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The Western edge of the Taklamaka Desert, at the foothills of the Pamir Mountains

Western China

Saturday March 7, 2020. 7:54 AM China Standard Time (CST) (6:54 PM on Friday March 6, 2020 in Freedom City, New Jersey)

 

A cold winter's wind swept over the sands of the Taklamaka Desert, shifting some of the sand as it went. A pair of figures walked up a sand dune in the early morning light, the dark shapes of tents and other temporary structures down in an open space below them. Not far to the west, the snow-capped peaks of the Pamir Mountains rouse up into the sky over the dark foothills which lay between the mountains and the desert.

 

<"Why did they say to come out here?"> One of the two men making their way up the sand dune asked in Pashto.

 

The other man in the lead gave a slight shrug of his shoulders. <"They said a member of the Danger family would be arriving with some assistance to take over the search for Doctor Schneider and Doctor Warren. You have heard some of the stories of the Dangers, likely wants to make some sort of dramatic entrance.">

 

The two men crested the rise of the dune and moved out onto a relatively flat expanse of sand amongst the dunes. <"Hopefully we will not have to wait too long.">

 

Those words proved prophetic, as the pair were just starting to look about for some sign of the arrival of the help from Danger International when there was a bright flash of light and a group of individuals appeared a short distance away. The central figure release the hands of the individuals on either side of her and took a step forward.

 

The two men saw an attractive seventeen year old girl dressed in dark khaki cargo pants and a light brown winter parka. She wore a pair of well-worn hiking boots, and her long brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail.

 

"Good morning, I am Veronica Danger." The teenager said to the two men with a small smile.

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When the brilliant flash of teleporter light fades one of the tallest of the new arrivals breaks from the conjured circle and takes in the expansive desert vista before her. 

 

Despite the winter condition, the redheaded teen was dressed like the frontwoman of an eighties punk rock band. She wore a dark ensemble of black ripped jeans, black combat boots, and a black studded leather jacket that went over a bandshirt that had the logo an obscure Nordic heavy metal group. If the lack of proper winter clothing bothered the teenager she certainly wasn't showing any overt signs of it. If anything she seemed to be her element. 

 

Astrid took in an inhale of chill winter air. It was much cleaner than the urban air surrounding Freedom City and its cleanliness reminded Astrid of her hometown of Risør back in Norway. The demigoddess allowed herself to enjoy the winter setting and the nostalgic feelings it summoned for a second or two before she  hefted her weapon Porrklubba on to her shoulder and causally waved at the camped duo. "Hallo. You guys in need of some heroes?"

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Artificer

 

A taller but lankier figure broke apart from the group next, who wore even less than the Norse punk rocker, yet seemed equally unfazed by the cold.  Heroditus wore his usual outfit -- dark blue short breeches that end just at the knee, a dark green short-sleeved tunic, cinched together by a brown belt and bandolier covered in pockets or various sizes, and a pair of goggles (left lens purple, right lens green) perched atop his forehead.  The one modification he'd made was a change in footwear: rather than gladiator-style sandals that lace up to his mid-calf, he wore a pair of winter boots, for improved traction.

 

The Atlantean was unfazed by the cold, yes, but not by the dryness. As soon as he got his bearings, he reached for one of the brown waterskins hanging off his belt and took a long drink. "<'Go to the Surface,' I said>," he muttered in Atlantean, "<'it will be good for you, for your studies, for Atlantis.' Poseidon, give me strength!>"

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Octoman

 

Most Green Squad members didn't mind the cold, and Octoman was no exception. The teenage shapeshifter was naked as usual, but he appeared to be wearing the distinctive black and yellow jumpsuit lined with blue spots which announced to anyone who followed his vlog that The Crime-Fighting Kraken had arrived on the scene. He stage-whispered to himself as he meandered about, taking in the majestic desert scene. "Dune...Arrakis...desert planet..." His fists shot up and out at 45-degree angles and he shouted to the sky. "FAAATHER!!! THE SLEEPER HAS AWAKENED!" He glanced around at his classmates. "No? Anyone?" He shook his head, then stretched and cracked his knuckles. "Nah, you're right, time to punch in. So you guys got anything that belonged to these guys? Like a dirty t-shirt or somethin'? Anything I can use to pick up the scent? Should be super-easy to track 'em out here, with all that NOTHING in the way."

 

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Thunderbird's "field uniform" typically had no sleeves, due to the tendency of his powers to manifest electrical fields along his arms. He got sick of burning fabric smell. But as they arrived in a flash of light, the young weather controller wore a sturdy jacket and a heavy wool cap alongside his goggles and reinforced jumpsuit. His fingers flexed slightly as he inhaled the cold air. He turned toward Octoman as the many-limbed crime-fighter cried out to the desert.

 

"If a giant worm shows up later, I'm blaming you."

 

He turned toward the desert sands again and frowned.

 

"It's a windy, sandy mess. You think you can still track their scent? What would it even stick to out here?"

 

His fingers flexed again, and for a brief moment the wind seemed to lessen around the group. It was clear he wanted to ease the cold air knifing over their bodies, but that he had something holding him back. 

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Veronica Danger

 

The two men watched in a bit of bewilderment the group of teenagers that had suddenly appeared in front of them. But then they quacking recovered, giving a small bow to the group and one of them focusing on Veronica. "Welcome Ms. Danger, we are very glad to have the help of yourself and your allies."

 

When Octoman moved forward and asked about articles of clothing that belonged to the missing scientists, the two men had a momentary look of confusion. "Some of their clothing?" One asked with a slightly uncertain look.

 

Veronica gave a small smile as she gave a dismissive wave of her hand. "Its fine, it actually could help us in locating the two doctors more quickly. So how about we make our way down to the camp and you can see what can be located and provide us with any other information you might have."

 

The two men nodded and turned to lead the group of Claremont students back across the dunes that separated them from the campsite. The area where the camp was located was more rocky than sand dunes, and the hillsides to the west of the camp were rockier still.

 

The camp was a collection of more typical heavy canvas tents and a number of rectangular cargo shipping containers which had been refurbished into living quarters, office space and one that appeared to be a kitchen. Each of the refurbished containers had its own set of solar panels on its roof. There were a number of other individuals in the camp, who seemed in the process of waking up and having breakfast.

 

"The missing doctors shared that pod." One of the guides stated, pointing to one of the refurbished cargo containers. He then turned to face the Veronica and the other Claremont students. "Doctor Schnider and Doctor Warren set off into the foothills two days ago to look for likely spots to expand our excavation." The man stated, indicating the hills that extended towards the towering mountains to the west.

 

"When they did not return by mid-afternoon, several of us went up to look for them, but found nothing. When our search the next morning similarly found no trace we contacted Danger International and were told you would be coming to assist."

 

Veronica nodded as she looked at the man and then some of the other gathered workers. "Thank you, we have it from here. Please continue with whatever work Doctor Schnider and Doctor Warren had you doing prior to their disappearance." She stated.  The teenage Danger then looked over to her teammates. "Okay, see if there is anything useful in the pod they shared." She stated, focusing on Octoman as she spoke.

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Danica had been mostly silent thus far, her bright blue bobble hat barely protruding above the rim of her shell. The shell itself was covered by a thick wool poncho that hung nearly to the ground, almost concealing the insulating snowpants and puffy boots she was wearing and the wheels of her scooter. She looked kind of like a mobile circus tent, if circus tents could project an air of extreme discomfort. A mobile circus tent that occasionally slid backwards and let out a high pitched whine as the scooter lost traction in the sand, in fact. It wasn't until they arrived in camp that she caught up to the group and began to look around a little. "Oh good, inside work!" she finally said, poking her nose out of the shell at the instruction to search the tent. "Let's definitely go inside." She rolled in the direction of the tent, her Segway's wheels making sad motor noises as they went. 

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Artificer

 

Heroditus glanced back at Ben and Micah's exchange, which was utterly lost on him, and shook his head.  Ben had made several offers to 'get him up to speed' on Surfacer media and pop culture, but he'd always found -- or made -- some excuse to skip out on it.  Unless Ben had arranged for a Green Squad movie night, in which case he did attend, but even then he only paid partial attention, focusing on whatever technical journal he'd brought with him.

 

As the reached the camp, he took another drink from his waterskin before addressing Veronica, glancing periodically at the two men who'd greeted them.  "So what was your group doing here?  What were they excavating?  And what, specifically, had Doctor Schnider and Doctor Warren been working on?" 

 

He made a point of not looking Danica's way when she rolled by.  He still did not know why she felt so uncomfortable around him, but so far that had not impeded their ability to work together, so he had not investigated the matter, and simply tried to give her a respectful distance.

 

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Octoman

 

"OK, bloodhound time!" Octoman's tentacles sprouted from his torso and arms, the thousands of suckers lining them pulsating open and closed randomly. He held up his hands, and more suckers unfurled from the tiny skin folds on his palms, like time-lapse footage of flowers blooming. "Hope y'all wore deodorant today, 'cause I'm gonna smell EVERYTHING. But I hope it wasn't, like, super-strong, like AXE Douche-Spray or Bath and Body Works Cake Frosting Perfume or something, that'll just throw me off." He wandered around the pod, rifling through the missing scientists' possessions and waving his hand and tentacles randomly through the air. "Best bet is somethin' PERSONAL, like, REALLY personal, the more personal the better. Toothbrush, dirty socks, even a hairbrush is good. Two peeps is more complicated than one, they blend together, gotta un-blend 'em. Should get a sample of whatever, like, soap or shampoo or whatever they used, too. Wait, they even have a shower out here?"

 

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Micah grew more serious as the adults came over and gave them an update. He looked out on the horizon again, eyes squinted a bit even behind his goggles. Nothing.

 

"Hm."

 

With that wordy declaration made, he turned and followed the others. He tried to at least dampen the cold around them for Danica's sake, but to avoid disturbing the trails he avoided altering wind patterns yet.

 

"If it gets really bad, Chelone, let me know and I can raise the heat more. Just trying not to disturb things too much yet."

As Octoman got to sniffing, Thunderbird turned to his trusty tentacled teenage teammate and spoke up softly.

"Once you get going, would it help if I stopped the wind around us as we went?"

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Veronica Danger

 

The gathered workers briefly gave the group of teenagers some strange looks, but soon were gathering tools to start the day’s work when Veronica's instructions were translated by one of the two men that had initially met the group. Veronica looked over to Heroditus as Danica and Ben made their way into the pod that had been used by the two archeologists.

 

"They have been excavating the ruins of an ancient oasis town that used to be one of the stopping points along the Silk Road." The teenage Danger replied to the Atlantean teen’s questions. "A network of trade routes that were in use for thousands of years, at times reaching as far west as the eastern edges of the Roman Empire in modern Turkey and Egypt to China in the east." She pointed both to the west and east in turn as she spoke.

 

"This site is along a southern route of the Silk Road, which made its way around the exterior of the Taklamakan desert by following the base of the Kunlun mountain range." Veronica continued, pointing off to the southeast, were a few snowcapped peaks could be seen far in the distance. "From the field reports I have looked at, it appears this site was at the peak of its activity some nineteen hundred years ago."

 

Entering the identified pod, Danica and Ben found a much more comfortable interior than one would generally expect in such a remote location. The main section was an office space, with several tables, covered in maps, books, papers and various artifacts in addition to laptops and cameras. There were two smaller rooms of the main, one a bathroom with a shower, the other a small sleeping area with a pair of bunk beds. In the shower Ben found the soap and shampoo used by the two scientists, and in the sleeping area there was a hamper with a few dirty clothes still inside.

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Figuring that Ben and Veronica were going to be the very important persons for this part of the mission seeing as they were the Green Team's best trackers, the Asgardian waited outside with the others while Ben and Danica went about digging through the missing scientist's laundry. When Veronica started to explain a bit more about the archaeologist's mission and the site itself a question popped up in her head.  

 

"Hmm. So our missing people were helping survey a long-lost trade hotspot. Sounds cool. But is there anything else here that we should know about? Call me paranoid, but have any of the scientists here found anything... weird I guess? Something really unusual for this kind of dig?" 

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"Thanks, Micah," Danica said with a smile for her teammate as she got off her scooter. "I may take you up on that, even if it makes me feel guilty about global warming later. She breathed a sigh of relief at the change in temperature as she entered the shelter and pulled her mittens off. Not wanting to disrupt any scent trail for Octoman, she began looking at the documents and maps without touching them any more than necessary. 

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Artificer

 

Heroditus, who remained with Veronica and the two doctors, made a few click-pop sounds as he mulled over Danger's words.  "Trade routes tend to attract bandits.  Bandits are met with hired mercenaries."  He looked over the area again, took another pull from his waterskin, "and you called this the 'Silk Road'?  I presume that silk was the primary commodity traded, but surely there were others, yes?  Perhaps items of a more... exotic nature?  Something lost out there, waiting to be found... or to feed?"

 

Look at me, being so dramatic.  OctoBen must be having an influence on me.

 

He shook his head, as if dismissing some thought.  "I have some experience with salvage and reclamation," he said as he headed towards the books and papers, "perhaps I can find something in their notes."

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Veronica Danger

 

"Oh there was most certainly a wide assortment of commodities which made their way along the Silk Road, in both directions."[ Veronica responded to some of Heroditus' questions as they stood outside waiting for some of the others.

 

The teenage Danger then considered some of the other questions raised by both Astrid and Heroditus. "Well, from the reports I have seen from the two doctors, they had uncovered rather typical artifacts for digs out here. Shards of pottery hailing from many different parts of the ancient world, tools, some coins." She said as she walked over toward a table under a large tent on which a number objects had been laid out. "But, I guess it does not hurt to check." She stated as her eyes took on a faraway look as she first looked over the objects on the table and then slowly began to turn, scanning the entire camp.


"No, no magic here other than what some of us brought." She stated as her eyes returned to normal.

 

Making his way into the pod that had housed the missing scientists, Heroditus joined Danica in looking over the piles of papers, maps and other objects that covered the desks in the main room. Unfortunately for the two, the handwritten notes of the two men provide little information, as they were in German.

 

However, amongst the papers were some other things that were a bit more informative. There were a couple of maps that appeared to be surveys of the area around the camp, with markings on them showing where the doctors had been focusing the digging efforts. However, one map appeared to show some of the foothills near the edge of the desert, with several areas circled on them in a draw that seemed to go far up into the nearby mountain range. There were also several photographs of objects, coins and some pottery, which both Heroditus and Dancia recognized to be Roman.

 

But perhaps even more surprising, as they were moving papers and maps about, the pair uncovered a small, flat object that was wrapped in a oil cloth. Carefully opening the cloth, inside they found a small fragment of a stone tablet. Heroditus instantly recognized that the writing on the tablet was Atlanean! However, it was such a small fragment that there were only a few words that were still legible, some sort of warning and mention of a "lost enclave."

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Artificer

 

Heroditus had pulled his goggles down to cover his eyes and did his own search for magical auras.  Even enhanced by the goggles, his own magical sight was far less comprehensive than Veronica's, but a second pair of eyes never hurt.  But then he turned and his gaze happened to fall on Danica, and he took a step back and let out a surprised click-pop.

 

Oh!  I could see magic in her when we first met, but this is my first time seeing her through my goggles.  And now I can see details about that magic.  Some sort of desert turtle spirit.  Oh -- I wonder if that is why she is uncomfortable around me?

 

He studied her a bit longer, then shook his head.  You are staring, Heroditus.  People do not like that.  So stop it.  There is work to be done.  He looked over the notes and murmured something in Atlantean about needing to add a translation spell to his goggles, but then he saw the small oil cloth bundle.

 

He gasped as the content were revealed, and turned to take another drink from his waterskin.  "That is Atlantean!  But... how did that get here, in this Poseidon-forsaken place?"

 

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Octoman

 

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"Once you get going, would it help if I stopped the wind around us as we went?"

 

"Actually, yeah, probably! Couldn't hurt. Thanks. Oh hey, JACKPOT!" Octoman exclaimed when he found the hamper full of dirty clothes and the shower. He grabbed an armful of clothes and inhaled deeply. "UGH. Trust me, this is not as fun as it looks."

 

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"I presume that silk was the primary commodity traded, but surely there were others, yes?  Perhaps items of a more... exotic nature?"

 

Octoman glanced up from the clothes just in time to see Artificer's educational exchange with Veronica. "Not to be confused with the ONLINE Silk Road that was named after it. That one DEFINITELY 'traded' in stuff other than silk, 'of a more exotic nature'. Drugs, guns, murder-for-hire, you name it. Last one's what finally got the hackers who ran it caught by the Feds. But, like, it's one of those things, on the Dark Web, it's still the Wild West, like, whazzat thing called, cut off one head, two grow back...griffon? Nah...manticore? Damn, I had this..."

 

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Veronica Danger

 

"The hydra." Veronica provided for Ben as he and the others emerged from the pod with some additional information related to the missing scientists' work. As she looked at the maps that Danica had brought, the teenage Danger was busy pulling things out of thin air. Soon the table in front of her had a small range pack and some coils of climbing rope.

 

"Well, based on these maps and what Jamal has told me, the last time the two doctors were seen was when they set off into the foothills to look for possible new dig sites." Veronica said as she looked up to Danica. "Given that terrain, it would probably be best to leave your Segway down here. We are likely to spend as much time climbing as walking up there."

 

She fixed her pair of climbing axes to her belt as she looked at the object that Heroditus had found, her eyebrows arching slightly as she studied the object. "Hmm, I had not seen that mentioned in any of the reports, might have been something the found just before they disappeared so they never got a report out." She stated as she strapped on a survival knife next.

 

"We ready to go?" Veronica asked as she looked over to the others and slung her pack onto her back. "For anyone that wants or needs them feel free to take a climbing axe." She added, as one of the men that had met them outside the camp came back with several of the climbing tools in his arms.

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Danica spread out the maps and studied them, her brow furrowed. "If they were concentrating in these areas, that should simplify the search, and if not, it at least gives us a place to start." She looked over at Veronica as the older teen spoke, then glanced towards her scooter parked by the door. "You might be right," she agreed reluctantly, her cheeks flushing slightly olive, "but then I'd better stay back at base camp. I'll slow everyone down." She rolled up the maps and slid them into the nearby case, then gave them to Heroditus. "I'm not much of a climber, and the cold will make it worse. Just stay in touch by radio so we know what's going on."

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"Alright, just let me know when you need it, Sir Armsalot."

 

Micah winced in sympathy as Ben took a giant whiff of dirty laundry. He reached over and patted the enthusiastic teen on the shoulder in a minor gesture of comfort.

"We thank you for your sacrifice."

He looked thoughtful at the discussion of the route of the missing doctors. He glanced at Danica at the mention of her staying behind. He glanced around their surroundings again.

"Well, it would be helpful to have one of us here to serve as a 'home base' presence. I can always go back and forth, if something comes up here that you need a hand with."

Part of him wished the Segway Shoes were done, but Danica raised some good points about how it wasn't just the uneven terrain that would be an issue. And having someone from the team back at the research camp felt like a good idea. The whole situation didn't sit right with him, not entirely, even if he couldn't say why. 

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica looked over at Danica as she mentioned staying behind, feeling a bit guilty about dragging the other girl out here into this cold, inhospitable place. When Micah spoke up in agreement that it might be good to have someone at the base camp, the teenage Danger nodded in agreement. "We will be sure to stay in touch." She replied as she had radios brought out, giving one to Danica after she checked they were on the same channel and putting the other in one of the pockets of her parka.

 

The rest of the Claremont students then started up into the rocky foothills to the west of the camp. Between Ben and Veronica it was not long before the trail of the two missing scientists being located, Ben being able to pick up traces of their scent (aided by Micah reducing the wind in the area), while Veronica found traces of their passage on the ground, such bits of tracked mud and rock chipped by climbing equipment.

 

Although the terrain was steep at times, the group made good time, truly only slowed by the need to keep on the trail of the missing men. As the sun continued to rise above the horizon, the air warmed slightly taking the bite out of the cold. During the climb they saw a couple hawks flying high above, and at one point spotted a pair of mountain goats with heavy winter coats on a nearby hill, grazing on the rough patches of grass and sparse vegetation that covered the foothills. As the teens went higher into the foothills, they were able to look back at the desert behind them and see the dunes stretch out in all directions like a rolling sea of sand as far as they could see.

 

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As her classmates made their way into the Pamir Mountain foothills, Danica did her best to get comfortable down at the basecamp. One of the men who had initially met them, Kemal, remained with her, showing her some of the other artifacts that had been uncovered by the dig.

 

About an hour after the others had left, and about ten minutes after their last radio check in, a pair of the other workers came rushing back to the basecamp, clearly excited about something. They ran over to Kamal, speaking quickly in Pashto. The man tried to calm them down and asked a couple of questions. After getting some additional answers, he looked over to Danica. "They say something unusual has been uncovered at the main dig site."

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Danica had felt kind of weird about being left behind, but she perked up a little after spending a few minutes warming up inside her shell and receiving a cup of tea from the workers. Learning about the artifacts was interesting, and she filed away everything she learned in case it might come in handy later. She was very interested in the new development. Making her way over to Kamal and the workers, she kept her own radio at the ready. "What did they find?" she asked. "Is it anything to do with the missing scientists?" 

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Artificer

 

Heroditus did not like this.  Not one bit.  Between the dryness and the climbing, his body was hurting in ways he did not know it was possible to hurt.  Walking on dryland was one thing, but climbing?  Of course, that Atlantean pride would not let him show that, so he'd tried to be more discrete in pausing to take sips from his waterskin, or pausing to pick rocks out of his boot's soles.

 

"I know many of my ancestors left Atlantis after The Sinking," he muttered to himself, "spreading across the globe.  And I had even heard that some had journeyed to this part of the world."  He gestured vaguely to the southeast, towards Tibet (and the Shamabala Vale).  "Surely those Atlanteans must have been particularly paranoid, fearing some Lemurian retributions... because why else would they come to such a place?!"

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica was clearly in her element, hiking and climbing with ease as she helped Ben track the missing scientists. Of course, she did tend to keep a very regimented exercise routine through the school year to keep herself in shape for such activity. As Heroditus mentioned ancient Atlanetans going to other parts of the world after the disaster that had befallen them, the teenage Danger glanced back towards him as she reached the top of a short steep section of the rise. "Well, it is possible that object you found was something that was brought here through trade, rather than by displaced Atlanteans. Or some of them could have brought it with them as they traveled along the Silk Road for some other purpose."

 

As Heroditus looked up at Veronica, he noticed something that he almost missed at first, a trace of magic in the air. Initially he had dismissed it as something emanating from the magical items Veronica herself carried. But then he realized it was not that at all, as it was spread throughout the air on the path ahead of them. But he could not seem to pinpoint what was the source of these wisps of mystical energy.

 

Veronica herself did not seem to notice it at first, but when she turned back around to continue up the pass they were currently in, she froze for a moment, looking directly ahead and past Ben at something no one else could see. "Everyone stop!" She stated in a very firm voice, holding out one hand to signal a stop as well. The teenager then rushed forward to catch up with Ben, grabbing his arm to get him stop as well and moving around so he could see her. "Stop Ben, there is something up ahead."

 

"I think I know what happened to the missing scientists." She stated as she turned back to look out ahead of the group, seemingly studying something.

 

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Down in the base camp, Kemal shook his head slightly at Danica’s question. "No, I do not believe so." He stated as he and the teenager followed after the two men off across some of the sand dunes towards the nearby dig site.

 

Over a few dunes, Danica found a rather large area of the desert had been cleared away some, reveling a number of stone foundations under the sands. Workers had clearly been continuing to clear sand away from within the foundations, looking for other signs of human built structures and any artifacts which might have been lost in the sands over time. A few areas had been reinforced with long plywood planks, allowing the workers to dig deeper into the sands in search of artifacts from the past. It was around one of these deeper sections that all of the workers were now gathered, looking down into the deeper pit from above.

 

Kemal and Danica made their way over towards the crowd, Kemal shouting in Pashto and getting a path cleared for them to move up to the edge. Once there, Danica looked down into the pit where a couple workers were standing over what they had apparently just uncovered. It was the remains of some animal, and as Danica studied it, she realized what it was, it was a fossil, but one that appeared to be in remarkably excellent shape, although there was something odd about it.

 

Taking a bit longer to study what was down in the pit, the teenager realized she had seen plenty of pictures of fossils similar to these, it was a dinosaur, a smaller one (relatively) that appeared to walk on two legs. As she studied one of the feet of the dinosaur, Danica recognized the large curved talon on the foot, it was some sort of raptor. But, she realized it was much larger than most she was familiar with, from the looks of it likely standing higher than the average person and many times as long.

 

As all of this was going through the teenager’s mind, she suddenly realized something else. The remains down in the pit were not fossilized, but actual bones.

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Astrid could have wrapped out Porrklubba and just flew above the somewhat rough terrain as they all traveled across the desert and the foothills in search of the missing scientists, but ultimately decided against it. She found that she oddly enjoyed hiking and the mundane experience of just walking in a land that she never been before. It was serene in a way, though she did still keep in mind they here to help some missing people.

 

When Veronica abruptly stopped the group in their tracks Astrid asked the obvious. "Well? Did you find something?" The Asgardian herself looked around the terrain, trying to see whatever Veronica had already spotted. 

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