Flight Test


Sara taking the brand new airship out on a maiden test run... up over the city... everything running perfectly... the gleaming craft reflecting the sun... although you feel slightly uneasy... rumor has it that DDSTV's competitors have hired a mysterious saboteur to make sure the new airship doesn't survive her maiden voyage... the Shadow Runner...

Serendipity keeps an eye on the sophisticated new radar system... but no unusual blips... so perhaps it was just an idle threat... everything seems to be functioning just fine for air travel after running through the checklist... so she turns toward the harbor... time to test the submersible functions...

The airship dipping down towards the harbor... a problem now could sink her before she even starts... your eyes widening as you note a problem... the vents jammed open somehow in the lower deck... which could flood the airship if it goes into the harbor... but how...

Serendipity pushes a few buttons... the automatic override not working either... almost as if something were wedged in the gears... dashing off up the stairs from the command gondola to the main deck... tool belt jangling about her cut-off denim shorts... remote control pad in her hand... "Let's take a look..."

The shadows lengthening on the main deck... pooling darkly on the metal floor... as you check the gears... finding a tool wedged in them... preventing them from engaging properly... a literal spanner in the works...

Serendipity scowls... and jerks the monkey wrench out of mechanism... "Darn chuppies... I told Belle I needed a more reliable workforce..." quickly reactivating the vents on her MyPad... watching them close securely as the craft dives toward the harbor...

A black shape looming out of one of the shadows... as if emerging from the shadow itself... a tall man in a black catsuit and hood... only the eyes revealed... narrowed... as he takes another spanner and creeps towards you...

Serendipity intently watches her little pad as the craft enters the water... her fingers dancing over it as if playing a piano concerto... the screen reflected in green eyes... checking through system readouts... security cameras all over the craft... scanning the surrounding harbor... deciding to take a peek at herself... gasping as she sees the shadow behind her on screen... ducking to one side...

The spanner crashing down... and smashing the screen... rather than your head... the Shadow Runner turning in your direction and aiming another swing... having been hired to take out the airship... which means taking out you first...

Serendipity bites her lip as the MyPad is smashed... lunging back out of the path of the backhand swing... crawling away across the hardwood floor on her backside... shaking her head... brown waves falling over gaping face... "You must be the one they call the Shadow Runner?"

The Runner narrowing his eyes... and making a move towards the nearest shadow... diving into it... and reappearing out of one nearer you... seemingly without crossing the intervening space... the secret of how he can command vast sums for his industrial espionage now revealed... he has the fabled ninja ability to travel through shadows...

Serendipity scrambles into the light... and across the floor toward the stairs as fast as she can go... tool belt jangling as her bare feet slap the stairs... trying to get back to the command gondola... before the diving craft embeds itself in the bottom of the harbor...

The airship diving down at a rate of knots... aiming for a smash-up on the harbor bottom... until you reach the gondola and the control panel... trying to pull it out of the dive... even as someone emerges from the shadow the control console casts...

Serendipity jumps back from the hands that reach out of the shadow... leaving her several feet from any chance of averting disaster... pulling a wrench from her belt... throwing it at the autopilot button... she hopes Kei would be proud of her throw... and hopes it works... she hears untested machinery kick in... the new underground function... a huge drill extending from the nose...

The autopilot kicking in... but too late to do more than plot a path underground... to avoid doing any structural damage to the city... as you're saved from a smash-up... the floor shaking as you bite into the rock... even as the Runner hurls himself at you... aiming to take you out with some old-fashioned fighting...

Serendipity tires to catch his hands in hers... bringing one leg up as she rolls backwards... attempting to plant her barefoot firmly in his mid-section and monkeytoss him on over... her bosom shuddering wildly under the green tank top... "Oh no you don't!"

The monkeytoss working... hurling the Shadow Runner into the wall hard enough to make him groan... and roll sideways into a welcoming patch of shadow... vanishing... a second later you hear a whining sound from the drill... he's sabotaging it to leave you stranded miles under the earth...

Serendipity is back at the controls... pleased to see that the drill works... already turning back up toward the harbor when the drill begins to whine... "Close... almost there..." desperately activating the slip stream drive as the drill grinds to a halt... the sound terrible as several hundred tons of mud is shifted through the drive mechanism... the craft lurching back into the harbor... throwing her to the floor...

The craft tilting as it moves up through the harbor water... the Runner leaping back out of the shadows... obviously having decided that the only way to put the airship down for good is to sabotage the main controls... which means dealing with you...

Serendipity spins to meet him... throwing a wrench from her tool belt at him... "You fiend... you're trying to ruin my pride and joy... this airship is my masterpiece..." Sara's voice high-pitched... her anger palatable...

The wrench nearly hitting the ninja-like attacker... but he dodges with an inch to spare... aiming a pair of punches at your belly... and then a spinning kick at your head... bringing all his expertise to the task...

Serendipity oophs as she is doubled over... her breasts threatening to leap out of the work shirt... not the fighting expert that some of her teammates might be... but deflecting the kick with the hammer she was going to swing at him... dropping it... backing away... seemingly defenseless as she pulls out a tape measure... looking at it and gulping... she narrows her eyes and flicks it at him like a yoyo... not unlike the one she designed for Kei... holding on to the tape... and snapping the canister back to her hand...

The improvised yoyo hitting the Shadow Runner right between the eyes... sending him flying back... skidding across the floor to end up half in a shadow... his bottom half sticking out... the rest of him elsewhere...

Serendipity moves quickly to bind his ankles and knees with duct tape... the airship having burst out of the harbor... now plunging into the clouds... Sara busy trying to secure the saboteur... grabbing his ankles to drag him into the light...

The airship bursting through the clouds and into the blazing sunlight... the sun flooding through the windows... lighting up the patch of shadow... a terrible scream... and you find yourself with half a villain... the Shadow Runner having paid the price for his shadowy dealings...

Serendipity makes a face... "I promise to give your better half a proper burial..." then returning to the controls to bring the airship into orbit and circle back to Empire City... "Hello... ground control... all systems functioning... need to run full diagnostics though... hit some turbulence under the harbor floor..."

(June 2010)