Meyer. “It appears to be a battle plan from someone named Gingus Kahn.”

“Here’s a last minute entry,” reports Lt. Johnson as he is studying the scroll. “It looks like they declared war on the Amissians and were successful in wiping them out. He says that the floating obelisks came crashing down during the battle. Then, as they were coming back to their tent city to celebrate their victory, they got caught out in the open in the mega heat wave. While their Morellotops were able to survive in the extreme heat, everyone quickly died from heat stroke. Camus, the author of this scroll, was able to make it back to the castle, but was terribly ill for days before he died from the effects of the Megaheat.”

“That must have been his skeleton back there where I found the scroll,” answers Corporal Meyers.

“Undoubtedly, Camus must have literally fried his brain when his body temperature reached lethal levels.” answers Doc. “That would have caused so much brain damage that he would have died days later from it’s effects.”

It is late afternoon when the Megaheat event finally ends. The sky is changing color back to a blue. The surrounding desert starts to cool off with the ocean breeze.

“Lets saddle up, ride over to the Red Alter, and check it out,” orders Lt. Johnson.

Like the green alter at the southern edge of the desert, this one is surrounded by the stone statues that are holding a lantern. They are glowing red. They go out as soon as the patrol rides into the inner circle. “This is the same as the green one,” Sargent Lance reports to the rest of the patrol. “The alter is displaying the same messages. I’m going to check out the fallen obelisk that is laying against the mountain.”

“Be careful,” orders Lt. Johnson. “It looks like it is still powered.”

Sargent Lance and Doc proceed to examine the fallen structure closely. It takes them the rest of the day to finish the task which includes having to climb up to the top of the mountain it has fallen against. “This thing is huge,” comments Doc as he checks out the alien structure. “It at least appears to be stable in spite of the damage done to it when it fell from the sky.”

“That is a good thing,” answers Lt. Johnson. “We better get back to camp before we can’t see where we are going.”

The low sun is shining on the high peaks of the mountains of Amissa as the patrol starts back along the beach to camp. The sandstone cliffs of the South are glowing in a brilliant red and orange as the sun starts to set behind them. To the North, the Northern Lights are starting to bathe the mountain peak with the fallen Blue Obelisk in brilliant sheets of color. The moon is coming up as the wild wolves of the desert bluffs start howling in the distance.

“At least, there will be enough light for us to see our way back to camp.” Sargent Lewis reports to the patrol.

“That will be a blessing given the hellish weather we went through today,” comments Lt. Johnson.

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Chapter 10, Fallen Kingdom

 

Back in the base, everything has been under control. The Trikes have recovered well after their battle from the other night. Andy is starting to replace his broken flight feathers but is still expected to be grounded for the next several days. The plans for Day 10 will be to pack up camp and head North along the beach, then inland through a valley to swim across the small inlet by the waterfalls into the Redwood Forest. Then North to set up camp by the river next to the arctic wilderness.

“If we can build a raft, we could ferry Andy over to our new campsite and take the pen with us,” suggest Sargent Cisco.

“What about the Leeds?” ask Lt. Johnson.

“We’ll hug the shallows so they can’t get us.” Sargent Cisco answers. “If it insists on beaching itself to get us, I’ll put a rocket through it’s head.”

“Sounds like a plan,” answers Lt. Johnson. “You and Corporal Jefferson can work on the raft. We’ll launch it at the beach, load it up, and send you on your way to the campsite by the arctic wilderness.”

One of the strange things about this alternate world is that the raft can be crafted and transported by one person to be launched in the water. With storage boxes on board, that raft can carry tons of stuff as if it has no weight. Therefore, with six Structure Plus small storage boxes on board, the entire pen can be placed on the raft along with Andy and the two soldiers. One to pilot the raft, the other to defend it from any attacking Leeds.

It is day 10 as the raft gets crafted and transported to being launched in the sea. The patrol, with all the tames, has followed the two men to the sea where the heavy fence sections are transferred to crates on the raft. With Andy on board, Sargent Cisco and Corporal Johnson set sail to the planned campsite on the North of the Redwood Forest. The rest of the patrol, with Sargent Lance in the lead on the Ravager pack, proceeds to head inland into the pine forest heading North along the cliff face.

“Why is it starting to get so frackin dark in here?” asks Sargent Lance as they approach the canyon area.

“I don’t know,” answers Lt. Johnson. “There doesn’t appear to be any storms approaching us. In fact the sky looks clear.”

“I’m getting a bad frackin feeling about traveling through here,” answers Sargent Lance.

“I am too,” answers Lt. Johnson. “We really don’t have any choice. There is no beach to go around that bluff to the West and the dangerous Mushroom Forest is above us.”

“I don’t like this,” reports Private Miller as the patrol continues on. “This frackin place reminds me too much of tunnel ratting. I smell extreme danger up ahead. The Parasaurs are getting nervous and the Trike’s heads are starting to glow.”

“Light your torches and hook them to your saddles,” orders Lt. Johnson. “Load your rifles with live rounds. Whatever is out there could be anywhere, even above on that cliff.”

“Damn, this is mudder frackin awful!” warns Sargent Lance. “Even our torches are failing to cut through this gloom.”

The patrol continues on heading towards the barely visible bay up ahead. Strange spooky noises are heard coming from under the ground. Ground fog is making it even harder to see what they are walking on. It still looks like they are in a pine forest, but it is so reminding of a trek through Transylvanian at night. The glow from the Trike’s heads is becoming so bright that it is soon lighting the way. Even the horses and wolves are getting nervous as they start to hesitate to travel any further.

“Crossbows with stone arrows!” orders Lt. Johnson as several loud screams are heard coming from under the ground ahead of them.

Several glowing red humanoid creatures suddenly burst forth from the ground ahead of them as Sargent Lewis’s Ravager pack attacks the leader. More of those Red Devils are soon popping out of the ground alongside the patrol screaming their heads off. They are met with charging Trike horns and snarling wolves. Others are met with flying hooves as the ten members of the patrol return fire with stone arrows.

As the majority of the red devil, later to be identified as The Nameless, get killed off, there is a deafening roar from some creature, the size of a T-Rex, that burst forth from the ground in front of them. “What the frack is that!” screams Sargent Powell.

“Hit that thing with a rocket!” orders Lt Johnson as the rest of the patrol, not involved in fending off red devils, open fire on the new threat. A rocket to the head ends the threat as the rest of the red devils are killed off.

“Lets get the frack out of here,” orders Lt. Johnson.

Reaching the shoreline, the patrol stops to rest and take care of their injuries. Normal daylight has returned. Some members of the patrol have been bitten by the red devils along with their tames. Doc, upon treating the injuries, has discovered that the bites are poisonous. Fortunately, Doc has crafted up a batch of antitoxin from the red mushrooms and orders everyone that was bitten to take a dose. The tames, that were bitten, get a dose as well.

“And, you thought that the Mushroom Forest was dangerous, complains Private Root. “This place must be what Hell looks like minus the fires and brimstone.”

“We made it through alive,” answers Lt. Johnson. “That is the most important about what just happened here. Lets get across this inlet to more safer ground.”

“Are our tames going to be able to swim across this?” ask Doc.

“Without the load of those heavy fences, it shouldn’t be a problem,” answers Officer Tim. The short swim is made across the inlet near the falls from above with no problems.

Meanwhile, the raft mission hasn’t been without it’s problems. A Leed has been spotted in their path as Sargent Cisco keeps an eye on it while Corporal Jefferson keeps the raft tight to the cliff face of the Doom Land. “Hopefully, the darkness will keep us hidden from that raft killer,” Sargent Cisco tells Corporal Jefferson. They continue sailing tight to the cliff face but soon find that they will need to cross the open water of the bay to the shore beyond. “Head for the shallows by those rocks,” orders Sargent Cisco.

A mad dash is made for the far shore as the Leed spots them. It surfaces from behind only to get a bullet into its eye. The Leed drops back in confusion as the raft makes it to the shelter of the shallow among the rocks. It comes charging back to get them which earns a rocket to its head. With the threat over, Sargent Cisco and Corporal Jefferson proceed to harvest the hide and some prime fish to cook in the firepit on the raft.

“At least we have the shore to shelter us the rest of the way,” Sargent Cisco tells Corporal Jefferson. They continue to sail around the point of the Redwood Forest, then into the river by the Arctic Biome to an ox bend where there is a clearing among the huge trees. A Carno, two spitters and three Compys are eliminated as the two of them clear the area for the camp. It has started to rain as the two men continue with their work. Andy comes over to stand under a huge redwood for shelter. Still, it is rain and foggy when the rest of the patrol has arrived to help in building the pen and shelter for the night.

As the patrol has traveled through the forest along the edge of the cliff, they confirm that there is a ramp that leads to the higher level. Doing a quick survey, Sargent Lewis confirms that a path exist leading up to the top of the high plateau. “There will be no problem heading up to the plateau when we are ready to go up there,” Sargent Lewis reports to Lt. Johnson. “There’s metal ore around here. We can get our tools and our weapons repaired my morning.”

Sargent Lewis has spotted Mastodons across the river in the Arctic Wilderness. “Sargent Cisco and I are going hunting for a Mastodon, “he tells Lt. Johnson. “One should give us enough pelts for fur armor.” They use the raft to cross the river, then proceed to look for a low level loner. They find one close by that ID’s as a Level 4 and proceed to hunt it using their Longneck Rifles.

“That’s one tough creature,” comments Sargent Cisco as it takes three salvos from the rifle to bring it down. A wolf pack spots the downed creature and races in to attack.

“Take them out!” orders Sargent Lewis. The two low levels are dropped with a round to the head. The Alpha turns tail to run and is dropped with two rounds.

“More then enough pelts,” comment Sargent Cisco as they proceed to skin the four creatures making several trips to the raft to store the bounty of their hunting success.

Later that night, the pelts, along with the metal needed for the process, are crafted into a set of fur armor for everyone.

It is the morning of day 11 when a fast patrol is assembled of just the wolves and horses is prepared for the trip to the fallen Blue Obelisk. “The weather is much too cold for our reptiles and Ravagers.” reports Sargent Lewis. “Our wolves and horses should have no problems handling the cold.”

To keep them dry, the patrol is ferried across on the raft two at a time. That takes six trips. Then, they are on their way into the Arctic where it quickly gets cold enough that the fur armor is needed to stay warm. Still, it is a bit of a shock to the patrol to enter the cold, especially to the two Vietnamese who have never been exposed to such cold weather.

The trip continues to the Northeast towards the white mountain. Mammoths and Woolly Rhinos are observed grazing in the frosted vegetation. A wolf pack is seen hunting a Mammoth and takes a beating when several other Mammoths join in the fight. It is one trip one doesn’t want to take alone.

Rounding the hill in the snow covered valley, the patrol comes upon a series of castle ruins. The area appears to be free of predators as the patrol stops to investigate the castle to look for clues of it’s occupants.

“What an interesting place this is,” comments Lt. Johnson as he and Officer Tim proceed to explore the damaged interior. “It looks like whoever built this place has install a heating system based upon flowing lava.”

Indeed, that is what it is where a fountain of molten rock comes up from a spring in the back of the castle, runs down two channels in the floor, then vanish into the stonework below.

Most strange about the castle hallway is that among the damaged ornately decorated columns are banner flags hanging down from the ceiling. They are tattered but remain undamaged from exposure to the hot lava under them in the channels of the floor.

“Such a contrast of furnishing,” reports Officer Tim. “The throne area is in ruins, yet, there are brand new benches in the hallway as if they were brought here after the ceiling caved in.”

It must have been the Northern home of the Ammisians, then was destroyed by Gingus Kahn who left the benches here for his troops to warm up in the remains of the palace,” report Lt. Johnson. “There appears to be no other records for us to find here. Lets head over to the alter of the Blue Obelisk.”

Back outside, Lt. Johnson makes his report, then mounts up on his horse. The patrol continues around the mountain by the base of the Blue Obelisk. Like the red one, it lies on its side against the snow covered mountain.

A blizzard moves in as they continue the patrol. The weather is not all that cold but the visibility is getting bad. Rounding the mountain, they find the blue beam of light coming down from the snow filled sky to the ground. “There’s no alter or any statues here,” reports Sargent Lewis.

“If they are here at all, they must be buried under the ice and snow,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Given the size of the lantern statues at the other two alters, it has to be down at least 50 feet. Lets head back to the Redwoods camp. There’s nothing here but snow, cold, and predators in this land of the Fallen Kingdom.”

It is a rough trip back in the blinding snow. Sargent Lewis has let his Alpha Wolf guide him back towards the river and the raft. After an hour of the patrol following Sargent Lewis, they reach the river as the snow changes over to a cold rain and fog. Crossing the river on the raft, the cold rain finally ends with the weather warming up. The trip has taken them most of the day.

“What next?” ask Sargent Lewis when they get back to camp.

“We make the trip up into the plateau in the morning to the Sky Temple,” answers Lt. Johnson.

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Chapter 11, The Temple in the Sky.

 

It is day 12 on a cool misty morning on Amissa in the Redwoods. The decision has been made to pack up camp to transport the stone pen modules on the Trikes. Andy’s feathers have grown back enough so that he can fly, but, it will be a couple of days before Lt. Johnson can fly on him. With the wolves in the lead, the patrol starts up the ramp to the plateau by the Mushroom Forest, then they start up the long path leading to the top of the snow covered plateau.

“This path appears to have been carved into the side of the cliff,” reports Sargent Lewis who is leading the patrol on point. They have to stop on occasions so that the lead members of the patrol can clear away the boulders that have fallen from above and are blocking their way.

The view towards the North is awesome. One can see way beyond the area of the Fallen Kingdom to the sea far the Arctic wilderness.

As the patrol continues the climb up, the path levels off, then forms a switchback heading into a steep climb into a crevasse and finally to the top which is high in the clouds. At this point, fur armor has to be put on as it is getting quite cold at the high altitude. The climb up has taken the entire morning. It starts snowing on the plateau making it a winter wonderland in the snow covered pine forest.

“How are the reptiles holding up in this cold?” ask Lt Johnson.

“They appear to be doing just fine,” reports Doc.

It is another hour of travel across the plateau when they reach a stone bridge that crosses over to the first of a series of floating stone islands. “What a strange place this is,” comments Sargent Lewis who is in the lead with the wolf pack as they cross the first of a series of stone viaducts connecting the floating island.

As they reach the first island, the weather has warmed up to that of a pleasant spring day. The fur armor comes off as everyone enjoys the smell of apple blossoms and other flowering fruit trees on this most unusual floating island.

“There’s the sky temple,” reports Sargent Lewis as they start to cross the second stone bridge to where it is.

“When we reach it, let us set up camp there for the night,” orders Lt. Johnson. “It’s been a long day and a long climb. Our tames can use the rest.”

Reaching the floating island with the Sky Temple, the gardens surrounding it contains plenty of berries for the tames. The wolves and Andy have plenty of raw meat thanks to some Carnos that were killed when they threatened the tames while on the plateau. A large enclosed main hall is inside the temple, the main doors large enough for the Trikes to come inside.

Suddenly, there are several loud shreaks to the south from another floating island. Andy comes flying into the temple seeking shelter in the back corner. Sargent Lewis comes running in shouting, “Get all the tames inside the temple and place them on passive. The Mountain Dragons have spotted us and they are not happy about our presence.”

“Everyone away from the windows and doors,” orders Lt. Johnson as the dragons come flying in on attack mode. A blast of flame hits the temple door as they are closed and barricaded.

“Time to put a stop to this nonsense,” orders Lt. Johnson as the attack has continued for several minutes. “Load tranc darts into the rifles, go to the side windows by the main door and shoot that dragon in the neck when I open the door to get it’s attention.” Splitting into two teams, the side windows have become ambush points. Lt Johnson and Officer Tim open the door and step outside. A dragon looks at them ready to launch another fire attack. With the order given, ten tranc darts are fired at once at the fire dragon. With a squack of surprise, it looks at them in shock, staggers about, then falls down unconscious on its side. The other nearby dragons, seeing their comrade falling to the ground, quickly break off their attack and land on the nearby island. One dragon remains nearby as it lands to watch what happens next.

“Now what?” asks Sargent Lewis.”

“Mei Cheng told me that the Mountain Dragons are just as intelligent as her,” answers Lt. Johnson as he pulls the ten darts out of his neck. “It may be possible to talk to this guy when he wakes up.”

“How will we keep him from taking off on us when he does wakes up?” asks Officer Tim.

“We sit on the horns of his head,” answers Lt. Johnson. “It’s an old horse trainer’s tactic for dealing with rank horses. Pin their head to the ground and they will be render helpless to get back up. With those horns on the back of his head, we should have enough leverage to keep him down until we decide to let him back up. My implant says that he will wake up soon. Lets get a hold of them now before he wakes up and tries to get back up.”

“Oh, my head,” the dragon says as he starts to wake up. Then, realizing that he is being pinned to the ground, he goes into a total panic. Lt. Johnson and Officer Tim hang onto those horns for dear life as the dragon struggles to get back up.

“Stop struggling!” Lt. Johnson yells back at him several times as the fight continues. Finally, the dragon who is now totally exhausted from the struggle, gives up, lays back down on his side and starts crying.

“I don’t like this,” he whimpers back to Lt. Johnson. “You win. Let me back up. Please! I’ll do anything that you want.”

“Why did you attack us?” Lt. Johnson asks the dragon in a stern voice.

“I thought that you were part of that Mongolian Horde,” the dragon whimpers back.

“Do you promise not to take off on us once I let you get back up?” Lt. Johnson asks him.

“Under the rules of Dungeon and Dragons, I promise to do anything that you want me to do.” the dragon whimpers back in tears.

“Lets let him get back up,” orders Lt. Johnson. “He will keep his word.” The two soldiers release their grip on the horns allowing the dragon to roll back into an upright condition. Lt. Johnson proceed to rub him on his neck in an effort to comfort him as he remains quite upset over his capture but does nothing to be threatening to his captors. Several of the others of the patrol have come out to look at the dragon close up. The other dragon that was close by has moved further away but is still keeping watch.

“What is Dungeon and Dragons?” ask Officer Tim.

“It is an old card and dice game that I played with my friends before I joined the military,” answers Lt. Johnson. “It’s hard to believe that these mountain dragons are bound to those rules of that game for real. It also means that they can be ridden. Does Mei Yin have any information about these creatures in her journal?”

“There is nothing in her journal about these creatures,” answers Officer Tim. “They apparently never made it up to the Sky Temple”

“What is that other dragon doing?” asks Sargent Lewis.

“It must be his mate,” answers Lt Johnson. “This guy is so unhappy about us capturing him. Under the rules of D&D, he is bound to be my slave. I don’t know what I can do about that. I really don’t want to keep him as a slave. I am going to have to visit Lin Cheng and ask her for some advice. I’m placing you in charge while I am gone. Don’t do anything to harm any of the other mountain dragons while I am gone. If I’m right, his mate will follow me and the others will likely keep their distance until I get back.”

“Do you have a name?” he asks the dragon.

“I am called Tarmac,” he answers in a frightened shaky voice.

“I would like to take you to visit a friend of mine.” he tells Tarmac. “Can I ride on you to go there?”

“I’ll do anything that you want me to,” answers Tarmac. “Climb up on my shoulder to sit behind the spike on my back. You can guide me with that.”

“We’ll be back in a while,” reports Lt. Johnson as he gets on Tarmac. They soon take off flying to the Southeast.

“Where are we going?” Tarmac asks Lt. Johnson.

“We’re going to visit a friend of mine for some advice about Mountain dragons over on Rock Drake Island.” answers Lt. Johnson.

“Oh No!” answers Tarmac in shock and fear. “I don’t want to die!”

“You’re not going to die,” Lt. Johnson tells Tarmac as he rubs the back of his neck. “Be brave, The Rock Drakes are my friends.”

“How is that possible?” Tarmac asks.

“I learned that Mei Yin had made friends with them over a month ago when I paid them a visit,” Lt Johnson answers.

“You mean that there were other humans here beside the Amissions and those evil Mongolians?” ask Tarmac.

“Yes,” answers Lt Johnson. “Apparently, they never made it up to the sky temple like we did.”

“What ever happened to those other humans?” ask Tarmac.

“The Amissins were killed by the Mongolians,” answers Lt Johnson. “They, in turn, were killed in a mega heat wave when they were crossing the desert to return to their tent city. According to Meu Cheng, Mei Yin found a portal to return to her world and left this one. That was a month ago. We’re trying to find a way to return to ours. That is why we went up to the sky temple to look for clues to how we can get back to our world.”

“I’m going to approach Rock Drake Island from the sandbar, then land at Mei Yin’s cabin. Then, I’ll introduce you to the two rock drake friends of mine, Meu Cheng and Lin Cheng.”

“I’ll be brave,” Tarmac answers back as he is shaking in fear as they come in to land by the cabin. Unknown to Tarmac, but known to Lt. Johnson, Tarmac’s mate has followed them at a distance and has landed on the sandbar.

“Lin Cheng, are you out there?” Lt Johnson calls out.

“I’m on the other side of the cabin,” Lin Ching answer back while in stealth. “How did you manage to make friends with a Mountain Dragon?”

“At this moment, we didn’t.” answers Lt Johnson. “They attacked us when we surprised them at the Sky Temple. We tranced this guy when they wouldn’t stop attacking us. That ended their attack. When he woke up, Officer Tim and I pinned his head to the ground until he surrendered. Be gentle with Tarmac, he is still scared out of his wits. He thinks that he is my slave under the rules of that silly card and dice game called Dungeon and Dragons.”

“I’ll have a talk to him in our language,” answers Lin Cheng. There is about ten minutes of dragon speak as Lin Cheng and Tarmac talk to each other. He starts calming down as the conversation continues. Lin Cheng soon comes out of stealth as Tarmac looks at her. They are soon facing each other as Tarmac has her assurance that no harm will come to him from the Rock Drakes. Meu Cheng soon joins his mate as the discussion continues.

“Lt. Johnson, I want you do try something for me,” Lin Cheng asks him. “Go over to the edge of the cabin roof. Tarmac, place your head so Lt Johnson can reach your forehead. Good, now close your eyes. Lt. Johnson, rub Tarmac on the forehead and keep tell him that he is not your slave.” Rubbing the forehead, Lt. Johnson does as Lin Cheng has instructed.

“Thank you,” Tarmac tells Lt. Johnson after several minutes of this therapy session. I feel so much better now.”

“I’m happy to hear that,” Lt. Johnson tells Tarmac. “It is much better to have you as a friend rather then a slave. Your mate has followed us here. She is at the end of the sandbar watching us. Go over there to see her. She must be worried sick about you in spite of how frightened she must be about this place.”

“Thank you, thank you so much for setting me free,” Tarmac answers. He then files off to see his mate who appears to be so happy that he is free.

“That went well,” Lt. Johnson tells Lin Cheng. “I pray that the truce is still holding up back at the Sky Temple. I don’t want to hurt any more of these marvelous creatures. Oh Frack, look at the time. It’s going to be dark soon. There is no way that I can cross the sea in the canoe after dark, let alone go back to the path back up to the plateau on foot and alone.”

“We can take you back to the Sky Temple,” Tarmac answers as he and his mate fly back to the cabin.

“Stay here with us for the night,” answers Lin Cheng. “Lt. Johnson can sleep in the cabin if he wants to. These are the first mountain dragons we have ever seen up close. We would like to become friends with them.”

It becomes quite a party until Midnight when all of the rock drakes head back to their home in the cliffs for the night. Tarmac, and his mate known as Tammy, spend the night next to the cabin with Lt. Johnson. Tammy is actually by Lt. Johnson by now talking to him as he pets her on the neck. “Is this what it is like to become a tame?” she asks him.

“No, he answers. “Our tames are behaving as if they are robots. You are not. This is what it is like to become a friend.”

“Can I take you back to the Sky Temple in the morning?” asks Tammy

“If it is all right with Tarmac, you most certainly can,” answers Lt. Johnson.

It is the morning of Day 13 as the sun rises in a beautiful dawn sky on Rock Drake Island. Lin Cheng comes over to the cabin to bid everyone a good bye. “If we find out what happened to Mei Yin, I will certainly come back to let you know.” Lt. Johnson tells her.

“Thank you and have a good flight,” Lin Cheng tells them. They take off flying towards the mainland.

“This is so unexpected,” Tammy tells Lt. Johnson as they are flying across the sea. “It is actually enjoyable having you riding on me.”

“Can I show you two some flying tips?” ask Lt. Johnson.

“Sure,” both dragons answer back.

“Tarmac, I want you to take the lead. Tammy, I want you to get into a position where you are a wingtip to the right of Tarmac but one dragon length behind him.” Tammy flies into the position that Lt. Johnson tells her to go. “What do you feel?” he asks her.

“This is taking less effort to fly.” Tammy tells him in astonishment. “How is that possible?”

“It has something to do with the air flow over the wings when birds and even our aircraft fly in such a formation.” Lt. Johnson tells her. “Tarmac is still doing all of the work of normal flying. But you are getting the benefit of his work by flying where you are located in this formation. In fact, if we had more dragons flying with us, they would also get the same benefit if they fell into the same formation behind Tarmac.”

“Tarmac, go ahead and drop back behind us in the same position.”

“Now, I understand how formation flying works,” Tammy answers back. “The leader does all of the work setting the path so the rest of us can benefit from it. He then drops back to the end of the formation so he can take a break as the next one in line takes the lead. That is a great idea for long distance flying.”

“Rather then start climbing towards the top of the mesa at this time, I would like you to fly into the desert, then fly parallel close to the cliff. Once you reach the cliff, break formation and follow each other flying along side of it. If we are lucky, we will catch an updraft from the wind blowing up that cliff face.” The two dragons do as they are instructed.

“That is amazing,” answers Tammy. “We are gaining altitude without even trying.”

“It is a trick that even allows an unpowered glider to stay in the air for so long.” answers Lt. Johnson. “If you are flying out in the open desert or plains and position yourself under a cloud, you can even find a thermal that will have the same effect. Watch what the buzzards are doing in the desert when they are circling under a cloud. They are looking for and staying in the updraft from thermal to gain altitude.”

“We have reached the top,” Tammy tells Lt. Johnson. “Now what should I do?”

“Stay with the updraft until you can see the Sky Temple below in the distance. Then go fly to it in formation.”

Coming into sight of the Sky Temple island, the three of them witness a most unexpected sight. All of the Mountain Dragons are there with the tames and the rest of the patrol out mingling with them. Some are being petted, other are giving the men rides. An Alpha is engaged in conversation with Sargent Lewis. “Thank God that the truce held up. It looks like everyone became friends while we were gone.”

Landing, Lt. Johnson gets off of Tammy and heads over to Sargent Lewis. The two dragons take off to be with their friends where a lot of excited conversation soon takes place. Then, with the exception of the Alpha, the entire flock takes off to fly around the island in a V formation.

“What’s going on with those dragons?” ask Sargent Lewis.

“Tammy is showing them how to do formation flying,” Lt. Johnson answers back. “How did you make friends with the rest of the dragons?”

“When you took off for Rock Drake Island, Paragon followed the three of you from a distance and landed up on top of the cliff there. She watch you, the two dragons, and the Rock Drakes all become friends. When she came back here in the evening, she decided to make contact with us asking for me to come out to talk to her. Seeing that the trikes were no longer alerting us of danger, I went outside to talk to her. When she realized that we were not here to harm them, she called off all hostilities and brought everyone over here one at a time to get to know all of us.”

“What brought you up here to the Sky Temple?” Paragon asks Lt. Johnson.

“We are looking for clues to find the location of the Red Castle so we can find a key to allow us to return to our world,” answers Lt. Johnson.

“Do you mean the red castle that is next to a Lava River?” ask Paragon.

“Yes, that is the one we saw on the painting of the door of the pyramid.” answers Lt. Johnson.

“When the floating Obelisks fell, the Red Castle became inaccessible to anyone on foot,” answers Paragon. “It became surrounded by a lava river.”

“Could you fly us over there?” Lt. Johnson ask Paragon.

“Yes, I can.” she answers. “It’s not far from here.”

“I will need to take Officer Tim with me so that he can translate any Chinese inscriptions for me.”

“I can take you both,” Paragon answers.

“Excellent, Lets go find that key so we can get back to our world.”

Edited by rpicardi1
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Chapter 12. Mei Yin Le.

 

Both Lt. Johnson and Officer Tim are riding on Paragon, the Alpha leader of the Mountain Dragons as she takes them to the location of the Red Castle. Being larger then all of the other dragons, she is easily able to handle being ridden double.

The flight takes them up into the clouds towards a barren plateau that is studded with giant crystal. Golden rocks of metal ore and black obsidian covers the top of the peaks. As row after row of six sided basaltic rock come into view, Paragon glides down into a vast split in the plateau. Clearing the base of the clouds, the barren landscape below looks like it came straight out of hell with its blackened rock, burned up trees, and a river of lava. Lt. Johnson and Officer Tim put on their desert armor as Paragon comes in to land at the Red Castle. “I’ll wait here for you,” Paragon tells them as they get off of her.

“Is the heat going to bother you down here,” Lt. Johnson asks her.

“No,” Paragon answers. “We can tolerate it quite well.”

“We’ll be back as quick as we can.” answers Lt. Johnson.

Entering the ruins of the Red Castle, the two men head directly to the throne room. The rumbling of the lava river outside makes for a strange scene as the steam and smoke partially obscures the visibility inside. There, behind the throne, as shown on the door art of the pyramid, they find a chest filled with jewels, gold coins, and other precious objects. “I think that there might be something hiding under this chest,” Officer Tim tells Lt. Johnson after they have dug through the chest to look for a key that is not there.

“Lets move it out of the way,” answers Lt. Johnson. With much effort, the chest is moved enough to reveal what appears to be just more of the stone tiling of the floor, but something isn’t right about one of the floor tiles the chest was sitting on. “This tile appears to be loose. Lets see if we can pry it out with our metal pick axes.” With much additional effort, the floor tile is pried up reveling a hole where a small chest rest in it.

“There’s the key to the pyramid door along with a diary written in hieroglyph,” reports Officer Tim when he opens up the small chest.

“Lets get out of here,” orders Lt. Johnson. “It’s getting much too hot to stay in here much longer.”

“Did you find what you were looking for,” asks Paragon as the two dirty sweating men come back outside.

“Yes, we did,” answers Lt. Johnson. “The key was hidden under a floor tile that was under a chest containing a King’s Ransom gold and precious jewelry.”

“Did you bring that treasure with you?” ask Paragon.

“No,” answers Lt. Johnson. “We found something far more valuable then that heavy treasure. We found a diary that was kept by one of the Ammisian rulers.”

“That is most interesting,” Paragon answers back. “The Mongolian Hoard would have taken all of the treasure with them regardless of how heavy that stuff was.”

“It is probably why they all perished in the desert,” answers Lt Johnson. “Their caravan was so burdened with the spoils of war that they failed to escape the mega heat wave when it caught them far from the shelter of the cooler sea or plateau.”

“Lets get back to the Sky Temple. It is much too hot down here by the lava river for us to stay much longer.”

Back at the Sky Temple, after having cleaned up in the pond nearby, Lt. Johnson gathers his men for a briefing. Several of the dragons have joined in as well. “We now have the key for the pyramid door. In the morning, we can retrace our steps back to Amissa Village, then head back to our campsite near the Green Alter. That should take us about three days to get there.”

“If you would like us to, we could take you directly to that campsite,” Paragon tells them.

“That would be great,” answers Lt. Johnson. “What about our tames?”

“If you put their saddles on them, we can safely carry them with us,” answers Paragon.

“How are you going to be able to carry something as heavy as our Trikes?” Lt. Johnson asks her.

“For some unknown reason, you and your tames have no weight when we carry them,” answers Paragon. “However, what you carry with you and on them does have weight which can making flying difficult.”

“Then, lets do this,” answers Lt. Johnson. “I’ll send Sargent Lewis, Sargent Cisco, Corporal Jefferson, and Officer Tim with all of the stone pen sections that your dragon friends can safely carry. They will unload everyone so they can come back for our tames. The pen should be finished by the time you have carried our tames down there. You can take the rest of us down on the last trip. Make as many trips as needed to get everything down there.” After leaving for a couple of minutes to talk to her friends, Paragon comes back with some 23 dragons that include Tammy and Tarmac.

“It looks like that every Mountain Dragon on Amissa has volunteered to help us,” reports Sargent Lewis. “With this much help, it shouldn’t take them long to ferry everything down to that old campsite.”

The dragons line up one at a time in front of the temple as the men load the stone fence sections on each of them. Lt. Johnson makes sure that each dragon is comfortable with the load they are carrying. All 24 dragons are able to transport the entire fence in one trip. With Sargent Lewis ridding on Paragon, the first flight takes off for the old camp. Landing there, their cargo is unloaded and placed in temporary storage. Then, they all take off flying in a V formation with Paragon in the lead.

“It looks like they have learned something from us just as we have learned something about them,” comments Sargent Cisco as the four men start assembling the stone pen.

“It has become a most worthwhile alliance,” answers Sargent Lewis. “Here they come back already with a bunch of our tames.” With nothing to be unloaded from them, the dragons fly in low over the pen, come into a hover, and drop off the tames one at a time. They look bewildered about being on such an areal flight but, realizing that they are not going to become dragon chow, have been calm about that most frightening experience.

Lt. Johnson and Private Washington have rigged up some temporary saddles using their fur armor for the five wolves. It makes them feel more secure about being carried by the dragons to the new location. With them, and the rest of the tames, the dragons fly everyone down to the new base.

“Thank you, thank you so much for saving us three days of marching back through some very dangerous areas of Amissa.” Lt. Johnson tells Paragon and the rest of the dragons.

“It was our pleasure,” Answers Paragon. “Everyone enjoyed all of the unusual attention. Andy should be here soon. We just fly too fast for him.”

“Thanks for the information. In the morning, we will send out a fast patrol to the Pyramid, get the door unlocked, and look for clues to what happened to Mei Yin and her warriors.”

“I’m thinking that we had better have all predators with us when we go inside the Pyramid,” Sargent Cisco tells the others as they hold their planning meeting for tomorrow.

“That wouldn’t be a bad idea,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Take three other men with you armed with tranc darts. Then, go into the edge of the desert, find some wolves or lions, and tame them.”

The patrol turns out to be a success with the four men having tamed another wolf, two Saber Tooth Tigers, and a strange looking beast that they just name “Kitty.” The tame goes well when they are able to take down a low level T-Rex which provides them with the raw prime needed for a faster tame. Sargent Cisco scars the wits out of everybody when he jumps into the pen with Kitty.

It is day 14 as the patrol prepares for their reinforced expedition to the Pyramid. Tammy and Tarmac has stayed with their human friends for the night. They have agreed to fly recon for the patrol so that Andy can remain with the other tames back in the camp. With Sargent Cisco in the lead on Kitty, the patrol leaves the camp heading across the rope bridge into the desert.

The patrol is able to reach the Pyramid with no issues from the desert predators. By traveling along the shoreline they avoid the more dangerous ones that are hunting inland. Those that they do see wisely get out of their way when they see the large pack of tamed predators coming their way. One Carno pushes his luck becoming a snack for all of the tames.

Pulling open the outside doors, the patrol is in shock when they see the interior of the main entrance. Unlike the last visit where everything was clean and orderly, the place is full of cobwebs and dirt. Several of the lit torches have been knocked off of the wall. Chairs and other furniture has been overturned or broken. It has become spooky inside as the wind makes a strange noise from the standing columns.

“Crossbows with stone arrows,” orders Lt. Johnson as everyone rides their tames into the entrance way. “I have a frackin bad feeling about this place. So are our tames. Keep an eye on the shadows for any frackin threats that may be hiding in them.”

Without warning, a flock of bats, followed by a bunch of huge spiders, come flying out of the shadows to attack them. Several of the attackers are dropped with the crossbows, the rest dispatched by the tames and their riders using swords and pikes. Two of the wolves get knocked out by the spiders biting them. Two others are immobilized by webs. Some stimms are used to revive them as members of the patrol cut off the webs holding the others down. The dead creatures yield up some flack armor, arrows, a pike, assorted berries, and other items.

“Where do these frackin creatures get this stuff?” ask Private Washington.

“They must have gotten it from whoever they killed before we got here,” answers Doc.

“Here’s the locked door,” reports Sargent Cisco. Using the key he found, Lt. Johnson unlocks the door. With a loud squeal from the old hinges, the heavy metal door is pulled open.

“Frack! We have to crouch through the doorway to get inside,” warns Sargent Cisco.

“It was probably designed that way to make it difficult for invaders to attack anyone inside,” answers Lt. Johnson. “This is bad news. We will have to proceed without the protection of our tames. Sargent Lewis, Private Miller, take point. I wouldn’t be surprise to find that this place is full of traps. Take this metal armor we found on the spiders. It should give the two of you more protection then what you are wearing now.”

Torches are lit as the patrol cautiously proceed through the low doorway. It opens up into several large chambers lined with ornate dust and cobweb covered statues. Hieroglyph cover all of the stone columns.

“Careful,” warns Private Miller when he spots something on the floor that looks odd. Using his pike, he pushes on a round stone step on the floor. Thwack! A dart goes flying by and embeds itself into the wall.

“Everyone, watch where you step, be careful of what you touch.” orders Lt. Johnson.

Continuing on, both Sargent Lewis and Private Miller prod the floor with their pikes setting off other darts ahead of them. A light suddenly shines on the pike as they continue on where the path has narrowed down to force everyone to go single file. “Step back!” warns Sargent Lewis as a metal pendulum suddenly comes swinging down from the ceiling just missing the two point men.

“Frack, that was close,” complains Private Miller.

Suddenly, from behind, the patrol is attacked by ghostly mummys coming out of the floor. “Swords!” orders Lt. Johnson. The threat is quickly ended as the cloth wrappings are slashed to pieces by the sharp swords.

As the pendulum has finally come to rest, the patrol squeezes their way around it. The path opens back up to where an alien looking structure sits in the middle of the room. “Careful, there are pit trap in here.” warns Sargent Lewis. “The floor has rotted away in spots.” Making sure that the way is clear, the patrol proceeds to investigate the structure finding a locked door to the inside. Placing his hand on a panel, Lt. Johnson has unlocked and opened the door. 20 excited Chinese men and women quickly step outside. They are dressed in ancient warrior uniforms. Officer Tim is soon engaged in conservation, speaking in Chinese, with their female leader.

“This is Mei Yin Le,” reports Officer Tim to Lt. Johnson. “They became trapped in there when they were looking for a way to get back home.”

“I guess that we all need a crash course in Chinese,” Lt. Johnson comments.

“That won’t be necessary,” Mei Yin tells him. “Our implants will allow us to communicate with each other.”

“That is excellent,” reports Lt Johnson. “Carefully, follow us out out of this Pyramid. There are traps everywhere.” The trip out of the inner chamber is made with no further danger. The 20 Chinese warriors are so amazed at the tames that came in with the patrol.

“You have done well with taming these creatures,” Mei Yin tells Lt. Johnson when she sees them. “They look very happy to be with you.”

“We have a stable of many others back at our temporary camp,” Lt. Johnson tells her.

Outside, Mei Yin looks in astonishment when she sees Tammy and Tarmac resting in the courtyard. “How?” she ask Lt. Johnson.

“It almost didn’t happen,” answers Lt. Johnson. “We were forced to knock out Tarmac when they attacked us at the Sky Temple. He was so unhappy when he thought that he was now my slave. I took him over to Rock Drake Island to see Lin Cheng. She helped me get him to realize that he was not my slave. Tammy is his mate. They are both here of their own free will.”

“You, and these dragons, actually made friends with Lin Cheng?” ask Mei Yin. “That is most remarkable.”

“She and Meu Cheng really miss you.” answers Lt. Johnson.

“How long have we been trapped in that Pyramid?” asks Mei Yin.

“According to Meu Cheng, about a month,” answers Lt. Johnson.

“It felt like we were only trapped in there for just a day,” Mei Yin tells him. “Is is possible for me to go see Meu and Lin Cheng?”

“We can take you there.” answers both the dragons.

“Excellent,” Lt. Johnson tells them. “My men can supervise getting your warriors ready to go back to our camp by the Green Alter while we go visit your dragon friends. We’ll pick up their saddles at the camp before we fly over there. You can ride on Tammy. You don’t need a saddle for her.” Getting on the dragons, they both take off for the camp to pick up the saddles.

“I envy you being able to make friends with the Mountain Dragons,” Mei Yin tells Lt. Johnson. “I tried several times, but failed to do so.”

“It is probably because of their bad experience with the Mongolian Hoard that had invaded this place before either of us had arrived here,” answers Lt. Johnson. “Let me get the Rock Drake saddles so we can go to see your friends.”

It is quite a reunion when Mei Yin arrives at Rock Drake Island. “I so missed you,” Meu Cheng tells her.

“Why are they crying?” Tarmac asks Lt. Johnson.

“It’s called tears of joy,” Lt. Johnson tells him.

“Thank you for finding my friend,” Meu Cheng tells Lt. Johnson after the reunion has concluded. “Help us all get saddled up so we can take her warriors back to your camp.” Saddled, the ten Rock Drakes, with Mei Yin riding on Meu Cheng, climb up to the top of the plateau and launch themselves on the glide to the Green Alter, then to the Pyramid. The two dragons follow as Lt. Johnson is riding on Lin Cheng for the trip.

A loud cheer is heard as the Rock Drakes come gliding into the courtyard. All the warriors run up to hug their rock drake friends who are glad to see them. Lt. Johnson leads them to the camp on Tarmac with the rock drakes following as the rest of the patrol follows riding on their aggressive fast tames.

“Where are Tammy and Tarmac going?” asks Mei Yin.

“They told me that they were going to bring the rest of the Mountain Dragons back for a visit,” answers Lt. Johnson.

“That is so remarkable that your patrol has become friends with them all,” Mei Yin tells him.

“Even more so when I found out that Paragon, their leader had called a truce while I was gone to Rock Drake Island with Tarmac. All the dragons had made friends with the rest of my patrol while I was gone. Paragon had made it possible for us to find and release you and your warriors from that trap. She took Officer Tim and I to the Red Castle so we could obtain the key hidden there.”

“Do you think that we will ever find the way back to our world?” ask Mei Yin.

“We’ll find out once we can search for the cave in the Red Jungle where we first arrived here in Amissa.” Lt. Johnson tells her. “In the morning, we will pack up and head back to Amissa Village. Then we can retrace our steps back to the Red Jungle to find that cave.”

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Chapter 13, The Return.

 

As the two patrols are settling in for the evening, the sky to the North is suddenly filled with dragons flying in a V formation. “I’ve never seen them fly in such a formation before,” Mei Yin tells Lt. Johnson.

“It is something that I showed them when I first flew on Tammy,” answers Lt. Johnson as the flock lands outside the camp. “It makes long distance flying so much easier for them. Come over and meet Paragon. She is the leader of the Mountain Dragons.”

With the introductions made, Mei Yin and Paragon are engaged in conversation as they sit by each other. “How did you become friends with Lt. Johnson’s patrol?” she asks Paragon. “I tried so hard to make contact with you to no avail.”

“We were so sure that you were part of that Mongolian Hoard that we wanted nothing to do with you,” answers Paragon. “When Lt. Johnson’s patrol showed up, we attacked them as well. We broke off the attack when we saw how quickly they were able to knock out Tarmac. I was shocked to see what his patrol did next when they did not kill Tarmac, as the Mongolians would have, but instead, sat on his head to render him helpless until he surrendered to them. When I saw how Lt. Johnson worked with the Rock Drakes to convince Tarmac that he was not his slave, I made a decision to seek a truce with the rest of his tribe. That is when I found out that they meant us no harm, that they just wanted to be our friends.”

“We should have made friends with your tribe long ago, like the Rock Drakes did, and probably would have if it wasn’t for our fear of how we were so badly treated by the invading Mongolians. It frightened us how your tribe looks so much like them.”

“That is understandable given how we both come from a Continent called Asia,” answers Mei Yin. “The tranc darts Lt. Johnson used to knock out Tarmac so quickly, did so without injuring him. We had no such means to knock out any of you back then given that we could have accidentally killed one of you by using tranc arrows. Capturing Tarmac was key in ending your war with us humans. Giving him his freedom back is what has sealed your friendship with his patrol.”

“This is so much better being friends with you then bitter enemies,” answers Paragon as Mei Yin is now petting her on the neck as she is laying in front of Mei Yin.

“I’m happy with how this day has ended,” answers Mei Yin. “You are a most interesting creature to become friends with.”

Day 15

After the all night reunion with both tribes and all of the dragons, both patrols are now packing up the camp to make the return trip to Amissa Village. The mountain Dragon, with the exception of Tammy and Tarmac, have flown back to their home on the plateau. The Rock Drakes want to stay with Mei Lin’s tribe and re establish new homes in the cliffs around Amissa Village. With the Trikes packed and all of the other tames available, everyone picks out a ride to start the trip back to home base.

The trip back goes smoothly with only the need to leave the fishing spinos alone and the usual opportunity to gather meat for the meat eaters and dragons of the patrols. Good time is made with the two patrols arriving in Amissa Village by noon.

Later that afternoon, a four man patrol has located the cave with the portal back to Vietnam. Returning to Amissa Village, a meeting is called of everyone in the two patrols. It is also attended by Meu Cheng and Paragon.

“We have located the cave with the portal that leads back to our world,” Sargent Cisco tells everyone at the meeting. “I rode Kitty through it into Vietnam and back without getting knocked out or losing any of my gear. Our time period appears to be in sync as I could hear the sounds of bombing in the distance. It looks like that we can return back there at any time.”

“You mean that we now have the ability to return to Southern China?” asks Mei Yin.

“Yes,” Lt. Johnson answers. “Yet, I wonder if we really should return to a world in conflict.”

“Mei Yin, China has vastly changed since your Yellow Turban Rebellion. It is now under the iron rule of a Communist leader named Mao. There is no freedom under his dictatorship. South China, which was called Indochina for years, is now split up into four countries that are in a bitter war with each other. The Mongolian Horde’s old empire is now known as the Soviet Union. It is also Communist being ruled by a dictatorship that wants to dominate the entire world. The weapons we have are nothing compared to what is out there now. We and those two Communist nations possess bombs so powerful that just one of them is capable of destroying all of Amissa at once. It is a dangerous world we would be returning to should we leave this one. Are we willing to return to the one we have just come from?”

There is quite a bit of discussion among the 12 man patrol. Just about everyone has family and parents they would be leaving if they decided to stay here. Mei Yin and her warriors are curious about the world of 1968 AD. Even the Rock Drakes and Dragons feel quite adventurous.

“Meu Cheng, Paragon, if you come with us, you could be placing yourself in harms way.” Lt. Johnson tells them. “My superiors would most certainly try to capture and imprison you so the Spooks at Roswell could study you. Mei Yin, you would need to hide in the remote areas of your former empire if you wished to protect your warriors from being killed or captured by the Communist forces now occupying your land. Are you still willing to come with us?”

“Yes,” Mei Yin answers.

“We will all come with Mei Yin,” answers Meu Cheng.

“We will all come with your patrol and Mei Yin,” answers Paragon.

“Then, it is settled,” answers Lt. Johnson. “We will leave, taking all of our tames with us, for the portal in the morning.”

 

January 19, 1968, Kae Sanh, South Vietnam.

 

Worried about having lost contact with his 12 man Special Forces Patrol who are now way overdue from returning from their one week recon patrol, the Brigade Commander at Kae Sanh has received permission to send out his 1st Marine Battalion to search the area North to the DMZ to go look for them. It has become a dangerous area for American Forces. It is known to have numerous VC and NVA forces operating there. It is a condition the military commanders refer to as “Target Rich.”

On their first day of the patrol, lead elements of the 1st Marines Battalion cautiously push forward through the rugged bombed out terrain surrounding their base. There are numerous booby traps and enemy mines the lead company has had to deal with. They become involved in several skirmishes with the enemy which are quickly put down with artillery and air power. At the end of that first day the Marines confirm killing 28 NVAs in the attacks while losing 6 of their own with 16 more wounded that get medivac out of the combat arena.

On the second day of the patrol they manage to make a lot of progress. The area is less tangled with enemy contact being unexpectedly nonexistence They find and destroy a supply base which the Gooks have hastily left unprotected for some unknown reason.

“This is not normal at all,” Lt. Flicks reports. “There should be booby traps everywhere. It is if they got orders to drop what they were doing and get the frack out of there as quickly as possible.”

“Lets push on as soon as we can,” orders Coronal Powell. “I have a bad feeling about this sudden disappearance of all the Gooks in this area. They could be planning to bait us into a kill zone and cut us off from any escape.”

It is just before dawn on the third day of the patrol that the lead company observes a most unusual battle taking place ahead of them through the open jungle. A series of ground explosions are heard followed by burst from AK-47s that are aimed into the air. Flames and lightning bolts are seen coming from something unknown flying in the sky above that are incinerating targets on the ground. The fires result in several explosions along with artillery and mortars shells cooking off. Screams of pain are heard from enemy soldiers. Other noises come from the roars of some unknown creatures followed by more screams of terror. This continues on for several minutes until it dies out. Then, in a flash of blinding light, the battle is over with just the noise of more munitions cooking off in the numerous fires and the cries of the wounded.

“What the frack is going on out there” the Brigade Commander is heard screaming over the radio as the battle rages in front of them.

“I have no frackin idea,” reports Coronal Powell. “None of our people are involved in the Fun and Games taking place in front of us.”

“Do we have any friendlies out there ahead of us?” Captain Lance of Company A asks on his radio.

“We have a 12 man patrol that was sent out there over two weeks ago.” Coronal Powell answers. “We haven’t heard from them since. They don’t have that kind of firepower with them. Move your company out into the battle zone. Find out what the frack just happened out there. And, be careful. This entire area is still target rich.”

It is now daylight as the recon squad of Company A works their way through the tangle of down trees and bamboo brush to witness a most gruesome scene. “Wow! This frackin place looks like it was hit by Arc Light, Puff, and Napalm all at once.” comments Lt. Combs. Bodies, some still smoking from being burned or electrocuted, are scattered everywhere. Weapons and supplies are scattered everywhere along with the burned out bicycles and ox carts that were being used to transport them.

“There’s frackin Gooks over here with arrows through their foreheads and necks,” reports Private Meyers. “They look like they were ambushed by someone armed with crossbows.”

“What the frack could have melted these barrels on this AA gun,” reports Gunnery Sargent Holmes. “These Gooks are a frackin bloody mess. It looks like something just bit them in half, then spit them out.”

“Over here,” Corporal Mels reports. “These Gooks have been ripped to pieces. I’ve never seen such huge wolf tracks with those huge claws before.”

“They look like they were attacked by a pack of werewolves,” reports Doc Holiday. “I’ve never seen injuries like these resulting from combat.”

“These Gooks look like they have been skewered by some huge lances.” reports Sargent Holmes. “Was someone using Elephants to attack them?”

“What the frack could have made these huge claw track?” Private Jefferson reports. “Hold on, there is a wounded Gook over here screaming Choi Hoi. Frack, he is scared out of his wits.”

“Get our interpreter up here.” orders Coronal Powell. “Maybe this Gook can tell us what just happened here.”

There is a great deal of excited discussion among the interpreter and the Gook prisoner as Doc Holiday treats him for his injuries. “He’s fracking bat $hit crazy,” Kim Saug, the interpreter, reports to Coronal Powell. “He keeps babbling that they were attacked by dragons, prehistoric trikes, and werewolves. He says that the flying dragons were shooting fire and lightning at them. He claims that he saw Mei Yin Le, the leader of the Yellow Turban Rebellion, riding on a saddled four legged dragon that appeared out of nowhere that were biting his comrades in half. Then, he says that their attackers all vanished, along with the villagers that they were using to haul supplies, in a bright flash of light.”

“His injuries are not what I would expect from being in a firefight,” reports Doc. “His right arm looks like it was bitten by some sort of creature with a lot of flat teeth in its jaw.”

“He claims that some ostrich like reptile grabbed him by his arm with its mouth and flung him into the brush” reports Kim Saug.

“Dragons, Trikes, Vicious Beast, Mei Yin Le, what kind of a frackin fairy tale is this?” asks Coronal Powell in disgust.

“It’s true,” a voice calls out as a dozen weapons are suddenly trained in the direction of the sound.

“Hold your fire,” orders Coronal Powell as the stranger shows himself. “That’s Lt. Johnson, the commander of the Special Forces Patrol that we are searching for. What the frack are you doing here.”

“I’m just here long enough to report to you that everyone in the special forces patrol are alive and well. We found a portal in a hidden cave to another world and made some unusual friends there. They enabled us to rescue members of Officer Tim’s village that had been made slaves by the NVA when they over ran Kae Sanh Village. They have been transferred to an alternative world that we discovered two week ago. When I leave to be with my men and their new friends in Amissa, do everything you can to defeat the Communist for they will surely take over this world if you don’t. Here, take this old diary. It will explain what has happened to us. Don’t tell your superiors about it’s existence. When you have retired from the service, give it to my archaeology instructor Professor Ahab at the Texas Tech Institute along with this gold coin. He will know what to do with it. Don’t do anything to harm my dragon friend when he flies in here to pick me up. He will be here shortly to take me back to join the others waiting for me in Amissa.”

Everyone is in astonishment as a reddish colored fire dragon, the size of a Bird Dog spotter aircraft, flies in low, then lands next to Lt. Johnson. They exchange some words before Lt. Johnson quickly gets on his back. “Coronal Powell, get your men out of here, Now! Tarmac just told me that Washington has ordered an Arc Light mission on this location. It will be here any second.” With a whoosh of dust and flying shattered debris, the dragon takes off with Lt. Johnson riding on him to vanish in a flash of light.

“Lets get the frack out of here,” orders Coronal Powell. “I can see the B-52 contrails showing up overhead.”

As the patrol is moving double time South through the jungle, the ground and air starts shaking from the sound of hundreds of 500 pound bombs going off behind them. Everyone takes cover as pieces of shattered trees and dirt showers down around them. Then, all is quiet other then the smell of heavy smoke and gunpowder that hangs in the air for hours.

“Them frackers in Washington set us up,” Coronal Powell cusses in disgust as he gathers his command to check for casualties. “They must be trying to hide what has happened here today. They knew where we were and called in that Ark Light on us anyways. As far as I am concerned, what we saw today didn’t happen. When we get back to Kae Sanh, I will report a body count that resulted from the Arc Light and nothing else. If any of you don’t want to mysteriously end up missing in action and presumed dead, I would suggest that you remain silent as well. As far as command is concerned, we have found no remains of the Special Forces Patrol we were sent out here to look for. I wish them well in their new home of Amissa, far away from this $hithole and this God awful war we are involved in.”

“Did you see that creature Lt. Johnson was riding on?” ask Sargent Holmes as the patrol prepares to return to their base. “They were even talking to each other!”

“Yes,” Doc Holiday answers. “That looked like a European Fire Dragon, a Wyvern, from the Vikings era. They were reported to be very intelligent. Those burns and scorched marks on those dead gooks are consistent with being hit with napalm and high voltage lightning those creatures were suppose to be capable of generating.”

“Yes, these Gooks were indeed attacked by our Special Forces Patrol, Mei Yin’s warriors and their dragon friends.” reports Coronal Powell. “As for the report that I will file when we return, I will only mention about finding the bodies of NVA soldiers from the air raid. Lets get the frack out of here before another wave of B-52s shows up.”

More Arc Light raids are taking place as the patrol makes the dash back to base but they are now further ahead from where the bombs are landing. Enemy activity in the path back to Kae Sanh has become non existence as they have fled the target area ahead of the bombing. The patrol is able to make it back to Kae Sanh before dark.

Coronal Powell files his debriefing report along with a bitter complaint about being made the target of friendly fire. The base commander, who is just as pissed at what has been taking place, orders him to keep his mouth shut or they will both face court marshal. He leaves HQ cussing up a storm over what has taken place in his debriefing.

All traces of the event, other then the memories of those involve, soon vanish from the official records. Corporal Mels and several others, have taken pictures with their Instamatic and other Camera of the bodies and Lt. Johnson with his dragon, but the film vanishes with the mail that gets sent out when the transport aircraft that is carrying it is shot down and is incinerated in a raging fire with the loss of the flight crew. So, other then the discovery of the cave almost half a century later, the land called Amissa remains a tale of a strange event among the marines of Company A.

 

50 years later, while visiting his father in the VA nursing home, Mark Powell, the son of Coronal Powell who has retired from the military at the rank of General, tells his father about the discovery of a cave in the Quang Binh province. His father gives him a quest to go find the old diary, along with the gold coin he has stored in his military locker and take it to the Texas Tech Institute archaeology department and ask for a Professor Ahab.

Although Mark finds that the professor has retired, he is able to make contact with him. A meeting is arranged at the institute the following Monday.

Professor Ahab remembers Phil Johnson as one of his favorite students prior to his joining the Marines in 1964. He listen with interest as Mark describes the unusual mission that Phil was assigned to and the status of his being declared missing in action. Mark then hands him the old Diary and gold coin along with the warning that his dad was given to not tell anyone but him about it’s existence.

“Are you sure that this coin is not a reproduction, this diary a fake?” Professor Ahab ask him.

“Why,” ask Mark.

“This coin dates back to ancient Egypt around 3,000 BC.” he answers. “Yet, it looks brand new. The diary is in excellent shape despite of it smelling like burnt sulfur. The language, it is written in, is correct for the hieroglyph of 3,000 BC. Could you leave those items here with me for testing?”

“Yes,” Mark answers.

“I’ll contact you as soon as my test results are complete,” reports Professor Ahab.

A week later, a meeting has been set up with Professor Ahab at the VA Hospital to meet with General Powell in a private conference room of the nursing home section.

“I thought that you had better know in person what I have found out about those two artifacts Lt. Johnson gave you some 50 years ago.” Professor Ahab tells them. “Carbon dating has confirmed that the diary is indeed over 5,000 years ago. That is so remarkable for the excellent condition it was in. The gold coin also tests out as having been smelted and struck at that time period as well.”

“I was able to translate the hieroglyph in the diary. It tells a remarkable story about a pre Egyptian tribe that was transported to a land they called Amissa. It tells of a tale where they were living among dragons and prehistoric creatures, about a great palace they built at the base of an ice mountain, about using geothermal heating to keep it warm. It also describes the location of a temple of worship on floating islands where they built a stone causeway to connect them all to the plateau on either side of the valley they were floating over. They talk about living with the Mountain Dragons and how they made friends with them. The diary finishes up with how they were being massacred in a war with Gingas Kahn, how their northern kingdom was destroyed and why the diary and a key to the pyramid was hidden before the invaders could reach their last stronghold called the Red Castle. Even more amazing is that Lt. Johnson had written notes using a charcoal pencil in the blank pages in that diary describing his daily experience on Amissa, how he made friends with the mountain dragons, and their rescue of Mei Yin from a trap in the pyramid.”

“In the day I last saw Lt. Johnson, there was a strange battle that took place early that morning,” answers General Powell. “I saw flames and bolts of lightning coming out of the sky hitting the enemy on the ground ahead of us. When the battle was over, I saw bodies that been burned to a crisp, others that had been torn to pieces, and still others that looked like they had been skewered by some great horned beast. We took a Gook prisoner that swore that they had been attacked by dragons and demons. I believe him. Why? Because I saw Lt. Johnson get on one of those dragons, who had warned us that an Arc Light mission was on it’s way, to take him back to Amissa.”

“Why haven’t you told me this story before?” ask his son, Mark.

“Because, we were under orders never to tell anyone about what we had witness out there on that day on January 21, 1968,” answers General Powell. “Some Spooks from Roswell must have known that the recon patrol had found a portal to another world and convinced McNamara that the military should eliminate all traces of that visit under the guise of a friendly fire accident. For the next two week, all of our aircraft that were carrying our outgoing mail from Kae Sanh were shot down and destroyed in raging fires. With orders to hold the line, we endured months of intense artillery bombardment from enemy forces and repelled numerous attempts by the NVA to overrun our base. So many fine men in my command were killed, so many badly wounded and maimed for life. Finally, we were given orders to pull out and abandon Kae Sanh to the enemy. So few of us are now left due to cancer and other medical issues we have suffered as a result of the pressure of holding on to that piece of worthless $hit.”

“That is most frightening,” answers Professor Ahab. “I now understand why you didn’t come to me sooner with those artifacts. We have them safely locked away in my private vault at the institute where the information I have found on them has been shared with my colleges all around the world.”

“I have transcribed copies of the diary for you and your son to read at your leisure. I also found this photo taken by one of your men that brought it home with him. It shows an individual, dressed in desert gear, standing next to a dragon.”

“That is definitely Lt. Johnson,” the General tells him

“As far as the cave in Quang Binh Province that you mentioned that was discovered by Lt. Johnson, it has turned out to be one of the largest in the world. While it has been thoroughly explored by professional cavers, there is no mention of a portal connecting it to another world. The locals like to kid their visitors about dinosaurs living in the cave. We just don’t know. It’s location is so remote that it is a two day hike through the jungle just to get there. It remains a mystery to this day why it was never discovered until just a couple of years ago.”

“Thank you for that report,” answers General Powell. “I’m sure that Lt. Johnson, the members of his patrol, and all of their friends will be happy to know that the rest of the world now knows about their story even though their official military records will still continue to list them as missing in action and presumed dead.”

Later that year, Mark Powell makes the arrangement to take a vacation to Vietnam and is able to successfully book a tour to that cave in the Quang Binh Province. It is quite an experience when he reaches that cave after a two day hike through the steaming jungle. The cave is quite a refreshing contrast from the surround terrain and most comfortable for camping in that night. Way back in the cave, he finds something buried in the sand that glitters of gold. He hides the small gold coin in his camera bag. He is fortunate enough to be able to hide it in the cameras SD slot when he goes through customs upon his return to the States. The discovery of the coin confirms the tale that his dad has told him is true because this coin, like the one his dad brought back from Vietnam is also some 5,000 years old and dates pre Egyptian as well.

 

Thus ends the mystery of Amissa, the lost Ark and the disappearance of the Special Forces Patrol of January 6th, 1968 from Kae Sanh.

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