"There are numerous reasons why it couldn't be a dinosaur…" Reid had chose to follow Detective Taylor and Natalia into the woods to look for the cockpit. "For one, there have never been any fossilized remnants of dinosaurs past the end of the Late Cretaceous…" He followed Natalia down the dry creek into the jungle on the other side. "And besides, many of these South Pacific Islands were created mostly out of volcanic and coral ash following the last ice age. The best candidates would be a giant tree sloth, many of which grew up to…"
"Reid…" Taylor stopped and looked at him. "I want to thank you very much for volunteering to come along to help find the cockpit, but I never said it was a dinosaur so the Animal Planet lecture along the way is entirely optional."
Natalia stood by drinking from her canteen.
"I was just trying to pass the time by sharing some knowledge." Reid abashedly stopped and took the moment to sip from his canteen as well. "Sometimes conversation helps make the time go by faster."
"Okay…" Mac looked way away then back to the young prodigy. "How about telling us about your friends and family back home? What are they like?"
"Well…" Their pause ended and Taylor started leading again as Reid talked. "My only family is my mother, and she lives in a rest home, but I guess you could call my team in the bureau my extended family. Jason's been like a brother to me."
"Jason Gideon?" Mac asked as he continued forward and around brush, weeds, high grass and tall trees in a canopy that blacked out the sun from reaching the ground. They were following what seemed to be a path to the bottom of the ridge. They weren't sure why there would be a path if the island were deserted, but it gave them hope there might be life on the island.
"Yeah." Reid responded.
"I met Jason at a speech he once gave in Manhattan on profiling." Mac stopped at a spot where the trail seemed to end at a clearing. "He impressed me with his analytic approach on investigations." He stopped, pulled out a canteen and sipped some water before sharing it with Spencer and Natalia.
"How old do you think the path is?" She looked back. "You'd think it would have grown over after a year or two."
"Boars could keep it worn down…" Taylor thought of similar trails he had experienced while in military duty in Southeast Asia. "No to mention our mysterious friend from last night…" He looked onward and off the ledge clearing where the ridge dropped over thirty feet to the jungle floor. "Okay, let's back track to where we passed those fallen trees. I think we can get down up there."
Over the ridge behind them and down in the middle valley of the island, the man named MacGyver and Jack Hodgins had another agenda and were hunting to find naturally growing sustainable plants and freshwater in the jungle. Using a shoelace from a shoe and the branch, he had created a bow and with a few more branches and sharp pieces of slate he had created arrows. It wasn't perfect, but he had used it to take down the smaller of two wild boars he and Jack had surprised in the clearing. He hoisted the smaller of the two boars up to his shoulders to haul back to camp just as Hodgins came around and through the brush beaming and opening his pack.
"Pleurotus ostrreatus…" Hodgins beamed. "The oyster mushroom… very edible, a delicacy if dipped and fried in egg."
"If you know where we can find some eggs…" MacGyver tied up the second hog carcass to pull behind him back to the beach.
"Did you find any water?"
"I followed a nice stream up to a pool at the base of the north ridge." MacGyver closed his Swiss Army knife. "There are some caves up there I think might make a safe and cool communal area off the beach." He peered toward the direction of it with a slight gesture to their direction. "Down there, I found a large ship in the jungle."
"A ship?" Jack lit up excitedly. "You mean we're saved? We're…" He did a double take. "Did you say in the jungle?"
"Yeah…" Mac hauled the sack of vegetables and roots over his shoulder but dragged the boar as he walked. "I'll show it to you on the way back to the beach. Looks like there's a lot of crates and cargo in it so maybe we can salvage part of it, but from the condition of it, I'd say it was dumped in land by a huge tidal wave at least a century or two ago."
"You think it's seaworthy?"
"Not with a big hole in the side…" MacGyver and Jack bonded over common interests and a wish to be rescued. "Besides, even if we could patch it and get it through the jungle to the water, I wouldn't trust an old schooner that's been rotting and decaying in the hot jungle for over a century." He paused to pull the boar along with him. "No, it's value is going to be in what we can out of it."
"Shame…" Jack scanned and watched the plants on the hill for anything edible he might have missed. "It wasn't named Mary Celeste, was it?"
"No, Black Rock…." MacGyver chucked a bit. "Besides the Mary Celeste was Mid-Atlantic." Jack suddenly stopped and noticed more wild onions. He started pulling several up by hand, but the older more mature ones were more rooted in the dirt. He tugged and pulled on them, but they wouldn't give.
"Here," MacGyver pulled his knife out again. "Try my knife…" He tossed it to Jack, but it sailed just a few inches past his hand. When it hit ground, it made a metallic clank on something in the ground. It didn't sound real. Jack and MacGyver looked at each other.
"That wasn't ground…" He loved new discoveries. "What else have we found?" He started stomping and tapping the ground until he found the area of the noise. MacGyver found it first. It was a metal door covered in grass, foliage and long wild reeds. Around it was a base of concrete. In the door was an opaque glass along with a rusty and ruined lock mechanism. It looked like the sealed entrance to a possible deserted old World War Two bunker, but what was it doing here and why had it been deserted?
On the other side of the ridge, Mac, Natalie and Reid had used long vines and descending roots to descend to the bottom of the jungle floor and were hiking through a forest of long thin trees that reached fifty feet over their heads. The trunks were long and stout, but the tops all interlocked into a massive canopy of foliage of leaves. It was like the forest scene of "The Wizard of Oz" as seen by Tim Burton. The forest floor was roughly flat, a fallen tree here and there from a break in the overhead canopy. It was dark except for the pinpricks of sunlight breaking the canopy overhead. It was like wandering through a giant fake forest of nails holding up a thick lush blanket of dark to mild green. From the edges of this shadowy unearthly domain, Mac suddenly stopped.
"Did you hear that?"
"Hear what?" Natalie asked.
"Voices…" Mac stopped and looked around. "I heard whispering." He gestured to Reid not to talk, but Natalia must have heard it too because she suddenly cocked her head up to where Mac was peering. There were very distant whispering sounds in the area; the sort of distorted incoherent noises you didn't get from a forest. There was not another person in site. Reid came up alongside Natalia trying to understand them. They were being haunted.
"It sounds…" Reid tried diffusing the noise in his head. "Like several voices overlapping… somehow imprinted in the air."
"How's that possible?" Natalia reacted alarmed. "What… who's causing it?"
Mac saw a shadow in the distance.
"Over there!" He bolted and ran as fast as he could. In the distance the trees changed, and the forest and brush wrapped around them once more. Strewn in the leaves and decaying plant life was the human detritus from the plane crash. Clothes caught in trees, a random plane seat, trees torn down by the missing plane engine, a fight attendant's cart on its side, a disheveled crate from baggage, more plane parts and a section of landing gear. Mac slowed as the ground dipped and folded. Natalia tried keeping up with him by going around a huge conifer tree. The trees ahead were large, as thick as California redwoods but with vines growing up around them. Their roots ripped and tore the ground apart making it uneven. Up ahead was a flash of light reflecting sunlight in the dingy jungle growth. Just twenty feet from the lost cockpit, Mac stopped and spun around looking for the shadow he had been changing.
"Did you see it?" Mac looked around. "Where'd it go?"
"What?" Natalia turned around looking.
"I saw a man." Mac was trying to find his quarry. "He was fast and wiry, dressed in black… As soon as I started getting close to him, he'd pop up again several feet away."
"Maybe it was an illusion…"
"It wasn't an illusion." Mac stared Reid down then turned to the ruined cockpit. The rear edges of it were ripped and shredded as if a giant had twisted it apart from the rest of the plane. The nose had fallen into the fork of a huge tree holding it up at an angle as a giant wounded metal bird that had lay down and died. The plane had severed at the first class station. The ground around it was littered in plane trays, magazines, small liquor bottles and everything else.
"Reid," Mac paused ashamed at snapping at him. "Look through the wreckage around here for things we might be able use. Try to find a first aid kit and medicine. Natalia and I will climb up inside the cockpit and try and find the transponder." He looked to her sweaty and dirty in her white shirt and jeans. "Ladies first…"
"My knight in shining armor…" She made a face and Reid began searching over the objects littered around them. Past the ripped and distorted fuselage and the loose avionic gear hanging in their faces, the CSI tech and the CSI detective climbed a steep angle up into first class. It was like a futuristic dimly lit mausoleum. It was empty and deserted with three passengers still trapped in their seats. Pulling themselves up on the seats, Natalia checked the first one and Mac checked the second and third. Still trapped in their seats, the lost passengers sat dead in the spots where they had breathed their last. Mac checked a wallet. Dim light poked in through the side windows.
"Carter McKay, Dallas businessman…" He commented.
"No identification over here." Natalia echoed as Mac struggled and climbed to the last.
"Margo Freshwater… entertainment manager…" He stepped on the braces of the seats and climbed up the interior a bit higher. Everything that had been loose up here was now all pilled up in the back wall of the front attendants station. Running out of things to pull himself up on, Mac reached up and pulled himself by the hanging door of a microwave then lifting his leg up to step onto a thin ledge on the counter above. He then pulled Natalia up to his level. The door to the cockpit was over their heads. In his hand, Mac pulled a piece of iron support from the fuselage and wedged it in the door to force it open. It wasn't easy; he was still holding on with his other hand to keep from falling down the middle of the plane. Natalia held on to him as Mac suddenly took his hand and struck his improvised tool. The door buckled just a bit and broke open dropping something past them. It was large and fast, and it vanished before they could see it.
"What was that?" Natalia asked.
"I think it was the body of the navigator." Mac looked up into the blast of light through the cockpit. Peering up to the control panel, he pulled himself up into the room littered with strewn flight charts. The pilot and co-pilot were still in their seats. Mac checked the pulse of one. That man was dead.
"Where would this transponder…"
The other pilot groaned. Mac quickly pulled his radio gear off him and checked his eyes.
"Are you okay?" Mac undid his seat belt. "Do you know your name?"
"Jay-James…" The blue-eyed pilot was slow to respond. "James Ubriacco…"
"James, I'm detective Mac Taylor from New York." Mac introduced him. "This is Natalia Boa Vista from Miami. We're two of the surviving passengers from your flight. Can you tell us what happened?"
"Not sure…." James was so glad to see another face. He'd been falling in and out of consciousness for what seemed like days, and when he tried to move, he got weak from his injuries and passed out again. "We were at 25,000 feet and descended to 18,000 to avoid head winds, and the co-pilot reported traffic over the radio. It sounded as if we were picking up chatter, but the second we asked for identification, we got hit…" Mac handed him his canteen to drink from. "Uhhh…" James gasped from the water. "Did anyone find us?"
"Not yet…" Mac looked to Natalia and back to James. "We need the transponder so we can get found."
"It's right here." James pointed to the console where it was. "But we may have a problem. Halfway to Los Angeles the compass and radio failed and we left the guidance system to control the plane. We could be anywhere from fifty to five hundred miles off course. They're going to be looking for us in the wrong place."
"This transponder better have a golden ticket to Los Angeles with it." Natalia commented with a reference to a movie. Mac helped James out of his seat to descend down with him. His left leg was at weird angle and possibly broken. Clancy and Dorian would have to fix that, but first, they had to get back to camp and that would mean going to the shore and following it around the ridge. Outside the plane, Reid collected several of the alcohol bottles and objects he felt could be utilized in other means. The loose leaves picked up around him in the breeze and blew around him. The trees swayed, and he turned around to watch the tips moving over his head. With the gust of wind, the loud roar from last night returned.
"What was that?" James asked inside the plane.
"It's our friend from last night." Mac froze as he and Natalia froze on the back wall of the cockpit. As they waited, something struck the side of the wrecked plane, and Mac immediately thought of Reid. He hoped the kid was okay, but whatever was trying to get at them knew where they were and how to get them. The cockpit shook again and the body of the dead co-pilot slumped over in his seat and dropped his pasty pale face over the back of his seat at them. Natalia braced hard as Mac and James fell backward. The glass windshield shattered on the tree it was up against, spilling a torrent of glass pellets, leafy brush and twigs into the plane. Mac held on to James trying to save him, but the tree limbs poking into the cockpit poked over and around him and James and suddenly grabbed him away. Mac never saw a thing. It looked as of James had been pulled by something in the branches or by the branches themselves. The roaring continued joined by the wind rustling through the air and joined by the sounds of gunshots. What was happening? James was there one minute and gone the next. Mac took Natalia first and dropped her down to safety. Shoving the transponder into his inside jacket pocket, he rushed to join her. Mac had heard of poltergeist attacks, but he had never encountered one.
"Reid!" Natalia saw the young BAU agent with a gun. "Where'd you get that?!"
"I think it belonged to the Air Marshall!" Reid was aiming into the tree over their heads.
"Let me have it!" Mac took it from him. "Run for the beach!" He covered them as Reid grabbed his pack with the stuff he collected, and Mac turned round examining his surroundings. The wind was blowing leaves, dust and dust up around him, but how do you kill a windstorm? The roaring came from behind him, and he fired two shots into the air where it had come from. There was a sound like pots and pans being struck together, a deep grumbling from within the earth and he fell victim to his self-preservation and ran up to catch up with Reid and Natalia. Running blind, the attractive female detective stumbled once in a creek, lifted herself up and ran as fast as she could thinking a wild animal was after her. The wind changed direction and blew the dust into her face and up under her. Running through the leaves and debris, she jumped down into another creek and backed to hide under the eave of a tree growing at an angle. From far away, the clanging noise seemed to be fading away joined by an odd rhythmic clicking. Struggling to catch her breath, she heard the noises fading further and further away, the wind dying down with it. On her other side, Mac caught up with her, spun around gun drawn then drew back.
"Natalia…" Mac looked at her and around. He saw open field beyond the tall stalk trees. "Are you okay? Where's Reid?"
"I don't know…" Her chest was heaving trying to catch her breath. She had never run like that before. "I think I lost him."
"I'm here…" Reid was somehow on the other bank despite having been left behind; he was struggling with a heavy pack and a cloth sack he was carrying. "I found someone…" He looked straight up. Up above them in the tree Natalia had chosen to hide behind them was body clutched in the branches. It had a white shirt and blank pants, and it hung loosely no longer alive. It was the body of the slain pilot.