Jones stepped inside the small building behind KDuncan and let out a shiver as the warm air from a near by fireplace splashed over him. He took in his surroundings and turned his head all around until he noticed a light dripping sound beside him. He looked down and saw a puddle of melted snow begin to form around him. “Sorry…” his voice trailed off, a slight nervousness could be detected.
Jodi looked at the drips on the floor and then back at Tom, "no problem," she said, "we drip all over the floor a lot of the time anyway." She smiled again. KDuncan detected the uneasiness and tried to change the subject, "Say, Tom, would you like to set Ben down on one of the chairs over there?"
“Yeah, okay.” Tom grabbed Ben and slid him down in a cushy chair right by the fireplace. Taking his fedora off his head he brushed some snow off the brim and walked back over to KDuncan and her friend Jodi.
Ben felt as if he was slowly floating from the murky depths of the tired unconsciousness he had been wallowing in to the air of being mildly awake. His eyes remained closed, but the sounds of voices and a ling fire close by faded in, and he became slightly aware of a comfortable chair beneath him. A faint grumbling groan drifted from his throat, and one eyelid popped slightly open, then the other, until his eyes flittered completely open. It took a moment before he realized he was looking at Tom and KDuncan, and at length he asked, "How long have I been out?"
(I'm sorry that its been so long since I replied but my Internet has been giving me trouble lately. I think its alright now though. )
Time had seemed to stop around the group of intrepid adventurers, every second that went by felt like an eternity to Tom. After Ben had woken from the affects of the medallion KDuncan begun to explain to her friend Jodi the events that they had all experienced since they had met in the small tavern in Nepal.
Jones had long ago turned his attention to the storm brewing outside; snow blasted up against the weather beaten window causing Tom to flinch as cold thoughts filled his broken mind. Sighing he lowered his eyes to the still damp fedora in his hands and smiled lightly, glade that his lucky charm wasn’t lost in the fire that had plagued the Raven. Hunching slightly against a nearby wall Jones rubbed his eyes wearily. He was tired from the long flight from Nepal, his muscles were tense and his whole body reverberated with a dull ache that reminded him that all this was really happening, a non-ending dream…nightmare. The image of his lover from another lifetime flowed gently along with the other memories of the past few weeks. Weeks…somehow it feels like we have been plunging through this adventure for months. The archeologist was anxious to get moving, Marcus and the museum maybe in trouble, but he was so sleepy…
KDuncan and Ben had been deep in conversation with Jodi to the point that they had momentarily forgotten about the young archeologist now slouched up against the wall in front of a dark window. A mellow snoring begun to fill the small room and they all looked around attempting to find the source.
Last edited by Tom Jones : 02-03-2006 at 09:34 PM.
(Glad to hear, Tom, I hope it doesn't give you any more trouble)
KDuncan, suddenly coming to realize just how tired Tom must be, turned to Jodi and motioned at him as he gently snored. "No wonder," she said to her friend, "I think I woke him when I first arrived at the bar in Nepal, and considering what we've been through since, I think he deserves a nap... got a guest bedroom in the place?" Jodi nodded a yes, and all three of them helped haul Tom into the nearby room without waking him. After they were through with that, Ben looked to Jodi. "I'm pretty tired too, mind if I crash on the couch for awhile?" Once again Jodi nodded her consent. After a short talk with her old friend, KDuncan rested on a recliner. They all needed some rest.
(Hey, all. Things were quiet, and I got busy, but I'm glad I remembered to check up on this! )
Ben gratefully collapsed onto the couch, having the sensation of not being fully rested after taking a nap. He looked to KDuncan...she seemed to be having a fine time chatting with her old friend, although she did seem to be starting to show the wear and tear of the past couple of days, still in a mild way. His vision then passed over to Tom. He, unfortunately, had been slammed hard with the previous weeks, and it showed. Bruises and scratches marked his face and hands, and the way he was sleeping, it looked as though he could've done it for a year before he was rested. He was a bit worried for Tom, but he wasn't sure what he could do about it. He then looked at himself. He had experienced his own exhaustion. Although he hadn't been in the thick of the action as yet so far as weaponry and fists went, the effects of the medallion were causing some interesting situations for him, the latest of which being the rescuing of the jet. He realized he needed rest himself, and decided to stop looking, stop thinking, and take it. He rolled over to face the back of the couch, curled up, and let sleep take over him.
Jones grunted softly and rolled onto his side, besieged slightly by a feeling of weightlessness. Abruptly his eyes slapped open just in time to see the ground fly up at him. A loud thump could be heard from inside the house. Tom grunted again this time more forcedly and painfully. Pushing himself up slowly he tried to remember where he was and how he had gotten there. But a thick fuzziness assaulted his mind. Shacking his head he put a hand to his temple slowly massaging it until he was on his feet.
Staring out an open window he smiled, it was morning and the vicious storm had passed. Rays of sunlight splashed all around him, Jones spotted a military jet sitting just a few feet away under a blanket of sparkling white fluff; a memory of the journey from Nepal flashed through his mind. Tom shook his head slowly trying to make sense of it. Still gazing out into the snow covered landscape a figure moved up next to the jet brushing snow away from its side. Jones squinted against the powerful light trying to shade it from out of his eyes with a hand. He couldn’t make out the face and decided he had to go outside if he wanted to know who it was.
Tucking his shirt back in his pants Tom yawned and grabbed his jacket from the back of the bed. Putting his arms into heavily faded leather he pushed the half-open bedroom door fully open. Taking a step into the hallway he stopped, a troubled look crossed his face. Putting a hand to the top of his head his breathing faltered; something was wrong, he was forgetting something. Turning back he smirked stepping back into the room and up the dresser next to the bed. There sat his old companion, neglected. Jones grabbed his fedora and set it gently on top of his head. He couldn’t believe that he’d almost forgot it, but was glad that he remembered it.
Leaving the room behind the archeologist strolled slowly through the tranquil and snug home. A slight eagerness was now directing him toward the person outside.
KDuncan was awakened by the sound of a heavy object landing on the floor somewhere in the house. Beams of sunlight illuminated the room as she got up. Checking to make sure her gun was snug in her holster, she walked towards the area of the noise and found Tom heading towards the front entrance. "What happened?" she asked him. He gestured towards a window and she looked, seeing someone by their aircraft. "Oh," she said, "that might be Jodi's husband..." She followed him towards the door, also curious if it was an intruder or not.
Ben woke up with a start. He felt groggy, but when he looked up to see Tom and KDuncan heading outside, and a stranger by the jet, he scrambled to his feet and jogged to the door. As he grabbed the handle, he jumped as he felt a shock at his fingertips. But nothing happened. He breathed a relieved, and slightly annoyed sigh. It was only static. He swung the door aside and followed his friends into the snow.
Taking a few steps away from the warmth of the small building Tom turned back somewhat surprised when he saw Ben trudging through the snow towards them. Pulling the brim of his fedora down in an attempt to shield the sun from out of his eyes Jones waited for the young adventure seeker to come up beside him. “So, how ya feeling kid? That was some light show you put on back in the jet.”
Tom returned the weak grin; they'd all been through a lot. He wouldn't deny that he felt like hell too. But this hadn't been the first time that the tenacious archeologist had to endure sorrow and anguish through an adventure like this one. Probably won't be the last time either, he told himself grimly.
He let out a breath. Even though he'd slept exceptionally well during the night, his mind hadn't really been given a chance to recover from the traumatic events that had occurred during his stay in Nepal. Every time he closed his eyes he would see the dreary ghosts of his two past companions.
Shrugging the eerie feeling off he pushed himself forward through the thick snow. That’s all he could really do now, wasn’t it? No use dwelling on the past, he just couldn’t stand still and watch the world unfold around him. He had made that fatal mistake before and promised himself he would never allow himself to do it again.
KDuncan trudged through the snow alongside Tom. They were all quiet; the only sound distincly audible was the crunching of the fresh snow under their feet. Approaching their aircraft, they spread out a little to apprehend the intruder, who was unaware of their presense.
Glancing forward from under his fedora Tom caught sight of the mysterious figure leaning toward an uncovered section of the jet. Instinctively his right hand lowered to the holster latched onto his belt.
It wasn’t what he would have done two weeks ago being put in the same situation. But now his senses were a jumbled mess, his mind fragmented from stress and the feeling that his world was crumbling around him. He wasn’t going to take any chances and unsnapped the flap of the leather holster.
Glancing quickly over to KDuncan and Ben, Jones gently pulled out his handgun as not to alert the lone figure by the aircraft. Both of his companions were moving off toward the nose of the fighter jet, leaving him to sneak around the back.
Tom tried to mentally assess the situation but other feelings were assaulting his mind. Blinking he tried to clear his head, rubbing his eyes he slowly continued on. Coming up beside the massive tail of the jet he put a hand out and pushed himself up against its icy cold surface. Peaking his head around the side of the aircraft Jones could see that the shady man had pried open a panel and was slicing at the protruding wires with a pocket knife. “I don’t remember seeing him as part of the flight staff,” Tom mumbled into the crisp air.
Paden continued cautiously scanning the shadows as he nodded. "I reckon if she needed saving, she'd have let us know by now," he replied. Feeling the dense cold of the cavern seeping into his limbs, he glanced at the black-clad gunman, his thoughts returning to the girl in the helicopter and the men that were hunting her. "So sharpshooter, what's our next move?"
As soon as Paden caught sight of the approaching helicopter, he instinctively dropped to a crouch in the shadows of the cave entrance. As he did so, his eyes quickly searched the windows of the chopper he and the mercenary had commandeered, as well as the rocky terrain around the craft, but he saw no sign of the girl. He furtively hoped that she was curled up inside the helicopter’s cabin, its armored hull providing the safest spot of refuge within the narrow gorge. “Persistent, aren’t they?” Paden remarked, cracking a mirthless smile as he freed his pistols from their holsters. Given the difficulty involved in bringing the chopper down into the canyon, Paden knew that a quick escape wasn’t an option. Even if it had been, given the single-mindedness of their pursuers, leaving them alive to make further attempts on the girl’s life didn’t seem wise. Still, the rocky crevasse they found themselves in was not the ground Paden would have chosen for a violent confrontation. The constricted space offered little room for movement and sparse cover: clear incentive to act swiftly, hopefully with some element of surprise intact.
“Any particular way you want to play this?” Paden inquired of his black-clad companion.
KDuncan creaped around one side of their plane, keeping a wary eye out for any foul play. Motioning to Ben, she slowed as they neared the intruder. She could see Tom's shadow slightly by looking under the nose of the craft. The intruder deftly cut some more wires, and, thinking he had heard a sound, dropped the wire cutter nervously. He muttered an expletive.
Tom closed his eyes and took in a deep breath of the icy cold air blowing gently around him. A hundred different thoughts were flashing through his mind with questions at the center point of each of them. The intrepid archeologist was still having a hard time focusing on what was happening in front of himself. Come on Jones, concentrate! Reopening his eyes he tightened his grip on the Jericho handgun outstretched toward the suspicious man and abandoned his hiding place from behind the tail of the jet.
Trudging slowly through the glistening snow he steadily eased his way toward the front of the jet. He could now see KDuncan and Ben coming around from the other side, the man was surrounded, his escape effectively cut off. Smirking Tom quickened his pace so that he was directly behind the man. Surprised that he hadn’t noticed them approaching Jones brought the barrel of his gun up behind the man’s head. He was just about to say freeze when his boot bumped up against a fuel container that he hadn’t even noticed. A loud hollow thud echoed around the area and Tom’s eyes went wide with shock.
Paden shook his head as he checked the magazines at his belt. “If memory serves, I did the last dash with her, so I’ll stay put this time around.” He shifted into position where he remained partially concealed between a jagged boulder fragment and the wall of the cave mouth. Watching the incoming chopper settle, he said, “I’m no marksman, mind, but I can put enough pistol shots close to that cargo door to keep those boys occupied while you rescue our passenger.” Grinning, he added,” And let ‘em know where to find us.”