It was morning in the South American jungles. Milo and the gang sailed down the Orinoco River in a boat. Accompanying them was a short, bespectacled man in a trench coat, Dr. Herman Hutz, who was writing in a journal. All around the sights and sounds of the jungle's wildlife was everywhere. Monkeys swung high in the trees. Parrots and toucans flew overhead. Jaguars stalked in the shadows. Snakes slithered in the undergrowth. Tapirs wallowed in the water. Kida was simply taken aback by the sheer variety of animals around. "Where are we?" she asked as a pair of parrots flew over the group's heads. Milo replied, "We're in South America."
Suddenly, the group turned to see Herman. He was trying to retrieve his journal which had been stolen by a group of capuchin monkeys. They were teasing him with it. "Give it back, you dirty little apes!" he implored. "Milo! Ask these filthy monkeys to give me back my journal." Milo took a deep breath and chattered like a monkey. The tactic apparently worked and the monkeys handed the journal back. They tthen retreated into the jungle. "Thank you," said Herman. "Milo, why are we even in South America? Surely Whitmore didn't send us here to be mugged by monkeys." Milo chuckled. "We're here to find the fire orchid. It's the rarest flower in the world, in fact, the only one of its species in existence. It only lives here and, according to legend, it can heal all kinds off illness." Sweet added, "It's quite a medical breakthrough." Suddenly, Audrey pointed. "Look!" she cried. The group turned to see what she was pointing at.
The boat was approaching an Amerindian village. The gang got to shore and exited the boat. The villagers, who up until now were going about their business, turned to see the visitors. They were surprised to see them. "What do we do now?" Herman whispered. Milo shrugged. Then, the villagers' attention was diverted. Approaching the group was a tall, muscular Amerindian man. He had black hair and was dressed in a jaguar-skin cloak, a loincloth and was wearing a feathered headdress, red facepaint and a necklace adorned with crocodile teeth and armed with a staff. He was accompanied by a younger man, dressed in a loincloth, red facepaint, a necklace adorned with piranha teeth and was armed with a spear. The village chief smiled at the travellers. "It appears we have visitors." He extended a hand to Milo. "It is nice to meet you. I am Chief Haucachima." He pointed to his son. "That is my son, Suachagari."
Milo replied, "I'm Milo. This is Kida, Sweet, Cookie, Mole, Packard, Vinnie and Audrey. And this is..." Herman then interrupted, "Dr. Herman James Hutz, at your service!" He shook the Chief's hand so hard, it nearly fell off. "It's...nice to meet you too," the chief answered. Suachagari then said, "We're having a feast later this evening. Would you like to come?" "That would be wonderful," Kida replied. They headed off and followed the chief and his son. Some distance away, a mining operation was underway. The mine was an eyesore, scarred into the face of a cliff. The workers went about their business as the disgusting sound of machinery pierced the jungle air. The head of the project, Henry Jensen, a middle aged man with grey hair and dressed in a blue shirt, brown trousers and thick shoes, was having an argument with one of the workers, Charlie.
"But, boss! This is so unfair!" Said worker whined. Henry simply lit a Havana cigar and inhaled. "Do I look as though I care about your wages?" "Boss, we're barely getting paid. We're slaving away like pack animals, while you sit back without a care in the world!" At this point, Henry took a deep breath in, reducing his cigar to a stump, and causing the ash to fall to the ground. Then, without warning, he grabbed Charlie by the shirt and dragged him outside. He held Charlie over the balcony as he protested, "Boss, are you completely gaga?!?!" Henry then proceeded to hurl the worker into the water below, where the crocodiles were waiting. He then turned back to the other workers, who stared on, horrified. "Tell Charlie his wages are docked." Suddenly, one of the workers who had the courage to speak replied, "You threw Charlie to the crocodiles just now." Henry then screamed, "It'll be you next if you don't get back to work!" The terrified miners then ran off back to their work.
That evening, at the village, the gang were well and truly feasting. Their meal consisted of foods that were sourced straight from the jungle. They were positively stuffing their faces. Herman said, with his mouthful, "This is good. Is there any relish?" The chief approached the gang. Flanking him was a large jaguar. The magnificent cat strode up to Milo and the gang and growled softly. "Who's this?" Milo asked as the jaguar licked his face, as friendly as a labrador. The chief replied, "That is Sauguaro. I found him when he was a cub." The jaguar pounced on top of Herman and he said, between licks of his face, "Down boy! Stop! What are ya, a cat or a dog?"
Milo stretched and yawned, "I think it's time we hit the sack." The group were shown to their sleeping quarters. It was a simple hut with blankets laid out on the floor for the them. "I know it's hardly the Ritz hotel, but at least we have somewhere to stay," said Milo as he lay down. The travellers settled down for the night as the crickets chirped in the night. The next day, the gang were awoken. However, it was by Sauguaro roaring. Milo and the gang followed the jaguar outside. "Is everything alright, boy?" Sweet asked. What they saw next was absolutely shocking. There were several villagers sitting round, looking as though they were sick. They were groaning in agony and felt weak. "What's wrong?" Kida asked. A woman dropped an urn full of water to the ground. It shattered and the water was revealed to be inky black and polluted.
"What could have caused this?" Milo asked, examining the disgusting black liquid. The chief and his son, by this time, had approached. "The river has been polluted," said Haucachima. "What can we do about this?" "The fire orchid is the only cure for the ailing. Go and find it. I wish you luck." Milo and the group headed off, but not before Suachagari approached and said, "I'm coming with you. It's dangerous in the jungle and I'll provide defence." The chief approached his son. "My son, it's dangerous. I lost your mother, and I'm not going to lose you." "But father..." At this point, the chief sighed, "Very well. I wish you luck. But take Macahicha with you."
Meanwhile, at the mine, Henry was observing his workers. He announced, "Boys, I'm tellin' you! This mining operation is like shooting fish in a barrel. We'll be rolling in the dough in no time." One worker, however, asked, "Isn't this dangerous for the environment?" Henry, whose face, was turning mauve with rage, marched up to the worker and yelled, "You'll be joining Charlie soon if ya give me lip!" He held up Charlie's waistcoat, which the crocodiles had torn to shreds. "Kapeesh?" The worker nodded, terrified and ran off as Henry grinned.
Meanwhile, Milo and the gang were traipsing through the jungle with Suachagari and Macachicha, the village's shaman. Macachicha was an elderly Amerindian woman with grey hair and skin that was as wrinkly as a dead leaf. Her arms were spindly and she wore a cloak made from the skin of an ocelot, a bikini top and skirt made from jaguar fur and spiked with crocodile teeth and a necklace with piranha teeth hanging off it. She also wore faded red face paint. "Just...how old are you?" Herman asked, gasping for breath. Macachicha giggled, "It's rude to ask a lady her age. I am in fact 450 years old." Milo was taken aback. "How have you been alive for so long?" he asked. "Nature, my boy," the wizened medicine woman replied, "works wonders on the skin."
All around, Milo listened to the calls of the birds and monkeys, who were gathered in the trees above. Herman, who was shaking like a blancmange, asked, "Milo, do you get the feeling that we're being watched?" Milo was about to reply, when a black shape went flashing by. "What was that?" Kida wondered. "I'm not sure," came Milo's reply. It's probably just a bird or something, he thought.
Just then, without warning, an enormous black panther pounced out of the undergrowth snarling.