Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Getting a sponsor|
War had been going on for almost five years. I was eighteen and had completed both regular school and a advanced school in engineering. I was home on Cloud before I submitted an application for the fleet marines. A lot here was still being researched because of the properties. I was three quarters amer indian and my father was the head warden for the major preserves.
I was sitting in his headquarters when the Mayday from a shuttle came in. I moved to the holograph board and watched the shuttle track down out of the atmosphere. I shook my head, “its going into the Sky Islands.”
I looked at dad and he nodded, “and we don’t have a ranger to go after them.”
I should mention my father lost both legs in combat and was still regrowing new ones. I looked at the holograph, “drop me with a glider and I’ll find them and walk them out.”
He frowned before finally nodding and moving his chair to a cabinet, “take my equipment vest.”
I smiled as I went to look before reaching for a standard vest and then his long bladed synth knife. They were unique in that they cut anything as if they were an energy knife. I had a small slim small one I normally carried but the long knife would work a lot better in the planet’s bush, especially in the Sky Islands where a lot of tech gear didn’t work.
I headed out as dad called his flyer pilot. The only way to avoid the flyer from crashing because of the field properties in and around the Sky Islands is to fly at max attitude. I was wearing soft pants and a long shirt with leather mocs. I sat and began checking the synthetic silk shroud I would use to glide down to the area we thought the shuttle had wrecked in.
I glanced at the pilot when he turned and he grinned, “take a oxy mask, you’ll need it.”
I didn’t bother telling him it would only work for a few thousand meters before the field properties caused the electronics to fail. I checked our position before packing the shroud and standing. I slipped the mask on and moved to the door before sliding it back. I turned to watch the pilot and several minutes later he looked back and nodded.
I dove out and spread my arms and legs as I looked at the area below. I was searching for a hint of the shuttle as I released the shroud and it opened right behind my back. The straps yanked at my body and hips as I grabbed the two controls, one in each hand. I was still spread out as I turned towards a distant reflection.
I turned away when I realized it was just a large formation of synth crystals. I was at thirty five hundred meters when I saw the trail of broken vines between two floating islands. That was when I tore the mask off because it stopped working. I turned and headed down as I watched for signs of predators.
I had to shift and move around a few things as I went between the islands and then I saw the broken shuttle. I was still a thousand meters above and behind it and growled at the pack of wyvern wolves. I checked the wind and pulled a container of pepper spray. I dropped my feet and flared the shroud as I approached and landed on a wing.
The huge stubby winged wolves growled as they moved towards me and I released the spray. As soon as it hit them they coughed and started shaking as they backed off and then turned to run. I smiled as I released the shroud and turned to fold it and put it back into the pack it had come out of.
I moved to a hatch and used the manual release to open it. I stepped in and found broken seats and dried crash foam. I moved around and looked down the center isle and only a dozen men in suits looked back. I started towards them, “the pilot and copilot?”
A man pushed through the others and I saw the uniform with stars, “dead with the engineer.”
I nodded and began checking them, “anyone injured?”
They shook their heads as I moved through them and looked into the crushed cockpit. I turned, “okay this is what is happening. You crashed in a restricted area called Sky Islands. It is restricted because electronics don’t work here and I’m sure you saw the floating islands. What that means is we can’t fly you out. There are several different predators so stay together.”
One cleared his throat, “if they can’t fly us out how did you get here?”
I grinned, “I jumped from twenty thousand meters and used a silk shroud to glide down.”
The general chuckled and I turned to gesture towards the door I had opened, “we have a long walk ahead of us.”
I walked to the hatch and looked out before moving onto the wing. I moved out and looked around as they came out. I went to the broken wingtip that was resting against a large tree and looked down before turning and starting down. I waited on the ground as they followed and looked at them, “stay close and don’t wander away to pee on a tree.”
I pointed a dozen meters away, “especially those trees, they are alive and walk. We aren’t even sure they are trees and not animals.”
I turned and headed east, “Sky Islands is an area a couple of thousand kilometers across north to south and a thousand east to west. You crashed about a hundred and fifty from the east edge.”
I stopped when I saw the crawler and then started to circle around it as I pointed the eight meter millepede out, “those are poisonous. The poison paralyzes the victim and they eat it while it is still alive.”
I was constantly looking around and watching the men as well as what was around us. I stopped when I saw the large flock of jelly birds, “see the floating bags? We call them Jelly Birds because they are like old earth jelly fish in many ways. The hanging things below them have tiny barbed hooks that inject poison that will liquify a human in about six hours.”
Once the jelly birds had gone by I started walking again. We managed just over twenty kilometers before I stopped in a group of rocks. I slipped out and used the demo gun in the vest to kill an animal. I cleaned it and brought it back before starting a fire to cook it. The general watched me just as he had the whole way here.
He smiled, “ever think of joining the military?”
I grinned, “this is my vacation before I apply for officer training.”
He nodded, “you have schooling?”
I kept checking the openings into the rocks, “an advanced degree in engineering.”
He grinned, “we get out and I’ll personally get you in.”
I smiled and started handing sticks with meat to each man, “hold the meat and turn it so one side doesn’t burn.”
Four days later I was swimming beside them as we crossed the last river before we were out of the dead zone around Sky Islands. I glanced back and up to see a wyvern and shook my head. I walked out first and quickly pulled the demo gun as I turned and walked backwards.
The others were coming out as the huge creature dropped out of the sky. I knew better than to try shooting through the hide, it was to thick and even a grav pulse rifle wouldn’t penetrate. The men were scrambling out as I aimed. The wyvern back winged with claws reaching for me as the last man ran past me.
It roared and that gave me the target I needed. I fired six times into its mouth and through the roof and into its brain. I back stepped as it jerked and then fell while convulsing. The wyvern wolves were distantly related to the wyvern which was why I had used the pepper spray. I looked at the huge creature as it died and waited before cutting off the claws on one forefoot.
I struggled to cut a huge piece of hide with the synth knife before rolling it up. I turned to look at the men and smiled as I started walking, “you just met one of the major predators here on Cloud. That was a Wyvern.”
I stopped a kilometer later when I saw the large slates of grav stones. They were covered in vines and debris or they would be floating a lot higher. I looked around, “we are setting up camp here.”
The general walked to one of the smaller stones and pushed on it, “what are these?”
I smiled, “grav stone.”
I had killed a Tree Snipe and let the men collect wood to build a fire. While they worked I went to the slate stones and collected vines and found four large flat pieces I could use. I used cord from the vest and vines to link them together. I sat up all night thinking about what I was planning. While I was doing that I cleaned the four huge wyvern claws.
I used my small synth knife to bore holes and then added cord to hang them around my neck. I lay back and relaxed to wait for morning. I was up with the sun and grinned as I put men on each piece of slate. I started at the back and moved toward the front as I cut the vines holding the grav stones to the ground.
I jumped onto the first as it started to rise and glanced back to see the men clinging to the vines I had put on. I shifted around and pulled out the silk shroud as we rose above the trees, “ready to wind sail home?”
I flipped the shroud and it caught the morning breeze and filled out. I leaned back as it started pulling and towing us after it. It wasn’t long before the men were laughing as we flew above the trees at about two hundred feet. The breeze was only about five or six kilometers an hour but it picked up once the sun rose higher.
Eight hours later we were out of the dead zone and I collapsed the shroud. I held it as we drifted and pulled out several items that snapped together. I squeezed the side handle a dozen times before opening the comm, “dad?”
“Very funny Star Hawk. Devlin should reach you in an hour.”
I grinned at the general, “I was tired of walking. Let the port know the pilot, copilot and engineer died on impact.”
I glanced around as we floated, “I had to kill a Wyvern.”
Dad was quiet for a long time, “I saw it attack and told the council.”
I put the comm down and relaxed and the general cleared his throat, “what was that about the Wyvern?”
I looked at him, “they are protected and only found in the Sky Islands. As far as we know there are only around a hundred. We tried catching and moving one but it just flew back and left a path of dead behind while it did it.”
An hour later a flyer hovered and dropped a line before landing. I grinned at the men, “hang on.”
Devlin, his copilot and engineer used a wench to pull us down and then used nets to hold the grav stones on the ground so they could be brought back later. It was a couple of days later that I walked into dad’s office and looked at the general when he turned. I smiled as I crossed to sit, “finished with your business sir?”
He smiled, “I was speaking with your father and waiting for you since I was told you would be here.”
I looked at dad as he sighed, “he has pulled a few strings. I gave him your application and he made a few calls.”
I looked at the general and he grinned, “you have a ticket waiting for the weekly shuttle and a slot at the marine officers course after you finish the basic training. I just need to hear your oath.”
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