Being inspired, maybe – 93


A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance:



And, then, the words:

There was no going back down the stairs, or using the elevator, because there was nothing down below but people who wanted to kill me, and there were no other means of leaving the building other than by the helicopter that just landed.

And there was a distinct possibility that those down below were slowly moving upwards, to join those who had just arrived, a move designed to make sure I would never leave the building.  Except they had no way of knowing their team upstairs had been eliminated.

That left us with one and only one way of getting away from the building.

“We’re going.  Now,” I said, heading towards the open door where the pilot had just got out.

She seemed surprised.  "How?  In that?"  She was pointing at the helicopter.

"Come on."  I climbed into the pilot’s seat, ran a quick check, then started the take-off procedure.
She came over just as the main rotor started spinning.  She climbed in and was about to close the door.

"Toss your phone," I said.

"What?"

It was getting noisy.

I picked up one of the two guns I had and pointed it at her.  "Toss your phone."

"What the hell are you doing?"

"Stopping them from tracking us.  Toss it."

"You're making a mistake."

"We'll see."

She tossed the phone out the door the closed it.  I put my gun down, and now ready for take-off, I took a deep breath and lifted the craft off the pad.

Amy looked furious.  But she had a gun and she could have used it to stop me leaving and she didn't.   Not yet anyway. She put on a headset and glared at me.  I could feel her glare boring into me.

"Where are we going?"

Fortunately the pilot conveniently left the flight plan in the side door panel, and listed the takeoff and landing as the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, a training flight for a new pilot, but it had been anything but that, a quick hit and run landing and take off from a prohibited rooftop helipad, though how they obtained permission was a question no doubt answered when I called up control.

But it was going to be where I imagine I was to be taken if captured, the least likely scenario after my hotel had been stormed with the only outcome possible, and where my assailants would be picked up after a successful kill.

It made going there not an option, but I would have to appear like I was heading there until I came up with an alternate plan. At the very least I could head for the river.

Before I answered Amy, I had the aircraft controllers to deal with because I hadn't notified them, I was departing the building, and was, momentarily an unidentified flying object.

I managed to convince them I was the pilot, but there were a few tense moments where I had to explain what had happened in what the previous pilot had been an emergency, and that he had to set down or crash.  I told them it had something to do with the tail rotor and if they were tracking me, they'd pick up the erratic flight we were taking.

After another few tense moments, they told me to return to the take-off point and then asked me for the reassurance I'd make it back, and that we were heading for Downtown Manhattan which was part of the flight plan, but stumbled over the reason for leaving early.  From the tenor of the controller's voice I got the impression we would be landing in trouble, so I needed another landing site.

"Somewhere other than where they're expecting us.  If we're lucky and I don't crash into the river."

"Do you really know how to fly this thing."

Admittedly the way I was struggling to keep the craft under control, the controls required deft handling and that was difficult considering the shakes I'd acquired back at the hotel.

"For both our sakes, let's hope I can.  We can't go back to Downtown Manhattan where they will be waiting for us.  Any ideas about an alternative?"

"If you hadn't thrown my phone away, I might be able to help you."  She was still angry with me.

I had noticed when I got in that the pilot had left his phone on the console and had seven missed calls.  No doubt those waiting were getting anxious as to how their mission was running.

I handed it to her.  "Use this, it's owner won't be needing it."

By her expression, and after an attempt to unlock it, it wasn't looking good.  But, if she was as clever and resourceful as I thought she was, then that phone wouldn't present a problem.

Then it started ringing or vibrating instead.  Somehow from disconnecting the call, she was able to break in and got the dialing screen.  From there she was able to get the internet, and a minute later said, "There's a landing on the river, off west 30th street.  You're heading in the right direction."

Directions given, she made another call, to her superior.

There were no introductions.  "Yes, we got out, using the helicopter that brought in a kill squad."

The next question would be where we were, and this would determine how much I could trust her, or that her mission priority was keeping me alive.

"Not sure, sir.  We're kind of flying by the seat of our pants, but at least it's over the water, and the control tower is not happy."

Silence while she listened, then, "Not a good idea.  They'll be watching you, and its best we remain footloose for as long as we can.  I'll let you know when we land.  What happened in court?"

I saw a faint smile.  "Bet he wasn't happy about that.  See you soon."

I didn't ask.  I just saw the helipad, and now had to make out that we still had problems, which might be a little difficult because I'd been ignoring the controller's request for me to head towards Downtown Manhattan.  I had told him once that I was having difficulty maintaining level flight, but I was staying over the river, just in case.  But, a helicopter in trouble would get emergency services mobilized, so wherever we landed, we were going to have a reception party and unwanted guests.

Latanzio's people would be looking and listening intently for our whereabouts, and that of an errant helicopter that would not be going back to where it should.  They'd know how many landing sites there were, and how close, and how much pressure we would be under to land.  For all we knew, there might be a sniper waiting at each of the heliports.  Fanciful thinking maybe, but this was a very well organized hit, and there would be contingency plans in place.

I could see the teleport landing and headed towards it, trying to make it look like it was going to be a difficult landing.

I didn't have to try very hard.  There was a gusty wind making the craft pitch and had under light hands on the controls.

I could see an ambulance and fire truck just back from the landing site, lights flashing.  The controller had predicted there might be a problem, which meant if we touched down there were going to be awkward questions.

"That was quick," Amy said.  She too had noticed The reception committee.

Oddly, I didn't see a police car, or that is to say, a car with blue flashing lights.  Would the FBI be there?

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of light, and instinctively pulled the stick sideways and went into a deep sideways descent, just as a loud pinging noise came above the whine of the turbine.

A bullet, which if I hadn't gone into to evasive mode would have hit the engine, or worse, one of us.

"What the hell was that?" She yelled, looking around, thinking it was a problem with the helicopter.

"Someone is shooting at us.  Hang on."

I pulled the stick in the opposite direction, at the same time getting away from the shooter as fast as possible.  The turn had a ghastly effect on my stomach, and I thought, for a moment, I was going to be violently ill.  Amy had also turned a shade of white too.

We were finally out of range, skimming about 100 feet above the water surface, slowing down after the panic, and looking for a spot, any spot, to put down and get away.

There, in the distance a car park blocked off and being repaired, but enough space to land.  I could hear the controller screaming in my ear demanding an explanation for my rapid and dangerous departure, but I didn't have time to explain, nor would he believe me, not if he hadn't heard the shots fired in our direction.

There were several workmen standing to one side, watching the arrival of a concrete truck as I came in low over their heads and set the craft down about fifty feet from them.

I shut the engine down and waited a minute before opening the door and jumping out, keeping low under the still spinning rotor blades, and Amy joined me.

One of the crew started coming towards us, two others were taking photos of the helicopter with their cell phones and another was making a call, either to friends or the police.

"We have to go," I said.  "No time to talk to the locals.  What you need to do is find someone who can hide us until we think of a next move."

We ran towards the road and then dodged traffic to get to the other side.  We didn't have time to wait for lights, or the traffic to stop.  Twice I was nearly hit by a moving car, instead, the squeal of rubber on tar.
,
On the other side, and temporarily safe, Amy was on her phone.

"Calling for backup or a ride?"

"Actually no.  I have a friend or a friend, you know the sort.  I think he can help us, but you might not like it."

What was not to like if he could save us from the Latanzio's.

"Call.  Anything is going to be better than acting as a live target."

The call connected.  "Joe, are you busy at the moment?  No?  Good.  I need you to bring Hollywood to New York.  Today."


© Charles Heath 2019-2020

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