|Main Characters|| Drauss|
|Setting:||Fifth Age year 186|
|Previous Story:||Cold Steel|
|Following Story:||The Traveller|
A bomber on patrol is surprised to discover that a Time Fracture has sent it back to a primeval ocean at the very earliest period of Gielinor. But a seemingly routine rescue mission goes awry when a colony of Deathworms throws a spanner in the works.
Somewhere over the ocean
A lone bomber slices through the pale sky. Far, far below wispy clouds form a milky haze, and lower still the sea ripples. Uninterrupted on the placid day, the tiny crests are projected high up into the sky, causing the underside of the bomber to shimmer. Inside the cockpit, the pilot sits at the controls, humming.
"Jeez, how far have we gotta go, navs?"
"A while yet sir. We've still gotta get to the Scimitar Isles," his navigator replies.
"Scimitar schimitar. Another hour of this and I'll die from dehydration."
"Have a drink, then."
"Good idea. Cops?"
"Sir?" replies the co-pilot.
"Rune Blast. Pronto."
His co-pilot tosses a Rune Blast can over. The pilot opens it with a short hiss, then takes a long slurp.
"God, I needed that." He puts it on a rack built onto one of the dozens of panels. They sit in silence. Then the navigator says,
"Check this out."
The pilot stands up and walks over.
"Look at this. Huge magnetic readings all over the place."
"Should we at least bolster the engines."
"Nah, we'll be fine."
The pilot turns.
The sky starts to ripple, and tear. Suddenly, a huge white sphere erupts with crackles of electricity.
The pilot leaps to the controls, but before he can even jockey with them, the bomber is already through. Outside, the razor-edged contrails are gone; they are flying above a thick murky sky, green and grey and with black poking through.
Suddenly, the skies burst open in a torrential downfall. The bomber's interior is instantly filled with the hammering of raindrops.
"Cops! Get the crew, tell them to brace themselves! Navs, try and work out where - or when - the heck we are!"
He turns back and jostles with the controls. But it's too late - the windows are completely smudged and opaque thanks to the rain. A wailing siren starts as the bomber starts to dive.
"All engines out! Pith!"
"Get the auxilaries back on! Now!"
"I can't sir!"
There is a huge splash as the bomber breaks through the ocean's surface and plunges underneath...
“You’re sure?” Drauss asks.
“Positive, sir,” the officer replies. Drauss turns away and leans on a table for a moment, before turning back.
“We’ve got to find them as soon as possible. Do we have where they picked up the magnetic readings?”
The officer looks at the datapad he is holding, and examines it. “Er... yes. About three hundred miles north of the Scimitar Isles. I’ll put it through satellite data and then hopefully we can send a rescue squad.”
“Good,” Drauss says, “That’s excellent news.” The officer salutes and walks out of the room. Drauss turns away and struts around the large conference table, before turning around and leaving.
“Okay people, it’s your standard rescue mission,” the pilot says. “Bomber flies through anomaly into an unknown location but we have the anomaly. As always we have a diving team, a couple of heavy rigs, and a complement of armed guards just in case we get into any trouble. Today, however, we’re carrying the head of the GDG and two Prodigies so they can get a feel for the operation. Our target is somewhere over the Southern Ocean, north of the Scimitar Isles, so brace yourself – it’ll be a long flight. Any questions? Good – pile on!” The crew and troops walk in an orderly fashion up the ramp and into the massive Recovery Vehicle. Drauss, Creeth and Yargther follow them, but continue walking past the banks of seats and into the cockpit. Three large seats are provided, and they sit down in them.
“Text book problem?” Drauss asks.
“”I’ve lost count of how many birds we’ve lost through anomalies,” the pilot answers, “I hope it’s over soon.” Drauss nods understandingly and watches the crew as they prepare for launch.
“RV-3 to control, we are ready for launch, over.”
“Roger that RV-3. Take exit route twelve. You are good to go, over.”
“Thank you, control. Engines ready... and... Fire!”
The ship grumbles into life, and slowly lifts up off the hangar floor until it is a few metres up.
“Steady... steady... okay, move her forward.” The RV starts to glide forward. In front of it the massive bulkhead doors start to open and sunlight pours through. As they reach their greatest width apart the control tower calls again.
“RV-3, hangar doors fully open. Skies are clear for your takeoff – you may proceed over. Control out.”
The pilot pushes the control lever forward and the ship suddenly bursts with energy. A loud hum is accompanied by a surge of speed and the RV shoots forward and out into the sky. In moments the ship is soaring past the clouds and in level flight. Far below is the island on which a large metal expanse is being built.
“The new base looks even better from up here,” Drauss remarks. The others smile.
“Right, Creeth – you can tell the future. Will we have a good mission... or will we all be in sheer peril at the end?”
Creeth looks airily at Drauss. “You, ah, do know that my precognitive abilities only work when there is danger?”
“Good,” Yargther comments, “Let’s hope nothing dangerous happens then. There’s nothing that spoils a gunfight more than you taking all the risk out of it.” They smile as the pilot engages the booster engines and sends the RV soaring ever higher.
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