‘The ‘Mission’’ by Aidan

Rain echoed from every direction; icy bullets piercing the canopy fired from a merciless army of misty grey. Not entirely muffled by this ruthless purge where the croaks of frogs, the noise of monkey’s and the occasional roar of a distant Pantha.

In a small clearing, darkened by branches of towering trees to the extent that it could’ve quite easily been nighttime, sat a large white tent. To the disgust of the ever-determined wind, the tent was reinforced with sturdy mahogany planks, the poles were each set a foot into the jungle floor and held into a frame with rope.

The group’s task was as simple as any task that mission control would give. However, it was also menial and considered a waste of time by the twenty-five-strong crew. The problem was that it took precious time that was needed for a more daunting task: The recovery of an ancient relic, presumed to date back to the tenth-century. The relic was (and still is depending on who you ask) a belonging of a once great civilisation of people. The relic was a small statue, and thousands of other similar ones existed. In fact, the statue was one hundred identical ones believed to have been sold by a crafty market seller to tourists for at least twenty times the price that the small off-cuts of wood required to make them would have cost. So yes, it would be a lot of work recovering the figure and it was undeniably pointless in the grand scheme of things.

Especially since a powerful tribe had found it three centuries ago and deemed it their god. They had also forced their belief of many nearby villages, to the point that times from before this belief system was in place became so far outside of living memory that it might as well have been the grass or a donkey: so far integrated into their lives and culture that no one really questioned it.

Shawn pondered these thoughts as he lay awake in the early hours of the morning. He had been awake since three, partly from the ripping and piercing of the rain against the tent and partly from pain in his back caused by the absurdly uncomfortable camping bed clearly designed by someone who disapproved of lying on anything other than concrete. His thoughts were disrupted by the shouts of the crew’s captain who had quite possibly been trying to find the best two sticks in the jungle for hitting against each other. This was what all the others woke up to immediately before the captain began his daily rambles about how important their mission was.

When enlistment for the mission had begun, Shawn had thought it’d be great fun. He still firmly believed that Archaeology could be all about guns and whips, but the captain and the omnipotent forces above him were certain that it couldn’t.

For another day of countless more to come, the crew left the tent and disappeared into the rain.