The jeep slowed to a stop in the middle of a ring of bushes that would hide it completely unless you actually knew where it was. Slowly I got up and jumped down the side of the jeep onto a bed of pine needles that covered the ground silencing my landing to just a dull thud that even i barely heard. Tall straight pines surrounded the jeeps in every direction. Drops of rain were still dripping from the canopy of needles from a brief squall of wind and rain from a more northern direction. In the forest it was silent except for the purr of the engines and our own breathing and even then the trees seemed to soak up the sound.
We stood there in a frozen moment, watching as the trees seemed to watch us, waiting for, anything to happen. A squirrel chattered in indignation at our intrusion breaking the spell and causing everything to happen at once. The engines stopped, ropes were untied, bundles were passed and crates were lowered even a small rain shelter quickly appeared out of nowhere. Most of our more sensitive equipment went under there to stay dry, out of the damp that the trees seemed to radiate in an aura.
Quickly a small organised camp was set up around a small camp fire that crackled merrily to itself feed with some dry wood which we had brought with us, around it several wet logs hissed as we tried to dry them off ready for the coming night during which they would have to last until morning. Off to the side a pile of dryer sticks and branches were tied down under a waterproof tarpaulin. Around the outside all the tents were fixed to the trees and half covered in leaves to dull their colours.
In the main group tent, the one we used for planning, eating and any other activity we did together, Bonno and Dag were arguing over who could use grenades to their best effect. Ray was looking at a nasty blister Scotty had got from walking around a few days ago and was apparently "killing him". James was fiddling with an old radio, probably trying to get it to do some weird and wonderful thing that I would never understand. James was cooking a dinner of rice and beans over the fire with a sad look on his face.
I thought about what would make me look like that, then that hazy list of names appeared again in my head and the corners of my mouth pulled down slightly.
"Charlie get your marksman’s butt over here and tell him I’m better with explosives BEFORE I blow his head off." Someone shouted at me, raising my head I looked at Bonno who was grinning at me. With a sigh I put down my McMillan Tac-50 carefully wrapping it up and putting it to the side.
"Ok" I half moaned.