M.a.i.n.e. Frame PC II
by Sam Lakes
Copyright © 2006 All Rights Reserved
The bomb had been timed to go off over London where the most damage could result. As a backup it had been rigged mechanically so that when the landing gear was lowered a trip wire would cause the detonation to occur. Colt studied the bomb for ten minutes and sketched it out on his virtual drawing tablet.
He showed it to Arbor and Dan Armstrong. “Have I missed anything?” he asked “Any detail at all, related or not?”
The two shook their heads no and Colt sent the drawing and data to Maureen and waited for an answer. He just sat there staring at the bomb and thinking.
“What’s the problem?” asked Arb.
“It seems too simple” replied Armstrong which caused both boys to turn and look at him. Colt observably breathed a sigh of relief.
“You’re right. I have a feeling there’s another bomb, much worse, much deadlier.”
“Are you telepathic or what? That’s what I was thinking!” exclaimed Armstrong “But where?”
Colt looked at the clock running down, two hours and fifty-nine minutes.
“Cargo?” asked Arb.
“You two go look. I’ll wait here and see what they send us” said Colt.
Within five minutes Colt received instructions on disarming the bomb which he followed. Although nervous, his hands were surprisingly steady and the procedure was completed within a few minutes and much to his relief without blowing himself and the plane up.
He managed to find his way to the cargo bays where Dan and Arb were searching.
“One down” he said “What’s in the casket?”
“A body, I guess. It’s too obvious a place” said Dan “Besides what if there’s a trip wire on the lid and you open it and boom!”
“For a bomb yes, but what about biological or chemical warfare? You open it and no big boom, so you close it and continue the search…” Colt argued, but was interrupted by a message. It was the manifest and records of all cargo, not baggage.
“Say, Arb, here’s something from Biodyne Research …what if…”
“Here it is. With Biohazard Warning all over it! and it’s sealed tighter than a drum!” said Dan.
Colt had Maureen and others on the line.
“What’s in the Biodyne container?” he typed.
Several moments passed then the answer appeared “Genetically engineered virus potentially lethal. It’s sealed in safety containers…should be safe as is.”
“And if opened by an explosion?”
“Heat would probably kill it?”
Colt thought for a few moments then asked Dan “What altitude will the plane be when we’re over land?”
“About 35,000 feet. Why?”
Colt typed and voiced “What would happen to the Biodyne container if dropped from 35,000 feet?”
A few seconds past then came the answer “The container would be smashed and the contents would be live and airborne! Why? What are you on to Rye-Zen?”
“Dan, what would have to happen for this container to be sucked out of the plane from where it is?”
“You’d have to blow a hole in the side of the plane about … here! There it is!” Dan said and the two boys rushed to have a look.
“It looks pretty sophisticated to me” remarked Arbor.
The device was very sophisticated. It appeared to be getting its altimeter reading from a cable plugged in to the 747’s circuitry and appeared to have several trip wires and looked fairly tamper proof.
“It’s hooked into the aircraft’s system… probably getting the altimeter readings from the system. This is definitely not your home made bomb someone with a lot of knowledge put this one in here. Someone with access”
Colt reported to Maureen then he thought for a moment! “I think we can override the main systems altimeter and keep it reading 40,000 feet, but in case I’m wrong we’d better secure the Biodyne canister. If it blows can we still fly?”
“Depends on the damage done…My guess is yes…This was just to make sure when we landed, the other bomb would destroy any evidence.”
“Yeah giving time for the virus to spread” said Arbor.
Colt sent a message to Maureen describing the situation and what they had done and their plan.
“Phoenix and Rye-Zen - go for it! Will clear the way for you as best we can. Be careful, waterwalkers! -Maureen!”
They secured the Biodyne canister and left the area. “Better clear the passengers from that area in case of a problem” said Arbor.
“Don’t know where we’ll put them, but your right” responded Dan. The three entered the cockpit and explained the situation to the crew. Colt started working on the altimeter problem while the Captain explained the situation to the Flight Attendants and then made an announcement to the passengers.
The tension ran high as Colt investigated the altimeter connections. “Fuck this connection!” erupted Colt “Fuck it! I didn’t want to rely on proximity linking! But this damn connection has got me!”
No one said anything. Colt’s finger began to wiggle again as he started working again, but this time on a simulation. After a few minutes he said to the Captain, “Here, put these on.” The Captain complied. “What you see is a simulation of what could happen if that thing blows. This is the damage list. Can you cope with it - I mean can you still handle the plane?”
“It will be difficult, but yes.”
“Okay, well expect the worst. Maybe we’ll be okay. The worst situation is it could blow on the approach.”
“Then it would be a disaster! It would be better to let it blow at 30,000 than under 5000 feet.”
Colt sighed “What would be the best point to blow it where we risk the least chance of disaster?”
“At 15,000 feet”
“Okay, I’ll override the altimeter for as long as I can and when you give me the go ahead I disengage and if we’re right in our assumptions then it’ll blow.”
“Captain, emergency crews are standing by and we have full clearance to land” reported Dan Armstrong.
Colt engaged the override.
“Captain, you tell me when to release the override. Just be aware, I’ve never tested this procedure under these conditions.”
The Captain looked at Colt and nodded an acknowledgment of what Colt had said. He had requested altitude reading from Gatwick Air Traffic Control.
The tension mounted as they approached 30,000 feet. Colt’s override was working okay and the aircraft’s altimeter still showed 40,001feet. As they approached 15,000 feet the Captain announced to the passengers and crew that they were on their final approach and that the explosion would be forth coming requested the flight attendants to take their positions. Once confirmed by the lead flight attendant he looked at Arbor and then at Colt and said “All right, son, release the override.
The instant Colt killed the program there was an explosion. The plane was out of control for only a few heart-stopping moments before the Captain brought it back under control. The entire crew and passengers heard Colt as he blurted out a whoop and yelled “Right on Captain! I will fly with you any day!” The Chief Flight attendant reported zero casualties.
They heard cheers coming from the passengers. “We’re not out of the woods yet, folks. It’s going to be a tough landing. As soon as the plane comes to a complete halt please evacuate the plane and follow the instructions of the emergency ground crews. Finally, the young voice you heard was that of a young man who without his help and courage under extreme pressure and the help of his brother and the 1st officer we would never have made it this far. I’ve sworn not to reveal their names, but you guys we owe you our lives!”
The 747 landed without incident. Colt and Arbor disembarked from the plane with the other passengers. One of the passengers asked Colt if he was one of the two boys. Arbor interrupted “I wish! My brother is a real wimp, a geek. In fact he is such a geek I call him geekoid!”
“Hey! I may be a wimp but at least I’m not a cry baby! I’m scared! Waah!”
“Shut up, asshole!”
“I'm going to tell mom you're calling me names again!” said Colt as he pushed Arbor pretending to be pissed.
The inquiring passenger decided that these to American boys were definitely not the hero type.