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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1660011-Nereid-Chapter-Two--Word-Count-1997
by vince
Rated: 18+ · Chapter · Sci-fi · #1660011
An entity materializes on earth as she attempts to communicate with man.
   
Dec, 2010
                                                       
                                     
~~~~NEREID~~~~
  Chapter Two 

  HE BECAME AWARE of something imposing and heavy leaning against him within seconds the object quickly moved away. Through blurry eyes he noticed streaks of blood in the loose sandy soil stretching between his body and the edge of what seemed to be a ledge.  Ahtera realized the huge creature had the biggest wings he had ever seen on a bird. 

  What the hell is that? It has a glow. Is that thing beside me an angel?   

  Perched between the lieutenant and the edge, the large eagle had blocked the fallen officer from rolling over and plummeting to his death. The animal kept angling its head, looking at him first with one eye and then the other. 

  A state of dizziness lingered as Ahtera's awareness wavered in and out. Visions of war, bombings and fires flashed in his mind’s eye. Smoke permeated his nostrils, accompanied by sounds of sorrow that echoed in his head. ...What's happening to me? Am I dead, loosing my mind, or both?

  The large bird made a loud high pitched cry. Using its powerful beak, the eagle pushed the lieutenant away from the cliff's edge one more time; the officer tried to twist and reach his belt's supply pouch and radio. Something is missing, but what? It looked around the officer, making several screeching sounds, and then flew off the ledge creating a chilling wind. The creature swooped down and around, returning with the coiled rescue rope ripped off in the fall. The bird dropped the wet rope at the officer's feet and stayed on the ledge as it watched him quietly. An aura that shimmered with a golden-glow surrounded the bird. The glowing energy complimented its intense golden-green eyes as they flickered.   

  The eagle made screeching noises and tilted its head as if to see the world from every possible angle. The sounds, perhaps were its attempt to communicate with the stunned officer. I can't believe the size of this bird? Am I imagining or hallucinating?

    With legs ripped, bloody, and riddled with rocks, the pain finally set in, as the throbbing radiated throughout his body. The lieutenant knew he surely wasn't dreaming, though the giant eagle challenged that assumption. Although wounded, his eyes opened wide as he thought of his men that jumped before him. Could they also be wounded ... or perhaps even dead? He cringed at the mere  thought of it, then, tried to controlled his breathing to help accept the pain. 

  I must locate them . . . I have to stay alert . . . I must stay alert.

  He fumbled around and gripped his com-unit, barely able to lift the radio; he keyed the microphone.
"Dark Summit leader; Dark Summit leader, come in." He struggled to be alert, his life depended on it; seamlessly he drifted into unconsciousness as blackness replaced his senses.

                                               
~~~~//A\\~~~~
 

    When the lieutenant regained his awareness, he heard teammate Mitchell radioing him not to move.
 
 

    "Stay still, sir! We got a GPS fix on your radio locator. You're on the edge of a cliff. We will come down to get you. You copy that, sir? Lieutenant . . . Lieutenant, you copy, sir?"     

  "Yea, yea ... aaahh ... how... where are your guys?" 

  "Save your strength, sir. Take deep breaths."   

    Mitchell struggled against time, removing his rescue attachment hardware pouch from his backpack's side pockets. The hospital corpsman took care not to fumble and drop the needed spike and hammer. Skillfully he located an available rock seam and secured the steel spike into the crevice in the mountainside.  As, Mitchell, prepared to descend to the ledge, the eagle, only visible to the officer, screeched, spread its seven-foot wings and glided away. Mitchell secured his rescue rope to the cleat eyelet and dropped into position for descent. His position was approximately fifty feet from the fallen officer when a loose boulder broke away under his boots and fell. The team members watched and screamed out as the rock tumbled down toward the stricken unit leader. Just as the rock neared the wounded officer, the huge eagle materialized only to be seen by the officer and rammed the boulder with its massive body; deflecting it enough to only break off a small section of the ledge, the two pieces of stone thudded to the terrain below.     

  "What the hell?" Mitchell cried out, then muttered. "An angel must be watching over us. Did you see the rock change trajectory? The wind below must be strong."   

  Within seconds, he continued to descend down the rope to his commander. Mitchell positioned each foot securely on the mountain face, the remaining distance required to reach the wounded leader. Upon reaching the level, he carefully placed his feet in a position that gave him the most physical advantage for lifting and balance.   

  "Mitch, be careful, take you time. I'll be here when you arrive," he attempted to smile, but his face was numb. 

  Without hesitation, the corpsman checked the lieutenant: for the safety of his position. A clear air passage and if his pupils were dilated along with his pulse strength. He then placed alternating pressure on the officer's wounds to stop the bleeding: followed by the application of splints to support the compound leg fractures. Time meant everything, every second counted. After several minutes of emergency treatment, he harnessed the officer securely in support netting, and added some additional support rope utilizing an overhand knot which is strong and tied quickly. With the aid from the team above Mitchell lowered him to the next large landing.     

  "Sir, concentrate on your breathing, leave the rest to us, you'll be okay." 

"Thanks Mitch. You're the best, I do trust you guys. Thanks." 

  The remaining three teammates descended to the lower level from different locations on the mountain face. Their many field rescue training sessions had paid off, with the seamlessly safe movement of the officer to a stable elevation, a position they used as a starting port for their long walk to a safer zone. 

    Mitchell took action as he became aware, as expected, when the lieutenant drifted into shock. Immediately he raised both legs using his emergency backpack for support. The remaining team members helped Mitchell. Following a pain killing injection, they reposition the officer's broken legs by pulling out on his feet to relocate the compound bone punctures, then by bracing his legs and neck with makeshift padded splints, using extra socks, that belonged to the chief and gloves for insulation. Once they got a GPS fix location, they plotted a direction and prepared to carry him over thirty miles to a prearranged designated pick up location. 

  I must be tough for them; an officer must set an example. He closed his eyes while trying to control his breathing, anything to lessen the pain.    As the officer's consciousness faded, he noticed the eagle continuously circled above. It made its presence known to him the length of the rough journey.     

                                                             
*****//A\\*****
 

    The SEAL team traveled only at night through dangerous enemy territory. One night they encountered a small group of Taliban, obviously sleeping. The SEALs skillfully approached the slumbering enemy and upon their prearranged hand signal, made simultaneous quick neck cuts, permanently disabling the small Taliban group. They jabbed their survival knifes several times into the sandy soil to remove the blood.  Loosing little time, the SEALs removed the Taliban outer clothing and head bands. The clothing would cover their special operations clothing. Next they fashioned a horse-drawn sled from the small dried tree carrier they previously fashioned. They untied five of the dead enemy's horses that had been hitched to a stake wedged between two boulders.Two of his men, each one on horseback, rode on opposite sides of the sled, with each man holding a control rope, attached to the center horse's mouth bit.

    The team slowly advanced across the foreign terrain. With the aid of their night vision binoculars they kept a careful watch for Taliban troops. Following several nights of uneventful travel they reached a safe zone and radioed for an evacuation chopper. The wait seemed like an eternity for the team. Finally the chopper arrived and airlifted the wounded officer to another location, for additional temporary treatment. From that point, an awaiting Hercules C-130 aircraft, designed for unprepared runways, transported the officer to the best medical facility in Europe. Following a short stay, the military airlifted the lieutenant to a military hospital on the east coast of the United States; one that could handle his extensive injuries and rehabilitation.                         

                                                         
*****//A\\*****
     

  Ahtera had mixed emotions knowing the great risk to their own safety they had taken to transport him. Although in the SEAL tradition, Austin felt embarrassed feeling he had failed his men by getting hurt. He knew his injuries prevented them from accomplishing their mission. At the same time the lieutenant was filled with overwhelming pride in their camaraderie and loyalty.{i }This is a special bond, men like us will share for the remainder of our life's.

                                                   
*****//A\\*****


    Ahtera surely would have lost both legs. Following many operations, the surgical team had been able to piece together his smashed and shattered bones, utilizing titanium and plastics. The skull fracture healed with no detectable memory loss. His strong determination to continue being a SEAL, although not in combat readiness status,  carried him through the long rehabilitation. 

                                                   
*****//A\\*****


    His teammates when state-side, visited him in the rehabilitation hospital on several occasion. The lieutenant would ask them separately and in private, if they had seen the large vibrant eagle with the golden-green eyes. None of his men confirmed seeing any such bird.

Did I just imagine the eagle with its glowing aura? He asked himself. No. My heart tells me that a bird saved my life.

    During the many long months of physical and occupational therapy, Lieutenant Ahtera pushed himself to the limits of his strength and then a little bit further. In the end, his capabilities returned without as much as a limp. His remaining time in the Navy would be non-combat land based assignments. A decision he found hard to accept, but something he had to adjust to.

    On his last day in the rehabilitation center,  to the lieutenant's astonishment he received a visitor. A large eagle had perched on the ledge of his hospital window. Ahtera's spirits were uplifted by the realization that he did not hallucinate when he saw the bird and how it protected and watched over him. He recognized the penetrating golden-green eyes and those massive wings. And here sat his savior; somehow it knew that Ahtera completed his rehabilitation and was about to leave.   

    Lieutenant Ahtera went to the window and opened it. Without demonstrating any fear he slowly reached out to pet the eagle.The eagle leaned against the lieutenant's hand before straightening up. The physical contact sent a cold chill through him, followed by a dizziness that made the room seem to spin. He visualized a slowly rotating sphere, surrounded with mist that slowly cleared to reveal the planet Earth with a bright spot that sparkled like gold. Again, I have witnessed this phenomenon in the presence of the eagle. It seems so real. I can see, hear and feel I'm falling through space toward our earth–what could this mean?  The eagle flapped its wings, took on a mystical glow and flew off. It circled once glancing at the officer and then disappeared, leaving the dazed officer wondering once more if he had been hallucinating. Shaking his head, he closed the window. Austin continued packing for his transfer in the morning. His unit transported the Lieutenant back to the east coast's naval amphibious training base.

                     
*****//A\\*****


    THE SEA ILLUMINATED as the night receded from the horizon. Multiple objects had tracked a heading of 177.5 degrees. As one object descended from 10,000 feet its speed had approached 100 mph, the dark mass glittered as it streaked through the morning sky. Simultaneously in the water a mile and a half below, a dozen silvery objects slithered below the murky water;  their mutual destination was the naval amphibious base, Little Creek Virginia.

                                   
*****//A\\*****


  Wednesday, 05:30, within the officer base housing complex; the early morning light had filled the room as his alarm clock came to life. Ahtera had abruptly awakened in sheets soaked with perspiration. Another night that he had that same haunting dream. It began with the diminishing wop, wop, wop sound of the rotors, just before the drop to his death. A reality that replayed in his mind, making him relive it; quickly, he jumped from bed and rubbed his tired eyes, then abruptly turned to check the wall calendar. July 4th, 2007. Man, I made it...just four more days, then comes the big day. I'll be receiving my DD-214, discharge papers. Damn...it seems like yesterday.
  I remembered that sobering feeling being sworn in. 'Gentlemen. You're now proud members of the world's best Navy.' I can't believe it. Just looking back on the many events, in the six long active years. Just a few more days and it'll become just another proud segment of my life.                                     

                             
*****//A\\*****


    Following his rehabilitation Austin disciplined himself to maintain a strict exercise program. This had been in addition to his SEAL team workouts. Very few men would even consider doing both; however, this had become part of daily routine. His early morning workouts usually would last thirty minutes give or take a few; this depended on his team schedule. He tempered his heated body with a refreshing hot then cold shower. At six foot two his body weight remained at 218 lbs. His workout ritual attributed to his maintaining a body fat no more than ten percent. His reward, a vibrant energetic body, nurtured through an impressive vascular system. Yea, when you physically suffer enough, a little vanity is self rewarding, it can't hurt yea.   


 
*****//A\\*****


    Today was to be a special day, for he would be making his last military dive assignment; this would be a day of remembrance. He stood before the mirror and proudly dressed in the uniform he almost died for; the image of his own reflection added to his self confidence. His neatly ironed and pleated fatigues were pulled up then zippered; next, he donned the spit-shined full zippered jump boots. Since the accident, Austin intentionally would give the appearance of effortless movement and confidence. During his long rehabilitation, he would not reveal his true pain to others. He disciplined himself to walk naturally which enabled him to convince the medical review board to reinstate him to full non-combat duty. Allowing him to continue his career with the Navy SEALs. The titanium and plastic components in both legs had mended securely; he had been able to set aside any previous fear of their failure. He theorized that in his line of work broken bones came with the territory.   

    The light breakfast he prepared earlier sat on the table. Wasting no time he ate the two hard boiled eggs, juice, then drank a large mug of coffee,' for an alert mind', were his well repeated words. After loading the needed dive gear in the Humvee 4 by 4, formally known as the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, although nobody really cares; he climbed in and fired up the 6.2 liter diesel V8.The twin exhausts bellowed as they created two clouds of black smoke that rose into the early morning air. He smiled and shook his head, so much for our environment, he thought as the one and a quarter ton vehicle jerked forward; its destination being his dive assignment at pier eleven. The Allison transmission smartly shifted after winding out low gear, the all-terrain tires hummed when maneuvered over the warm concrete streets, still wet from the night's heavy rain. An occasional puddle created a spray mist off the mud-cleat tires, that cooled his face and steamed off the truck's dual side mounted pipes. It's good to be alive.He thought.

  Although a clear sky, a shadow covered his truck. Thinking it strange he checked his mirrors, poking his head out the driver’s window as far as he could. With nothing in view,  the shadow persisted along with a flapping sound. Austin accelerated beyond the legal speed, not out of fear, but pure curiosity.  ...

  Continued In Chapter Three: "Nereid.Chapter Three. 2,339 Words
© Copyright 2010 vince (vincejarcuri at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1660011-Nereid-Chapter-Two--Word-Count-1997