A brutal storm damages a man-made iceberg destined to bring safe drinking water for New York harbor and the Chief Engineer has serious doubts about the true intentions of the project.
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Wealthy entrepreneur Nigel Cain has devised an efficient new way to bring the earth’s most precious resource to the masses – clean water – by transporting massive man-made icebergs from the frigid arctic and delivering them literally to the doorsteps of millions.
Gabriel Pike works at a small engineering firm that has been awarded the task of giving the final safety approval to pilot the first gigantic block of ice into New York harbor.
A consummate showman, Cain has built a fabulous 5-Star hotel and casino high atop the iceberg so his celebrity guests and media elite can cover this spectacle from beginning to end. Pike is whisked away from his work-a-day world and dropped into the lap of luxury where he’s expected to simply rubber-stamp his inspection.
A brutal winter storms ravages the iceberg and exposes structural inconsistencies and hidden agendas that fill Pike with serious doubts about the true intentions of the project. But a grisly double homicide on the ice puts the inspections on the back burner and sends Pike’s life spiraling out of control when he’s accused of being the jealous murderer in a lover’s triangle.
But Pike soon discovers that there is far more at stake than just his life. He uncovers a conspiracy more heinous than anything he could have imagined – a plot that will level a city, change the political face of America, and whose shockwaves will be felt around the world. Fate rests in his hands – if he can survive long enough to take action...
Suddenly something up ahead caught his eye, so he decided to drop down and take a look. He leveled off at 5000 feet and tipped his wing down as he did a fly over. There were two high school busses parked on the side of the road with four cars pulled in behind them. Several men were standing around the front of the lead bus while the drivers were working on changing a flat tire. Cheerleaders, football players and students were milling around the busses, cell phones in hand, no doubt relaying their harrowing plight to friends and families.
Pike brought the Clipper around for another pass, only this time he came in low and fast. He skimmed over the desert floor at about 500 feet and pushed the airspeed up to 400 knots. Every eye on the ground was watching as he roared by. Pike smiled to himself; this was one of those times when it was good to have your own jet. A couple of the football players raised their helmets and cheered as he went by while several of the cheerleaders shook their pompoms and did a quick cheer. As he streaked by the two drivers gave him a wave and he returned it with a quick salute and waggle of his wings. He smiled as he did a quick snap roll and then pulled up and out. Tom Cruise, eat your heart out.
The small adrenaline rush soon faded and he was back to channel surfing again. He found two rock stations, one classical, a talk show talking about the economy, what else? With nothing he really wanted to listen to, he was about to turn the radio off when the last station caught his ear.
“Breaking news. Police have just reported that the US Bank in Logandale has been robbed at gunpoint. One bank guard has been killed and another teller has also been shot and is in critical condition. Nevada Highway Patrol reports that the suspects are driving a dark green, late model Dodge Charger, and they are in a high-speed pursuit heading north on Highway 93. Suspects are armed and considered extremely dangerous. Anyone traveling north or south bound on Highway 93 between Ash Springs and Las Vegas should use extreme caution.”
Pike frowned as an uneasy feeling crept into the cockpit with him. He had all the latest GPS navigational equipment but sometimes plain, good old-fashioned paper maps worked best. He unfolded one and quickly checked his location against his GPS, then turned the Clipper south and followed the road, hoping all the while that he was wrong. A few minutes later his worst fears were confirmed. In the distance he saw a trail of flashing lights following about a mile behind a dark sedan moving faster than a bat out of hell. They were on a collision course, heading straight for the stranded school busses. These criminals were desperate men who had already killed, Pike shuddered to think what would happen if they got their hands on a bus full of hostages.
There were only a few minutes before they would reach the kids; he had to do something, but what? If he were in his car, he would have hit the steering wheel out of frustration, since there was no wheel; he did the next best thing and slammed his fist against the side of his canopy. He pulled back up to 5000 feet and swung back to the north, towards the buses. Time was running out, and he still didn’t have any ideas of what he was going to do and he could only hit his canopy so many times. What could he do? It’s not like he could dive down and strafe the bad guys…or could he?
Suddenly, the seed of a wild thought was sown. He knew he should have stopped and torn it out by the roots, but instead, he watered it with desperation and a plan soon began to flourish. Quickly he found the busses and surveyed the surrounding area. The vehicles were behind a small outcropping at the top of a slight rise. Pike banked hard around and saw the suspects coming up over a small hill. Soon they would drop down into a large, shallow draw. It was perfect.
He would probably lose his pilot’s license for this but he couldn’t stand by and do nothing. He pushed the throttle forward nearly to the stops and brought the Yankee Clipper out wide and flew down the middle of the draw, heading straight for the bandits’ car. He concentrated as he flew down the draw, keeping a careful eye on the altimeter and air speed indicator as he put the plane in a shallow dive. For a moment he had visions of himself as William Holden in the movie Bridges at Toko-Ri or as the young Luke Skywalker as he focused on lining up on the car. He swore that if he heard the words… “Use the Force Luke,” he was bailing out. The Clipper quickly gained speed and reached 600 mph in a matter of seconds. He was down to 2500 feet and still descending, still picking up speed.
The bank robbers had widened the distance between themselves and their pursuers to nearly a mile and a half now; timing would be everything. Pike continued to dive and was at 1500 feet and pushing 725 mph, just a little lower, just a little faster. At a half-mile out, he pushed the throttle to the stops and nudged the stick forward.
His hands were sweating and he could feel his heart racing, pounding out a beat that any punk-rock band would have trouble keeping up with. His mouth was dryer than the sands of the Nevada desert below and forget about even trying to describe how his stomach felt. Was this what it was like to go into real combat? Playing tag with the F-15s earlier had been fun and exciting, but nothing was really at stake, no lives to be saved or lost, only pride and egos, but this was different. Here, now, there was a very real threat, with the very real possibility of lives being lost, not only to the kids if they were taken hostage by the murderers, but to himself. One wrong move, one mistake at this speed and altitude and he wouldn’t even have time to say “Oh crap” before he would plow into the desert floor.
Just before he reached the car, Pike took one last deep breath and leveled out at 500 feet and watched as his air speed reached 767 mph. That’s when it happened.