Today is #BlogBattle day! I brought back Frankie and Fyrn two weeks ago in a planned two-parter. Tests got in the way of the adventure last week, so we’re back with what’s turning into a three-parter. 🙂 Enjoy!
The word: CAVE
The genre: Science Fiction
Frankie and Fyrn are stranded on the planet Cristol, forced to enlist the help of the F.R.O.G.s for repairs. Everything was going fine until Frankie’s old nemesis showed up and demanded he undertake a mission in return for ship parts. Frankie reluctantly agreed and they boarded a heli-carrier…
Ten minutes later, Frankie and Fyrn were fitted out with headsets and soaring over the treetops of Cristol. Frankie hooked his hand around a bar and leaned out the open door. Fyrn was seated in the middle of the helicarrier, rather content to stay where she was.
Rathson joined him at the door.
“Almost there,” he yelled over the comms. Frankie rolled his eyes. Cristol’s setting sun bathed the forest in its last light, igniting the luminescent purple flowers that resided in the treetops. The beauty of the blooming nocturnal flowers was lost on Frankie as he saw their destination.
“That?” His voice rose a dangerous octave. “You want me to jump into that?”
The helicarrier circled a hole in the ground. The trees parted around it and Frankie estimated it to be about 150 ft. wide. In the twilight it was nothing more than a gaping pit of black.
“Yeah,” was Rathson’s matter of fact reply. “Something’s fallen in and I want you to retrieve it.”
“Tried hiking in and B.A.S.E. jumping?”
“Of course, I’m not an idiot.”
“Could have fooled me.” Frankie’s muttered comment made it through the comms and Fyrn stifled a grin.
“This is right in the middle of Derch territory. We can’t get there and back to base before nightfall.”
“Tried going in from the helicarrier?”
“Again. Not an idiot. The thing in that hole interferes with the carrier’s frequencies. We’ve almost crashed two trying to get it out.”
“Sounds like a personal problem.”
“What you’ll have to do is…”
“Yeah, not an idiot either. I’ll need a high altitude jump…” he trailed off, running calculations in his head. He’d need to account for the thinner atmosphere, the gravity field, the precision needed to land inside the cave without giving the Derchs a free meal…
Rathson gave the order to head back to base. Frankie broke his silence when the carrier set down on the raised platform.
“What’s in there, Rathson?”
“Need to know basis.”
“Since I’m jumping in after it, I think I need to know.”
Rathson led the way into the compound. Frankie noticed he and Fyrn had an escort the whole way. Seemed like Rathson wanted to ensure their cooperation. They filed through several halls before entering a room filled with monitors and a conference table.
The screens were filled with shaky schematics of the cave and surrounding area.
“Thought you had better scanners.” Frankie moved to investigate the screens.
“The signal coming from the cave disrupts anything electric. We’ll send you in with a signal jammer to let us bring in the carrier and lift it out.”
“You’re lifting me out too, right?”
“Always so suspicious, Baum.”
“I’ve known you too long.”
Frankie grabbed a data pad and a stylus and started writing. The calculations he wrote appeared on a monitor.
“You know the computers can do that?” Rathson asked in amusement.
“Never trust to something else what you can do yourself.”
When he was done, Rathson insisted he and Fyrn be taken to secured bedrooms in order to get a “good night’s rest”.
He spent the night pacing. It had been years since he had jumped. He still dreamed about his last jump and a part of him was petrified for what the morning would bring.
Breakfast was a nutrient bar followed by repacking the parachute and checking equipment. Rathson rolled his eyes, but allowed Frankie to do it his way. Fyrn was forced to remain behind, allowed to watch from the monitors. The jump team took off in a smaller plane, heading off in a wide sweep of the forest. Frankie waited at the back of the plane until the jump light dinged green. The door slid open and, after a moment’s hesitation, he jumped.
Air tore by him, ripping around his spread-eagled limbs. An O2 mask hissed as it supplied him with oxygen. The distance was closing to the ground and the mask beeped at him as it sensed him hyperventilating. Panic was creeping through as the canopy approached. His hand fought against the air current and touched his chest, finding the spot his St. Michael medal rested. The patron saint of paratroopers had brought him out alive of countless jumps. He could trust the angel again. His breathing slowed and his mind flipped back to the jump. A thrill teased at his stomach now that his panic was under control. He’d forgotten the rush that came with a jump.
The cave appeared in the distance and he pulled the chute. He jerked upwards as it caught air. His hands closed around the handles and he took a steadying breath. Now came the hard part. The chute slowed him down, but he was still moving fast. He had some altitude left. He pulled one handle, sending him into a smooth arc around the cave. He planned to circle in. The chute whined as he spun in a tighter circle. Closer. Rathson said they estimated the cave to be about 50 feet deep. If he made it into the opening, he’d probably break his legs. Perfect.
He started another circle right above the opening. He pulled gently on the handle, drifting directly above the cave. He evened out the chute and floated into the cave. He crashed against the sides once or twice on the way down but managed to land in a dignified heap on the ground, barely managing to avoid drowning in the chute.
He lay on the ground for a minute before tapping the comm switch on his helmet.
Deafening cheers erupted. He rolled over to inspect the hulking machinery in the cave. It must have created the cave when it fell. Who knew how long it had been down there. Its surface was smooth and blank and Frankie wondered what it housed inside. He pulled the scrambler from his pack and flipped it on before laying out the packed harness around it.
“I’m going to regret turning this over to Rathson, aren’t I?”
As mentioned above, the story will continue in part 3 next week. I hope you’re enjoying Frankie’s escapades. 🙂 Don’t forget to check Rachael’s blog for the other entries and vote for your favorite THREE stories!