Monday, November 11, 2013

Day Five-Seventy-One: Dat rhino


We found a jungle.

That was... unexpected.

The trip was proceeding so nicely. We covered a ton of ground last Friday thanks to the addition of the rhino to our group. As expected, it's driving us forward faster than that stupid mystery mechanism ever could (though Libby's still trying to repair it, for occassions when the rhino is too tired to continue). 

The rhino is also proving to be an endless source of entertainment for Fynn, who has latched onto the lumbering behemoth as though it were his pet. Every time he's in Engineering, Fynn babblingly demands to see the rhino. I'm happy to comply, since the rhino seems to like Fynn just as much. The licking matches between the two are adorable. (If unhygenic.)

The rhino was forced to make an unexpected stop this morning, though, when we hit the edge of the jungle. The damn thing is enormous, seeming to stretch both north and south as far as the eye can see. It's also unseasonably green, boasting some impressively leafy fauna, and Edmund assures me the Imperium's jungles are like that all year 'round. Warm, too, even during the snow. What a weird not-so-little ecosystem.

I couldn't make a decision on my own, so I called everybody together for a meeting up in Command. The crew gathered 'round the big planning table - which is still a bit fucked up from taking a cannonball hit - and we took turns arguing over what to do next.

"Drive right through the fucker!" Grylock demanded, pounding his tiny fist on the table. "Ow, splinter. But yeah, that's what needs be done. Plow it down!"

"What, and wreck the Dauphine up again?" Libby protested. "No! Go around, ya dumb shits! I don't care how long it takes."

"Go over!" cried Celine, uncharacteristically jubilant. "Craft legs for the transport that will allow it to climb trees! Then we can swing through the jungle on vines, like some sort of man spider!"

"That's impossible, dear," Daena said, patting her youngest on the head. "Would it be feasible for Libby to create wings for the Dauphine, however? We could soar over the landscape and make our trip all the faster..."

"I'm not a miracle worker!" Libby punched Daena lightly on the arm. "Chances're good we'd go up for five minutes 'n come crashin' down when the wings couldn't stand the weight anymore. Fun trip that'd be."

"We might make it over the jungle, though."

"'n then die."

"But we'd be over the jungle."

"'n dead." 

"But you must admit that we would be over the jungle, which is what we're debating."

"You're a weird one, Daena." 

Another light punch and buddy hugs. I don't get women.

I grimaced, considering our schedule. There only seemed to be a single viable course. "I think we have to go 'round, folks. If there was a path or somethin' through the jungle I might think otherwise, but it looks too dense from 'ere. Better we not take the chance and lose a few days -"

The clamour died. Everyone turned to look at the latest arrival.

Ever since his dramatic drugging of the crew and flight across the Imperium's border, Plato's been restricted to his quarters. Only people who bring him food ever see him, and they all claim that he hasn't said a word to them. He's been wrapped in chains of penitent silence, flopped over on his bed. Justly so, since he coulda gotten us all killed.

My eyes narrowed. "I haven't said you can come out yet, platypus."
Plato cringed. ""

"You know a way through?"

He nodded. His eyes wandered to his feet and stayed there, unwilling to look at the people around him.

I considered for a few moments, trying to decide if I trusted him more than I distrusted. Eventually I waved my hand. "Go ahead."

Plato stumbled through his explanation. Apparently on his long journey to find me he wound up travelling through this jungle from the opposite side, tailing that Traveller dude. He (and, presumably, his rat) got lost, and wandered the jungle for almost a week before finding a river which led him back out again. He's not positive, but Plato thinks that the river runs through the entire jungle, one side to the other.

Lacking anything better to do, since we hadn't made a better choice, we drove the Dauphine along the edge of the jungle. Sure enough, after three hours of searching we came across a winding river that slipped into the trees and disappeared. We're still sitting beside it, as Libby's team of workers is checking the banks to see if we can roll the Dauphine along the path the river creates. So far this looks pretty promising - the Dauphine's plenty wide to straddle both sides of the river.

I dunno. This seems like an awful risk, whether I trust Plato or not. What if the wheels get stuck in soft dirt? What if the river suddenly widens and we wind up splashing into a lake? What if we're attacking by some jungle tribe? What if, after all this time, Plato proves to be a traitor, and was waiting for this moment to strike...? 

What if, what if, what if. We won't get anywhere with endless what ifs. The majority of the Dauphine's crew seems willing to plow through the jungle, and majority rules on this trip. I just pray I don't wind up being justified in wishing this were a dictatorship instead.


Dragomir the Wanderer

No comments:

Post a Comment