Character: CJ and Toby unless the other
Summary: CJ and Toby's plane
crashes in the Andes.
possible spoilers up to and
including "Indians in the
Disclaimers: The normal disclaimers apply.
not mine and never will
Feedback: Greatly appreciated at
Note: This story is centered around a plane crash. No
activity is involved and it is not meant to represent
events. But readers who are particularly sensitive
to mentions of plane
crashes might want to give this story a
She was so cold.
Slowly, as CJ regained consciousness,
she remembered the crash. The night before
flashed in her mind like a
disjointed slide show complete with sound effects.
CJ heard the desperate
pilot trying to radio for help and getting no response.
She heard the
words "mechanical difficulties" and "loss of power."
She saw the Andes
all around them, then a single mountain immediately ahead, and
The loud screeching sounds of ripping metal still echo in
She remembered the plane tumbling, then nothing until the cold
nudged her awake.
Opening her eyes she looked around the crumpled
interior of the small plane.
Early morning light was seeping into the
interior, illuminating the disaster inside.
Half of the plane's cabin
had been ripped away. The right side was gone.
Looking toward the
front of the plane, she saw that the windshield was also gone.
was blowing inside coating the scattered luggage and debris. The pilot was
slumped in his seat. His neck was at an impossible angle. The copilot
along with the other half of the plane.
The plane was
tilted on its remaining side.
Wiping blood from her eyes and releasing
her seat belt, CJ crawled upward to the
aisle avoiding the sharp edges of
Last night Toby had been sitting across from her typing
on his laptop, complaining
about being sent on the advance trip. Now
there was nothing but air and snow where
his seat had been.
into the frigid void, she called for him.
Only the wind returned
Toby had been sitting
absolutely still for hours waiting for daybreak. The first rays
light confirmed what he had only suspected before. He was one wrong move
It was ironic that someone who hated nature
and being outdoors as much as he did, had
ended up in this
The good news was that he was alive and still strapped in his
airplane seat. The bad
news was that his seat was dangling from a tree
limb, about 30 feet above the snow and
rock covered ground below.
didn't seem to be hurt but he couldn't remember ever being this cold
Moisture from his breath had frozen on his beard and his hands
and feet felt numb.
During the night he had pulled his woolen neck
scarf from his neck and wrapped it around
the top of his head and
ears. But he was still freezing since his sports jacket offered
protection from the icy winds that continued to rock him back and
He'd had a lot of time to think during the bitter night hours and
he'd decided that his
current situation was all President Bartlet's
fault. Normally he would never have been
sent on an advance
trip. The Administration had numerous lower level lackeys who would
jump at the chance to check out a foreign locale and the arrangements for a
Looking down at the ground below him, he thought
maybe he should avoid using, or even
thinking, the phrase "jump at the
The plain fact was the President was punishing him.
Toby wasn't sure what CJ had done
to deserve this trip, but he knew why he
was here. In a heated discussion last week,
he had accused the
President of being too willing to buy into the latest environmental
(rainforest preservation) at the expense of business and the campaign.
response, the President decreed that Toby obviously needed more first hand
about environmental issues, and in particular rainforest
preservation. The next thing he
knew, he and CJ and about a half dozen
Secret Service agents, were at Reagan National
boarding a plane to South
Five plane changes and two days later he ended up here.
Swinging from a limb. And from
the looks of the all the snow and rocks
around him, no where close to a rainforest. So
much for gaining first
Now he was absolutely certain that he hated the great
She was still cold but it
was bearable since she had added a few layers. Rummaging through
of the luggage strewn about the cabin, CJ found a pair of men's hiking boots and
socks. The boots were a little large, but with the socks they
weren't a bad fit. A couple
of men's shirts and her own leather jacket
completed her outfit. While buttoning up one of
the shirts, she spared
a moment to wonder whose clothes she was borrowing and if she'd ever
There was no sign yet of the other passengers.
Except for the pilot still sitting in the
remains of the cock pit, she was
alone. When the plane had taken off from Quito, Ecuador
there were 10
people on board including the pilots. Surely, there was someone else
There had to be.
Trying not to think of the most
realistic possibilities, CJ busied herself gathering some
the back of her mind she had already decided to set off on foot looking for
other survivors, looking for Toby.
She found an emergency kit packed
in a nylon duffle bag stowed near the pilot. It contained
a variety of
items including: first aid supplies, flares, bottled water, water-proof matches,
nylon rope, a flashlight and batteries, a couple of solar reflective
blankets, a GPS unit, a
compass, maps, etc.
There was another bag
strapped in the overhead bin. It contained more water, several metal
pots with lids and wire handles, more matches, a folding knife, several
spoons, two metal
cups, an assortment of dried food packets, tea bags, and
CJ stuffed her purse into the food bag and slipped on
Grabbing both bags, she slung the strap of one over her
right shoulder and held the other
in her left hand.
out of the plane CJ surveyed her surroundings. The remains of the plane
on a barren slope of about 30 degrees. The plane's slide
had been halted by several
Volkswagen sized boulders. About a foot of
snow covered the ground.
Up slope from plane the area was populated with
tall trees and more boulders. In the distance
she could see the end of
the tree line, endless snow covered peaks and the areas too high in
elevation for anything to grow.
Turning around she looked past the
plane, down the slope. Nothing but snow, trees, rocks,
more rocks, and
one broken plane wing.
Taking the broken plane wing as a sign, she headed
down the mountain.
Getting down the
slope wasn't as easy as it looked, CJ thought after sliding down much of
last 100 feet on her bottom. Standing up, she brushed the snow off again
up her bags. Briefly she thought about leaving one them or
at least lightening the weight
of the bags. But she was afraid of
discarding anything until she had a better idea of how
long she might be
She had walked a couple of miles when she started seeing debris
from the plane. Insulation
and sheet metal decorated the scattered
shrubs and hung from the trees like tinsel.
Up ahead she saw part of the
plane. Dropping the bags, she ran closer.
Partially covered by snow and
sandwiched between two boulders, she found the right side of
complete with strapped in co-pilot. For a moment, just a moment, she
he might be alive. From a distance he appeared to be
unhurt. He looked like he was just
sitting there waiting for
instructions from the pilot.
Standing next to him, she saw the bluish
skin tone and the fist-sized indentation on the
left side of his
skull. He was dead.
Maybe they all were dead.
dropped to her knees, shaking.
All the fear that she had been keeping at
bay rushed at her. Everything she had been denying
thinking about crowded into her mind. The pilot and co-pilot were
dead. The rest
of the passengers were missing, probably dead.
Toby was probably dead. She was going to die.
Die on this
mountainside in some unidentified country all alone.
"Oh, God, please
help me!" she screamed.
"You'll have to wait in line, I asked first,"
Toby answered from above.
CJ scanned the trees. With some trepidation she called out,
"Well it's not God," a familiar, sarcastic voice
Taking off her sunglasses and walking around the immediate area,
she failed to locate him.
"Where the hell are you?"
to heaven. Look up. Up," he directed.
questioned in a puzzled voice, looking up into the trees.
teeth, he instructed her, "Higher - look higher."
Tilting her head back,
she finally located his lofty perch. "Oh - my
In a deceptively calm voice Toby answered, "I thought we
already covered that."
Ignoring his words, she continued to walk in a
circle below him, while looking up.
She opened and closed her mouth several
times but no words came out.
"Watch where you're walking, you're going to
fall over something!" he warned just as she
tripped over a piece of
Kneeling on the frozen ground, she just looked at
Shading her eyes with one hand, CJ finally found her voice
again. "What are you doing
up there?" she asked, wringing her
"Bird watching. What do you think I'm doing?" he
Angrily scrambling to her feet, she yelled at him. "Toby get
down from there, right now!"
Frowning at her, he stated the obvious, "I
would love to but I'm still working on a plan
whereby I not only get down,
but survive the journey."
"Can't you just, I don't know, just release the
seat belt, grab a limb, and climb down the
tree?" she asked
Toby in a sarcastic tone answered, "First you thought I was
God, now you think I'm a monkey?
Did you hit your head in the
Her eyes filled with tears at his words. "For your
information I did. See? Look here,"
she demanded pushing up her
bangs, exposing the bloody cut on her forehead.
"Uh, CJ, I can't see
that well from here. Maybe I could check out your injuries later?"
gently asked, finally starting to show a little concern at her uneven
now maybe you could help me figure out how to get
Nodding her head, she swiped her eyes and stared at
the airplane seat caught in the tree limbs.
"What do you
need? Besides a ladder I mean."
Looking at the large limb above his head,
he reflected, "Well a rope would be a big help."
"Wait here," she
ordered, running back up the slope and out of his sight.
shook his head. "Where does she think I'm
The rope missed his hand
A dozen or more throws and she hadn't even come close, CJ wearily
"Unless you get it up here, I'm never going to be able to
climb down. You're going to have
to throw it higher," Toby
"Sure thing, Rapunzel," she muttered.
didn't hear you."
"I said this isn't going to work, the rope is too
light," CJ replied.
Frowning, he considered the problem. "Okay,
then tie some kind of weight to one end."
about the same size and weight as a baseball," Toby suggested.
through the bags at her feet, CJ failed to find anything that she thought would
work. The flashlight was a possibility, but she was afraid she would
break it. Plus, she
didn't have a clue as to how she would attach it
to the nylon rope.
"Try a rock," Toby yelled.
CJ looked up at him
and asked, "How do I attach the rope?"
"Do I have to think of
"I would think you would have a higher degree of motivation,
since you're the one stuck
in a tree. So, yes."
"Put a sock in
"I beg your pardon."
"I said put it in a sock. Put the
rock in a sock and tie the sock to the rope."
"That actually might work,"
she said, sitting down and beginning to unlace one boot.
"Will you hurry
up? I can't sit in this position for much longer. My butt's
She thought that he had certainly been a pain in hers. "Give
me a minute to put my boot
back on. I'm not going to stand here
barefooted in the snow."
Tying the rock-filled sock to the rope only took
a few seconds.
CJ cocked her arm back and threw it towards Toby's
"Ball one," Toby heckled.
"Shut up, and let me
Gathering up the sock and rope again, she prepared to give
it another try.
"It would help if you didn't throw like a girl," Toby
"You sorry son of a *****." She leaned back and threw
the rock as hard as she could.
He caught it with one hand and
Leo's office ~ Day 1
plane Toby and CJ were traveling in was 12 hours overdue at Arequipa,
Leo hung up the phone and pulled off his glasses. Rubbing his
eyes, he leaned back
in his chair.
With a weary sigh, he got up and
walked to the door on his right, the one that led to
the Oval Office.
He dreaded delivering the message he had just received from the State
Two of the President's Senior Staff, three Secret Service
Agents, and three employees
from the Travel Office were missing somewhere in
the Andes, presumed dead.
It wasn't that long ago that it had been his
job to go into the Oval Office and tell
the President that his personal
secretary was dead.
Now it was his job to tell the President that his
Communications Director and Press Secretary
were presumed dead.
was beginning to believe that most of the time his job
Andes Mountain Range ~ Day
"Tilt your head up a little more," Toby insisted.
Sitting on a
rock, CJ had her eyes closed and one hand held her bangs off her
Toby was leaning over her, cleaning the blood and dirt off her
"Ouch, that stings," she complained, as Toby applied an antiseptic
to the ragged cut on
"Do you want me to blow
on it?" he asked.
Her eyes popped open, "What?"
Holding her chin
with one hand and the iodine with another, he smiled, "That's something
mother always said. If you blow on it, it's not supposed to hurt so
With a skeptical look on her face, she asked, "Does that really
Putting a bandage on her cut, he confided, "It always made me feel
AI think I'm going to need a little more than that before I feel
Putting away the first aid supplies in the bag, he raised his
eyebrows and gave her
a questioning look.
"Oh you know, the basics: a
hot bath, a change of clothes, a hot meal, and a cab ride home.
up both bags, he promised to work on her list if she led him back to the main
Standing up, she quipped, "You do realize that it's all up
hill from here?"
Andes Mountain Range ~
Day 1, late afternoon
The jagged half shell of the plane was still lodged
against the boulders on the sloped area.
Once again Toby was sitting in an
airline seat. This time it was on the ground, or close
sat in the pilot's seat of the wreaked plane, tinkering with the radio.
Earlier he and CJ had carried the dead pilot out of the plane and placed
him alongside the
bodies of the two Secret Service agents they had found
about 100 feet from the wreckage.
Toby was hoping that he could get the
plane's radio working so they wouldn't have to deal
with the problem of
finding a more permanent resting place for the casualties.
Toby had spent the last hour working on the radio without success.
His prayer for some,
as yet unrealized, electrical engineering skill had
Intermittently, he was able to hear some static on
the receiver but most of the time,
the radio seemed to be without
power. He had tried transmitting a Mayday call, but he
certain no message was getting out.
CJ was pouring over maps,
sitting near a campfire about 20 feet from the plane. They had
building the fire, what with jet fuel and the risk of explosions. Then
had realized that the fuel tanks weren't with this part of the
Toby shook his head, thinking that was probably the only
reason CJ was alive.
Getting up from the seat, he jumped down from
the plane. Stretching, he rubbed his
lower back. It would
probably be years, if ever, before he was comfortable sitting
in a chair for
long periods of time. By his calculations, he had been stuck, immobile,
that airline seat in what he now thought of as "his tree" for over 9
hours. By the
time he climbed down that nylon rope, he could hardly
The two mile trek back to the main plane wreckage, all up hill as
CJ had warned, had
worked most of the kinks out. Now he just felt like
he had been in a bad car wreck.
Every bone in his body ached. He
wondered if there was a medical term for total body
any luck with the radio?" CJ asked, noticing his descent from the
Putting his hands in his pants pockets and walking closer to the
fire, he shrugged,
"Nothing so far."
She nodded and pushed up her
"How are you doing? Have you figured out where we are?"
he asked, looking down at the
map spread on the ground in front of
"Not exactly," tapping her right index finger against a spot north
of Lima, CJ explained.
"Based on the time we left Quito and the time of the
crash plus the pilot's flight plan,
I think we're in the Cordillera Blanca
mountains, probably in the Huascaran National Park."
Sitting down beside
her, Toby asked, "Are you kidding? That's great. How big is this
How many acres?"
Glancing at his face and then quickly back down
at the map, she softly answered.
"I don't know how many acres,
but it's about 100 miles in length."
He sighed and put his hand on hers,
Looking into his eyes, she resolutely
Andes Mountain Range ~ Day 1, late
"Toby, Toby are you awake?" CJ whispered.
The sun had set
several hours before and the temperature was steadily
Each wrapped in a solar blanket, they were lying in a
half circle around the fire.
The tops of their heads were almost
"Are you asleep?"
"Sorry. I just . . ."
"Do you want to get back in the
"No, I think it's colder in there. All that metal, it's
like a refrigerator."
"Okay, I'll put some more wood on the
you hear something?"
"I thought I heard
"It's just the wind."
"I read in one of those guide
books that there are jaguars in Peru."
"Just in the rainforest
- I think. Go to
"I'm still cold."
"I don't think a bigger fire will help,
we couldn't get as close to it."
"Would you . . . would you just hold
"Okay, but I get to lie next to the fire."
"Oh you . .
"Ouch, what was that for?"
"Some gentleman you are, I'm already
freezing. Why do I have to be on the outside."
"Hey, I cooked
"Yeah, but it was gummy."
"It was oatmeal, what do you
"What? Miss Julia Child never covered oatmeal in those
cooking shows you like?"
"Come here, you can be on the fire
"Do you think they know we're missing?"
"I'm sure Leo got a
call when our plane was late. They're probably organizing a
"Do you think they believe we're dead?"
"Not dying in the crash."
welcome, now shut up."
Aircraft - Day 2, pre-dawn hours
Josh reread the same State
Department reports he had already read so many times
he'd committed them to
memory. Five wrinkled pages of information could be summarized
few lines. The chartered plane with the White House advance team had left
Ecuador at 6:30 pm local time headed for Lima, Peru. The plane
was due to arrive at
9:45 pm local time. It never made it. No
distress calls. No radar information.
No emergency transponder
signals detected. Just, nothing.
Folding the reports in half, he
placed them in the outside pocket of the backpack that
was stuffed under the
seat in front of him.
"Don't you think you should try to get some
sleep? We won't be in Caracas for another
glanced over at Sam who was sitting in the adjacent seat. "I've never been
sleep on planes."
"You don't have any trouble sleeping on Air
Force One," Sam joked.
"I don't think of Air Force One as a plane, it's
more like a moving office."
With an wry smile, he added, "I can sleep in an
office, no problem."
Leaning back against the seat and crossing his arms
over his chest, Sam asked, "Do you
think Toby and CJ are
Ignoring Sam's question, Josh asked one of his own.
"Tell me something. How did you
talk Leo into letting you go with
me? Last I heard he was adamant about keeping at
least one member of
the Senior Staff in the West Wing."
Opening a bottle of water, he took a
sip while he waited for Sam's answer.
Looking out the window into the
dark sky, Sam calmly replied, "I resigned."
"What?" asked a
startled Josh, sputtering water on both him and Sam.
Eyes flashing, Sam
declared, "There was no way I was staying in D.C. No way I was
out of this. I gave him my letter of resignation and started making my own
Josh, wanting the rest of the story inquired,
Sam, wiping water off his shirt, shrugged, "And, I think the
President told Leo to let
me go with you, because a few minutes later Charlie
handed my letter back to me along with
a travel authorization
Pulling out the ragged, and now damp, State Department reports
again, Josh smiled at Sam
and said, "Well, I'm glad you're here. Since
I don't speak Spanish, you could be useful."
Punching Sam's shoulder, he
added, "I also need someone to carry my bags."
Sam just looked out the
window, fingering a small pink rubber
Leo's Office - Day 2,
"Is there any news?"
Leo looked up from the work on
his desk and started to stand.
The President waved him down and then
seated himself on Leo's couch.
"Is there any news?" he impatiently asked
"No, not yet. Josh and Sam made it to Caracas a couple of
hours ago, and they caught
a commercial flight to Quito."
Looking at his watch, Leo added, "They should be arriving there any time
"What about the State Department? What are they
Leo got up and walked over to an arm chair next to the
Sitting, he answered, "Tom Calaway, our Ambassador is working with
the Peruvian government.
They're starting an aerial search today for
Leaning forward with his elbows on his knees, the President
looked down at the floor and
reluctantly asked, "Do you think they're alive,
"Until we have some evidence . . .," Leo started to answer, but
stopped himself when
he saw the expression on the President's face.
"No," Leo gruffly confided. "I don't think they
Andes Mountain Range ~ Day
Toby and CJ were sitting near the camp fire, drinking weak tea out
of metal cups and
contemplating their situation.
"Do you think it's
warmer today?" CJ asked.
Toby nodded. "Yeah, I think it's above
freezing, some of the snow is starting to melt.
I forgot it's almost summer
Stretching her legs out toward the fire, she questioned, "Should
we be doing something?"
"I don't know. Maybe
walking down the mountain. It would be warmer, the farther down we
If we just kept heading west, we would get to the Pacific ocean."
Of course it might take
awhile, she thought to herself.
stay with the plane. There's a better chance of us being found if we stay
the plane," he confidently asserted.
She laughed. "Just
how many plane crashes have you been in, Toby?"
His eyes twinkled.
"One too many."
Sobering, she pulled her knees up to her chest and
wrapped her arms around her legs.
"I think we need to consider what to
do if no one finds us right away. How long do we wait?
Our food won't
last more than a week."
In response, Toby got to his feet and started
pacing. Rubbing the top of his head, he
muttered, "I don't
"What?" she asked in mock surprise. "Toby Zeigler is saying
he doesn't know something?
Now I'm sure I'm dreaming."
her chin on her knees, she softly added, "Maybe this whole episode is just a bad
Looking down at the top of her bent head, he muttered, "Yours
or mine? Cause I've gotta
say that I usually have better dreams than
this, especially when you're in them."
Popping her head up in
astonishment, she stared at him. "Are you flirting with me?
Because if you are, you need more practice and your timing
"Hey, it's your dream." Smiling he stuck his hands in his
pockets and walked over to the
Lima, Peru - Day 2, early
Backpacks and duffle bags were piled around them. After
their flight from Quito,
Sam and Josh had exchanged their business suits for
jeans and t-shirts. Hiking boots
and insulated jackets completed their
During their flight from Quito, Ecuador to Lima, Peru,
they had practically hung their
heads out the windows, looking for
something, anything. The State Department's best
information put the
crash site somewhere in the mountains between the two cities.
them knew that their plane was flying at too high an altitude for them to see
much of anything but the general physical features of the landscape.
But it turned out
that they saw even less than that. All they saw were
Now, they were standing in the Lima Airport talking with the US
Ambassador to Peru,
Several State Department
employees were working nearby with Peruvian Custom Agents,
necessary paperwork and cutting the obligatory red tape.
Red tape knew no
national boundaries, Sam observed. He was only half listening to
Ambassador Callaway's reiteration of the same information that his office
to the White House the day before.
Pulling his attention
from the Custom Agents, Sam noticed Josh starting to lose patience
decided it was time to intervene.
"Mr. Ambassador, thank you for your
comprehensive briefing. It has been invaluable,
just like your earlier
reports." Actually exactly like his earlier reports, Sam thought.
we need to know about the aerial search. How's it going?"
took another five minutes before Sam was able to pull out the information they
looking for. The search had started and stopped all within a few
hours. Calaway apologized
profusely, but relayed his inability to
control the weather or force the Peruvian pilots
to endanger their lives.
Josh only caught the words "search stopped" before he was on his cell
phone to Leo.
Andes Mountain Range ~
Day 2, early afternoon
The rain was a driving force to be reckoned
with, only they had very little means to
Huddling in the
half shell of the plane, CJ and Toby were being soaked by the torrential
rainfall. There was only enough of the plane's roof left to keep out
the rain that fell
vertically. The problem was most of the rain seemed
to be blowing horizontally.
Holding a torn piece of the plane's metal
skin in front of them to deflect some of the rain,
Toby yelled something
Although CJ was sitting next to him, she couldn't
make out his words above the roar of the
winds and the noise from the
pelting rain. She thought that it was amazing how loud rain
"What did you say?" she shouted in his
Shouting back he replied, "I don't like being on this slope with all
this rain coming down.
I don't think it's safe."
"Why? What more do
you think is going to happen to us?" she frantically asked.
moment the plane shifted to the right, and started a slow pivot around the
anchoring it on the slope. Before either of them could react,
the plane was sliding down
the mountain on a river of
Leo's Office - Day 2,
"Mr. Secretary, the President is going to want to know what
his options are? What can I
tell him?" Leo demanded.
was standing behind his desk with the phone receiver to his ear. The urge
to pace was
almost uncontrollable but the phone cord wouldn't cooperate.
Twice in the last half hour, Margaret had rushed into his office at the
sound of a crash
only to find the telephone, various files, and maps
scattered on the floor. Yelling into
the receiver, he had walked too
far and had dragged the phone base and the all the items
in its path off the
Now, with the phone cord keeping him tethered like a guard
dog on a short chain and the
Secretary of State droning on about why nothing
more could be done until the weather in
the Andes cleared, Leo felt his rage
building and any remaining patience disappearing.
"That's not good enough
and you know it," he shouted. "If you can't come up with some way
start a search for our people in the next couple of hours, the President is
going to find
someone who can."
Slamming the phone receiver down in
the cradle, he looked at it for a few seconds, then
in frustration picked up
the whole unit and tossed it across the room, knocking a lamp to
Predictably at the sound of the crash, Margaret popped her head in
the door. Frowning, she
looked at him and then at the mess on the
floor. Without saying a word, she disappeared back
into her office for
Returning, she walked into the room and handed him a cell
phone and a fresh cup of coffee.
Mountain Range - Day 2, evening
Like the ball in a pinball
machine, the remains of the plane's cabin spun, slipped, and
bumped its way
down the mountainside.
Each time the plane hit a boulder, more of
it broke off. By the time it washed up against
a dense stand of trees,
there was very little of it left. It no longer even resembled a
just a large mud coated tin can. The two occupants of the tin can lay
half buried in mud
Darkness fell and the torrent of rain
continued to beat at the plane. Jammed against the
trees, the plane
acted as a partial dam. Flowing mud and debris from the slope began piling
up against the metal, slowly raising the water
Andes Mountain Range -
Day 2, late night
Toby struggled to push CJ up on top of the battered
metal plane. The swirling water pulled
at them and her long body
fought him at every turn.
The rain had slowed but the water around them
kept rising. Runoff from the slope was
accumulating. The plane
was being filled with water and mud.
He had regained consciousness a few
minutes before, spitting water and raking mud from
consciousness came a rush of fear. Toby had felt like he was being buried
The plane's cabin was dark and except for his head and
shoulders, he had been enveloped
in mud and water.
the remains of the cabin, he had blindly searched for her. He
called out for her, but got no response. Seconds had seemed more
like hours until he
had accidentally brushed against her icy hand.
was dead weight in his arms as he tried to maneuver her onto the roof of the
Finally with one last shove, he managed to get most of her body
out of the water and
balanced on the slick metal.
Checking once more
that she was still breathing, he dropped back into the frigid, muddy
Again he searched the plane's cabin. This time he
searched for the two duffle bags that
contained the means to their
survival. The loss of those bags would kill them as surely
Guest Room, American Embassy,
Lima - Day 2, late night
Hanging up the telephone, Josh
uttered another epithet. He was running out of new ones
"I don't know how the hell we're going to find them, if we can't use
helicopters." He sighed and slumped into the arm chair
next to the bed.
The guest bedroom in the American Embassy was large by
any standards. White stucco walls
and dark, highly polished hardwood
floors only increased the sense of space. The teak and
furniture did little to fill it. A second very similar room was next
connected by a shared bathroom.
The current occupant of
that bathroom turned off the water in the sink. Sam, with a towel
across his shoulders, had been listening to Josh while attempting to
shave. Every time Josh
yelled, he managed to cut himself. After
the third small cut, he put down his razor and used
one end of the towel to
wipe his face.
Holding onto the doorframe into Josh's room, he
responded, "The rain is coming down so hard,
the pilots can't even see the
mountains, much less avoid crashing into them. We have to wait.
The weather reports are predicting some clearing by noon tomorrow.
Calaway says that the
Peruvian government promises to have search planes in
the air as soon as the rains slacks off
and the visibility gets
Slumped in the upholstered chair with his legs stretched out in
front of him, Josh impatiently
asked, "What if that's too late for Toby and
CJ? What if they don't have until tomorrow?"
Tossing down the
towel, Sam angrily stalked over to him.
"Listen to me. If we had
any idea of where to start looking, I'd be the first one to say
damn the planes, damn the rain. We could go in by jeep or pack mule, or .
I don't know what!"
Walking over to the window, he
continued with less emotion, "Maybe hike in. But Josh,
over 800 miles of mountain range out there. It would be foolish to start
ground search under these conditions."
Arguing more with
himself now, Sam added, "No, the aerial search is our best hope, even if
have to wait until tomorrow. Even if we have to wait until next
Failing to rub the exhaustion off his face, Josh responded by
bounding up from the chair
and resuming his pacing.
his sentry watch at the window.
Mountain Range - Day 3, dawn
With exhausted eyes, he watched
the dawn break through the trees. Lowering his eyes to
around him, Toby admitted a grudging admiration for Noah. Noah's
had been destroyed by water and he had avoided giving in to
Of course Noah had gotten fair warning of the flood and time to
build an ark, Toby reminded
God in a silent prayer. He'd had no
warning, no signs that he understood, that their already
perilous grip on
survival would be tested in such a way.
One really wet, miserable night
and Toby was drowning in despair. He had found the duffle
the emergency supplies. But as yet he hadn't found the courage to look
and discover how much had been destroyed by the bags' submersion in
mud and water.
Returning his thoughts to Noah, Toby again compared their
situations. Noah was responsible
for saving a large number of people
and animals. Toby was just responsible for one life
own. And he hadn't done a very good job.
His arms ached from
cradling her unconscious body. CJ hadn't stirred since he pulled her
out of the plane. He didn't know how badly she was injured. But,
she was breathing.
He clung to that fact as he had throughout the
Bowing his head, Toby recited a prayer.
into the clearing skies, he added a postscript. "If you're sending help,
please consider sending it sooner rather than
Guest Room, American Embassy,
Lima - Day 3, dawn
The ringing of the telephone woke
him. In his fumbled search for the receiver, he knocked
off the bedside table, including his watch
"Yeah," he answered, not quite
Listening to the caller, Josh nodded at a fully dressed Sam who
had opened the connecting
door to their rooms.
"What? Nancy say
that again please," Josh motioned for Sam to get him something to write
Sam pulled a spiral notebook from his pocket along with a pen.
He handed both to an excited
"Okay, I've got it. Are you
sure this is correct?" he asked.
"Okay, I'll thank
"Yeah, I know, classified. Got it."
"I think I love you."
Hanging up and standing, Josh smiled
at Sam. "Leo came through. He called Nancy McNally
after he gave
up on the Secretary of State. Nancy got a hold of some classified land-sat
photos taken early yesterday morning of the area between here and
Quito. She's had people
going over them with magnifying glasses
Bouncing on the balls of his feet, Josh continued, "One of
her analysts found part of
Lima Airport - Day 3,
A dozen pilots were standing in a fog shrouded hanger in
the Lima Airport. Each was
being given a search grid to fly.
Josh had passed on a set of coordinates to General Guzman,
general who was in charge of the aerial search operations.
general raised his eyebrows at Josh's possession of such information, he knew
better than to ask its source. He merely assigned a pilot to search
the indicated area.
Josh and Sam were planning on flying with him.
After answering a few questions from the pilots, General Guzman, an
imposing figure in
his mid sixties, walked over to the hanger entrance where
Josh and Sam were waiting.
"Gentlemen, everything is ready. Now, we
wait for the fog to clear."
Both Sam and Josh turned and looked towards
the rising sun.
Andes Mountain Range - Day
The fog was starting to burn off and the temperature was
Toby slowly pulled himself back up on top of the plane. He
had tested the water depths
around the plane and found a high area where
they could walk out without having to swim.
Relatively dry ground was just a
100 yards away. His plan was to carry the duffle bags
out first and
Earlier he had managed to wrap her in one of the solar
blankets. Washing some of the mud
off her, he had discovered a new
head injury. A lump the size of egg was on the back of
He suspected this was the cause of her unconsciousness. Every so often, he
would call her name and try to rouse her. So far she had not
responded, but he kept trying.
Now, he decided that it was time to
abandon ship. Talking out loud to CJ, he told her
that he was taking
the supplies to high ground and that he would be back in a few minutes
Slipping back into the murky water, he warned her not to wander off
while he was gone.
As he waded off into the distance, she opened her
Oval Office - Day 3,
The sounds of a ticking clock and breathing were the only noises
in the Oval Office.
Leo sat on one striped couch with his hands loosely
With his arms crossed, the President sat facing him on the
Neither looked at the other.
Both looked at the
telephone sitting on the coffee table positioned between them.
Every few minutes Leo looked at his watch.
Andes Mountain Range - Day
Watching Toby drape wet clothes over various tree limbs and
large rocks, CJ smiled.
Half reclined against the duffle bags, she was
laying on one solar blanket and wearing
the other. Every so
often she dozed off, but watching Toby do laundry on the river bank
interesting enough to keep her awake most of the time.
She couldn't get
over the change from the Alpine type vegetation of yesterday to the
species surrounding her today.
Having read a guide book on Peru before
leaving D.C., she knew that the Andes Mountain Range
bordered areas of much
lower elevations, areas with tropical rainforest climates. She just
wasn't prepared for this sudden of a change. She had a suspicion that
they'd traveled quite
a distance from the original crash site during
yesterday's "airplane" raft ride.
The day had been full of
surprises. When she'd regained consciousness, she'd been completely
disoriented. Finding herself covered with mud and lying on top of the
plane instead of inside
it, was startling to say the least. If her
head hadn't been pounding, she'd felt like she
might have been able to
figure out what had happened
Carefully, she'd sat up and looked
around. If she hadn't seen Toby in the distance,
trudging about in the
water carrying the duffle bags on his shoulders, she would have
Concentrating took too much effort though, so she had hardly spared him
a thought as to
what he was doing. She had just closed her eyes and waited
for his eventual return.
Now that she was sort of clean, relatively warm,
and had her headache under control,
CJ was in the mood to wonder how Toby was
handling all this "nature."
For someone who claimed to hate the great
outdoors as much as he did, he seemed to be
doing just fine. Building
campfires, gathering wood, boiling water, and now doing laundry,
"Boy Scout" instincts appeared to be kicking in.
Suddenly sitting up, she
looked closely at what he'd started doing. Grimacing she thought
beating her lace underwear against a rock was taking the "back to nature" theme
"Toby," she yelled. "You have to use the delicate
Search Helicopter, Andes
Mountain Range - Day 3, mid-afternoon
large Huey was hovering over a rocky barren area, midway up a mountain
Inside the helicopter the noise of the rotor blades made
especially since the microphones in the secondhand
crash helmets didn't work.
Sam was in the copilot seat. Josh
was strapped in immediately behind the Peruvian pilot.
Both were searching
the ground for signs of the crash site.
"Are you sure we are at the right
coordinates?" Josh yelled.
The pilot nodded his head in an affirmative
manner and pointed to the area immediately below.
"Set the helicopter
down. I want to look around." Sam shouted.
With a puzzled
expression on his face, the pilot carefully maneuvered one landing skid
the loose soil. After warning them to avoid the tail rotor, he motioned
for Sam and
Josh to jump out.
Walking a couple of hundred feet from
the noisy aircraft, Sam stopped and pulled out a
small GPS unit. After
checking for satellite coverage, he inputted the coordinates Nancy
them. They were standing within 50 feet of the location pinpointed by the
Using binoculars provided by General Guzman, they
scoured the area searching for some sign
of the missing plane.
Nothing. There was just nothing there to be seen.
down and picking up a handful of wet soil, Sam said, "I think we should bring
in a team and search this area by foot."
"Why? There's nothing
here," a disappointed Josh replied, kicking a few small rocks down
"There's nothing here now. But didn't you tell me the
land-sat photos were taken yesterday
morning before the rains?"
Josh nodded, saying, "So?"
Standing up, Sam speculated, "It looks
like this area's had a slide. Maybe something was
here before it
Before they could discuss it further, the engines of the
helicopter suddenly revved up and
they turned their heads toward the
Seeing the pilot was waving to them, they took off at a
trot up the slope.
The pilot was smiling. "Senors, one of our
pilots has found the plane. Get in and I'll
take you to
Andes Mountain Range
- Day 3, mid-afternoon
Neither Sam nor Josh spoke during the
short ride to the crash site.
The Huey made fast work of traveling the
five or so miles from the area they had been
site was located at a much higher elevation. Snow still covered the rocky
Approaching the area from the west, they could
see the broken tail section and
scattered debris. As the helicopter
got closer, they could also see multiple blue
rubber body bags stretched out
on the glistening snow. They were obviously filled.
the site in preparation for landing, the pilot pointed out the deep
located about 150 feet from the debris field. The ravine looked like knife
wound in the terrain. It was about 20 feet across in width, about a
half mile in length,
and from above, appeared to be
General Guzman met them as they slowly disembarked from the
helicopter. The sense of
urgency that had driven them to haste during
the past few days was gone.
Getting out of the plane, Josh felt like he
was having trouble making his lungs work.
His feet didn't want to move
and his hands felt numb. Just from looking at the expression
General's face, he knew the news was bad.
At a signal from the General,
the noise of the rotor blades stopped. The half dozen
already on site stopped their efforts and waited quietly.
"Mr. Lyman, Mr.
Seaborn," the General held out both hands with his palms up. "I am so
to have to inform you that we have found the missing charter plane and there do
not appear to be any survivors."
Josh glanced toward the blue body
bags and his face blanched.
The General yelled something in Spanish to
some nearby soldiers while grabbing Josh's arm.
Peruvian soldiers appeared to support Josh over to a nearby helicopter
up as a temporary first aid station.
Sam watched the events unfold, but
seemed paralyzed to act. He watched the medics strap
a blood pressure
cuff on Josh, and then an oxygen mask.
He wanted to go to Josh's aid but
couldn't seem to move. It was almost like he was outside
watching a scene that didn't involve him.
Finally the General's words
penetrated his frozen state.
"What did you say?" Sam asked, focusing on
the General's face.
"We found a total of four bodies. Three male
bodies and one body too badly burned to be
identified in the field," the
"I just see part of the plane. Where's the
cockpit? Where's the rest of the cabin?"
The General pointed
towards the crevice. "I'm sorry. We think the rest of the plane and
the other passengers are probably in there."
Sam turned his shocked
face toward the drop off. "It's like they fell off the edge of the
Andes Mountain Range
- Day 3, mid-afternoon
CJ looked up from her
study of the soggy maps laid out in front of her.
Toby handed her a tin
cup filled with soup from the pot hanging over the fire.
it's hot," he warned.
Sitting down next to her with his own cup, he asked
about her headache.
"I still know it's there," she joked. At his
serious look she added, "I'm okay."
Pointing to a spot on the map in
front of her, she told him where she thought their
"raft" ride had brought
"Absolutely, the wrong direction," she complained. "Now, if
we want to go west to the
Pacific, we have to climb back up the
Taking a sip of soup, she frowned and then coughed.
"What kind of soup is this?" she sputtered.
dried, flood water soaked, commercially dried beef broth with a touch of
wild garlic," he answered in a matter-of-fact voice.
Rolling her eyes
at him, she quipped, "Next time use less garlic."
Taking a sip from his
own cup, he looked down at the brown liquid.
Puzzled he took another sip,
rolling the liquid in his mouth.
Shaking his head, he declared, "No, it's
not the garlic. It's kind of gritty. I probably
spread the mix out on a rock to dry."
"This isn't the same rock you did
laundry with is it?" CJ asked looking down into her own cup.
a multipurpose rock."
Wrinkling her noise, she answered, "I thought I
recognized a special wet-sock
Lima Hospital - Day 3,
One side of a telephone conversation.
"I'm feeling much better."
"Yes, I talked to Leo after I got
to the hospital."
"I'm not sure they are dead."
"I know what
Ambassador Calaway thinks and what General Guzman believes."
know what to think."
"Sam's not ready to give up either, but I don't see
any other possibilities."
"No, really, I'm fine. They just stuck me
in here for observation."
"The doctors said altitude
"Yeah, but they only did all those tests after
they saw the scar on my chest."
"I know. But I feel
"No, she doesn't need to call my doctors."
"Thank you for calling, Mr.
"Yeah, Sam's here. Just a
"Yes, while we were at the crash site."
"Two of them were
from the Travel Office, and the other one was Secret Service."
"They were right, I couldn't tell anything. The body was too
"Yes, that's right. The coroner said it was a
"Yeah, I guess."
"No, I don't think it was
"Nothing really specific, I just don't think it was
"DNA tests after we get home is the only way or maybe dental
"No, he was telling you the truth. They're going to
discharge him tomorrow."
"I guess we'll start home afterwards, if Josh
feels up to it."
"I know, but I still feel like we should be doing
something. Not just leaving them."
"No, I don't think anyone will
be able to look down there. It's too narrow for a
helicopter and too
deep to climb down."
"I know, I
just wish it had turned out differently."
River - Day 4, morning
"How are you doing?"
"I've got a blister on my heel, and I swear something is
crawling down my back."
"So, other than that, you're
The two were hiking along the river=s edge,
gambling that following the river would
guide them to other
CJ was carrying one duffle bag over her shoulder and Toby had the
Their already limited clothing choices were further depleted
during what Toby, to
CJ's amusement, continued to refer to as "The
Great Flood." Only the clothes they
were wearing at the time were
Currently, CJ was dressed in hiking boots, black jeans and one of
the men's shirts she
had confiscated from the plane. Stuffed in one of
the bags was a couple of her "layering"
shirts and her leather
Toby had on his complete wardrobe: chinos, knit shirt,
sports jacket, and a pair of
wingtips that were giving him fits.
you want to stop for a few minutes?" she asked.
Grumbling he answered,
"No, I want to stop for a few days, but I'll settle for 20
"Okay, let's look for a clear area where we can sit
The river area was a study in green. Green water, green
trees, green vines, and green
moss. Toby even claimed they were developing a
CJ really hoped he was wrong. Green was definitely not
her best color.
Walking around a tree shrouded bend, CJ called out to
him that she had found a good spot.
By the time he caught up with her,
she had changed her mind.
The snake she was in a staring contest with was
green. Big and green with oval black spots.
It was about 12 feet long
and about a foot in diameter.
Most of the snake's body was draped around
a tree limb near the water's edge. The rest of
it was hanging about
four feet from CJ's face.
Neither the snake nor CJ was moving.
Even though he'd usually bet on her in any fight, whether her opponent
was man or beast,
he didn't like the odds here. The snake out weighed
her by at least a hundred pounds
and he didn't think her rapier like wit was
going to be an effective weapon.
Grabbing the waistband of her jeans, he
yanked her backwards as far and as fast as he could.
stopped for breath until they had put about a half mile between the them and
"What the hell was that?" CJ, having found her
voice at last, was visibly shaking, but
breathing heavily, was bent over at the waist with his hands on his
"It was an Giant Anaconda," he confidently asserted, looking up at
Seeing the skeptical expression on her face, he confided, "During my
addition to watching PBS programming, I also watched Mutual of
Omaha's Wild Kingdom.
The master of ceremonies was a old guy named Marlin
Perkins. He always had his
right-hand man, Jim Fowler stuffing some
snake or animal in a burlap sack while
Marlin watched. Anaconda
wrestling was Jim's specialty. I always thought Jim should
have got a
"Mutual of Omaha?" she asked.
"Yeah, they sold
insurance," he grinned. "Can you believe it?"
Ucayali River - Day
"Is this the last of the water?" CJ asked, looking
at the unopened liter bottle.
Toby, repacking the duffle bags, replied,
"No, but we only have two more bottles
besides that one. We're almost
out of food too."
After the snake encounter, CJ was a little nervous
about overhanging tree limbs and vines.
So they were taking a break in a
small clearing on a rocky ledge, a few feet above the
"I guess we're going to have to start boiling river water," she
reflected with a frown.
Eyeing the murky green liquid flowing below them,
Toby stated, "I don't think we could
possibly boil this stuff long enough to
kill everything living in it."
Taking out the first aid kit, Toby took
off his right shoe and slowly pealed off his mud
encrusted sock. He
had several broken blisters the size of a half dollars on his heel.
His foot had bleed at some point and now the dried blood had stuck the heel
of the sock
to the open wounds.
CJ took one look at his foot and
promptly slapped the back of his head.
"Ouch, what did you do that for?"
"I'm trying to knock some sense into you. Why did you
wait so long to take care of that?"
"If you'll recall, we were a little
busy earlier." Toby poured a small amount of the
bottled water on the
sock to loosen it.
Gritting his teeth, he slowly and very carefully
started pulling the fabric away from
baby!" Rolling her eyes, CJ reached over and violently ripped the sock off
His scream echoed down the river, startling a large flock of
birds from a nearby tree.
Airport - Day 4, afternoon
They were sitting on hard plastic
chairs at Gate 12. Josh was holding his ticket and
slapping his leg
with a rolled magazine. Sam was pretending to read a paperback
"Sam, they're calling our flight." Josh
stood and picked up his carry-on bag.
Sam looked up at him and
pleaded, "I don't want to do this. I don't want to leave them
Josh shook his head. They had been having this same
discussion over and over.
"They're beyond our help, Sam.
Somehow we have to let them go."
Putting his hand on Sam's shoulder, he
whispered, voice cracking, "CJ and Toby are gone.
We have find a way
to accept that fact."
Shrugging off Josh's hand, Sam grabbed his bag and
headed for the gate door.
Handing his ticket to the flight attendant,
he stalked down the ramp to the plane.
Sighing, Josh followed, stopping
to glance out the floor-to-ceiling windows lining
the gate area. He
could see the snow topped Andes in the distance.
Raising his right hand,
he touched his fingers to the glass.
Staring at the mountains, he softly
uttered the word "Goodbye" and boarded the plane for
Ucayali River - Day
The sun had been up for about an hour.
been up most of the night. Howler monkeys had decided to weigh in on Toby
CJ's argument. Their racket in addition to the mosquitoes had made
"I said I was sorry, what more do you
Sitting near the campfire, Toby ignored her words and continued
changing the bandages
on his foot.
Wincing when she got a look at the
open sores, she walked over and sat down beside him.
"Do you want some
help?" she asked, absent-mindedly picking up a bottle of iodine.
at her, he grabbed the bottle and announced that she had helped him
Without looking at the label, Toby proceeded to pour a
small amount of the brownish
liquid on his heel.
Once again his
screams frightened away the wildlife, including, ironically, the Howler
Suddenly there was absolute silence.
CJ, hiding a smile, asked, "Would you like me to blow on
Ucayali River - Day
The jungle vegetation fought them at every turn, but the
mosquitoes and biting flies
found them utterly fascinating.
and Toby had been hiking in silence for hours in the heat and
Well, Toby was hiking in silence. CJ kept up a running
"Toby, you have to speak to me sooner or later," CJ called
back over her shoulder as
she jumped over a log.
"I mean, really, how
is the iodine my fault?" she asked, managing to walk and harangue
him at the
She was getting used to him not answering her, although it was
Pushing aside some low hanging vines, "Okay, maybe I
shouldn't have yanked off your
sock yesterday. But how was I to know
how bad you'd let the blisters get?"
Silence was the only reply she
"Toby, this is ridiculous." CJ stopped and turned around to face
him. Hands on her hips,
she was ready for a showdown.
opponent wasn't there.
He wasn't behind her. He wasn't even
within her sight.
"Toby," she shouted for him. "Where
Panicking, she backtracked, continuing to call for
CJ had gone about 100 feet when she saw him, wading in the murky
He was reaching under some overhanging limbs which were dipping
into the green water.
Exasperated, she made her way down slope to the
"What are you doing? she asked, slapping at the flying bugs
trying to enter her mouth
"Getting us a ride out of here,"
Toby barked, answering her for the first time that day.
CJ watched as he
pulled a small dugout canoe towards the bank.
As he waded in the waist
deep water back towards her, Toby was grinning, which was a
even in the best of times.
But it was the movement in the water behind
him that had her screaming.
River - Day 5, afternoon
Smoothly gliding through the
calm, green-hued water, the ten foot long black caiman
appeared to be
heading straight for him.
CJ could see the top of the creature's head and
its unblinking eyes as it approached
Toby from behind.
at him to get out of the water.
He looked at her like she had finally
snapped, finally lost her mind. Instead of
quickly moving toward her,
Toby stopped, prepared to give her a piece of his mind.
He opened his mouth
to do just that when she yelled "Crocodile!"
Turning he looked back and
Raising his eyebrows, he shook his head and resumed pushing
the canoe to the bank.
Practically jumping up and down, CJ begged him to
She had seen the crocodile dive just before Toby turned.
Any moment she expected to
see Toby pulled beneath the surface of the
Toby calmly waded out of the river, pulling the canoe halfway out
of the water.
"What are you carrying on about now?" he gruffly
CJ, her face beet red, and almost hysterical with fear and
frustration, took hold of
his arm and forcibly turned him to face the
Near the overhanging limbs, where he had found the canoe, two very
were placidly floating.
For the first time Toby
understood what the term "weak kneed" meant as his legs suddenly
He sat down on the river bank and tried to slow down his
CJ sat down beside him and lightly punched him on
"What?" he softly asked.
"Next time, listen to me,"
she said only half joking.
Regaining some color in his face, he commented
that if she would talk less,
he'd listen more. "Then really important
information wouldn't get lost in a
mountain of irrelevant
Narrowing her eyes, she proceeded to itemize all the times that
he should have
istened to her but didn't, and regretted it later. The
name Ann Stark came up
Toby rubbed the back of his
neck and watched the crocodiles.
Two pairs of reptilian eyes stared back
at him with, what Toby could have sworn,
Ucayali River -
Day 5, sunset
It had been one long day in a series of long days, Toby
They had tried out the canoe and found it only had
minor leaks. It was definitely
sea worthy or maybe the term was "river
worthy." Anyway it didn't sink when they
got in it.
By the time
they carried the canoe overland for a mile (CJ had absolutely refused
on board near the crocodiles), launched it, and figured out how to go
instead of in circles, it was getting dark.
They found a place
to camp about 3 miles down the river from where they'd put in.
a fairly open area, and most importantly it was flat.
Toby had learned a
lot during this forced trek through the mountains and jungle.
what he had learned was through trial and error, mostly error. Like
else in life, it was the mistakes you lived through that taught
you the most. One of his
biggest mistakes was insisting that they camp
near the remnants of the plane.
Sure in general it was a sound
idea. He had watched enough movies to know that you're
not supposed to
go wandering off. The ones that wander off never come back. It's a
you're supposed to stay with the plane. Everyone knows that.
But, no one ever warned him about the fine print of that rule. You
know the footnote at
the very bottom of the page in the "How to Survive a
Plane Crash Manuel." The part that
said if the plane is on a steep
slope and the heavens dump about 10 inches of water in
two minutes, you
might want to "get the hell away from the plane."
So, while drinking a
cup of weak tea and sitting beside their evening campfire at their
campsite, Toby contemplated what he had learned and tried to anticipate all
the possible things that could go wrong tomorrow.
wished he had his notebook and a pen. He was in the mood to write a
"Toby's list for Plane Crash Victims - The Andes Version."
Chuckling to himself, he
made a mental list instead.
1 Consider your environment when deciding to
stay with the plane.
# 2 When traveling, don't
wear wingtip shoes. (Toby decided
would be in bold print.)
# 3 Socks are
important, don't wear synthetic ones.
# 4 To
paraphrase Martha Stewart, ropes are good things, especially when stuck in a
# 5 Knowing how to catch a baseball can
be a survival skill.
# 6 Always travel with
someone who can repair radios.
# 7 If you sleep by a
campfire, only one side stays warm.
# 8 Oatmeal
cooked over a campfire is not better than at home.
9 Always carry insect
#10 Beware low hanging limbs. There's
always something crawling on them or swimming under
#11 And most importantly if you have to crash in the wilderness,
best friend is with
you, even if she is picky about her underwear.
Of course, Toby
considered, eleven items was a strange number for a list. It should be
ten or twelve, an even dozen.
Staring into the fire, he
decided to keep the list open. He probably still had a few
learn and they weren't home yet.
Office - Day 6, 10:00 am
Sam's Point of View
met us at the airport. His face was expressionless.
I think it's
called a "lack of affect."
Maybe that's something they train Secret
Service Agents how to do.
I wish I knew how to do that.
He gave us
a ride to the White House or perhaps he was escorting us. I don't remember
him asking us where we wanted to go.
I look at him and I remember
looking at those dead Secret Service Agents in Peru.
We brought them
back with us. Their coffins were in the luggage bay of the plane.
wonder what he sees when he looks at me. Does he see a
When I look in a mirror, that's what I see.
ushered us into the Oval Office.
Now, Charlie is someone who
almost has that technique down, the "lack of affect."
But his eyes
give him away.
I could drown in the sadness pooled in his eyes.
What does he see in my eyes?
I can tell he pities me. I
don't want to be an object of pity.
Pitiful, full of pity. Words
are my life and I don't like that one.
The President was sitting at his
desk finishing up a telephone call to the Secretary of State. He barely
looked at me.
Leo was sitting on one of the striped couches. He
stood up as we entered the room.
He regarded us with timeworn eyes,
resigned eyes. I know he's disappointed in me.
He shook Josh's hand
and then held his hand out to me.
I hesitated for a moment but then I
It's not that I didn't want to shake his hand. I just
didn't know what it signified.
Was it just a greeting or was it more a
gesture of forgiveness?
Was he giving us his approval for the
actions we had taken?
Or, were we making a pact to share the
guilt. The guilt of being here without them,
coming back without
The guilt of failing. Failing Toby. Failing CJ.
Before I never felt like I really fit in here, though
I tried to be what they wanted me to be. I don't know if I
can do that again.
I'm not sure I'm ready to be a member of this
Oval Office - Day
6, 10:00 am
Josh's Point of View
Ron Butterfield met us at the
airport. He was there to thank us for bringing home
He didn't say much. But I felt his support.
I think maybe
the Secret Service weeds out everyone but the strong silent types.
I was that strong.
He gave us a ride to the White House. He knew
that we would want to go there first.
I look at him and I remember
Rosslyn. I remember him protecting the President.
I remember him
trying to protect us all.
I wonder if he knows how much I respect him,
the job he does.
I wish I could have done my job better. I wish I
could have brought them all home with us.
Charlie ushered us into the
He has seen so much since he came to work for the
President. When I first met him,
I could tell he had seen more tragedy
than most for his age. Now his eyes are filled
does he see in my eyes?
Does he see a survivor? That's how I try to
The President was sitting at his desk finishing up a
telephone call to the
Secretary of State. He barely looked at
Leo was sitting on one of the striped couches. He stood up as
we entered the room.
His eyes spoke volumes to me. If he could
have lessened the burden of our pain and
grief, he would have.
shook my hand and then held his hand out to Sam.
It was strange.
Sam hesitated for a moment but then shook Leo's hand.
Something is wrong
with him, more than just Toby and CJ's deaths.
I know Sam feels bad about
not finding them. But for some reason he feels guilty about
Maybe if I hadn't gotten sick while we were in Peru, I
could have helped Sam deal with it.
Found him some closure, somewhere,
I think Leo wanted to hug us, but he's not one for overt signs
of affection. Because he's
been a part of my life for so long, I could
tell how glad he was to have us home.
It's going to be hard. CJ and
Toby were the heart and soul of this administration.
Somehow we have
to fill the void.
We have to stick together.
Ucayali River - Day 6,
"CJ, we have to get some kind of rhythm going here or
there's going to be an accident."
"Toby, I hate to break it to you, but
you have no rhythm. And since you have no rhythm,
I can't match
In response he grumbled something and resumed his frenetic
"For God's sake Toby, watch where you're swinging that
Only by ducking did she manage to avoid being hit with his
oar. But her luck didn't extend
to avoiding a drenching by the
Hearing her cussing a blue streak behind him, Toby
turned and looked at her soaked clothing.
"Okay, let's just stop and
regroup. I need to catch my breath anyway," he grudgingly
"Have you ever paddled a canoe before?" she yelled,
wringing river water out of her shirt.
Resting the crude oar across his
lap, Toby calmly answered, "No, but I went sailing with
Thinking about his statement, she narrowed her eyes and asked,
"Was that the time he fell
overboard and almost drowned?"
replied, but then quickly added, "My being on board had nothing to do with the
Rolling her eyes, she asked, "Is that the story you're
Putting his oar back in the water, he slowly resumed
paddling. "Since there's no one is
here to contradict it, yes.
That's my story."
"Uh huh," she mumbled, glaring at his back, and
sticking her own
oar in the
Ucayali River - Day
"So, how do you like the fish?" Toby asked, handing her
another piece, straight off the fire.
Licking her fingers, CJ took
another bite of the fish he had cleaned and cooked over their
fire. "I have to admit it's really good. You're an excellent cook,
"I'm not a bad fisherman either," he proclaimed with a proud
Wryly, she countered, "I don't think it counts when you
accidentally flip the fish in
the canoe with your oar."
further on it, she chewed another bite of fish and added, "It could be
argued that, in fact, I'm the one who caught the fish since it ended up
the front of my shirt."
"Hey, what can I tell you?
I've got perfect aim."
River - Day 6, mid-afternoon
The rock lined waterfall was
an incredible sight and totally unexpected.
Paddling around a bend in
the river, it suddenly appeared before them, an elegant
structure that no
human landscaper had a hand in creating.
Cascading 50 feet down the
hillside, the crystal clear water flowed over multiple rock
ledges into one
small pool, then discharged over a ledge, and dropped 10 feet into a
pool before flowing over a rock overhang and finally entering the
"Oh, Toby, just look at that," CJ sighed. "Have you ever
seen anything more beautiful?"
Toby's answer was to paddle toward the
riverbank at a point just up stream from the
Ucayali River - Day
6, late afternoon
"How long are you planning on staying in there?" he
asked, looking up from where he
was laying out freshly washed clothing to
"Until I feel clean again," she replied, dunking her head under the
It hadn't taken them long to make use of the relatively
clean water, which was also
thankfully free of large wildlife.
had decided to use the water in the upper pool for drinking and the lower pool
for bathing and laundry.
So far CJ had been doing all the bathing and
Toby had been doing all the laundry.
He had been planning on waiting his
turn to bathe, but it was becoming apparent that
if he wanted to get cleaned
up before dark, he would have to join her in the pool.
previously white, now dingy gray undershirt and briefs, he dived into the
cool, and very clear water.
Surfacing near the falls, he opened his
eyes to find her treading water right in front
"Hi," she said
with an amused expression.
"Uh, hi," he muttered, keeping his eyes
trained on her face.
"Do you usually take a bath with your underwear
Blushing, "Only when bathing with co-workers."
"Is that all
we are to each other? Co-workers?"
"No, we're more than that," Toby
Turning he swam to the opposite side of the pool, where it was
shallow enough for him
Facing her, he mumbled, "I don't
think this is the time or place to get into this
obvious dismay, she swam over to him. Her bare arms and shoulders captured
When she stood, his attention shifted
The water hid very
"What were you
Putting her hand on his chin, she raised his head
so that his eyes were on her face
instead of the rest of her
"Some speech writer you are," she said before kissing
National Security Advisor's
Office - Day 7, morning
Sitting across from Nancy McNally, Sam
leaned forward in his chair. "I want to see
those land-sat photos of
the plane wreckage in Peru."
Rocking slightly in her high backed
executive chair, the National Security Advisor stared
at him. He
looked terrible, like he hadn't slept in days. Shadows ringed his eyes and
he badly needed a shave.
Nancy placed her elbows on the chair arms,
and pressed her hands together, tenting
discern his intent, she replied, "The photos are classified. You know
"I need to see the photos," he said stressing the word
"need." His eyes pleaded for her
lips, she considered his request for a few moments.
Afraid she was about
to deny him access to the intelligence, he added, "Please, I have
what was in the photos and why we didn't find anything at those
Coldly she asked, "Does it really matter? You found
the plane somewhere else.
You found bodies."
"We found part of
the plane," he said a little too loudly, clenching his fists.
tell his emotions were about to get away from him. Recalling her earlier
conversation with Leo, she now understood why he was so worried about
Catching himself, he blinked away unshed tears. He quietly
explained, "We found only
part of the plane, only some of the bodies.
We didn't find Toby or CJ."
Softening her expression, Nancy
relented. "I'll have the photos brought here.
You can't copy
them or take them out of this office."
"I understand." Giving her a
weak smile, Sam pressed his luck. "Can I meet with
the analyst who
spotted the plane?"
Slapping a file down on her desk, she glared at
"Anything else I can get you, while I'm at it?" Nancy said in
a sarcastic voice.
"Maybe I could have a pizza delivered for you
Grinning broadly now, Sam joked, "That would be great. Have
them hold the anchovies,
Narrowing her eyes, she stiffened
and leaned forward in her chair.
Picking up the telephone receiver, Nancy
starting dialing, "Just so you know, that
cute little boy act doesn't work
While she waited for someone on the other end of the phone line
to answer, she continued,
"Leo already told me to give you whatever you
wanted. Although, I doubt he meant
Ucayali River -
Day 7, morning
Rolling over, she reached for him. Her hand
touched only solar blanket and air.
"Toby," she called out, opening her
eyes and staring at the empty spot where he
had been sleeping next to
Sitting up, CJ wrapped one of the blankets sarong style around
The early morning air was chilly, almost cold.
towards the campfire, she saw him.
Toby was fully dressed and bent over
the small campfire. He was trying to coax flames
from the smoldering
embers of last night's fire.
CJ smiled thinking of the parallels between
their feelings for each other and that campfire.
Last night she
had coaxed the smoldering embers to flames, despite Toby's attempts to
the fire banked.
Watching him carefully add small pieces of wood to the
tiny flames, she realized patience
was the key with the campfire and with
Of course patience wasn't really her forte, so she walked over to
him and knelt by the
Smiling at him, she leaned over and
blew on the embers.
Office - Day 7, afternoon
"Mar-garet," Leo yelled,
yanking open his office door and stalking into the outer office.
Standing by his missing secretary's desk, he bellowed
Impatiently slapping his leg with a folded
document in his right hand, Leo took off down
the hall toward Josh's
"Donna, have you seen Margaret?" he asked as he caught sight of
Josh's assistant standing
by a filing cabinet.
smiled. "I mean of course I've seen her, just not recently.
Not in the last
few minutes, anyway," she nervously rambled, appearing to
study the papers in her hands.
"Let me rephrase my question," he curtly
announced, pinning her in place with his steely gaze.
Like a deer caught
in the headlights of an oncoming 18 wheeler truck, Donna looked at him,
eyes widening. She swallowed hard.
"Do you know where Margaret
is?" Raising his hand in the universal gesture meaning stop,
"And before you answer that, remember that I'm the White House Chief of Staff
and hold your employment in my hands."
Glancing around her, seeing no
rescue in sight and no viable escape routes, Donna sighed.
Looking at her
wrist watch, she confessed, "Right now Margaret is probably on her way back
from Reagan National."
"And why did she go to Reagan National?" Leo
quietly asked, going in for the kill.
Stuttering a little and taking a
couple of steps backward, Donna anxiously replied,
"She took Sam to the
airport. He's going back to Peru."
files, she answered, "Well, I think Ginger rode with her."
"I don't mean
Margaret, and you know it. Did Sam go back to Peru alone?"
no." Stalling for time, her mind raced for a way out
"Well?" he demanded,
"Well, what?" she answered, opening a file
Closing the space between them, Leo leaned over and spoke
directly in her ear.
"Donna, do you have any idea how close I am here to
shooting the messenger?" he growled.
Grasping at straws or in this
instance files and looking down into the open file drawer,
she asked, "Would
it help if I said that I was just following orders?"
"Donna," he warned,
clenching his jaw.
Wringing her hands, she looked into face and said,
"Josh went with him."
Airport - Day 8
Sam and Josh disembarked from the private
Walking into the Lima Airport terminal, Josh spotted General
waiting for them.
Nudging Sam, Josh jerked his head in
the direction of the military aide. "I have a
feeling Leo's been on the
"Yeah, and I hope the worst thing that's going to happen is
us being fired. You don't
think we're about to be arrested do you?"
Sam joked with a weak smile.
"Nah, I don't think Leo's influence would
stretch that far." Pausing for a beat,
Shouldering their hastily packed bags, Josh and Sam walked
towards the Peruvian General's
Aide de Camp, Lieutenant Jose
"Senors, welcome back to Peru. General Guzman
has put me at your disposal for the duration
of your trip."
you," Sam replied, shaking the Lieutenant's outstretched hand.
shaking the Lieutenant's hand, asked, "How did General Guzman know we were
The Lieutenant with a reverent tone that expressed his
"President Bartlet called him, personally, to ask for
his assistance with
Quickly looking at each other,
Josh and Sam smiled with relief.
Turning back to the Peruvian
Lieutenant, Sam asserted, "Yep, that's right, we're here on
a mission for
Flinching a little at Sam's lie, Josh slapped the
Lieutenant on the shoulder and asked,
"Can you help us get a helicopter and
a guide? We have some wild geese to hunt down."
the confused Lieutenant asked, looking from Josh's face to Sam's.
frowned at Josh. He leaned close to Lieutenant Muyo and whispered, "That's
code name for the mission."
"Ah," he nodded with
understanding. "Follow me. I'll get you a helicopter and
Operation Wild Geese can get
Ucayali River - Day 8,
"Toby, do you think the current's getting stronger?" she
"Yeah, good thing we don't have to paddle against it."
was in the front of the dugout canoe and CJ was seated behind him.
They are tried it the other way, but with Toby's sometime erratic oar
CJ insisted on having him where she could see him.
they left the waterfall, the Ucayali River seemed to be narrowing and the
current was getting stronger. No longer did it seem like they were
traveling on a
placid lake or farm pond. The river water was on the
move and they were along for
The canoe was picking up speed
and they covered more distance in the last few hours
than they had in all
the previous days combined. A natural worrier, Toby had been
about the changing river conditions. He wondered what price they might
to pay for this speed.
Seeing a good place to stop for their
mid-day break, Toby tried to steer for the
river bank. It was a major
effort, and for a second he wasn't sure they were going
to be able to reach
Finally, dragging the canoe up on the sand bar, Toby paused to
look down river.
Edgy, he felt like something was about to
Picking up the duffle bags he walked toward the campfire, CJ had
Sitting down on a nearby rock, Toby unpacked the
last of their dried food, while
CJ put water on to boil.
the last soup packet, he looked once more toward the river. He wished
he knew what was waiting for them around the next bend - good or
Search Helicopter, Andes
Mountain Range - Day 8, noon
The Huey helicopter pilot
found a landing spot about a half mile from the spot on
the mountain side
where the NSA photos had shown pieces of a crashed plane.
Lieutenant Muyo, and a Peruvian tracker hopped out, leaving the pilot
Each shouldered a small backpack and carried a two-way
radio. If they got
separated, the hope was that they would be able to
communicate with each other
and the pilot.
Josh looked at Sam and
prayed that this search of the mountainside, gave him some
Of course, Josh secretly hoped that they might find CJ and
Toby alive, well,
and royally pissed at being kept waiting. But he
didn't have much faith in
that scenario working out.
thought, this search was for Sam, for Sam's peace of mind.
excited Sam had rushed into his office yesterday and told him of his meeting
with Nancy and the NSA analyst, Josh had tried to understand the
significance of what
the NSA land-sat photos showed.
Sam kept saying
that the photos showed the pieces of the front part, the cockpit,
of a plane
at these coordinates on the morning after the crash.
reminded him that they had been to the area and they found no evidence of
any plane, no plane pieces, no anything.
But Sam refused to listen to
him. He was determined to go back to Peru and there
was no stopping
Josh never considered letting him go alone.
they were, once more. As his friend, Josh could do little to help Sam with
his grief. But he would give him this final search. This time
they weren't leaving
until Sam was convinced.
Ucayali River - Day 8,
"Don't you think it's time we got this show on the road?" CJ
Toby was sitting near the campfire, studying the tattered maps
from the plane.
Looking at him from her perch on a nearby boulder, she
reflected that he was
looking as tattered as the maps.
eyes had dark hollows beneath them and he seemed to have shrank in size during
the time since the crash. The top of his head was
sunburned. His forearms were covered
with insect bites and he
wouldn't let her look at his foot, but from his constant limp,
afraid it was infected.
His clothing hadn't faired any better. Both
knees were ripped out of his chinos and
his knit shirt had been stretched
into a shape that was twice as wide as it was long.
Apparently the knit
didn't hold up any better than her lace underwear with their primitive
Chuckling to herself, she wondered if she looked as
bad as he did. Lord, she hoped not.
She was actually glad she had no
Turning her mind back to the matter at hand, she puzzled
over why Toby seemed reluctant
to get packed up and back on the river.
Normally he was the one nagging her to hurry up.
Now, with their meager lunch
long over, he didn't seem to want to leave.
Walking around the fire and
sitting down next to him, she asked again, "What's wrong?
Looking up at her, he seemed about to say something and then
changed his mind.
"I'm fine." He got to his feet and
leaned over to pick up the maps. "You're right,
it's time to get
Folding the maps, he stuffed them into one of the duffel
bags. "Okay, let's pack up
and get this fire put out."
off towards the canoe with one of the bags.
CJ shook her head and poured
river water on the campfire. She knew he would only talk
to her when
he was ready. Until then she would watch and wait. She'd had a lot
experience doing that.
Mountain Range - Day 8, 2:00 pm
They had been walking
downhill for the last two hours. The only one who seemed to be
anything was the tracker. He wasn't sharing his findings
Sam had tried talking with the man, but he didn't respond and
seemed annoyed by the
Lieutenant Muyo explained
that the man was a Aguaruna Indian and he wasn't too fond of
outside his tribe. Apparently he blamed his tribe's problems and the loss
their way of life on the Peruvian government's land development policies
and the West's
insatiable need for oil and lumber.
Sam had asked the
logical question. If he hated the government why was he working for
them as a tracker?
In a matter of fact manner, Lieutenant Muyo
had replied, "Money of course. Principles
won't feed his
Sam was pondering the irony of that statement, when they found
Andes Mountain Range
- Day 8, 3:00 pm
As they walked down the slope into the
trees, they didn't need the tracker to tell them
that death was near.
Their noses told them.
The smell was indescribable. It got worse
as they walked closer to the source.
Finally Josh and Sam
stopped all forward progress when they saw someone's legs
sticking out from
under a shrub.
The tracker walked over to the area to investigate.
He said something to Lieutenant Muyo
in a language they didn't
Josh and Sam stared at Lieutenant Muyo and asked for a
translation of the tracker's words.
Grimacing, Lieutenant answered, "He
said that the bodies washed down the slope during last
"Bodies, plural?" Josh asked, with a sick look on his
Lieutenant Muyo moved over to stand near the tracker. They
had a whispered conversation,
with the tracker pointing up the slope they
had just walked down.
The tracker walked farther into the trees and
Lieutenant Muyo returned to the location where Josh and Sam
At their questioning looks, the Lieutenant coughed and
then spoke, "There are four bodies,
over there. The decomposition is
advanced but they appear to be male. One of them is
wearing a pilot's
Josh slumped to the ground and sat with his head on his bent
Sam stalked over to the low brush and looked at the bodies.
In a few seconds, he returned
to Josh. Kneeling down beside him, he
said, "I recognized one of them. He was Secret Service.
know about the other two, probably Travel Office staff. The fourth one has
on a Captain's uniform."
Josh raised his head, tears in his eyes,
and looked into Sam's face. "God,
Sam - I can't - I
can't believe it. Maybe - just maybe - Toby and CJ are
alive. Do you think they're alive?"
Sam nodded and
grabbed Josh's shoulder. Looking up at Lieutenant Muyo, he inquired
to where the tracker went.
Lieutenant Muyo hesitated and then
stated, "He needed to check something out.
He'll be right
Before Sam could ask what was going on, the tracker
Since all three were staring at him, he spoke in halting
English, "There are five bodies.
One further in the trees, still tied
in airplane chair."
At their look of dismay, he added, "Two walked away,
a man and a woman."
River - Day 8, 3:00 pm
The river's current was getting
stronger and large rocks were rising up from its depths
as though to slow its
progress. The rocks failed.
Toby was trying to navigate between the
rocks and get the canoe to the shore.
He wasn't making much
"Is this what you were worrying about?" CJ
shouted, dodging his oar and trying to hang
on to her own.
answered, keeping his attention focused on the churning river.
knew it was going to get this rough, why didn't you say something?"
didn't know, I just had a feeling," he explained. Fighting to keep the
turning crosswise, he shouted, "Could we discuss this
Before she could respond, they heard the roar.
ahead, CJ screamed, "Oh, God save
Andes Mountain Range - Day
8, 3:10 pm
Still sitting on the ground, Josh and Sam processed
his words. Hardly daring to believe
that at least CJ had survived the
crash. Maybe Toby too, if he wasn't the fifth body.
"Does he know
which way they went?" Josh directed his words towards the tracker, but
looked at Lieutenant Muyo for his answer.
The Lieutenant walked over
to the tracker and held a very involved conversation in the
Josh looked at Sam and quipped, "Kind of feels like
we're at one of those foreign films,
Sam, continuing to
watch the two Peruvians, replied, "Yeah, but without the subtitles."
Lieutenant motioned for Josh and Sam to join them. Getting to their feet,
walked the short distance.
Lieutenant Muyo said, "He thinks
they headed back up the slope before the rain."
As they turned to look in
the direction they had come from, Lieutenant Muyo continued,
"But he says
something big came down later, after the rain, probably what was left of
cockpit. He sees the slide marks and wants to follow the
Confused, Josh and Sam stared at the Lieutenant. Sam asked,
"So they went up the hill
and then came back down? Is that
Nodding, the Lieutenant, replied, "The tracker thinks they survived
the rains and headed
towards the river. He wants to track them on
foot, but he thinks we should fly out and
search the river from the
Josh looked at Sam, his eyes full of indecision and guilt. "I don't
think we should
leave this time. I think we should stay with the
Sam started to respond but was interrupted by the
Lieutenant. "Please do not be offended,
but he can go faster on his
own. Plus, your friends have had almost a week's head start.
they're still alive we may locate them with the helicopter, if we fly the
Considering the options, Sam started pacing. Looking
at Josh, he made a decision.
"Call for the helicopter to pick us
up. But before we leave, I want to look at the other
Lieutenant Muyo said something to the tracker and he
nodded. He motioned for Sam to follow
walk into the trees, Lieutenant Muyo pulled out his two-way radio and made
call to the Huey pilot.
- Day 8, 3:20 pm
The rapids tossed their canoe back
and forth, while they struggled for control.
"Try to head for the bank on
your right," Toby yelled over his shoulder.
Wet with spray and exhausted
by their efforts, CJ and Toby were frantically paddling,
trying to escape
the powerful current that was directing their canoe toward the
From what they could see, the massive waterfall was
guarded by huge boulders whose mission
seemed to be to smash any creature or
structure which ventured near. Of course should
they manage to
slip past the sentries, they would surely die in their downward journey to
the bottom of the falls.
Toby knew that the little dugout canoe had
no chance of surviving a collision with one
of the numerous boulders.
It also appeared that despite their best efforts, they would not be able
to get out of the
current's pull. With each minute they were being
drawn closer to the point of no return.
"Toby," CJ shouted. "We're
not going to make it to the river bank. Maybe we should get
out of the
Before he could consider her suggestion, the canoe turned
sideways. Sticking out his oar
to prevent a collision with a boulder,
the oar snapped into two pieces. The canoe struck
the boulder and
immediately fell apart.
Reaching out his hand, Toby managed to
grab her arm as they were tossed into the churning
Ucayali River, down
stream - Day 8, 3:20 pm
The Huey had swung
south after picking up Josh, Sam and Lieutenant Muyo. Circling several
tree covered hills, the pilot turned the helicopter east toward the Ucayali
They flew over dense tropical vegetation which would have taken
days to traverse by foot,
but only took a few minutes to cross by air.
Turning north the pilot began following the winding river
upstream. His passengers
started their visual search for survivors.
Looking down into the green water below, Sam remarked, "Did you know
that some historians
think Atlantis was in the Andes?"
does that have to do with anything?" Josh asked, already getting a headache
from staring at the moving landscape.
Never taking his eyes from the
river, Sam responded, "The Mayan word for water is alt,
and the Incan word
for copper is antis. Plato described Atlantis as having both water
Josh looked at Sam and started to say something. Changing
his mind, he paused and then
quoted one of Toby's favorite phrases,
"Sam, there's something really freakish about you."
remembering for a moment, the relief he had experienced when he had verified
that the fifth body was not Toby. He truly believed that Toby was
alive and would say
those very words to him again.
The pilot yelled
something at the Lieutenant. Leaning forward, Josh asked what was
Lieutenant Muyo said that the tracker had radioed
that he had found where the two people
he was tracking had gotten into a
canoe. Toby and CJ were traveling on the river.
The tracker was
turning back. They would pick him up on their way home. Hopefully they
would have Toby and CJ with them when they made that return
Ucayali River - Day
8, 3:30 pm
"Hold on. Just hold on." Toby
They were clutching at the boulder nearest the drop off
point. The river pulled at
them trying to loosen their tenuous hold on
the wet, slimy rock.
After the canoe had broken up, they were tossed
against the nearest boulder.
Holding on to it, Toby had managed to
wedge his foot between two large adjacent
rocks. With his foot acting
as an anchor, he had managed to squeeze CJ in between
him and the
boulder. But he didn't know how long he could keep his foot in
The water pressure was incredible.
CJ clawed at the
slippery boulder she was laying against. She wasn't really holding
arms, just her fingers.
The water kept pushing her away from the rock
and then Toby would push her back.
She had the fleeting thought that
she was literally caught between a rock and a
she yelled over her shoulder.
"Next time you have a
premonition, share it."
"Are you still complaining about that? Get
over it, will you."
"I'm just saying, that for future reference, you
shouldn't keep information to yourself.
You know I don't like getting blind
sided with things."
"I didn't have any information to share. It was
just a . . . I can't believe I'm arguing
with you about this
"Well, if not now, when?"
Hearing a different sound, he
"What, even now you don't want to talk?" she
"Shut up, I think I hear something."
"I don't know how you
can hear anything with this roaring around us."
"Please, just for a
minute - be quiet."
Looking toward the falls, Toby heard the helicopter,
before he saw it. When he did,
it was as though the helicopter rose
from the depths of the water.
A few seconds later his mind processed the
fact that the helicopter had been down at
the bottom of the falls and had
risen straight up to appear in his line of sight.
Toby waved one arm at
the aircraft, but almost lost his hold on CJ. He could feel his
slipping, damn wingtips.
Toby swore to himself that if he survived this,
he would never wear another pair of
wingtips. They had been nothing
but trouble the whole time he was on this trip.
CJ, with her face smashed
against the boulder, didn't see the helicopter. But, she
did hear it
when it hovered over them.
"Toby, please tell me that's a
helicopter and not a giant mutant bee come to carry
us off," she
Laughing, he yelled in her ear, "You're in luck. I think
it's our ride home."
- Day 8, 3:30 pm
Lieutenant Muyo spotted them
They had traveled several miles up river without
seeing anything. Coming up on the
waterfall, they had hovered near the
bottom looking at what appeared to be the pieces
of a smashed dugout
Josh's heart had leapt into his throat. He looked at Sam who
averted his eyes from
the floating debris. The pilot took the
helicopter up so that they could turn around
and search for the bodies that
had to be at the bottom of the river.
When the helicopter rose to the top
of the falls, Lieutenant Muyo shouted something
in Spanish and
Looking in the direction the Lieutenant was pointing, Sam and
Josh saw a man in the
water clinging to a rock. The man raised his
arm, but quickly lowered it back to
Josh directed the pilot
to get closer. As the Huey approached the man, Sam whispered
It was a very wet and bedraggled Toby, but Toby nonetheless,
clinging to that rock.
Circling, they saw CJ jammed between Toby and
Lieutenant Muyo took over. He left the co-pilot's seat
and rummaged in the back for
a rescue cable and harness. It took a
couple of tries, and CJ almost slipped the harness,
but in about 10 minutes
the pilot had two more passengers on board.
As they circled the waterfall
one last time, two wingtip shoes came flying
Lima Hospital - Day 8, 7:30
Sam's Point of View
I know I probably have what CJ always calls
my "goofy grin" on my face. But I can't
help it. For the first
time in a long time I, Sam Seaborn, made a difference.
I'm sitting on the
couch in the hospital waiting room watching Josh try to negotiate
international collect call to Leo. He's starting to get frustrated, but I
Ever so often, he looks at me as if he was
trying figure out what was going through
my mind that's so funny.
Maybe Josh thinks that I've finally lost my mind.
But I don't care what
anybody thinks, I just want to savor this moment of success.
a long time coming. Life is good.
Glancing back at Josh, I can see
that he has finally gotten through. I imagine that
Leo is going to be
pretty angry with us for going back to Peru without his permission.
But that old adage is still true, "It's easier to get forgiveness than
I'm sure Leo is going to forgive us considering what we're
were bringing him back
Josh has started waving his
arms in all directions and talking a mile a minute, so
I assume he's begun
telling Leo the details of the search and rescue. Yep, now look
has a goofy grin on his face.
Josh sees me watching him and gives me a
Guess that means we still have jobs. Wonder if
Leo will reimburse us for the plane
tickets? That would probably be
too much to hope for, although I might get CJ to ask
him. Yeah, that
would work. Like I said, life is
Lima Hospital - Day 8, 7:30
Josh's Point of View
God, I hate making long distance
calls. I usually have Donna do it.
Okay, I going to talk with one
more telephone operator and if that doesn't work,
I'm going to walk outside
and offer an exclusive to the first reporter who can get
Leo on his cell
Of course judging from the number of reporters outside, Leo's
probably already heard
the news. The press was waiting for us when the
helicopter landed at the hospital
helo-pad. I guess our pilot made a
little extra cash on that deal. Hey, what the
hell, he deserves
I can hear the connection being made and the White House operator
speaking. I gave
her the code name and she accepts my collect
The next voice I hear is Margaret's. She says the rescue is
all over the news and
Leo's waiting for my call. I thank her for her
help in our getaway, but she just
said she was happy I thought to ask
While I'm waiting for Leo to come on the line, I look over at
Sam. He's wearing this
goofy grin and looks happy for the first time
in a long time. For awhile I thought I
had lost him as well as
Toby and CJ. It's good to see him like this.
Leo comes on the line
and congratulates me on our successful rescue operation.
sound mad about us going awol but I'm sure we haven't heard the last
that. I tell him about the tracker and the bodies. I explain about
the canoe and the rapids. And, then I describe the rescue at
the waterfall. As I
hear myself telling this story to Leo, I realize
this is just the first of the many
times I'll tell this story in my
Smiling, I look over toward Sam again and give him a thumbs
up. Life is good
Lima Hospital - Day
8, 7:30 pm
CJ's Point of View
I hope they didn't get any
photographs. I should have realized that there would be
press when the
helicopter landed. Where was my head? One week and I lose my
Several very important looking doctors have examined me and
they seemed disappointed
not to find something wrong. I showed them
the cut on my forehead, but they discounted
that as being not worthy of
their interest pretty quickly.
They had the nurse take a lot of blood, so
I guess there's still hope that I'm harboring
some exotic parasite or
tropical disease. I sense President Bartlet's hand in this.
think these particular doctors have seen a regular patient in a long time.
Oh, well, they'll get over it, I suppose.
I have bigger
problems to deal with anyway. Josh threw his coat over my head when we
got out of the helicopter, but I'll have to give the press a statement soon.
I have to
find some clothes and some makeup.
Walking into the private
bathroom, I examine myself in the mirror. I wonder if
Bartlet would get my hairdresser down here if I asked?
I look longingly
at the shower but I know better than to try it. The nurse said I had
to wait four hours before I could shower again.
I've been in there
three times already. She shut off the water to get me out the last time.
don't know if I'll ever feel clean again, but I know I'll never take hot water
I can hear the nurse coming, so I run out
of the bathroom and hop back into bed.
She promised to bring me
something other than jello to eat. Pizza would be good or
What I really want is to go home. But I don't want to
fly. I wonder if trains run all
the way from here to the United
States? I'll have to ask Sam. He knows that kind of
The nurse comes in and proudly hands me a tray. Lifting the
metal cover, I discover a
big bowl of pudding. Well, at least it's
Lima Hospital - Day 8,
Toby's Point of View
I think I missed being able to write
the most of anything. Sam promised to get me a
laptop tomorrow, but
tonight I'm just glad to have pen and paper in my hand again.
have me hooked up to an intravenous drip so they can flood antibiotics
my system. They assured me that my foot would heal in a few days if I
off of it. I don't think that will be a problem. I've
done all the walking I want
to for a long while.
Staring at the blank
page in front of me, I tap my pen against it. One, two, three
now I'm ready to write.
Ever since I was a young boy, I followed this
ritual. My grandmother told me that
three taps unlocked the secrets of a
blank page. I believed it then. Now I do it
more out of habit
What shall I write? Do I write about the
hardships of the last week? Or, do I write
about the moments in
The moments where I accomplished physical things beyond my
abilities. The moments where
I discovered new pleasures and
joys. Or maybe I'll just write about living and how
moment really is.
Yes, I'll write about living each moment as if it was
Then maybe I'll work on that Andes Survival Book.