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Posted on Sun Aug 20th, 2023 @ 10:26pm by Lieutenant Ayana Hillis & Commander Jonathan Grayson

Mission: Damn Dirty Apes
Location: Ape Planet
Timeline: Current

Jon whistled in approval at Ayana's marksmanship. "Nicely done Ayana." He complimented the security officer as they made their way to the horses. He stopped and threw the ape rifles in lake before moving to the horses. "I'll take this one." He said stopping in front of an Appaloosa. "You pick one yet and do you need help to mount it?" he asked. Make sure you have one of their rifles and ammo. We may need them." Jon said as he made sure he had a rifle and ammo.

Ayana looked around. The horse variety was quite impressive. Her eye caught sight of a pair of Lipizzan stallions and she was quite taken with them. Then her horse trotted in front of the two stallions, an Arabian. She couldn't believe her eyes, and she had thoughts to went back to her youth riding with her grandfather at the various shows in Louisiana and Texas. She stunned all the nearby apes once more, gathered up a rifle and tossed the others she found into the lake, took as much ammo as she could carry in her pack, and then mounted her beautiful steed. "Let's ride commander" she said with a smile, and she riled her horse back before taking off in a flash, a wonderful glow about her suddenly.

"I'm with you Ayana." Jon replied as he gave a last look at the stunned apes and then shooed the remaining horses away to hinder any pursuit. "Let's put as much distance as we can between us and the apes." He said as he rode alongside Ayana. "Have to admit this beats walking." He tapped his combadge again and again was met with silence. "Looks like we may be here awhile Ayana."

Ayana rode around the backside of the lake, near where they had taken shelter behind the rocks and followed the tree line as she rode towards the hill. Upon reaching the hill, seeing the gentle slope and grass covering it, she urged her horse forward and they made their way to the top. She could hear Jon behind her by only a few lengths. Reaching the top she began to survey the area. The lake was to the west, almost southwest, and open grasslands were spread about before running into what appeared to be dense forest or jungle. She could see smoke in the distance coming up out of some of the jungle, and as she looked east, far in the distance, she saw what she believed might be sandy or dry and rocky terrain. She looked over at Jon who had ridden up beside her and was surveying things as well. "Look over to the east commander. That appears to sand, or maybe dry rocky terrain. If these apes are what we need to stay away from, I'd say that might be our best bet. I've got rations in my pack to last 3 days, so we should be able to hold out until the captain is able to rescue us. I'm certain they are doing all they can to figure out how to combat the EM field so they can get us back."

Jon brought his horse to a stop next to Ayana and studied their surroundings. He was silent as he thought on their options. The jungle offered cover but with the EM band creating havoc in transporting them it could also cause difficultly in them being transported out, the sand and rocks left them in the open but would prove easier to beam them out and also slow any pursuit. "I'm sure the captain has everyone working overtime on getting us back Ayana. Just going to take time." He patted the canteens hanging from his saddle, "I've got water. so, we're covered on that score as well. Let's head for the sand and the rocks." He looked behind them and didn't see any apes in pursuit but that didn't mean they weren't coming. "I don't see any apes but I don't want to press our luck and hang around here either, so let us get moving."

"Commander, look there, near the edge of the grasslands before we reach the sandy rock land" Ayana said as they turned to head out. "That looks like a small pear orchard. Perhaps we grab a few of those, as feed for the mounts on the way out."

Jon looked to where Ayana was indicating. "An excellent idea Ayana. They deserve something to eat." He said affectionately patting the neck of his horse. "Lead the way."

Ayana leaned back as the horse slowly made its way down the hill, and then she opened it up as they reached level ground. Despite the situation, she allowed herself to drift into a daydream, remembering riding in the piney forests of East Texas, the open fields like this allowing the breeze to caress her face, blowing her hair as she just floated with the horse. They had to travel a good distance to reach the orchard, and she didn't often get to enjoy something like this.

Jon hung back just a bit to allow Ayana her moment in the sun and the freedom riding a horse brought. Even though he was a 'city boy' Jon knew horse and how to ride from his time working at a ranch in Colorado. After a moment he spurred his horse on and set out after Ayana, the orchard still in the distance but drawing nearer with each gallop the horses took. All thoughts of ape pursuit forgotten or at least pushed to the side for the moment.

Ayana reached the orchard first and slowed, looking around to make sure they were the only one's around. She rode close to a pear tree and began picking off a few. They appeared to look like Barlett pears, and she was certain the horse would enjoy them. She looked back to Jon and took notice of a few primitives out of the corner of her eye. "Commander..."

"I see them" Jon replied as he brought his horse alongside Ayana's. "Seems we're not the only ones who think the orchard is a good idea." His eyes never leaving the native humans, who eyed the strangers but made no move to come close. "I made mention to Callie, I think they're mute. I haven't heard any sound from them."

"When we first encountered them and they acted like I had saved them from the apes, they made grunting sounds. But I agree, they seem to have no spoken language" Ayana replied. "You'd expect them to have some sort of language based on their apparent development. At any rate, for your safety sir, I suggest we give them a wide berth. Perhaps they won't follow us into the rocky area. From the looks of it, it looks almost like a wasteland."

"Grunting sounds? That is something I suppose. My safety? Our safety you mean Ayana and I agree let's give them a wide berth. We'll grab some pears and head for the rocky area. Hopefully your friends won't follow us."

"My friends?" Ayana said incredulously. "When exactly did I become their friend?" She gathered some pears, "And it is your safety I'm concerned with commander. That is my job after all" she said mockingly.

Jon couldn't help but laugh at Ayana's facial expression. "Well, you're the one they buddied up to." He teased. "And a very good job you do Ayana. However, I think we're both looking out for each other, and you can call me Jon. There is no one else here to hear it."

"Yes sir" Ayana replied, a grin on her face. "Perhaps we should get a move on before they decide I am their goddess or some such."

"A splendid idea your most exalted Highness. Truly you are a goddess." Jon bantered a huge smile on his face.

"You damn right" Ayana replied in a sassy tone, a smile on her face. "Let's ride!" she exclaimed as she spurred her horse to take off towards the sandy rocky wasteland.

"By your command." Jon replied as he spurred his horse to follow Ayana towards the wasteland.


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