A small town is transported to an alien world
It took Monday another full hour or more to explain to the Viking warriors the modern patrolling techniques that he used when traveling in enemy territory. They would travel in two Ranger files, spaced approximately ten minutes apart. This way, in the event one element or the other was attacked, they could act as independent supporting teams. He had already drilled the techniques into the members of his team and the tactics were accepted doctrine among the Americans. In order to ensure that they were being followed by the Vikings, Monday split them and appointed General Zanik as B Team Leader along with Appius. Zanik was a hardnosed Sergeant from old Earth and Appius had earned his rank among the tough Tyberian Legions so they should have no problem controlling the Viking barbarians. The Ionar, as usual, took the lead and flanks of the formation.
They traveled due east for several days, on the move for at least twenty hours a day. Monday noticed that the Vikings continually complained of the hard traveling, long hours, rough terrain, poor food, and anything else they could think of. General Zanik constantly complained about how they seemed to be pussies and everything he and Appius could do wouldn't perk them up.
He walked back to B camp one evening with Heinreich and challenged them on the matter.
"I have three Ionar scouts who weigh half what you do, I have three young boys who never complain, five Germans from the old world, and two old men, myself and Henri, who have to slow our pace so you big warriors can keep up. I know Vikings (he lied) from my world who could row a long ship for sixty or more hours straight without so much as a wince. Do we have a problem here or have I made an alliance with the wrong warriors?"
He had intentionally made his remarks harsh in order to shame the warriors.
They bristled at his verbal attack, Hemdall even standing as if he would challenge him, but he quickly turned away.
"Tell them if they don't get a little spirit in their move and a little pep in their step, I will send them back to Thongar," Monday angrily told Heinreich to interpret. Hemdall quickly started to explain to Heinreich who told Monday what the Viking was saying.
"We are warriors," he stated, "but we are not accustomed to the forest and mountains. Our element is the open sea. We fear the forest druids and witches which inhabit the undergrowth for we have no power against them. We should have brought a holy man with us to ward off these evil spirits."
"Superstition," Heinreich chuckled. "I told you these people were very superstitious."
"Tell them this," Monday replied. "Among my people I am a holy man. (He lied). I have been blessed by the holy spirit of God to act as a holy man. My power is much greater than the power of druids and witches and as proof of this I will stand in their camp fire and my feet will not be burned."
Heinreich looked at him as if he were crazy.
"Tell them," Monday insisted.
As Heinreich finished explaining to the doubtful Vikings, Monday walked over to their fire, removed his moccasins, and sat down on the damp grass. For a few minutes he sat in complete silence, then stood and walked into the smoldering fire. He stood there for a few minutes looking out at the amazed men who stood with their mouths open, their eyes wide, then left the fire and put his moccasins back on.
"My spirit and my power are greater than that of your imagined druids and witches," he stated, turning to Heinreich who was also looking at him in complete amazement.
"How did you do that," blurted Heinreich. "It's not possible for the human body to withstand heat of that magnitude."
"Then you tell me how I did it and how so many holy men, priests, witch doctors, shamans, and common people manage to do it," Monday replied, with a smile. "It's a documented fact throughout our old Earth. In fact Henri, it's a simple matter of mind control. I simply told myself that the fire and heat would not hurt me and it didn't. Of course, it takes a lot of meditating and control. Without my training among the Apache, my years of mastering the martial arts, and years of learning true meditation, I could have not done it."
"You continue to amaze me Top," Henri stated. "What will you come up with next? Are you the long lost Kaiser of Germany, King of England, Czar of Russia?"
"Nope, just a simple country boy who likes his biscuits and gravy and cornbread. Let's get back to our Camp Henri."
From then on he had no problems at all with the Vikings. In fact, they almost thought of him as a god instead of a man, which somehow made him even more pissed off.
The country they were traveling through had become less mountainous, more like rolling hills, and the vegetation had turned to mid latitude in nature with a thick carpet of oak, ash, elm, and hickory with an occasional scrub pine. They had been traveling for well over two weeks without sign of habitation. There was an abundance of animal life, providing them with plenty of meat for their evening meals, and the trees abounded with all types of unidentifiable fruit, nuts, and berries, which they wisely refrained from eating.
"How far do you think we've traveled?" Henri asked, sitting around the evening fire eating a piece of juicy flesh from an animal they couldn't identify.
"Based on my calculations it's been at least three hundred miles," Monday replied, "we've been averaging at least twenty miles a day."
"Why haven't we seen any sign of the people we're looking for?"
"Either they live a lot farther than we thought or they're damn good at concealing themselves. I don't know. Seems like we should have seen something by now."
"Do we keep going on?"
"Tomorrow I think we'll do a clover leaf," Monday replied, catching the puzzled expression on Henri's face.
"I'll bring A and B team together, form a secure perimeter and send out five man recon patrols in all four directions. They'll travel out for half a day and loop back for the second half. This way we can cover a broad area and decide the best course to take."
"Pretty smart idea."
"Used it to good advantage many times," Monday replied, spearing himself a piece of the juicy meat. "If one of the patrols makes contact, or even if one of them fails to return, we'll know which way to go."
The next morning he put the plan into operation. Both teams combined at his camp site and four teams of five men each were sent out in different directions. He remained in camp with the three boys, Henri, Dhar, and General Zanik. As twilight started to descend he became worried, none of the teams had returned and each had explicit orders to return to the base camp before dark. As darkness fully settled in he turned a worried look to his companions.
"Well Grady," he said, addressing General Zanik, "any ideas?"
"Just as curious as you are Top," Zanik replied, spitting a stream of tobacco juice into the fire. Actually, it was a close substitute or local variety of tobacco which they had found on this world.
"It's logical to assume that all of them couldn't have lost their way. It's also logical to assume that at least one or more would keep track of time and make it back before dark. Evidently, they must have encountered the enemy we've been looking for."
"The two Ionar scouts I sent out with two of the teams would never lose their way," Monday replied. "The only logical conclusion is that each team has been captured by the enemy we've been searching for."
"And what is our next course of action?" Henri asked, "We have no more teams to send out."
"Quite simply, we get ourselves captured," Monday replied, looking at the surprised faces of his companions.
"Why?" General Zanik asked.
"If the mountain won't come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must go to the mountain," Monday replied.
"What the hell's Mohammed got to do with this," General Zanik blurted, "he was one of them Arabs."
"Logical," Gary cut in, "If these people can take out our five man patrols, even with the sharp eyes of the Ionar, our best course of action is to allow ourselves to be captured so we can rescue our comrades."
"And how in hell are we gonna rescue our comrades if we're prisoners?" Grady shot back.
"Don't know," Gary replied. "I only know that Uncle Monday will come up with something, I got a feeling."
"We can't take on the strength of a nation, country, empire, or whatever it is they are, with the military strength at our disposal," Monday stated, "therefore, we need to be among them to assess our can and can nots. The best way for that is to let ourselves be taken."
"And supposin' these people decide to kill us on the spot after they've captured us?" Grady asked?
"Not logical," Henri cut in, "based on their steady depletion of the Viking villages they appear to be a curious and civilized people who are attracted to strangers, especially male strangers."
"So," Gary replied, "how do we get ourselves captured?"
"No problem there," Monday smiled, "If I'm any judge of these people all we have to do is to go to sleep tonight with a few lax guards and we'll wake up to see our captors."
It took everyone a long time to fall asleep that night, all except Monday, who knew he needed to be at his best in the dawn hours and forced himself to sleep using techniques he'd learned many years before.
As dawn broke, there was no sign of the captors they expected. The quiet and tranquility of the campsite was undisturbed. Dhar was up at the crack of dawn as usual placing fresh pieces of meat on the smoldering fire for breakfast. A slight fog covered the ground along with a hint of chill. Monday awoke to a full bladder and staggered into the underbrush to relieve himself. As he pulled his manhood out and started to empty his bladder he heard a noisy commotion in the camp. Assuming it was the normal awakening of General Zanik, he continued to spray a steady stream of urine onto the ground. Suddenly, several shots rang out. Without zipping up his pants, he dropped to all fours and crawled to the opening of the underbrush and carefully looked out. To his surprise, great nets had been dropped on the ground thoroughly entangling his friends who were desperately trying to free themselves. However, each time one of them became untangled, one or more nets were dropped to catch them and entangle them again. He looked to the trees but could see no sign of activity. Then, out of the corner of his eye he saw a shadow dart in and drop another net. He turned his attention to the open clearing and to the open sky above. What he saw shocked him.
Huge birds, species he couldn't identify, bearing riders, were zooming down, then up, and then back down, throwing nets. Their motions were completely controlled by the riders as if they were riding airborne stallions. Their movements were graceful and beautiful to watch like ballerinas of the air. He hadn't noticed that he had slowly stood at the wonder of this spectacle, and he was suddenly engulfed with netting. He fought the strands until he was completely entangled. A strand attached to one of the birds pulled him into the open to lie beside his friends who were cursing their obvious discomfort.
Monday lay still until the commotion had died down and he could hear the landing of the great birds, then he turned to look at his captors through a gap in the tough lightweight netting.
Needless to say, he was thoroughly shocked.
Walking towards him slowly, to avoid the nets and the possible reach of the captives, was an absolutely gorgeous woman. Her body was perfect, her motions sensuous, her long raven black hair flowing gently down her slim back, her long slim legs stepping carefully around the entanglements, her face lit up with the flush and excitement of victory. And, she was all green. A lovely shade of green, but - never the less - green.
Each member of his party was unwrapped from the tight clutches of the net or several nets which had entangled them and thoroughly searched for weapons. They were then rebound into a single net with their hands tied over their heads and to the net and their feet tied together while several warriors threatened them with wicked looking arrows drawn to the hilt on their small but powerful looking bows.
The warriors had not addressed them as they professionally went about their business of trussing them into the nets, but were all the while speaking in a strange musical language to each other. Monday noticed all the warriors were female, although not all were as gorgeous as the one he'd first seen. Their apparent leader, a tall stout woman with a long mane of flaming red hair, gave her orders in a crisp no nonsense manner, shouting at, and lashing General Zanik with a short whip, as he tried to talk with Monday.
After each had been bound up tight into their individual nets, a sturdy rope was tied to the top of the net and ran out along the ground. Seven great birds, larger in size than the mounts the warriors had been riding, landed in the clearing. The ends of the ropes were expertly tied to a harness affair fitting around the bird’s breast and beneath their wings, and then the female warriors ran to climb into the saddle of their personal carriers. A command from their leader and the entire patrol rose noisily into the air with a flutter of giant wings. The birds transporting the captured party rose at the same command given to the warriors mounts, and Monday and his remaining six friends were quickly but gently hoisted into the early morning air. The giant birds climbed to about fifteen hundred feet and headed straight east at a distance eating pace. The entire attack and capture could not have taken more than ten minutes.