Intimidation, Pt. 9 of 9. Doreen used one of her long legs to kick a roving lungfish about eighteen inches long out of her pathway after she pushed through a curtain of dark-green foliage. A few other striped beetles appeared to understand her harsh move and ran for cover faster. Dense calamites and large horsetails grew out of shallow water in the background, and occasional dripping sounds could be heard as they shed excessive condensation. To her surprise, a small cloud eclipsed the hot hazy sun, and a sudden strong breeze stirred the odd treetops above like a whirlwind. However, her next visual experience was much more exciting and astonishing. She found an adjacent swampy area of the curving channel to impede further progress, after moving around a few thick dwarf palms, and saw a naked woman kneeling in the mud at its edge. Her eyes and mouth widened, and any remaining anger left over from the earlier i
Intimidation, Pt. 8 of 9. The boat was just over twenty meters away by now, and they looked at each other while fighting for buoyancy before swimming out to it. Jack could have went all the way beneath the surface of the water but kept beside Maxine half the distance. She traveled behind him thereafter, sputtering frequently, but he easily kept her in sight along the extended line as she did her individual version of the crawl stroke. It became obvious to him that she was not as efficient in swimming with the mask on. When they reached the side of the big raft, her mask was almost completely fogged over inside. Nevertheless, they remained in the water to help Robert get the first case he held at the side on board. Then, he looked at them and said, "This one must have the scientific and collection equipment inside. It's the heaviest." "They're all not light, only
Intimidation, Pt. 7 of 9. Jack cautiously entered the water and swam out toward the boat as the others watched silent and tense, hoping nothing would suddenly bite him in half or take him down. He traversed about the same distance as the length of a standard-sized community swimming pool and treaded water near the rear end of the deck. Nothing attacked, but he did not enjoy the refreshment. Robert pointed at the two silver-colored cases and made the remainder of the restless volatile team breathe a little easier when he signaled that everything was fine. They did not smile back, and a prevailing anxiety within them about the uncertain return of the bizarre pernicious ri was lucidly expressed in response. With the "green light" given to continue, he took a deep breath and dove toward the objects after hyperventilating a quarter of a minute. The water was still a somewhat turbid from the previous battle with the aqua
Intimidation, Pt. 6 of 9. The shoreline consisted of nothing more than a band of compact silt shaded by large drooping fern fronds, including those the ri dropped onto previously, and the graceful aneurophyton tree branches. Slimy bryophytes and algae, along with short slippery psilotum reeds flanking the land-water interface and margins, hindered their progress, and light-brown over-sized spotted bugs with big dark compound eyes swiftly retreated from the frantic intrusion. A slimy green tadpole over six inches long even surprised Russel with a flurry of floppy defensive action; it disappeared into the aquatic flora after he slapped the water and voiced a long line of expletive language loudly. Jack pointed at a few small trilobites scurrying out of his way from the reeds and said, "Look there! It's a little good to know that some other things can be scared in this crazy place besides us anyway." &
Intimidation, Pt. 5 of 9. The strange melodious song hummed through the humid air out of the wider passage ahead again, and Robert promptly told Walter to get them moving. He noticed that the ri had and could do more with its powers in it's niche than previously believed, and he postulated that the creature could well become more invincible the closer they were to the central core and source of its sanctuary. Had he made a grave mistake in thinking they were a comparable challenge for it? It could apparently control both minds and monsters of many kinds; "Clara" was no liar. However, he felt that she had not ever been thoroughly tested in either form by any human and boldly decided to press on -- or try to. The motor coughed on the first try of the ignition and sputtered lazily to life when the switch was turned a second time. The long tentacles of the predator below also acted simultaneously as the machine began b
Intimidation, Pt. 3 of 9. Walter steered the vessel slowly into another curve, and the group saw the last two people trudging along a much wider muddy shore soon. Nadine looked exhausted, and Jack helped her stand again after she fell in the knee-deep black paste. Their trail of tracks in it indicated a laborious struggle since before Iris was rescued, and they promptly raised their arms and waved. Other than being wet and soiled, both appeared fine. The problem was that the boat could not be brought any closer than about fifty meters to them in its loaded condition. Jack nearly lost his footing twice after they signaled him to come out. He held her left hand most of the way next to better the balance for both, but when the water was almost waist-deep to make them more weightless, their holds failed. The unstable foundation shifted under their feet, and they toppled forward into the murky but refreshin
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