The light faded as the canopy thickened and the jungle slowly enveloped the road making it almost impassable. Brackett stopped the battle car and pressed the mic to his throat. “Billy, keep your eyes open back there.”
“Can we get through this, Sergeant?” crackled Gordon Miles.
“What do you think, Charlie?” said Brackett, turning toward the big Indian.
Charlie picked up the machete from beside his seat, pulled it from its scabbard and stepped from the battle car onto the soft jungle floor.
“We’ll get through,” he said and started hacking at the thick jungle.
“Hang on, Mister Miles, Charlie’s working on it,” replied Brackett.
The convoy of vehicles made slow progress behind Charlie as he hacked his way along the jungle road. They’d gone a quarter of a mile before Charlie finally broke through the roadblock.
“We’re through, Mister Miles,” said Brackett when Charlie returned to the battle car and replaced the machete in its scabbard.
“We’ll stop here, Sergeant. I’m sure everyone could use a bite to eat,” said Miles.
All the vehicles were past the roadblock before Brackett throttled down the battle car. Charlie volunteered, as usual, to keep watch while Brackett and Cortez walked back to the team’s transport vehicle to retrieve the cooked snake left over from the night before.
“How’s the leg?” asked Brackett when Hodges hobbled toward him.
“Same,” replied Hodges.
“It hurts him a lot,” interrupted Maia and got a glare back from Hodges.
“Let’s see it,” demanded Brackett.
“It’s nothing, Sarge,” said Hodges.
“I ain’t gonna ask you again.”
Hodges put his boot up on a nearby seat and lifted his pant leg. The sutured gash on his leg was now red and festered and the calf swollen.
“Go to sick bay, Kenzi will want to see that,” said Brackett.
Hodges lowered his pant leg and limped from the transport.
“I can help him,” said Maia.
“Help him how, Maia?” asked Cortez.
“Come,” said Maia, beckoning Cortez and Brackett to follow her.
“Maia, where are you going?” asked Cortez when Maia started into the jungle.
“Come,” Maia beckoned again.