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The Damysus Rides Again -- Staff for entertainment [LF2021]

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posted on Sep, 24 2021 @ 09:16 PM
“If you look out your port screen” Press said, “ --- that’s the one to your left – you’ll see what was once a vibrant downtown Chicago. Music was thriving here years ago. Lord, I remember myself when I was a boy, I wanted so much to get to Chi-cago. It was pure then, and alive and people made music and there was money and liberty and life. Yes, it was a grand time.”

Press nudged the hover into a lower oval orbit and said, “this is what was once called The Loop. Those broken down towers and buildings once were full of people, who were full of wonder and hope. Too bad. It’s just too bad. It will be donkey years before people can set foot on those streets without protective equipment.”
“I’m hungry” cried a voice from the back of the bus, “they said we’d be fed on this tour.”
“Yes’m, that’s true,” Press said, and we’ll be settin’ down the Damysus in Thermopolis, in the Free State of Wyoming, in just one hour and change. Now y’all set back and enjoy the scenery, and I’ll point out various historic features as we pass by.”

The hover was cruising at an easy 1000 KPH, only slowing down when various features required an ellipse around them.

“Now ofta your right screen – that’s the starboard side for you nautical types – you can see the city of Tombstone Falls, which in the olden days used to be called Sioux Falls. That muddy creek is the Missiouri, and while it doesn’t look so great, it is still to this day full of fish and other life. I wouldn’t want to eat them fish, though, would you?” Press guffawed. “NOssir. You could when I was a boy, but not no more. Not on any a’ the rivers, except maybe a few up in the northwest, like the Salmon or Lemhi or a few others. Up where the Wild Peoples live. Doan worry though, we ain’t gonna set down anywhere near them, NOSSir. They ain’t safe. Not for us.”

“Now I’m going to turn off the running lights, so you all can see the wonder of the Rapid City glow. Can you see it? It extends outward for 550 kilometers in every direction. They said it took the brunt of more than 37 50,000 kt bombs, why there weren’t nothing left, as you can see, but the glow to mark where it happened. Nothin’ grows down there, I can tell you. At least, nothin’ good."

As the great craft settled slowly down over the Thermopolis airfield, Press said, “this town was once a little spot named after a historic battle in Greece a hella long time ago, but now it’s a major, major hub between points in the nation, and one atha’ few places out west what ain’t too radioactive to hava good time. So, we’re gonna set down here for a few hours an’ let you all look around. If you want to stay for a day or two, well, that’s okay, but be sure to check in with the Big Cheese in the travel hut, okay? Make sure before you leave, you test your TravelAlls, because we’ll sound a rally when we’re 60 minutes from takeoff. ”

Press locked the Damysus into the berth and powered it down. When it settled in with a soft clunk, he opened the eight doors which led to departure ramps, and watched the people flow down the ramps into the hospitality courts. He pressed his temples and poured a few precious milliliters of coffeejo from the triturium vessel into a cup, and sipped it slowly, gazing at the vivid purple, orange and pink sunset. How many more? How many more tours could he ride? He was 107 years old, and even with the reJuv packets he was given every week, how long could he do it? Long as I can. Long as I can and a day. Because I can. Damn right. He took out his old guitar and began strumming a few chords, working on a song he’d been playing with for a long time.
Lord, sometimes it seems I’ll never finish, but for Your glory to keep me moving forward.

“I feel the love, as it touches my soul,” he sang,
“down in the deep, dark parts of Old Mexico.
I wish you were still, right here by my side,
and you’d be alive, not washed in the cold.
Down deep in the heart,
where we once thrived,
awash in the rivers of Old Mexico.”

Press wiped a tear and sighed. It was a long time ago. So long ago. He had been dead for so long, along with everyone he ever loved. Press settled in to nap until the all-board siren sounded.

Twenty-two passengers elected to leave and go on excursions branching out from Thermopolis, leaving 38 still aboard, and a crew of six. Everyone was accounted for according to the flight manifests. The hover shuddered as it always did as it broke free from the magnetic chocks and slowly lifted to cruising altitude.

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for choosing Hedy West Cruises for you historic vacation. Now, we’re a-gonna slow it down some and enjoy the last remaining unspoiled natural mountains left in the Canamerican West. Now on both sides, you can see the majestic Teton National Forest, and we’ll be turning sharp to what used to be due north to pass over Yellowstone. Look at all the discolored land and steam vents. Up ahead is the Yellowstone Caldera Crater Array, which will take us seven minutes to cross at this speed. They say it will take dozens of years for the air to clear, but I don’t know if they know what they are talking about, do you? NOSSIR.”

“Now, y’all move slowly to the right,” Press said,” – we don’t want to rock the ship do we? – and you see them little brown dots in the forest? That’s the commune town of Weda’, which is a Shoshoni word for bear. Probably none of you has ever seen a bear, but let me tell you, they was fierce and powerful creatures. This forest is a mix of three forests, the Salmon-Challis, The Payette and the Nez Perce-Clearwater. This is the single largest range of unspoiled mountains in the en-tire Canamerican west. Ain’t it something? See alla the rivers and lakes? ”

All of a sudden, simultaneous with a sharp pop, a flashing light and warning beep, the mighty ship nosed upward sharply, then canted hard to port. The electric engine droned with a modulating buzz and the great ship sheared off to the left and downward. Press struggled with the controls, oblivious to the screams of the passengers. He countersteered and brought the ship level, but she was losing altitude rapidly. Up ahead and down below, he saw a flat, sandy place alongside a river and wrangled the vibrating ship parallel with the winding river.
“Ahhh, ladies and gentlemen, we’re having some trouble with the stick, so we’re going to set down by this river for a little lunch. You make sure both buckles are secured and we’ll all be fine.”

Press fought the stick, slowed the airspeed and set the foils wide and soft. He counterflowed the tri-jets as he approached the sandy beach, and set the side jets to full for stability. Three short bumps saw the great ship slightly askew but settled into the pink sand. A quick scan indicated elevated readings, but nothing life threatening, at least as long as they could get out of here in a few days.

edit on 24/9/21 by argentus because: spellin'

posted on Sep, 24 2021 @ 09:28 PM
“Ahhhhh, we’re gonna set here for a bit, have a little country brunch and see how things are. You all help yourself to the beverages, and we’ll get this rudder fixed and us back on the trail. Sound good?” Press said.

The crowd filed slowly down the ramps, led by the cabin crew with their folding chairs and giant umbrellas. Press tried to reach a relay station – anywhere – but got no response. Their onboard mechanic, Benja, was already running a systems check.
“Well, ah, what’s it look like honey?” Press said with his characteristic dimples.
“Press, you know you’re not supposed to call me that. It’s determinist.”
“Aw, hell, I know, Benja, but you have to remember, I’m old enough to be your great grandpa. I doan mean nothing by it.”
“We have a sheared main cable and torn rudder array,” Benja said, pointing to the onscreen schematic, “The cable was probably degrading over time, and missed by maintenance. You know the cutbacks have been hard on all the crews, with the union wars and all.” She arched her eyebrows, giving Press a chance to speak, but he just nodded. “When the cable broke, the aft rudder array turned into the wind and half of it sheared off. We’re dead in the sand, Press. We can’t call anyone, and we can’t fix it.”
“We can send an emergency drone, can’t we?” Press said.
“Yes, we can,” Benja said, “but it might not have the power to reach a relay station. More than half of them in the west are broken down.”

As the afternoon wore on, Press wandered in the edge of the forest, gathering wood and piling it on the beach near the Damysus.
“What’s that for?” Benja asked, pointing at the wood.
“Well, we’re going to make a fire, Honey.” Press said with a grin.

The passengers stood and watched, fearful looks on their faces, as the sun grew closer to the shadows. Press made a small shavings tree with his pocketknife, and used it with flint on his lock-ring to light a small fire. He blew gently into the embers and fed the fire until it was a modest, but warm and bright center for the people.
“Now, folks,” Press said, gesturing wide with his hands, “we’re in a bit of a pickle here, but we’re gonna get you out of this. We’ve sent out an emergency beacon drone, and we have plenty of provisions. We can sleep in the hover until help comes.”

Benja, Thyra and Dillar set to heating dinner in the thermo, while Cirin and Dan gathered wood.
The next morning, while the passengers drank breakfast, Benja and Press looked at the damaged rudder array and aileron elevator.

“We can still hover, but not move forward or backward with any control.” Benja said, “It’s not fixable out here.”
“Well, Benja, did you ever study basic aviation in school? I’m not so sure we are exactly helpless. Lookit here,” he said motioning at the damaged six curves of the rudder array. It looked as if a voracious dragon had chomped the upper third of the gracefully curved and linked rudder members. “Maybe we could fabricate a feathered tip to these pieces, possibly change the angle of attack, maybe make the flight path different but steerable. What do you think?” Press said.
“Are you insane?” Benja screamed, “We can’t hover more than 500 meters and without the full rudder array, we can’t get out of this valley, let alone back to civilization!!”
Press meandered away, mumbling to himself, a pad and ancient pencil in his hands.

Is that a PENCIL?? Benja couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Pencils belonged in museums, not in the pockets of elderly pilots!!! Why the hell had the company allowed this old buzzard to drive their flagship anyway???? Why had she agreed to be first mechanic??

The old bastard was making diagrams of some sort. Benja couldn’t believe it. He acted as if there were actually something they could do. The passengers were divided: About half were treating it as an adventure, boasting about how they would tell their family and friends about “crashing in nature”, and the other half were lamenting their situation, fretting that they were all going to die. Press moved among them, kneeling down with knees popping to talk to a group of people.

“I’ve been a pilot for longer that most of you have been alive,“ said Press with a grin, “Listen folks, we’re gonna get you out of this. Even if the surly one" – nodding at Benja – "and me have to take the hover to get help, we’re gonna get you out of this. You know, you can’t get permits to be in the real and true nature. Not like this. You couldn’t pay enough for the Canamerican Trust to allow you to camp in their largest territory. I’m serious. It hasn’t been done for decades. So, I’m just saying, we are all in a unique situation that millions of people would pay dearly to be in our shoes. Get the most out of it folks. That’s what I’ve always done. Ride life for all its got. You might get another life, but you’ll never get this one again, so make it count. That’s how I’ve stayed alive for so long,” he said, thinking yeah, that and the packets.

The passengers seemed to rally after that. The next morning, many of them were wanting to help with breakfast. Others were taking eyesnaps of the scenery, looking for creatures to be afraid of, and giggling at every snap of tree branch that startled them. They all drank their breakfast, and Press centered them around him.

“I’ve never given up. Never. Not ever in my life. I want to find some wood or something that is about 2 1/2 cm thick and 70 cm high and the same wide,” he said, “It has to be strong, something we can’t just break with our hands. I think we can get out of here. My crew thinks I’m mad. What I know is that we’ve been here three days and a rescue crew hasn’t yet come. So, it’s on us. We can do this. The alternative is to give up. You can if you want, but I never have. My mama raised me to always keep going, so that’s what I’m going to do. If you want to help, that’s good.“ He laid down a drawing he’d made with his pencil on paper with lines on it. He’d drawn a graceful compound curve.

“Keep your eye on the sun,” Press said to the group, “always know how to get back to the Damysus. Travel in groups.”

That evening, around the fire, the mood seemed different. People could have staying in the lighted cabin of the ship, but they didn’t. They were still subdued, but there was a shine in the eyes of the passengers that couldn’t completely be attributed to the flickering fire.

A day later, one of the passengers brought in a round of a large branch that had nearly cracked in two. “Can this be made into what you want?” he said. Press just nodded, already haven gathered to him wedge-shaped stones and a larger one to be used as a hammer. They labored for two days, first splitting the wood and then shaping it on river stones. “I would wish for Alder or other hardwoods, “ Press said, “but we’re not far enough west for that, so this will have to do. We have a drill and fastener kit aboard, so Benja and me are going to see what we can do.” The passengers banged their wrists together in appreciation.

posted on Sep, 24 2021 @ 09:37 PM
Three days later, they were running low on provisions. Plenty of water still, and primary nutrients, but very low on raw protein. A few passengers advocating making weapons and going hunting. Press was considered to be the leader and they all deferred to him.
“You can make spears and go hunting if you like. If you kill anything, I can clean it, and we can eat it. I think we will be doing a test-flight tomorrow morning early.

“It won’t work,” Benja said, her arms crossed, “It CAN’T work”. They were looking at the ugly cobbled together rudder array Press had fabricated and attached.

“Look at this, “ Press said, pointing at his drawing, “if we change the angle of attack and the angle of incidence, we can change the flight path. All we have to do is get a couple hundred feet above the tree line, and we’re home free! I think what we’ve made here, we can fly her almost like she was new! We can climb in increments and glide and turn and climb and dive! What else do you want?? Let’s go home!!”

Press wanted he and Benja to do a test run, but the passengers were adamant.
“Are you 100% certain you can land here again without damaging the hover?” Mz. Giamant said.
“No, Ma’am, I can’t say that. It’s all a gamble.” Press said.
“Fine,” she said, “Then it’s settled. We’re all going.”
Most of the passengers nodded. An interesting aside……. Two of the passengers, a Mk. Geoju Pornik and Mz. Fran Pecoin left together without notice to anyone, and haven’t been pinged or heard from since.
It was briefly discussed whether the ship could rise higher without all the passengers, but in the end I think we all knew everyone was all in. All in for the count. Do or die.

The Damysus rose slowly just after dawn, with an odd rush of little black birds rising alongside it, which then curved and flowed into dramatic patterns in the sky. The passengers banged their wrists together in delight. The hover nosed upward, and briefly lurched sickeningly to the starboard and everyone screamed, even Dan….. and then she leveled out and rose, good LORD oh how she ROSE and kept climbing and we all screamed with joy. “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,” Press said with exuberation, “WE ARE GOING HOME!”

The Damysus made an emergency landing at Burns International Airport in the Free State of Oregon. The ship made contact once they reached 1500 meters, and emergency services were called in from neighboring Providences to assist.

“You really did it, Press. You are one hell of a man, “ Benja said, socking him on the shoulder. “Couldna done it without you, kid,” Press said, returning the shoulder sock.

“You look familiar to me,” Mz Giamant said to Press. “You saved our lives. I will never forget you Press. What did you do before you were a pilot? “
"Well, Mz. Giamant,” Press said, “I was a git-tar player and I sang some.”
“What is your last name, if I may be so bold, “ Mz. Giamant said, “I want to make a report.
“It’s Lee, Ma’am, but you can call me Elvis, and thank you very muuuch,” he said, his eyes glistening, as he walked away from the light and into the spreading darkness, whistling a tune.


posted on Sep, 24 2021 @ 11:06 PM
a reply to: argentus

I love it; so many songs come to mind…

posted on Sep, 25 2021 @ 03:05 AM
Oh you clever... clever man. I see what you did there. Yep that was one duzzy of a story (and thanks for raising the Staff bar even higher).

"Thank You Very Much!"

(Johnny mumbles to himself)
Mumble.. mumble... mumble

posted on Sep, 25 2021 @ 06:36 AM
Wow! Loved it!

posted on Sep, 25 2021 @ 11:56 AM
The movie I was watching in my minds eye as I read your words was fantastic!

You Rock!!!!

a reply to: argentus

edit on 08-19-2021 by PiratesCut because: talk to text does not understand Swamp Yankee

edit on 08-19-2021 by PiratesCut because: keeping it simple

posted on Sep, 25 2021 @ 04:40 PM
Very nice. Welll at least he isnt at the heart break hotel, or sitting around in his blue suede shoes.

posted on Sep, 26 2021 @ 08:18 AM
Wow... quite the story there! A little intrigue, a little moralistic, a little perseverance, a little futuristic, a little survivalist... all rolled into a neat little ball and ribbon-tied with one heck of a twist at the end!



posted on Oct, 7 2021 @ 01:12 PM
a reply to: argentus

Excellent stuff. I really liked the pencil angle it made me think of the US space pen vs the Russian space pencil story regardless of whether it was true or not.

It also made me think of an old Arthur C Clarke story where a tourist craft gets stranded on the moon. If memory serves the peril there was maxed out CO2 scrubbers.

posted on Oct, 9 2021 @ 06:46 PM
a reply to: Onlyyouknow

Thanks much! I tried to create a song that the King might want to sing.

posted on Oct, 9 2021 @ 06:47 PM
a reply to: JohnnyAnonymous

Much appreciated Johnny!

Saaaaay, I think you might mumble just as much as I do.

I don't think it will get better with age.

posted on Oct, 9 2021 @ 06:48 PM
a reply to: AccessDenied

Thanks! I was typing like a madman there for a bit, trying to get it down.

posted on Oct, 9 2021 @ 06:49 PM
a reply to: PiratesCut

Thank you! That is the place where any writer wants to touch -- where the reader paints a movie for them to watch !!

posted on Oct, 9 2021 @ 06:50 PM
a reply to: yuppa

Appreciated! Ol' Press has seen a lot of dusty ol' hotels, and there was heartbreak aplenty, wasn't there? Pore ol' guy. Never had any time for hisself until he learned to fly. ;o)

posted on Oct, 9 2021 @ 06:52 PM
a reply to: TheRedneck

Thank ye Red! I know, right? PICK A LANE!
I enjoyed writing this more than any short story I've ever done. In many ways, the story wrote itself. I'm glad I could keep up.

posted on Oct, 9 2021 @ 06:58 PM
a reply to: merkins

Oh, merkins, you pay me too much honour. Since I was an open-eyed young boy, Arthur C. Clarke has been my hero. He never once let me down and always left me wanting more. I should remember that story, because I'm certain I've read it as I've read them all, but I don't remember it. At this very time, I am re-reading the compleat works of Arthur C. Clarke. He was the primary one that made me want to write. He was so good and his mind was so very far ahead of his time.

I liked the pencil also, thanks. ;o)

posted on Oct, 12 2021 @ 01:17 PM
a reply to: argentus

One official star - then some extras

ETA: there's a lot of you in this story

Here's to missing the west - now and in the future


edit on 10/12/2021 by Spiramirabilis because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 13 2021 @ 08:01 PM
a reply to: Spiramirabilis

there's a lot of you in this story
You are so right! Very astute of you, Simiangal ;o)

I was told to write about what you know, and I like what I know to lead me to the unknown.

That didn't make a lick of sense.

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