The Trek (Part 3 - Out of the frying pan)

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Date Event
22.01.06  

120.100
(cont)

After Mudu has left, the group discusses what to do next. The food they took from the miners will last them 7 days, so thatís not a problem. They feel uncomfortable here, and want to move camp to a more secluded spot.
After a 15 minute walk along Hellís Basin granite border they find a spot where 2 toppled blocks make a reasonable shelter.
Exhausted from the nightís walk and the fight with the miners the party lay themselves to rest. But first Rave rolls through the sand to get rid of the white dust his fur gathered during their 8 days in the desert.
After resting for 8 hours, the group splits up. Alex and Eileen stay behind to make camp, Frank and Rave go explore the area.
The scouting party is only 10 minutes away from camp when Raveís sensitive ears pick up a humming sound. He alerts Frank who has heard the sound as well. Searching the area they notice a faint blur is the sky, that both recognize as a camouflage unit.
Both guys take cover and let the humming thing approach. Laying flat on the ground Rave carefully aims his hunting rifle as the thing approaches. When it is 20 meters away Rave blasts it out of the sky with a couple well-placed shots.
Back at camp, Eileen and Alex hear the gunshots and immediately conclude that their current spot for the camp is probably not safe anymore. With a resigned sight Alex starts packing whilst Eileen stays on the lookout.
Cautiously Frank and Rave approached whatever it was they shot out of the sky. Their suspicions are confirmed when they see a mass of electrical gizmos, lenses and wiring. After a short examination Frank concludes this was a recon remote. Then he notices the registration ID of the drone starts with HSS : Hanover Security Services. Uh-oh.
Quickly they return to camp and tell the others what has happened. A discussion follows: this thing was either looking for them, or theyíre near a Hanover encampment. More discussion; should they go to Perdition, or circle around it. They think that even though Hanover probably will look in Perdition for them, they will also blend in more easily.
Eventually they decide to circle around Perdition and start their trek up the mountains. Rave will take the rearguard to erase their tracks as best as he can. 2 hours into the walk they leave behind the tinfoil water condenser as a marking. It is inconspicuous enough to not attract too much attention, but distinctive enough to attract the attention of anybody looking for it (like Mudu). Later it will prove to be a wise and useful precaution.
A few hours later evening falls and they set up camp under an overhanging ridge of rock. When night truly falls the watch sees light reflected against the underside of the clouds. The light comes from something thatís a few hills away. Also, now and then a gust of wind carries the sound of heavy machinery and the distinctive whine of jumpcraft turbofans. Obviously something big is going on in those hills.

121.100

Over breakfast they discuss the lights and sounds. Somebody is doing something big. But is this for them, or is something else going on. Whatever it is, they best give it a wide berth.
2Two hours walking after breakfast they hear a whirring sound: another hoverdrone! Quickly they take cover under an outcropping. The drone hovers over to their position, examines the spot for a few tense moments, then hovers on. Apparently it did not spot them.
Not taking any chances the party backtracks to their first camp, but Rave gets confused by all these rocks that look like one another and after half a days walk must admit that he does not know where exactly they are with respect to their camp. He and Frank scan the horizon and are about to continue when Frank spots a glimmering in the sun at the edge of his zoom range.
Closing in, they see itís their tinfoil. Good thing they left it behind. From there itís easy to find the downed recon remote. Frank picks up a few of the lenses. You never know when they come in handy. A quick search of the area show nobody has been here.
On to their basecamp. Luckily it has not been touched. Neither has their provisory camp they used when they exited Hellís Basin.
After dinner they set up a watch schedule. Alex, Eileen, Frank then Rave.
Alex watch passes uneventful, but during Eileenís watch she hears something : the shot of a sonic stungun. Thatís also the last thing that goes through her mind as she falls to the ground, dropping the hunting-rifle she held.
The sound of the rifle falling wakes Rave from his sleep. He listens; hears people moving outside the camp perimeter and wakes the rest. Carefully he crawls over to Eileen. This was not the wisest of actions as he is promptly shot down (with a stungun, luckily for him).
From their vantage point Frank and Alex see Rave go down. Frank switches his eye to infra-red, and spots 3 men hiding in the bushes. He fires his own stungun, but the assailant brushes of the stunning effect.
Still hesitating what to do they hear a voice calling out to them: "You two, we know youíre in there. We have a clear line of fire to your companions. You have 10 seconds to get out of there before we shoot them. 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 Ö ". . Alex and Frank realize they have little choice but still hesitate. "6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1". And with that they surrender.
All four are bound, gagged and blindfolded. Frankís bionic eye still works, though his line of vision is diminished to 2 meters.
They are taken on a long walk into the mountains, into a cave. So this is most likely not Hanover. Deep into the cave-system they are warned to hold their breath as theyíll go swimming. Thatís an exaggeration, as they are dragged underwater to yet another cave system. There, they are locked up in a cave and the voice speaks again : "You can take of your blindfolds and gags".
Rave quickly cuts through his ropes, and helps the other free themselves. Looking around, they find themselves in a dimly lit cave. In a similar cage to the left of them is a woman they do not know. In the cage to their right lies Mudu.
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