Excerpt from “The Phantom of the Philippines.”

Kai Redeagle flew over the islands in his red, brown, and white Eagle-X suit of armor. His broad glider wings glinted in the sunlight.  Few people knew his actual identity, though he did little to keep it secret.  He was well known in the press by his codename, Talon.  The solar array coating the top-side of his wings was working flawlessly and, though it was one of the longest flights he had ever undertaken, he had recharged continuously as he flew.  The crossing from Hawaii to the Philippines had taken just under five hours.  He’d cruised at around 1600 kph/1000 mph the entire time. It wasn’t the suit’s maximum speed, but it was a perfect cruising speed that didn’t strain the suit or its pilot.

Kai was fully aware the Eagle-X suit was a technological marvel.  But it wasn’t fully his creation.  He had inherited his scientific curiosity, the preliminary mechanical architecture, and the multibillion dollar Redeagle Foundation which enabled him to build the suit all from his great-grandfather, the world-famous hero of both World Wars, Captain Redeagle.  More than just a war hero and world renown pilot, Captain Redeagle had been a founder of the Knights, the world’s first and greatest superhero team.  Although he was a hero of his own right, the Talon was not on a mission here.  This was solely personal and directly involved his great-grandfather.

His GPS brought him perfectly to this little island where he was to meet Professor Ancatan. Redeagle enjoyed watching the sea transition from deep Pacific blue to lighter coastal blues as the ocean swirled around reefs and islands passing beneath him.  Near Leyte, this particular outcropping was one of the 7100+ islands in the Philippines group.  Without his computer system, it’d be impossible to distinguish one of these islands from the next.  This particular isle was picturesque, was a swiss cheese of green and blue, with jungle-covered rocky terrain broken here and there by glistening pools of water from the myriad lakes scattered across its volcanic structure.  But they all were variations on a theme.  In the last half-hour he’d passed hundreds of islands that looked just like this one.

Professor Ancatan had invited him to the Philippines concerning a remarkable discovery involving Captain Redeagle.

Talon landed on a beach near a pier with a large white boat and further upslope a cluster of metal roofed buildings.  Servos whined and his long metallic wings with their faux brown and red-tipped eagle’s feathers folded up onto his back to form a compact pack.  The gold faceplate rose onto the top of his white helmet and let him take his first non-recycled breath of fresh air all afternoon.

Heads popped up around the boat and men began to line the rails.  A few others trotted down towards the dock from the buildings.  One of the men on the boat, a rangy older man with white hair and beard covering sun-damaged blotchy skin, waved broadly from the cabin door and yelled out, “Talon!  Welcome to Sharkstooth Bay! We’ve been expecting you.  You’re just in time for dinner.”  Turning back towards the crew of the boat, he began yelling orders for preparation of “the feast” they were holding in Talon’s honor.

Kai Redeagle shook his head and walked slowly down the beach towards the dock.  The Talon had been invited here for a sea-salvage mission, not for feasts held in his honor.  Kai was a young man, just out of college, but he was already growing world-weary from the accolades people tried to bestow on him for his famed lineage.  He hoped this wasn’t another faux-scientific event drummed up as an excuse to meet him.  There’d been that particularly embarrassing prince in the desert fiasco last year.


“Your heroic grandfather stills flies above these islands like a phantom of the Philippines,”

Lacan Ancatan said into his headset.  His voice had the odd echoing quality that cheap speakers lent sounds.

Kai Redeagle frowned.  “Great-grandfather,” he corrected.  He didn’t like when people were overly dramatic about his great-grandfather.  He’d grown up in the shadow of that legend.  It was actually more impressive than anyone knew.  He just didn’t like when strangers pretended to know and pumped up empty words trying to flatter him.

“Ahh, yes. Great-grandfather.  Amazing man.  You know there are quite a few stories told locally about his firefights over the Philippines.  Captain Redeagle is a legend amongst the people here.”

Kai nodded absently and looked out at the jungle passing below.  A flock of some sort of brightly plumaged birds rose up from the canopy and spun away, startled by the noise of the helicopter’s rotors. He squinted in the bright sunlight and rubbed his temple.  It was the morning after the feast of his arrival.  The welcome party, complete with inane conversation, too much food and drink, and incessant, annoying music and dancing by the workers and some natives who had been attracted by the hooplah, had gone long into the night.  Kai was frankly exhausted and hence more irritable than perhaps he had wished.

“Next to the infamous Bataan Death March and the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Captain Redeagle is probably the most famous legend of World War II here in the islands,” Professor Ancatan continued.

Kai, half-insultingly, raised his eyebrows and opened his eyes in faux-awe.  “Is he now? The most famous?”

“Indeed, he is!” the professor continued on without pause, seeming not to notice.  “The natives love him here.  He spent a lot of time here among them, when on the ground, during the Pacific War.  He often helped the villages with simple improvements and solving difficulties.  Beyond his fighting against the Japanese invasion, they also love to recount his many adventures, like the Battle of the Bats or his encounter with the Deadly Dwarves of Dagat. Oddly enough he used the same plane to machine gun both these menaces though they fell in different years.”