Valley of Lost Time., page 1
Valley of Lost Time.
Robert A. J. Turnbull Jr.
Text and cover copyright © 2012 Robert A. J. Turnbull Jr.
All rights reserved.
Any similarities between characters in this novel and anyone living and or deceased
is strictly coincidental and unintentional.
Novels by this author.
Some books are free at the author’s web site www.hawkslegend.com
Other novels are for sale on Amazon/Kindle.
The “Worlds Collection.”
Worlds of Survival.
Worlds Near Infinity.
Worlds Apart, Vol. 2.
Worlds in Time.
Other novels by this author:
Hawk’s Legend II - Déjà vu.
Hawk’s Legend III - The West Coast Journals.
Hawk’s Legend - Apocalypse. (prequel to the free Hawk’s legend Trilogy)
Valley of Lost Time.
The Deadcountry Chronicles.
The Deadcountry Chronicles II.
The Deadcountry Chronicles III.
Empire of the Dinosaurs.
“Mayday! ... Mayday! This is Delta, X-ray 667. Does anyone copy?” Marcy shouted over a loud clash of thunder and the rattling sounds of the huge jet being buffeted in the storm. The aircraft creaked and groaned as the high winds and rain slammed into it causing a deafening orchestra of terror.
“Save it Marcy. That last lightning strike fried most of the electronics...” Captain James Marlow tried to smile, but it came off as just a nervous toothy grin. “Christ, we’ll be lucky to keep this giant in the air.”
Jim’s co-pilot was Marcy Lowe and had been flying private transports for a good fifteen years and had as many hours flying this new modified 777 as her Captain did.
“ I’d like to kick the engineers that added the extra length and two additional engines to this beast.” She grinned at her Captain, “All this extra weight is going to ...”
There was a huge shutter and the aircraft raised two hundred feet within a few seconds. Marcy keyed her radio one more time and screamed above the howling winds and crashing of thunder.
“This is flight 1181... Do you read?” she looked over to Jim and smiled, “Hey, by the way... I thought lightning wasn’t suppose to damage us?”
Jim shrugged, “It’s not! That sucker must have been one hell of a bolt...” he laughed nervously, “...but then this is one hell of a storm.
“Does anyone copy?” Marcy shouted over another clash of thunder and squinted as the flash filled the cockpit. “Any chance of a shortwave or something picking us up?”
Jim laughed, “Not even if they were standing outside on the wing... Radio’s fried Marcy. Hell, damned near everything’s fried!” Jim shook his head in disbelief at the lack of instruments as the huge aircraft continued to shake violently.
“Christ if nature had dipped and battered us and then tossed us in boiling oil, we couldn’t be crispier.” He looked at the nearly dark instrument panel.
The pretty co-pilot smiled. She had flown with Jim so many years and had never seen him stress over anything. He’d laugh in the face of death...however it was the sweat streaming from his forehead she was worried about most, she knew they were in deep shi...
Another stronger gust of wind hit their jet and the engines screamed as Jim fought to keep altitude.
The converted Boeing 777’s mighty engines strained as the supersized jet fought to maintain flight in the raging storm. The huge jet dropped a hundred feet, and then was tossed violently sideways.
The four-crew members and the fifteen passengers were buffeted so hard many held their heads, fearing whiplash. From below there was a loud crash. It was so loud that it was heard above the raging storm outside. Things sounded like they were breaking loose below in the cargo bay.
“Shit Jim, if any of that crap for the new mine breaks free we won’t have to worry about landing... It’ll will rip us apart up here before we get down.” The flight engineer muttered as he started to unbuckle his seat harness.
“No way Bill!” Jim shouted over his shoulder, “Stay in your seat. Just because you’re built like a friggin’ gorilla, doesn’t mean you can hold on enough to keep from...” the aircraft dropped another hundred feet and rolled left as the two pilots fought the controls...and Bill was violently tossed in his seat so hard his seatbelts nearly snapped.
Bill gave his friend a half smile and tugged at this harness to make it tighter.
“Jim do you have any idea where the hell we are?” Marcy shouted.
“Not since we lost all our directionals Marcy. This storm blew out of the north, hell we could be two, three hundred miles off course now...maybe more!” Jim strained to see through the driving rain, dense clouds, and darkness. Without radar he was blind and they were heading for the Andes Mountains...or were the last he knew. Without their GPS, radar, compass or any other instruments, Jim figured he could be anywhere in the lower Amazon.
“God I love flying blind. We could be as low as twenty thousand feet...or lower.” He sighed as he fought the controls.
“And headed right toward the Andes... you forgot to mention the Andes.” Marcy smiled at her Captain and longtime friend. She worried about the nearly thirty thousand-foot drop they had done to try to squeeze through a narrow gap between the two major storm cells and that their Doppler radar had indicated. She had noticed it and Jim dropped down to this low altitude to squeeze between the cells...and that freakish lightning strike put their avionics out. Now flying completely blind in a storm, they couldn’t go up, nor down and she knew they should reach the mountains soon...and they were much higher than their heavily loaded aircraft. Flying this low was due to the massive load they had been talked into by their bosses and now they were paying for it. Their weight and the storm had forced them downward to an extremely dangerous altitude. The more rain they encountered, the more altitude they lost as the engines lost thrust.
Bill was figuring as fast as he could and finally shoved the pen into a small space next to his console to keep it from flying across the cockpit.
“ Nope, no idea either. The wind was coming out of the northeast and as far as I know we could be...”
Marcy screamed, “JESUS CHRIST!” as Jim jerked back on the aircraft’s yolk, as she shoved the engine throttles to maximum and helped the Captain pull on the steering yolk to get the encumbered aircraft to climb.
Out the left window mere feet from the wing tip was a huge, snow covered, cliff face. What was worse... to the right another cliff roared past, a scant twenty yards away. They could neither veer right nor left and before them as the clouds parted slightly, loomed a high cliff less than a mile ahead. The aircraft’s engines screamed as it slowly climbed and narrowly missed the mountain by what must have been mere yards.
Finally the heavy 777, leveled back out. Marcy shot a nervous glance over to the Captain. She was small in frame, but large in courage and Jim knew from the many years he knew her; she w
“What the fuck was that!” The color had drained from her pretty face and she looked ashen, even though her perfectly done makeup. “Those looked like the mountains near...”
Jim nodded as he began to climb the aircraft to a higher altitude.
“Yeah, they had to be... Man, I can’t believe we’ve been pushed that far off course. No radar, no compass, altimeter...” he slammed his fist on the control console between his seat and Marcy’s.
“Christ! Something start working!”
Bill had to shout as the clouds once again closed in on the lumbering aircraft.
“Thank God for all the manual backup systems. We’d been screwed without them.”
The 777 was thrown upward, and then rapidly dropped. Within a second of getting back to climbing there was a huge crash and blinding flash. Alarms began to wail and speakers blared...
“FIRE ON ENGINE NUMBER TWO! ... FIRE ON ENGINE NUM...” Marcy killed the alarms as she looked out her window to verify it was on fire. She quickly fired off the extinguisher and re-checked.
“Fires out and two is gone.” she frowned as she finished shutting two down.
“Looks like we’re going to have to head back to base, we can’t fly over the Andes in this weather with one engine out.” She pulled a map from her briefcase, and then tossed it back into her bag with a frustrated look.
“Yeah right... Hell, we don’t know where we are and with no compass in this weather... even if we manage to turn around. Then there is the... SHIT!”
Jim veered left as a snow covered mountain peak zipped by Marcy’s window and just under the right wing tip. “Help me pull up... We’re still to... Aw, fuck me...” All eyes moved to the front windows to see what Jim was looking at.
The clouds had parted just enough and in a flash of lightning, a few miles ahead, loomed two tall mountains, thousands of feet higher than they could climb with one engine out. Marcy shoved the other three throttles to max once again and helped her Captain pull on the yolk. As they tore through a cloud, there was suddenly a ray of hope. There between the high peaks and to the left slightly, was what appeared to be a gap in the mountains several hundred feet higher than they were, but large enough for them to fly between.
“All this lightning, Jim did you see that gap?” she shouted.
“Oh this is gonna be close!” Jim muttered as he banked the plane slightly left as it desperately tried to climb. The wall of the valley loomed closer and closer as the pilots strained at the yolk. Creeping higher by the second the plane looked like it might actually make it...
There was a horrendous shutter and a deafening tearing sound as the lip of the valley below passed under the aircraft. The 777 violently leveled out as if God himself had swatted the plane down. Fighting the yolk the pilots tried valiantly to gain altitude, but that was put to an end as a large outcropping appeared on Marcy’s side of the aircraft.
There was a massive explosion as the right wing was ripped off talking both engines with it. They left a growing fireball behind as the 777 hit the ground and began to skid uncontrollably along what appeared to be a very shallow, rocky creek. The huge jumbo jet bounced several times, and then lost the tip of the left wing... then thanks to another outcropping, the rest of the right wing.
“That almost took the wing off next to the fuselage... Christ! We’re coming apart!” Marcy shouted over the sounds of the crashing aircraft.
Finally the huge jet slid to an abrupt stop slightly tipped toward the right and with what was left of its left wing slightly pointing upward. Jim slowly looked around and in the driving storm saw there was another outcropping holding the left wing at the slight angle.
There was a soft moan and the two pilots looked back at Bill. His console had been pushed toward him and rain trickled in from a split seem as sparks jumped from the panel overhead.
“Pull the breakers!” Jim shouted as he began to kill the power. “Bill you ok?”
“Yeah... Christ what the hell did we hit?”
“One very big fucking mountain...” Marcy nervously chuckled. “Check our passengers and make sure we don’t have any fires. I looked outside and didn’t see any on my side, looks like the storm put out the right...”
Marcy looked out the right window... “Oh yeah, I forgot, we no longer have a right wing.”
“Mine’s still there and pointing at the sky. We’re at about a fifteen-degree angle... No fire on this side...uhh... Both engines are still there and the wing broke off short of the fuselage.” Jim looked out the front window.
“Holy shit look at this...”
In the flashing of the lightning there just visible below the front windows were several long lengths of steel pipes sticking through the nose of the cargo bay and nearly twenty feet beyond the nose on his side of the aircraft. Jim leaned back so Marcy could look out. She stepped back and Bill leaned over and looked out the window.
“Glad no one sits down there... Wow!” he shook his head, “Glad you stopped me from going down and checking the tie-downs Jim. I hate to see what it’s like down there in the cargo bay.” Bill stood upright and headed out to check the passengers and to check for fire. The emergency lighting had been switched on and Bill vanished through the door.
“Man I hope we don’t have to go out there... The storm, this high up in the Andes... we’d freeze or die of hypothermia.” Marcy muttered just loud enough for Jim to hear.
“Not to mention we’d probably become separated in the dark...” she glanced at her watch, “...about four hours to daybreak.”
“Let’s hope this storm lets up by then Marcy...” Jim looked over to his co-pilot. “You did well.”
Marcy smiled that sweet smiled Jim so liked, “You too Captain... Jim ...you did too.”
“Well seems like patting yourselves on the back at the moment is a bit egotistical.” Both pilots turned to see the plane’s loadmaster and backup flight engineer, Sam, standing there with a huge smiled on his face.
“But then again, everyone’s ok and the plane’s fuselage is mostly intact. Few leaks, no fires, everyone is moving about. Damn Jim, if this aircraft was any smaller, we would have been toast. Looks like we escaped the biggie... all nineteen crew and passengers all accounted for... sir.” Sam grinned and gave a sloppy little salute...
“Hell of a landing guys...thanks.” and out the door he vanished.
A strange howl pierced the raging storm outside. Marcy jumped and looked over at Jim who didn’t appear to hear a thing.
“What the hell was that?” she asked nervously.
“Huh?” Jim asked as he stood and walked to the center of the cockpit.
“I heard... aww, it was just the wind.” She smiled.
Suddenly the entire aircraft shuddered. There was a short pause, and then another shudder and a ripping sound...then nothing. Marcy slowly turned from the storm-obscured window and looked at Jim who was frozen in his seat.
“...that wasn’t the wind.”
Bill burst through the door and stared at the two.
“Then what the hell was it?”
The three stood still and listened...nothing! Jim turned from the window on his side of the aircraft where they had ran to.
“I don’t see anything... might have been a falling tree or boulder... have everyone stay in their seats and be quiet. We’d get separated in the night if we run outside and at least we have some protection in here. Have them sit in the aisle seats... just in case another rock hits us and punctures the fuselage.”
Bill nodded and as he went back through the door, snorted, “Yeah, rock...sure it was a rock. A rock that sounds like a Mac truck.”
Jim reached up and took the mike. “I’m switching the emergency power off people. We’ll have the lightning flashes to see now and then. We need to save the batteries, we might need them later.” He killed the power and the entire plane went dark as Jim joined Marcy who was now sitting on the cockpit floor.
“To conserve power? Real
“To save power Marcy. Remember we have no idea where the hell we are, nor how long we’ll be here.” He laid back against the wall of the breaker panel and put his hands behind his head as Marcy joined him. He rolled his head over so he could see her in the flashes and smiled softly.
“You can smile dammit, you didn’t hear it.” She reprimanded him.
Jim nodded slowly, and then added, “But you said you did and that’s enough for me...” he grinned. “Well and then there’s that unexplained shudder.”
Bill walked in and sat next to the pilots and as he flicked off the flashlight he asked.
“Anyone going to use the cot? I didn’t get much sleep last night.”
Marcy rolled her head around to see Bill and nodded.
“Be my guest. I’m sure as hell not sleeping next to the outer wall.”
Bill stretched out on the floor and laid on his side. He laid his head on his arm and closed his eyes. “Think I’ll just stay right here...‘night all, see ya at dawn.”
Sam stuck his head through the door and grinned. “I’m sleeping on the floor...‘night!” and he vanished.
Marcy smiled and stretched out. “Perhaps a few winks would be a good idea. I have a hunch tomorrow is going to be a very long day.”
“Good-night you two.” Jim said as he slid down into a flat position. There were a few more flashes of lightning and Jim looked over to his two colleagues...their eyes were wide open.
“Yeah we’re really going to sleep.” He softly snickered.
There was another roll of thunder, flashes of lightning, and then several deep sighs. No doubt the day was going to be a long one...but somehow it seemed these next few hours to dawn were going to be even longer.
There was flash of lightning and another rumble...and what sounded like a muffled roar.
This time Jim heard!
No one slept in those brief hours before the dawn. The storm had ebbed during the seemingly long night and as it became lighter the crew began to move about. Checking first inside damage and then they prepared to go outside once the dense fog lifted.