Gateway - What Lies Beyond
Copyright© 2016 by The Blind Man
Action/Adventure Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Jacob Ryerson is part of a scientific team that is going to step back through time for the very first time in an attempt to study early man. Jacob is a military man and he knows that no plan ever goes the way people intend it to once that plan is implement. Naturally nobody listens to the ex-Special Forces Staff Sergeant and just as naturally everything goes to shit. Thankfully Jacob is along for the ride to help clean up the mess.
“Look Ryerson, you’re not in charge here, I am,” Dr. Henry Jenkins barked angrily across the table at Jake. “The only thing you are is a hired gun. Now shut up, and stop interfering with my briefing.”
Dr. Henry Jenkins was a dickhead. He was a medium tall, slightly overweight academic who didn’t deal well with other people. Unfortunately, Dr. Jenkins was a world renowned anthropologist and, as he’d just pointed out so bluntly, he was the boss. He was still wrong, but who was I to contradict him, especially when the people with the money were listening to him. I decided to shut up for the time being, and let him pontificate for the powers that be. I’d get my way in the end.
My name is Jacob Ryerson, and I’m thirty years old. I’m a big lad by most people’s standards. I’m six-foot-three and a healthy two-hundred and twenty pounds of muscle. I keep myself fit. At eighteen I joined the Army and I became an infantryman. After one tour overseas, and a box full of medals including a purple heart, I got offered my dream assignment: Special Forces. Two tours later, and a couple more Purple Hearts, and I was medically retired as a Staff Sergeant. After a very brief period of kicking back and visiting family and friends, I found a new home that was looking for a man of my unique qualifications. That place was Quantum Industries.
Quantum Industries was the front for a number of global corporations that delved into advanced science and technology. Technically I worked for them as a security expert. In reality, I was a very highly qualified bodyguard. On my next mission my job would be keeping Dr. Jenkins and the rest of his team alive. Unfortunately, Dr. Jenkins was making it hard for me to do my job.
I spent the rest of the meeting ignoring Jenkins, and focusing my attention on the other members of Jenkins team. There were only two of them, and both of them were women. They were Dr. Clara Beaufort, and Miss Gabrielle Ayoub.
Dr. Clara Beaufort was a French citizen. She’d come to Quantum Industries from the World Health Organization. Like Jenkins, she was renowned in her specific field, which was medicine. Dr. Beaufort was a real doctor. She was only twenty-eight years old, but that hadn’t kept her from making a name for herself out there in the world. Mostly she’d worked with the organization “Doctors Without Borders.” People respected her. Amazingly she was just a tiny woman, who stood five-foot-three and she weighed in at just over one hundred pounds. Still, I’d learned the hard way not to underestimate the good doctor. We’d sparred against each other a couple of times since Dr. Beaufort had joined the team, and she definitely knew how to defend herself.
Gabrielle Ayoub was a different kind of person all together. Gabby, as she called herself, was technically the team’s linguist. She could speak a dozen languages, including some very obscure ones. According to what I had read in her personnel file, Gabby could pick up a new language within a day or two. That was a very handy skill to have given the mission we were about to embark on. She was Christian Lebanese by birth, although she’d lived most of her life in Canada. She was medium tall, physically fit, attractive, and sensual. She was also a friend of Dr. Beaufort’s. That had been the method by which Gabby had joined Jenkins’ team. Dr. Beaufort had insisted that Gabby be included. According to both of their personnel files, they’d worked together a number of times over the years. Gabby had been Dr. Beaufort’s translator on at least five of Dr. Beaufort’s missions with Doctors Without Borders, and the WHO. She’d also been the doctor’s driver and pilot. Gabby was a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. I’d learned that she was pretty good with a handgun, as well.
The meeting we were in was the pre-deployment brief for Project Gateway. Project Gateway was a top-secret mission initiated by Quantum Industries, and financed by the United States government. In particular, the project was being financed by the Department of Defence Research and Development.
In a nutshell, the project involved time-travel. Quantum Industries had punched a hole through the fourth dimension, and big brother wanted to exploit that hole. To make certain everything was going according to what the government wanted done, the DDRD had sent their top man to the meeting to hear our plans, and to voice their opinion. That person was Lieutenant-General Milton Ridgeway. I knew him as Uncle Milty. He wasn’t really my Uncle. I’d run into him while serving with the Special Forces. He’d been Chief of Operations for two years while I was serving there. He was a career officer, but a good one. With him he’d brought a US Senator and Dwight Winslow, the CEO of Quantum Industries. The US Senator was Senator Caroline Perkins (R-Texas) who headed up the Congressional Committee on DoD’s Research and Development. They were all listening intently to Dr. Jenkins little presentation.
Basically he was telling them what we were going to do. For the past two years Quantum Industries had been studying a period of time using drones. That period of time was approximately twenty-five thousand years ago. The drones had mapped out a region, and it had accumulated a mass of data that both the DDRD and Quantum had analyzed. They hadn’t sent any humans back as of yet. That was the purpose of this final briefing. Jenkins was hoping that Ridgeway would give us the green light.
The reason no humans had been sent back in time as of yet, was the fear that those humans would accidently change the history of mankind. It was the last thing that anyone on the project team wanted to do, although I was pretty certain that Ridgeway and the government were one hundred percent against it. To them it was a matter of controlling events.
In my time at Quantum Industries, I’d heard all the theories about how people could accidently alter history and what the impact might be for those we’d left behind. I’d heard about the ‘Butterfly Effect, ‘ where all it took was the killing of one butterfly that wasn’t destine to die at that moment to irrevocably change events in the future, usually for the worse. I had also learned about the ‘Ripple Effect, ‘ where most of the impact is felt in the immediate, with the effects dissipating the further away they got from the epicentre. Most of the people at Quantum supported this theory, including Dr. Jenkins. There was one other theory expounded by some of the brighter kids at Quantum and that was the ‘Rope Theory’. This theory suggested that time and history was like a well woven rope, with events in time representing individual strands within the rope. You could cut a strand, such as killing off all black sheep at a particular point in history, but it wouldn’t change history. The belief was that all the surviving white sheep carried the DNA to make a black sheep; and somewhere up time from the point that you killed them all, the black sheep would reappear, thus correcting history. It meant that you could technically go back in time and kill Adolf Hitler in the hopes of stopping World War Two, but the seeds of the conflict would still exist in the political timeline that dominated Europe through the twenties, thirties, and forties. The chance was that someone else would have started the war. It might not have been as bloody, but it would have happened. Personally, I was betting on that scenario, given the fact that I knew deep in my heart that if we did get the green light to travel back in time, shit was going to happen, and something would get changed that shouldn’t have happened. My theory protected my future. Theirs didn’t.
On the other side of the table from me, also listening to Jenkins drone on, were the two top technical experts on the project. The first was Dr. Horst von Stubbing. Dr. Stubbing had been the man who’d done the mathematics needed to make the time machine work. He was seventy-two years old. He had been awarded the Noble Prize twice in his life. One time had been for physics, and the other time had been for economics. He was a very smart man.
The other person across the table from me was also a very smart person, but she certainly wasn’t as famous as Dr. Stubbing, and she certainly wasn’t as old. That person was Kimberly Woo. Kimberly was the project’s head data analyst. She also had a degree in robotics that allowed her to manage the team’s drones. She was Chinese-American, only twenty-six years old, and she and I had become close during our time together at Quantum Industries. I’d be seeing her after the meeting.
The meeting had ended just the way that Dr. Jenkins had wanted it to end. Ridgeway and Winslow had given him the green light. According to the proposed mission schedule we’d be leaving in seventy-two hours. For me that meant I needed to get busy.
“You should be more careful dealing with Jenkins,” Kim told me much later. It was night time, and we were sharing her bed once again. Both of us were covered in perspiration, and both of us were lying there enjoying the afterglow of our recent coupling. It had been nice. Then Kim had brought up Jenkins’ name, and the mood had shifted in a different direction. “You’re not the only bodyguard that the company has on staff. He could replace you.”
“No, he couldn’t,” I told her firmly and with confidence. “It’s too late for him to do it, and besides, I have friends in high places that would step in and make sure he didn’t get his way.”
“You do, do you?” Kim muttered back, her voice filled with doubt. “Who might that be?”
“General Ridgeway for one,” I pointed out without any doubt in my voice that the man would stand by me if I asked him. “While we weren’t the best of friends back in the day’s when I wore a Green Beret and he did as well, I know what kind of soldier he is, and I know for certain that he hates idiots that don’t listen to sound advice. He wasn’t overly impressed when Jenkins’ shut me up, today.”
“Okay,” Kim murmured thoughtfully, “that’s one. Who else do you have in your corner?”
“Well there is a certain NSA Captain that I know of, although I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know that I know her secret,” I replied slowly, not wanting to startle Kim. “I’ve got the feeling that she’d help me out if I asked her. Of course, that might blow her cover and that would be the last thing that I would want to do. I really like this woman.”
Kim tensed up beside me as I told her this. As she did, I tightened my grip on her shoulder, hoping to control what she did next. Thankfully, Kim chose to talk instead of run, or any other action that might have proved counter productive.
“What NSA Captain are you talking about?” Kim asked hesitantly, her voice filled with concern.
“Relax,” I told Kim in turn, trying to reassure her. “Who she is isn’t important, and like I told you, I have no desire to blow her cover. Still, I do wonder if she’d do me a favour if I asked her to do it.”
“What kind of favour,” Kim inquired her voice still tight and edged with a hint of concern. “What if she can’t do it? Would you threaten her cover to get your way?’
“Never,” I told Kim firmly. “I’d never do such a thing, regardless of what the person could do for me or not. I’ve been undercover myself, and I know how tricky it is at times. You never know who to trust. Well that woman can trust me. I’ll keep her secret to my grave.”
Kim fell silent at that. She thought about it for a moment or two. I kept my mouth shut while she was doing it. I was however thinking back to a time and a place that was only two years ago in both our history. I’d just led an A-Team into a terrorist base in some god awful backwater country where we really weren’t supposed to be. The operation had been successful, and we’d captured a ton of intelligence, both physical and electronic. The people at the top had sent an analyst to pick up the stuff and to cart it back home to be looked at in more detail. That analyst had been Kim. While my people and I had been brushed aside by the intelligence boys who’d followed us in after the bullets had stopped flying, I’d seen her and I had pegged her name, just in case I needed it later on. It was a habit that I’d acquired during my days working ‘black ops’.
“What kind of favour are you looking for from this woman?” Kim finally asked, her words coming out slowly.
“I’d like what I had asked Jenkins for,” I told Kim bluntly. “I know that the ‘powers that be’ have ordained that we don’t take in any advanced technology with us during this trip down into the good old days, however I don’t agree. I’d put in my request for specific supplies and items to be cached near our drop point, just in case something goes wrong while we’re there. Naturally, Jenkins is of the opinion that nothing will go wrong. Again, I don’t agree. I’ve had too many missions that went off track seconds after it had started, to think otherwise. I want those supplies shipped in, and left where I can find them, just in case. If nothing does go wrong, then they can be hauled out and there will be no harm, no foul.”
Again, Kim didn’t answer immediately. She did however start to relax again in my arms. I took that as a good sign. In return, I loosened my grip on her shoulder.
“You asked for horses as well,” Kim murmured thoughtfully a few seconds later. “I doubt that the woman would be able to provide you with those. Horses would certainly cause people to sit up and look at what was going on about them.”
“I’d understand that,” I reassured Kim, my voice lightening up a bit as I replied. “In any case, the woman couldn’t cache the horses for use and still guarantee that they would be alive if and when I went for them. In any case, the cave that I’ve identified as being the best place to put the cache of gear is too small to use as a stable. It just wouldn’t work.”
“I agree,” Kim stated firmly in a low voice. “However the other stuff that you’re asked for is possible, although there is still a risk involved. I’m certain the women wouldn’t do anything to compromise her cover. Her mission would definitely come before doing a favour for you.”
“I understand,” I told Kim without hesitation. “For now, let’s leave it at that. Jenkins wants to go over everything again in the morning. Let’s get some sleep.”
Kim agreed with me on that. She rolled over and turned her back to me as she settled down to go to sleep. Instinctively, I spooned in behind her, wrapping my body about hers. As I did I planted a kiss on the back of her neck.
“I’ll miss you while I’m gone,” I told Kim softly, whispering it into her ear.
“I’ll miss you as well,” Kim replied after a moment, her words coming tentatively as she said it. I let it go at that. We both had things to think about, and we both needed our sleep.
The next two days went by in a flash even with Dr. Jenkins being a micromanaging prick. In no time, it seemed, it was time to go.
We were all dressed basically the same. From the video data accumulated by the drones sent back in time Quantum Industries had come up with what they felt was the best mix of clothing and equipment to help us on our mission back in time. Just like my issue with Jenkins about bringing a few pieces of modern equipment along with us on the off chance of needing it, Quantum Industries had felt the same way about clothing and kit. Thus everything we had was organic in nature, except for our flint tools and weapons.
Our basic outfit was made entirely of buckskin. It consisted of a pair of buckskin trousers that tied at the waist with a rawhide drawstring, and a buckskin shirt that came with a hood. We were also wearing buckskin knee-high moccasins. It actually felt very comfortable once you got used to the feel of the material. In addition to the top, the pants, and the moccasins, I was wearing a buckskin loincloth. That was it. The women didn’t get a bra or loincloth. We also each had a broad sash of cowhide about our waists that served as a belt. Into the belt were thrust tools and items that we needed. These items included a fire starting kit, wrapped up in a small pouch made of deer skin, a set of flint tools wrapped up in a pouch made out of cowhide, and a bone handled flint knife. As the warrior / hunter of the group I had a couple of extra items, including a wooden handled stone axe, and a thrusting spear fitted with a shaped flint point. The point was razor sharp.
On top of the clothing and weapons, each of us were carrying a bedroll that consisted of a bear fur and three large deer skins. It was tied up with rawhide thongs and a sling was fastened to it so it could be slung over a shoulder and carried. With the bedroll we were each carrying a spare set of clothing rolled up inside it, and a rain cape. Finally, each of us was carrying a day pack. It was a skin bag that was also fitted with a sling. In the bag we each had some wooden containers that held foodstuff such as nuts, dried fruit, and smoked meats. The containers could be used to drink from, or to eat from.
The only person who had anything different was Dr. Beaufort. The good doctor had a waterproof pouch tied to her belt that contained what Quantum Industries were willing to let her take with her, as medical supplies. There wasn’t much and almost everything was homeopathic in nature. Still, it was something.
The transition from our time to the other was almost instantaneous. One moment we were in a ‘white room’ sealed in and watching a digital clock count down through a clear glass partition, and the next instance we were standing in an open field at the top of a rise over looking a broad grassland. All I remembered about the trip was blinking my eyes a couple of times in surprise. That was it.
At first there was only silence. There wasn’t a sound of any kind. Then Jenkins opened his mouth and started to talk.
“We’re here,” Jenkins declared loudly and enthusiastically, voicing the obvious although no one could really fault him for it. We were, after all, the first to travel in time. No one knew with any certainty, whether it would work or not. Still hearing the idiot as chipper as a schoolboy was sort of annoying. I tried to ignore him for a moment or two, while I got my bearings.
My job was to keep these people alive until we got back to our own time, and that was a job that I took very seriously. On realizing where we were, I hefted my spear and I took a look about us. I wanted to make certain that nothing big and mean was heading towards us. I’d seen the fauna data accumulated by Kim’s drones, and I knew that there were all kinds of nasty threats waiting for us in this time and place. That was why I’d asked for a gun. I hadn’t been given a gun. Still, I meant to do my job and to do it properly. Jenkins had a different idea.
“Oh come on, Ryerson,” Jenkins chided me when he noticed that I was standing with the spear held defensively across me and my mind on everything except him and his giddy joy at being here. “Stop being so paranoid, and acting like we’re going to be attacked all of a sudden by big ferocious beasts. We were told by mission control that they’d sent a drone a head of us an hour ago and that the drone had reported back that the drop site was clear. You don’t have to stand about pretending you’re some kind of he-man.”
I just sneered at Jenkins, and shook my head in disgust. We hadn’t seen eye to eye since I’d been parachuted on to his team. Kim had been correct when she’d pointed out that there were other bodyguards on the project who could have been assigned to this mission. Unfortunately for Jenkins, I was the best, and my boss had made certain that Jenkins’ boss knew that. It made it impossible for Jenkins to get rid of me.
“Fine,” Jenkins snorted dismissively when he saw that I was ignoring him, “be that way. You can still follow mission protocol though, if you don’t mind. We three have beamed back our confirmation signal as directed. It’s your turn to close the circuit, and let everyone know we made it okay.”
The signal Jenkins was talking about was something Ridgeway had ordered after his visit the other day. Each of us had been handed a transmitter to activate on arrival. The signal from the transmitter was beamed back to mission control through the time anchor. That device was a twelve foot tall post that stood in the centre of our drop site. It was basically a great big antenna, that mission control locked onto whenever they sent back a drone or in this case, humans. Without it, there was no guarantee of hitting the same time point or grid reference the next time they sent something back. Basically it was a big GPS unit and we’d been ordered to use it to confirm our safe arrival. If any of us didn’t signal back within five minutes of arriving at the drop site, the time machine would grab us all up and bring us back to our original time regardless of the reason. It was a safety protocol. Our transmitters were hidden inside a necklace that each of us wore. To a local it looked like a charm or a fetish of some sort. No one would take note of it. It wasn’t even pretty.
Naturally, I did what Jenkins told me to do. I didn’t have any reason not to; and, besides, it was protocol. That was when our troubles started.
The time anchor blew the moment I activated my transmitter. Thankfully it started sparking, first. That gave us all a chance to get away.
“Run,” I shouted the moment I spotted the energy surge that was building up in the time anchor. “That thing is going to blow!”
For once Dr. Jenkins listened to me. He ran one way, Dr. Beaufort and Gabby ran another, and I went in a third direction. When the anchor did explode we were all safely outside the blast range of the explosion. It had been close.
“What the hell did you do,” Jenkins wanted to know the moment the smoke had started to clear.
“I did nothing,” I snapped back at him, “except what you told me to do. I pushed the fucking button on this transmitter.”
As I shouted at the moron I grabbed hold of the transmitter and I yanked it off my neck. Pissed, I shoved it in front of his face. Then I threw it aside, knowing full well that we didn’t need it anymore.
“But you blew up the anchor,” Jenkins blubbered in response. “We’re trapped here forever. How could you, you bloody Neanderthal.”
I just sighed and shook my head in response to the man’s idiotic statement.
“First off, I didn’t blow up the anchor,” I told him sharply. “If anyone did blow it up intentionally, it had to be Ridgeway. He’s the one who issued these transmitters, and ordered us to use them once we got here. They weren’t part of the mission protocol before he got involved. Secondly, we’re not trapped here. Quantum will send another drone back in time to find us. It might take some time, with a lot of hit and miss attempts now that the anchor is gone; however, they will do it, and the drone that does find us will be equipped with a new anchor. Once the drone plants the new anchor, somebody else will come back to get us. It’ll just take time.”
“How much time,” Dr. Beaufort asked from where she was standing beside Gabby.
“It could be days, or it could be years,” I told the woman as honestly as I could. “I don’t know. It does mean that we’ll need to find shelter, and start working on surviving.”
“We’ll head for the village that the drone picked up on its sweep of this region,” Jenkins declared emphatically. “We can see if they’ll take us in and give us shelter until help arrives to rescue us.”
“Do you really think that’s wise,” I asked Jenkins. “Personally I think we should head for the cave that I identified last month as a good base camp for this operation. We could settle in there, and then try and make contact with the locals. It would be safer for us in the long run.”
Dr. Beaufort and Gabby nodded their heads in agreement with my suggestion. Jenkins didn’t like that at all.
“No,” Jenkins snapped angrily, glaring at all of us as he did. “I am the mission leader and I say we go on to the village and make contact with the locals. I’m sure that once Miss Ayoub has mastered their language we’ll all get along marvellously.”
“Are you certain about that?” Gabby asked tentatively. “No matter how good I am at picking up a language, it still takes time. Anything could happen between when we make first contact, and when we can actually communicate with the locals. I’d rather try Jake’s idea. That way we could observe the locals from afar and I could pick up smatterings of their language before we actually confront them.”
“No,” Jenkins declared once again. “I said that we’re heading to the local village and that is that. Now come along.”
Jenkins didn’t even wait to see if any of us would follow him. He just started trudging off in the general direction of the local village. Reconnaissance had placed it about ten miles from the drop site, towards a river. Supposedly there was a lot of open ground between it and us. After a moment or two Dr. Beaufort let out a tired sigh and fell in behind Jenkins. When the good doctor started walking away Gabby fell in beside her. With the three of them heading off, I didn’t have much choice in what to do. I was there to protect them. I fell in behind the three of them, bringing up the rear.
I didn’t stay in the rear the whole march. After a bit, I started ranging out towards the flanks, to keep an eye on things out there. Once or twice I ran ahead by a few hundred yards, to check something out that I’d spotted on the horizon. Doing so kept me alert, and it allowed me the opportunity to think about our situation. Instinctively, I knew that Ridgeway was at fault for blowing the time anchor; however, I just couldn’t figure out why he would do it. It just didn’t make any sense to me to send a team into the past, and then strand them there. Even if he was a supporter of the ‘Butterfly Theory’ and he was hoping that somehow we could drastically change the future, I just couldn’t figure out how that would benefit him.
The land we were travelling through was a vast open plain that was covered with tall grass, small streams, clumps of trees and brush, and herds upon herds of wild animals. Within an hour of our heading out, I’d spotted a number of herds of deer, a herd of antelopes, a herd of wild cattle, and a herd of buffalo. Amazingly each herd easily numbered in the hundreds if not thousands of animals. I also spotted all sorts of signs that told me that there were predators out there as well. Since it was well into the day, I didn’t really expect to see any out and about. I figured that they’d be back in their lairs sleeping off their late night feast. But still, I did keep an eye open for danger.
We were into our second hour of walking when I spotted movement ahead. I signalled everyone to stop so I could have a look at what the movement was. As I’d come to expect, Dr. Jenkins ignored me. I dropped off to our right flank so that I could head towards a clump of trees that were standing out on the plains all on their own, Dr. Jenkins just kept on walking. I only noticed him once I was a good two hundred yards away, and was unable to make him stop.
The movement turned out to be a small group of hunters. The hunters were in the process of cutting a bull out of a herd of wild cattle. They weren’t having much luck at it, and it was clear that the young bull that they were going after was going to get away, no matter what the hunters did. I did notice that three of the hunters were young men while one was older by a few years. I got the impression that the older hunter was trying to teach the younger guys what to do. It didn’t matter much, because fate and Dr. Jenkins were against them.
Dr. Jenkins simply called out to them once he’d spotted the men. He in fact called out several times until the men took notice of him, and the women who were still trailing after him. His shouting naturally distracted the hunters’ concentration, and sped up the inevitable. The young bull got away, unscathed. From the younger men’s reactions, I could tell instantly that they weren’t very happy.
Dr. Jenkins on the other hand was oblivious. He’d come to a halt roughly fifty feet from the band of hunters and he stood there speaking to them, and waving his arms about. It was actually unbelievable to watch. It looked to me as if the man really expected the hunters to understand him. Well, they didn’t.
The men immediately fanned out as Jenkins stood and shouted at them. The elder of the group started yammering back at Jenkins in his own language, obviously telling Jenkins off for spoiling their hunt. It was clear that these men didn’t like Jenkins. It probably didn’t help Dr. Jenkins case that he wasn’t armed, except for the knife he was carrying in his belt. I’d told him to carry a spear, but the man wouldn’t listen to reason. He felt he was above such trivial customs, and that others would immediately recognize his importance by his bearing. As you’d expect, Dr. Jenkins got it wrong again. To the hunters, an unarmed man was dead meat.
I was moving in from behind the men when everything fell apart. The other three hunters had fanned out until they were almost surrounding Dr. Jenkins and the women. It was obvious by that point that the hunters weren’t friendly. Even Dr. Jenkins was beginning to clue in to that fact. Unfortunately when the light bulb did come on for the good doctor, it was too late.
Jenkins had just taken a step backwards away from the hunters when the attack started. Dr. Beaufort and Gabby had just reached for their belt knives. Maybe that was what triggered what happened next, but I doubt it. In any case it was too late to do much to help the trio out.
The older hunter stepped forward and stabbed Dr. Jenkins in the gut with his spear. Jenkins actually let out a shriek of pain when it happened. The hunter then stabbed him again to finish him off. While he did that the other men went for the women. Fortunately for the women, the men didn’t want to kill them. They wanted to do something entirely different than that. The hunters were actually more interested in raping them.
As I’ve said earlier, Dr. Beaufort and I had sparred once or twice before. I knew for a fact that she could handle herself in a fight. When the man closet to her dropped his spear and then lunged for her, the good doctor side stepped his attack and met it with the blade of her knife. The young hunter died quickly and unexpectedly. The same situation also occurred with Gabby. Unfortunately, with her, two young hunters went for her at once. She side stepped the one and she’d been able to slash him with her blade, but the other young hunter tackled her from the side before she was able to do anything else.
Naturally the situation devolved quickly after that. The older hunter was pissed off at Dr. Beaufort for killing her attacker and at Gabby for slicing up one of the other young men. He was shrieking and threatening the good doctor with his spear when I finally silenced him. It took the others completely by surprise.
My spear was more of a throwing spear than a thrusting spear. It was certainly lighter than the ones the hunter was using. I had closed the distance between the hunters and myself while Jenkins had been talking to them, and I’d just moved into position to try and defuse the shouting match that had been going on when the older hunter had killed Jenkins. It didn’t take me long to react to what had happened, particularly when the older hunter had pulled his spear out of Jenkins and he’d turned it on Dr. Beaufort. I just hefted my spear like a javelin and I threw it. The distance was only fifty feet. It took the man in the back directly between the shoulder blades, just clipping his spine. The big, leaf shape flint spearhead sank into the man and it came out his chest. He was dead before he even knew it.
My attack and my sudden appearance threw the other two men off. The one that Gabby had slashed was bleeding profusely, and not looking very happy. He’d stumbled away from her in the melee and he’d put a little distance between himself and her. He was now armed with his own knife and he was looking menacingly at the good doctor. Gabby on the other hand was pinned to the ground by her assailant, who in his rush to ravish Gabby hadn’t been paying any attention to anyone else until the older hunter had done a face plant next to him with a spear sticking out of his back. That had sent him into motion. His first reaction was to jump back and away from both Gabby and the body of his leader with a stunned look upon his face. His second reaction was to grab for the spear that he’d thrown aside in his haste to grab for Gabby. That decision got him killed.
I’d thrown my spear while on the run, and I’d kept going even as the spear sped away from me and as it took down the older hunter. By the time the man collapsed, I was almost on top of him and by the time the younger hunter holding Gabby had reacted, I was by the first dead man and barrelling down on the man holding Gabby. When the younger hunter grabbed for his spear I was slamming into him. I kicked him in the head sending him backwards. He ended up dropping his spear in the process. As he tried to recover and pick himself up, I dropped on his chest knocking the wind out of him. Before he could even move, I hit him hard with my stone axe. I’d pulled it out of my belt as I’d taken off towards the man, and now I made use of the weapon. Without hesitation, I caved the man’s head in. Then I rolled away and spun around, ready to meet whatever opposition that was left.
What was left was the wounded man, and he wasn’t looking very happy about what was happening about him. His complexion had gotten pale over the last few seconds as his wound had gushed blood. His stance wasn’t steady and I could see a sweat forming on his brow. When I turned to face him I saw that he was trying to face down Dr. Beaufort and not getting very far with his effort. The good doctor knew how to handle a knife. I could also see worry forming on his face as I came up holding my blood smeared stone axe. It looked like he was on the brink of turning tail and running. I think the only thing keeping him from doing that, was the fact that he knew if he ran that he’d get a spear in the back.
“Are you okay, Doc?” I called out as I started working my way around her and the last of the hunters, trying to flank the man. “Do you need any help finishing this guy off?”
“Not really,” Dr. Beaufort replied solemnly, keeping her eye on the man in front of her. “If he doesn’t do something soon, I think he’s going to bleed out. It really is only a matter of time.”
“Do you want me to put him down?” I inquired, wanting to get this matter done and over with before anyone else showed up to ask what the hell was going on. “It wouldn’t take much for me to do it. It would take just one good rap on his head with this axe and everything would be over.”
“No,” Dr. Beaufort said firmly, her voice level and her focus fixed on her opponent. “I think things are going to happen any moment, now.”
That was an obvious statement, and I could see it as easily as the good doctor could. The wounded man didn’t understand a word we were saying to each other, but it really didn’t matter if he did or not. He knew he was in trouble, and he knew that we were getting ready to kick his ass, permanently. He also knew he needed to do something, and to do it fast, because he was bleeding out due to the slash that he’d taken from Gabby’s knife. The only thing he didn’t know, was which of the two of us, if any at all could he take with him when he died. My money was on him wanting to go out as a man, with as much honour as he could possibly take with him. That meant that he’d come after me. To die by a blade wielded by a woman wasn’t honourable at all. Of course while the man debated his options, fate decided to make the decision for him.
Gabby grabbed my spear out of the back of the man I’d killed with it. She put a foot on him and she pulled it out with all her strength. The movement caught the man’s attention. He saw Gabby heft the weapon up and then saw her spin the blade towards him. The wounded man turned to face the new danger and he ignored the old. I acted immediately. I leapt in and I slammed the stone axe down on the man before he could react. I missed his head but I clipped his right shoulder and the arm that he was using to hold his knife. The axe smashed his shoulder and it tore up the arm. The man screamed in pain, and dropped his blade. The impact caused the man to stagger away from me and Dr. Beaufort. Instinctively he spun around to face me. As he did, Gabby finished off what she’d started. She stabbed him in his back with my spear.
Amazingly, Gabby looked pleased with herself. To me, however, it was a hollow victory. Jenkins was dead, and any chance of making friends with the locals had died with him. It was time to come up with a new game plan.
Edited By JIM7