Objects In The Mirror by Karen
Texas, Present Day
X-Force's cross-country road trip had finally reached a snag. With some downtime on their hands Tabitha came up with an idea. She insisted that they attend a New Age alternative culture festival.. She'd gone on about how it was The Place to Be', one huge jamboree of music and entertainment rolled into one event. The highlight of the festivities would be the Colossal Man', a construct of metal and steel girders, set ablaze in a pyrotechnic display. With no other plan in mind her team mates agreed to attend. Upon their arrival, they mingled with the by turns eclectic and bizarre crowd.
Bobby, Dani and Tabitha chose to go dancing while listening to a live band. Jimmy and Terry went to set up the campsite.
Jimmy aimlessly wandered off before he came across and joined a circle of drummers. He sat down, cross legged and took deep, calming breaths, preparing himself for something he had not done in quite a while. Truth to tell, this was something he had not done since he joining up with X-Force. He had always taken pride in his Apache heritage, it was something singular about him which was set apart from his status as a mutant.
Finding a calm center he let himself over to a time-honored meditation technique used by his ancestors.. He had a lot to think about. He managed about twenty minutes of this when he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder.
"Hey, James, am I bothering you?"
"No, Dani. I heard you coming about twenty yards away. Most people's footsteps are so loud, but yours are like a whisper." James turned around to face her.
"Is that a bad thing?" Dani brushed back a lock of black hair that had fallen across her eyes.
"Actually, its a pleasant surprise," James replied.
"Look, you and I don't have a lot of history together, but if you want to talk about that whole near death experience. I do have some talents in that area."
"You were once a Valkayrie from Norse mythology?" James asked suddenly.
"That was during my time with the New Mutants. Even so, how could I forget.? Even being apart from Asgard, I'm still touched by the magic. I'm not complaining, it did help save your life."
"I remember," Jimmy grinned, breaking the tense atmosphere that had suddenly sprung up between. them. He shifted to maker room for her in the circle.
"You remember the time we went to Asgard? Remember how Terry made a comment about how a full blooded Cheyenne became a Valkayrie?" James asked.
"Just one of life's little wrinkled ironies," Dani said, sitting down beside him.
"I'm sorry if I seem distant, it's not personal. Ever since I discovered who was really behind the my tribe's massacre, I've done a lot of soul-searching. I've spent so many years carrying around guilt and anger, that I don't know what I should feel now. What if I forget what they were like? It's living that worries me," Jimmy whispered.
While they had been setting up the campsite, James had told Terry he no longer wanted to let anger dominate his personality. She had asked who he wanted to be now but he hadn't been able to give her, or more importantly, himself, a satisfactory answer. He shook his head, turning his attention back to Dani.
"I'm sorry. You were saying, Dani?" he asked.
Dani realized that he needed time to sort through his thoughts, so she acted like they'd just picked up where they'd left off.
"A long time ago I learned that I could create illusions drawn from other people's psyches. I've always used it offensively, but I can use it to find the memories you think you've lost. If you're okay with that," Dani said.
"I am. Go ahead, Dani.," he replied, as he closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. "Go ahead."
"Everything you've ever experienced lies deep within your mind, only time obscures the details. Close your eyes and think of something pleasant from your childhood. "Okay, James open your eyes now."
Suddenly the distractions from the celebrants faded away and James Proudstar found himself standing in front of his family's home on the reservation. Their familiar faces stared back at him as if he'd never been away.
The house, a single story log dwelling set somewhat apart from the rest of the reservation, looked exactly like where James and his brother, John, had grown up. A porch extended out from the main building, where their grandfather would stay for hours, spinning tales to the boys that left them wide-eyed in spellbound wonder.
"You're home, son!" his mother shouted, rushing toward him, her arms coming about to hug her youngest son.
"Did you really think you could forget us, runt?" John, teased.
"This is incredible, Dani. This feels real," he thought aloud, wondering if his team mate could hear him.
"Who's Dani?" John asked curiously. "New girlfriend?"
"Mom, Dad. Grandpa...John?" James rattled off the oh so familiar names, ignoring the light hearted jibe. He never quite learned to sort out his romantic life, even back then. Now, a classic example was his relationship, or lack of one with his team mate, Siryn, and the ill-starred one with Risque. He'd fallen for her, she had fallen for him, however, it didn't stop Risque from using him.
"Same old, Jimmy, so damn serious." John teased, snapping him out of his thoughts of romantic relationships.
"We're your family, little brother. We're bonded by blood and spirit. In my life, I let my rage blind me to the things that were important, friendship and family. Don't make the same mistake I did. Don't live your life as if you are at war," John Proudstar, dead these past twenty years, gently instructed.
"Warpath?" What kind of name is that for such a compassionate soul? Though life is often difficult, remember we walk with you everyday, James. Flesh is ephemeral, your spirit is eternal," his mother gently lectured..
"Right on, Mom," John said.
"I miss you so much, I wish you were all still alive," James sighed.
"We'll be together again. Until that time, follow your heart, son," his mother said.
"I love you all," James exclaimed.
"We know, runt, we know." John said, as the four vanished, waving goodbye.
"They were there, as real as I could hope to remember," James said, amazed at how real, how vivid, the experience had been. "Thank you, Dani."
"You're welcome, especially if it helped you."
Delta Quadrant, 24th century
A silver shuttle cleared Voyager's docking bay, slingshot from the far larger craft. Tovok executed a vector that intersected the edge of the dark matter nebulae. Before assigning a pilot to this mission, Commander Chakotay had clearly indicated that he didn't want to risk deflection of ion particles off the larger ship's shields, or off the shuttle's. The two passengers maintained a comfortable silence, interrupted only by systems checks.
"I am taking us in," Tovok announced.
"Acknowledged," Chakotay replied.
"Nervous, Commander?" Tovok asked, with typical Vulcan emotionless inflection, turning to face the other man.
"I guess I'm just used to the panoramic display of normal' space, entering a void makes me a little jumpy," Chakotay replied. wiping sweat from his brow, a droplet of it trickled down his forehead, bringing the eagle shaped tattoo on his temple into stark relief.
"We are in," Tovok stated, turning back to his console.
"We have visual readings."
"Let's see it, display on main viewer," Chakotay ordered the on-board computer.
Superimposed on the screen they saw an inky cloud, the spatial phenomena they'd been sent to investigate. The image showed confined areas of gravity spread throughout a spiral galaxy. Pinpricks of light indicated the presence of stars, suddenly became blotted out by an inky blanket of galactic dust. Watching it slowly rotate, Commander Chakotay found it rather mesmerizing. "It's sort of beautiful," he thought.
"The dark matter is practically impossible to track with the shuttle's sensors and without a source of stabilized electrical charges to lock onto," Tovok stated, snapping Chakotay out of his meandering thoughts.
"Dark matter influences the general area gravitationally, but is not seen directly. It's associated with the missing mass problem " Chakotay replied.
"The patterns are indicative of standard galaxy formation, typically spirals. However, these voids are rather disconcerting. These types of spatial phenomena of dark, but not necessarily empty regions of space."
"Show up where ever the hell they please," Chakotay snapped, irritated with Tovok's Vulcan emotionless calm, pretending not to notice the Commander's distracted state of mind, an easy task for the Vulcan security officer. All the reaction he got of Tovok was the raising of one black eyebrow.
"Figures," Chakotay thought. Turning his attention back to the control consoles, Choktay's eyes widened in surprise, "Tovok, there's something wrong with the energy readings on the shuttle's engines. "It seems we're being drained of power. Could it have something to do with the dark matter?"
"Let me see," Tovok replied, checking the readouts on his own console. He turned around in his chair to face Chakotay.
"You are correct, Commander. Commander?"
Chakotay ran his fingers over the console attempting to compensate for the steady drain on the shuttles power relays, however, no matter what he tried, the faster it went. Suddenly, sparks burst from the console as it exploded. "What the hell?" he muttered, before he was thrown from his chair, to land spread-eagled on the metal floor of the shuttle's cockpit. He didn't appear to be breathing. Tovok activated the communications array, and contacted Voyager. He alerted the bridge crew that he was aborting the mission and returning to the ship. He tacked on the additional message that Commander Choktay would require immediate medical attention. Receiving acknowledgment to his message Tovok assumed manual helm control from the computer and turned the shuttle around to rendezvous with Voyager.
"Any change?" Captain Janeway asked, stepping into the examination room, where the emergency holographic doctor program was already running.
"I'm afraid not, Captain. I've run a battery of medical tests and there's no accounting for it, the Commander is in a coma," he replied, straightening up from leaning over the patient on the biobed.
"Care to elaborate?"
"Whatever effect exposure to the dark matter, Lt. Tovok has sustained no ill effect. It may have something to do with Vulcan physiology, but I'm not ruling that out.," as for the Commander..."
A momentary silence hung in the air of the Medlab before the Doctor spoke again.
"I'm afraid he's in a state of sustained unconsciousness, perhaps he was more susceptible..."
"In other words, you have no idea, or are you saying that something out in the nebulae was trying to communicate, and Chakotay was more responsive. responsive...," Janeway, interrupted, with a touch more concern for Chakotay as a friend than as a fellow officer.
"I'd say it's a pretty approximate hypothesis, Captain. Unfortunately that's all we have to go on. I'll apply a cortical stimulator to monitor his neural pathways. If past experience is reliable, the Commander has been known to undertake vision quests', They are not what I would term medically logical', but they are often brought on by stages of unconsciousness. This may be just another out-of-body experience."
"Thank you, Doctor. Keep me posted." Captain Janeway exited the medical lab with Voyager's electronic doors sliding shut behind her retreating form with a soft whoosh.
The holographic doctor leaned over his patient once more, cortical stimulator in hand. He locked it firmly onto Chakotay's neck, turning his head to the side.
"You'd better come out of this, Commander."
Captain Janeway leaned up against the cool metal walls outside Medlab running her hands through her thick auburn hair, taking a moment to reflect on Voyager's mission and subsequent fate ever since they'd been stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
"Whenever things go wrong on this ship, they tend to come in batches; three seems to be the magic number. Not that I'm superstitious by nature, a little Chakotay goes a long, and I've learned to suspend a little disbelief since arriving in this godforsaken region of space. I've always considered myself all Starfleet captain, a little bit of a scientist second. Past experience taught me that a little of Chakotay's belief in Apache mysticism is real."
A little had rubbed off on her, she just hoped that he'd come out of his coma sooner rather than later. Janeway crossed her arms, expectantly, but not nervously waiting for the "third child of trouble."
Lt. B'Elanna Torres stood at the foot of the biobed staring down at her friend and commanding officer. Taking her eyes off him for a moment she glared in fury at the Apache Medicine Wheel she'd insisted the Doctor hang above him. "The Medicine Wheel is the circle of life (Sometimes referred to as the Sacred Hoop) starting with birth and continuing through our lives until death, when we have gone full circle." she recited, just as Chakotay had explained it to her. He'd been concerned about her temper interfering with her work.
"The Wheel has four Directions, each direction offering its own lessons, color and animal guide. There are two paths shown which cross in the center, at which point is the heart. The Path from East to West is the path of the spirits, (the Blue Road, the path from South to North is the Physical Walk." B'Elanna continued. He told her once that the Circle had healing power. She hadn't mentioned it then, but a little of what he'd said struck in chord in her.
Now that her friend and her commanding officer himself was near death, she truly wished that the Wheel really did have healing power.
"I just hope your faith in this mysticism isn't misplaced, Chakotay. You'd better not die on me, or I'll break your neck myself," she muttered, as she brought up a hand to wipe away tears she refused to let anyone but him or Lt. Tom Perris see.
"Grandfather?" Chakotay asked, expecting the familiar figure that had always appeared to greet him when he embarked on a vision quest. Then again, maybe this was a drea; the distinction between the two often treaded a fine line.
A tall, broad shouldered figure was waiting for him at the cave mouth, the same tattoo mark on Chakotay's upper right temple, a eagle's outstretched wings also marked the other's face. Instead of an old man, he encountered someone about at least a decade younger than himself. Given the fluidity of motion of these visions, this took a lot of getting used to.
"The shift between places happens in the blink of an eye here, " Chakotay remarked.
"Thanks for the tip," James replied.
"Didn't you know that? I thought you were my spirit guide," Chakotay said.
"Maybe we're each others" James laughed. He thought back to the last spirit guide' he'd had, Dani's psionic illusions notwithstanding. He'd left the team after their battle with Selene. He remembered how it had played itself out:
The mysterious woman named, Risque, had nursed him back to health after he'd been injured during X-Force's battle with Selene and the other Externals. He'd traced a hunch to its source, and discovered that Selene was responsible for the deaths of the Externals.
Risque had rescued him at the last minute. He' fallen for her. He thought he'd found someone he cared about, someone who understood him. They'd spent a few months together in Florida. In the end he'd realized she was using him because she owed a favor to a garage troll/mechanic in Detroit named Sledge.
Sledge was a hoarded of a odd collection of technology, including an portal to another dimension. He could get you anything and anyone for a price. James had agreed to enter another dimension, retrieve Sledge's friend, in return for the address of the only other survivor of had been Michael Whitecloud.
When he and Siryn eventually caught up with Whitecloud, the lid had been blown wide open on what really happened almost fifteen years ago on his tribe's reservation, The killing had been the result of a massive cover-up of an unknown party who wanted to prevent Whitecloud from exposing their operation.
"You know, there's an uncanny resemblance between us, " James remarked, giving the stranger a close inspection that took in everything, including the raven-black hair, the tattoo on the right temple, the musculature, the same nose, eyes, and mouth, and chin. In an odd way, he resembled himself, except about a decade older.
"If you say so," James replied, jolted out of his trip down memory lane.
That didn't matter now, he could let the past go, what mattered was the present and the future.
Chakotay stuck his hand out waiting for the other to return the gesture, in a back corner of his mind, he wanted to ascertain the other's solidity in this place that had no predetermined boundaries in space or time. "Commander Chakotay. USS. starship Voyager," he greeted.
"James Proudstar. They shook hands then broke off.
"So we're here, now what? When I embarked on this , uh, journey I didn't exactly get a map from my tour guide," James answered.
"Spirit guide," Chakotay grinned. As a spirit guide, his conversations with the old man were roundabout, was probably the best way to describe them, he never came right out and stated what he was trying to get at. The whole point was to lead Chakotay to make the right conclusions.
For his part, James Proudstar, in other place and time known as Warpath, took the stranger's word at face value. This was unfamiliar territory he was traversing here, and this person seemed to know at least a few tricks of the place.
"Yeah. So where are we going?" James asked.
"To the place where my spirit lives," Chakotay replied, remembering that had always been the response his grandfather gave when he asked that question.
"Follow," he added, striding towards the cave entrance, as Jimmy accompanied him.
James found himself standing at the entrance to a cave system, similar to the one he and his brother had explored as children. Made of limestone they looked eerily alike, the caves riddled with exits, entrances, and hidden nooks and crannies throughout the caves. They'd pretended to be explorers taking enough lanterns, food and gear to avoid getting lost. It was a way to get out of doing chores, and more importantly, learn tracking and survival skills. Lessons which were expanded upon by their grandfather, who insisted they ask questions, but who urge to figure out the answers on their own. James thought back to those days,
"Clever , grouchy, old man"
James and Chakotay found themselves inside the cave system.
Trudging alongside the other man, James asked the question he'd been balancing on a knife's edge.
"How is it you know so much about this place?"
"Been here, done that.," Chakotay replied.
"Mind if I ask you a personal question?" he asked, as he ducked to avoid cracking his head on a tier of low hanging stalactites.
"Fire away." James replied.
"You look Apache, if I'm not mistaken. Have you heard of vision quests?" Chakotay asked.
"Yes." James replied, watching where he put his feet to avoid slipping into pitted cracks in the cave floor.
"What made you decide to journey into sidereal experiences? Chakotay asked, by way of making conversation.
"It's a long story," James replied, shrugging off the question.
"I think there's an exit up ahead.
"Looks that way, Chakotay replied, referring to a shaft of daylight coming through a crack.
"Long stories are usually the best kind. Go on."
"It has to do with the death of everyone and everything I ever cared about," James muttered.
"I thought it might be something like that," Chakotay replied.
"Their deaths were ordered because someone called Stryfe, or at least his goon, Edwin Martynec wanted to prevent a friend of mine from exposing their operation. Whitecloud died before he could reveal most of the details to me," James said bitterly.
"Tough break, kid," Chakotay replied, in shared commiseration. "By the way, you were right, there is an exit up ahead, but we'll have to climb over a pile of rubble to get through it."
"Not a problem, " James replied, distracted from his painful memories. Finding hand and footholds in the rock they both clambered over the obstacle, then scrambled through to reach the other side.
Outside of the caves, their first sight was a cascading waterfall spilling over a mountainside in an enclosed valley. The waterfall thrummed in the eerie silence, loud as the beating of their hearts.
"Nice place," James commented, as they drew nearer the center.
"You can say that again," Chakotay agreed.
In the center stood two objects, one very alien, the other more mundane. The first, a sparkling cylinder standing about three meters high, the second, an enclosed square on top of a platform.
"What do you make of that? James asked, pointing towards the first object.
"I'd say it's some sort of alien transporter technology," Chakotay replied, giving the object a through inspection. "That may be what we're looking for."
As if someone had heard him, the cylinder began glowing, its hexagonal planes glittering with prismatic lights. It forced both men to cover their eyes to prevent going blind. This was especially difficult for James, who was endowed with enhanced senses, was a liability.
As the light subsided, James peeked out through his fingers and saw two figures emerging from inside the cylinder. At first, they couldn't hold a three-dimensional shape. The aliens, if that's what they were, didn't have one.
Mostly black in coloring, they tried on shape after shape. Once the light from the cylinder faded, the aliens' bodies swallowed up the light. The aliens eventually assumed a vaguely humanoid form. As their lineaments grew sharper, James could have
sworn for a second there they looked like the former members of the Hellions.
"Nah, that couldn't be," James thought.
Chakotay thought they resembled his former cremates with the Maqui, the organization he'd been with before joining Voyager. Having finished their shape changing, the aliens went over to a mounted platform hidden behind the transporter.
Both men felt drawn to the platform objects.
Chakotay could have sworn he'd been here before. Deja vu not withstanding, he recognized a boxing ring. Given the fluidity of movement, it was as if an invisible hand picked them up and plunked them down inside two identical rings.
Beyond the rings, a tier of spectator stands sprung into view.
"Guess we're just going to have to play along," Chakotay said.
"Are there any special rules? James shouted over a sudden surge of heat, noise and light.
"You've never done this before?" Chakotay shouted back.
"No." James replied.
"Okay, no blows below the belt, no hitting while they're down, otherwise, you block to defend, jab to attack,"
Chakotay trailed off, sizing up his opponent.not surprised to find padded leather gloves on.
"I know that much," James interrupted, doing the same thing ; the alien was taller, heavier, wider in the breadth of shoulders, although it was difficult to tell beneath the black robes.
"Don't look him in the eyes." Suiting action to words, Chakotay made that mistake himself, and found himself swaying on his feet, like his surrounding were spinning out of control. He felt he was staring into an bottomless canyon, the same way he'd felt when he'd been out exploring the dark matter nebula.
"Hey, you okay?" James asked, snapping him out of his disoriented state.
"Uh, yeah. Bob, weave, feint to both sides, Chakotay trailed off.
James only partially heard the advice as it impinged on his consciousness,
"Concentrate, adjust the rhythm of your attacks, so your opponent has no way of anticipating your true speed, I guess that's it."
"Only one way to find out," James agreed, momentarily off balance.
The alien came at him, fists clenched, arms wind milling. They would have connected if James hadn't ducked a split second before. Remembering Chakotay's advice, he darted to the side, matching the rhythm of his movements to those of his opponent. Pivoting on his heels, James punched the alien in the chest, sending it several paces back to rebound off the ropes. Shuffling to the left, James landed a series of uppercut jabs to the alien's face and neck. About five minutes later, he received a blow that knocked him off his feet. Dizzily rising to his feet, James realized he was going to have to pull out all the stops.
Meanwhile, Chakotay faced off against his opponent in the other ring. He didn't have James' enhanced senses, or other abilities, but he wasn't going to let that bother him.
What he did have was training, practice against holographic opponents, and sparring fights from his days at Starfleet Academy.
The alien manuvered into position, fists flailing.
Chakotay landed several solid blows to the thing's sternum. The alien returned the favor, knocking him off his feet, but not enough to keep him there.
"Hope the kid's doing better than I am," Chakotay thought, not daring to glance over and risk losing his concentration.
A blow to his left cheek sent Chakotay to the floor again.
"Isn't this where I came in?" was his last conscious thought before succumbing to an inky blackness.
James, on the opposite side, also found himself lying on the mat, staring up at the alien's depthless eyes, he drifted.
Chakotay drifted. Everything he'd seen while in the spirit caves and in that alien landscape; the young man he'd met there, were indelibly imprinted in his mind. Trying to get up, he discovered that he couldn't because he'd been strapped to a biobed in Medlab. He looked up to find an Apache Medicine Wheel hanging over him.
"Oh, good. You're back," The Doctor remarked.
"I guess I am," Chakotay agreed.
"Welcome back to the land of the living, Chakotay," Torres greeted, plunking down in a chair across from him in the mess hall.
"I thought you didn't believe me when I told you about vision quests and medicine wheels," Chakotay greeted, stirring a straw in his coffee.
"I didn't. I'm an engineer. I have to deal with rock solid facts, not mystical mumbo jumbo," she said, plunking her own cup down with a thud.
"It's not mumbo jumbo. I think I met one of my ancestors," he said, ignoring her angry stare.
"So, you, okay now?" she asked, her half human, half-Klingon brow ridges furrowing even more than usual.
"Yeah, I'm fine. The Doctor gave me a clean bill of health, so I'm ready to go back to active duty,' he replied with a nonchalant shrug.
"Don't ever tell anyone this, but I believed in it enough, to convince the Doctor that,..." B'Elanna trailed off.
"Even in a sub-conscious state, my soul' for lack of a better word, was still trying to help the crew," Chakotay finished.
"You didn't meet your grandfather this time around?" B'Elanna asked.
"This time my spirit guide was much younger," he said, leaning back in the chair.
"What was his name?"
"You're kidding? That's a family name. So what, you Chakotay Proudstar?"
"Was he? Torres asked, a flicker of interest in her brown eyes.
"He had the same tattoo," tapping his hand to his right temple, right here, the kind I wear in memory of my father," Chakotay said, leaning back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. "Same tribe different vintage. "Said that, in his time frame, he's the last survivor of his tribe."
"What happened to his tribe?" B'Elanna asked, her curiosity sparked.
"They were all killed as part of some giant cover-up."
"What time period?"
"Late 20th century."
"Maybe you have more ancestors than you thought," B'Elanna said.
"Well, I think here on Voyager, I've got a new tribe, a new family.
"Yeah, you know how Captain Janeway is always going on about how everyone on Voyager's is one big happy family," B'Elanna answered, her temper flaring.
"Don't you think so?" Chakotay asked, raising one black eyebrow, knowing B'Elanna as well as he did, he knew that these flashes of temper,however frequent, were always brief.
"I do, I just don't want to let on that I do, okay?" B'Elanna griped, then smiled.
"Okay. Buy you dinner? It'll make Neelix happy," Chakotay said, reassuring B'Elanna that he was back to his regular self.
"I will, if you're buying, She laughed, as they stood up from the table and headed for the mess hall serving counter.
"Well?" Dani asked, and amused ring to her voice, seeming to imply more than that single word encompassed, breaking James out of his lingering trance state.
"You'll never guess where I've been," James stated.
"You shouldn't keep me in suspense. I take it you didn't see your brother, or your family this time. I know this might not come out right, but, James, I am glad you were finally able to put all that guilty about your family's massacre behind you, " Dani said.
"They say the truth will set you free. Whoever came up with that never imagine how much the truth can hurt. True, I finally found out that Stryfe was behind the Camp Verde Massacre, that it wasn't my fault for quitting the Hellions, but that doesn't make it any less painful," James replied.
"I saw some of what you saw, I haven't used that aspect of my power, lately, so I can't be completely sure," Dani replied.
"I think I went to the future, and I'm not talking Hollywood Just what kind of psychic projections did you pull out of my head, Dani?"
"I think I met one of my descendants. He's a starship commander by the name of Chakotay on a ship called Voyager," James explained.
"Sounds good so far," Dani said.
"They're from the 24th century, trapped light years from Earth someplace called the Delta Quadrant. They're trying to get back home."
"Well, if that's a true vision of the future, you'll have to live long enough to have descendants,' Dani smiled.
"Thank you, Dani. You know, I've been so obsessed with the way my family died, I forgot the way they lived is much more important, and so is living my own life," James remarked, smiling in response to hers.
"Always a good thing to remember," Dani replied, standing up.
"Come on. Let's find the others before they get into too much trouble," James said, as they both walked off towards the campsite. /lj cut