We’re all OK now, six months later. And all thanks to Johnnie, not that Johnnie has got better though. George, my husband, and granny, my mother, have got their guts back into the right place. Larry and Florence are also OK. I’ve got my problem with sweet corn solved, or mostly solved. The solution is simply NO SWEET CORN! But sometimes I suffer a relapse and I go wild.
Johnnie is a very good guy, he’s always helping people, rescuing them sometimes. He’s a hero really, but he hates it when people say so. He suffers also from Walter‑Mitty-type dreams. Last Boxing Day we had a great dinner together, prepared by Johnnie of course. But something odd happened, instead of carrying out the plates and stuff when we finished like he normally did, he slumped into a comfy chair and fell asleep.
I knew who would be chosen – me of course. I’m the best Jondola navigator in the force. I was chosen to rescue four persons trapped behind enemy lines – no names, no pack drill.
Of course somebody in high command dictated the flight plan, the course that is, a straight vector to the point of pickup and another vector back. A vector course is of course very fast and unbeatable if your enemy is behind you. But think about it, for this mission the enemy is in front of you about ¾ of the time. Not good. And I had to argue until I was blue in the face that I should take four extra unmanned Jondolas on the mission as decoys.
If you have never seen a Jondola, which you probably haven't, try and imagine a metal garage with a glass bubble on top where the navigator sits. The lower part is big enough for a vehicle, ten people, or a big bomb. A Jondola can carry a heavy load to any place on the planet very quickly (vector) or very secretly (hedge‑hopper).
The next day, mission day, I took a not-so-fast vector course to our base Richmond on the coast, and not direct to the pickup point, emulating a normal cargo run, except that my Jondola contained only a wooden bench seat and my four decoys nothing. At Richmond I dropped down, but didn’t land. No, I skated across the ocean in hedge-hopper mode to the pickup point deep in enemy land. It was slow, but no attacks.
Four persons were waiting for me, I opened the cargo doors, three of them got in and dragged a fourth with them. I gave them a reel of duct tape to secure the shouting and screaming woman to a metal strut. “Welcome on board!”
The decoy Jondolas were not idle, one of them attacked an enemy Hongas by landing on it and crushing it. Another was destroyed by a Hongas. We left pretty quickly in hedge-hopper mode direction home. I changed to vector mode when we reached the coast.
Great I thought, all four on board, an hour to home, and only one lost Jondola. Think again!
The troublesome woman had turned bright radiant yellow and on the vector-lines screen all the lines were diverging. I’d never seen that before, I knew that it was not good. Had we enough time to reach home base?
One of the decoy Jondolas detached and fell away to the ground. I switched vector mode off. Instead of five minutes to home base, it took two hours.