Thick humid air, weird noises from the birds up in the trees. The one she spotted obviously hadn't finished evolving from a dinosaur. One of the scientists looked like he wanted to climb the tree for a closer look. At least the kids were clumped, and not running all over. She counted heads . . .
Yep, all of them, including Yuri and the three cyborgs. I hope someone closed the gate, else we may return to find a pride of lions chowing down on the pork we were smoking for dinner.
And the scientists are now getting together to argue about whether that's a Georgosaurus or an Albertosaurus, or something like that?
Gior walked out to see what George or Albert looked like . . . "That looks like a Tyrannosaurus to me, which means we need to leave right now!"
Furkan laughed. "Spoilsport! We should obviously leave it till the last minute, with all these pretty girls screaming, and half the boys screaming like little girls, and the rest of us bellowing in terror as it slowly . . . damn, that thing's got a long stride and it's not slow."
"And it's looking us over as it turns to come at us." Mikel towered over the short Prophet. "Don't make me find out if you can beat me up."
Furkin laughed. "Go see if you can get the scientists out of here, otherwise you get to be the first Warrior to kill a Tyrannosaurus."
Gior rolled her eyes and walked over to the gaggle of teenagers. "Guy's? There's a T-rex looking us over . . ."
They all scrambled for vantage point from which to view the critter.
Gior looked to the sky for guidance . . . "Oh! Pterodactyls!"
Which the scientists heard and had to stop and look . . .
Gior looked around, the ground was pretty rocky. She pulled it up, losing most of the dirt and started building a wall around the gate, no, not a wall. Pillars. Pillars that humans could slip between but the T-rex couldn't.
The teenagers can streaming through, Yuri with them. Then the cyborgs, Furkan and Mikel strong arming a scientist a piece, the rest reluctantly following them.
The kids retreated through the gate the rest of them in an instinctive recoil as the size of the critter registered. It lunged at the last scientist, it's narrow muzzle getting halfway in before it hit the pillars and stopped. Shoved. The pillars leaned.
"Oops! No foundation." Gior was grabbed and thrown through the gate. By Furkan. Oh One! He's strong!
Mikel was the last one through. "All right. Now can she close the gate?"
"No!" A universal howl from scientists and teenagers.
Gior stepped over to a boulder the size of a small car, levitated it . . . rolled it . . . aimed it at the big head looking at them through the gate. I don't hink it will fit! I hope it won't fit!
Then she felt Furkan's and Mikel's magic joining her's and the boulder shot through the gate.
The T-rex jerked back out of sight, and the boulder stopped a meter beyond the gate.
Gior thought over what she'd heard about gates to dinosaur worlds . . . "I will build a big heavy stone room around the gate on both sides. Then I will build a cage sort of thing outside the room over there, so you can watch the most dangerous creatures ever seen without a risk of them getting loose here."
Everyone slowly nodded agreement.
The oldest scientist sighed. "And it's not even my field."
The road down the mountain was steep, with switchbacks. Down in the valley, the lights in the tall towers were going out. Behind them, the sky wasn't getting any lighter.
Ice looked around the group. "Does anyone have a compass? That's starting to look more like sunset than sunrise."
Semyon Volkov snarled. "It's not time travel! Idiot."
"No, and it doesn't usually catch very far from our location, geographically, but it does happen." Ice shrugged the backpack so it would rub a different spot and started walking again.
As the descent softened, they started passing houses, small, perched on tiny flat spots with a skirt of gardens.
Ice slipped closer to one, and listened . . . slipped back to the road. "They were speaking, I think, Japanese."
Aleksandrov scowled. "The Nippon Hundreds are highly prejudiced. I hope to hell we aren't in a conquered territory." He glanced at the Moon, just rising from the sea, opposite the last glows of the sun. We'll run a quick survey for high tech, especially manufacturing facilities, then get out of here."
"If we don't get lost." Ledovskoy muttered.
The first cross street confirmed that they couldn't read the street signs. Ice failed to mention that he could, but as the mountain road straightened out, Ice turned and surveyed the skyline. "We are very nearly on a line from the tallest tower and the pass between the two mountains. Wherever in the city we are, we can aim for the pass, and when we run out of flat land, look for the tower and go north or south to find the road over the pass."
"Good. And take this road, past . . . I believe it a temple, and head up the hill. We'll meet up beyond the highest houses." He looked across the city and sucked in a deep breath. "True Men of the Drei Mächte Bündnis. Lots of True Men."
He eyed Ice. "You need to go to ground and keep the beacon safe."
Ice nodded at the temple. "Only two ordinary people, at the back. I'll find a concealed spot on the grounds, where I can see the road, and see any of you as you start up the mountain road."
"Excellent. We'll split up into three groups of four, spread out a kilometer apart on this road then turn toward the coast, looking for factories, and getting a general idea of the tech level here."
Ice watched them out of sight, then backtracked to a spot where he could survey the road from within thick foliage. He settled down and looked over the town at several frequencies . . . lots of electricity to the south. Ten kilometers.
He got a solid location, bubbled the beacon and headed south. Run a kilometer, walk a kilometer. Under a sound muffling spell, and Unnoticeable. As far as he could tell, no one was noticing him. Uphill to the right, walled residences . . . Fancy details on the roofline, the sparks of the Drei. Further uphill, half dozen conical roofs over small round buildings . . . Water tanks? Downhill, plain low roofs, no gardens . . . lots of ordinary people in rows. Bunkhouses, dormitories, or, considering the Drei, slaves' quarters.
But the electricity was a bit further . . . Yeah, right there in that large building. Ice ghosted up to it, circled silently . . . dodged a barely seen movement, the flash of a blade scored a line across his left bicep. Shield, Idiot! Two arrows bounced off the shield, from two directions, then a pull spell tumbled a small from from the window sill. The small form rolled to his feet sword back for another swing.