“McLaren wants you to try to validate if, A, this is all a cruel hoax and everything is actually wonderful; B, we are on a horrible carnival ride where the equipment is now functioning as predators; or C, we are delusional, in which case order in a case of strait-jackets to be used on this site’s personnel.”
The pilot chuckled and commented, “I’m pretty sure I know which solution to go with, but I’m not using MY credit card to order in a bunch of strait-jackets! Let me get to the site, and then I’ll report further. Sure am glad I brought the digital camera along.”
The trade winds helped push the single engine plane along nicely, and within ninety minutes he was over the site. The pilot pushed his head forward to help focus on the sight he was witnessing. Then he slightly rolled his head to one side, not fully comprehending the events unfolding below him. The pilot caught sight of the drone circling the area in a nice parabolic circle and was mindful to keep clear of its pattern.
Finally convinced that he had not drifted into a science fiction video program, the pilot slowly announced, “George, I’ve got my cameras on the scene as well as my eyeballs. I don’t know what you witnessed, but I’m seeing Sandbox Wars just like you suggested with only a few survivors left. Those survivors seem hell-bent in final combat as well. My guess is there won’t be any smart mining equipment pieces left after the final blow is given. And to add to that, it appears that the Badger is digging into the lowest rung of the open pit so it can have the rim collapse on it, like a grave. It looks like all the mining equipment is engaged in fratricide, then moving to suicide to complete the destruction of the Kookaburra mine.”
George then asked, “Do you see the drone? Any chance that you can try to reestablish its communications link? You don’t have a whole lot of time over the site before you need to head home. Your description corresponds to what we saw earlier and the progression model I built while you were en route. Everyone is now watching the video feeds, before history rolls over it. Well done, sir.”
The pilot smirked and then stated, “Yeah, well, there’s nothing like a ring-side seat to Armageddon. Let me see if I can connect to the drone and straighten out his communications link. Give me a few…”
After more than a few minutes, a concerned George asked, “What’s your status? Any luck connecting to the drone? Why have your video feeds vanished? Come back?”
The pilot could not respond since the drone link he had established functioned as a poisoned digital connection. The single engine plane had only a little of the high-tech gear that the drone had which probably saved the pilot’s life. Unfortunately, all communication links were shut down to the aircraft, leaving only basic steering and navigation instruments available for return. However, as the pilot banked to leave the area, the drone became an adversary. It tried several times to ram the departing aircraft, much to the pilot’s chagrin. The last pass of the unmanned drone clipped the wing strut, and the pilot searched for a reasonably safe place to land.
He flared the aircraft attitude as much as he dared and feathered the engine’s prop for as soft a landing as possible. The years of practice landing on unorthodox runways in the Chihuahua desert probably saved his life, as the aircraft bounced and ground to a halt in the chalky sandy pit. He couldn’t get out of the mangled aircraft. The pilot had a great view out of the now windowless cockpit of the drone spiraling into the ground, but it didn’t please him. Worse, he knew his plane wouldn’t fly again and that his options were very limited. The only bright spot was that he had his special satellite enabled cell phone with him and that just might allow him communications.
The pilot held his breath as he hit the special key sequence, hoping that it wouldn’t fail him. He was not disappointed.
A relieved George answered, “Is that you, Juan? Geezers! We thought you were toast! Just a minute, Julie wants to ….”
In the background George’s voice could be heard. “Well, why don’t you just take my phone and cut to the chase with him. He may be my boss, however you do trump that as he is your husband!”
Julie snatched the phone, put it on speaker, and angrily asked, “Juan, are you alright? Dammit, I’ve told you about this! No more you going solo, mister! We are always going together, got it, mister?”
Now covered in a fine white chalky dust and sitting in a broken airplane in fifty-degree Celsius heat, Juan clucked his tongue and flatly asked, “Oh, you want BOTH of us to expire in the middle of west fence post Australia and leave two orphan children? Besides, you don’t think I came unprepared for this contingency, do you?” Juan transferred to Bluetooth and pocketed the phone, then zipped up his protective clothing and instigated the cooling system.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish