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Artemis 7: Live Together, Die Alone (#6)

May 18, 2018

One Day. That's how long it took before everything started to unravel. Hargrove did her best to keep everyone together, but the strain of their situation was starting to settle in. Tempers were beginning to rise as more things became difficult to fix. Repairing the ship to serve as a shelter was easy enough. It resembled a beached whale now but if any troublesome elements arose they had safety to go towards. 

Hargrove walked along the grey sand. Already she could feel the coarse sediment infiltrating her boots. None of the others knew she was out here. She'd taken a late night stroll along the shore, then turned back after a few minutes. Now she was several meters past that point and continuing. She could still see the crash site, and would remain in sight of it as long as she could. When she reached the end she stood and examined her surroundings. The water had a weird shimmer to it, they'd have to be careful when attempting to drink it. If it was salt water, then they'd be out of luck and have to venture inland. Even worse it could be fresh, but non-potable, putting them in the same situation. 

The trees behind her were blue-green. Red lines ran up their trunks. It was unclear if they were fruit bearing. They didn't seem to be from her angle. Branches rustled, something moved among the treetops. Her heart sped up as more branches began to rattle. Either something was moving from tree to tree, or several somethings were on the move. Then the noise drifted farther and farther away. Deeper into the trees and away from the beach. Soon the only noise she picked up on was the rolling waves behind her.

"Captain!" someone called out from behind her.

Turning towards the direction of the ship she watched Brooks awkwardly jogging towards her. Hargrove met her crew member halfway.

"What are you doing out here?" Brooks asked. 

Hargrove smiled reassuringly. "Just scouting the area, something the matter?"

"No, I just, I feel safer with you around."

Hargrove patted him on the shoulder. "Let's get back to work."

As they walked towards the ship, Hargrove chanced another look in the direction of the jungle. Shapes seemed to drift just within the treeline, making them appear ethereal. Then they were gone. Hargrove shook off the sight and continued with Brooks towards the ship. 

The crew spent the large part of the day shifting scrap metal, and removing parts in order to set up a stronger shelter. Much like the previous day, conversations were sparse and largely consisted of requests for tools. To be fair, discussion was limited seeing as common interests only reminded them of their shared loss. 

Hargrove's mind drifted towards the treeline. Curiosity tugged on her limbs with each moment of excruciating silence. She wanted to explore.

"I think we should scout the surrounding area, get a better idea what's around us. Anyone up for it?"

Brooks raised his hand, as did Drake. Hargrove waited a few more seconds to see if anyone else would join them, then led her team into the foliage.

Beneath the canopy felt like another world. The light reflected off the trees, creating red glow the deeper they went. Branches overhead rustled, briefly grabbing their attention. It was dark, Hargrove stepped carefully around roots so as not to fall. A squeal and thud grabbed her attention. Brooks groaned as he climbed to his feet and dusted himself off. Drake laughed through closed lips. An amused smile pulled at the edges of Hargrove's mouth. Silence quickly overcame them, Hargrove stopped. They'd gone far enough. There was no sign of life, and the last thing she wanted was to get lost. "Let's head back," she said, hiding her disappointment.

Then they heard a snap. Hargrove looked at her team, neither had moved. Another snap. Then another and another, it was coming from all around them. The three of them ran back the way they came. Branches continuously rustled above them. The snaps became quicker. The dim lighting made it difficult to see what was coming, and they didn't dare stop to inspect their pursuer(s). They burst from the treeline and didn't stop until they were beside the ship. The rest of the crew rushed to them with concerned looks. 

"What is it?" Wilson inquired.

Hargrove shook her head. "I didn't stop to look," she replied.

"They looked like dogs," Brooks announced.

"What? They were birds," Drake argued.

"Those didn't look like any bird I've ever seen," Brooks said defensively.

"Then you must've hit your head harder than I thought," she replied.

Their jaws set in determination. Hargrove stepped between them.

"We need to set up a perimeter, post watch every few hours," Wilson announced.

Hargrove shot him a stern glance. He stopped, taking a few steps back. 

"I might be able to build some kind of spear from some of the scrap metal," Stavos announced. 

"Remember people, we're all we've got if we're going to survive out here. No one leaves the beach by themselves, and everyone is required to carry a weapon."

"If we refuse?" Keller said from the back of the ship.

"Then feel free to remain inside the vessel until you're willing to adhere to the rules."

"Your rules," Keller argued.

Hargrove stepped forward. "Yes, last I checked I was the captain of this expedition. At the moment, I'm feeling cooperative. Keep pushing me, and the interior of the ship might feel less pleasant."

Keller quieted his resistance, but his eyes betrayed distrust. Hargrove took a deep breath then addressed the rest of the group.

"We've still got daylight, let's get a defensive perimeter set up before it gets dark. Whatever's beyond that treeline now knows we're here."



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Artemis 7: Live Together, Die Alone (#6)

May 18, 2018

One Day. That's how long it took before everything started to unravel. Hargrove did her best to keep everyone together,

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