Copyright (c) 2015 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.
By R. Peterson
As the airplane nose-dived towards earth, passengers screamed. The woman, standing in the aisle, naked from the waist up and with artificial breasts obviously made of explosives, smiled as she held the detonation button in her fingers. Finally the plane leveled out. “Now you kafirler will know how the nations of God react, when you … senin ahlaki yolsuzluk bize zorla! (force your moral corruption on us!)”
“Please tell me what is happening?” Franklin begged Kim. “Somehow I don’t think this demonstration of a flying machine is what you were expecting.”
“It isn’t,” Kim gasped. “These people are terrorists, groups of radicals who get others to do their bidding by using fear. They’ve taken over this aircraft for their own political purposes.”
An overweight woman, wearing designer clothing, two rows ahead in the first class section, rose from her seat. “What do you people think are you doing?” she demanded. “You people aren’t Muslims … you’re white … you’re supposed to be on our side!”
Flight four-nineteen was now cruising at an altitude of less than one-thousand feet. The pilot and co-pilot sprawled unconscious on the floor; the aircraft’s controls were being operated by the Nordic-looking hijacker. Two terrorists, who had stormed from economy class earlier wielding arm-rests torn from the seats, opened the exit-door at a signal from the pilot. The men dragged the screeching woman to the front and threw her out the door as the female with plastic explosives for breasts watched. “Islam is Allah’s law, not a race, you stupid sürtük,”she cackled, “think about that as you rush to kiss the ground!”
Franklin gasped as he watched the woman falling toward earth. “I see that cruelty has not gone out of fashion,” he said.
“I’m afraid that with all the technological progress of our world some things still remain the same,” Kim said. “Evil people will always try to force their beliefs and values onto others.”
“Is twenty-first century man too sedated to fight back against these terrorists?” Franklin sounded astonished.
“They have us completely under their control,” Kim said. “The men are armed only with armrests torn from the seats in the economy sections but the woman is wired with explosives which she can detonate with the button in her hand. It is best if we remain quiet. If we try to attack this woman she will blow up this plane and everyone in it.”
Franklin sprung out of his seat cursing. “They who give up freedom to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” he yelled charging toward the female terrorist with C4 explosives attached to her chest. The woman was startled and stepped back as Franklin lunged at her. Kim shielded his face sure that she would detonate the explosives. Franklin wrestled the struggling woman to the floor. “I’ve never struck a female before,” Franklin said. “But for this obvious political harlot I’ll make an exception.” He knocked her unconscious with three quick blows to the head.
“How did you know she would not detonate the explosives?” Kim was happy but curious.
“I overheard her and the other ruffians speaking an unusual form of the Turkish language when we were waiting to board this flying machine.” Franklin spoke with modest pride. “Listening without being noticed is a useful talent I often practice for getting the most out of diverse political meetings. She and the other malcontents only had enough real explosives to blow open the pilot’s door. The clay like material she is wearing on her chest is a harmless substance called Silly Putty.”
The two men wielding armrests for clubs rushed forward from the economy section. Kim bolted out of his seat and tackled the first man. Two men in marine uniforms tackled the second. The inside passenger compartment of the 727 was in pandemonium as they fought to subdue them. “Look,” a man pointed out the window as the terrorists were pinned to the floor. The Potomac River and the Washington monument with its long reflecting pool appeared on the far right; closer still the Executive Mansion appeared on the left. The airliner banked hard to the left. “My God! He’s going to crash this plane into the White House!” a woman screamed.
Tim and two others rushed forward into the cockpit. The airliner was now in a steep dive. Screaming like a banshee as it hurtled toward the symbol of American executive power that was last destroyed by the British in the war of 1812. Tim grabbed the hi-jacker by his short-cropped blonde hair and yanked him, with great difficulty, backward out of his seat. The suicidal fanatic screamed in Turkish as he clung tightly to the control yoke sending the aircraft into a spin less than a thousand feet above the ground. “Allah iyidir. Salih onun yargı bu kafirler tarafından bertaraf değil!” One of the marines managed to pry the man’s fingers from the yoke and half climbed half fell into the vacated seat as the man was dragged back and the aircraft began to roll.
Tim noticed a partially wrapped McDonalds’ Double cheeseburger and part of a medium order of fries suspended in nightmarish detail along with a flight checklist and other notes on a clipboard as the airliner plunged toward the ground completely out of control and making the passengers weightless.
The huge aircraft stopped rolling and started to level-out but Tim was sure that it wouldn’t be enough. He held his breath as the marine yanked back on the yoke and the front of the plane rose slightly just before it would have struck the ground. One wing severed branches off from a sycamore tree and the fuselage clipped the top of a large eighteenth century chimney showering brink and mortar all along Connecticut Avenue. Two cars collided in an intersection as the jet tore away a stoplight trailing electrical wire and bits of shattered metal pole. The aircraft slowly began to rise and the passengers cheered. “Thank God we had a pilot aboard!” Tim echoed the sentiments of the others.
“I’m not really a pilot,” the marine stammered. “I’m Lieutenant James Addison and I’ve just completed my third week of flight school, operating a T-45 Goshawk out of Haveloc, North Carolina.”
“I’d have to give you an “A” for this unexpected pop quiz,” Kim said as he tried to catch his breath.
“We’re not out of the fire yet,” the marine gulped. “Three bogies coming in at two-O’clock. They are ours and they are supposed to be friendly … but they don’t look that way!”
Three F-16 fighters streaked from the southwest horizon directly toward the airliner. Addison wasted precious time fumbling with the radio controls the hijacker had obviously turned off. “Langley Air base this is Lieutenant James Addison serial number 437-65-4682. I am in control of a Boing 737 after an aborted hijacking … do you copy?”
A pair of the jets converged on each side of the aircraft keeping their distance while the third shadowed the craft about a mile behind. “They are going to shoot us down,” Addison said. “It’s standard procedure in a case like this. They’ve probably been sending out warnings for the last ten minutes and received no response.” Lieutenant Addison tried a different channel and repeated his broadcast.
“If they were going to shoot us down they would have done so,” Tim argued. “Wouldn’t they?”
“Not necessarily,” Addison said. “We’re heading toward open water, they’ll wait until were over the Atlantic to reduce the chance of any collateral damage.”
“Surely they received your transmission,” another marine said. ‘They can’t just shoot down an unarmed civilian plane.”
“The brass at Langley must figure they don’t have a choice,” Addison said. “This aircraft has become a weapon and they have no way of knowing who is in control of it.”
Franklin entered the cockpit. At least twenty passengers were keeping the would-be hijackers securely on the bloody compartment floor with their fists and feet. “It sounds like the problem is one of communication,” he said.
“The people who guard our nation would rather err with the loss of civilian lives than risk having a political target destroyed like the White house or the Capital building,” Tim said. “So it looks like our goose is cooked.”
“Fly along the coast and don’t move out to open water just yet,” Franklin told the pilot.
“Do you think maybe you can find a way out of this mess?” Tim asked the founding father.
“Politicians and the military are most responsive to public opinion especially that which would make them look less than favorable,” Franklin said. He pointed to the iPhone Tim was using unsuccessfully to try to call Langley. “Can you use your communication device to show the media who we are and what we’re up against?”
“That’s it,” Tim said. “I’ll shoot a video of ourselves inside the cockpit and send it to Network television. All of America is going to know who we are and what we’re doing.”
Just then a crackling voice came over the radio. “Delta Flight 419 resume your flight path east over the Atlantic … I repeat resume your flight path east over the Atlantic.”
“Continue south,” Franklin told the pilot. “We need time to prove we are patriots.”
Expensive Atlantic coastal homes, factories and schools dotted the shoreline, the only thing keeping the jetliner from being blasted from the air.
Kim used his IPhone to shoot a video of the subdued hijackers with commentary from him and the marines aboard the plane. “I just hope this is enough to keep us from being shot out of the air,” he concluded, “we’re Americans just like you, fighting for our lives.” He texted it to an up-and-coming reporter he knew from ABC News. “I just hope the future Walter Cronkite is answering his phone and not skinny dipping with some sweet thing at the New York Hilton.”
The transmission from the F-16 fighter jets blasted two more times in ten minutes each time advising the airliner to turn east over the Atlantic or be destroyed. Addison replied, not bothering to hide his fury. “You think I don’t know what’s coming down? You got a radar-lock on our ass and any second an AIM-120 is going to crash through our back door.”
Abruptly the tone from the pursuing fighters changed. The voice was familiar. “Let’s go home James!”
“Dark Wing is that you?” Addison’s voice was jubilant.
“Dark Wing?” Tim was stunned “You know this guy?”
“Like the cartoon character. He’s one of my flight trainers back at Langley,” Kim said, “a real hard-case but he has no love for political posturing.”
“You are cleared for landing at Langley,” Dark Wing said. “We are pulling back.”
“It’s a good thing you had a friend in the sky,” one of the marines said.
“I’m sure my friend had little to do with it,” Addison said. “I’ll lay odds it was that video you sent to the media. I’ll bet every officer at Langley is watching it on television right now.”
“Public opinion is the most powerful weapon you can use against any politician.” Franklin smiled. “That gadget in your hand is certainly faster than the lads I hire to deliver my news bulletins.”
The officials at Langley insisted that all the passengers aboard the miraculously intact flight 419 be evaluated at a hospital before each was interviewed and given a background check. Franklin was sitting up in bed and watching Cartoon Network on Cable TV … he had the exuberant joy of a young child and kept flipping through channels with the remote control. “A gentleman in Paris showed me a stack of playing cards once,” Franklin said. “When you fanned them quickly from one edge they appeared to be moving. I presume this marvelous invention of yours is based on the same principal?”
“It’s called persistence of vision,” Tim said. “But we’ve got bigger problems now.”
“Oh,” Franklin sounded disappointed. “I thought we might delve deeper into this truly amazing science.”
“We don’t have time,” Tim told him. “The CIA and officials from Homeland Security just finished with my interview and they’re on their way up here. That fake ID that I used to get you aboard the airliner will never pass their scrutiny.”
“What will happen to me if I’m caught/” Franklin showed no fear … just curiosity.
“They’ll probably put you in a glass case next to the Declaration of Independence inside the National Archives Building in Washington, DC,” Kim said. “If you’re lucky. If not, they’ll probably either shoot you as a spy or force you to run for congress.”
“I wouldn’t mind being shot,” Franklin quipped, “at least there’s less suffering and admission to Hell isn’t as guaranteed as it is in politics.”
“It might not come to that?” Kim said. “Quick inside the bathroom!” He helped Franklin crowd into the room’s facilities. “It’s a good thing this lavatory is handicapped enabled … it just might be large enough.” Franklin was flushing the toilet again and again with a look of ecstasy on his face as Kim closed the door, took a GPS reading and dialed his iPhone.
Kim Jones and Alvin Sullinger were both watching as the Geodesic Voyager materialized in Alvin’s workroom. “I was afraid it might not fit,” Kim said. “Good thing the hospital had extra-large bathrooms.”
“I thought it best to leave the brilliant doctor in the folds of space time until you arrived,” Alvin said. “He doesn’t know me.”
A door on the side of the sphere slid open and Ben Franklin extracted himself looking around the twenty-first century science-lab with great interest. “I hated to leave you at the hospital to explain my disappearance,” Franklin said. “Were you in a great deal of trouble?”
“Not at all,” Kim told him. “I acted as surprised as they were that you were not in your room. I threatened to call the media about your disappearance unless they let me go.”
Franklin was looking at a wall chart that showed the corresponding dark matter elements to the periodic table that was known to scientists in the eighteenth century. “So much knowledge it boggles the mind,” he said.
“I’m happy that you are enjoying yourself,” Alvin said. “But I brought you and Al into our century for a specific reason. A man with frizzy hair that stuck out from his head like a ball shuffled timidly in from another room. He was holding a hot sandwich from a microwave oven. His eyes too, had a whimsical child-on-Christmas-morning look of fascination. “I’m very pleased to meet you Doktor Franklin,” he said with a soft German accent. “My name is Albert Einstein.”
“I’m currently working on a project that will change the world as we know it,” Alvin told the men as he led them down a long hallway toward a very heavy door, “and I need both of your talents desperately.”
“More fascinating than time travel? This I have to see!” Kim followed behind the three. A moment later, Alvin Sullinger opened the door to an incredibly vast room filled with light and all three men gasped …