Fun Fictional Distractions
The VTOL plane that Kailian had borrowed for this mission had an autopilot, but she hated those. With both hands on the stick, she guided the craft over the Peruvian rainforest, checking for places she could drop in. For anyone else there would be paperwork to be submitted and visas to be obtained before taking a trip like this. Kailian had traveled under the radar for years, and some habits were hard to break.
There was the village she was looking for. She guided the craft in a circle, slowing it down. There was a soccer field just outside of town. Of course. There always was. That would do. She brought the craft down to land with a bump.
"Eh," she muttered. "It's a rental."
She noted the time on the instrument panel.
She knew her unauthorized craft in Peruvian airspace had not gone unnoticed. She also knew that countries like these had been hit the hardest by the off-grid movement, and that it would take time for them to deploy some under-maintained piece of junk to fly out and confront her. They probably still used living pilots, even. She had an hour, at tops, maybe two.
Kailian slid open the cockpit with a hiss, and warm, humid air washed over her, covering everything in condensation. Kai wrinkled her snout and muttered an "Ugh..."
She got out and landed on her feet, staring down several kids who were looking on, wide-eyed, from the edge of the field.
"Don't touch," she said in a low, threatening tone, and pulled the cockpit hatch closed. Most of them had sticks, and were holding them like staffs. Even the younger ones. Weird.
She walked towards the town along a dirt path.
"What a shit-hole," she muttered.
In a world with so many amazing advancements, why did people still live like this?
The buildings were dirty stucco and plywood. Rusty tin roofs were the majority here, and Kai could smell a lack of running water from here. Eww.
This had better get her some good Intel, or she would be really pissed about going to all this trouble. The forums she was reading said a ceremony should be happening here at some archeological site. There were concerns that the authorities would try to shut the thing down. Mystical voodoo crap aside, that sounded like something a younger Kailian would have done.
Kai walked the one street of the town from one end to the other. There was no sign of a yellow dragon or a Valkyrie anywhere.
"Damnit," she muttered as she walked back through town towards the soccer field where she had landed.
There was an old man sitting in front of a house across the street. He was staring at her. He was both smiling, and looked nervous. Kailian grinned a little at that. Maybe he would be useful. She walked closer.
"You speak English?" She growled, knuckles on her hips, staring him down.
"Um Poco," he said, holding up a shaky hand with two fingers close together.
"Right," Kailian said with a sigh. "Where is he?" She said, holding out a printed image of the yellow dragon.
"Gone," the old man said.
"What?" Kai said. "Isn't there a ceremony today, or something?"
The old man kept eye contact as he shook his head. "Yesterday"
"Damnit," Kai growled, stomping and looking around. "How does a guy with a following like that get out of town so fast?"
"He just," the old man said, gesturing upwards with his hands, "Fwoooosh!"
Kai crossed her arms and scowled.
"How many were with him?" She asked.
"Uuh," the old man said, "maybe..."
He held up one finger, then five. Kai was confused, but then she said, "fifteen? Fifteen others?"
The old man nodded.
"Did he have a plane or something?" Kai asked, squinting.
"No," the old man said, also shaking his head.
Kailian remembered the video, how this Oracle dragon had taken the purple Valkyrie's hand and vanished.
"Was there a purple striped dragon with him?" Kailian asked. "With ears like this?"
She used a palm to frame her own ear, flickering it out a little.
The old man squinted, staring for a moment before giving a slow nod.
"Maybe" he said.
Excellent. She was on the right track. Kai smiled a little.
"Where did they go?" She asked.
"To see the desert bloom he said." The old man shrugged. Kailian too a deep breath and let out a growly sigh.
"That's vague as heck" she muttered.
"What kind of ceremony was this, anyway?" She asked.
"Open uh...." The man made a face and waved a hand in the air a few times "biblioteca?"
He gestured towards a brick building that looked newer than the rest. Kailian saw a large antenna on the top, and a satellite dish.
"You guys have electricity here?" She said disdainfully.
"Sometime," the old man nodded. "It give free internet."
He smiled nervously.
Kai looked at the building.
Why would an off-grid advocate be opening up the internet to a place like this?
Kailian rubbed her chin.
"Niños all carry the stick like him," the old man said. "Call him.. Uh… guerrero llantro."
He gestured with his hand as if he was holding a staff.
"Oh I see now." Kailian said, remembering the kids at the soccer field where she had landed.
Kailian turned and walked towards the new library. She stopped briefly and looked over her shoulder.
"Thank you," she said quietly to the old man.
He nodded and waved.
The inside of the library looked pretty clean compared to the rest of this town. There were five workstations at the center on tables. Most free internet packages for the developing world were installed by social companies, and usually were designed to steer uses towards more use of their platform, or to influence local politics.
Kai looked down at a kid who was playing some online game she didn't recognize.
"My turn," she said with a glare.
The kid got up and ran out of the library.
Kai sat down at the workstation. She opened the browser. She searched for some of the usual things platforms blocked at supposedly free internet stations like this.
"Well, all those went through," she said after a few minutes.
It didn't make sense. What was this guy playing at?
That's when a device beeped on Kai's belt.
"Damnit," she whispered.
It was an airspace proximity alert from the plane. Her time was up. She jumped out of the seat, booked it through the door and into the street. She didn't have much time before this place would be swarming with whatever local enforcement agency enforced visas and flight planning.
She made it to the cockpit and jumped in. No pre-flight checklist this time. The enforcement craft were within sight as she got enough altitude to give the throttle a push, and get out of there. She laughed a lot as she did.