The Quest for Paradise (Chapter Six - Hard Times, page 1 of 7)

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Blinking I stared upward for a moment. The harness apparatus had departed and I was free to move, but I wasn't sure that I could.

My finger twitched and mentally I urged further movement. My arm lifted.

Trembling I brought my hand to my face to feel at my nose and find out why it was hard to breathe. My nose and face was caked with dried blood from the nosebleeds of all nosebleeds.

Everything came back to me as I tried to clear my nasal passageway. We'd been attacked. The fleet had been destroyed and then I had landed.

With alarm I gripped at my seat and pulled myself upward. Groaning with the effort required of lifting my body that felt dead to me I felt myself break a sweat.

The panic of laying here paralyzed helped drive enough feeling to my extremities so that I could lift and with my last bit of will I turned myself over. Slumped over my seat I rested for a moment.

Not really wanting to I lifted my head and looked about. The section of the vessel I was upon was afloat upon a sea of deep blue color. Not too far from me lay the shoreline of a landmass, which had the tropical outline of a jungle just past the white sands of the beach.

Looking about at the piece of floating debris I was upon I made the grim discovery that I was the only one left alive. Even being alive I didn't feel quite that lucky actually.

Death almost seemed a better alternative as at least then I'd be in no threat of continued danger or the feeling of pain. I shook my head as I sought to get positive thought restored. I was alive and I needed to be grateful for that.

Looking about I saw other pieces of debris like mine further adrift out to sea. Towards the land mass smoke rose up from what looked like a crash site on the island.

I heard a distinct cry for mercy and glancing back out to sea at one of the other floating pieces of debris I was in time to see the pulsed discharge of what seemed like a hand-held laser go off. Eyes open with alarm I quickly reasoned that the defenders of this realm were cleaning house and that was enough to drive me into action.

Standing unsteadily I reached for my backpack beneath my seat and then crawling over my seat I secured a grip on the briefcase. The seafloor was rather shallow here as even 100 yards out to sea or so I could see that it was still only about 2 feet deep.

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