Lieutenant Kelly Winchester is a pilot who is shot down over the jungle and captured. Held in a prisoner of war camp run by a sadistic maniac, she is eventually transferred to another prison where she is brainwashed and finally sold as a slave. Her strength will prevail...and her heroism. Her enemies may be sorry she survived...
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She watched the last missile streak over the jungle and strike the target, obliterating it.
"Look out! Look out!" screamed the voice of POPEYE, her wingman through the headphones. The warning buzzer blared at her, alerting her to an enemy missile locked on to her aircraft.
"VIXEN, you've got a missile on your tail."
She wrenched the stick back and to the right. The plane responded nimbly and climbed up and to the right in a gut-wrenching 3 Gee maneuver.
Then the missile exploded. It didn't actually contact VIXEN's plane, but it was close enough, blowing the tail apart and sending the plane tumbling back down toward the jungle.
"Eject, VIXEN, eject!" yelled POPEYE.
Realizing that she only had moments to react, the pilot quickly punched the eject button. As the explosives beneath her seat exploded, the cockpit canopy flew off and the seat exited the aircraft. She hoped she wouldn't be killed by the tumbling aircraft before clearing the wreckage.
The wind almost knocked her unconscious as she was thrown clear. Then the parachute deployed, slowing her down. Suddenly it was very quiet. She looked down at the jungle. She watched as her plane crashed and exploded in a tangle of twisted metal.
She manipulated the controls of her chute, steering away from the target she had just demolished and toward a stream, just visible beneath the trees. She dropped toward the ground as quickly as she could. The sooner she got down and had a chance to hide, the more likely she could elude those on the ground and, hopefully, get picked up by a rescue helicopter.
She skillfully guided the chute between the trees and over the little stream. She swooped down over the rushing water. She lifted her legs and landed in the middle of the stream on her butt.
The water was warm like the humid air. She surfaced as quickly as she could in the rushing water and stabbed her feet into the mud. The water was only about four feet deep and she stood up, all five feet, eight inches.
She hurried to strip off the chute harness and gather it into a ball. She fought her way against the current to the shallows and up the bank to dry ground. She rolled the chute into a ball and pushed it into a hollow between the roots of a tree on the bank. She covered it with some leaves, a few twigs, and a strip of moss she stripped from the ground.
She heard a dog bark. She heard voices. Someone was coming, rather noisily, through the underbrush. She slipped back into the water and out into the current, lifting her legs and drifting downstream. She pushed herself ahead by stabbing at the mud on the bottom with her boots. For rescue, she needed to stay near the plane, but to elude pursuers, she needed to get moving.
She reached down to her thigh and retrieved the service pistol from its holster. She moved faster and faster as the current swept her along.
She couldn't hear the pursuers anymore, but as the current got swifter, the channel got shallower. When it got up to about two and a half feet, she stood up and waded to the bank opposite the side where she had heard the pursuers. She climbed up the bank and slipped into the dark forest. She shook the pistol to get rid of as much of the water as she could, then she pulled the slide back and chambered a round. She thumbed the safety off.
The underbrush made it difficult to move quickly, and she couldn't help leaving a trail. The flight suit hadn't kept her dry and it was soggy, slowing her down. The helmet on her head seemed heavier than it had in the cockpit. Every step she took seemed like it made too much noise. She kept listening for the sound of a pursuit, and eventually she heard it.
She looked around for a tree to climb and hide in, but there were none with branches low enough for her to reach. She hunkered down between some bushes at the edge of a small clearing and covered herself with some damp leaves.
It didn't take long. She watched as several men following her trail, entered the clearing. There were two young men, boys really, one old man, and a strong-looking man carrying an AK-47 who seemed to be in charge. It was obvious that the trail ended in the clearing. The men just couldn't tell where she was hiding.
They flailed around at the brush with sharp, wicked-looking machetes. As they came closer to her, she stood up and leveled the pistol at them. Her sudden appearance elicited an excited exchange in a language she could not understand, but they were all laughing at her.
She was suddenly hit from behind and thrown to the ground. Her attacker landed on her back as she fell face down in the mud. The pistol went flying as she had the wind knocked out of her. The attacker grabbed her arm and twisted it back into a hammerlock behind her back. She was yanked to her feet.
Another man, wearing a jungle uniform, came around from behind and stood nose to nose with her. He yelled at her incomprehensibly, his face thrust close to hers. He had bad breath. Then he yelled at her in English.
"Yankee pig!" He reached up and yanked off her helmet. As her blond hair shimmered around her shoulders, the startled man staggered back a step and the others fell silent.
"You're a woman!"
She smirked at him.
"Surprised?" she said softly.