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Posted on Mon Sep 11th, 2023 @ 2:09pm by Lieutenant Ayana Hillis & Commander Jonathan Grayson

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

The trek to the ape settlement took several hours. There were multiple stops for Jon and Ayana to rest and allowed some water. However, they remained tightly and securely bound as Thade made sure of that, taking no chances with them.

They arrived at the settlement in the late afternoon. It looked more like a small town. As he and Ayana were led to what appeared to be a medical building and into a lab. Once inside they were placed in a large cell and left alone for the time being.

Once they were alone Jon spoke to Ayana. "How are you holding up Ayana? What's your opinion on our hosts?"

"I'm fine sir. Could use a little TLC, but otherwise I am good. I've had worse injuries." Ayana shifted in her chair, "I think we have found ourselves in some sort of triumvirate government, split by leaders of the military, science, and religious community. We've met the major players, and they all have the sort of personalities you might expect for such leaders. In a way, it is like the early days of the Roman Empire, when Rome was still a republic, essentially ruled by three generals that exerted enormous political influence. We only need to determine if any of them is in fact a Julius Caesar."

Jon nodded, "I'll make sure you get some TLC when we get back to the ship. I'll tell Sam and the others to be extra nice and caring." Jon bantered. He considered what Ayana had said. "Good analysis Ayana. I think you are right. I don't know if any of the three is a Julius Caesar, but Thade is a good bet to be a Brutus." He leaned against the wall. "I imagine the captain is doing all he can to get to us." He looked at Ayana, "Wonder what this processing Zaius mentioned is? I do hope they come back to remove our binds. But I don't see that happening soon." He admitted.

"I agree about that Thade. He seems power-hungry, and quite aggressive for a chimp. Athos on the other hand seems to be a big of a gentle giant, or at least not nearly as prone to violence as you might expect for a gorilla." She brought her hands up to her face and rubbed the sore and swollen area. "If we get free, I owe Thade a response." the chains of her manacles rattled a bit, "First though, we need to get these blasted things off. I'm concerned about them having our equipment, particularly our phasers. They already seem to have a technological advantage over the humans here, with their 20th century rifles against the humans who are using spears and longbows."

Before Jon could respond the doors to the facility opened and Salos entered, followed by a pair of chimps that were dressed in lab coats. "Take extensive notes regarding these two. They may be unique, or they may be a precursor to the prophesized return.

"Yes doctor" they replied together.

"Take note that the female is of an unusual pigmentation, her skin far darker than typical humans, almost like the hair of a chimp or gorilla. She seems to be aggressive as well, perhaps a warrior of some sort, which is strange for a female" Salos began to observe aloud. "The male is typical of the other humans we have had dealings with regarding appearance, though he seems to have a rank that supersedes the female in their hierarchy."

Jon looked at Salos and spoke. "You do know we can hear you right?" The female as you described her is a Lieutenant and I am a Commander. Any other questions?"

"So, you are part of some sort of military unit?" Salos questioned. "Were you sent here to spy on us, gather intelligence to determine our strength?"

Jon shook his head. "Nothing of the sort Doctor. We crashed and are stranded here and want nothing more than to return to our home and families."

"Crashed? Where? We have no oceans or seas anywhere near here. The closest is the great blue ocean beyond the wastes. Are you saying you sailed across the ocean from another land and crossed the wastelands?" Salos seemed out of sorts as she questioned Jon.

Ayana gave a soft chuckle and then a smirk towards Jon. "By all means commander, answer the lady."

Jon shot Ayana a look before returning his attention to Salos. "Not exactly Doctor, we did crash but, in a jungle, close to what appeared a cornfield. It is there we first met your species."

The two assistants began to make excited low-level howls as if Jon had said something that prompted it. Salos look at Jon scornfully, "What manner of deceit do you attempt to ply me with? A ship cannot crash near the jungle where no sufficient water is present for them to have sailed. You might as well say you sprung for the earth, or perhaps you crashed to the ground from space like some meteor."

Ayana began touching her nose repeatedly. "Well commander, it seems she figured it out, or at least she is near the truth. But I have my doubts that she'll reach the proper conclusion" Ayana said almost mockingly as she stared at Salos.

"No deceit Dr, Salos." Jon replied as he looked at Ayana and then back at Salos. "You are right in saying no sailing ship could sail into the jungle, but you limit your thinking. However, an airship could travel much farther and ours did. Our ship fell from the sky and crashed in the jungle."

"Lies! Blasphemy! Nothing lives in the sky but the birds, and even they are unable to maintain flight indefinitely. You would claim to do the impossible?" Salos exclaimed.

"It is not lies or blasphemy Doctor." Jon replied calmly. It is the truth. You find it hard to believe because your people haven't achieved it yet. Our people have."

"That too is blasphemy. To even consider that humans could achieve something that apes have not, it is inconceivable!" Salos was becoming quite irate at this point.

Jon shook his head, "I'm sorry to have upset you Doctor but what I have said is true, but I won't speak of it anymore for I don't wish to upset you further."

Ayana was not nearly as forgiving. She wanted to see if she could prompt a reaction from Salos. "You know they found us in a building in the wastelands, I believe somebody called it some sort of holy site. It was really just a lab where humans experimented on monkeys to make you into how you are today. How does that make you feel?"

Salos moved from in front of Jon to stand before Ayana. "You speak of the birthplace of Caesar. The anointed one. The first to acquire the gift of speech. He led our people from the chains of slavery. It is a holy shrine. "She replied firmly. "You speak lies and I suggest you stop now."

"No, she does not Doctor. We saw the tapes where Caesar acquired the power of speech. It was given to him by a human doctor named Neville." Jon chimed in."

"LIES!" Salos screamed at them. "The humans wanted to remove the gift from Caesar, but he overcame them and now the humans are in their rightful place."

"You just created a logical fallacy doctor. If humans wanted to take something from Caesar, they had to possess it themselves already. That would mean humans possessed the ability to speak and perhaps more before Caesar. As a woman of science surely you see that" Ayana postulated. "In truth, if you take the time to look, humans and apes are not native to this planet. They arrived together, though not as equals. The humans were scientists, who wished to create a new paradise, and they did so to some degree. The greatest mistake they made though was using genetics to force evolution upon apes, not simply for the betterment of the apes, but to create a labor force to assist them with the creation of this new paradise."

"I feel sorry, no correction. I pity you Dr. Salos. You are a scientist or supposed to be one. Yet you turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the facts before you. Humans could speak first, had science first, the technology first. They were better than you and you stand there and have the gall to say what Ayana and I have said is blasphemous. You madam are a hypocrite." Jon said firmly, decisively.

"If all you can get from them is blasphemy, perhaps I can loosen their tongues" Thade said from the entrance of the lab.

"I have no need of your brutishness Thade" Salos responded, a look of panic on her face, obviously surprised to have Thade in her domain.

"I come on the orders of General Athos. He wants to make sure that any information you gleaned from these humans was properly shared with the military" Thade replied with the charm of a snake oil salesman.

"Well, well. If it isn't Mr. Warmth himself." Jon observed as Thade entered the lab and confronted Salos. Knowing full well Thade's appearance did not bode well for either himself or Ayana.

Thade glared long at Jon silently. Finally he broke his silence, addressing Salos, "You have no need to have them both as research tools. I would very much like the opportunity to interrogate this one" he said as he stared at Jon. "After all, he seems to consider himself my equal. You can be present if you wish. Let me talk to him in my own way, one commander to another."

It was against her better judgement, but it was a dangerous line she was walking between the Science Directorate and the Military hierarchy, and while Athos was reasonable, she knew Thade wasn't. "Very well Thade, you can work with that one, but I caution you not to do anything that is irrevocable."

"Not to worry, I'll not damage him, much" he said with a vile sneer upon his face.

Jon wasn't stupid. He knew Thade was stronger than he was possibly quicker as well, but he doubted the ape knew martial arts and that could work in his favor. He glanced at Salos. "I pity you, Doctor. You let yourself be bullied." He then looked at Thade, "So hero, let's get on with this 'talk' you wish to have with me. One commander to another."

Thade smiled. "Yes" he sneered vilely. He entered the cell slowly, sizing up his opponent. He looked back to the underlings, "Release his bonds."

His two underlings entered the cage and released Jon from his manacles and then backed out, leaving him to Thade.

Jon once his manacles were released took a moment to stretch his muscles while sizing Thade up. The chimp was powerful looking and combining that with Jon believed a sadistic trait made him doubly dangerous. He took a relaxed stance as he waited for Thade to make the first move.

Thade gave a satisfied look at Jon now that he was without bonds. "You are now free to protect yourself. Tell me, do you still believe yourself the superior?"

"You try to put words in our mouths Thade. I never said superior. I do think I am your equal however." Jon replied firmly.

"Let's put that to the test, shall we?" Thade mused aloud as he aggressively approached Jon. "Tell me about your tribe" he said as quickly slapped Jon across the face.

Jon reacted probably quicker than Thade expected. He had been blessed with extraordinary fast reflexes and reaction time. Gripping the chimp's hand and using its momentum to slam Thade into the cell wall. "We treat everyone with respect. Something you should try."

The minions outside the cell began to holler, while Salos and her cohorts seemed to watch intently, almost giddy. Thade felt himself more embarrassed than injured at the moment, and it swelled anger deep inside. Thade used his superior acrobatic skills and flipped over Jon, pushed him headfirst into the wall and then punching him several times in the back. "Humans are not deserving of respect."

Jon again thanks to his superior reflexes, turned away and brought an elbow up and smashed it once, twice, three times into Thade's face, hammering it to create some room to move. "You talk too much!" As Jon replied as he swept his leg out in a savage leg sweep and knocked Thade off his feet.

Jon had proved more of a challenge than Thade had expected, giving as good as he got. But Thade had grown tired of allowing this lowly human to get the better of him. He had assured Salos that he would not kill Jon nor leave him severely injured, but he could do significant damage to him and still keep to his word to Salos.

Thade rolled away from Jon and quickly got to his feet, and then leaped at Jon in a controlled yet chaotic fashion, slamming his fists down upon Jon's shoulders, following with two quick swipes at his face which looked to stun Jon before he punched Jon in the throat hard, which brought him down to his knees. Thade smashed Jon across the face twice more with his version of a haymaker, bloodying him.

Ayana had seen enough. She felt helpless, and she felt like she was neglecting her duty seeing a superior getting harmed this way while she was present. "Stop! You'll kill him! If you want to fight a soldier, fight me! I owe you a thrashing." she yelled at Thade.

Thade gave a brief glance back at Ayana, a vile smile upon his face. He turned around and smashed Jon in the face once again, knocking him to the ground. He walked over and then began to kick him in the ribs, bruising and battering the officer to the point of unconsciousness.

Jon felt blood running from his nose and his vision was blurring thanks to Thade's swipes across his face, yet he wasn't quite done fighting. As he fell to his knees by Thade's relentless hammering of his face and then kicking him in the ribs, Jon's left arm shot out as he made a fist and slammed it into Thade's kneecap, hoping to cripple the chimp or at least break his kneecap.

"Stop it Thade!" Salos ordered. "The human is unconscious. I hope your satisfied. The human has more courage than I expected." She said with a hint of admiration in her voice. "He isn't afraid of you Thade." She observed.

Jon lay on the ground bloodied but still breathing from Ayana's vantage point. Thade limped away, the last blow to his knee doing more damage than Thade was willing to admit. He had never had such an encounter with a human before, and it worried him. "Is it courage, or simple ignorance Salos? He never had any chance of defeating me. Pity he was unable to answer my questions."

"You weren't looking for answers. You just wanted someone to beat on. If you want to fight, I'm more than willing to give you one" Ayana said from her cell.

"If you were looking to intimidate them or anyone else Thade, it would seem you have failed miserably" Salos said with a grin. "I'm sure Athos will be pleased with your failure. He does so show mercy to those who fail him."

Thade sneered at Salos and then exited as quickly as he was able. Salos looked over at Ayana, "You play a dangerous game attempting to antagonize Thade in that manner."

"He isn't the first bully I've encountered. If he wants to get physical, he'll get more than he bargains for with me" Ayana replied. "Please, let me check on the commander."

Salos gave it thought for a moment, then walked over and unlocked Ayana's cell. "I will trust you not to do anything rash. You may administer aid to your companion."

Ayana rushed over into Jon's cell and began to look him over. "Commander, can you hear me?" she questioned as she gingerly felt against his ribcage, trying to determine any breaks or potentially worse injuries. "Sure would be nice if Sam or Shon were here right about now" she mumbled softly.

Jon lay unmoving and unresponsive for several seconds before a small groan escaped his lips. A few more seconds passed, and Jon opened his eyes, well one as the other was swollen shut. "Ay...ana." he wheezed. His voice weak and hoarse. His throat was already bruising from Thade's assault. His face was a mess, Swollen and bruised from the beating he received. A few more passed and he spoke again. "Thade give up?" He joked. He could feel blood running from his nose however his concern was Ayana, "You, okay?" He questions as he looked past her and at Salos who stood a few feet away with what appeared to be a concerned look on her face but, he couldn't be sure.

He dropped his gaze back to Ayana, "So, wh...ats your o..opinion Ayana?" It hurt to talk, it hurt to move but he struggled to sit up. He was better than this, stronger than this. He had Ayana to protect, and they needed to get away and back to the Washington.

"I'd say you likely have a concussion, along with bruised ribs, possibly a few of them with hairline fractures, and I'd say your mandible is seriously bruised, possibly worse. If Sam or Shon were here, they'd fix you up in a jiffy, but sadly, best I can do is give you a field dressing, and then maybe I go cave in Thade's skull, let him see what a human female is capable of when trained in combat" Ayana said confidently, her voice getting more intense as she spoke.

Salos offered a soft chuckle, the first truly positive thing they had heard from her or any of the other apes. "I would very much enough seeing that" she said, covering her mouth as if she had just let something slip accidently.

Jon nodded as Ayana gave her opinion on his injuries. "I'm sorry I didn't make a better showing Ayana. Do what you can with a field dressing." He gave a lopsided grin that was truly hideous due to his facial injuries, "I hope you kick his ass Ayana if the opportunity presents itself. Seems Dr. Salos agrees." He stated, seeing the female chimp's reaction.

Ayana nodded. "I'll get the chance, and you can be certain he'll remember it. You did fine sir, considering you are likely dealing with unseen injuries from the crash. I'll get you patched up as best I can."

Salos had a quizzical look about her. "What do you mean injuries from the crash?"

"The commander told you that his ship landed near the jungle. He wasn't lying. We received his distress signal before his shuttle crashed. We encountered your people while trying to rescue him and his wife" Ayana stated bluntly as she used the few bandages available to treat Jon's wounds and bandage his ribs.

"But ships require a body of water to sail upon" Salos stated.

Ayana looked at Jon with an exasperated look. "You are limited to your imagination. Space doctor, his craft was in space and crashed to your planet. We aren't from your world, though you are native from ours. We come in peace" she said in a deadpan manner.

Jon gave Ayanna a grateful nod. "I want to be here to see that Ayana." He replied honestly. He listened as she explained or tried to explain to Salos that his ship, flew in the air and not on the water. "Wasting your time and your breath Ayana." He groaned. "Everything we say is blasphemous. Their minds are closed to new ideas. They only see what they wish to see, which is everything that conforms or supports their views. Everything else is blasphemous." He wheezed, his voice hoarse and gasping.

Salos was not thrilled hearing Ayana confirm what Jon had said, nor was she happy to hear Jon call her narrowminded. She was a scientist, she went where the data took her. "Advanced humans from another planet. It sounds preposterous, yet the evidence begins to accumulate."

"How lovely for you to admit the obvious" Ayana quipped ironically as she tightened the bandage on Jon's ribs. "Perhaps you can get past your dogmatic ideology and allow yourself to see the truth. You have early industrial technology, but the technology at that holy site of yours is a century or more ahead of what you have. I know several people from our vessel that would enjoy discussing the various scientific aspects of your culture, as well as the anthropological, but based on what happened here with Thade, I don't think it is safe for us to remain here right now." She completed her field dressings, "Hope that helps commander. The ribs were easy to bandage, it is these head and facial wounds that concern me."

Jon gave Ayana a grateful smile. "Thanks Ayana, good job. It'll do. I told you before, call me Jon. It is my name after all." He looked at Salos. "You have unrealized treasures here Doctor. Treasures that our people would love to explain and help you with, but you have to open your minds and to be honest. I don't think all of your people want their minds opened."

"I am a scientist first and foremost. But you must understand, our culture doesn't live strictly by science. The military has just as much sway over things as the science directorate, and the revered Zaius perhaps holds the most power as the head of the faith" Salos said, sounding somewhat contrite.

Ayana shook her head. "It almost sounds like Earth before the Enlightenment period, when the Church controlled everything."

"Agreed." Jon wheezed. "What if the revered Dr. Zaius knew what was contained at the holy site? What a better way to keep it from public knowledge. The minister of faith. Keeps his people in the dark." He looked at Salos. "Dr. Salos, the holy site. The birthplace of Caesar. Who if any are allowed to go there?" He questioned.

"Religious members go on pilgrimage. No one else has ventured there in my lifetime" Salos replied.

Jon looked at Ayana as Salos answered. "There you have it, Ayana. The religious members led by Zaius go to the site. They have access to the files. They know what information they contain in regard to the ape's existence as well as Caesar. Yet, they only tell the general public what information they deem necessary."

"I wouldn't be so certain of that. Remember, we had to reactivate the power and computer systems. The files we saw in the VR hadn't been accessed in nearly a century. If any of them know of any of the information that was there, it may be a well-kept secret. They obviously haven't reached the technological level that the site was at, so I am skeptical with how much they may actually know. It may only be the upper echelon of the religious caste that has knowledge, keeping it secret from the rest" Ayana replied.

"Hmmm. You may be right Ayana. I don't know. Perhaps, I'm not thinking clearly." Jon wheezed. "I think Zaius knows or has a very good idea." He added as he winced in pain. At the moment he was extremely glad Callie wasn't down here with them, as he would be worried sick over her.

"You say the holy site has technology more advanced than ours now, and that you possess technology more advanced than at the holy site?" questioned Salos.

"That is what we have said. You'd be unaware of us and all of that if it wasn't for the damn EM field around this planet. Not to worry though, I'm sure it is only a matter of time before our captain decides he no longer wishes to play games regarding our retrieval" Ayana said emphatically.

"How much more powerful?" questioned Salos.

"Ask Athos. I'm certain he got reports back regarding his troops encounters with us. He is probably trying to figure out our weapons as we speak" Ayana said softly, her voice full of anger.

"I shall make inquires" Salos said as she walked out. "Watch them, and do not allow anyone else access to them until I return" she said to her two juniors.

Ayana looked back at Jon, "Maybe we finally got through to one of them."


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