We waited until the tide went out. The tide going out exposed the peninsula connecting the island to the mainland. It only showed up at low tide and that hadn't been too far in the future, fortunately. We also buttoned up. We all had balakavas. These are almost like socks that slide over your head to prevent anything from getting on your head, neck or face. It would prevent any loogers from spitting into our faces or on our skin: the fabric was pretty much one way for anything larger than air. We popped on some goggles, too, just to be sure. A looger glob in the eye is not how I wanted to die. I am sure you think it might be ridiculous. Here we were, in leather clothes, boots and wearing a head sock with goggles on.
Safety first! Safety before fashion at least! After all, we were on an alien world, in an alien forest, entering into a dead city, filled with deadly alien amphibians and lethal bugs, hunting for Indian soldiers in powered armor. And we're 12. We were being the safest people on the planet!
We crept down the backside of the hill to the saddle where the path went down to the exposed peninsula. We crept forward like a very slow caterpillar. Everyone was being extra paranoid. It was unlikely that an Indian soldier would be there alone. Going slowly would show we were not trying to attack. Besides, we were kids, even if we looked like we might be in some Earther B grade Immie as special forces.
We crept forward and I made the mistake of looking in the water.
There are many dangerous things in the water on Jefferson. When you mix not exactly compatible biochemistries with sea going things, it can be...bad. Even when its not lethal, it can be bad.
Frodo only had to deal with something trying to kill him as he tried to get into the Mines or Moria. I had to deal with a Mockery.
Mockeries are a Jefflife fish. We swear they exist only to infuriate something on land into making the mistake of jumping into the water after it to kill it for being made fun of by it. It can entice and pretend to be prey. It can tease and taunt. It always waits until it has your attention though. Ignore it and it will ignore you. Whatever you do, don't go into the water after it. IT WILL EAT YOU. Or try. it'll die if it gets Earthlife meat in it, but, hey, it sure showed you!
I made the mistake of noticing a mockery in the water. It noticed I noticed. Then I ignored it. I didn't have time to mess with an annoying carnivorous fish. So it did what its kind does when ignored. It spits on you. It absolutely drenches you. And THAT was EXACTLY what it did.
Mockeries are actually really big fish, they just have deceptively small heads that hinge like a snake's mouth or a basking shark back on earth. YEs, that's how they eat big critters in one gulp. They also used that big expandable mouth for one other thing: the mockery inhaled water and SPLOOSH.
Total fire house.
Getting drenched isn't deadly. It's just annoying.
And every last Merry Prankster was soaked.
And they were VERY, VERY mad at me.
I squawked and fired my needler at it. It splashed us once more and looked back from a depth I couldn't get it. It seemed smug. It also seemed to know I was not coming after it. Too bad fish! Fish are not friends and I am not food! And I am NOT THAT DUMB!
My friends might question that last bit though.
I glared for a second more when the mockery suddenly whipped its head around as if to look at something else and disappeared. Whatever. Stupid fish.
We stopped creeping and just walked. Or rather squish, squashed our way into the city. All our dignity was left crying a river. Squish, squash, squish, squash. All the way into the city.
Besides, no one was going to think we were out to attack them when all four of friends were yelling at me. Well, three were. Tom was...yes, mocking me.
"Go away, you silly American chiclet! Or I shall mock you for a second time!"
Squish, squash, squish, squash.
And I am sure we looked as threatening as the drowned cat patrol now.
Squish, squash, squish, squash
The body had been in a building that overlooked the main plaza and the Church. We would go there first.