--- A new home front---
Something woke Henry. At first he wasn't sure what and then he realized that the helicopter was no longer moving. He started to say something and as soon as he did the dark visor retracted into the top of the helmet. Because of the protected chair he was in he couldn't look around very much, but he did notice that the temperature was very warm and the air was very humid. In fact, it seemed more humid than the Africa he just left.
"Henry, I see you are awake. Let's get you out of that chair now and introduce you to your new home." With that, the doctor fiddled with a couple of buttons on the dash and all the straps released and withdrew. The doctor opened the side door of the helicopter right next to Henry and the first thing he felt was this wave of damp warm air rushing in and almost overpowering him.
The doctor extended his hand to Henry to help him out of the helicopter. Although his feet were on the ground, Henry seem to have the distinct impression the rest of them was still at about 10,000 feet.
"Don't worry Henry, you had a long flight and it'll take a little time for your muscles to awaken. Just hang onto my arm, were only going to walk over to that hut about 100 yards away."
With every step, Henry could feel his strength and coordination returning. His feet were sending him messages that the ground he was walking on was quite a bit different than he was used to. This ground seemed damp and soft. Henry thought that might have something to do with the massively thick vegetation and forest in every direction he looked.
Finally getting to the hut, the doctor told Henry to go inside and lay down on the examination table which will recharge his collar. That sounded just fine to Henry. He definitely didn't want that collar to discharge and no longer provide him the protection that it did. Out of reflex he raised his right hand to his neck and rubbed his fingers around the collar which made him feel a little more secure. He also tried running his fingernail around the top of the collar and remembered that before his nail would bump as it passed over the seams when the collar was first closed. This time, he couldn't feel the seam either on the top or the bottom of the collar. It was so the collar was now one solid piece. The doctor came in with a brown skin native whose name he said was Oro.
"Henry, we are now in the deep Amazon jungle on the other side of the world from where you woke up this morning. This will be our new home but it will take some getting used to and I want to make sure that during that period you don't actually get yourself in some trouble. Oro has made you a present from some local vegetation. I've asked him to go ahead and slip you into it and while he does I'll tell you a little something about it."
Oro immediately slipped a pair of connected loops over Henry's ankles and then slipped a stick into the middle of the connecting cord and began to twist it resulting in the loops beginning to close up.
"What Oro has given you was handmade from Musa textilis which is the principal source. It resembles the true banana but has narrow more tufted leaves and inedible fruits. The plant forms a clump of 12-30 sheathing leafstalks 10-20 ft. high with a crown of spreading leaf blades 3-6 ft long. The fiber is secured from the outer portion of the leafstalks. Mature stalks are cut at the roots and split open lengthwise. The pulp and the fiber strands are removed, and the strands are washed and dried.
Individual fibers are 6-12 ft. long, lustrous and variable in color from white to light ocher. They are light, elastic, stiff and very strong, durable and resistant to both fresh and salt water. Therefore, the main use of abacá has been in the manufacture of high-grade cordage, especially marine cables. This is one of the skills that you're going to learn while you're over here. Wearing these will give you an opportunity to test out the strength, elasticity, comfort and durability of this product so you'll instantly know what it is and in what circumstances you would use it for."
The cordage made a comfortable loop around each ankle with about 20 inches from one ankle to the other. Oro then slipped a similar set lightly around Henry's wrists and began to show him how twisting the middle of the connecting cord took up the slack in each wrist loop. When they were snug but not too tight, he removed the stick from the center of the vine and the insertion hole simply closed up behind it. Oro then spread a warm thick liquid over all the vine on his ankles as well as his wrists.
"Henry, the liquid is made from a tree sap and is a type of natural latex. It protects the vines, gives them additional strength and flexibility and as you'll find out as it dries, it makes the vine practically indestructible. For example, we know of no knife that is capable of cutting it and yet if you move your arms and your legs you'll find you still have considerable flexibility. Here's a sharp hunting knife Henry, go ahead and see if you can cut it."
The liquid had set up almost immediately upon application. There was obviously a lot more to it than simple latex. Henry ran his thumb from side to side over the blade to be sure it was sharp and then began to confidently cut the connection in his new "vegetable shackles." He rubbed the blade over the vine faster and faster than harder and harder until he was exhausted in trying and after about 15 minutes looked at the vine where he had been cutting it and was unable to even find a nick.
With a look of total surprise and frustration he turned to the doctor: "how am I supposed to get these things off now? For that matter, how my supposed to put a pair of pants on? Or even a shirt?"
"When the time comes Henry, I think I'll be able to get those off of you, but since this experiment was rushed we never had time to test for that so I guess you are the test. As for your clothes, weatherwise you won't need them and as you will discover the local men's dress code isn't much more than a quick tied jockstrap which I'm sure you'll get used to in a couple of days. Until we can get a hut built for the two of you, you'll see there are two metal cots in the back of this hut. You boys will sleep there and I will hook up the chargers at that location. Why don't you jump down from the table and do a little exploring, at least around the airfield and this hut. Do not go into the forest until after we've had a chance to teach you what to watch out for. This area is much more dangerous than where you were."
"Where did you say we are?" As Henry jumped down from the table wearing his new sets of restraints.
"The easiest way to answer that is simply to say the middle of the Amazon jungle. There are things not very far from here that quite probably, no white man has ever seen. At the same time, there are also pythons that grow large enough to be able to swallow you whole. Your restraints will act as a reminder not to wander off until you really learn to survive in this environment on your own. Your clothing will help you identify faster with the natives who will become your friends. Now, go outside and start getting used to your new home."
Henry left the hut and began walking around the perimeter of the clearing which was about 300 yards across. As he walked, he stretched his arms above his head and then bending sideways all way down, backup and all the way down on the other side and then forward to touch his feet and back up to the sky. He did that for several reasons, the first being he was getting stiff without any exercise but the underlying reason of course was he was beginning to try and test the limits of his new shackles.
Their soft at least and they don't seem to be chafing my wrists or my ankles which at least makes them a lot better than some of the rope that was used on me when I needed some correction. I wonder if I keep bending them back and forth in the same spot if I can wear that spot out enough to break it.
That was an idea that was going to haunt Henry for weeks to come. Considering most boys his age like to fidget with something to help pass the time, and he didn't have any pockets to put some coins in that he could rub together, his choice of nervous release, at least when he thought others might be looking was trying to wear out at least one spot on his shackles.
He looked over towards the helicopter and saw them getting the other boy out and over to the hut and Henry just shook his head as he reached up and started fidgeting and trying to find the crack in his collar. He was still happy there was no one else in sight. Despite his previous experiences, he really didn't feel comfortable walking around in a strange environment totally naked. "Hell, I'm not naked. After all I have my collar and my wrist and ankle shackles. So what more do I need?"
Yeah right, so why do I feel so freaking embarrassed there isn't even anybody here? Well, I guess I don't have a chance to change anything so I might as well get used to it and try and make the best of it.
Why did I have to sit on that damn ant pile in the first place?
Was that something in the Bush up ahead of me? I'm sure I saw something move? I'm going go check it out.
My God, what the hell was that? I'm getting out a here.
Henry started running as fast as he could back to the hut. After the third trip and fall, he was amazed how quickly he could get up after falling on his face from being tripped up in the shackles. By the time he reached the hut he had his stride pretty well worked out so now he could run as fast as shackles would let him.
"Did you hear that? Did you hear that? What the hell was that?" As Henry burst through the door of the hut.
"Henry, apparently you cross paths with the largest pussycat in South America. That was a scream of a Jaguar. It has the strongest bite of any cat and is only smaller than the lion and tiger. Here is a picture of one and you can tell he could be right next to you in the jungle and you probably wouldn't see him. Nothing here is used to white boys, so expect to be checked out by almost everything."
"Now you boys go over and lie down on your bunks and insert your ankle and wrist cords into the open hooks in the middle of the bed end bars."
Once they did, the hooks snapped shut. Henry tried to open his but found it was locked. He felt a tingling in his collar, like it was recharging. That made him feel more comfortable although he still didn't know about being shackled to both ends of the bed totally naked. He could move his arms and legs a little as the cord pivoted through the hook, but escape was impossible. The more he thought about it and the more he squirmed, the more he wanted to and.... what was happening to him?
Crap, I'm getting hard. I can't let anyone see this, as he rolled over on his stomach crossing both his arms and legs. It didn't help. Now he was rubbing against the bed and getting even more excited. He tried as hard as he could to reach his problem area to care for things privately, but the more he tried, it seemed the harder he got. He was moving his hips around on the bed faster and faster now. He buried his face in the pillow, his body became rigid, and he let out a loud moan after which he became quite relaxed and soon fell asleep.