The Trek (Part 2 - Into the frying pan)

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Date Event
04.12.05  
110.100 
(cont) 
The group prepares for their dangerous trek through Hell’s Basin. Mudu estimates they need to walk about 300 km which amounts to roughly 7 days.
According to Frank – the medic of the group – they will need 10 liters of water each; per day.
Though water is the most important thing for desert survival; they’ll also need food. Frank’s distillery is not portable; so Alex opens negotiations with Willie and trades the thing for 5 iguana’s which they butcher. Their flesh will be dried and the skins will serve as make-shift waterskins.
Once the water-distillery is up-and-running Frank searches through the rubble in the houses and finds some tinfoil and creates what he calls a ‘portable condensator’. Later, the thing will prove to be able to provide 2 liters of water daily.
That evening during diner, Willie starts asking uncomfortable questions, like who they are and what they are doing here. Rave starts on a rambling story about how they are bounty hunters searching the same guys that the jumpcraft-men were looking for. Willie seems to believe them.
111.100 They still do not have enough water to start the trek. They spend the day creating a sled to carry all water and food. Franks fashions himself a make-shift spear from a knife and a piece of wood.
112.100 The group now has 60 liters of pure water, 2 water purifiers and 80 liters of contaminated water (which they intend to use the purifiers on). They load all gear onto the sled and start of to the edge of Hell’s Basin.
Mudu tells the group what he knows about the area. It is inhabited by miners who seek out the hot spring in the desert. Around these springs water opals are found , which is what the miners are looking for. These miners are not known for their hospitality.
Just after noon they arrive at Hell’s Basin’s granite border. They stand at the top of a granite cliff, the desert itself below them. Looking at a surreal landscape they see a groups of corroded dirty-white pillars of sandstone. All pillars are cut-off at the same height and are close together, though they can see that further out the gaps between the columns get wider and wider.
Gathering their courage they descend into Hell and start picking out a path among the blocks of granite. The path is precarious and Alex slips but he can steady himself before he falls of the cliff.
Once safely down they erect a make shift camp to wait until dark. The groups quickly notices that once down here you quickly get covered with a thin layer of white dust which gets into you eyes, nose hear, clothes and food. The good thing is that conceal themselves from anyone looking for them.
That evening, during diner they discuss how to maximize their chances of survival. It is decided to walk 12 hours during night, then rest 18 hours during daylight.
The first night passes uneventful. The desert floor is littered with small pebbles making walking uncomfortable and running downright dangerous. When they erect camp Rave and Mudu start out to find water. Rave triumphantly return to the group with the news that he found a well but Frank –using a modified biomonitor- quickly determines the water is spoiled and unfit for drinking.
113.100 During the daytime rest they discuss their progress and decide that it will probably be better to up the pace so that the trek will only last 8 days.
The 2nd night : Taking the lead, Frank encounters a scorpion that Mudu states is edible. Frank tries to impale it on his makeshift spear but the critter is too fat for him.
After erecting camp they start out for water but none manages to find anything.
114.100 The 3rd night : walk, walk, trip walk. Tedium enough, but no water to be found.
115.100 During the 4th night the group runs out of water. A new tRavel schedule is created: after tRavelling half the night they will stop for a few hours to go looking for water. Then they’ll continue the and do the same again after another halfnight of walking. And so it is done, but despite their best efforts the group finds no water.
116.100 During the dawn of the 5th day Rave finds water near their camp. Elation quickly turns to disappointment as Frank determines the water to be toxic.
117.100 A few hours walking into the 6th night the eroded pillars keep thinning out until the group arrives at the edge of a big white plain. Mudu recognizes this place. It is real dangerous to cross this plain during daytime since there is no shadow and the sun dries you out very quickly. This means that they can’t stop to look for water, even though they have been dry for nearly two days now. Their only source of water is Frank’s portable condensator
The group decides to forego a water search in favor of crossing the plane quickly. Then, just when they are in the middle of the waste Rave’s sensitive ears pick up the sound of a jumpcraft. He calls out to everyone to hit the deck and they anxiously await the craft. The sound is really far of, so perhaps they had not been spotted yet. Or perhaps the craft was not looking for them. Whichever way it is, the sound stays stationary for a few minutes then dwindles into the night. Just to be on the safe side the group changes direction. This will prolong their crossing, but at least they’ll be sure no-one is waiting for them on the other side.
They safely reach the other side just after the sun has risen. In their camp they discuss what to do when they find water. Rave demands a ration as till now he has found most water. Mudu is also capable of finding water so he is allotted a ration as well. And finally Frank, being their medic also is granted a portion of any water found or collected. That settled, Rave and Mudu start out for water. Again, they return empty handed.
118.100 The 7th night : Still no water found. Eileen is in a bad shape and is given some of the water from Frank’s condensator.
At daybreak Mudu finds a spring yielding 30 liters of water.
119.100 Halfway during the 8th night in the desert the group enters a narrow winding gorge but stumbles on a thornrow hedge planted across the gorge. The thorn is thick enough to block Frank’s sonar, but Rave can hear voices behind the hedge.
The group retreats and discusses what to do : there are people behind that hedge, so there is water there. These are probably miners so not likely to share the water.
Rave decides to take a closer peek. He scrambles up one of the walls but whoever is on the other side of the hedge hears him and calls out to Rave reveal himself.
Rave answers with a shot of the stungun he took from Jamal but misses. In response the miner aims his hunting rifle and shoots back.
A second miner emerges from a cave-entrance Rave takes aim, fires and the second man falls down unconscious.
The first miner takes another shot and grazes Rave’s arm. Thoroughly cheesed off, Rave jumps the man, rips the gun from his grip and blows the man’s head clean off.
The quiet in the miner camp returns for a moment as Rave carefully circles the entrance to the cave. He can hear there’s someone else inside. Suddenly a flare is lit and thrown out of the cave.
Although the light from the flare prevents Rave from looking inside the cave, it also illuminates the hidden opening in the thornrow hedge. One by one the rest of the group crawls through it: First Eileen, then Alex, Mudu and Frank.
Rave picks up a rock and throws it into the cave. The miner inside opens fire and – by accident – hits his unconscious mate still lying in the entrance.
Outside, the group waits until the flare is burned up, then Rave circles the entrance, and throws another rock. When the miner fires on the sound Rave fires at the location of the muzzle-flame. A scream tells him he hit something.
The mining camp is quickly scoured. Water, glorious water in abundance. They all drink their fill. The camp purifier, solar still and all water opals are taken; the miners are left behind to die.
120.100 At dawn of the 8th night the group reaches Hell’s Basin granite border. Another scramble and finally, finally they emerge from the hottest place on Poseidon. Exhausted they fall in the shade of some rocks.
Mudu tells them that he can not take them with him any further. He will need assent from his group-leader to take them into the hideout of his fellow freedom fighters. The group will have to stay out, he’ll go get his tribesman and will return in a few days.
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