Unlikely Adventures of David Tuttle Ch 1 - Jungle Girl

Cast: David Tuttle, Jaguara
Premise: David arrives in Maracaibo, and meets the local wildlife.

rating: 0+x

The jungle swelters, and the condensation in the air seems to glimmer, as though the sky was liquid and if you could stick your tongue out, you could taste it. This jungle would taste of something deep and thick, like something dark and humid. Trees reach towards the heavens and the hoots of monkeys come from somewhere infinitely near and infinitely distant. The ground seem to move, as though it too lived, though it is only its composition; insects and leaves disintegrating, snakes slithering, the crack of a river splitting the very earth, these things lend the jungle its appearance. Something alive, breathing, hot with life.

When they mentioned a research expedition to David Tuttle, he thought they meant he was going to John Hopkins to look over their library. But nooooo. Somehow he was ushered on to an airship bound for Gran Colombia, and soon ended up in Maracaibo. Before he even got a chance to get used to the humid, tropical weather, David was greeted and dragged into a waiting truck by his local contact, Jesus Rodriguez. Fortunately, Spanish is one of the more common languages for David, who, despite a pounding headache from the trip, listened to Rodriguez go on and on about needing his assistance to decipher some recently discovered hieroglyphics.
So here he is, sweating like a pig as David follows Rodriguez and his men, tromping through the jungle towards some ancient ruins. His discomfort is quickly forgotten when David sees the ruins - Aztec? Mayan? Like a child in a toystore, David immediately starts exploring the ruins.

Nobody told Jaguara about the research expedition, and maybe they really should have. It's rude to just come tromping into somebody else's neck of the woods without so much as a how do you do. Really rude. Also… interesting. She watches from somewhere out of sight.

The expedition doesn't yet notice the jungle girl… though they probably should pay more attention. David can plead innocence, since he is fresh off the plane and completely ignorant of the local conditions. While he crouches in front of an ancient wall to examine the carvings, the portly Rodriguez continues asking him questions in Spanish, until even the normally patient David sighs in resignation. "No, I need more time. Can I just…" He frowns and tries to push Rodriguez away, since he really doesn't need the man literally breathing down his neck. "…I'll let you know as soon as I find something. Why don't you go explore a bit more?"
Rodriguez shrugs to that, but at least he acquiesces, turning to join his men, no doubt looking for hidden treasures amidst the ruins.

Some howler monkeys high in the canopy begin to hoot and carry on, sending a warning along the tops of the trees of the strange trespassers. Broken branches and leaves fall every so often, as one of the hidden monkeys starts getting really animated up there.

David peers up from his scrutiny of the carvings, towards the jungle canvas. "Those are some noisy critters." He mutters to himself. Rather than treating the howler monkeys as an annoyance, he rises to his feet and unbundles his notebook from his ever-present satchel, and proceeds to take notes. David Tuttle is a scholar of many disciplines, and biology is one of them! He looks up again, lifting a hand to shield his eyes, in an attempt to have a good look at one of the noisy primates.

Those sneaky monkeys are all kinds of hard to see up there through the many canopy layers. There's is at least one brief appearance as a big male howler leaps through the air through a sparser patch, jumping from bough to bough.%R%RThe place is crawling with life outside the monkeys. Birds sing, sloths hang. Leafcutter ants bustle along the forest floor, tarantula stalk and mosquitoes naturally bite.

Did he catch that? Only from the corner of his eyes, since David isn't the most alert of men. "Alright, David. You need to focus. Hieroglyphics, that's what you're here for." He murmurs to himself, furrowing his brows and shaking his head. Absently pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, he returns to the task at hand. At least, he tries to. Very soon he finds himself busy swatting at mosquitoes and flies that seem intent on draining his blood and turning him into a bloodless corpse.

With all the racket and mosquito swatting, David might not hear Jaguara slip out of the tree she was hiding in and pad softly up behind him in her bare feet. She has a spear about as big as she is in hand, but isn't holding it in an aggressive manner - yet. For the moment she just watches Tuttle with her nostrils flared and nose wrinkled, as if curious about what he's doing and why he smells the way he does.

There is that thing about David being unaware again. He keeps plugging away at the hieroglyphics, occasionally reaching up to swat at a particularly persistent bug. But after a few minutes, he starts to notice someone nearby. Turning slightly, he says in Spanish, "I'm making some progress. This seems to be some variation of ancient Mayan, though how it got to be here in Gran Colombia is quite intrig…. Yeearrrghhh!" David's explanation turns abruptly to a terrified shriek when he finally sees it's not Rodriguez behind him. Turning on his butt, he tries to crabcrawl backwards away, until he notices that the intruder is a…. pretty blonde girl? Wha?

Terrifying! Ok, not really. Sorta? Jaga scowls at him when he reacts the way he does. Apparently she wasn't quite expecting that. Then, who knows what she was expecting. Beyond the scowl she's inscrutable. How is one to guess what a pretty blonde girl with a spear is going to do at any given time? This time, she runs right at David full tilt, legs pumping and at the last possible moment drives the butt of the spear between his legs (hitting the ground, he'll be happy to know) and vaults right over his head, and over the wall entirely. Poof!

David's eyes widen so much they almost pop out of their sockets, pushing himself hard against the ancient wall, quite alarmed and concerned with where the spear butt is going to land. Naturally, he is relieved that the jungle girl didn't just castrate him on the spot, and when she leaps overhead, David gathers up enough courage to scramble to his feet, trying to see where she is running off to. "Wait!" He surprises himself by calling after Jaguara, and further amazes himself by climbing to his feet to give chase. "Wait! Please!"

He's got his work cut out for him. Jaguara moves fast, runs up another wall to backflip her way onto the top of another. That one she follows in a dead run, golden hair flying behind her. Where the wall has crumbled away, she leaps to the ground. There, one of Rodriguez's men who's just as shocked as David when the girl drops in on him. Now, she seems to mean business, growling through bared teeth at the wide-eyed Columbian.

Okay, that's not good. The panicked Colombian fumbles with his rifle even as he takes a step back, but he is having problems untangling the gun's strap from around his shoulders. He starts cursing in Spanish, swinging up the barrel blindly in desperation, squeezing off a shot almost at random.
The shot misses Jaguara, but almost takes David's head off as he runs after the jungle girl. "Jesus!" He yelps, sparing a backward glance at the tree branch that could've been his neck. "No! Don't shoot! She's just a native!" David calls back, once the shock of almost getting blasted passes.

Jaguara is quick with the spear. Quick enough, anyway. She flips it over, striking the Columbian in the jaw with the less lethal end. His eyes roll up and down he goes in a sprawl. Oof! That's gotta smart. Just as quick, she puts one knee square in the middle of his chest and grabs for the necklace he's wearing, a simple leather thong with a hollow centered gold coin hanging from it. She'll take that, glancing over her shoulder at David as she does.

David comes to a screeching halt when Jaguara takes out the Colombian so quickly and effectively; it seems like his concern was misplaced, after all. Coming to a stop about twenty feet away from the jungle girl, David takes a moment to catch his breath, before spreading his hands to indicate he is unarmed. "There's no need to be alarmed. I'm unarmed, see?" Why do people insist on speaking to natives in their own language? Maybe he hopes to establish a non-aggressive tone? But David is more knowledgeable than that, so he quickly switches to what little Mayan he knows."Uh, bix a belex?"

"MALA!" Jaguara shouts in reply. What that means is anybody's guess. At least David should have a more educated guess than most. Cautious, the blonde she-devil rises and turns to both stare and point the spear at the more conscious guy. Above, the howlers start howling anew, a demented cacophony that echoes through the forest.

Again he reaches up to push his glasses, which are starting to fog from all the sweating. What a place! "No, not Mala." David is guessing now, but he doesn't have much to go on at the moment. "David." He points to himself. "Day-Vid." He repeats slowly, hoping to establish his identity. "Day-Vid."

"MALA!" Jaguara repeats, but not before quirking an eyebrow at Day-Vid. She doesn't seem to be sure what to make of him, nor is it clear if anything he's saying is making any sort of inroads with her.

David scratches his short hair. "Is that your name?" He wonders aloud, then indicates himself again, this time with both hands. "Day-Vid." Followed by a finger pointed at the jungle girl. "Mala?" Incidentally, the excitement of actually meeting a wild native notwithstanding, David is starting to notice what a pretty specimen the girl is. He can't help it - he's a reclusive academic - like any good nerd in any century, his eyes start to wander down to the girl's curves….

Wuh oh. Good thing, Mala finally shows up. Good in the sense that it ought to distract David to have a full grown, growling jaguar come running up behind him. "Mala!" Jaguara exclaims, both happily and with a little bit of annoyance, of the 'where were you?' variety. Now there's just one problem. David is standing between Mala and Jaguara.

"Yes, you are Mala…" David continues his attempts, but he is not SO clueless as to miss how the girl is looking beyond him at someone else. Oh yeah, and there is always that growl. With comical slowness, he turns his head to look backwards, dreading what he may find there.
And yeah, he was right.
"Oh, good God." He whispers under his breath, frozen in place with fear. Right, no sudden moves now. And look the beast in the eyes. That's the best thing to do. Breathe slowly. Despite all that, he adds to himself, "Oh shit."

It's a total oh shit moment. Mala is HUGE. Jaguars are the third largest of the big cat species, but she is truly epic sized. So are her fangs. Big. Very big. She bares them at David, but lopes on by him without biting one his legs off in passing. It's probably only because Jaguara is coaxing her over with repeated sweep of her arm. When Mala is close enough, the amazon tosses her spear aside and throws a leg over the big cat. Apparently, she's going to ride away on it, but first she looks back at David and makes a face at him. It's a monkey sort of face that she follows with a chirpy: "Dayid nogu! Nogu!"

David watches all this with baited breath, and when the girl makes to get on the jaguar's back, the scholar's legs give out from under him. He promptly falls on his butt, but he is still staring at the spectacular sight in disbelief. They never taught anything like this in university! But wait! Did she actually say his name? Kind of? "Y-yes…. Day-Vid." He points at himself on the chest, and shakily points at the jaguar. "Mala?" Finally, a questioning point at the girl.

The girl carefully winds the leather thong around her hand, presses the pilfered coin into her palm and then closes her fingers over it in a tight fist. It's hers now, and she doesn't intend on losing it. The question is responded to with a arched eyebrow. "Mala?" She echoes without indicating if he's correct in his assumption or not. Maybe she's a little slow in the head. It seems that way when she suddenly tips her head back and starts to hoo-hoo like a monkey, a howler monkey, in fact. Almost instantly, the canopy comes alive in a chorus of answering hoots and the movement of dozens of monkeys dropping down, branch to branch and scrambling down the tree trunks.

It's as if a giant sabretooth jaguar isn't enough, now there is an army of flesh-eating howler monkeys. Instinctively, David Tuttle scrambles to the nearest ruin wall, and curls into a protective ball against it. "No, no!" He shouts in panic. "I mean no harm!" He even repeats himself in ancient Mayan, hoping she might understand a little bit of it.

It's a party in the jungle! Too bad Jaguara seems to be making an early exit after getting it all started. As the knocked out Columbian stirs, she grabs a handful of Mala's neck scruff and holds on as the prehistoric looking cat turns and hops up onto a broken concourse of old stone that leads to the edge of the ruins and the safety of the trees. "Dayid, molo hi hi." Jaguar calls down to him, not in a mean way, but in a more encouraging tone as if she's trying to suggest something… like, maybe, running away. The howler monkeys are pouring out of the trees, frenzied and terrifying with their otherworldly calls.

David peeks our from under a raised arm, and actually seems to get the encouraging tone of the girl's voice. He doesn't need to be told twice to run, so he scrambles to his feet and starts fleeing the scene. He almost slips and falls a couple of times, but once he reaches a safe distance, the scholar stops to look back at the girl and the giant jaguar.

Cat and amazon streak away, covering ground fast and then plunging into the underbrush with surprisingly little sound. Then again, the monkeys are making plenty of that. Now, on the dirt, they stream through the ruins like an angry mob looking for somebody to do a little ultra violence too, like the Columbian. He stands up, rubbing his jaw, only to see a swarm of screaming screeching crazy freaking monkeys almost on top of him. How could his day get any worse?

And we leave the fate of the poor Colombian to imagination. As for David? He is staring longingly into the distance, where the girl and the cat disappeared. Now he's intrigued, and it's a sure thing he will do his darnest to contact the mysterious amazon again, even risk life and limb!

[OOC] Jaguara says, "Join us next time, in the continuing adventures of David Tuttle."

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