My father once told me, with a smirk on his face at the time, of course, that I really ought to be careful what I wish for: I might just get it. Well, here and now, I got a small idea of what he meant. After all, we Merry Pranksters wanted to be the ones to find the Indian soldiers hiding on Jefferson near Shadwell.
Well, we did.
Unfortunately, the NEXT step in the plan: call the grownups while not getting caught, shot, killed or left for taxito bait, seems to have hit a snag. Just a small one.
Because, well, we DID find the soldiers and soldiers have far, far better tech toys in the turn of the 22nd century than do twelve year olds. or so I would hope. Otherwise, every invasion of every country or world would flounder at those raucous and terrible bastions of power, the American Middle School.
Hmm. Nice image. Early teens being so tech savvy and terrible, they chase the invaders from the country. Sounds like a kid's Immie. And utterly divorced from reality.
So divorced from reality, I am surprised they have a shared custody arrangement with your brain. Reality and that idea could not share that brain of yours. No way. No how. Nuh-huh. They would be still in court centuries later and making the judge hate them both and wish he or she could find a way to end the case immediately and preferably by putting your brain in foster care, reality in jail (for crimes against humanity) and this idea in the loonie bin.
The reality of OUR situation was we were being marched, somewhat roughly, up into the Jefflife forest away from the Church of the Sky Father Christ and the causeway. Their roughness was a weird juxtaposition with the fact they thought they had just saved our lives. THAT reality was a bit more complicated. We probably would have gotten away or at the worst, *I* would have been eaten. They, I think, had the thought they had saved all of us.
grump, grump, grump.
I imagine part of the reason they were herding us away was because they had probably just set off virtually every satellite and drone looking for us on the planet. That could only be worse because I had called Dad to get him to get the police to come get us and deal with the soldier's body. The dropped booster - hey! cockatrices are scary and that one is really scary being so big! I'd like to see you do better, bub! - would probably send him into something of a Papa Freakout. And that would lead to a cringe worthy, Mama-Freakout. ANd that would mean the whole of the Marines would be freaking out, because Mom can motivate people in ways I've never seen possible before. Terrifyingly possible.
We had moved off far enough into the forest that we couldn't see, but heard the American Marines arrive. The distinctive whine-roar of their transports was loud and unique enough to not be mistaken for anything else. Our captors seemed really nervous. We, the oh-so-proud Merry Pranksters, were far, far more than nervous, but not much more than that...despite what Tom and Rosa and Veena and Jackie might claim! Really!
I had image, oh so beautifully ironic images, of American missiles launched and killing all here. Us, the Indians and all the beautiful and toxic Jefflife around us. Oh the joy of that thought! And, no, I did NOT throwup upon thinking that EITHER, despite what Tom said.
The Indians ushered us further forward and we marched for what seemed like an interminable period. When Jackie gave the soldiers a dirty look, the smaller one shoved her. We all glared and tried to keep from pondering the fact their armor could squish us like a rotten grape.
When we reached some point, the Indians stopped and pulled a largish object off the back of one of the soldiers. They tossed it to the side and then PLOOP, up and over us came a tent. A quick spray came off the tent poles that caused all of the Pranksters to cough.
The two soldiers stood apart for a moment and then seemed to be in a very animated conversation. They were gesticulating wildly at times and pointing at us. For a second, I thought about trying to hack into their equipment and then, OH YEAH, REALITY!
Not only was I not likely to be able to do so, but if I did and got caught, I was burnt toast. Worse. Way worse. Burnt jelly?! Besides, I would need to pull out my other booster and warm it up again. Pulling something out might just set them off anyways. Oh, joy.
However, I wasn't sitting there like a quivering blob, thanks, Tom. His embellishments are really bad and nothing to do with that obnoxious reality thing. Trust me.
The soldiers seemed to stop arguing and one approached us. We were all on the other side of the tent trying to look very inconspicuous. He stood in front of us and paused. He seemed to be taking us in. To a soldier off world, we must have looked like the weirdness mini sized special forces team ever. or the worst cosplayers. Your pick. However, to someone from Jefferson, we were not that outlandish at all. Some of the gear was a bit much for a bunch of kids, okokok, more than a but much, but the general look was perfectly normal for a bunch of people doing some backpacking in the back country of Jefferson.
The soldier knelt so he would be looking up at us. Very nonthreatening in appearance or so I think he thought he was being. Small problem: powered, freakin, armor. He then reached up and in the most disconcerting way possible took off his helmet: it looked like he twisted off his head.
He looked at us from his dark eyes ones like Veena's, and smiled. His smile was a nice one. Reassuring. And then he introduced himself:
"Hi, my friends. My name is Jaideep. Who are you?"