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The Dogfight Pt. 2


Living_Hellfire
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[Oslo, Norway, circa 2012]

Bjorn Johannsen loved airplanes. His entire life, all ten years of it he'd been obsessed with the idea that a person might design, construct and operate a machine that could take a human being into the sky, defying gravity in order to travel at speeds that defy organic ability. So when his mother told him that they were going to board a flight from their home in Oslo to visit family in New England the excitement for his first time aboard an actual aircraft was unbearable. Hannah, Bjorn's mother regretted telling him so early as she faced weeks of harassment about their departure date and had to deal with the grumpiest of children because the boy could barely sleep. Lesson learned, she thought to herself.

 

The main terminal of Gardermoen Airport was enormous. Bjorn's skin tingled as the bouquet of burnt kerosene and hot bondo assaulted his nose as he and his mother exited their taxi at the departure lane. He could hear, from the other side of the terminal the orchestra of "air-side" operations; Auxiliary power units sipping Jet-A1 fuel as they powered the internal lights and processes of the aircraft parked at gates. He heard the sound of a 737-800 series landing, thrust reversers at full. He breathed deeply as he listened to the excited chatter of his fellow passengers. The taxi driver hauled their luggage out of the trunk, handing the boy his carry on and helping his mother load the baggage onto the push-cart that would accompany them to the check-in desk.

 

"Good morning, gentlefolk, my name is Captain Halfnir Andersen and I am your captain for this morning's flight to America. We here at Norwegian Airlines take pride in our efficiency and service and we welcome you aboard flight NO.198 bound for Paragon City International Airport. We will be travelling at a cruising altitude of thirty-eight thousand feet at a speed of approximately eight-hundred, seventy kilometers per hour. Barring any trouble we should arrive at our destination in approximately eight hours. We ask that you buckle your seatbelts, please pay attention to the pre-flight instructions provided by our flight attendants and obey all instructions given by our in-flight crew. We hope you enjoy the flight." The message repeats in English as the pre-flight pantomime begins.

 

Strapped tightly into his seat by the window, negotiated as such by his mother, Bjorn watched the runway lights flash by with increasing speed as the inertia of the A-340's thrust pressed him back into his seat. His feet kicked involuntarily with excitement at the back of the seat in front of him as the aircraft approached V-1, rotating upwards into the sky. The runway retreated away from view as they lifted off. He watched as the air-side of the airport slid past the window and, not unlike angels in a story book the airplane took to the sky. He relished the feel of valsalva by working his jaw, the eustacian tubes clearing the fluid gathering in his ears. There was nothing about flight that Bjorn did not love. He reached out to his mother beside him, held her hand and quickly fell asleep.

 

Bjorn awoke suddenly to find himself staring at the screen displaying the most recent Toy Story movie. He yawned and stretched.

 

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking, please fasten your seatbelts as we are about to enter a period of turbulent air." The stewards immediately begin coursing the aisle, ensuring all passengers are secured before strapping themselves into the jumpseats in the galleys fore and aft of the aircraft.

 

Bjorn glanced out the window spying a tiny speck. He pressed his forehead against the window, trying to focus but was foiled as the speck that caught his attention suddenly flared and disappeared from view. He looked up at his mother who was focused entirely on the door of the flight deck. He squeezed her hand, causing her to look at him. He smiled. "Everything will be alright, momma, I think we have an angel with us." She squeezed back, smiling at her brave son.

 

The plane shook, eliciting cries of panic from most passengers, but not the boy and his mother. They gripped hands as they both looked out the small portal window, watching as a streak of burnt orange flame soared past, rolling over the top of the airplane and out of view.

 

The plane shook again, the roar of an explosion on the port side of the aircraft shaking it out its path, forcing the nose down as the explosion swallowed the air pressure around it. The A-340 dove as the passengers rose in their seats. Hands rose to the ceiling of the cabin as the mortals aboard screamed their terror.

 

Suddenly the nose of the airplane turned up, the dive turning to a low climb, slamming the passengers back into their seats. The cries began anew. Bjorn looked out the window, just quick enough to catch a glimpse of a man on fire. The man glanced at the port-hole window, making eye-contact with the boy, winked one flaming eye, opened his arms against the wind and vanished in a trail of burnt orange flame and black smoke. The boy squeezed his mother's hand.

 

The plane rocked again, shuddering hard to starboard. As the plane dipped right that same streak of burnt orange flame scorched past above the critical leading edge of the wing, reducing the air pressure and lifting the wing thereby leveling the aircraft.

 

Against all caution Bjorn unbuckled himself from his seat, wrestling away from his mother his sprinted down the aisle toward the tail of the plane, tracking The Angel on Fire barrel rolling around the Airbus. It was only then that he spotted the Sky Skiff as it soared past. The boy dove at the steward strapped to his seat in the rear galley, finding welcoming arms wrapped around him as the world shook and trembled and all the population of that tiny place screamed in terror.

 

The explosion rocked the aircraft. The boy peeked out from his shelter through the little port-hole windows, spotting flaming shrapnel and debris as it fell away. He looked up at the startled steward who had caught him, thanking him silently before crawling his way back to his seat, fighting against gravity and inertia as the Airbus somehow managed to climb against all odds.

 

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking! Please stay in your seats as we are about to make an emergency landing at Paragon City International Airport!" Bjorn scrambled his way back into his seat, enduring the onslaught of his mother's recrimination for his escape. He didn't care, he had seen something very few other people ever had.

 

The Airbus A-340 smashed down, the main landing gear collapsing with the impact. In a shower of sparks the plane slid slowly to a stop, the emergency doors bursting open. Green fire trucks and blue and white ambulances rushed down the runway to greet passengers as they slid down yellow, inflatable slides.

 

Bjorn Johannsen looked up as the paramedic checked him over, his mother hovering nervously nearby. A streak of burnt orange flame disappeared into the night sky.

Edited by Living_Hellfire

-The Legendary Living Hellfire

"The newest person in the room is always the most important person in the room"

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