2010-06-18: Jungle Warfare (The Amazon)





Date: June 18, 2010


It's the final showdown in the Amazon Rainforest.

"Jungle Warfare"

Brazilian Rainforest

Mist rises from the floor of the jungle, obscuring much of the view, which could work in the favor of either group. The last rays of the sun are starting to fade away. It's eerily quiet as if the animals themselves know what is about to happen… Dee probably told them. It's the not the ideal time, but the little warriors had come running into the village shouting about men colored like the forest.

Everyone had only glanced at each other silently and started to gather up weapons. They were mostly a diversion to keep the mercenaries at bay while the villagers continues to put distance between them. The men would follow after once the conflict was over.

The Mother of All was safe, that was the big thing.

Mark Scotts crouches with his back to a tree, an M-16 from a supply of guns that Norman Wallace had stashed away. His eyes to the canopy watching as little men with bows, lay on the thick branches plump with green foliage. His gaze drops to the people in his team, worry plain on his features. Cody was off with another group of the Yamomami hunters, hoping to come up to the rear. The rest of them would be taking a frontal assault.

His face and any skin exposed by the dingy tank top he's wearing is marked with paint. Blessing put upon him, everyone in his team has the markings, even the white haired plant talker. Wallace exchanges a look with him and gives a slow nod, which is returns in kind. The brush is thicker around the village then it had been, an effort on Wallace's part, the old man had been working to his limit constantly to give them an edge.

Each of the woman gets a glance from Mark and an encouraging look, before his gaze settles on Jo for a moment longer. So much had happened on the trip… now was the moment that would determined if it would end here.

A touch on Mark's arm pulls his attention to a little man who makes a motion at the trees. They're close. He looks to Alexandra, Laurel, and Dee mouthing get ready.

One can almost feel the tension thicken in the air as they wait for the true sign of the mercenaries.

For the purposes of the upcoming confrontation, Alexandra has made sure to rectify some of the problems that had bothered her previously. Hair is tightly secured in a tight doubled over bun of tightly wrapped ponytail on the top of her head - the feathers in it indicate the work of the tribespeople - and reveals a tattoo relic from months and months ago. Like Mark and the others, her face is painted in deep, rich, earthen reds bordering on brown, and dark reds nearing purple. The blocky patterns continue from cheek down the neck, across the shoulders and down the arms: war paint.

She too is crouching at the base of a tree, waiting, listening. Breath rises and falls heavily in her chest, heart already racing as she recalls back to the last time she was called on to do something like this. It seems a whole heck of a lot louder in her head than it actually is to the others. Mark's encouraging look is met with a nervous little smile on her part, all nerves it seems. She committed to this though, and there's no backing down now.

Dee's plan to actually control one of the animals for this endeavor failed. She could only maintain the contact for a very short time. It was better to issue requests and then hope that the animals did the things she asked. At the moment, they are being quiet, though there's the occasional peep from one who hadn't yet gotten the message. All she can do now is wait.

There's a camera sitting next to Laurel on the ground, with a blinking red right obscured by mud so that it doesn't draw attention to her too much. The covered red light happens to show it's recording, on video, using the last of her data card to record this, their last stand— she hopes it isn't the last. A shield has already been placed around the camera to protect it, cutting off a lot of the noise, but allowing the video to seep through. The sound itself is muffled, but she'd rather have muffled sound than no sound at all.

No weapons are in her hands, as she keeps them up defensively, looking from left to right in a paranoid fashion. She pays attention to detail, and she can tell that the man with them is right— they're coming. And the thing she can offer the best is what she's said a few times before—

She can shield them when they most need it.

Skin glistening and hair pulled back into a messy ponytail amassed with curls, Jo wields a rifle of her own, she's a good shot— one of her many talents. There's no hesitance with this weapon; it feels like an extension of herself, but then most weapons do. In fact, in a way, the way she carries it feels like an extension of herself. Her painted face stares out at the horizon, scanning for any sign of activity. Her soiled tank and small shorts are darkened by the wear and tear over the last few weeks here in the amazon.

She has it at the ready, prepared to take aim when necessary, but the feeling of someone's eyes on her, begs her gaze move. Her eyes flit to Mark and linger for a moment, her own eyebrows knitting together with concern as her jaw tightens rather involuntarily. He's offered a shrug before teeth are gritted and she turns back to the horizon at the ready, weapon in hand.


A twig snaps nearby, alerting them that the men are close… too close. As a figure looms from the mist near Laurel, his rifle in hand, eyes fall on the woman and he looks surprised. The rifle comes around to point at her, his mouth opens and he starts to shout something. "Hey…" He doesn't hear anything but a soft Thwip before the shout is cut off with a gurgle and he collapse to the ground, the blue plume of an arrow sticking from his neck.

That was the moment the world erupted into chaos, forcing everyone down as bits of wood is sent flying from bullets impact. Arrows are fired back and few more men go down, but also the bodies of some of their native friends hit the ground.

How many were out there?!?

As one of the elders drops between Mark and Wallace, there is a moment of shock between both me. Then a look passes between them before both, turn to start returning fire. Wallace deciding to save his ability for when they need it. The short bursts of rifle fire is loud in their ears.

Figures move in the mist, bright flashes from the other sides guns, helping to place them.

Their rifles are liabilities as much as they are advantages. The thick mist and the heavy plantlife all does a good job of hiding the natives and the expedition members, as well as making sure that those muzzle flashes are great targets. Sure, bullets ping the trees, splinter wood, and shred leaves, but it seems to Alexandra like only lucky shots are making it through to hit any of the natives.

Rather than worry about bullets and guns, the big rifles rather hard for her to shoulder and fire more than few rounds without tiring, Alex relies on a virtually unlimited source of ammunition. It isn't metal, they aren't as big, and they don't travel as fast, but the collection of river rocks and hard soil pellets and pebbles seems to be doing its job. Silently, she's manipulating the earth to fly through the air at the nearest mercenaries. The smaller stuff stings something fierce, like a shotgun blast; the bigger stuff hits hard enough to knock them out or actually penetrate their skin.

There's a scream from Laurel, as an invisible wall pops up here and there, blocking attacks, but also limiting their ability to counter. The walls come up and down almost as quickly as they appear, blocking at attack and then going down. That doesn't stop all of them, of course, or half of them. The growls of animals can be heard, surgeing out of the jungle to attack the legs and feet of those that Dee has deemed as threats. Many end up bleeding on their sides, limping back into the jungle or trying to fight despite their wounds. Animals of all sizes and shapes— birds bomb and wild cats nip and claw, even the rodents swarm.

The camera doesn't catch a lot, but it catches flickers of gunfire, arrows bouncing, and animals scurrying by. An arrow slips past a forcefield and grazes Laurel on the arm, cutting through her shirt and a bit of blood rises to the surface.

Unlike many people with guns, Jo's expression turns utterly stoic. No smile, no sadistic twist, pure neutrality— the picture of a soldier, statuesque in the solidity of her expression. Her mouth, nose, and eyes remain even. The only indication of any stress can be seen in her jaw. Her teeth clench together tightly as her jaw clamps into a a solid mass of nerves— it's her tell, the only one she's sharing at this moment.

Carefully, systematically, her eyes scan the unfriendlies, setting different ones in her sights in turn. The sound of gunfire not wholly unfamiliar, and certainly not to be feared. She doesn't balk at the sound of her own gun firing, nor does she stop. The only hesitation comes when the noise of someone dropping registers, drawing her gaze momentarily away from the attackers, breaking that stoic focus for just a moment as she glances over and sees the elder down. With the faint twitch of her lips, she returns her gaze to the horizon and pulls the trigger again, attempting to be selective with her targets.

Small pebbles shoot through the fine mist, gray in the darkening woods, to find their mark easily. Alexandra's efforts are rewarded with a cry of pain and a body crumples to the ground. However, another soldier seems to take his place.

Two more seem caught by the precision shooting skills of Jo, each falling in rapid succession before a round of bullets tear apart the greenery around them.

Laurel's shield seems to save some lives, only two more of the natives will not be seeing their families again. Already both sides have taken losses. At least six bodies lay on the floor of the jungle on the other side of the greenery, something black pooling out over the rotting vegetation.

Another mercenary falls, before there is a voice shouting above the sounds of animals and the screams of men. It's enough to to have Mark putting his hand on the shoulder of Wallace as well so that he can hear it a bit better, but the chaos is too much. There is something that Mark notices, they seem to be pulling back.

The reason comes shortly as something small and round comes bouncing across the ground towards them. "Oh shit! Grenade!" Mark is already moving to push the ladies closest to him to the ground.

When it blows it sends bits of metal and wood flying every which way and helps push Mark to the ground, he can feel his back burning where shrapnel bit into his skin, but at least he's alive… others can't say that. One Yamomami too close to the blast, lays bloodied and almost unrecognizable, the foliage around it smolders.

In the silence that follows the explosion a voice can be heard. "We would rather not have to kill you all." The voice has a Mexican accent, but he speaks English very well. He's not from around here, obviously brought in from outside sources. "All we want is the little old woman. Then you all can go home and back to your lives."

"G-grenade?" Alex has just a moment to let that process as the thing comes tumbling through the woods, wobbling and rolling in a strange side-to-side fashion before it finally blows. It's just like in the movies, which garners a strange sort of appreciation from her; she realizes this as she's ducking for her life! Down, facefirst into a pile of earth, she can feel the sting of the shrapnel on her left arm: it grazes the skin there, raking across the flesh like hot metal claws and drawing rivers of blood from the deeper gashes. Wincing, howling out in pain, she realizes she can't really hear herself scream - her ears are still ringing from the nearby explosion.

The forcefield isn't fast enough, but it does come up part way, blocking some, but not all of the explosion. The ringing in her ears aches, but she looks up and blinks against the humidity and tears that want to form, and she looks on and hears enough of the threat to look over at Mark. "Why do they even want her. Who are they?" These are all important questions, as the sounds of animals go down. There's still many in the jungle, many who have gathered to answer the call, but they're less and less organized. Perhaps because the person whose call they answered just got shoved into the dirt to get saved from a grenade.

"Dammit!" Jo quips loudly at the sound of the word grenade as she's pushed to the ground by Mark. The brunt of the blast misses thanks to Mark's quick thinking and she's face down in the dirt, only sullied further by the muck and grime. The heat of the blast burns at her uncovered calves, and she cringes slightly, it hurts, but she won't look at it. There's no time now. Instead, she strains to look at her comrades and shakes her head just a little. Her stoicism faltering somewhat as she raises her hands to her ears, no real sound passing through.

It's obvious who the man is talking too. Mark pushes himself up to his hands and knees, and flops his back against a tree, giving a small hiss of pain. He wiggles a finger in his ear as he tries to get those ringing bells out of his head, but at least he can get the jist of what the man says.

Griping his rifle in front of him, he turns his head so he can calling out. "How much is my father paying you, exactly? I mean… it's gotta be a lot of money, huh?" A glance goes to Wallace who gives him an amused look and a looks that ask… 'What are you on about?' The british man's cheek laid open from where a bit of shrapnel, but over all he seems unhurt, taking up his spot next to Mark again.

There is a long moment of silence, before the man returns Mark's question with a flat tone. "Well, how about that. You're suppose to be dead, gringo… I made that shot myself." There is a touch of cockiness in that voice. He's probably the type that thinks he's all that with the ladies too.

"Well… your a crappy shot." Mark snaps back, easing himself around the tree again, trying to locate the voice. Colorfully plumed arrows continue to shoot out into the mist, occasionally finding a target. "And your not getting her, so you might as well just head back home." There is a pause before he adds. "Sorry." He puts mock sincerity into his voice when he says that. Softer to the people around him, the explorer says, "Keep an eye out they may be using the distraction as a diversion." Wallace relays it to the tribesmen, some drop out of the trees and start to move silently into the dense foliage.

Only then does he look to Laurel, giving her an apologetic look. "She's a healer… Powerful. I'm starting to wonder just how crazy my father is." Mark's brows furrow, with worry, before a bullet hits the tree near his head, forcing him to the ground again. "Damn it."

With such difficulty hearing, ears still ringing, Alex pulls herself up to her knees in the dirt and grabs for the back of her arm. Crossing them in front, she tries to staunch some of the bleeding as best she can with her hand, dirty thought it may be. Parts of the conversation come through the ringing, but most of it does not. Good thing Mark and Wallace make those hand motions to help direct some of the natives to the sides and behind where the group is taking cover. With the hopes of keeping them safe from those sides, Alex starts to drag herself off in that direction.

The forcefield around the camera drops, and Laurel picks it up, holding it against her chest as she begins to crawl and move away, following the motions given. "These people are crazy." Just saying, because that's what they are to her. Anyone who would go after an old woman in a remote part of the world for an ability is no better than the assholes who killed her best friend's sister in Australia. The forcefield slips up and down as the threat keeps becoming more and more apparent, she reaches to grab Dee and make sure she comes along, whether she can hear well or not. Dee is just as important as her camera.

Jo twitches at the conversation. She rises on her knees, lingering in the tall grass, in a kind of squat, her gun at the ready and her eyes watching the horizon. She sideglances Mark before nodding her head. Keeping the fellow talking is a good thing. She backs up against a tree of her own, her cool stoicism returning.

Spotting Alexandra struggling to drag herself to the group, Wallace hurries to her side, "Come on lovely. Can't have you out here like a sitting duck." As if to emphasize the point, bullets punch into the ground near them, stepping up the old mans efforts to get them to cover.

A tribesman offering Wallace a torn bit of clothe, made into a makeshift bandage, this the plant talker uses to try and patch her up temporarily.

"I would have to agree with you there." The British man says rather blandly, as he works on Alexandra.

"What's that saying? Birds of a feather?" Mark asks, the sarcasm apparent. "How about you two? Holding up?" That directed to Dee and Laurel, until he notices the nod from Jo and returns it. Resting his head back against the bark of the tree, the Lane heir tries to think of what to say to him. "What were you told about the old woman?" He feels like an idiot asking that… but diversion Jo wants…

Away from the group, through the mist in a fairly safe spot, the Mercenaries commander crouches behind a tree, eyes calmly scanning the area. He's confident they will win this, he and his men are well trained, these were only little men with sticks and a few American's playing at soldier. Or at least in his opinion.

Spotting a figure, he presses a hand to his throat and says softly. "At four… tree." There is a report of the gun and another native slumps to the ground. The complete ease that he issues orders to kill these people of the jungle says a lot about him.

Suddenly rustling to his right has Ruiz bringing his rifle up, but he relaxes again when one of his men join him. The young man looks nervous as he speaks, keeping to a whisper. "They were telling the truth. The village is completely empty… no signs of what direction they went, either."

"Our employer told us they had a Terrekinetic with them." Ruiz states with disappointment. "Well… they are no use to us then." He reaches into one of the bulging pockets of his vest, raising his voice now for the little group on the other side to hear. "That doesn't exactly matter anymore, now does it, Mr Lane. Seems you were not bluffing at all."

He pulls out a long cylindrical container painted red, something that he was given when he was given the job. "A present." The man said.

Though she stumbles at first, Alex isn't hurt that bad. It takes a moment to get hear bearings after the grenade and suddenly getting back up to a squat-walk, but she'll manage. What's a little blood in the grand scheme of things if it saves many more lives? Terrakinetic. "Y-yeah, they do have one with them. That's me!" Good luck finding which way they went: a little tremor and all that loose earth shimmies and slides around, covering up and filling in any footprints for miles. Then, she looks at Mark. "What now?" she asks, wincing as Wallace takes that cloth and starts to wrap it tight around the arm.

Someone who can move the earth— they apparently know about that but they don't necessarily know what all of them can do. Laurel lets out a surprised squeak, pointing the precious camera at their group for a few moments as an invisible barrier shoots up between them, closer to their group. The wind can still be felt, somewhat, but it buffers and hits something solid, like a sheet of glass coming up between the two of them— "I want more hazard pay…" she adds quietly, in a soft whisper as she keeps moving back some. The shield that came up doesn't move with her, though. From the groans, Dee is not at her best, but she's able to move, for the most part.

Jo listens carefully to the voice as her eyes continue to scan the area, attempting to pinpoint the location of the sound, but with the nooks and crannies of the area, there's no easy way to do so. Instead, she just keeps her eyes and ears focused. She looks at Mark again and offers him a small shrug and shake of her head, she can't place it, not without potentially accidentally giving up their position.

"And you doubted me?" Mark calls back in shock, though it isn't real. "We're not a stupid as we look!" He shakes his head and looks back at the others, noting Jo's look. "Not sure what to do now. I mean… we were just suppose to be a little diversion.

The question from Laurel gets an odd look from Mark and despite the situation, he gives a short bark of laughter. "We survive this, Laurel, you'll get that extra hazard pay."

Back on the other side, Ruiz is pulling the pin on the cylinder. "Time to get moving," he says to his own people. So Mark's group can the rustling of leafs, chirping voices of the natives echo through the mist, but no shots follow.

"Goodbye, Mr. Lane. Since the woman is gone… well… we have no use to be here." Ruiz steps out just enough to chuck the device out it, which rolls through the dead foliage. "A present!" He calls out, before he turns and starts to leave himself.

As soon as the cylinder is sported the little men are on the move, they learned from the last one. They try to snag people's arms in passing, Alexandra can feel the one that had hovered while Wallace but for the most part they are leaving. Only one of the villagers stays, Wallace. He doesn't run away, he runs to it, dropping near it and slapping hands on the ground and with a shout, pours everything into the ground.

Seeing this Mark moves to follow him, "Wallace! No… come on! It's not a…."

The world slows down for a long moment. He can only watch in awe as all of a sudden trees start to shoot from the ground, twisting around themselves, enveloping the . It's so fast, that there is no doubt it taxes the old man.

But even as the trees encase it, the cylinder explodes. This was not a grenade like others. The flash of light that shines through the thick trunks is blinding even before it blasts outwards. Sending flaming shrapnel out. The concussion hit everyone, sending them to the ground. Mark being closest, tumbles a bit before coming to rest.

Wallace is killed instantly as slivers of fiery wood pieces his body, even before fire consumes him and everything around him. Everywhere the jungle is set to blaze, fanned by the nighttime breeze, throwing everything into fierce colors. The flames are moving quickly, climbing up the trees and catching the foliage on fire, the sudden roar loud filling air around them.

This can't be good.

For the second time in the last few minutes, Alex is thrown down to the ground, this time with a tiny man falling down tangling arms with her as he's trying to pull her away from the device. She can't spin around in time to see just what it is, but the sudden whoosh of fire and the intense heat, the crackling of flames and snapping of branches pretty much tells her what's going on. "H-how…they do something with forest fires…" she mumbles to nobody but herself. Her mind is swimming, hazy in the second post-explosion soupiness.

Too much fire to put out with dirt, like using sand or something. Too much foliage to get rid of the fuel but…the method hits her like a sudden ray of light through the clouds. "They clear around it!" she calls out! Again, nobody probably knows what she's talking about, but she doesn't get back up as the native pulls on her (thanfully uninjured) arm. Instead, she stays kneeling in the dirt, and digs her hands in. Closing her eyes tight, she tries to manipulate the soil in waves, pushing, tugging, rocking at some of the trees to uproot them, turning the soil over and trying to chew up the foliage, but it's a slow process. It will take some time to make a perfectly clear ring around that firebomb.

"We need to move," Laurel yells, horrified at the sight of what happened to the old man, and what little her camera was able to pick up. The forcefield drops almost as soon as it's hit, causing blood to drip down from her nose. Earth may be able to do some too, but she seems of the belief that running is better. Especially if they decide to throw more presents. "We have to go, come on," she says, pulling against Dee as she tries to lead the way.

"Shit shit shit shit shit," Jo murmurs as she grasps for Mark and traipses after Laurel. Nothing like baddies with more fire power and the ability to use it. "Get off the ridge, get off the ridge, get off the ridge…" she repeats to keep herself grounded as she tugs on him, the rifle moved to her side as she begins to move.

The firestorm is already on the move, the stiff breeze pushing it along. It lights up the world, throwing long shadows from everyone. Despite Alexandra's best efforts, the fire is too powerful and spreading too fast, thanks to whatever that cylinder contained. Whatever that device was, it is a piece of work.

However, where she has cleared, it seems to have slowed the progress of the fire. It might give the group a chance to flee for safety.

There is a groan from Mark as he's tugged by Jo, finally waking from that blast. A brush of heated air, seems to waking him enough to realize they are in danger. "Run.. got to go." He grabs onto Jo and with her help stumbles to his feet.

Glancing back at the fire, the image of Wallace being blown up will be burned in his mind for some time. Of course, he sees Alexandra's silhouette and he can't help but be afraid. "Alex!! Come on! We gotta go!" He slips out of Jo's grip and hurries over to the Terrakinetic to grab her, physically move her if need be despite the injuries.

He is so going to feel this for some time.

Even as he grabs at Alex, animals of various types filter out of the burning jungle around them, more afraid of the blaze then the people in their path. An idea hit Mark then and he turns back to Jo and shouts. "The river! Behind the village." It's a risk, but hopefully the smaller river won't be filled with nasty biting fish.

Lost in controlling the earth, it takes Mark yanking on her arm and shirt to get Alex up out of the dirt. Taking a second to appraise her efforts, she too concludes that it's in vain. Good idea, but too little too late. Maybe clearing a spot around them earlier would've been good - a clear area of foliage that the mercenaries would've had to walk through as well as a fire control ring. No sense in thinking now - there'll be plenty of time for reflection on the boat trip home, if they live that long - so she runs.

The river? Oh no— Laurel takes the time while running in terror to shut down her camera and turn it off, to shove it somewhere safe. "I'm making a bridge across! Anyone who trusts me, take my hand and I'll pull you across." Cause she's not going into the pirana water if she can help it! At least one person will trust her, and that's Dee, her best friend. This time, she intends to put a little extra effort into adding color to the force field. Anyone want a bridge? It's walking on air— again. Too bad not everyone who is with them remembers how this goes.

"Not this again— " Jo twitches a little and glances back at the fire. She's done it once, but with her fear of heights it's not like she's dying to do this again. With a deep inhalation of sickeningly humid breath, as she hesitates for a second— a second thought before offering Dee her hand. Getting pulled across is better than the falling in or the getting caught in some fire.

Once Alexandra is on her feet and moving, Mark is running as well, pulling the rifle over his head to rest on his back. "Let's go! I don't know what we'll do when we get there… but…" What other choice do they have.

It's a hurried flight through the forest, trying to out run a the flames, that always seem to be licking at their heels. Looking up they can just make out the bodies of birds as they wing away from their the canopy. Even when a jaguar crosses their path, it doesn't seem to care about the people. It only continues to run. It jumps into the river without even thinking and starts swimming, getting pulled further down.

As he comes to a stop his feet splash into the water, but he doesn't go any further. "Okay…" What now?

There is some shouting near them, it has Mark turning slightly. Down a bit from them, their native friends are waving at them, motioning them to join them. Glancing at the others, he grabs Jo's hand, and starts that way. "Laurel! How good are your shields." His voice is already feeling hoarse having to shout over the crackling roar of the inferno behind him.

It seems the Yamomami tribes men have taken residence in a cave along the river bank, water laps lightly at their feet, not high enough for any of the Piranha to come after them.

Partly tugged, partly stumbling, partly running, Alex somehow manages to keep up with the group. The river seems no more inviting than a trip through the air, especially with the prospect of potentially-ravenous piranha living in there, stirred up by the sudden change in light in the forest around the river, and looking for a human-sized meal. She only lets it get to the tips of her boots, looking at the rest of them for the next move.

"Um— pretty good," Laurel says, looking across the river once, then her eyes catch the sight of many of the Yamomami. "I get you!" she exclaims over the fire, as she makes a decision. Helping many people is better than saving just their small grou. "Get into the cave thing," she says, moving Dee and the others who were going to trust her to bridge them across. She's still willing to, but she doesn't know if she can be trusted to take everyone. So instead she'll try and get everyone inside, before covering the outcropping with the forcefield that she was intending to carry them across.

Mark's hand is given a squeeze as it grasps her own, and Jo is easily coaxed towards the cave— better solution than the water all things considered, less heights and overall just way better. Closing her eyes once inside, she braces for whatever gets thrown at them, her body losing its stoicism and transforming into an altogether different creature— one tense throughout.

Once they are inside, Mark takes a moment to cough a few times in an attempt to clear his lungs, moving to lean heavily against the rock wall. Hunched over, with a hand on his knee, he takes a moment to relax. Just a moment.

His gaze lifts to look at the smudged group and what's left of the Yamomami men. It's painful to see how many of them were lost to the mercenaries. Especially the absence of Wallace and Cody. He can only hope his friend is getting somewhere safe.

Reaching out, he pulls Jo close as if uncertain what would happen next. His eyes drift over to the cave entrance knowing that it is well protected. One of the Yamomami hunters moves towards the entrance to check only to bump into it. That sends surprised conversation through the others, but slowly it trails off as the world outside gets brighter and brighter.

A few animals bounce off the shield, but as soon as the fire storm is around them, nothing else comes. The snaps and crackles of the fire are deafening. They can see flame licking not far from them and already it's jumped the river. Burning branches crash down in front of the shallow cave, making everyone within' jump.

They can only watch in awe as the world around them goes up in flames and yet… they feel nothing as Laurel's shield holds up.

Panic is the enemy now. The cave is either airtight, which means that oxygen is limited, or the shield has small gaps and the oxygen will get sucked out as the fire burns. Either way, the solution is to remain as calm as possible. Alex tries to help with that, by sliding into the cave and hanging by a way, settling down to a crouching sit. Oh, she worries, but she's not panicky. As the fire burns outside the cave, she looks through that forcefield and hopes they survive.

The forcefield has no gaps, or it wouldn't protect against the heat— but Laurel's trying her best not to think about that as she closes her eyes and the forcefield stays up. She can feel Dee's hand in hers as she fights back the pressure that keeping the shield up causes— the damage has to go somewhere, but it's in such small amounts that the only one who notices is the one who's holding it up. And the one who feels it. Just a few more minutes, she keeps telling herself— just a few minutes.

It feels like an eternity.

Engulfed in Mark's arms, Jo wraps her own around the man, but she continues to look at the coming doom. But the force field holds and Jo relaxes in the embrace, wincing slightly at the tongues of flames licking against the cave and its protective layer, but breathing a little easier as the fire doesn't find its way through, resting her head on his shoulder. They're safe-ish here.

"You can do this Laurel." Mark says softly, almost as if he can hear her thoughts. His arms tighten only a little as the fire burns around him, as if waiting for it to come for them. A more primal instinct to protect.

The firestorm will pass quickly, allowing Laurel to finally drop the shield, buffeting them with the residual heat. However, it'll be day break before anyone braves stepping out of the small cave, into the blinding light of the morning sun, no longer covered by the thick canopy of the trees. The change is heartbreaking, nothing but charred remains of trees that have lived longer then probably the human race itself. Smoke curls up from the small hot spots, but for the most part the firestorm is long gone.

Already in the distance there is the thumping sound of helicopters, possibly to survey the damage and look for survivors, even as black smoke still billows in the far distance where the fire continues it's distruction.

Rescue is on it's way.

Even if they will probably have to knock out Alexandra.

It's a bitter sweet end, but with hope the Yamomami villagers are far enough away not to be effect by the destruction. In fact, the team is given gentle pats in passing as the last of the hunters makes to leave. They have no interest in being here when the helicopters arrive.

The small figures seem sad, as the start off, bare feet stirring up the ash and dust. Shoulders seem slumped and heads bowed as if in mourning for the lost lives and forest. The oldest among them stops and turns back to the team and lifts a hand in farewell, head lowering in respect.

Mark lifts his hand in return, giving the little man a sad hint of a smile, but it doesn't reach his eyes.

Even though a section of the rain forest burned down around them, and may continue to burn, the natives still recognize that these strangers saved their loved ones. The spirits brought them mighty warriors blessed with their gifts to protect their most precious Mother.

It's a victory, but it doesn't feel like it.

Fin The Amazon.

Up next: Egypt

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