Featured Story, Week of Aug. 12, 2018: "Harrington and the Jet Pack Attack"


Each week we feature a story written by one or two of our group members at our weekly meetings. For this week's featured stories, we all chose an objective, an injury and a complication for Erik Day's Action Adventure Action. Then we each wrote a piece containing three randomly chosen elements. We had 20 minutes to write.

HARRINGTON AND THE JET PACK ATTACK

By Erik Engman

Harrington, Space Detective, raced across the plaza, pushing past the lines of tourists waiting patiently for their turn.

She got to the launch area at the head of the line and assessed the situation.

One by one, each tourist on all seven launching pads shot off into the sky, leaving their ride operator instructors behind on the ground, their jet packs putting away into the distance.

The last tourist that took off was the one she was looking for. She ran to the pad.

“Senator! Senator! Come back! It’s a trap!” But he was out of ear shot. And as he was a Puculan Lizard Beast he didn’t have ears, anyway.

Harrington turned to the green Floranis Ride Operator, “Give me a Jet Pack.”

The ride operator automatically recited the policy she was trained in. “Excuse me, Ma’am. If you want to explore the Air Gardens of Floranis 5, you need a blue ticket and proceed to the back of the line and wait your turn, to be fair to the other guests. Politeness is our policy!”

Harrington didn’t have time for this.

She grabbed Sara the Ride Operator by her company jacket and whipped out her badge, shoving it into the young girl’s face.

“Now you listen to me-” she looks at the operator’s name tag. “Sara. Sara? With no ‘H’? You know, not having an ’H’ in your name doesn’t make you look cooler, it just makes you look like you can’t spell. Now listen to me: There is a Regnonulan Warship out there ready to blast a hole in the Senator the size of one of your moons. The bigger one. Not the smaller one. You know, the blue one. You understand? Now either you give me a jet pack or I’ll take one of your blue tickets and ‘politely’ shove it up whatever orifice you least desire to have something shoved into until it turns green!”

Sara the Ride Operator was frozen in fear. There was nothing in the Ride Operator training about this possible circumstance.

Harrington sighed. “Never mind. I’ll just take one.” She grabbed one off to the side of the pile and strapped herself in.

Now this was more familiar territory for the Ride Operator. She nervously handed Harrington a helmet. “Please take this helmet for your safety. Now remember, push the top button to lift -.”

“I’ve got no time for that!” Shouted Harrington, strapping on the helmet. She shot away into the sky in the direction of the Senator.

Sara the Ride Operator watched her putt away. “Thank you for choosing Polite Packs," she said, mainly to herself "Please come again.”

Sara smiled, relieved that was over. She looked down at the packs. Her eyes opened wide in fear.

She ran to the edge of the launch pad.

“Hey! Come back! That pack you took is broken!”

But Harrington was too far away. Sara the Ride Operator frowned. Now she was sure she wouldn’t be “Employee of the Bi-Lunar Month”. This would mean three deaths so far. They only expect each employee to have two...

Meanwhile darting through the pink clouds, Harrington was pushing her pack to the limits of it’s extremely basic design. “Come on! Go faster!”

She lifted her wrist communicator to her mouth. “Talk to me, T-5-X.”

“Hello, Detective Harrington,” the robotic voice replied. “Do you have the Senator?”

“Change of plans. I was unable to get to the Senator in time. He’d already taken off. I need to know where that warship is.”

“Taking into account your past failures, I have already anticipated this eventuality and calculated the war ship’s position.”

“Thanks, I think,” replied Harrington, a bit miffed.

“I’m sending you the coordinates now. As you can see, the Senator is almost within their firing range.”

Harrington’s wrist communicator bleeped. She could see the positions of the ship and the Senator clearly on the navi-screen.

“Got it. Oh, and T-5-X?”

“Yes, Detective Harrington?”

“You and I need to have a talk when this is all over. I think I need to explain to you what failure really means. With a hammer.”

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