Pavlov Florensky tilted his head.

“Listen!” he quietly called out.

“What is it?” Charlie Hume asked.

“He’s coming!“ Pavlov grinned.

“Who’s coming?!” Liam asked, lighting his fifteenth cigarette of the night.

Soon they heard a “Whoosh-Whoosh-Whoosh” sound that indicated something was approaching and approaching very rapidly.

Suddenly, emerging from over a sand dune, flying silently at an altitude of no more than ten feet, was a black trapezoidal shaped helicopter. It hovered for a second, then twirled around and gently settled down no more than twenty feet away.

The mystery chopper’s engine shut off and the spinning blades came quickly to a halt.

The chopper door flipped open, and out stepped an old man with long gray hair and beard.

“Lapidus, my friend!!” Pavlov said, running over and grabbing Frank in a bear hug.

“Hey! Florensky!” Frank chuckled, “good to see you, you S.O.B.!”

Pavlov laughed, then turned to the rest.

“Here is the comrade I spoke of,” Pavlov explained, “this is Captain Frank J. Lapidus. Retired. The best damn pilot I’ve ever known! Drunk or sober!!”

Frank nodded and smiled.

“Well, I wasn’t sure what condition you needed me in,” Frank replied, “so I came sober! So, what’s the flight plan!”

“I’ll fill you in,” Pavlov began, “couple friends of ours have been kidnapped and are being held inside those facilities. However, the place is kept tighter than Fort Knox. They’ve got some type of Electro-Magnetic field guarding the perimeter!”

“Yeah, I'm aware of E-M fields,” Frank replied, “but I’ll get you over that fence!”

Charlie nodded, “Thanks, Frank!”

“Okay!” Frank grinned, “grab what you need. You guys want to be dropped off inside the perimeter or up on the roof?”

“I’d suggest the roof!” Pavlov said, “when given the choice, always take the high ground!”

“That from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”?” Frank laughed.

“Its from Pavlov Florensky’s “The Art of Saving Your Own Skin!” Pavlov replied.

“Okay, then that’s the plan,” Charlie replied, as he reached under his jacket and pulled out his SIG SAUR 9MM handgun. Pavlov walked back to his car and took a .454 caliber short shift tactical shotgun from the trunk.

“Well, if I knew everyone was going to bring their toys,” Liam stated, “I would have brought my BB gun! Though, I haven’t used it since I was ten!”

“You won’t need a weapon for what we plan to have you do!” Pavlov called back.

“Oh, and what’s that?” Liam curiously asked.

“If it gets real hairy in there,” Pavlov answered back, “we’ll just use you as a human shield!”

“Terrific!” Liam mumbled.

Charlie smiled, as he double checked the SIG’s ammo clip, while Pavlov pumped a couple of cartridges into the shotgun’s chamber.

“Ready, Pav?” Charlie asked.

Pavlov nodded.

“Well then,” Frank said, “lets rock and roll!”

They all quickly crawled aboard the copter.

Frank started up the rotors.

“Man, you were almost upon us before we even heard you!” Charlie addressed Frank.

“Yeah!” Frank replied, “this chopper has sound suppression units on its blades and over the engine exhaust. Allows you to fly whisper quiet!”

As the copter blades began to reach its full RPM, Frank called out, “Okay, everyone keep your hands and legs inside the copter, please!”

Slowly it rose. Frank brought the nose around and flew in the direction of the Apollo Candy Company building, all the while keeping the chopper low enough to avoid detection by hugging the desert floor.

“Thirty seconds to target!!” Frank announced.

The mission was on! A last ditch effort to infiltrate the facilities and attempt to locate and rescue Charlene and Megan. Providing it wasn’t too late already!

Next: Chap. Thirty-Eight “The Explanation”

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