5 Nov 2007

Spirit of the Century - Session 4

In which Oriole's flying skills are tested to the limit

The Heroes discuss the world’s fate with the Atlantean leader who puts a supersonic bi-plane at their disposal and tells them of the secret, giant-clamshell, Nautiloid base where they are setting up their tidal equipment. Oriole recognises this description, as matching an account in Ancient Indian Lore of a box canyon near the Path of the Dead where the remnants of a giant fossilised clam shell could still be seen.

On the runway, Oriole kicks the plane’s tyres and decides that it will just about get them there even if he needs to crash land the thing, and no time to plan further the heroes jump in and take off.

Oriole finds that at supersonic speeds the planes handling is disorientating, but is still able to pilot the plane at these unheard of speeds, and before long they are approaching the vicinity of the Nautiloid base. At this point a pipe on the outside of the rocket comes loose and our ‘Tough Scot’ Clay is forced to hold his breath and hang out of the plane, allowing Doc Automatic to crawl over him. With Clay clinging onto his ankles the Doc attempts to affect a mid-flight repair on the steam belching pipe.. It is at this crucial moment that a Nautiloid patrol, consisting of two rocket ships, comes hurtling in on our heroes at 12 o’clock. Oriole maintains a straight course to aid his friends, allowing the rocket ships to turn and place themselves on Oriole's tail. Next, Oriole banks sharply to drag in his two colleges, leaving Doc Automatic a split second to affect his repair.

Doc Automatic is, as ever, un-phased: hammering the pipe into place and using his mechanical arm he walks calmly back into the wildly banking plane. Clay, on the other hand, is flung into the craft, causing his face to become temporarily distorted by the supersonic forces.

Now unencumbered by the mechanical failure Oriole slams his plane into a stall slowing his pace to more familiar speeds but damaging his flaps in the process. The Rocket ships bank also, suffering similar damage and Sylvie grabs a flare gun and shoots at the rocket ships kicking smoke into the cockpit. Spotting clouds ahead Oriole plunges into their cover, and pulling off a superb manoeuvre emerges at an unexpected angle. This timely deed looses one of the rocket ships and grants the Doc a clear shot with his light amplifying lens, sending the remaining ship spiralling to it’s doom.

Oriole turns back his plane towards his destination, and is confronted by two more rocket ships in close formation. He aims his plane neatly between them blasting them in his wake and sending them into a spin; struggling to correct their path they collide and explode.

However, the patrols have had time to alert an ace pilot in a delta winged, twin-rocket plane, Oriole is drawn to the danger of capturing this plane and with a stupefying stunt, lands his plane in the gap between the rockets. Sylvie acrobatically climbs out of the plane and edges along the wing attacking the water filled cockpit’s weak point, springing a leak of life supporting water from the pilots refuge. As Oriole fights valiantly to stay piggy-backed, stressing both vehicles further, the Doc focuses his lens on the cockpit: boiling water and placing the foul Nautiloid pilot in distress. The pilot surrenders and succumbs to Clays intimidation and falls in with our heroes plan to fly back to the clam-shell base declaring the Atlantean plane as a captive.

However, Clay’s espionage skills are a double edged sword, and the Nautiloid, in a last desperate attempt to foil our heroes, uses a code word to alert the flight controller. Clay cold reads the controller and recognising stress in his response, tells our heroes that the game is up. Oriole forces the delta-wing into an explosive crash and dives his heavily stressed plane headlong into the rapidly closing clam shell scraping the rim and spinning to a halt on the flight deck leaving our heroes with moments to spare before Nautiloid troops inevitably appear Harpoons at the ready.

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