A New Found Freedom

Chapter 17 - Scratch Test

"Now, the tip lasts longer if you burn it till it chars. Then you scrape the charred part off and your spear tip lasts a lot longer." Jonathon demonstrated.
"Sir?" A young man called from the back of the cliff side.
"Why're we doing this exactly? Those critters aren't gonna do anything to us anytime soon." He said, murmurs of others in attendance backed him up.
"War son, we can't let anyone get possession of this planet over us." The mad man proclaimed.


"Zac, lemme see your arm." Isaac motioned.
"Huh, what for?" The young man asked hesitantly.
"Scratch test." Isaac stated.
Zac's eyes went wide, as he paled, "No way! Get Tay to do it! Ike, no! Please!"
What Zac didn't want to participate in was, obviously, a scratch test. A small cut was inflicted on a body part and whatever substance wished to be tested was applied. Here on New Terra, the planets voted name, that substance was usually potential food items or something along the lines of medicinal uses. If a violent reaction occurred in more then half the testers, the item was given up or deemed poisenous.
"Come on, it's not gonna kill you." Said an annoyed Isaac.
"You don't know that!" He squawked, getting nervous. Zac was really regretting killing this unknown creature while on the hunting trip. Now he had to be the lab rat to be tested on.
"Why don't you try it?" Zac challenged.
"I did, see?" Isaac pointed to the small red cut on his arm.
"Well.no! Get Tay to do it!"
Isaac grit his teeth, fast losing patience, "Listen, Tay's gonna do it too. So is everyone else on the party. Now gimme your arm!" Isaac demanded.
"Hey guys, what's up?" Taylor rescued Zac.
Isaac rolled his eyes and said, "Lemme see your arm. Scratch test."
"K, just don't cut too deep." Taylor licked his lips and pulled his fingers through his hair.
"I know, now don't move." Ike positioned the knife on his younger brother's arm and bit his lip, preparing to slice into his skin.
Over the past couple of weeks this had turned into common place all around the camp to test newly discovered foods. Zac seemed to be the only one afraid to do it.
Pressing down quickly, Isaac drew a small cut and a grimace from Taylor. Blood welled up over the cut slightly and Taylor took some antiseptic from his bag to clean the cut. Once finished, Isaac took blood from the new animal and dripped it into the incision.
"Now, lets give this awhile and see what happens k?" Taylor nodded and looked at Zac.
"It's not gonna kill ya to try it man, it doesn't hurt that much." He let the youngest Hanson know.
"Shut up Tay." He muttered.
"Listen, we're gonna be here for a long time, years ok? You gotta get used to this kinda life style."
"I wanna keep my own ways on my own planet, ya know....the one we like to call Earth?" Zac was feeling betrayed that his brothers weren't trying to keep the old Terran way of life alive.
"Zac, c'mon. We can go back to how we were before some day, just try and adapt for a while." Isaac chided gently.
"We shouldn't even have to." Zac pouted.
"We know." Taylor whispered so the approaching hunting party wouldn't hear. Soon enough, their whole world would be twisted into chaos.


Six Months Later

"Alright men, reconnaissance has shown another camp about three to five days march that way." Jonathon announced, "We will be infiltrating them shortly. Double time on spears, knife detail, field rations, and slings and rock pouches. Move it!"
"SIR!" The three hundred strong camp yelled back and ran off to perform their tasks.
"Mr. Wentz, front and center!" Jonathon hollered. A short built man jogged towards the camp's bonfire, weaving his way around all the people hard at work. An efficient infantry on hand and working hard.
"Get a small team, two to four men, and scout this camp out. I want an intimate knowledge of how this camp works. Get me?"
"I get you Sir!" He saluted smartly and grabbed the first three young men he came upon to ready them for their mission.


"Keep low, bend your knees!" WHAP! Will smacked Taylor upside the head to get him to follow his orders, "Now, crawl and drag that foot behind you....quiet!" WHAP!
"Damn it Will! Quit smackin me!" Taylor hissed. He moved his eye back to the target, flexed his legs, lifted his arm above his head, and sent his spear flying.
"Excellent work Mr. Hanson." Will pat Taylor on the back like a proud father, causing Taylor to smile under the praise.
They'd grown impossibly close during the past seven months on New Terra. It surprised everyone there, including Ike and Zac, to the extreme. Nobody would have expected it from Will's hostile behavior on the first day at the drop field. They'd nearly become inseparable and Will was teaching anybody willing how to throw spears.
Taylor walked up to the creature, really a stuffed knapsack, and pulled out the spear.
"I read somewhere about something called a spear-thrower, it can double the distance you throw." Taylor stated timidly, not looking Will in the eyes. He heard Will and his, "Hmmm." as he thought it over.
"Do you remember what it looked like?" Will asked, not letting too much enthusiasm to show.
Taylor looked up hesitantly and said, "Well, yeah I think. I can draw it if you want."
"Let's see it mister." Will smiled.
Taylor sat on his heels and began to draw the implement. It was a long flat piece of wood or other material, about two or three feet long, the middle held a groove for the spear to reside in, and the back was curved into the shape of a gentle curving hook. At the head of the thrower were two loops made of a soft material to hook the fingers into.
Once finished with his drawing, he said, "You lay the board on your arm like this, "He demonstrated, "and when you throw it it's gotta be resting flat against your arm. The butt end of the spear rests here in the groove and when you throw it, you gotta lift the end up and it goes twice as far. It works...in theory anyway." He ended. He looked up at Will, hoping he wouldn't think he was insane.
"Ya know, I think I've read about that kinda thing before. Let's do it. But for now, you gotta practice. I'm going back to camp for awhile, don't come back till that thing's shredded into nothing." Will smacked Taylor's back lightly.
"Yes sir." Taylor smiled brightly, hiding himself behind the tall yellow grass to "stalk" his prey.
Shifting his rear, he better hid his tall lanky figure from view. His golden hair blended perfectly into the pretty grass. After another hour of practice, the knapsack looked like pit bulls had, had their way with it and Taylor had to smile proudly. He approached one of the many trees that lined the fields around Camp H H standing for Hanson, the camp voted it in, pressed his back against the trunk, and slid down to rest his tired feet. He was nearly dozing when he heard tense whispering near by. Curiously, he poked his head around the tree stealthy like and frowned. The four men hiding in the grass were strangers, he'd gotten to know most of the people at the camp personally and the rest he couldn't place a name too but knew their faces. He ducked back behind his tree trying to decide what to do. He didn't want to run away from the men, they could need help. But they were acting strange and looked healthy enough. Plus, they all had at least four or five spears strapped to their backs and two at the ready.
"What do I do." He whispered lightly, fingering his lips. He heard them moving closer to his tree and felt his stomach drop.
"Did they see me?" He bent around to the other side of the trunk and lay down on his stomach. He poked his head out once again and saw the men moving slightly away from the tree, spread out evenly over the ground. They would definitely see him if he didn't do something to hide himself soon. He looked up and decided climbing was out of the question when the spindly branches of the trees came into view.
"Ok Tay, run now and you could get speared down....don't run and who knows what they'll do." He was getting very frustrated by now and decided to sulk. He pressed his back firmly against his tree and stayed that way. A few minutes later the four man group moved slowly passed the tree, never looking back. Had they, they would have seen a white as a ghost teenager shaking like a leaf then darting behind the sanctuary of the opposite side of the tree.
"Dude." He started to himself, chuckling, "Too close." He didn't know what was bothering him about the strange men, but it was something he felt he needed to trust. Will needed to know about this he decided and started to take the long way to the camp, slipping silently into the grass. He glanced back and grinned like a Cheshire cat having gone unnoticed. He could get to like this caption commando thing.

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