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Leg 19.1 Hamilton Island YBHM to <classified>

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I awoke to the sound of banging in my skull. Or was it the door? Yep, the door. I think. It seemed insistent anyhow. I forced my eyes open. A dim light suffused the room, breaking in around the heavy floor-to-ceiling curtains. Daylight. The clock on the night stand was just a glowing blur without my glasses. The banging continued.

'All right,' I muttered and slipped out of the bed. I made my way slowly to the door, cursing as I banged my shin on something, a chair, I think. I opened the door.

'Beej?' I said, blinking. It was dark in the corridor, which suited me. 'What the fu...' His raised fist narrowly missed the side of my head. 'Do you know what time it is?'

Behind me the bathroom door slammed. Damn! That was . . . who was that?

Beejay pushed past me into the room. 'That effing Russian!' he yelled, 'has only gone and stolen my effing plane!'

'You sure?' was all I could muster.

'Of course I'm sure! Why else would I still be here? And put some effing clothes on!'

I glanced down at my, er prowess, and grabbed the nearest thing that was vaguely clothing-shaped. It turned out to be a little black dress, the previous contents of which were probably fuming in the bathroom. Still, needs must... It took a few more moments to locate my own clothes, by which time Beejay seemed a little calmer. He thrust a cup of hot coffee at me, and I sipped while he explained how he'd returned to the airport to find the only plane on the ramp was my King Air.

By now I realised I had slept the morning away, and my hopes of reaching the  New Caledonia before nightfall were slipping away.

'I can give you a ride,' I said. But look, it's The Baton, and we never go back. You'll  have to find something in New Cali.

He shrugged. 'Not a problem. But can we get going? I've got a bad feeling...'


Ten minutes later we were in the back of a taxi, heading for the airport. As the taxi drove up to the ramp, Beejay became agitated.

'What's up mate?' I looked around, trying to see what had the big Australian spooked.

'The airport,' he said, faltering. 'It's . . . it's . . . turned default!'


'Don't you see? When I arrived yesterday, this was a bustling place, with custom buildings and ground markings, and fields of crops. But now . . . Who could have done this?'

The taxi had stopped. The driver turned to face it. He was grinning and held a gun in his hand. We looked at each other and back to the driver as he lowered his sunglasses. The face was unmistakable.





Thinking with the speed of thought, I slammed my weight forward, knocking the driver's seat. The gun went off, but Putinfeld was unbalanced and he missed.

'Run!' I yelled, and we were out of the taxi, sprinting towards my King Air. Not even stopping to disconnect ground power, I tickled the twin Pratt and Witney turbines into life and we taxied out to the runway.




'Aircraft on the runway', cracked the radio, 'you are not cleared to depart. Return to the runway immediately!'

I flicked the standby frequency onto com1, fixing that problem, at least temporarily. 

From back in the cabin there was a clang, like metal on metal.

'Putindeld is shooting at us!' Beejay yelled. 

I gunned the throttle.

From the other end of the runway, two airports vehicles came towards us, their lights flashing. Obviously they were trying to stop us from taking off. We were barely at red line speed, yet alone Vr. But if we stayed on the ground we were going to crash.

We wobbled shakily into the air.




'You know they're gonna call ahead,' Beejay said. 'The flight plan. They know where we're going. They've got telephones you know.'

I took one last look at the Whitsunday Islands. Shame we hadn't had a more pleasant stay. I've heard they are very scenic. Oh well, another time.

'Not a problem,' I said, grinning.




I explained. 'The plan I filed was for Nouméa, the capital. That where all the cops are, and with four hours till we get there, I expect there'll be quite a reception committee.'

'But we're not going there, are we?' Beejay said, realisation splitting his face into a big grin.





We climbed at Vy until we were on top, and kept climbing. Pretty soon we were at FL200, with nothing to do.




'You know AussieMan?'


'He's gone mainstream!'


'Doing commercials for Samsung phones. On proper telly!'

'S' okay. I bought an iPhone.'




I'd like to say we flew into the sunset, but the sun was behind us. We flew into increasing darkness. It doesn't have quite the same ring.




Beejay snores.




By the time we reached New Caledonia it was pitch dark. That worked in our favour. I'd kept low for the last hundred miles, staying off the radar.




The landing was going to be non-radio, like the rest of the flight. Somewhere along the coast, the police were waiting for a King Air with two people on board. Hopefully, nobody would be looking here . . .




To be continued . . .


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Fantastic PIREP Tim, very exciting! :thumbup:


So Putenfeld is back in circulation... I wondered if it was one of his goons back at Ayres Rock.


Better check the King Air carefully.. those bullets hit you somewhere.. :mellow:


Looking forward to part 2 

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