"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
—William G.T. Shedd

Discovering Columbia Rediviva: Edit

Kiel Jakubik needed to know.  To him, knowledge was a star, shining at the top of a huge winding staircase; in the dream, he was constantly running up that staircase leading higher into the dark starry sky, its’ spire, too high to be made out.  Every step was a pleasure; every ascension a victory.  He had to keep running; he had to keep learning, it was his reason.

“I’m preparing an LZ Lieutenant” said pilot Marcus, flipping another switch above his head. 

Kiel snapped back to reality, a childlike continence overtook him again as he gazed out the aircrafts open side-door.  South America had become a new frontier, a new world, and a hope.  The old ghoul’s story did it no justice, this place was a masterpiece. 

Technicolor vegetation extended out over the high narrow mountains that faded into endless jungle; waterfalls misted from their peaks as the crew absorbed it all with sheer amazement.

“General!” Kiel turned hastily to face the window, “Lieutenant, what is it?”

A colorful lanky-winged Chameleon-like creature, even bigger than the MH-60G/HH-60G Pave Virtihawk they were in, hung far above them in the sky, slowly beating its enormous wings.  Instantly, it registered its' prey and belted downward towards their vehicle. 

A bolt of raw adrenaline shot through Kiel’s veins.  “Evade!”  

He unhinged the bigger box on the floor and lifted a Stinger Missile Launcher out of it. The pilots vigorously adjusted the Virtihawk’s flight direction to a sharp right angle, the creature easily swung itself their way; its legs smashed through the aircraft’s windshield; its’ claws sank into the co-pilots torso; a gurgling scream was let out as he and the creature disappeared above the vehicle.  

The crew desperately held onto the craft as the Virtihawk continued to dramatically sweep sideways through the air.  The Stinger’s only missile began to roll out of the box toward the opened side of the Virtihawk.  Bo Ling Yushu jumped for it and caught hold of it as it nearly exited the aircraft. He turned to Kiel who was holding onto the Stinger and a bolted bar on the ceiling and grinned wildly. 

The blood pounded in Kiel's head; he shook the Stinger, “Ling, give me the missile!” 

Bo climbed his way to Kiel, using the other belted in Freedom Fighters as a latter; he shimmied the explosive in to the cylindrical weapon.   

The remaining pilot Marcus gained control of himself.  He vigorously flew the Virtihawk through the series of narrow highly-vegetated mountains. The animal was gaining; “Give me a shot!” yelled Corporal Isaac, Bo swung open the second side-door of the Virtihawk revealing a mounted turret. 

Isaac climbed toward the impressive gun; his hand reached for its' handles; then, the creature’s beak slashed through the floor of the Virtibird, barley missing Bo, its’ legs kicked off the aircraft, smashing the mounted gun to pieces.  The bounce took Isaac’s balance; he fell out of the aircraft.  His arms spastically flailed, immediately slapping onto the Virtibird’s landing leg managing a pivotal clasp that drained all his upper body strength, his legs dangled through the air as he yelled pleadingly.  

Marcus finally slowed the vehicle down.  He spun it 90 degrees and let it float.  “Take the shot!”

Kiel’s brain pulsed, intuitively calculating the timing.  His vision funneled through the reticle.  His eyes followed the animal as it swung between the narrow mountains; he moved the weapon with it until the Stinger let out a static whine. He pulled the trigger. 

The missile dashed out of the Stinger, a spiraling clouded tail followed the explosive through the air until it met its’ intention.  The beast screamed terribly; a sonic boom muted its’ cry.  Fire engulfed the sky as its’ fragmented appendages spangled in gory disarray.

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