Beneath a canopy of trees - deep within a forest not marked on any map - leaves crunched loudly under steel boots. On a day like this, the forest would normally be alight with the melodic sounds of its many varied denizens. Gone were the rich songs born from the beaks of many colored birds. Missing, the playful pitter-patter of small feet as critters scurried among branches. Not even the insects could be heard, upturning the soil to renew the ground.