Episode 3.2, Thursday April 7, 2016

The Extraordinary Exploits of Mr. T. C. Mapweather IV, or (The Delusional Daydreams of a bored Security Guard)

I usually the work the first half of the week, but since I’d missed so much time this week I had to go in today, against Doctor’s wishes.

I’m not supposed to, but I still need to get by financially. I don’t have much choice.

It’s going to be difficult with my jaw wired shut. I must look like a worn out crash test dummy. I certainly feel like one. At least working the night shift I won’t have to talk to or interact with a lot of  people. If I’m unlucky I’ll have to interact with two of the people working tonight.

There are still people working. The completions hangar has three or four technicians and a manager. There are a few people in the blade shop, and the bulk assembly building. There are also three flights scheduled, as well as four hours of instruction in the simulators. None of these people should need to interact with the guardhouse unless there is some kind of delivery.

I wrote a note to the night supervisor indicating that it would be best if I spent the night in the guardhouse. The shipping dock was closed so I shouldn’t have much to do. He agreed. I think he just didn’t want to look at me anymore.

The first three hours were quiet with only three vehicles coming through. A little after nine though the nightmare began. I never saw it coming.

One second the road outside the guardhouse was empty and the next the Scout was sitting there with what seemed like a thousand high intensity LEDs directed directly into my face. At the same moment I heard the beat of helicopter rotors and felt the buffeting of the little building.

The Scout was painted a flat black and until the lights came on it looked like little more than a hole in the night. Some high tech paint had been used to make it as invisible as possible. But when the LEDs came on they were meant to overwhelm the eye or the camera. Looking into those lights on observer could really tell much about the Scout.

It was a fifty year old work truck that had been rebuilt into an all terrain vehicle that would make Navy Seals shiver with excitement.

I threw my forearm over my eyes to shield them just as the guardhouse door crashed into the back wall. TC rushed through the door and wrapped a black canvas wrap around me all in one quick movement. Velcro sealed it tightly from chin to ankle. He slapped a Velcro strap to the wrap and bodily spun me around at least five times wrapping up me even tighter.

He picked me up tucking me under one arm and rushed out the door. I weigh in at two fifty and he handled me like an overweight football. He grabbed a cable dangling from the helicopter above us and he snapped it to the wrappings at my waist.

The helicopter rose and flew north, reeling me up and into the cargo compartment as it went. I looked forward and couldn’t see a pilot or anyone else aboard. Just as I began to wonder where this pilot less helicopter was taking me it swung around the rotor going vertical in the maneuver.

I didn’t see how it happened but suddenly I could move again. My arms were free and the wrapping was laying on the decking. I move toward the cockpit but the opening was way too small for my old fat body to squeeze through.

A screen on the control panel lit up and I could see a targeting reticule locked on two men in visitors parking. They were working to open a door on a gray SUV. At the edge of the screen I could see an infrared image of the Scout racing through employee parking toward the men.

Over the roar of the engine I heard a whirring sound and saw mini guns and rocket pods fold out of the decking and extend out the side doors.

Streaks of fire erupted from the Scout and the helicopter, and slugs tore up the parking lot around the two men. Rockets rippled out of the pods and the fence fell before the Scout. It went over the curb and through the landscaping without showing any sign of difficulty jumping the curb.

The men were face down on the ground, hands covering the back of their heads. The helicopter swooped low turning hard again. The light pole flashed in front of the cockpit and the rotor was vertical again. I looked straight down through the open door and saw the tips of the rotors as they danced over the asphalt.

I wondered for a moment, why I wasn’t falling but almost before the fear could form the aircraft righted itself.

Flying over the Scout I see something odd, there aren’t any lights on the old truck but I can see a sticker across the windshield. It reads “JEEP RESCUE VEHICLE”. Then TC is vaulting out of the driver’s seat and somersaulting over the hood to land on the ground in front of the men.

That’s when I hear the radio, “Rover to Control.”

The image I’m seeing resolves from the darkness around me to a view of a security camera on the monitor in the guard shack. Mr Lewis is standing by the security cart talking to two men.

“Go ahead Rover.” Comes the disembodied voice from SCC.

“I’ve got two men trying to get their car open. They locked the keys in it when they got out to check on a flat tire.”

“Copy, do they need assistance?”

“No. They’ve already called AAA.”

“What’s their business on our property?”

“None, the pulled into our lot when they noticed the tire was flat.”

“Ten-four.”

The door to the guardhouse opens and a man steps in and says. “I see you’re back at work.”

“Y... y... y... yes.” I stammer talking around my front teeth, moving only my lips. He had to duck to keep from hitting his head.

I feel cold sweat trickling down my ribs before he speaks again, “I think you should begin to work with me. You already know more about me than you should.”

I nod my head too scared now, to actually speak or refuse.

“I can pay you a decent salary, but you will have to pretend you’re still a security guard.”

“I... I... g... g... guess.” I still can’t talk, I feel that I accomplished a mighty feat just to stammer.

“I installed a switch under the counter there. Press it once to signal me if there is anything that needs my attention. Hold it down for five seconds and you will drop into the Scout for a quick response.”

I nod again.

“I’ve made a deposit in your account for your trouble and pain. I think it’s enough for you to go home until you’re better.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow.”

If my jaw wasn’t wired shut I couldn’t explain how I felt in a thousand years. Hysterically screaming and running for my life might just be my best option right this moment.

All I could actually do is nod my head again.

Episode 3, Sunday April 3, 2016

The Extraordinary Exploits of Mr. T. C. Mapweather IV, (The Delusional Daydreams of a Bored Security Guard)

It’s a cold and clear spring morning with temps in the mid forties. I’m first up for patrol. The key to the cart is in the Security Command Center, and roves start from the guardhouse.

I’m too sleepy to be driving it anyway. Groggy security guards have a tendency to try and run over things when they fall asleep at the wheel. So the first rove will be on foot.

The real and most important reason for this executive decision is the night shift didn’t bring the cart key to the guardhouse. So I’ve got a choice, walk to the SCC and get the key, and then walk back to get the cart. No I’ll just do the rove on foot.

Such are the weighty decisions of the security guard.

Mr. Lewis was still there shutting down the guardhouse for the rest of shift as I left. I still can't understand why we open it for sh

With a big yawn I start off, stumbling off the curb heading east toward the NE gate. I yawn several more times and drag my feet snagging a toe on the crack in the pavement of the North parking lot.

The umpteenth time I yawn I stumble and fall into the gaping maw of the vehicle ramp. I could have sworn that seconds before there had been no tunnel entrance cut into the parking lot.

I see a hundred high intensity LEDs bloom into white radiance as I fall. Tumbling forward I roll onto my back just as I impact the bed and roll over bars of the jet black Scout. The LEDs were on a bar mounted across the top of the windshield.

The back of my knees caught the roll over bar breaking my fall just enough to slam the back of my head into the bed of the old truck.

My knees feel like they’re being dislocated by the sudden acceleration of my body to catch up to the speed of the truck.

Hanging by the back of my knees and head bouncing in the short bed of the four wheel drive truck, I’m dimly aware of a string of foul mouthed and angry expletives being directed my way. Suddenly my feet are thrown up and I tumble backwards.

Scrabbling to find a hand hold my gut comes down hard on the short tail gate leaving the lower half of my body dangling behind the Scout. The back of my head is thankfully no longer bouncing but my chin is.

My left hand finally finds the rear diagonal brace for the roll bars and I painfully pull myself back into the truck. TC is still cursing a fiery streak as we top fifty miles an hour at the NE gate. It’s a manual gate, meaning I usually have to unlock and open it by hand whenever traffic needs through it.

I cringe as we approach it, anticipating the impact. The tall vehicle turns a sharp right around the hangar and Rescue 2. The giant fire truck dwarfs the Scout as it scrapes along it’s side.

Sparks fly and metal shrieks as the eight foot tall Scout tears the side of the ten foot tall truck.

I can’t believe my eyes as I see the gate rise up out of the ground behind us and the once immaculate fire truck is turned into just another junk yard heap.

I reach forward to pull myself toward the front passenger seat and am knocked back to the rear of the Scout. A second unbelievable sight appears as twin mini guns fold up and out on either side of the bed. They hadn’t been there moments before and I get a flashback to the last Transformers movie I saw.

The Scout rounds the front of the hangar and I see a pack of four or five stray dogs running across the flight line and the mini guns begin to rip the fabric of space time.

The sound is unbelievable the red hot brass raining on my face and hands is much more believable. The firing only lasted for three seconds and I have dozens of burns on my face and my hands. One casing is fused to my fingers and the pain is paralysing.

Glancing up again I see a trough cut across the constantly cared for grass between the landing pads. There isn’t any sign of the dogs.

The Scout bounces across the drainage ditch and I fly out of the back of the truck as it bounces on it’s suspension. I land on the asphalt of the flight line behind the old truck.

Dazed and confused with pain I find two technicians running toward me from the hangar. They’re laughing so hard they could have made better time crawling.

I start to lift my old, fat, frame from the ground and get a chance to look at my hands, Scrapes across the knuckles of my left hand are bleeding and a shallow cut with a small pebble imbedded under the skin of my right palm explain why my hands hurt.

“Are you hurt?” I hear but the man’s still thirty yards away.

I try to reply but my jaw doesn’t want to work. I reach up and touch my chin and flame erupts in my jaw. My hand comes away bloody.

My left knee feels cool and if find my khakis ripped across the knee and blood staining both knees.

Finally one of the techs arrive and he shouts back to the other man. “Call 1911. He’s going to need some stitches.” Turning back to me he says, “Your jaw looks like it might be broken.

“That was the most amazing face plant I’ve ever seen. What the hell did you trip over?”

Then I hear the radio. “Control to 220. 10-17 completions hangar. Someone’s been injured.”

I can’t reply, I can’t even get the radio off my belt.

“Is he calling you?” The tech ask.

I nod my head causing more agony to blossom in my face.

He sees my obvious injuries and makes a mighty effort, but still coughs out little peals of laughter every few seconds anyway.

Taking the radio off my belt he pushes the button and says. “Your security guard is the injured person. He can’t talk. It looks like he's got a broken jaw. Are the firefighters on their way.”

I hear Mr. Lewis trying to cover up his laughter now. “The firefighters don’t work on weekends. I’ve called Grand Prairie 911. I’m en route to open the North Central Gate for them. Can you stay with the victim? I’ll have to be in the guardhouse to let them in and out.” The only switch to operate the automatic gate is in guardhouse.

“Yeah we’ll stay with him.”

“I’ll need one of you to go out to the gate to direct the ambulance to your location.

The discussion goes on for a few minutes. I look out over the flight line and the landscaping is pristine. I try to look over my shoulder but the pain forces me to physically turn around. Aches and pains are appearing with every move I make.

When I get turned around Rescue 2 is as immaculate as ever. Clean and spotless, the red, black, and white paint job is spotless.

Waiting for the ambulance I couldn’t imagine how I forgot the last two or three hundreds yards I’d walked to get where I stood. Not to mention how I badged through a turnstile by the NE gate.

I desperately wanted to shake my head but that hurt too much.

 

 

Episode 2, Wednesday March 3, 2016

 

The Extraordinary Exploits of Mr. T. C. Mapweather IV, (The Delusional Daydreams of a bored Security Guard)

Four seconds after I posted this picture of this morning’s glorious sunrise, event’s began to occur that would alter how I would remember this day for the rest of my life.

In the bunker below the completions hangar a bank of computers constantly scanning social media detected the photo. Geographic analysis confirmed that it was taken from AirBus property and the computer signaled the alarms.

Mr. T. C. Mapweather IV threw back his covers on his cot and headed toward the alcove. He emerged seconds later heading toward his helicopter at a run. He was tall, six foot nine. His lean athletic frame shamed fat right out of his body. He had neat black hair with a cowlick at the front of the part. When he smiled his white teeth shone like a beacon. And everyone who saw him thought he was Tom Cruise, even though he was more than a foot taller than the actor.

His large lean and trim athletic frame dwarfed he guns draped on his body, making them look more like toys than weapons. This time he carried the black helmet and stopped to climb into the cockpit of the helicopter. He was still groggy from sleep.

Stepping onto the boarding platform he pulled the helmet on while the platform rose. As it leveled off beside the door he stepped in and the starting sequence began. The powerful engines spooled up, and the pad above retracted.

As much as he loved hands on flying this time he allowed the automated systems to control the assent. From the moment it cleared ground level to when it took up a hover over the guardhouse the flight had taken only fourteen seconds.

Tapping icons on the control panel, a grapple snagged the chain link fence at the entrance to the guardhouse and ripped it from the ground. The helicopter flew a lazy circle and dropped the fence onto the shed in front of the dock. Twenty or so sets of rotor blades in the shed were damaged by the falling debris.

When the chopper circled back over the guardhouse TC was ejected in an automatic rappelling  harness that allowed him to worry about the enemy instead of getting to the ground. Landing at the door he kicked it in and stepped in.

I dumbly said, “Mr. Cruise, I thought you left.”

“I’m not Tom Cruise!” The visor of his helmet had pulled back over his head so I could see his face. The famous smile wasn’t there. The actor had flashed that smile every time I’d seen him over the last two weeks. “He just looks like me!”

“You are a lot taller than he was. Can I help you sir?”

“You’re coming with me!”

He leveled a P90 at me, so I said. “Yes sir, but I’m not supposed to leave my post.”

“Where did you get that photo?” I could hear a helicopter circling above the guardhouse and the downdraft was buffeting the little building.

“What photo?”

“The one you just posted on Facebook.”

“I took it. I was sitting right here.” In just a few minutes the rose red of the clouds had changed to a golden orange.

“But my top secret helicopter is in it.”

“Sir?”

“The UFO looking light at the top of the clouds.”

“Isn’t that a reflection from the ceiling lights?”

“We’ll see.” His visor slid forward and into place while he reached for me. He pulled something over my head and I was dragged out of the guardhouse and was swinging in the air before I knew it.

A minute later I was on my feet again in a concrete room. I could stand but my arms were pulled tight to my sides by the harness the tall man had thrown over me.

“What’s your name?”

“You’re here to answer my questions.”

I’d seen the whole flight dangling from the odd helicopter. It was still hovering above us and the actor look alike shoved me into a tunnel looking corridor.

The helicopter settled to a landing where we’d been standing moments before. The door to the helicopter was open and there wasn’t anyone at the controls. “I’m no expert on helicopters, but don’t they need pilots?”

“Shut up.”

He started shoving me down the tunnel, I’d seen where we went and knew the direction he was pushing me would end up under the completions hangar. The tunnel was dark, it had a clean floor.

    

 

 

Episode 1, Sunday February 28, 2016

The Extraordinary Exploits of Mr. T. C. Mapweather IV, (The Delusional Daydreams of a bored Security Guard)

    I’d been at work for two minutes when I realized that I’d forgotten my access badge. A little embarrassing because I work security. This isn't a high security site, our guard dog is a Yorkie. If we ever let her lose your shoe strings are in severe trouble.

Lead Officer Lewis the arrived in the command center sixteen minutes after the hour. Twelve minutes later he noticed the log where I had checked out a temporary access badge. Officer Lewis moved his right knee to the side depressing the scramble alert button.

TC was working deep in his bunker office. He was the only one cleared to view the data he compiled so he always worked alone. When the alarm sounded, the hundred decibel whoops echoed through concrete structure. Red and yellow strobes flashed. TC dove into the secret alcove to don his flight suit, and weapon up.

Moments later he emerged wearing his black flight suit. He had four Heckler and Koch .45 caliber handguns in holsters, two on either side of his belt, and two under each arm. A compact P90 automatic urban combat assault weapon strapped to his back and one slung across his chest.

TC sprinted down the long dark tunnel toward his experimental stealth helicopter. His black VR helmet covered his face completely. He could see where he was going because the camera mount on the top of the helmet projected his surroundings on the screen where the visor should be.

Built on the frame of the frame of the remarkable UH 72 Lakota, built by AirBus, it didn’t resemble the general purpose helicopter at all. This one had an older front cockpit with a rounded bubble canopy. Behind that the fuselage became all flat panels and angles.

The security bunker beneath the completions hangar was almost a hundred yards from the 7B pad. TC entered the underground hangar below at a dead run just as the tunnel opened he leapt and somersaulted into the pilot's seat rotating in the air to enter feet first.

As his ass contacted the seat many different processes began to happen. The automated preflight checklist verified the flight worthiness of the aircraft and the twin Turbomeca Arriel Enhanced 1E2 turboshaft engines begin to spin up. A hundred feet above the aircraft holo-projectors rise out of the ground and project a static image of the airfield and flightline. Behind the screen of holograms pad 7B drops ten feet before splitting and pulling aside into the sides of the shaft.

The broad scimitar rotor blades start to spin. It only takes five seconds for the rotor to reach full speed and the craft begins to lift into the shaft toward the open sky above. By the time it’s risen five feet the skids retract into the belly of the craft. The chopper is completely covered in a flat black soft paint that absorbs radar waves. It will be at an altitude of fifteen hundred feet before it clears the hologram projections.

It tilts forward and soars in a graceful arc toward the west side of the plant. I’m spotted immediately in my high visibility winter coat. Weapons pods extend out of the sides of the helicopter and two hellfire missile launchers deploy rippling off thirty eight missiles in my direction.

I begin to run, in my slow stumbling ineffective gait of an old fat man. Cars parked on either side of me begin to explode and before I can register what’s really going on I hear the helicopter pursuing me. Realizing the futility of my running from this war machine I turn and stare at it.

The black aircraft is unlike any helicopter I’ve ever dreamt of. It’s swooping low as I watch I see the landing skids fold down and the right on extents forward like a javelin. The helicopter suddenly pulls up slowing and  floating on a cushion of air in what’s known as an autorotation.

Then almost without transition if moves toward me again. Transfixed and in shock at the destruction around me I can only stand and watch it approach. It’s far too late when I realize that the extended skid is aiming right for me. It hit’s me low on the right side of my chest and the sharp point impales me. The rod scrapes along the side of my rib cage and exits my back lifting me off the parking lot.

I’m in agony dangling from the skid of a helicopter by the skin, muscle, and fat of my side. I’m lifted over the buildings and the pain is too horrific for me to seek the escape of unconsciousness. A new pain begins to make itself known as the tissues of my side begin to rip and I fall away from the skid toward the flight line below.

The shrill tone of the phone rings and I’m torn from my day dream. I answer with my mantra, “Airbus Security. This is Scott. May I help you?”

“Did you forget your access badge again?” Officer Lewis demands in my ear. I can barely focus on his question, I’m feeling my ribs, and looking out the back windows of the guardhouse. I don’t see the remains of cars violently disassembled and randomly scattered across the parking lot. There aren’t any oxidation byproducts darkening the sky from dozens of burning cars. I turn and look over the buildings in the direction of the flight line and I don’t see an odd looking helicopter. Even though I can remember the terrible ripping sensation, there is no pain now.

“Are you there?” Officer Lewis’ voice demands in my ear. “What are you doing? You’ve been standing there staring out the windows for two minutes now.”

“Yes. Yes sir. I forgot my badge again.”

“Okay.” He’s confused by my stammered answer. But he continues without anymore distraction. “Do you need me to give you security access on that temporary badge?”

“Oh, no sir. I was able to do it. Thank you sir.”

“Okay. There’s a truck waiting at gate five, open it.”

“Yes sir.