King Kong vs Amazons
Ms. Shinozaki stared out into the jungle. The crew had nearly completed loading the landing craft, and were preparing to set out. Paul and the others still hadn't returned. Her normally stoic face was twisted with worry. Paul was taking far longer than he promised. Internally, she regretted allowing him to leave. So much depended on their swift departure. This was foolish.
"Damn that idiot!" She muttered. Capt. Miller approached from behind her.
"We're almost ready to go. Still no sign of them?" Capt. Miller asked.
Shinozaki kept her gaze fixed forward while she answered him. "No. It was a mistake to send them out. I see that now. I'm worried, captain. We've already lost too much here."
"I'm not sure what that fool was wanting to accomplish out there. But he has Mr. Willis with him. I don't trust anyone here more than him. He'll get them back." Capt. Miller said. "We'll wait for them here. I'll take watch if you want to go ahead and get onboard."
Shinozaki shook her head and turned slightly. "Thank you, but I'll stay here a while longer. Just make sure everything is ready." Capt. Miller nodded and turned to head back towards the working men.
Suddenly, there came a sound from the jungle ahead. It sounded like the rustling of leaves from an approaching troop. Shinozaki and Capt. Miller both turned towards the sound, assuming it was the returning scouting party. Dr. Bergman came out carrying his last remaining pack of medical equipment and stopped by the Captain and Shinozaki. He squinted and adjusted his glasses as he looked out to where the they were gazing.
"What is it? Are our brave lookouts finally returning? Ha! I suppose the lot couldn't resist one last romp through the woods." Dr. Bergman looked back at Shinozaki and the Captain, who both remained focused on the rustling in the foliage. "Ah, well, I suppose in all seriousness, they may need medical assistance. I'll go see to them."
Dr. Bergman took a few steps out on the sand towards the jungle perimeter. Before he could get too far Shinozaki called out. "Wait! Something's wrong." The sounds were stirring along the tree line, but they didn't sound right.
Dr. Bergman stopped and turned around, satchel still in hand. A second later, he had fallen to his knees. He landed face first in the sand with all his weight. As he fell, both Capt. Miller and Shinozaki could see the giant arrow protruding from his back. The initial shock took a few seconds to register. But after a few moments the two took a step back and noticed arrows falling around their feet, some barely missing their heads by inches.
Shinozaki and Capt. Miller turned and shouted at the men near the landing vessel. "Dammit! We're under attack! Take cover and return fire!!!" the Captain shouted.
Men dropped crates and took up their machine guns. Groups began ducking behind large bits of driftwood and stacked crates. They began firing blindly towards the jungle. Arrows began to rain down on the men. The arrows the natives used were heavy and hit with incredible force. A few men fell down, pierced halfway through with the enormous missiles.
Shinozaki jumped onboard the landing vessel and peered over the chaotic scene. She saw Dr. Bergman laying face down, out of help's reach. The sand beneath him began to run red. Shinozaki cursed as arrows penetrated the bow of the landing craft around her head.
On the beach, amazon soldiers began to spill out of the jungle and advance across the beachhead. The men put up as much fight as they could with their machine guns, but more of them were falling by the second. Capt. Miller continued shouting at his men to concentrate fire on the attackers, but the warrior giantesses were relentless. Jack was among those piled into the boat. He was helping move crates when the attack occurred. He was stranded inside without weapon and looked out helplessly as the amazon soldiers advanced. Someone in the tumult shouted 'I guess those bimbos we rescued weren't kidding about an army! Shit!' The amazons drew closer, seemingly invincible, not losing a single warrior as more and more men fell to their arrows. The battle was completely lopsided.
An amazon warrior advanced towards Capt. Miller who pointed his machine gun right at his attacker. He opened fire and was shocked to see his rounds bouncing harmlessly off her bronze colored armor. The amazon raised a spear and was about to hurl it at the captain. He squeezed his trigger again and poured more bullets into her. A bullet passed through the unprotected neck of the attacking warrior. She staggered and held her neck as it bled out, dropping her spear in the sand. More of the crew saw this and took advantage, firing at the wounded adversary. She fell back to the ground as sparks flew off her armor. The opportunistic crew focused an unnecessary amount of firepower on the dying amazon, at the cost of defensive cover fire. More amazons poured forward, downing two more men in a hail of arrows. The crew was gradually dwindling as the enemy closed in.
The men continued to fight back until the amazons pounced on them one by one and disarmed them. They only managed to slay one additional amazon by the time the crew was subdued. The crew were carried off one by one and tied with strong rope. Even Shinozaki was lifted up and carried away like a small child. The fighting was over. The crew had been defeated easily in a matter of minutes.
The men who were seriously wounded were finished off. They kept only the able bodied prisoners. The survivors were gathered on the beach next to the landing craft. Several amazons entered the boat and rooted through the cargo. The defeated men cursed and groaned as they watched the amazons eye them with disgust.
Other amazons looked over the camp for stragglers. A group examined the dead tyrannosaur spread out across the sand. A few pointed out the spear lodged in its chest. They spoke in their native language and nodded to each other, apparently coming to an agreement on something.
An amazon with a yellow cape and green gemstone broach stepped towards the captured group. She was clearly their commanding officer. Only ten men along with Shinozaki and Capt. Miller remained after the fighting was finished. The two fallen amazons were laid out to one side, a few of their comrades trying to check their vitals. They eventually gave up on them and stood at attention as their commander passed by.
The commander looked down her nose at the collected prisoners. She had curly dark brown hair and deep blue eyes. On top of her head was a disc shaped golden helmet. One of her soldiers approached her from the side and pointed towards the fallen dinosaur. She nodded curtly and returned her gaze towards the captives. Another amazon searching the boat made a short cry and hopped off onto the beach. In her hands was one of the crates from Dr. Anderson's collection. Jack cried out and tried to rise to his feet. He screamed for the amazon to leave Dr. Anderson's belongings alone. Another amazon reached across and threw him back down harshly into the sand below. The surrounding men jeered at him to shut his mouth and keep quiet.
The amazon soldier reached into the crate like it was a box of candies and pulled out the laminated maps and charts they had used to explore the island. She handed them to her commander, who looked them over with a raised eyebrow. She looked at the soldier and they exchanged words again. She dismissed her and walked towards the group. She turned and asked another question to an underling, and then cleared her throat before addressing the prisoners.
She raised the charts up in front of her between her thumb and forefinger. "How do you have these? Hm!?" Somehow, her english and pronunciation was better than either of the amazons they met before. The group remained silent as the commanding amazon looked down at them like a scolding school teacher. She grew impatient and raised her voice again. "And that one over there. I suppose you did this?" She pointed at the dead dinosaur. Again, the crew said nothing. She shook her head and turned away from them. She ordered her soldiers in amazon and looked over the camp. A few soldiers were examining the machine guns, trying to understand their mechanisms and operation. They looked like comical little toys in their hands.
Eventually, an amazon came running from the jungle. She came up to the commander and the two spoke. The commander looked shocked and annoyed then turned back to the captured crew.
"You are very lucky it seems. You will get to meet with Grand General Marjoe." the commander said.
Paul peered over the brush and looked out at the scene unfolding on the beach. He saw the amazons gathering up the surviving crew and start carrying them off into the jungle.
"Damn! We're too late!" Paul scanned the troop looking for Shinozaki. He saw her tucked under the arm of an armored amazon warrior. "Shit! They have her too!"
Mr. Willis eyed the scene himself. There was no practical way for the five of them to save the crew. "We can't do anything for them now. There's far too many of them. We're going to have to follow them and bide our time. Their lives depend on it."
"Man, screw that!" Mancel said under his breath. "I saw we get on that boat and get the hell out of here! Those big bitches are going away, so now's our chance!"
"We're not going anywhere." Paul said sternly. If we don't get ourselves caught, we might get a chance to free them. We're not leaving them behind."
"I agree. But we need to be careful. Looks like they took the whole crew easily." Mr. Willis warned.
The small group retreated into the dense jungle and followed the path of the amazon troop, not knowing how far they would have to go to rescue their surviving friends.
The amazon troop journeyed slowly and confidently through the jungle terrain. They bore the weight of their captives easily, without hindering their stride in the slightest. They journeyed over hills, down through rock formations that descended hundreds of feet, and along cliff sides that overlooked vast jungle expanses.
Finally, they reached the hidden campsite where a group of amazons already stood by waiting. The camp was situated perfectly in the jungle surroundings. There was a massive tent-like structure built into an overhanging ledge, blending in to the landscape. There were smaller, minor tents surrounding it, similarly disguised. Amazons stood guard along the perimeter. As they came to the center of the camp, the crew could see a group of amazons to the side receiving medical treatment. They had bandaged limbs and faces, obviously caused by a horrific battle. The men wondered to themselves what could have caused such injuries to so powerful an enemy.
The group was dumped in the center of the camp. Shinozaki's glasses sat crooked on her face as she turned her head up to look at her captors. The amazons of the camp greeted their commander as she approached the central tent. The terrified men sat looking helplessly as the amazons worked around them. A high ranking amazon stepped forward. She had shoulder length blonde hair and shining grey eyes, wearing the same golden cap and yellow cape, but with a blue rank gemstone of Captain. She looked coldly at the lieutenant she had sent to capture the men's invasion force. She saluted her in the amazon fashion and continued staring at her, waiting for her report.
Lieutenant Mira returned her Captain's salute and began. "Sir! We've returned from the man-camp. Here are the captives, sir."
The captain raised her eyebrow and replied, "Very good. Have your troops bring the traitor out as well. Prepare to present a full account for our General." the captain said.
Shock took hold of Lt. Mira. "Ah! S-sir! The Grand General is already here!?"
The captain scowled. "Contain your emotions, lieutenant. The General expects to hear a full report on the mission." She then turned to the main tent.
Lt. Mira, almost gasping for breath shouted, "Sir, yes sir!" She spun back to her troop, sweating heavily. "Bring the traitor to the circle and shape up! The Grand General is here!"
The camp burst into activity. The men sat puzzled in the circle, not understanding the exchange that just took place. Clearly something was about to happen. Some of the men whispered to each other nervously. Shinozaki tried to put on a stoic face but couldn't quite erase the expression of anxiety on her brow.
Capt. Miller leaned over her and whispered, "I don't know what's going on here, but if anything happens, just let me take care of it." The captain meant to comfort her, but in truth, he was more concerned than she was. Shinozaki only nodded and kept her eyes fixed on the large tent in front of them.
From one side, two amazons dragged another large body towards the circle where the men sat helplessly. The men finally recognized the form of Tessa, who the amazons had tied up and gagged. They threw her heavily into the dirt in front of the men. Crewmen gasped and jostled each other trying to get a better look at their battered ally. Bruises and small cuts covered her body.
Tessa didn't react to the men's anxious rubbernecking. Her body still trembled with anger and grief. Her face was dirty and wet from the tears still flowing from her eyes.
Capt. Miller cursed loudly. "Damn! Those bitches got her too!"
Jack looked frantically at Tessa and wondered out loud "Where's Gilly!?"
Before any response could be given, the amazons of the encampment gathered in two straight lines, forming a path between them and the main tent. Lt. Mira stood in front of the men and waited at attention. Her cape hung limp in the windless heat of the jungle. She ignored the sweat that poured from her forehead. Looking at her from behind, the captive crew could see her hands shake with anxiety.
The flap of the tent flew back. The blonde captain stood at the portal and then stepped to the left. Another high ranking officer from the Golden City Guard stepped out and stood to the right. Both stood rigid in front of the entryway, their massive bodies like ancient statuary, full of simultaneous discipline and delicate poise. The men tensed up, waiting to see what was coming. Tessa rolled lazily to her side and looked towards the tent with her good eye. In her pained state, she felt the hatred begin to creep up inside of her again. In the still heat and anticipation, Lt. Mira audibly gulped past a lump in her throat, and Tessa could see the slight tremble in her knees.
Movement could be seen within the tent. The captains by the tent entrance bellowed loudly, "Attention! The Grand General, mistress of the High Queen and defender of the Golden City presiding!" The amazons clicked their ankle armor together and stuck out their chests. Even the injured amazons in the infirmary stood, and those who couldn't stand were supported by fellow soldier. All saluted as the General emerged from the tent.
From within the tent came a woman with a thick red mane of hair stretching down to her ankles. Like the captains, she wore a gold helm and cape, though her cape was deep red on the inside, white on the outside, with a purple broach pinned at each shoulder. Her golden armor was polished to an absurd degree, causing her to glow against her surroundings, almost as though it produced light from itself. Like the other military amazons, she wore a skin tight body sleeve under the armor. Unlike the others, hers was bright purple under her golden armor instead of the standard green. Her bare feet and hands stuck out from the brilliant shining gem inlayed platinum of the shin and wrist guards. Despite the eye straining glow of her armor, her eyes still shot out dazzling electric green. Every detail of the woman sang of pomp and regalia. She was almost too bright for the men to look at. The biggest shock to the men however was the General's size. Standing next to her two captains, the General was positively dwarfed. She stood between them at a mere six feet, seven inches.
The men ogled and knocked into each other for a better look. Tessa only sneered hatefully at the little ball of gaudiness.
"Presenting, Grand General Marjoe! Champion of the Golden Goddess!" The two captains shouted in unison. The camp loudly repeated the title together.
Acknowledging this with only a slight smile, General Marjoe started forward. She walked at an unnecessarily slow pace. letting the full effect of her authority envelope the troop around her. Lt. Mira's muscles continued twitching and shaking as the General advanced. She stopped a short distance from the trembling lieutenant and stared up at her, her self satisfied smirk melting into a flat line.
"Lieutenant Mira." She said in a calm voice.
Lt. Mira nearly jumped. "Y- Sir, yes sir!" she responded at a near scream.
The General stifled a slight chuckle. "Lieutenant, give me your report on the operation this morning."
Lt. Mira gulped and tried not to look down at her General. She gave her report about the attack and capture of the expedition, which was referred to as an 'invasion.' The men sat clueless as she elaborated in the amazon language how the expedition was spied upon and tracked through the weeks since their arrival. Tessa listened as she heard her and Gilly referenced continually as 'traitors,' gritting her teeth against the gag in her mouth. The lieutenant went on, describing how a pair of kittens in their Hunting Trial unknowingly tracked a large chomper near the men's encampment. Contact with the men followed, resulting in the death of one of the kittens. At that point, action was taken immediately against the invasion force.
General Marjoe listened intently and nodded. "And the surviving kitten? Where is she?"
The troop presented the purple haired kitten who was tracking the dinosaur that attacked the camp and killed Dr. Anderson. She had changed out of her hunting camouflage and donned the traditional light blue and white robe of a kitten in training. She came before General Marjoe and bowed on her knees in front of her. The kitten's mentor was present as well and stood several paces back.
The kitten raised her head and greeted her. "Sir, Grand General Marjoe. It honors me greatly to speak before you! My name is Yomi, a kitten of North Warren. My mentor is Noree, member of the City Guard." She spoke with reverence and intimidation, in spite of the fact that she was already taller than her mighty general.
General Marjoe lifted her hand gently in front of the young amazon. "Tell me, child. What happened during your Trial?"
The young amazon began recounting the tale. "Sir. My companion, Opal, also of North Warren, and myself began the hunt in the open jungle south of the shield wall. We survived several attacks from jungle creatures during the first night and eventually found ourselves lost. I-I have no excuse, sir."
"Hmm. Do continue, dear Yomi." General Marjoe said.
"Sir. The second day, we picked up the trail of chomper, our totem quarry. We followed him though the jungle terrain and eventually caught up with him in a wide clearing. Opal sent her spear into his chest, injuring him and sending him into a rage. If it had not been for Opal's bravery, I myself would have been devoured. In the end, chomper evaded us. We managed to pick up his trail again, but had difficulty following him. We slept for the night in a tall tree. The next day we continued following his trail and that's when we ran into the...ah." Yomi averted her gaze, recounting the details of this part of the tale. "Sir. Must I stay here where they can gaze at me so?" She turned her head towards the group of men who still strained and gawked at everything happening in front of them.
"They cannot harm you now, child. You are under my protection. Please, continue your account." General Marjoe insisted.
The little amazon cleared her throat nervously. "Sir. We followed the path left by the quarry. Opal heard something slinking around in the underbrush. She went out ahead and started calling out. I came down and saw her confronting two, ah, the two men."
Tessa's curiosity was piqued. She wasn't aware of such an encounter. She was curious to know what had transpired.
"I tried to convince her that we should return and tell someone about them. Opal wouldn't hear it. She wanted to make the kill herself. I didn't know how many were out there. I asked her to retreat and reassess. That's when she drew her sword and attacked the man in front. He killed her with, I suppose, ah some kind of snap-tube. But it hit her many times in a few seconds. I retreated and came back to base camp. That's all I can account for, sir. I'm deeply sorry for Opal's death. I take all responsibility, sir."
Tessa's stomach turned. She had been one to say 'live and let live,' to allow others a fair chance. She had been the one who attacked first, but even so, the thought of killing an un-armored kitten in training was sickening. She then became deeply angry with the men sitting behind her. What were they doing venturing into the jungle again? Why didn't they just leave? She grew ill, feeling vaguely guilty for the death of the young amazon.
General Marjoe gently touched Yomi's shoulder. "It is a hard thing to lose your companion in battle. May it be an important lesson for you. You may join your mentor now." She dismissed the kitten who bowed again and retreated back to where her mentor stood.
The General turned back to Lt. Mira. "So, the men attacked and killed the kitten during her sacred hunt. And you then decided to attack the camp in retaliation?"
"Sir, yes, sir." Lt. Mira said. "We had orders to take them down and bring some back alive for the Queen's Court. Of course, the traitors were also dealt with." Lt. Mira indicated Tessa with a backwards nod.
General Marjoe and Tessa locked eyes for the first time. Initially, Marjoe hadn't thought much of the traitors mentioned in the regular reports. It never once occurred to her that it could have been Gilly and Tessa. She had given them both up for dead years ago. Though, looking at her now, she saw it was indeed the wife of the mighty, beautiful, wonderful Gilly laying broken and defeated before her.
"Tessa?! Tessa...Is that really you?!" Marjoe said, forgetting her protocol for a brief moment.
Tessa sat up, her legs and arms still bound. She could only manage to stare up with fiery hatred blazing in her eyes. Marjoe's astonishment transitioned to curiosity. She turned back to Lt. Mira. "The other traitor...Gilly. What became of Gilly?"
Lt. Mira tensed up. "Sir. My instructions were to bring them back by any means necessary. That is, dead or alive. Gilly remained a great warrior. We were required to put her down, General, ah sir."
A shiver ran down Marjoe's spine. She looked hard at the lieutenant, who grew more and more uncomfortable. The lieutenant spoke of the fighting spirit of her adversary, but she could tell from her eyes that the deed had been done shamefully.
"Un-gag her." Marjoe instructed.
"Sir?" Lt. Mira asked.
"Un-gag her. I wish to speak with her." Marjoe persisted.
Lt. Mira became very frightened by the General's demeanor. She nodded to an amazon soldier who approached Tessa from behind and took the gag away. Immediately, Tessa flew into a rage fueled string of insults.
"Heartless bitch! Cowardly viper curse your name you sickly short excuse for a-" Tessa was cut off by a slap administered by Lt. Mira.
"SILENCE!" Lt. Mira cried. But she herself was admonished by her General.
"No, lieutenant. I want her words. I need to hear from her what occurred." Marjoe said. "Go on, Tessa. What were you two even doing there in the first place?"
Tessa spat on the ground. "We lived where we could. The two of us made our home in the jungle. We lived that way for years. Finally, we come across soldiers of our beloved city and they treat us with a surprise attack. Then I'm dragged back and find out they've made a mouthy little shrimp their supreme commander while Gilly was away! It's enough to make me puke!"
Marjoe leaned forward. "And Gilly? What happened to Gilly?"
Tessa gritted her fanged teeth and tears flowed down her face as she answered. "You killed her, you bitch. Your soldiers stuck her in the back like cowards. She's dead. And it's her blood on your hands, you brute."
Genuine sorrow swept over Marjoe's face. "I didn't know. No one told me it was you two. How could I have even guessed? If I had known I would never..."
Tessa burst out laughing. It had a dark, frightening sound to it. "You didn't now. You didn't know! You sent warriors out to kill someone you didn't know. How easy that makes things! How easily you avoid responsibility when you don't know. Ignorance is innocence, is it?! But you wield violence carelessly, great general. That's the weakness you all share! And now. And now, Gilly is dead."
Lt. Mira shrank back when she saw Marjoe's scowling face turn to her. Internally, Marjoe regretted the orders she had issued after hearing the reports of men landing on the beachhead. 'Any means necessary,' she had said. If only she had considered the possibility that Gilly was still alive somewhere out there in the wilderness. She turned back towards Tessa. Her own distain and hatred for the exiled amazon boiled up again. Why had Gilly chosen one such as her? She felt a pain in her chest as the two stared into each other's eyes. If only Gilly had stayed with her, Marjoe thought. If only she never met the bitch called Tessa, none of this ever would have happened.
But she did not openly say this. Not in front of her soldiers. She had allowed too much her emotion to reveal itself already. She had to regain her cold composure, her confidence to lead and embolden her warriors. She turned back to Lt. Mira.
"We're returning to the city. Bring the captives to the central prison. There they shall stand trial for their crimes. That includes the traitor, Tessa. She stands accused with the rest." Marjoe said flatly. She looked into Tessa's rage filled eyes one last time and then turned back to her tent. She disappeared inside and closed the flap behind her.
The men squirmed as amazon warriors picked them up and began to prepare for the journey to the city. Two amazons lifted Tessa, who ceased her struggle against her captors. She simply closed her eyes in angry resignation as they carried her off.
Once safely inside her tent, Marjoe walked towards the fabulously decorated table in the tent's center. Even in this remote jungle outpost, the amazon troop had spared nothing when they learned of her coming. Various fruit and fine wine was laid out for her to partake. Exquisite marble statuary lined the perimeter of her quarters. A finely decorated glowing globe provided her with soft golden light. She sat upon the chair custom made for her height and stared at the opulence in front of her. She slowly removed the golden helmet from her head and let it sit at the table. She then put her face in her hands and cried bitterly.
Just outside the amazon encampment, Paul and the others watched helplessly as they saw the amazons gather up the men and begin taking them away. Paul saw Shinozaki still alive amid all the activity.
"Shit! He said a bit too loud. "They're taking her. Goddamn!" He lifted his gun as if to charge.
Willis grabbed him by the arm. "Not now, idiot! You'll be ripped apart in a matter of seconds!"
"Yeah, yeah, listen. We've got to get out of here! There's no way we're rescuing her now. Just forget it." Mancel said timidly.
Mike pulled him back and threw him aside. "So, what's the plan? Do we follow them?"
Paul winced and grimaced at the scene. It was all but hopeless. They brought only their five guns and some light ammo. The odds were so vast as to be comical. Paul considered his options as he watched Shinozaki being carried away.
Suddenly, they heard something large approaching behind them. Carlo almost cried out in shock as he turned around and saw a tall figure behind him. Paul and Willis spun around to see an amazon warrior standing before them. They almost opened fire on the figure before realizing who its was.
A bloodied and enraged Gilly stood in front of them, her eyes spoke of tumultuous rage and fury. Blood trickled from her forehead and mouth, and the small broken shaft of an arrow protruded from her left side. She looked past the terrified men and out towards the camp of amazons and watched Tessa being dragged away.
With bared fangs she spoke with a terrible rumble in her native tongue.
"I will kill them all!"