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“Well, what should I do? I have a month off, and I’m not allowed to investigate that discovery. I suppose I could take an actual vacation for once… if that’s possible.” Every vacation you, Leslie Young, have ever had, even as a child, had ended up as an investigation of some sort. From catching a kidnapper by letting them “kidnap” you to simply finding a rich family’s lost exotic pet, you never once had just been able to relax while on vacation. So you call up a friend to fly you down to the Caribbean on his private jet.

“Thanks for this Mike. I really need a vacation.”

“No problem. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, and it’s always nice to see you. However, trouble seems to follow you, if you know what I mean.”

“Ha, ha. I’m hoping to get ahead of it, at least for a little while. I haven’t been able to plan a vacation for over four years now. The closest to a vacation I’ve had since then is resting in my office.”

“Wow! You REALLY need this!” The two of you laugh until a loud ‘BANG!’ is heard and the jet starts a nosedive. Mike runs up to the cockpit and manages to get the pilots to pull it into a crash course with a nearby island’s mountain. Another loud 'BANG!' is heard. He and the pilots come into the back and grab parachutes. “The engines blew up!” he says. Mike tosses one to you, which you put on. When all of you are in the air, he motions to a village before pulling his cord. You pull your cord, but a sudden gust pushes you to the other side of the island. You hear a tearing sound, and notice you are falling faster. Part of the parachute falls on front of you, so you look up. A large bird has flown away with a large piece of the parachute in its talons. You look down and see a large tree below you. A few broken branches later, you come to a stop. You think you hear someone yelling, and you look down at the ground. A group of people are gathered around the tree, and a ladder lands on the tree next to your head. You pass out.

As you start to come to, you hear several hospital noises. You hear heels coming into your room, and suddenly see a very bright light. You tilt your head away and close your eyes. You manage to make out a few words of what the woman is saying. “You… a fall. Are… feeling better?” You blink few times and try to say something, but you can’t hear what you are saying. You hear her laugh, and notice her sit down on the other side of the room. After a few minutes, everything has cleared up. “Can you hear me now?” she says.

“Yeah. Where am I?”

“The island of Barrio del Sol. It’s a little island that gets sun all year round. The literal translation is-“

“‘Neighborhood of the sun’. It’s Spanish. I remember a gale blowing me away from my friend and the pilots. Which side of the island am I on?”

“Well there is only one hospital on this island. This is next to the west coast, the opposite side you came from. You only got bruised from the fall, so you are able to leave as soon as you feel better… Um…”

“Is something wrong?”

“It’s just… you’re a detective, right? That’s what your ID says.”

“Yes I am. I suppose you need to investigate something or something’s missing or whatever?”

“Heh heh… The island’s artifact has been stolen. Normally I’m not supposed to tell anyone, but the elder heard about you and asked me to talk to you about it. We know the culprit is someone on the island, and that there are several people who have reason to steal it. I don’t know the names of these people, but the elder will tell you if decide to help.”

“… Well what’s a vacation without investigating something, huh?” You chuckle to yourself.

After you discharge yourself from the hospital, Maria, the doctor you talked with, directs you to the elder’s house. Before you stands a wrinkled old man with a large colorful staff. “Detective, come in.” You follow him in, and take some tea when he offers you some. “This is an herbal tea that will help with the pain. I hope you are tough, as the ones who may have stolen the artifact are violent. I wish to test your mettle before you start, including your ability to gather information. So what knowledge do you require before heading out, hm?”

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Each gang wants to control the island, and they need to get rid of the other gangs to do that. They can also scare the other gangs by taking down the agents, but they don't try that because of the deal they made. Each gang leader mostly stays in their houses because the houses are made for protection (bullet-resistant plating and glass, high tech security systems, etc.). It's really standard gang rivalry stuff.

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“Do you know when the volcanoes will next erupt, if at all?”

“They should not erupt during your lifetime, but something may change that.”

“Who do you think took the staff?”

“We have no idea.”

“Is there any more information you can tell me about the falcon?”

“She has been taking sticks to make her nest, some of which she breaks off trees. We also saw her flying with the fabric from your parachute. She doesn’t really seem to care about anything other than making her nest at this point. Is she of interest to you?”

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birds only make nests right before they lay eggs. and "she has been taking sticks to make her nest". I think the falcon did it. maybe because the properties in the staff will some how help her chicks to grow big and strong...not that the falcon took it because of this but because she was attracted to the staff for unknown reasons... evolution and such.

can we visit the site of her nest? lets take the elder so we wont get attacked.

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What do you mean by "something" might change when the volcano erupts? Or are you just being general?

I was be general. I don't really know what might affect a volcano other than an earthquake, so I just said it like that.

birds only make nests right before they lay eggs. and "she has been taking sticks to make her nest". I think the falcon did it. maybe because the properties in the staff will some how help her chicks to grow big and strong...not that the falcon took it because of this but because she was attracted to the staff for unknown reasons... evolution and such. can we visit the site of her nest? lets take the elder so we wont get attacked.

The falcon did take the staff, but just to use it as a stick. I'll post the ending in a little while.There is a moral here: what may seem as complicated as rocket science on the surface may be as simple as cracking an egg beneath it. Or if you prefer: things aren't always what they appear.

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“… I think I know what happened. Tomorrow, I need to see that nest. You know where it is elder?”

“Yes, but why?” The agents leave quickly, as if you had a highly contagious disease.

“I’ll tell you tomorrow.” Night comes quickly, and you fall asleep. You dream of your father and mother, of memories when you were only five years old. In the morning, you wake up with the sun shining on your face, and Dr. Maria serving you breakfast. After eating, you check out of the hospital and meet up with the elder. After a few hours of navigating through the forest-marsh, you hear growling and roaring. Through some bushes, you see enormous cats at the foot of some mountains. They turn and see you, then quiet down and back up a little. The elder walks around the bushes and stands at the foot of the mountain.

“The nest is up there. If I was about fifty years younger, I’d climb up there with you, but it’s too steep for me now. Why are we here?”

As you start climbing up the side of the mountain, you say, “I think the falcon took the staff for its nest.” After a minute, you reach the nest. You see the staff in the center of it, so you climb in and grab it. As you climb out, you see the falcon diving at you, and you jump down to the elder. The falcon is still focused on you, and you just manage to dive out of the way, tossing the staff to the elder. The elder manages to run off into the woods/marsh, but the falcon is diving straight at you again, and there is no way to dodge it in time. You brace yourself, closing your eyes, but feel nothing. You look up, and a very muscular man is holding back the falcon.

“Quick! Even I cannot holds it off forever!” You run off into the woods/ marsh, but get caught in dry quicksand. After a few seconds, the man who saved you again comes to your rescue. He grabs a nearby vine, tosses it to you, and pulls you out. “My novia, Doctor Maria, said you was coming here, and that she was worried, yes? So she asks me to come in cases you get in trouble with big bird. You is not hurt?”

“I’m fine. Thank you, Manny.”

“I take you to friend who comes with you to island, because he worry about you. Say you probably on case, so I tells him what I hears from people, making him correct.”

You had completely forgotten about Mike, and apologize when you see him.

“It’s okay, Leslie. I would probably forget to meet you if something big came up, so I’ll let it slide.”

“Um, thanks?” You laugh. “I will tell you what happened later, alright? I need to go see the elder.”

“Does that include what happened to your arm? That must have hurt.”

“Yeah. That too.”

“I’ll meet you in the lobby of the inn near the hospital.”

You catch the elder outside his house.

“Ah, there you are. I called Manny, who said you were on your way. Sorry to just run off like that, but it did surprise me to see how fast I could move at this age. I knew you would be alright because I saw Manny rushing over. Otherwise, I would have stayed close.”

“For a moment, I thought you would be surprised to see me alive, but you don’t seem like the kind of person who would just leave someone to die, so I thought you knew I would live. Where’s the staff?”

“I’m keeping it in here, so the falcon doesn’t get to it again.”

“Good thinking. So you said I could stay for the ritual, right? When is it again?”

“About thirteen days. There is usually only me, my sister, and a few of the older residents. However, this year, it is on my 101st birthday, and everyone will be coming. You and your friends can have front row seats, since you helped recover the staff.”

“Thank you. We’ll be there.”

After meeting up with Mike once again, he pays for rooms for a couple weeks, and you tell him what happened. Around seven, the two of you grab dinner, and then head off to your rooms. You dream of your childhood again…

Continued in “Dreaming of Young-er Years”

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