The sun wakes me and I think I hate it, always interrupting my dreams and forcing me to rise up from wonderful sleep. I stretch and crawl out of my tent and jump seeing Alvii still powered down. I let out a breath and stand up, taking apart the poles and collapsing the tent and packing it away before turning back to the Amazon. “Alvii? Are you awake?” it takes a few minutes for me to hear its system start up and for its eyes to light back up.
“Hello Hera, did you sleep well?”
“Yeah, how do you feel? Still good?”
“Perfectly functional.” It rises and towers over, I still feel fear coarse through me but I don’t let it show, hopefully. “Shall we set out or do you need sustenance?”
“I can eat as we go.” I smile and pull out a packet of jerky, smoked by the wonderful Pythia for the warriors, and myself. Ripping off a piece I return the hunk and look up at Alvii. “Do you need sustenance?”
“My batteries recharge during stasis, and I cannot eat.” I assume he doesn’t find me amusing at all but I entertain myself. He turns and starts walking, I follow close behind in silence. This is the furthest from my village I’ve ever been, and I never heard of anyone crossing the river and returning alive, it makes me wonder if I’ll die here… I try not to linger on that possibility and instead turn my attention back to the surrounding dense forest and underbrush where anything could be hiding. Small animals dart in front of us from time to time making me jump, at the ready to defend at least myself from death has made me the most tense I’ve ever been.
We reach what seems to be the edge of the world at noon, the sun high in the sky makes me feel warm in my winter clothing but I dare not take a piece of it off; the cliff seems to just drop off, below up the forest stretches out but there is no way for me to get down there, I do not have any length of rope long enough for this. “Are you afraid of heights?” Alvii snaps my attention back to the situation at hand.
“Its not that. I just don’t have the ability to climb down this.”
“I will carry you.” It isn’t a question and I don’t get to argue.
The cliff is unexpected but not impossible to navigate. We stand on the edge looking down at the forest below and while I know I can climb down this formation with little to no trouble the look upon Hera’s face tells me she cannot. “Are you afraid of heights?” She blinks and looks up at me.
“Its not that. I just don’t have the ability to climb down this.” But I do.
“I will carry you.” It is clearly the only option but she looks horrified by the idea. I lift her with ease and hold her with my left arm as I drop off the edge catching the edge and bracing against the rock for a moment.
“You’re crazy!” She shouts, but she does not struggle, knowing it would only lead to her death.
“It is the only way to continue. And it is too late to argue now.” That silences her, her arms hold onto me tightly as I climb down. The passage of time must have felt like forever for the life form but in reality it only took me twenty minutes to climb down and set her down. “There. Now we may continue our journey.” She glares at me “Did I do something wrong?”
“You don’t just pick up a lady, you ask first.” She rolls her eyes, a playful smile tugs at her lips.
“I see, I will ask you next time.” She nods and pushes passed me, done with our conversation and keeps on her path east. Catching up is easy for me, and soon we are walking step in step at ease with the world around us.
The day passes at the same rate they all do, the silence is nice though. Hera is a good traveling companion, she does not demand attention in a dangerous situation. As the sun sets we come to a small gathering of Dragon’s Teeth. Only one is open and rusted within is another Amazon. Hera gives me a sideways glance as I approach it, unwilling to risk our ends while we sleep. This machine is well rusted, probably never activated when they landed originally, I look for an identification number. “A2-XVI.” Hera watches me, I wonder if she is expecting me to be emotional… I doubt it, she seems like an intelligent life form, surely after her years on this blue planet she has learned something about us.
“Amazon second wave, unit sixteen.” She repeats and I cock my head.
“She is well rust, probably never activated.” Hera nods and looks away. “We are safe to rest here, Hera.”
“Are you sure Alvii? We don’t have to rest here with it.”
“This Amazon is a she, and we can rest here. She does not bother me.” Hera nods and set up her shelter.
“How do you know its a she?” She asks at long last.
“I can tell by looking at her. She was made from the same mold as A1-I.”
“I’m sorry, but to me you all look alike.” I cannot tell if that is an insult but I take it as an observation.
“I am aware of similarities. Perhaps if she were not rust in place I could show you better how we differ.” She nods and yawns.
“I’ll take your word for it.” She crawls into her shelter. “Hey Alvii, if she is a she, what are you?”
“I was cast from the same mold as A1-II, I am male.” She nods and fastens her door shut, I can see light leaking out of the edges, I wonder what she is doing, but stop that train of limitless thought in favor of going into stasis so that I may recharge for the next day of our journey.