Chapter 3: Hunted

(This version isn’t finalized. All writings are from its origin and unedited.)

 

Jacks and I venture through the desert terrain in the custom cruiser, making our way to Gharis City. There’s not much around here except for a very faded view of New Rellow, the city that I am probably wanted in for escaping that Menta-Life facility. I’ve only ever passed through New Rellow once, and I wasn’t driving, so I’m not familiar with that place at all. We’re heading south towards the east road that I came in from; that must be the nearest road here. After driving miles through the barren wasteland, we reach the east road and take it towards the west gate of Gharis City.

Our destination is a forest on the southern perimeter outside of the city. Dayio and his crew of watchmen guard an illegal tunnel entrance for smugglers like me to get into the city unnoticed with contraband. In my Life, I had spent two years in prison since I’d falsely been there. Now that I’m back to twenty-two-years-old again, I guess it’s only been three months. I had been taken three months ago, so I’ll be treading on foreign territory when I arrive at the forest to recruit Dayio. I’ll have to be on my guard to be welcomed for an unannounced arrival.

Jacks sparks a conversation, “So… Gharis City huh?”

I simply answer, “Yep.”

“What are we looking for here?”

“Who. I worked with someone there for a while and he’s a skilled runner like me so he’s number one on our recruitment list.”

“I thought you didn’t have any friends?”

I only ever worked with Dayio. We went on jobs together, yet mostly, thanks to me, our personalities never rubbed together in a friendly way. We never discussed our past or current personal lives, so there was never a reason to become close enough to call ourselves friends. In my Life, he hinted something of a confession to me when I met with him.

He said something like: “You’re more than just a running buddy to me.” I never got a chance to elaborate on what he meant by it because the next time I saw him, he ejected me from an airborne plane. Actually, it doesn’t matter what it meant now, anyway, because what happened between us was just in a Life; it never happened here in the real world, and things may be different.

I answer, “I said I worked with the guy. We did smuggling runs together, and that’s it.”

He asks, “So you can trust him?”

“I can rely on him, but I don’t trust anybody. We did a lot of runs together, so he’ll be in, probably for a price. We’ve done a few favors for each other before, but never a prison break.”

“Well, not to be a pessimist, but I think it’ll take more than just three of us to break Geilium out of a prison.”

“I’m sure it will. Maybe he’ll know someone who can help us out and I may be able to locate someone else.”

In my Life, there was a person out there who could control mechs. The only downside is that I never sought the person out, so I have no idea where, or who to start looking for. Finding them will definitely be a task, but he or she will possibly be the best member of the team, if they actually can control mechs. Using mechs to get inside, or even taking control of any mechs in the prison, would help greatly, and even avoid a firefight. There is also another potential who had the plans that helped me through Menta-Life: Jerry. After about an hour of riding passenger on this boring adventure, I’m beginning to become very bored and impatient.

I sarcastically ask, “You think you can go just a lot faster, please?”

Jacks rejects, “No, this is the speed limit.”

“Yeah, but we haven’t passed a single cruiser on ground level. There’s nobody out here.”

Jacks states, “You just broke out of a Menta-Life facility. The last thing we need is to draw attention to ourselves by speeding for no reason. Don’t worry. We’ll get there.”

“How much longer?”

“About two more hours. Just relax and enjoy the drive.”

“Does this thing have a radio?”

“Absolutely.”

He reaches for the center button on the right side of the steering wheel and pushes it. A sound of static fades in and a woman starts talking like she’s dispatching people for something.

I ask, “How about another station?”

He answers with disappointment on my behalf, “All we have in here is the Regulator scanner. This cruiser is meant for missions.”

I reach over to the steering wheel and press the button, turning off the scanner. I sit back in my seat and stare out of the window in silence. Jacks doesn’t have a clue. The only reason I brought him along is to get everyone’s attention and keep them guessing. I like people who don’t listen to me to be in the dark as much as possible.

Anyone can call me a horrible person for that, although I would just agree. I can’t blame Jacks, though; he’s trying his best to help me out. This must be the first time he’s ever gone against orders to stand down, so I could lighten up on him just a little bit. I continue staring out of the window at the desert and distant city with the huge bubble over it. No city is too close to each other; almost like they are all part of their own little world.

There are rumors that everything is still controlled by one person that chooses to remain unknown. Everyone knows that there is a commander-in-chief out there; however no one has proof of it. The last time around, things didn’t go so well between all of the separate powers which led to the world’s last war and destruction. Keeping the new world leader unknown makes the people feel like they are truly free and are only restricted to follow the most obvious of laws enforced by Regulators, the new world’s police force.

Jacks and I remain silent towards each other for a little while longer, thus I commence a new topic, “How long have you been working for Simon?”

He smiles, then answers, “I think I’m coming up on four years now. It feels like a lifetime, though. He recruited me because I have skills at formulating ideas for the scientists to put together, and I’m a good gearhead.”

“So you’re a tinkerer?”

“I like the term gearhead better, but yes. For example, I developed the idea and schematics for this cruiser, from top to bottom.”

“All the more reason why you deserve to take it anywhere you want at any time. This is an incredible piece of machinery. What all can it do?”

“This cruiser was only made to fit particulars for camouflage. It can become a four-door cruiser, two-door, drop smoke screens, spike strips, go invisible–”

I quickly cut him off, “Whoa! Invisible? Like, can’t be seen, invisible? Like disappearing, gone?”

“Yes.”

I excitedly state, “We have to try that right now.”

“We can’t. It’s not an unlimited usage tool, unfortunately, so we have to use it sparingly.”

Well, that killed my buzz almost immediately. I continue staring out of the window at the very distant mountains for a few minutes longer until we reach Gharis City’s western entrance. The forest that we need to get to is on the south side. Instead of driving around the city, we can go through it, so I can go to my makeshift home to get clothes. Underground is where I’ve lived since I was old enough to live alone. It is also where the Deserted live in peace, away from the sane population.

I stare at the checkpoint as we continue towards it. Considering that I had just broke out of a Menta-Life facility, the Regs may be after me for questioning. Not being sure on which end the Regs play by, they could just turn me over to Menta-Life, or I could not be wanted at all. Geilium McKoy was apprehended, so they’re probably tying up loose ends and I may be on their list. Finding out if this is true isn’t worth the gamble right now. The arrest is proof enough that the Regs are in Gene’s pocket.

I state, “We can’t go through here. We have to go around to the south and use the tunnel.”

He agrees as he veers to the right side off the road, “Right… What tunnel?”

“The smuggler’s entrance into the city.”

We drive along the desert that vastly surrounds the outer bubble of the city. The Regs may have seen our approach, but as long as we’re not causing any trouble, they won’t interfere or send anyone out to investigate. We take a little over an hour to circle around to the south side of the city by the forest.

Leaving a cruiser parked outside of a forest would be suspicious to any Reg ships in the area. I have to go in alone and have Jacks meet me inside of the city at Feegle’s bakery. I doubt there’s anything holding him back from getting into the city. We reach the forest, but I let him drive around it to the single southern road.

He pulls up to the left side of the road, a good distance away from the city’s checkpoint, then I give instructions, “Meet me inside of the city at a place called Feegle’s Bakery and stay parked across the street. I won’t be long.”

I get out of the cruiser as he approves, “Okay. Feegle’s Bakery. Got it.”

He turns onto the road, then drives towards the checkpoint and I walk into the forest. I begin making my way towards the center, so I can head straight to where the entry is. The clue to look for, to spot if a smuggler is in the right place, is two tree stumps side by side. Once there, the smuggler will be greeted by the guard and escorted into the hidden tunnel entrance. Walking through here is still very quiet.

There isn’t any surviving wildlife here in the forest because there is no food. Food is portioned according to a small set serving to avoid waste, which would have been able to attract animals. It’s been so long since I’ve seen any that I’m not sure if animals like dogs and cats even exist in the wild anymore. The war irradiated most of the world, making it uninhabitable for anything. They’ve been pushed to extinction. As I’m walking, I notice something strange on the grass. There is what appears to be a burn mark and it looks recent.

I should be careful because Dayio and his patrol could be training out here. The last thing I’d want to be is mistaken for an enemy, but then again I’m not sure if things are the way they were before. I have been gone for three months and there was an adjustment in security during my Life. The last time I was physically here, there was only one guard on patrol; however, when I wasn’t physically here, Dayio had a crew that he would train out here. As much as I love keeping people in the dark about what I’m doing, being in the dark myself is something I can’t stand. The security adjustment may have never happened; therefore, it is definitely something to be worried about, granted I have to press on either way, just a little more careful than before.

Not two minutes into my careful stroll, I see a body face down next to a tree. The person is dressed in all black thin type material clothing like an assassin and, from the darkened bruises on the trees, there seems to have been a firefight here. That’s no good. This person on the ground isn’t dressed like a soldier but for stealth. People don’t dress stealthy for an expected firefight in broad daylight under shade-carrying trees; something bad happened to the wrong side here.

I check the body and find a battle knife. This wouldn’t be my first choice, yet I have to make due until I find something better. I trek on forward and see someone dressed like the last guy, dead in a tree, then another further up on the ground. These guys weren’t prepared for this battle and were slaughtered. There’s still no one dressed differently who could have gotten taken down from the invading side. It’s difficult to tell what happened. I continue through the maze of trees to the next body on the ground and see a few more dead bodies ahead.

Luckily for me, this one on the ground in front of me has a weapon. I bend down to pick up the pulse rifle, then hear a faint sound, so I quickly look up and see something shiny flying fast towards me. I quickly shift behind the nearest tree to take cover when I see a knife fly past me and pierce a neighboring tree. I hear two fast thumps on the tree behind my back. Who’s there? Is it the person who killed all of these people?

I shout, “I wouldn’t recommend you keep doing that! Someone could get hurt!”

I hear Dayio’s voice equal mine, “Van!?!”

Oh good, it’s Dayio. Now I can find out what’s going on and why it looks like a slaughterhouse in this place.

I step out from behind the tree and answer, “Yeah it’s me. What–” I lock eyes with him and see a knife flying towards me again, so I jump back into cover then shout, “Dayio, it’s me!”

He heatedly declares, “I know it is, traitor!”

Traitor? What is he talking about? I haven’t betrayed anybody in a long time and the last person I’d betray is him.

I yell, “What are you talking about?!”

“Don’t bother trying to trick me! You’ll fail!”

“I’m not trying anything!”

His voice goes silent, therefore it appears the hunt for me is on. I don’t know what’s going on, regardless I’m not going to fight him, despite him trying to kill me. I need answers, and from all of the dead bodies around here, it seems like he’s the only one left alive to give them to me. I take a peek around the left side of the tree and no longer see any activity over there. He must be on the move.

I clarify, “Dayio I didn’t betray anybody! Dayio!?!”

Here I am in the dark again. What’s going on and how am I a traitor? I haven’t even been in or near this city in months to betray anybody, unless he’s talking about my last job for Trex. I step out from behind the tree and look around some more for Dayio, or possibly anyone else like the people that actually did this.

I continue looking in every direction as I creep around then yell, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I swear what happened here has nothing to do with me!”

I hear a branch lightly crunch directly above me, so I crouch down and roll forward out of the way from whatever could be coming down. I roll up to a crouched position as I turn around with my knife at the ready. Dayio is coming at me with his combat knife fast as he slashes from left to right. Dayio is of Asian descent with short hair that can barely hold the ponytail he likes to keep it in. Through his dark eyes, I can see the fury of belief. I back away, dodging each oncoming slash as he angrily lunges them at me. He slashes at me from his right and I step in close to him so he can’t slice at me again with that arm.

Dayio raises his left hand up with a smaller knife, as he slices the right side of my face, so I take a single step away. I quickly step back in, then push both of his already crossed arms together and place my left foot behind him. He tries to back away from me, accidentally falling backwards into a roll. He rises back up into a crouched position and throws the small knife in his left hand at me. I lean backwards into a back handspring and the knife soars over me. As I complete my handspring, I recover and see Dayio has vanished. His dark clothing in the shadowy trees above will make him nearly impossible to spot.

I rub the blood away from the open wound on my face then shout, “Dayio, snap out of it!”

Dayio matches me, “So you can finish the job?! No thanks!”

Does he really believe I did all of this myself? Someone had to have attacked him too and it would have been obvious if it was me. Coming back to finish what I started would be a dumb idea. I am a dumb idea kind of girl, but, fact is, not this time.

I continue keeping an eye out for him as I make another attempt at convincing, “I didn’t do this to your people, Dayio!”

He responds, “I never said you did! It was your Menta-Life friend! I won’t let you finish me off for her!”

He did say “for her” so whoever the person is, is a female. Did a single woman do this? I can’t even recall having any female friends involved with Menta-Life.

I tell the truth that he refuses to believe, “I don’t know who you’re talking about, Dayio!”

He deflects on a single shout, “Liar!”

“I swear that corporation doesn’t mean anything to me! I’m nowhere near involved with them, and that’s the truth!”

The forest goes silent again. Who did this and why would he think I have anything to do with it? I can’t even imagine anyone from Menta-Life being capable of this kind of slaughter, but Dayio is obviously the sole survivor. Someone must be trying to set me up because, if someone else did this, why would I be here to finish him off?

I try to reason with him, “Dayio, think about what you’re saying! If someone else did this, I wouldn’t be here… right!?!”

I get no response, hence I initiate searching for him through the forest again, keeping my focus as I do. I silently search for him, then notice a shadow over my shadow. It quickly disappears to reveal the sunlight again. I turn around and see a knife cruising downwards at me. I shift half of my body to the right, then throw my hand back to catch the handle of the knife. Once I catch it, I fling it back up into the trees and in front of Dayio, who is trying to flee above. The knife pierces the tree ahead of his path then, having abruptly halted to avoid getting pierced, he loses his balance and falls. He hits a branch on the way down, crashing on his side and facing me.

I run over to him and speak, “Are you alright?”

He rises to a sit then angrily demands, “Go ahead and finish me.”

“I’m not finishing what I didn’t start, Dayio. What happened?”

“A Menta-Life assassin attacked us.”

“You said ‘she’.”

“Young oriental girl, I think Japanese, dressed in a gray suit with short hair in two pigtails. She used a sword. She was so fast. None of us even saw her coming.”

At that second, a name clicks to me with that description: Ryishi. She was part of Gene Archibald’s entourage at a ball that I attended with Feegle in my Life. That sweet and innocent looking girl did this? That really doesn’t seem likely, although it’s clear that they were attempting to turn him against me before I got to him. Gene must’ve known I would return to Dayio for help based on my Life.

I kneel down next to him and state, “Ryishi is a part of Gene Archibald’s entourage. I met her once. Did she do all this by herself?”

Dayio answers, “Yeah, and I know it was you that led her here.”

In a way, he isn’t wrong. I did unintentionally lead her here, along with the apprehension of Geilium as well. They must have intended this from the very beginning with the kidnapping. They had three months to come here and kill Dayio. I guess my escape was the trigger to go after my potential allies.

I explain, “That last deal I went on for Trex… Menta-Life kidnapped me and had me placed into a Life. I found out that they monitored everything that I did for, I don’t know how long.” He puts on a disappointed face and lets out a sigh as I continue. “I had no idea what was happening, Dayio, I swear. I’m so sorry.”

He calms down and requests, “Why did you come back here?”

“I came to ask you for help. I escaped Menta-Life, but they stole a memory from me. If I don’t get it back, I won’t just become a Deserted, I’ll die. Menta-Life must be tying up loose ends because they know I’m coming for them.”

“Become a Deserted? And what loose ends? Wait, since they saw you come here, why wasn’t she able to get into the secret entrance?”

“I never knew how. Just where the panel is.”

“Did you ever go through the bakery?”

I sure did and on numerous occasions, too. Trex and Feegle could be in some serious danger right now. If Ryishi was able to do this to people that Dayio trained, they’ll need our help for certain.

I answer, “I did. We need to get in there. She must have left to go around.”

Dayio swiftly gets up and begins jogging away towards the entrance while I shadow closely behind him.

I ask, “How long would it take her to get around?”

“I don’t know. It depends on how she’ll get there. She could have had a lectrocycle or cruiser parked near the forest, or walked. She may have executive clearance or an entrance of her own.”

It doesn’t make sense that Ryishi would come here first, knowing that she can’t get in. There must be a second play here that we’re missing. We reach the two tree stumps, signifying the secret entrance’s location, then Dayio approaches a tree that is a few feet ahead. He opens a panel on the right side of the tree that’s colored to blend perfectly with it. I don’t watch him as he does his thing at the panel. The secret, narrow double doors inside of the hollow tree begin to open outward.

The entire passage is brightened with blue lighting and steps going down that’s only big enough for one person at a time. Dayio enters first, then I follow. The passage widens at the bottom of the stairs, and we jog almost side by side to Trex’s office. The passage stretches for about a half mile long and only has two doors – one to Trex’s office and one directly across the hall to a lunch room. All the way at the other end is an exit to Feegle’s Bakery.

I question, “Do you remember how long ago she left?”

“Just before you showed up. About ten minutes, maybe.”

The forest is too big for me to have seen her heading in my direction on her way out. The west checkpoint is further away from the bakery than the south, so she wouldn’t go that way. Working for Menta-Life, she may get special entry privileges like Dayio mentioned, being their assassin and all.

I continue, “Why’d she leave?”

“I don’t know. Right in the middle of the fight, she just took off. It was strange. I was here checking if anyone was left alive, but if I had known she knew about the bakery, I’d have come here already.”

We reach Trex’s office. Dayio storms in first, and I trail behind him to see Trex reaching for something under his desk.

Dayio quickly mentions, “Trex, it’s us.”

Trex is an islander with dreadlocks that dangle down to the middle of his back; actually, to the middle of his wheelchair. Trex has been a paraplegic since I’ve known him, and is in charge of this illegal tunnel. I worked for him for years without ever trusting him for a single day of my employ. He’s a money-hungry crook like myself.

Trex stops reaching for whatever he was reaching for, then leers at me with heightened brown eyes and asks, “What is she doing here?”

I didn’t expect a happy reaction from him seeing me. We have unfinished business with a deal that went sour three months ago that turned out to be Menta-Life’s responsibility, though he’s not yet aware of that. He lost out on a lot of aers because of me and aers is the only thing he lives for.

Dayio answers, “It’s a long story that even I don’t know about yet, but we’re under attack. Stay hidden.”

Dayio leaves the room and so do I. We run through the rest of the passage to Feegle’s bakery, then climb the small set of stairs. I hope Feegle is okay. He’s not the type to win a fight, or even participate in one. Dayio presses a button to automatically open the sealed door. We exit through the secret passage in the back left corner of the basement. The basement is dark, and the only light in it is from the blue-lit passage Dayio just opened.

We rush to the stairs in the center and run to the top, entering the ballroom where Feegle holds his parties. The ballroom is what anyone would expect it to be: two big chandeliers, a bunch of tables on the outer perimeter where people can sit to mingle, and carpet flooring. Nothing seems out of the ordinary in here, so we go right and into the wooden door where the small storefront is. Feegle, standing next to his MechCi, gets startled at our unexpected and rushed entry.

Feegle turns to us and inquires in a surprising pitch, “What on Earth is the ruckus about?”

Feegle is a short, chubby Caucasian man that I’ve known for years. He dresses flashier than anyone I’d ever seen. Attire and popularity are what matters to him most, so, wherever he is, he has to stand out by wearing bright suits. He seems to be metrosexual, which makes him such a pleasure to be around; however, no one, including me, is sure if he actually straight. He likes to have beautiful women on his arm, although he can sometimes seem overly feminine. His dirty blonde hair and trader style mustache are always professionally well-groomed.

Feegle notices me, and greets me happily, “Ms. Pheros! It’s been too long, my dear.”

A loud bang, proceeded by the shatter of glass, startles us all. We turn our attention away from Feegle and to the front door where the noise happened. Feegle screams loudly in a panic. A huge guy in a gray suit zooms past me and runs straight into Dayio. I see Ryishi outside, running rapidly towards the shop from across the street. She is wearing an all-black body suit that fits her petite figure perfectly and her pigtails make her look very young. She is armed with a pulser and two swords on her back. I hear a loud bang behind me as she points the pulser at me and starts blasting away into the shop. Feegle begins to panic and I don’t want him to get hit by the heat rounds flying towards us.

Feegle’s male MechCi advises, “Please take cover, Feegle.”

Ryishi blasts the MechCi, destroying it. I run towards Feegle, then jump on him, taking us both down behind the display counter for the cakes. The glass from the outside window, counter, and every cake on display are horribly redecorating Feegle’s small establishment.

Feegle yells wildly, “What’s happening?! What’s happening to my shop?!”

I peek up and see Ryishi walking towards the door through the small, broken shop window. She fires another round at me. It shatters more glass on the counter. I look up again to see her disappear behind the small wall between the window and the broken door. What a mess. I can’t tell who that guy was, but it looks like it could have been another member of Gene’s entourage.

When I first met them, they didn’t appear to be the dangerous or violent types at all, yet here I am, fooled. I swiftly climb over the counter and run to the small wall to take cover, waiting for Ryishi. Her right hand, holding the pulser, enters the door first. I quickly switch the knife to my left hand as her entire body enters the shop. When it does, I rush at her and use my right hand to pin her right hand to the wall. A pulse round goes off at the top corner of the door that I came out of. I swing the knife in a half circle around to my left as hard as I can with my left hand, aiming straight for her head.

She drops down and I plunge the knife so deep into the wall that I can’t pull it out. Ryishi swings her right foot backwards at my stomach, but I use my right arm to block it. Having let go of her weapon hand, she brings her right arm in front of my head. I spin around to the back of her, making her miss another pulse shot. I pick her up by the back of her waist, then run her into the hinge of the wooden door. I lose my footing, falling into the ballroom. We both hit the red and yellow carpet. Ryishi rolls away from me. I notice she dropped her weapon.

I see Dayio having a difficult time fighting the buff, business-suited, black guy, and now I remember who he is. His name is Tylyn and he is also part of Gene’s entourage. He is bigger than any man I’ve ever seen. He has a short haircut and the angriest brown eyes. What’s odd is he looks more muscular than he originally did when I met him in my Life. I look back at Ryishi and she doesn’t look angry at all. She is fighting me completely emotionless.

What’s with these two? They seem somehow abnormal. There’s no focus on her face at all as her green eyes lock with my hazel. In a flash, Ryishi springs up and runs towards me. I quickly get up as well. By the time I recover, she is already throwing a right punch at me. I dodge her punch and she uses her left to punch me in my right rib. I uncontrollably lean sideways. She lunges her right knee up, then hits me in the face hard enough to make me glide backwards.

Once I hit the ground, I do a sideways roll and get back up onto my feet. I see her speeding at me again. I don’t think I can stand against her for too long. Her speed is unbelievable and I can’t keep up with all of these hits I’m taking. She thrusts her right foot at me and I dodge to the left, then launch a right punch at her. She catches my fist and spins around to her left. Having my arm over her right shoulder, she leans forward, flipping me over her back and to the ground. She lifts her right foot, then stops as Reg sirens begin wailing from outside.

She looks over at her partner Tylyn, and I look at him, also, to see he has Dayio held up on the back wall with one hand. He looks back at Ryishi. She lets me go, then runs toward her weapon. I hear Tylyn drop Dayio. I watch Ryishi scoop her pulser off of the floor, then I watch her run towards the table underneath the balcony and pounce off the top of it. She grabs the platform, then quickly scales the railing and front flips over as Tylyn bolts up the stairs. I get up and follow Ryishi up the railing.

There are only three rooms up there, and none of them leads to an exit door; nevertheless, they are running with a purpose, which strikes me as odd. It’s like they know where they’re going. I scale the rail as I spot Tylyn enter Feegle’s library at the dead end of the balcony. I hear glass crash and a hovering sound from beyond the door as I enter. The huge stained glass window on the back wall of the library is broken and I see Ryishi ascending on top of a cruiser.

Tylyn is nowhere to be seen. I run over to the window, as she floats away, and look around for Tylyn, noticing a speck of dust fall from above me. I look up to see Tylyn pull himself up to the roof, then I lose sight of him. How is it possible that a guy that huge can pull himself up past three floors of windows? On top of that, the windows are on different levels, so he had to boost himself up an entire floor to get up there. The arm strength for that kind of lift has to be incredible. I wonder how Dayio faired against him.

The sirens begin blaring louder and, seeing as I’m most likely a wanted criminal, it’s time to make myself scarce. I hear a cruiser honking. I look down then see Jacks’ cruiser down below and he is looking up at me, probably wondering what he should do. I signal to him to wait, then I run back out of the room and jump over the balcony, down to the ballroom floor. Dayio is up on his feet trying to recover from his fight with Tylyn.

I rush over to him, “Can you walk? We gotta go.”

He sluggishly responds, “I think so.”

The sirens go silent. The Regs are here, which means I shouldn’t be. I throw Dayio’s arm over my shoulder, then start carrying him over to the garage door to the left of the basement. Dayio is in pretty bad shape, but there aren’t any obvious bruises. He seems to be just heavily exhausted. Trex will be safe down in the passage, and it’ll probably be safer for us too, still I can’t leave Jacks out there.