Dawn of the Portals
“We found it!” marveled the young man, who appeared to be some sort of leader. His face was stern, yet his eyes marveled in brilliant design. “A temple of Chalchiuhtlicue- the Aztec God of Water. This temple is completely different in design as you can see-”
“Jack, we really need to be careful,” another cut in. This was Maizie Cloude, a young hacker of around sixteen. She had a bright young face, and wore pigtails adorned with bows. “Remember I had to hack several government agencies to get the team here. Also, we have a boat. Are you gonna tell me what the boat is for, Mister Mayflower.”
“Right, Maizie,” Jack began, “Inform the others to set up camp here. Have the caravan here, while me, you, Leo, and Stacy enter the temple.”
“Me? I hardly know anything about archeological nonsense.”
“Yes, you’ll need experience, and you’re part of the special team. Plus, more people running the boat is better.”
“Yes, me and Stacy for archeology, you for research and hacking, and Leo to be our guard.”
The line of cars all came to a stop. Everyone got out and began to set up camp. The diggers began to get to work, as well as the site supervisors, while Jack’s special team prepped the boat.
“Leo, any threats in the area?” Jack asked, his white hair flowing in the hot wind.
“Sir,” Leo replied, a slightly bulky man with notable muscles but a clean cut hairstyle, while loading a machine gun, “some rebels are known to hide in this area.”
“Have your men guard everyone, while you come with me.”
A young woman by the name of Stacy Sykes inspected the markings on the temple, perplexed at the different patterns. She wore round glasses with horns on both sides, made to look like the horns of a Carnotaurus.
“Jack!” Stacy called. “This is peculiar indeed- according to my research, these symbols tell us of a strange story!”
“You can tell us on the boat.”
The boat was prepped, and Jack had some diggers move it inside the temple, where there were marvels. The boat was a simple one, they could sit on deck, or go below deck to small rooms.
“Marvelous! Just as I suspected!” Stacy cheered. “The temple was somehow built atop a river, and this river- goes there!”
Stacy pointed to the center, where everyone saw water running down some steps into an opening that went into the ground. Jack shined a light, revealing it to be a cave.
“Send a drone in,” Jack ordered, “then get the boat down there.”
Swiftly, this was done, and the drone revealed it big enough for the boat. With a bit of coaxing from Leo, the boat managed to be prepped down the downward flowing water. Around them, the sunlight pierced through an open hole, giving the temple a gold paint. Old Aztec pots and devices laid around, as if they had been left in a hurry. There were peculiar skeletons that looked reptilian, probably some sort of sacrifice.
“Jack, boat’s ready,” Leo informed, “are you ready to depart?”
“Yes, let’s go now.”
Leo called for the two others of Jack’s so-called special team. One at a time, they boarded the small boat. Stacy started the boat, while Maizie waited below deck, going over notes provided by Stacy. Leo stood guard, pistol in one hand, AK-47 in the other. Jack launched a few drones to light the area in front. The cave was similar to any other caves, black rock causing darkness, blind fish swimming below.
“Look at these symbols,” Stacy commented, “what do they mean?”
“Don’t ask me,” Leo chimed in, “I’m just a soldier.”
“Stacy, weren’t you saying something about a story?” Jack recalled.
“Ah, yes,” Stacy replied, “I believe something happened here. The story says of a great battle, and magical rocks that had something to do with the sun- or something round. There were these pictures of reptilian gods, but those must mean some sort of new life or something they found.”
“Now what’s so strange?”
“I checked the material on one of the altars- it’s not like anything seen today! Perhaps this metal has strange properties, and those skeletons looked a whole lot like dinosaur skeletons. But that’s impossible, so it must’ve been large lizards.”
“True enough,” Jack agreed, pointing to a symbol, “if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that’s a picture of a Spinosaurus… But I’m just an Archeologist- Stacy’s both Paleo and Archeo.”
“What is this cave,” Maizie popped in, “why?”
“I suspect inside here, there might be an important artifact,” Jack explained, “or, it might just be some sort of entrance to something else.”
“D’you hear that?” Leo asked, chewing on some gum.
“What?” Maizie replied.
There appeared to be the sound of water rushing. Unknown to the team, there were a series of drops a few turns away.
“Sounds like a river, and we are in a river,” Stacy commented.
“No, not the river, that popping sound in the distance behind us.”
But soon, the river drowned out any other noise, and they soon resumed examining the symbols. The symbols had rapidly changed, now appearing to tell a different story.
“Guys,” Maizie asked, “Uh, are any other teams going down here?”
“No,” Jack answered, “only us.”
“Cause I just sent a drone back there, and there’s a boat, and there’s people. The people have guns.”
“The popping!” Leo realized. “Gunfire!”
“Let’s not get too serious,” Jack cut in, “maybe they got bored and followed us-”
Before Jack could finish, a spray of gunfire hit the boat, nearly hitting Jack. The team all dived to cover, hiding from the continuing gunfire.
“What the hell?!” Maizie panicked, “Why are we getting shot at?!”
“I’ll check it out!” Leo shouted back, sneaking a look at whatever was shooting at them. “Three boats! Small, unlike ours! Looks like soldiers are on them!”
“Why are they here?!” Jack questioned.
“No idea, but most likely grave robbers or rebels!”
“Can we stop them?” Stacy panicked.
Leo smiled and held up his machine gun. He gave Jack and Stacy one as well, while the younger Maizie disappeared below deck.
“On three!” Leo ordered. “One, two, three- Now!”
The three leapt up and started firing at the boats. Bullet holes lined the enemy boats, and hit an unlucky raider.
“Cover!” Jack commanded.
“We need a better way to get rid of them!” Stacy yelled, “Any ideas?!”
“Grenades!” Leo yelled back, “Get my grenades!”
Jack nodded and retrieved Leo’s grenades. Bursts of gunfire almost hit Jack’s white hair and coat as he did so. He fired back, taking down his opponent.
“What now?” Jack inquired.
“Let’s take down the cave on them!” Leo decided.
Leo prepared to throw a grenade, when the boat lurched downwards, splashing some water into the boat. In the motion, Leo dropped the unpinned grenade into the water instead.
The lead opponent boat came to a surprise, the grenade causing the water to explode outwards with great force. Jack’s boat lurched down another drop, sending the team to the floor. The enemy boat was sent to a wall by the grenade’s shockwave, destroying it. People scrambled and jumped to the water, where the people on the other two boats saved them.
“To hell with it!” Leo decided, picking up another grenade and throwing it to the cave roof.
The roof exploded in color; the grenade exploded in oranges and reds. The cave crumbled and began to fall. One of the two boats lurched forward, due to the downwards angle, and saved itself from getting crushed. The other boat wasn’t so lucky, as a huge section of the cave came crashing down on it, sending it into a million pieces.
“Guys!” Maizie declared, appearing from below deck, “We got a problem!”
“Not now,” Stacy answered, “we’re dealing with this!”
But alas, the gunfire drowned out Maizie’s warning. Bursts of orange kept appearing, gunshots appearing as holes. But soon, the roaring noise of the waterfall was heard, and both parties took notice.
Jack ran to the front of the boat, where he saw the waterfall. Due to strange glowing crystals, the waterfall glowed purple.
“Everyone hold on!” Jack commanded.
Jack ran to the others, just as the tip began to angle downwards. Stacy threw her gun to the side and ran below decks, then came out with a frightened Maizie. Leo jumped out the boat. Next, Stacy and Maizie jumped out, holding hands. Last, Jack jumped as well, until they were all on the path of the waterfall.
“What are we doing?!” Maizie gasped, panicking.
“Don’t worry,” Leo assured, “we are gonna survive! Go feet first down the waterfall! Then, swim away immediately!”
“We’re gonna die!”
The four watched as the boat tipped downwards and rushed downwards by the waterfall.
“No, no!” Maizie panicked.
“Calm down, I’ve done this before,” Leo assured, “well, the last time, nine people died, but still, this waterfall isn’t as tall!”
Everyone screamed as they went over the purple waterfall. It seemed to go on forever when it was only a few seconds. Purple water swirled and danced around them as they fell, giving them an amazing sight if they had looked. Strange fish were also in the waterfall, trying to climb up.
With a deafening splash, the four arrived. Following Leo’s plan, they all swim away, going downstream. Luckily, their boat survived, though it wouldn’t be able to start.
“Let’s not do that again,” Maizie whimpered.
“I… agree...” Leo managed, helping young Maizie up the ruined boat.
“Wait, something isn’t right,” Stacy realized, “where’s the people that were shooting at us?!”
“Maybe their boat retreated,” Jack theorized, shrugging it off.
“More importantly, what’s that?” Maizie stated, pointing at a strange device surrounded by crystals. It was on a small ‘island’ in the center of what this new place was.
The boat drifted slowly, giving Stacy an opportunity to jump out, swim, and return with the object. It was shaped in an octagon, and it was the size of a tablet’s screen. The artifact had eight crystals, one for a side. It was made of a peculiar metal, and it looked very futuristic.
“That makes no sense,” puzzled Jack, “Aztecs wouldn’t be able to make something so… futuristic... ”
Stacy gave it a tap, when it suddenly made a noise, like a computer starting up. The metal drew back to reveal some sort of electronic screen.
“I don’t think this is from the Aztecs...” Stacy muttered, “maybe it’s a prank by someone or something?”
“I checked, we’re the first people here,” Maizie informed. Stacy handed it over, and Maizie prodded it. Soon, she found a circuit board.
“What the hell is this that?!” Leo commented, now interested.
“Maizie, does it look like anything modern?” Stacy questioned.
“No, it doesn’t… and I know circuit boards.”
A ray of sunlight dawned on the four, and they turned to see the exit. It led into the jungle and a river that gradually became smaller. Colorful birds danced around while howler monkeys played. A toucan cawed and landed on the ruined boat.
“I’ll try to contact camp with the radio,” Leo told.
Jack nodded in approval when he heard the click of a gun. Out of the shadows, men and women appeared, all dressed in uniforms and masks. Along the right sleeve read the words ‘Scorpion’.
“Who are you people?!” Jack demanded.
“Hand over the artifact!” the leader demanded. The voice was feminine.
“Never! It belongs to us!” Leo sharply shot, “Well, to whatever museum gets it from us.”
“You have no idea what that is!”
“Well, do you?” Stacy inquired.
“We actually, we don’t. Now hand it over-”
Before the masked woman could say any more, a dart appeared on her chest. Around them, the four saw darts appear on the other soldiers.
“What just happened?” Maizie blurted, “Those darts came from above!”
The four looked up to see a helicopter. It was completely silent, surprising for a helicopter. All black, and on the side were the letters DAE.
A figure appeared with a megaphone, shouting: “Hello down there! Jack Mayflower, I believe?!”
“Yes!” Jack shouted back. “Who are you people?!”
“My name is Agent Milo Krassant of the DAE- the Department of Anomalous Events!”
“What?!” Jack questioned. “We can’t hear you that well!”
The man repeated.
“Croissants? Food? What does that have to do with anything?!” Stacy yelled.
“No! Just wait!”
Agent Milo Krassant let down a long rope ladder and beckoned for the four to climb up. With no other choice, the four protagonists climbed.
Now inside the stealth helicopter, the agent explained who he was. Milo wore a black soldier uniform and had short hair, almost like a mohawk.
“So the DAE, what is it exactly?” Maizie asked. “I’ve never heard of it, and I can hack the government!”
“We investigate and fix the more classified subjects,” Milo explained. “We work with governments that choose to help us. Think of us like a secret Interpol.”
“What are we doing here?” Jack inquired. “Can we get back to our archeology?”
“Jack, your diggers, are...” Milo began, sighing, “dead. Scorpion killed them all. We can’t send you back, and well, we’re here for the artifact as well.”
“Wait, why do you know my name?”
“We’ve been monitoring you and your team for a while now. Jack Mayflower, the archeologist that believes in strange theories. Stacy Sykes, archeologists and paleontologist, connecting dinosaur bones to myths. Maizie Cloude, Jack’s way into any archeological site ever. Or Stacy’s dinosaur sites. Lastly, Leo Weiss, a mercenary hired by Jack when he put all of you together. Leo has stayed with you, mostly for the interesting things that you’ve done and the money.”
“Who are you people?” Leo sputtered. “Why do you know all this stuff.”
“Like I said, our agency has been trailing this team for a while, looking to either recruit you or eliminate you,” Agent Milo Krassant explained. “Now, I believe we’ll recruit you. Whether you like it or not, the artifact has made you the enemy of whoever those people you shot at you. So, you are getting hired.”
“Right, who were they?” Maizie inquired. “And where are we going?”
“A mysterious group called Scorpion. We are going to Wyvern Base. You won’t believe it, but it’s a giant floating airship that recently completed construction. Xavier Krassant, my brother, will answer your questions.”
“Who is that?” Stacy questioned.
“You’ll see, your new team leader. Welcome to your new job.”
“No more questions,” Milo decided, “Welcome, to the D-A-E.”
Later that night, Xavier met with his brother, inside a Wyvern Base conference room.
“Okay,” Milo began, a stern look on his face, “these people are not who I wanted. I had to do last-minute research to find out who they were! Who are they?!”
“Don’t worry,” Xavier began, “I have assembled a team of weirdos.”
“First up is Jack Mayflower, an amazing leader, with many pistols, and epic skills. Second, is Maizie Cloude, a sixteen year old hacker, who hacks video games, and the government- But mostly video games. Third, we have Stacy Sykes, an insane paleontologist, and archeologist, who believes everything is connected- and that the sun is fake. Oh, and she dates everyone. Fourth, is Leo Weiss, our pet mercenary-”
“Wait, what?! No! Xavier, this is stupid!”
“Silence, for I have assembled a team of weirdos!”