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|Multiple Missions (standard:science fiction, 970 words)|
|Author: Alpha43||Added: Apr 16 2005||Views/Reads: 2023/1207||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|The WWII bombing mission is completed, but the shell and flack riddled plane is in seriously unstable condition, with it’s pilot knowing many of the crew did not survive, and wondering if the airplane will make the trip back to base in England.|
“Multiple Missions” Sleeping with your eyes open. Vibrating yourself into oblivion. We are enduring smoke, cold feet, dense gray clouds, engine noise, wind whistle, radio static, constant bouncing, and sudden falling. I am sleeping through it all with my eyes open, thought the nearly comatose pilot. Captain David Spencer felt brain dead. How long have we been up here? Will we ever find Longholm Field? Hell, will we ever find England? Whoa, there’s an eye opener, look at those thunderheads straight away! I guess the “we” part of the above statement may be a joke, I have tried everybody on the intercom, with no response. Of course, one of the several hundred shells that entered and exited the heap may have taken out some of the intercom wires. The trim tabs, flap cables, and tail hydraulics are gone, why not the intercom? The odd radio transmission is my only companion. “Please God, help me stay awake and get this B-24 on the ground.” “Cub 6 to den mother............. Cub 6 to den mother..........” That guy must be lost; he’s been calling for a long time, good luck buddy! We are supposed to be on “radio silence”, but I am picking up just enough radio traffic to know that our flight dropped their 300 pounders’ over Germany and most are limping their way back to the base. Those clouds look cyclonic, I sure don’t remember any storm reports at the flight briefing this morning, but that seems like it was a week ago, back when my brain was functioning. Del Southwell, my copilot, and Jeremy Wilkinson, the navigator, are definitely not functioning. Part of Delby is pasted to the windscreen and part of him is puddled on the flightdeck. Jeremy looks unharmed and peaceful, but with an ambient temperature at 27,000 feet altitude of minus 18 degrees C, I imagine he is quite cold. Black clouds ahead as far as I can see. I am sure I can’t climb fast enough to get above this storm with number 2 engine smoking and sputtering. Flying through the middle of this hail maker might just be the last hurrah for the “Golden Goose”. She would qualify for the “Ruptured Duck” right now. How these babies stay airborne shot to pieces is amazing; 6’ of the left wing is gone, bomb bay doors are blown off, and more holes in her than I can count. Gauges still read 24,000 pounds of fuel and the “wheels down” light is on, obviously not working. My radio will only receive, no transmit, and smoke is seeping out of the instrument panel. Did I mention that six of the twelve up here are from Michigan? Delbert was, and I am from Kalkaska and Jeremy was from Lodi, ten miles south of Kalkaska. Bud Dupie, tail gunner, is from Escanaba, in the Upper Peninsula, Jerry Weber, radio man, is from Grand Rapids, and this B-24 that we are barley keeping in the air was made in Willow Run, an automobile manufacturing town near Detroit. “Spencer to crew. Spencer to crew. Everybody on this crate needs to grab a chute and bail out pronto, we have a cloud bank ahead that is a monster, bail out now” ... no response. Earlier, I beat a prop wrench on the bulkhead trying to get somebody’s attention, but the way this thing is vibrating, I doubt if they heard the signal, if anyone is even alive back there. “Dusty 2, you’ve got boogies 9 o’clock, closing fast. Lead him more tailgunner, they’re pulling up on your port side. One is laying back, stay tight to... Smoker; All Right! Great shooting Dusty, 1 smoking, and 2 running!” I’ve got my chute on the deck, just in case. I’d like to land this heap, get it back for salvage at least, and get the crew on the ground, whatever shape they’re in. This probably looks like a typical summer storm from the ground, but I don’t think I have ever seen such a black Click here to read the rest of this story (45 more lines)
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