Collin blew out a sigh. "This is crazy. I'm tired of solving puzzles." He started to crawl away. "Come on," he said. "Let's see if we can figure out where we are."

With Courtney and Morgan following, Collin silently maneuvered through barrels and crates and jars. He smelled salt water and fish and wondered if the odors came from the cargo or from the ocean. The fish didn't smell all that appetizing, but right now he was starving and even raw whale blubber sounded delicious.

Finally he found a place where they could easily peer over the vessel's other side.

Their ship was moored like half a dozen others along a stone dock at the shore of a village clustered with flat-roofed, mud-colored buildings of all sizes and shapes. Other men, dressed just like the ones on the ship, bustled about the docks leading donkey-drawn carts loaded with bolts of cloth, large leather-capped jars and more crates and barrels.

Vendors were selling fruit and fresh fish from carts. A few dark-haired children, dressed just like the men, ran and played along the docks, and off in the distance, dry, deserty-hills stretched on forever.

There didn't seem to be a way of getting off the boat without getting caught and Collin figured he wouldn't blend in with the crowd. His running shoes, his shorts and his Grateful Dead T-shirt might look a little odd to the people in town. They'd just have to wait until night time to sneak away.

Walking up the gang plank were dozens of half-starved looking, bare-chested men carrying heavy cargo from the carts to the galley of the ship. They must be slaves, Collin guessed, considering the way one big, strong man stood at the edge of the boat shouting orders at them.

Collin turned away from the unusual sights to look at Courtney and Morgan whose eyes were wide with wonder at all the sights and sounds. "I think we should get out of here before we get stuck carrying stuff, too. Being a slave doesn't sound much better than being dinosaur chow."

 
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