Flying less than twenty feet above the South Pacific, Senior Flight Lieutenant Donnie Columbusano looked out each side window, scanning the sky as much as possible from inside the cramped cockpit of his Mini Catalina. When he was satisfied that no Russo-Jap fighters were around, he pulled the yoke and throttles back simultaneously.

"Okay, let's go up and have a look around," he said to nobody, or perhaps to his plane. He really liked his plane. From all around him came a harmony of groans and creaks as the two radial engines gained revs and the tiny, one-man flying boat began lumbering skyward.

This was mission #482 for Donnie, since the beginning of the War. Not that long ago, five hundred missions had been a landmark. Nowadays, with the pool of eligible draftees drying up, "gettin' five C's" was nothing special. The Navy had little choice other than to just keep flying missions with the trained pilots it had. Not that Donnie cared. He didn't even think about his life back in the Bronx much anymore. Naval Air Wing Eight, Fiji Airbase and the cockpit of a PU6A were his home.

Donnie had enlisted four years earlier, right after FDR A-bombed Berlin and Munich, and Stalin's army had occupied Japan. Or, was ostensibly "invited" by Hirohito to "assist in the defense" of Japan. Atomic bombs - dreaded and loved, perhaps in equal parts - America's great hope of winning the war, were never produced in large numbers. Then, with the bombing of Hanford and Savannah River, their production had stopped completely—God only knew for how long. Besides, it was already apparent by that time that, despite their massive firepower, atomic weapons alone were not going to subdue an enemy that called half the world their own. The Russo-Japanese union had a stranglehold on Asia that the Western Allies couldn't shake loose. The rubble-filled cities of the Balkans, the rotting cesspool that had been the jungles of India and the wide expanse of the Pacific were now as stalemated as the trenches of WWI France.

Donnie glanced skyward once more, assuring himself that the sky was clear of enemy aircraft. Lowering his gaze, a massive, snow-white ship was suddenly in front of him.


Already rising at the plane's maximum rate of climb, Donnie could do nothing but hold on. Moments later, plane's belly cleared the ship's superstructure by inches. Incredulous, Donnie turned and struggled to see to the rear of the plane.

"Where the hell did that come from!?" He yelled. That plane was like nothing he had seen ever since, Donnie knew the Soviets were doing lots of research, but that plane was huge! It certainly wasn't a a fighter, but perhaps a transport, or even a...bomber. But it was huge! And, Donnie realized - in horror - it was going directly to the mainland!

Justin Paulsen leaned against the balcony railing, watching the shadow of the ship get longer as the afternoon sun turned the sparkles on the blue sea to gold. He apathetically thumbed through the songs on his iPod while waiting for his wife to get ready for dinner. He finally settled on a song by Coldplay that he had already listened to a dozen times in the last 10 days. The island cruise was Melissa's idea. It had been enjoyable enough overall, but Justin had grown tired of seating times for dinner and the endless clinking and beeping of the slot machines on-board. Life aboard the Pacific Passion was increasingly tiresome, and there were no more island stops to look forward to—just one more full day at sea before arriving back in Fiji. He was sunburned, tired, and just wanted to be ashore, in a taxi, bound for the airport and the flight home to San Jose. He had to report to his graduate assistant position in just a few days, and he was eager to find out just what the hell he was going to be doing.

The air was suddenly filled with a deafening, booming drone. He ducked instinctively as a small seaplane flew overhead without warning, seemingly just a few feet above him. Carl watched, dumbfounded, as the plane climbed out over the ocean and entered a shallow bank.

"What the hell?" he muttered quizzically.

"What was that?" Melissa asked, standing in her robe at the doorway to their room.

Carl slowly turned around to his wife, still in shock. "Some plane... and I think it crash-landed!"

Melissa didn't answer, she just looked at the ocean, probably looking for where the plane crashed.

Carl pointed vaguely in the direction of the island the plane had landed on, while walking to nowhere in particular, "They landed near that island, look. But it's completely uninhabited, so they're either smugglers or they crash-landed. Either way, we have to do something." He needed to warn everyone, the captain even.

“Wait” Melissa said. “You know you are here to cure yourself from impulsivity. Stop right there, please. There could be trouble”.

“Why? I see no trouble in warning the captain…” Carl said.

“Of course there could be trouble” Melissa answered. “Imagine if those fellows there are pirates or criminals. If the captain decides to go to check, we can be kidnapped; they can steal and kill us!”

“But we have to tell someone. Right now”.

[Other authors are welcome to develop the story from this point. See Discussion Page for information regarding plotline.]

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