Publish Novellas 9 June 2021
EPISODE 11 – NO RETURN
While boarding the plane for escape, a captive dies during an altercation. Jayson must figure out how to get the remaining captives off of the island without a licensed pilot in this nail-biting conclusion.
The team has set into motion a series of events that make it impossible to turn back. They must press forward, trying to solve unanticipated problems along the way.
Jayson disconnects the fuel hose, boards the plane, closes the door, and sits in the cockpit. With the satellite phone he calls Chad, his flight instructor as the wind kicks up.
“Chad, hold your questions. I don’t have time to explain, but I need your help. I’m in the cockpit of an Embraer Legacy 650E private jet. I need you to walk me through the checklist for takeoff.”
“Jayson, what are you doing? You don’t even have a license! Why are you trying to fly such a large jet?” Chad objects.
“As I said, I don’t have time to explain. This is a life-or-death situation for me and my passengers,” Jayson says.
“Passengers? I can’t take that kind of responsibility, Jayson. I could lose my license or, from your description, face criminal charges,” Chad shouts. “Aren’t you in Fiji? Call the police, or speak to the control tower.”
Jayson gives the following ultimatum, “There is no control tower! I didn’t phone you to hear someone else freaking out. There is plenty of tension here. You need to trust me or I need to do this myself. If you don’t help, this may be the last time you hear my voice. After I hang up, I am going to taxi the runway and get this large bird in the sky or die trying.”
🤭 List three reasons why flying this plane is a bad idea.
“All right Jayson, if I help you get up in the air. Then what?” Chad asks. “Do you have enough fuel to reach your destination?”
“The tank is full enough. I am in the Indian Ocean and need to get to Malaysia. Please, no questions. Time is of the essence,” Jayson urges.
“The good news is that on a modern plane, most controls are automatic,” Chad reassures. “I have been a co-pilot in a prior model—the Legacy 600.”
“Be sure to monitor cabin pressure for your passengers.” After checking a few basics with Jayson, Chad asks, “What’s your visibility like?”
“Pitch black accept for lights on the runway and those on the plane. It looks like a tropical storm may be coming. I have my windshield wipers on and need to get above the rain clouds quickly,” Jayson replies.
“For the last time, is there anyone else who can fly this plane for you?” Chad asks.
From the passenger seat, Aahna suggests, “Dr. Toussaint can fly the plane. It’s up to you. I am just giving you all the options.”
Jayson quickly begins running the scenario through his mind. Untying the doctor and convincing him to fly a plane off his island is unlikely. Getting him to turn himself in when we land in Malaysia would create a more hostile situation than just experienced with the pilot. He might change course and fly to India.
Jayson tells Chad, “No, there are no other options.”
“Okay, you’ll be guided more by instruments rather than sight. Strap yourselves in, taxi the runway, and let’s get this bird in the sky,” Chad says. “Do you have enough runway for takeoff?”
“Yes, the plane previously landed on this runway. Its end is clear of debris. I just need to takeoff,” Jayson replies.
Chad attempts to calm Jayson. “Good. Don’t think about the size of the plane. Just imagine this is our regular weekend lesson and you are taking a small Cessna out for a ride.”
Chad looks up some details about the plane to help Jayson get the jet up in the air. Then Jayson brings the plane around in the direction of Malaysia, and Chad helps him set the autopilot.
“Thanks, Chad. Keep your phone on, in case I need you again,” Jayson says.
“Roger that,” Chad concludes before hanging up.
Next, Chad begins trying to piece together where Jayson could be and what weather conditions are like in Malaysia.
Aahna, screams, “Toussaint is waking up and has an arm free. He’s grabbing Caroline’s hair braid! Should I inject him?”
“Yes! Shoot him! Two of you grab his free arm and insert the needle in the other!” Jayson replies. “We cannot have a conscious hostile passenger. When he’s out, tie his hand.”
After things calm down, Jayson calls Chad again to fill him in on some details. Chad immediately answers the phone. “Jayson, is that you? Is everything all right?”
“So far, so good. We have been flying on autopilot for about an hour without incident,” Jayson replies.
“I know you want to be secretive, but there’s something I think you should consider. Depending upon where you are in the Indian Ocean, you could be flying in the airspace of India, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, or Malaysia. I don’t mean to alarm you, but unless Malaysia knows you’re coming, you could setoff an international incident.”
“I already know my departure puts me at odds with India. That’s my main concern. Let me give you my GPS coordinates,” says Jayson.
“Hang on. Jayson, you are in India’s airspace. I suggest you radio ahead to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. That’s KLIA, to request assistance for eventual landing in Malaysia,” Chad urges.
Jayson radios KLIA and apprises them of the situation right away.
“My name is Jayson Kimble, an American citizen with four passengers. I am currently flying a Legacy 650E in the Indian airspace. We are en route to Kuala Lumpur. One passenger is a criminal cooperating with the Indian Navy. I request a military escort to the airport and government officials present when we disembark. Do you copy?” Jayson asks.
“Affirmative, this is KLIA. Are you a military or commercial pilot?”
“Negative to commercial or military. I am not a pilot,” Jaysons replies.
“Please repeat?” the airport asks.
“I am not a pilot. I have taken flying lessons but will require instruction for landing,” Jayson says.
“Why do you feel you require military escort?
“I fear we will become another disappearance like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370,” says Jayson.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 with 239 people on board, disappeared on March 8, 2014. Searchers spent $160 million scouring 46,000 feet of ocean floor only to discover vague debris.
“We have your coordinates and are sending an escort. Keep this channel open,” the control tower advises.
Moments later, Jayson is flanked by two aircrafts. “Control tower, are you here for escort? Over.”
“Negative,” is the response from KLIA. “We are en route with 20-minute ETA. Over.”
“Two military planes are flanking me. What do I do?” asks Jayson.
“You are nearing the edge of Indian airspace. They may be escorting you out. Are they making hostile maneuvers?” asks KLIA
“Negative.” Jayson reports, “They are maintaining equal speed at parallel altitude.”
“You will be out of their airspace in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 second.” KLIA then inquires, “Have they disengaged?”
“Yes! They just flew off,” says Jayson with relief.
“Continue on course. The next escort should be Malaysian aircraft.” KLIA asks, “Do you need assistance flying your plane.”
“I’m on autopilot to reach your airport. There is sufficient fuel. I’ll request assistance when I disable autopilot for landing,” Jayson says.
KLIA asks, “Have you ever landed a plane?”
“Affirmative, in a Cessna 172,” says Jayson.
“Good to know. We are happy to assist. Military personnel will be standing by when you disembark per your request,” KLIA responds.
Fifteen minutes later, Jayson gets his Malaysian escort and eventually lands safely in Kuala Lumpur. It takes two days to sort out everything that has gone on during the past week.
Dr. Jacques Toussaint, age 42, remains in custody. He is facing charges of kidnapping, human trafficking, conspiracy murder, and mail fraud. Aahna Rajasthan, age 26, is extradited to India.
The rest are sent to the American Embassy, which gets everybody back to the United States.
“We finally made it to familiar soil—without souvenirs,” Jason says while looking at the crowd of people in the airport.
“It was an unforgettable adventure,” Caroline replies.
In the Los Angeles Airport International Bradley Terminal, Jayson, Caroline, and Sheena give each other a very long hug.
Jayson interrupts it by saying, “Perhaps we will see each other again—in therapy.”
“Hopefully, under different circumstances,” Caroline replies.
“If I give you my phone number, will you call me when your divorce is final?” Jayson asks.
“That depends on what my therapist says.” Caroline offers hope with her reply, “I’ll take your number though.”
After final goodbyes, Jayson uses a ride-share service to get to his Santa Monica apartment. When the door swings open, he can’t believe his eyes. His home has been ransacked.
Jayson phones the police who transfer him to the FBI, who then contact the CIA. In seven minutes, his place is surrounded by federal agents.
“Your life is in danger. You upset some powerful people,” an agent tells Jayson. “They may be tracking your smartwatch or phone. I need to confiscate them. By now, they know where you work and your normal routine.
“It will take some time to sort out this international debacle. In the mean time we need to place you in protective custody. You can have no contact with prior acquaintances.”
After further debriefing, the person formerly known as Jayson receives a new identity. This nameless individual, whose piloting days are over, reaches an undisclosed non-island location.
As he steps into the terminal, there is a beautiful woman. She was freed from her former marriage by the Federal Government, which declared her body missing at sea.
Now, this enchanting 25-year-old Taryn is teasing an assignation with a hula dance while strumming a ukulele. “Too soon?” she asks. The unnamed male passenger runs into her waiting arms and buries her with kisses. Then she finally answers, “Yes, I would. I would… give you a kidney.”
“Well, then can I interest you in sharing a fruity coconut drink with me at the bar in the airport lounge?”
What is your impression of this story that integrates factual geography with fiction? Did the plot build to an appropriate climax? Without spoiling if for other readers, were you able to anticipate the outcome in advance?