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P&P: The Time Slip (part 2 of 5)

March 27, 2015 06:15PM
"Hmmmm." I idle. "Good thought. Probably first thing we should do is a proper introduction." Then I begin with Bugsy, whom they are longest acquainted, Scotty, then; "...Tex up there in the copilot seat..." and then; "...our navigator, William Darcy-" I stop at Elizabeth's gasp.

Elizabeth is speechless, so Jane submit; "my sister and myself, are recently acquainted with a Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, but he is such a disagreeable person. He regard us with very little esteem."

Pride And Prejudice:



Rae Elaine Hatfield
or hatfield@nwi.net

2 of 5


Then he is an idiot. Maybe I should have left my mouth in gear.

Darcy explain: "Please, ladies. We are two different men. The two time periods must help you see it is so."

"Yes, Sir. I can accept that." Elizabeth nurse another vexation, so she finally put it to words when she ask; "so. Are we to be captives in some war?" She look at me, and the pain in her eyes break my heart.

It is one thing to be yanked two hundred years into your future, and it get quite mucky if you land into the enemy's lap, as she perceive. "Aw, no. Miss. That dissonance has been resolved for 160, 170 years; at-least. Britain and America have been great friends since then. I know of no disagreements among any English-speaking peoples." I vouchsafe.

Darcy volunteer an important qualifier; "the problem come from some non-English speaking powers."

Elizabeth, the inquisitive, ask; "then what brought about the felicity between our two nations?"

"Well." Darcy idle for a thought, then; "I suppose by the 1830s, the Abolitionist movements in both countries brought more in-common than was different, and that - overcame any lasting anger from the two wars."

"`Two wars!' I comprehend one, the one that ended before my sister or I was born."

"Oh, yes, ladies. - The second went from 1812 to 1814. In our egocentric vanity, we want to believe that Tchaikovsky ([1840-1893]_ wrote his 1812 Overture ([Opus 49]_ with America in mind, but Europe was well involved in wars."

"Pray continue your account." Elizabeth's interest in knowledge overpower her disquiet.

"The American Founding documents reveal the abhorrence of slavery, but by then, the Southern plantations, principally, were economically trapped. And in England, William Wilberforce, a Member of Parliament, had an uphill battle to break the slave trade."

"Oh, my!" Jane gush.

Elizabeth disclose her sudden enlightenment; "perhaps that explain some of the disgust my people associate with `trade!' All business in trade was colored by the slave trade."

"That explanation works for me." Darcy's thought is complete when he turn back for a peek into the RADAR scope. He is concerned about the clouds that seem to be getting thicker. Perhaps it is the usual gathering of moisture at sundown, which make for; "red sky at night, sailors' delight, red sky at morn, sailors take warn."

"We may never hear the rest of that thought." I muse, surely missing some history. Our assurances that the young ladies will not be subject to any deprivations of war seem to bring them a little comfort.

"Highway." Bugsy preamble, then continue when he see that he has my undivided attention. "We have foreign citizens on board, even if they were authorized military air transport, but they're not on a manifest. And you know, Sir. That's got to be a bozo no-no."

"True enough. But they didn't intend to stowaway, and we didn't Shanghai them, but will those facts cover us at a courts martial?" I reply, which get Scotty's attention.

Scotty remind us; "and the 63rd MAW Commander has it in for us Reservists. Especially since we let the crews at Woomera stencil a little green kangaroo over our crew entry door." ([This was a practice during the last half of the 1970s (or longer). Most were yellow, with some red and rarer others green, probably indicating the nature of the airplane's needed repairs.]_

"Yep. I 'spose it was a novelty for them to put a green one on something this old." I grin to break any tension.

Darcy turn our way and suggest; "since the young Bennet ladies are British subjects, they may need services of a British Consul."

Tex ask across the flight deck; "would they have one in L.A.?"

"Everybody's got one in L.A." Darcy assure.

"We could keep this to ourselves." Bugsy chime, then; "who's gonna know?"

Darcy scowl. "Just how do you expect to get these ladies past the ground crews after we land? And then off the flight line with or without any of us? And then off base? To where? Would you tell me how? Without documents? - And that state of affairs, boys and girls, is something to avoid."

"Ouch." Bugsy recognize, and utter my thoughts.

Tex turn toward me; "Hiram. Would you mind taking over? I'm gonna get on H.F. and call my brother."

"What'cha gonna call him?" Scotty pipe his tease as I turn back toward my job.

"Ham and bacon." Tex deadpan his return derision.


"Yes, Highway?"

"Does he know any good lawyers? Someone who can do military law?" I reach over to the console.

"I'll ask." Tex assure, and he know that I switch my interphone control box's "HF2" switch on, so I hear both sides of his contacts, and so to know what an aircraft commander ought know from having sudden guests.


Anticipating the young ladies' needs and possible curiosity, Darcy take and record the last fix, so he is free to be host for a little while. He borrow Bugsy's flashlight ("torch" in Britain) before he open the cabin door, and turn to climb down the entry ladder. He does so to demonstrate the best way for the ladies. By ourselves, we just swing our legs out and slide hanging by our hands down the polished, stainless steel hand rails.

What does a gentleman do, who is first down a ladder to be followed by ladies wearing long dresses? Be handy, but not at a fix to be a peeper. Short dresses would be more tempting, but if less is more, showing less is more stimulating. Still, he stand beside the ladder as Elizabeth lead and Jane follow to the cargo floor with their guide and host.

"What is this place?" Elizabeth look about when she stand on the cargo floor, and is brief as she voice her curiosity and get her sister's nod.

"This is the cargo bay. You can't see much of it, because right here, is called a `comfort pallet.'" He point to the edge where it is secured; "the lock system keep it secure until its removal, and part of why it's called a `pallet.' The `comfort' is important, because we can carry passengers, and over water, it's not unusual to be eight or nine hours in the sky."

Jane gasp, revealing her incredulity, but then; "pray, Sir. Pardon me. But I do not comprehend - `hours in the sky?'" Now Elizabeth nod, confirming her similar confusion.

"Get two for the price of one;" Darcy muse, then smile. "We have about three more hours flight time before we land. We left Hawaii, of which you may know from your globes and maps as the `Sandwich Islands,' - about five and a half hours ago. It will be dark when we land, because we are flying eastbound, away from the setting sun."

"Oh! Such calculation! I do not comprehend! How shall I remember it all?" Elizabeth complain.

Darcy sigh, but keep his smile. "We can come back to that. I am sure you - comprehend `hours' and the need for - `certain comfort.'" He pause to let them giggle, but they are still in some paranormal transport shock, and if their event shock is fading, culture shock is setting in. Then he lead to the starboard side of the cargo deck; "here, on the comfort palette;" he open the door after he noticed the repair tag tied to the handle; "is usually a better lavatory than the aircraft's," he glance again at the tag; "too bad this is broke. But then I must not forget to show you the one that is part of the airplane."

The girls stand side by side, so they can see the facilities of the stool, the vanity, mirror, sink, and such. The stool is apparent, but they are used to a basin and a pitcher on a vanity for the sink function. They may see the little flush handle, or may not, because it is not obtrusive if now is the first time anyone see a modern privy. Turning a tap handle may be something else too, out of their experience.

He present the repair tag; "since this has a fault that can be repaired, but not easily, we are taking it back to its depot with us." He stop to learn if one of them will ask the logical question.

Depend upon Elizabeth; "then what is available, perchance the need?"

"In case of need, ladies. We have the;" he step back and open the door to the; "crew latrine." He step inside and reach to lift the lid, while leaving the seat down. "When the business is done, close the lid, flush with this little lever: And then release it." He look in their faces for comprehension. "The system will take care of - Everything and the ground crews will service the system. - Then after, you can wash in the sink; hot water;" he screw the tap just enough to let a little out, then; "cold water." Again, he demonstrate. "Then; paper towels." He point, then press the toe handle on the trash bin, in the corner, to reveal how it open and close.

Jane beg; "pray, Sir. How will we remember all this?"

"Please, ladies. Ask for help and a reminder when you need it." Darcy pat Jane's wrist as her sister look on. "You will be exposed to so much, that to remember all, will be a prodigious mental feat."

They giggle, which open the door to a little adaptation. "Thank you, Sir. We are gratified at your forbearance."

"You are so welcome. I know I would be at the mercy of the kindness of strangers, if I was to suddenly be two hundred years into my future: And I have the benefit of our science fiction - speculative fiction." He then remember; "the other - `comfort' I want to show you is more agreeable and on the other side." He gesture back toward where they came down the ladder.

"`Comfort?'" Elizabeth quiz, then turn toward the given direction.

"Certainly. We have some coffee and hot water, for tea and cocoa, and we may have some sweet rolls left." He look into the pastry box; "we're in luck. We have some." Then he draw back the plastic wrap to present the choices, which the Regency period ladies were most struck by the clear, tough, and flexible nature of cling film, and then he hand each a paper plate.

Jane select the last maple bar, and then Elizabeth pick up the last blueberry cupcake; erroneously called "muffins" although the British use "fairy cake;" probably because they are a small cake. "Day old." Jane reluctantly observe after taking a bite.

"Stand back and be amazed!" He try a bit of corn.

Belay that! His sample is a whole crop.

He continue after a pause; "allow me, ladies." Darcy harvest their selections and put them, and his, inside the; "microwave oven. `Mike' for short." Two taps on the [10 seconds] button, then on the [Start], and then the magnetron cooling fan confirm operation with its hum. "Coffee, tea, or me?" He offer with a cheeky grin, but then counter; "oops. I forgot."

"`Forgot' - what?" Elizabeth is naturally curious.

Darcy step back and aft, to one of the cargo bay interphone control boxes, and verify the hot-mic switch is off. He plug in his headset to the end of the long cable, and then attach the clip to a pocket flap on his flight suit. While near the port main gear inspection window, he look through to see the up lock link and the hydraulic reservoir is at mid-range. Then he cross over to the other side to make a similar inspection.

He press the little button on the interphone cable's receptacle to report; "hey, Bugsy. The mains' check is done, but the starboard reservoir is on the low side of normal." He amble back to his guests, now that the microwave is done.

``Okay, Sir. Thanks. Got it jotted.''

"Sure thing." He then fetch the girls' selections, and when they sample the change.

Jane could compare the before and after, so she affirm; "oh, Sir. This taste is so much better."

"That is why we don't worry about day-old pastries. We rejuvenate them." He grin.

The girls simper, and then Jane accept; "my sister and I would take up your offer for some tea."

"Certainly." Then he rummage through the cupboards to find; "some Earl Grey, and some;" he shift some more supplies aside on one upper shelf. "Green tea!"

"Some Earl Grey, pray." Jane ask.

"Pray. What is the `green tea?'"

"It is a green colored tea, that Asians hold to health benefits, as I understand. Personally, I like it over the Earl Grey."

"Pray, Sir. May I have some green tea?"

"Miss Elizabeth. You are after my own heart." Darcy coo as he set out what pass for a tea service; as much as come in a comfort kitchen.

"It may be your heart, Sir. I do not desire the approbation of a Mr. Darcy I know in the time my sister and I have lost."

"Ouch. - Maybe it's just as well." Then he present a plastic berry basket of condiments with sugar packets and then, because the expiration date was last week, he peel back the cover of a cream thimble to give it a nose test. "Cream? Sugar? Honey?"

Since the label "honey" is apparent on some of the condiment packets, the ladies can assume that he is not being insolent with a term of endearment. They accept cream and sugar as per their taste. Jane offer to do "mother" service, so Darcy pull the water percolator from its receptacle, and let it serve as a tea pot. All stand by the counter as the tea service is set.

"Where can we sit? Standing is so inconvenient." Elizabeth is right to ask.

Darcy set his cup and plate on the counter, then; "I know just the thing." He amble back to the near section of troop seats and let them down.

The seats set up quite convenient beside a cargo pallet, where boxes can serve as a table between the cargo net's lattice. Even though the three of this society must sit sideways to the flight direction and in-line, it will work. He gesture for the young ladies to lead back, because of the interphone cord clipped to his flight suit. Just before he sit beside Elizabeth, he reef the cargo net's front two binders a notch, then report to Bugsy his additional loadmaster task so it can be duly noted: And then to be filed in a circular receiver, somewhere, at the end of its days.


"What have I done? Tex." I bemoan.

He keep his eyes on his procedures. "Just what you've always done, Hiram. The right thing, even though some puffy little martinet may not see it that way."

"Thanks, Tex."

"Just so you know. The British Consul and a rep from the State Department will meet our plane, and I've got the security police to give the V.I.P. treatment when they arrive at the main gate."

"Good work. And I've let Ops know that we have - external needs that we have made proper arrangements."

Tex chuckle. "And slobbering on your mic to sound like a radio breaking up will just delay the questions."

"Yep. But maybe, just maybe, sense and reason will rule when otherwise a donnybrook'll break out."

"Maybe. But hope so, and bet on the contrary."

I swallow when I realize what he said. "You're probably too right." I double check our heading and notice the dark sky to the east. Perhaps I ought doze a bit before we tackle the LAX ATC at the end of our long final to SBD. ([Los Angeles Air Traffic Control.]_


Darcy sat quiet a few moments beside Elizabeth. `Dumb thing to have nothing to talk about. At least take a sip of tea and a bite of pastry so to momentarily excuse being mute.' He does so. Apparently the young ladies have a similar idea, but then, they may not know how to word their doubts and problems. One good thing about tea times; the pastime offer cause to pause and reflect on what to say next.

Elizabeth's wit come to the murder of a dreadful silence. "Pray, Sir. Tell me about that strange wall that slopes over there?" She point aft.

"That is the pressure door."

"A - `pressure door?'"

"Oh. It put a solid bulkhead in the way of the largest space that can be opened to air." By way of complete explanation, whether understood or not, is; "the petal doors, which form part of the aerodynamics, could not hold the internal air pressure alone."

"`Pressure?' `Air?' I can not comprehend such meanings, Sir."

She leave little time for him to sip or nibble. "At cruise altitude, the air is too thin for many life forms to breathe. So. Any aircraft that fly higher than 12,500 feet; I believe it is; must have pressurization systems, and so the pressure must be monitored. If it fail, then the aircraft has to descend, as fast as possible, to under 12,500 feet elevation-equivalent."

"Pray, Sir. Tell me why?"

"Hypoxia. Without the right mixture and quantity of air and oxygen, unconsciousness set in and death can follow." Should he continue?

"Oh! No! - Let us speak of pleasanter things!"

"I agree." He smile, desperately trying to think of a subject that has no morbid angle.

Jane crane forward to ask him; "pray, tell us, Sir, of your house?"

Darcy sigh. "I wish I could tell you that it is a cozy cottage with charming gardens and white picket fences, with my Mrs. and me, and baby makes three, or four, or- It doesn't seem meant to be. But no. I've got an apartment, suitable for a bachelor, rented now month -by- month for as long as I have this situation." He look at them. "I do worry about you girls-"

"Pray, Sir. `Girls' are children." Elizabeth mock a rebuke as she try to get an anchor of understanding.

"`Girls,' does not seem to be a respecter of age, other than the speaker should be older than the subjects. - And that, I am older than most women of my acquaintance. - And yes, I do worry about you: Where you will stay and live. Will you be here for a while, or will you be yanked back or pulled forward through time again. I'm sure you both do not have the marketable skills to get a job, like other young women who choose to avoid matrimony; - making the same mistake the first time."

"Oh, no." Elizabeth sigh, then Jane.

"Oh, yes. - I don't even have a clue where you will bed down tonight. None of us have a suitable house for unrelated female guests of your respectability." He snag the talking token back; "I lie. Perhaps my great aunt in Redlands-" He trail off in his muse.

"Oh! Sir." Jane said a lot when she let out some of her exasperation.

"I'm sure Hiram's working on something now. - But surely the first problem is that governments now, or most of them anyway, are quite fussy about who comes into their nation and who goes, and that require documents and passage on particular conveyances; and military aircraft are not usually used for civilian passengers, and even then on most particular exceptions."

Elizabeth look into his eyes to ask; "Sir. Pray, tell of such exceptions as you know?"

"Ah. Sometimes civilians are airlifted out of hostile or dangerous situations. In 1975, many Hmong were lifted out of Vietnam, - I think you may have known as `French Indo-China,' and this very airplane may have been one of that fleet. Civilians have been plucked from floodwaters by military helicopters, such as a few years ago when a hurricane, Katrina, as it was named, rearranged the deep south. - We've lost much of our antebellum history to hurricanes; Camille comes to mind, for one, sometime about 1970, I guess. - But I digress. Does this help you any?"

"Oh. I do not know. What is to become of us? I comprehend a time of wonders and terrors."

"I think, my dear lady, you have spelled it out. - Yes. `Wonders and terrors.'"


The two Regency ladies chat with Darcy a little longer, and they gain much intelligence of their new situation. How much they can retain is another matter, but no doubt that does not indicate a defect in ability. Shortly, all rise from the troop seats, and following Darcy's mode, rinse their cups, and toss the paper and other waste into the trash can.

"You have been under quite a strain, ladies. Would you like to rest a bit before we land?" Darcy invite.

Jane answer; "yes, Sir. We would, but how? You have no suitable bed chambers for ladies."

"True enough. However, you can be comfortable with all modesty intact up on the bunks, covered with blankets."

"I can accept your offer, Sir. Thank you." Elizabeth grant and then take a step toward the ladder to the flight deck.

He gesture for Jane to follow. "We can wake you so you can watch our landing."

The ladies express their mixture of curiosity and fatigue. When they get back up on the flight deck, Elizabeth commandeer the top bunk, so she can look over the flight deck activity, while Jane is as satisfied with the lower. Darcy coo his pleasantries as he cover each with blankets, and spread the safety nets over each lady.


The lights of Southern California almost make the RADAR picture, at thirty knots out, redundant. Darcy woke the ladies in time to show them the picture on the navigator station's scope. Meanwhile, Bugsy set up the flight examiner's station seat, that fix aft of the center console, before he do his pre-landing cargo bay inspection. We choose to let Jane and Elizabeth sort out who will be "flight examiner" and when. Surely they may find that watching the VASI (["Visual Approach Slope Indicator" from http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O25-VASI.html on 26 Oct. 2010.]_ lights distracting on short-final, and just before landing flare.

I take flying through the Los Angles Air Traffic Control with mixed feelings. On one hand, they are the most courteous and competent ATC of our travels. ([See? This is fiction.]_ On the other hand, they are courteous and competent; drum roll; because they cope with so much air traffic. All of the flights going in and out of LAX and surrounding airports, and mixed with all the general aviation in the patterns, make the sky thick with airplanes, almost like a mosquito swarm. At least after sundown, the general aviation Visual Flight Rules pilots have got where they are going, and the other pilots are at least instrument qualified.

Yes. I prefer night flying, and the later the better, but we have come into the airspace now.

"Darcy. You on the scope?"


"All eyes out the windows!" I direct, even knowing that Elizabeth, sitting at my right and a bit behind me, is taking in everything with wonder.

LAX ATC routed us south of Manhattan Beach and due east toward the intersection of the Orange, Riverside, and Los Angeles counties' lines. There, I do a two-minute turn to line up on Norton Air Force Base's runway zero-six. LAX ATC pass us off to Norton RAPCon ([RAPCon :== RADAR Approach Control]_. I begin long-final approach, watching the elevation and distance profile to touchdown.

The girls had switched seats when Jane ask; "is London as large as all this we see?" She sweep her arm across the expanse from behind us to forward.

"Probably. It's big. I suspect London proper and L.A. proper are about the same size. I wouldn't doubt that both of them have about the same size extensions. But, I think I'll let others sort that out, those whom it's important, as to which is bigger."



About four minutes ago, I switched on our landing lights, and the girls were gobsmacked at what could be seen in their daylight - bright glow. "We're approaching short final, ladies. I would be - happier: Feel safer, if you were strapped in on the bunk, if you please."

"As you wish, Sir." Elizabeth grant with a bit of tart to her accent.

"It would save a boo-boo." I counter in a flat manner, enough so she follow Jane back.

With power set at descent, the cabin is quiet enough I hear both of the girls' seat belt buckles connect. Then I decide it is time to show them why they should be belted in, like the crew. Bugsy verify he is set in the cargo bay for landing, so I roll in the second notch of flaps, deploy the spoilers, and lower the gears. Elizabeth and Jane have heard the sound before, but it is still disquieting.

Time for the third notch of flaps. On course, and on glidepath, and now the 3,000 Hertz tone in my headset mark our pass over the inner marker. ([I think some of these old Instrument Landing Systems components were being phased out by many generations of modern, more sophisticated systems. -r.e.h.]_

"Flare time, boys and girls." We fly over the base's western fence, the road around to the base golf course, and then over the 2-4 overrun.

"The avalanche has started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote." -Ambassador Kosh Naranek

P&P: The Time Slip (part 2 of 5)

Rae ElaineMarch 27, 2015 06:15PM

Re: P&P: The Time Slip (part 2 of 5)

Lucy J.March 29, 2015 12:54AM


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