Disclaimer: Pet Fly's guys.




  1. Blair landed in the bog with a wet, goopy splash. The important thing was not to panic. Professor Carstairs has warned them this was quicksand country. Thank goodness he hadn't lost his grip on his hiking stick. He stretched the pole out on the surface of the quicksand, and managed to wriggle his hips onto the long stick at right angles to his spine. He slowly pulled one leg out first, then the other, taking the shortest route to firm ground, moving slowly.

  2. Jim kicked the door, a bone-jarring impact echoing up through his leg. Again. Again. He aimed at the lockplate. Again. The door gave, flying open. He went in high, gun drawn, while Blair came in low, scurrying over to the kidnapped child tied to a chair in the middle of the room, while Jim swept the apartment.

  3. Blair glared at the keys to his Volvo hanging in the ignition as he finished bending the wire coat hanger retrieved from his office. He slid the hanger into the door, between the weather stripping and the window, intent on his goal. So intent on his goal that he didn't realize he suddenly had company. He could feel the end of the button rod, and pulled, popping the lock. "Yes!" Then he looked up at the campus security officer standing beside him. "Oh. Um, man, this is not what it looks like..."

  4. Blair looked around the drug-runners' camp nervously as he unlocked the steering wheel using the blade of his Swiss Army knife. Great, it started! He gave Darryl a reassuring grin and looked around. Where was Jim?

  5. With the truck in reverse, Jim kept his eyes on a spot straight ahead, backing up, as he jammed on the gas. He turned the wheel sharply around a quarter turn as he dropped the transmission into drive, Blair's terrified shriek accompanying the Ride Of The Valkyries playing in his soul as he continued the chase.

  6. Blair stared at the car blocking the only road out of the compound, and checked his seatbelt. Accelerating slightly, he rammed the car's rear side, spinning it out of the way, and drove on.

  7. As the truck hit the water, Jim tried to roll down the window. He couldn't get the window all the way down so he smashed into the glass, again and again. It gave, and he escaped, swimming to the shore. He stood on the bank, watching as his beloved Sweetheart sank under the waves.

  8. Seeing the downed power line laying on the wet street, Blair pulled over, sighing at the delay, and picked up his cell phone to call it in.

  9. Blair gritted his teeth. "Ow. Ow. Ow. It hurts!" Jim carefully washed the bite with soap and water.

    "Did you see the snake, Chief?"


    "We'd better get to Doc Adams' place in town." The army medic tied off the bite with a tourniquet to slow the spread of the venom.

  10. After hitting the shark with sharp repeated jabs to the gills and eyes, Jim made it to the beach while the enraged beast tore apart his surfboard. "Damn, now I'm afraid of shallow water too."

  11. Heart pounding, Blair lay absolutely still as the mama bear snuffled at him curiously, then wandered off to the other side of the campsite to join her cubs, who were clawing at his backpack in pursuit of the Nutty Hunny bar he'd forgotten about.

  12. "Don't run, Chief, don't even move," said Jim in a low, urgent voice. Blair stood on the trail, mesmerized by the golden cat crouched on the rock above him. He tightened his grip on his applewood walking stick. To his surprise, Jim fanned out his jacket and roared, waving his hands and shouting.

    Confused, the mountain lion fled the bigger cat that had smelled like prey.

  13. Crouching over the 'gator's back, Blair pressed down on its neck, forcing the head and jaw down, using his hand to cover its eyes, until his partner managed to close the snout off with duct tape. "I wish people would stop buying these things as pets and tossing 'em in the river when they get to be too much trouble."

  14. Jim ran, trying not to focus on the monstrous sound of the buzzing swarm pursuing him. His only hope was to outrun them and make it to the cabin. Zoning on the killer bees was not an option.

  15. Blair froze. This was, unfortunately, one of the dangers of 'poaching' wild plant seeds. Staying far away from the bull and trying not to antagonize it, he slowly made his way back to the fence and the safe haven of his car, parked by the roadside. It was too far away. The bull was snorting and seemed angry. Blair carefully took off the flannel shirt covering his T-shirt, knowing that the blue plaid didn't matter, it was the movement that attracted. He swung the shirt slowly, still making for the fence, and then, as the bull charged, he threw the shirt as far away as possible, and ran pell-mell for the fence, reaching safety.

  16. Jim walked down the fog-chilled streets, his step slowing as he felt that prickle of awareness that warned of another Immortal's approach. The sword in it's scabbard sewn into the lining of his coat was a comforting weight, as the large, leather-clad biker stepped out of the alley, calling out "Prepared to die?"

    "James Ellison of the Clan MacPherson," Jim introduced himself as his teacher had shown him, drawing his sword.

    He stepped up and into the blow, with his arms held against his body, punching at the blow instead of simply trying to absorb it with his sword, moving his own sword in steady, quick blows up and down and to the left and right. He brought his sword parallel to the ground and above him to block a blow aimed at his head, and then reversed it, decapitating his opponent, and braced himself for the Quickening.

  17. Realizing that Kincaid was about to strike, Blair clenched his jaw, and moved into the blow, avoiding taking the punch at full force. As the enraged man moved again, he shifted slightly, taking this one in the side instead of the gut.

  18. Jim looked back toward their pursuers and winced as a bullet whined past. Blair was panicking softly beside him. "Oh man, oh man, oh man, first cliffs, then planes, I hate jumping..."

    "On the count of three, Chief."

    The two men went over the side of the bridge, feet first, trying to keep their bodies completely vertical, and squeezing their feet together.

  19. "Oh crap," Blair muttered under his breath, and jumped off the roof, jumping straight down, and somehow managing to execute a perfect somersault, aiming for the center of the dumpster.

  20. Jim crawled on all fours on top of the train, lying flat as they approached a corner, then crouched, bending forward slightly for a few steps, rocking slightly from side to side as he made it to the ladder. He was enjoying the wind and the pretty colors...but there was...he tried to push through the SenQuil-induced lethargy clouding his thoughts. He'd left something important on the train...oh yeah. Blair.

  21. "Oh man!" Blair cried out as he uselessly pumped the brake pedal. "I am so sick of this." He pulled the emergency brake, slowing the aging Volvo down a bit, and opened the car door. He jumped, making sure he was well away from the car, and rolled on the soft grass, getting up in time to see the Volvo go over the edge of the cliff.

  22. Gunning the engine, Jim brought the motorcycle up even with the car, getting the vehicles as close together as possible and matching speeds. He caught a glimpse of Blair's pale face through the window, and smiled grimly, realizing the kid didn't recognize him. The mirrored visor helmet, the black leathers. Holding the throttle to the last instant, he leapt through the open front passenger window, surprising the hell out of Brackett.

  23. "Jim! Jim! The Heimlich didn't work, he's not breathing!" Blair called desperately. "Call an ambulance!"

    The older man swore under his breath. "Too far out in the boonies here, Chief. Give me your Swiss army knife." Jim grabbed a bottle of vodka from behind the bar, and a wrapped straw, then hurried to crouch beside the fallen man.

    He ignored Blair's distressed gasp as he felt for the Adam's apple, moved down and made the cut.

    "Army medic, Sandburg. It's not always butterfly bandages." Jim explained, finishing the field tracheotomy and bending to blow into the straw.

  24. "Sophie!" Blair said sharply as his research assistant reached for the brown paper package on his desk. "Don't open that. It's wrapped in string, when was the last time you saw someone use string instead of tape? There's an oily stain, like something inside leaked...and the return address is out in the middle of the bay," he paused. "It could be a bomb."

    Her eyes opened very wide. "wuh— What do we do?"

    "Walk out to the quad, call campus security and get the building cleared, and then call in the bomb squad."

  25. Everybody in the bullpen stopped dead when Ellison's phone rang again, and he said, "Stuck in traffic? Overturned semi. Okay, Chief. Breathe. No, you breathe, you won't do her any good if you faint. Got those clean towels I told you about? Good." Jim waited. "This is easy stuff..." Whispering spread. This was Major Crimes, work could grind to a complete halt. But the grapevine kept information flowing.

    "Okay, the head will open up the cervix so the rest of the baby can slide out. Guide 'er out by supporting the head, then the body..."

    The progress was reported in every room of HQ within minutes. Word spread faster when Ellison rested the phone on his shoulder for an instant to announce, "It's a girl!" then returned to his frantic partner. "Dry her off and keep her warm. You don't have to slap her, she's breathing on her own...sounds like she takes after her mother. Tie off the umbilical cord with the shoelace, yes, that's what the new shoelaces are for. You shouldn't have to cut the cord, traffic's moving again...good. You did fine, just get to the hospital. Congratulations, Pops, and give Connor a kiss for me, she's a real trooper. I'll pick up cigars for the guys on the way over, you'll be too busy."

  26. The panic showed in the pale blue eyes as Jim calmly stated through chattering teeth, "Chief, I can't feel my feet. Most of my legs, actually."

    Glad beyond belief that they were camping in a fancy cabin instead of taking their tents and hiking into the backcountry, Blair just helped the taller soaking wet and freezing man inside. "Okay, let's get your pants off and see what we've got." He blinked at the phrasing. "In the totally platonic meaning of those words."

    Jim let out a pained laugh and complied. Luckily, the sentinel's feet and shins were just pale, frostnip. Blair ran to start a hot bath.

  27. Breaking off two tree branches for splints, Jim looked around, shrugged mentally, then pulled off his T-shirt and tore the cloth into strips, then splinted Blair's broken leg.

  28. While they waited for the ambulance, Blair used his fingertips to apply pressure to the bullet crease scalp wound currently painting the side of Jim's face red, and stared numbly out at the wreckage of the invaded loft. "Damn," he said softly, "I really liked that lampshade."

  29. Jim had felt twitchy all day. Skin crawling. Hackles raising. Nervous. When the quake hit, he finally knew why. He moved the truck out of traffic, and stopped, glancing around to make sure he was clear of power lines, light posts, signs and trees. Blair was looking up at the nearby buildings.

  30. Blair managed to get a little more of Jim's ration of water into him. The older man's condition worried him. Jim had confessed a fear of deep water, so Blair wasn't sure if this almost-zone, almost-catatonia was a sentinel thing or a Jim thing. There was certainly enough traps for a sentinel out here. Far as his limited eyes could see, there was only ocean and sky. All Blair could hear was the cry of gulls and the crash of waves that carried their lifeboat who knew where? He tried the radio again, with no luck, then noticed one of the lines strung over the side jerk. "Fresh sushi for dinner," he called, trying to stay positive.

  31. Blair knew he was lucky. He had enough fuel for a kindling fire, and kept extra nearby to blaze up if he saw a search plane. He had plenty of water on hand, and the jeep for shelter. He also had plenty of sunscreen. He should be able to survive the desert until the other students backtracked and found him. If anyone had noticed he was missing yet.

  32. Holland hooked his arms through the front of Jim's harness and grabbed hold of the strap, abject terror turning his face into a rictus mask. Jim held on, and opened his chute, wincing at the audible crack of bone as the G-forces broke Sam's arms, and steered his canopy down. Airborne Rangers, hoo-yah. Except when a parachute didn't open.

  33. Blair tried to stay on top of the snow, with a swimming motion, but he found himself buried. Luckily, he'd managed to hang onto a ski pole without impaling himself. He poked it through the surrounding wet heavy snow until he felt the lack of resistance that meant air, and started trying to dig in that direction. Helping hands from outside uncovered him, and he found himself looking up into Jim's relieved face.

    "I told you skiing was dangerous!"

    "Skiing is fun," Blair wheezed. "Avalanches are dangerous."

  34. The punk kid was firing at him. Jim ran, knowing that an untrained shooter wasn't going to be very accurate. He weaved back and forth just to make himself a harder target to hit.

  35. Blair knew that the important thing was not to panic, and not to wander too far from the trail. He lit three smoky fires in a triangle, then dug himself a snow trench, insulated with dead leaves and twigs. Then he huddled down and tried to think warm thoughts while he waited for rescue.

  36. Jim studied the equipment gathered before him. Blair's knife. Kindling. Dead wood to keep the fire going, from a tree and not off the ground. A bow made from a curved stick and a shoelace. A socket; palm-sized piece of hard bark. A spindle stick, a notched and dished board, a leaf for an ember tray, and a nest of dried cattail fuzz. One vital bit missing. "Lube," he said aloud.

    Blair looked startled. "Don't look at me. This isn't slashfic."

    Jim smirked at him. "The lip balm, buddy. Or would you prefer to freeze to death with unchapped lips?"

    Blair handed over the small tin. Jim tightened the string to the bow, then knelt on his right knee, the ball of his left foot on the fireboard holding it firmly to the ground. Picking up the bow, he looped the string in the center of the bow, inserting the spindle through the loop. He smeared a little lip balm in the notch of the hand socket, greasing it. Then he placed the rounded end of the spindle into the dish of the board, and the other end into the socket. Pressing down lightly on the socket, he drew the bow back and forth, rotating the spindle, adding pressure and increasing speed.

    Smoke and ash appeared. Carefully transferring the ember to the nest, he sighed, blowing on it so it caught, and cautiously added a stick of kindling.

    "We should have invited Simon along. Borrowing his cigar lighter would've been way easier." Blair chirped brightly.

  37. "Cold and wet is my world." Blair muttered, as the rain flooded down in heavy sheets and thunder rumbled again. He saw a flash of lightening, and started counting but the roll of thunder was nearly simultaneous. And here he was, caught out in the open field. Could have been worse, could have been the ridge and the timberline. He knelt with his hands on the ground and his head low, feeling the icy rain dribbling down his neck, and dreamed of Hawaii.

  38. With a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, Jim realized he was out of air. Trying not to panic, he signaled to one of the other divers, pointing to his tank and regulator. She came over, and he shared her regulator, taking two breaths and passing it back, exhaling as they ascended, swimming slowly to the surface.

  39. With an agitated bellow, the camel took off at full gallop. Blair held on tight. There were sturdy reins and a head-halter. He tugged the reins to one side, not fighting the beast, pulling the reins in either direction the camel tried to turn its head. The camel tried to change direction five or six times, Blair let it, just keeping it running in circles, until he wore out the enraged beast. Tired, it sat down, and Blair jumped off, still holding firmly to the reins, and stared at it. The camel stared back, calculatingly.


    Blair wiped at the globule of camel-spit and sighed. "Now I know why your name is Evil Minded Bastard."

  40. "Of course I know how to do this," Jim shouted over the noise of the train. "I had a Lionel set when I was ten."

    Blair just turned green and closed his eyes.

    Jim opened all the emergency valves located in the engine room, then moved all the handles and levels forward. He used all the white sliding switches, shutting off electricity to the engine.

    The train still wasn't slowing down, so he went into the engine block, and pushed the layshaft lever in, then returned to the cab and hit the whistle. It took several miles to stop.

  41. "Aw man..." Blair swore under his breath, "...piece of junk Volvo..." He pumped the brake pedal, and kept pumping. He tried not to panic, shifting the car into the lowest gear to let the engine and transmission slow it down, then pulled the emergency brake, careful not to pull too hard and lock the rear wheels.

  42. Chieftain shied and bolted. Jimmy held tight to the saddle with his hands and thighs, gripping the saddlehorn with one hand and holding the reins with the other, sitting up straight in the saddle as he'd been taught, keeping a deep seat and his feet pushed a little forward in the stirrups.

    Tugging and releasing the reins lightly slowed the horse to a slow loping trot, and then he pulled on one rein, forcing Chieftain to walk in a circle. Bored, the horse slowed to a stop. Jimmy took a deep breath and looked down the trail as Daddy rode up on Thundercloud, a worried look on his face. Way down the trail, Stevie had gotten off his pony Marigold and was sitting on a log, crying.

  43. "Look on the bright side, at least you know how to jump out of an airplane now." Jim said, adding, "I don't think it'll be necessary this time."

    Jim took the right seat, and put on the radio headset, calling Mayday and giving the situation, their destination, and the plane call numbers. He wasn't getting a response, even on the emergency channel, so they were on their own. In a show of confidence in his abilities, Blair got into the crash position.

    Jim got his bearings, identifying the instruments. The plane was flying straight and level, so he engaged the autopilot. That bought them a little time. Once he'd determined a landing strategy, he turned the autopilot off and reduced power, moving the throttle toward himself. When the altimeter read 2000 feet, he leveled the nose with the horizon, using the yoke. He could see calm water below, and the plane was facing a headwind.

    He reduced speed again with the throttle, continued to reduces power until the tachometer read 1500 to 1700 rpm, then moved the nose of the plane up a bit, pulling the yoke towards him. The plane was no more than ten feet above the water. At five feet he used the fuel mixture control knob to cut fuel to the engine.

    Keeping the nose up, the plane gently fell to the water. Jim concentrated on making sure the rear of the plane hit the water first. As soon as they were down, he opened the door, and Blair inflated the raft outside the plane.

  44. Blair had picked up an ear for riots over the years of travel with his mother. And this was getting anti-American and very bad. The embassy was closer to the hotel than the airport, so that was probably his best bet. He dressed warmly, just in case, and gathered the essentials, regretfully abandoning some of his gear. He went out through a side exit with a group of other people, walking as he separated from the natives, trying to look casual and not attracting any attention.

  45. Sierra Verde in August. Just taking a breath was like a sip of unchilled mineral water; it left a flat, damp sensation on the sentinel tongue. Once again, Blair tried to explain to the man from the Archaeological Monuments office. "We want to explore. To take pictures. But we aren't going to dig."

    "To explore, you must have a permit. You must have the permit to go into certain areas."

    Jim took a deep breath and tried very hard to believe that stopping Alex from scything Humanity off the face of the globe had been a good idea. "Perhaps there is a processing fee that would rush completion of the paperwork for our permits?" he suggested gently.

    Blair's innocent blue eyes went wide. Two hundred American dollars later and a 'gift' of one of Jim's 'medicinal' bottles of Glen Bannock whisky and they had official permission to camp out at the Temple Of The Sentinels for three weeks. Jim made a mental note to keep watch, knowing the man had given them unofficial permission to loot the temple in the full expectation of relieving them of any gold artifacts and leaving them for dead somewhere in the bush.

  46. Blair prided himself on having never lost luggage, had his pocket picked, or suffered any other travelers' complaint. He knew to keep an eye on his luggage in airports, to never let anyone cut ahead of him at the metal detector after his valuables were on the conveyor belt. He never let anyone photocopy his passport to confirm a credit-card, and he kept his money in a money belt.

  47. Blair was too terrified to move. He lay frozen in his bed, unable to move, unable to even twitch a muscle, unable to close his eyes, unable to scream, although when he saw the small figure approaching his bed in the eerie glow, he wanted to scream very much. He tried not to think about abductions and UFO's just in case that could be telepathically misread as a consent to being probed.

    He found he could speak, and managed a breathless whisper, "Go away."

    It continued toward him, and Blair screamed for Jim louder than he ever had in his life. Screaming implied movement, so as it leaned over him, he sat up, and went for the only vulnerable area he could see: those infamous large dark eyes.

    The alien let out a high-pitched keening wail, ending as Jim burst through the french doors and put a bullet into that oversized head. Blair realized that he was still shaking. "Oh god. What is this? An X-Files crossover?"

    "I hope so."

    He jerked his head up to look at Jim. "You hope so? You hope we're stuck in some dark angsty paranoid X-Files crossover?"

    Jim bit the inside of his cheek as he tucked his sidearm back into the shoulder holster he was wearing with his boxers and socks. "Yep. Because if this is a Stargate SG-1 crossover then I'm in a lot of trouble."

    Blair stared at him, then looked back at the dead Grey consideringly. "Thor?"

  48. If the mugger had just taken the valuables and left, he would have been much happier. Possessions are not worth a life. On either side. But he was stupid enough to make a threatening move.

    The ex-Ranger thrust his fingers into the thug's eyes, drove his knee into his groin, and rammed the side of his flattened hand into the mugger's throat as he collapsed. Leaving the unfortunate thief being sick on the sidewalk, Jim hailed a cab for his date and kissed her goodnight, and called for an ambulance.

  49. Blair took off his flannel shirt, leaving just the brick red T-shirt he'd been wearing under it, tied his hair back, and put on his sunglasses. He never looked directly at his subject, after noting that he was following a 6'2 200 pound Caucasian male wearing chinos, a field coat, and Jags cap. He tailed the man from about forty feet to the rear, sometimes from across the street, window-shopping nearby when his subject was inside the store. He followed his subject back to the truck and then got in.

    "So how'd I do, Jim?"

  50. Jim noticed the red car again. It was kind of suspicious, so he made three turns in a row and sure enough, the red car followed. He signaled a turn to the left, and at the last minute, went right. Horns honked and Blair, jolted out of whatever obscure rituals he was reading about, looked up from his book.

    "We're being tailed," Jim explained tersely, heading back downtown. He drove at the speed limit, then slowed a bit, waiting, until an innocent car tried to pass him. Then sped up slightly, forcing the car to fall in behind him. He did it again, not letting the car pass.

    At a red light, he stopped, then ran the light at the last possible second, leaving the red car behind. They drove around for a while, checking for a second tail, before heading for the safe house.

  51. Blair ducked instinctively as a bullet whizzed by, and looked. The other building was the same height and there was enough room to land and roll. Less than ten feet between the two. He picked his spot, and ran at full speed toward the edge. He had about sixty feet of 'runway' to build up speed, he hit the edge and leapt, arms and hands extended to grab the ledge in case...

    He landed on his feet, then tucked his head and tumbled sideways onto his shoulders, rolling, then was up and running for the fire escape.

  52. Jim gathered seat cushions from the empty car, and used them for makeshift padding under his clothes. He waited for the train to slow as it came to a bend in the tracks, picking a grassy clearing as his landing spot.

    He got down low, bending his knees to leap as far away from the moving train as possible, he pushed off, covering his head with his hands and arms, rolling downhill.

  53. "Thank you thank you thank you..." Blair chanted fervently as the Volvo teetered to a halt on the edge of the cliff. Thankfully, the front wheel and the doors were still on solid ground, it was the back of the car that was dangling out into empty space. He shifted his weight, seeing if that made the car sway. It didn't, and that meant he had enough time to salvage his backpack, with his laptop and more importantly, his cellphone, before opening the door gradually and slowly getting out.

    Once he was clear, the Volvo slowly tumbled over the edge, scraping it's way down to the rocks and the sea below.

    Blair looked forlornly down at the wreckage, and at his cellphone in his hand. "I guess it's too late to call triple A."

  54. Jim took a deep breath as his captor started binding him, puffing out his broad chest, and pulling his shoulders back. He flexed his powerful arm muscles against the bonds, pushing outward as much as possible. Then he sucked in his chest and stomach, wriggling free with the extra room the slack gave him.

    Blair pushed against the rope, keeping his wrists apart. Then he simply brought his hands up to his mouth and started working on the knots with his teeth.

    While being tied at the ankles, Jim pigeon-toed his feet, keeping his toes and his knees touching. Then flexed and released the muscles in his legs to work the bonds down, bent and pulled the rope away. He sighed.

    Blair looked at him, expectantly.

    "All right. You're right. With all this expertise at being kidnapped and held hostage, we should do a double Houdini act for the Charity talent show." His eyes glinted with lasciviousness. "Worth it just to see Cassie as our lovely assistant in that leotard."

  55. Blair aimed for the side of the gate that opened, judging it to be the weak spot. He sped up to about 30 mph to ram it, ducking slightly at impact just in case anything broke loose and came through the windshield of his car, then backed up and did it again, until he broke through.

  56. For the first time, Blair felt a little bit of sympathy for Iris. Being stuck in the trunk of a car really sucked. There wasn't a wall separating the backseat and the trunk, so he tried to fold the seats down. The release was in the passenger compartment, but the mechanism was back here, so he figured it was worth a shot. No luck.

    Since this was a newer car, he started looking under the carpet for a cable, the cable that ran from the trunk release lever under the driver's seat. Hah! He found it, and gave it a tug, and the trunk latch popped. He pushed it open, sitting up and startling a well-dressed woman with a Yorkie on a leash, getting out of a Lexus in the next parking space.

    "The rent's cheap and you can't beat the commute," he quipped, and got out, in search of a payphone to tell Jim that he wasn't kidnapped any more.

  57. Jim knew he didn't have time to climb back up onto the subway platform, the train was coming. He avoided the areas marked with red and white stripes, knowing that meant the train passed through with close clearance. There was an alcove, but Jim figured the columns between the tracks would be safest. He crossed the third rail, completely stepping over it, and made it to safety. The express train blew past.

  58. Blair lay down on the floor of the plummeting elevator, in the center of the car, on his stomach. If the elevator hit, it would distribute the force of impact. He covered his head to protect it from any falling ceiling panels, and yelled at nobody in particular, "C'mon, man, I've already done this!"

  59. Captain Ellison's first duty was to bury the remains of his men. When that was done, he rested before attending to his own survival. He cut sections from a large water vine and drank the fluid welling out of the stalks, then peeled some fruit before eating it. Checking direction with a compass, he started to walk toward the Chopec village on the maps. He had survived the helicopter crash, completing the mission was on his shoulders now. He marked his trail as he went, breaking and turning the abundant vegetation so he could find his way back to the site one day.

  60. Blair knew that he was in trouble. He had no sense of direction, and he was lost. But he'd heard about a trick and all he needed was an analog watch and a six inch stick. He jabbed the stick into the ground to cast a shadow, then set his watch down so the hour hand was parallel to the shadow of the stick. Finding the point on the watch midway between the hour hand and 12:00, he drew an imaginary line from that point through the center of the watch. The line ran north-south, with the sun to the South.

    "Now I know where south is, I just have to remember which way was the camp..."

  61. Jim thought about those Spiderman comic books he'd read as a kid as he inched his way out of the well. Each hand and foot on the opposite wall, legs scissored slightly to the right. He scrabbled a few inches up with his hands, then quickly dragged his feet up. His back was going to be killing him tomorrow. If he made it far enough for there to be a tomorrow.

  62. Realizing that he was in the middle of a minefield, Blair froze, his eyes on his feet. Looking for spikes, detonators, bumps or fresh discolored earth, and wires. He backed up slowly in his own footsteps, walking backward, until he was sure he was safe.

    Now he knew why the locals didn't use this trail.

  63. Jim realized that he was caught in a riptide, a long narrow current that quickly carried anything in them away from shore and out to sea. He didn't struggle against the pull of the current, trying to swim to shore, knowing that it would only exhaust him; certain death. Instead he swam parallel to shore, across the current. Generally a riptide was less than a hundred feet wide, swimming beyond it wasn't too difficult.

    Once free, he swam sideways back to shore.

  64. With a splintering sound, the ice beneath Blair's feet disappeared, and he hit the frigid water below with a nearly heart-stopping shock. He tried to breathe steadily, and turned in the direction he'd been crossing from. He used his elbows to lift himself onto the edge of the hole, where the ice was thicker, and hung there, letting as much water as possible drain from his sodden clothing, before stretching his arms out onto solid ice as far as possible. He kicked his feet, like he was swimming, and pulled himself up.

    Once out of the water, he rolled, laying flat, distributing his weight on the unstable surface evenly, until he was sure he was on solid ice again.

    "Cuh-cuh-cold and wet is my world," he sighed through chattering teeth.

  65. Alone in the frigid water, wearing a flotation device, Jim used the heat escape lessening position, ankles crossed, knees drawn to his chest, and arms crossed over the knees, hands held high by his neck. With his clothes trapping warm water next to his skin like a diver's wetsuit, he knew he had a chance of surviving this.

  66. Blair wanted to scream, but it was more important to take a deep breath before going over the waterfall first. He squeezed his feet together, and wrapped his arms around his head to protect it, trying to stay vertical as he jumped out and away from the edge as he went over, to avoid the rocks at the bottom. He started swimming as soon as he hit the water, to avoid being trapped by the force of the water raining down on top of him, forcing him under the surface.

  67. Watching for falling debris, Jim was relieved to see that they were on the safe side of a valley that would divert the flow of lava. He put the truck into the garage, and did one last sweep of the house to make sure that all the doors and windows were closed. Then he went upstairs to join Blair, who was listening to the radio for an evacuation alert, and watching the volcano from a bedroom window.

  68. Blair looked up from his book as the hotel fire alarm sounded. Jim sighed, and put down the room service menu, getting up to see if the hall doorknob was hot.

    "Even when we're on vacation!" Blair complained, and went to fill the bathtub with cold water and soak the towels.

    "Small favors, the door's not hot." Jim announced and took a wet handtowel as Blair joined him, dripping. Wrapping his nose and mouth, and draping a second towel over his head, Jim opened the door.

    The hall was full of smoke, the two men crawled on all fours to the nearest exit.

  69. Collecting enough drinkable water for two men took almost as long as gathering food. Walking through the thin grass at sunrise with rags tied to their feet to soak up the dew, the first day. Then hiking up to the mountains and finding a fresh water creek to provide a steady source of water. It had to be filtered, one of Jim's clean white socks had been pressed into service, filled with layers of crushed charcoal, pebbles, and sand. After draining, the water was boiled and allowed to cool.

    Seeing that Sandburg had potable water production well under way, Jim called out, "Hey Gilligan, I'm going down to the beach to check our signal fire."

  70. Lost again in a winter wonderland, Blair decided to build a Quin-Zhee. It was a snow-shelter that was developed by the Athabascan Indians, who lived mainly in Canada and Alaska, and it was just a big mound of packed snow, big enough to sit down or lie comfortably in. He knew it was important to stay dry while building a snow shelter. Once it was built, he waiting an hour for the snow to consolidate, spending the time cutting pine boughs with the little saw blade of his Swiss Army knife.

    Then he dug in, hollowing out the center of the dome into a cave, flooring it with the pine branches to insulate himself from the frozen ground, then burrowed in to wait.

  71. Jim noticed they were in trouble when he heard the loud, sustained roar. Looking out to sea, he could see the rise in sea level. He abruptly turned inland, gunning the motor over Blair's protests.

    "Hang on, Chief," he yelled, as miles behind them, the tsunami hit the coastline.

  72. Blair dipped a pinkie finger into the Vaseline, and coated the inside of his nostrils before tying the wet bandana over his nose and mouth. The rest of the students did the same, and they linked arms so they wouldn't be separated by the sandstorm before reaching safety.

  73. Blair could see fat trout in one of the shadows. He found a forked sapling, and broke it off, then bent the forked ends together, tying them in a knot. Then he took off his shirt, tied a knot in it just below the neck and arm holes, slipping the makeshift net over the framework. Using the net, he scooped fish out of the water, imagining the look on Jim's face when he got back to camp.

  74. Jim set traps all over the area, several snares made from scavenged wire, a few deadfalls. Knowing the more traps you set increased the odds of catching something, and he had a tribe of survivors to provide for and feed.

  75. "Oh god," Blair muttered. "I hate spiders..."

    Jim carefully brushed tarantulas off the younger man. Unfortunately, Blair yelped as the last one came off his arm. Jim checked, it was a dry bite, just the first chomp before the venom went in. He washed the wound, used antiseptic, and a bandage. If swelling and tenderness persisted, he'd have to take the kid in for medical treatment, but from his medical training, Jim knew that most problems came from the bites getting infected. Hopefully that wouldn't happen, he'd gotten to it right away and cleaned it very well.

  76. After killing the scorpion that had stung him, Jim used an ice pack to relieve the pain. He also took a painkiller, and resigned himself to sitting up for a few hours, radio nearby, so he could call for medical assistance if he had an allergic reaction.

  77. Enqueri could see piranhas feeding, but they were very far down the river, and he couldn't wait for night to cross the river, when piranhas rested and would not attack. He swam across quickly and quietly, with no problems. Piranha generally wouldn't attack a person or a large animal unless it was already injured, except when the food supply was very low.

  78. "Oh gross!" Blair exclaimed, but put a fingernail on his arm next to the smaller end of the leech, scraping at it to dislodge the sucker. Then he began to flick at the larger end and the hind sucker with a fingernail to cause it to lose its suction. Once the leech was off, he disposed of it, and cleaned and bandaged the wound.

  79. Jim walked over to the fridge and got a couple of beers, bringing them over to the couch. Just this once, he decided not to say anything to Sandburg about putting his feet on the coffee table, as he handed him his beer. After a moment's reflection, he put his feet up, too.

    The men clinked the beer bottles in a toast. "It's over."

    "It's finally over."

    They sat, enjoying the comfort, the quiet, and the cold beverages, then Blair asked, "So whose idea was it to let Besterette buy The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook AND The Travel Guide both on the same day anyway?

~ End ~

E-Mail Besterette at Besterette@aol.com
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Page last updated 8/15/03.