Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #279

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #279

… In a weak moment, Sgt. Smith slips, “Some strange things going on around here these days.”…

Starry Nite by Vincent Van Gogh

Starry Nite by Vincent Van Gogh

Safely on the ground and a little worse for the wear, Robert Ford, cargo plane owner and Carolyn Hanes, authoress are greeted by uniformed men — by the score. They are cordial, but seem to be distracted, like they had just seen a ghost.

“Can we inspect your plane?” One of many asks a question without inflection, giving it a HollomanAFBdemanding slant. “Standard procedure.” As if they would know the difference.

 “Yeah, I guess, but you won’t find anything,” Ford says as they are led to a large Quonset hut. He whispers to Lyn along the way, “Act as if we don’t see a thing.”

Before she can even so much as nod, there is a huge explosion, accompanied by a plume of smoke. The sound reaches them seconds later. “….one thousand six, one thousand seven,” Ford times the gap between sight and sound. “One hundred miles northeast… hmmm.”

“What did you say, Ford?” asks a nearby Air Force officer.

   “I was telling Miss Hanes that we covered the last hundred miles with ease. Must be the desert air?”

“Sargent. Smith will guide you from here.”

Without hesitation, the officer joins an armada of military vehicles racing off to the north and east. It is clear that they were not expecting the blast. Two helicopters are dispatched to the scene. They will be at the expected crater long before the ground vehicles.

In a weak moment, Sgt. Smith slips, “Some strange things going on around here these days.” Sometimes one can only shake one’s head. “Come this way.”

They have entered an infirmary type building and are shunted into an empty room – save a table, five chairs and two guards.

“Musical chairs is one of my favorite party games and I believe we need more people to play. How about you guys? ” Lyn is trying to ease the mounting tension. The guards will have nothing of it.

Smith directs them to the two chairs facing the other three, with four feet between them. “Before we begin, I need to warn you that this woman may not have anything to say. She pops in and out of reality. It affects the way she communicates. One minute she seems perfectly normal, totally out of it internal_organsthe next. We have had our best psychological people examine her. The only thing they agree on is that she is missing more than her memory.”

“Missing what?” Lyn wonders.

“One kidney and part of her frontal lobe,” contributes the newest addition to the room. He is dressed mostly in white, distinguishing himself from anyone else they have seen. “With no signs of surgery, I might add. I have heard of people being born with one kidney, but the human brain mass never deviates from its shape… content maybe, but not shape.”

“And you are… who?” Lyn is losing her patience. “We have flown across country, at your invitation and all we are getting are silver streaks, explosions and what seems to be a military runaround.”

“Excuse my oversight, folks, but this case has me baffled.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #279


page 260

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #278

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #278

… Robert Ford points to a bright stationary oval-shaped object, perhaps a quarter mile at its widest, his gauge array has gone wacko, dials spinning, light flashing, levers and pedals moving on their own…

 UFO Interception by Alfredsson

UFO Interception by Alfredsson

“Wanna land this thing?” he asks Carolyn.

“We’ll see, Bob.”

Hours later, in the tower at Holloman, radar picks up something peculiar on its screen. The radar man on duty spots a darting image, similar to others he had reported before and told to ignore, but this one was zigging and zagging its way toward the approaching civilian Douglas DC-3.

  “One-alpha-niner, there is a bogey approaching you at five o’clock low. I have dispatched two fighters to come take a look. Over?”

          “Roger, Holloman control, will keep an eye out. Over.” Ford has seen strange objects before; some of them defy logical description. “Lyn, hon, come forward quickly.”

          “All right, already, where’s the fire?”

“There…” He points to a bright stationary oval-shaped object, perhaps a quarter mile at its widest, in front of them, matching their diminishing speed exactly – he guesses, because his gauge array has gone wacko, dials spinning, light flashing, levers and pedals moving on their own. Just about the time Lyn gets a good look at it; the two Air Force fighters join in. Surely they will close in and force the strange craft to land.

But as they close in, the object turns, pauses briefly and rockets off at an impossible rate of speed. In a matter of a second or two, it is completely out of sight.

The fighters drift about, like a dog who wonders where that darn rabbit went to. Gauges and such on the DC-3 regain their expected readings.

“What did we just see?” asks Lyn of her more experienced flying companion.

“I was hoping you could tell me. That is one of the damndest things I have ever seen.  The way the rudder and flap controls were moving, we should have been barrel rolling, a tailspin at the very least.  I’m just glad you saw it too, because I suspect that the military will come up with some stupid explanation.”

“There isn’t one in any encyclopedia I own. How fast did that go?”

“I would have to say, thousands of miles per hour. That’s odd because nobody has gotten past the speed of sound in anything, ground or air.”

bogie  “How fast is that?”

“What? And I thought you knew everything… 750 miles per hour, maybe a little more… that thing didn’t just fly away fast, it literally evaporated before our eyes. Hey, I’m going to get us down. Strap yourself in.”

There was no sense in prolonging the matter of hand, just because they were nose to nose with an unknown flying object for a few minutes – at least that is what they think.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #278


page 260

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #277

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #277

…How can a person disappear with nary a trace and then show up six years later, without knowing what had gone on in the intervening years… six blankety-blank years…

Blankety Blank-001

Properly fueled and inspected, Bob Ford & Carolyn Hanes are soon winging their way across the country. The early part of the flight is spent catching up on things. That is easy. Bob works. Lyn works. So tales of working are swapped, which for a pilot and a writer, not entirely dull or uninteresting. Lyn has a first draft of her current C. C. Private Eye book, still untitled to give Bob Ford. Ford gives her the only copy of his diary about the final “Pacific” Clipper flight, hoping that Lyn would find it interesting enough to pen, which is a given.

  Later, after Lyn had gotten her crack in the pilot’s seat of the gage-strewn cockpit, spelling Ford who had come to New York via Toronto for his load of film, risking his certification by flying into La Guardia without a co-pilot or navigator, the real reason for this junket is discussed.

How can a person disappear with nary a trace and then show up six years later, without knowing what had gone on in the intervening years… six blankety-blank years, Bob? Like they didn’t happen? That is the kind of fiction that I cannot fathom.” Dumbfounding a writer is hard to do. “Did you say they told you that she was wearing the same dress as when she vanished? You would think that puff-of-smoke would have been that man in the navy blue suit.”

 “You remember that?”

The Vanished Flame by lowjacker deviantart.com

The Vanished Flame by lowjacker deviantart.com

  “Oh, yes and the brand of perfume and how she had her hair fixed. Did they take a picture of her, you know, when they first found her?”

  “I believe so. I guess we’ll find out in a few hours.”

  “I’m going to lie down in back, this messes up my mind and I need to be fresh.”

  “There is a cot, but at 25,000 feet, you’ll need a few blankets. I’ll wake you when I make my approach to Holloman AFB. Wanna land this thing?”

  “We’ll see, Bob.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

DC-3 Cockpit

Episode #277


page 258

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #276

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #276

…Carolyn is wearing a so-called leather bomber jacket she had been given by a returning B-17 tail gunner…

Assault on Damn Yankee by Domenic DeNardo

Assault on Damn Yankee by Domenic DeNardo

Constance Caraway… rather Carolyn Hanes is waving both arms above her head, on the tarmac of the Blue Ridge Angel-001commercial terminal at La Guardia Airport. The roar of a taxiing twin engine Douglas DC-3 camouflages her, “Over here, Captain Ford!”, but he spots her nonetheless. He swings the impressive plane around, signaling a big thumb’s up, and a welcome sight in the window above the Constance Caraway P.I. in big bold yellow. He looks as dashing as she had remembered, an opinion slightly tainted by his heroic escapades.

Once in place, and propellers at rest, Robert Ford climbs down the cockpit ladder, his plane’s only entrance beside the cargo bay doors. Lyn has abandoned her bags and is there to apply a hardy embrace.  She is wearing a so-called leather bomber jacket she had been given by a returning B-17 tail gunner.

“Is that a bullet hole there?” He puts an index finger into Lyn’s upper left arm. “You didn’t, did you?”

ConstanceCaraway 001

Constance

“Join the Air Force, oh my, no?”

“Another Constance fan?”

“Yes, he was so cute, says he would read my stuff on the way back from a bombing run. Now, Bob, he was just a boy.” She reacts to Ford’s sideward glance.

“Well you look like a real flier, Lyn. What do say to taking my baby for a little 1600 mile spin?”

My little cub would fit underneath one of your wings. Once we’re at altitude, I wouldn’t mind taking the controls for a few hours. 76-regular-gasolineWhat is it, a ten hour flight?”

“Very good, Lyn, that’s what’s in our flight plan… oh, here comes the fuel truck.”

“76 octane?” Lyn reels in a Clipper memory.

“76? There isn’t a runway in the world long enough if we used straight gasoline. These engines are spoiled rotten, 110, no less, and not in five gallon cans either.” His Clipper recollection includes fueling it with five gallon cans… all four thousand gallons.


Alpha Omega M.D.

‘Aeronautical & Maritime Masterpieces’ by Peter Branksome - http://www.hamiltonwalkerart.com/

‘Aeronautical & Maritime Masterpieces’ by Peter Branksome – http://www.hamiltonwalkerart.com/

Episode #276


page 257

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #268

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #268

…After Captain Ford, his crew and remaining passengers, et al had left Karachi, their odyssey continued for another ten days…

Pacific Clipper Route      As for the Pacific Clipper, the first thing Captain Robert Ford did, once they had landed at LaGuardia Robert Ford-001harbor on January 5 1942, was to radio Colombo, Ceylon and the British Embassy there. He did call his family, knowing that Pan Am had done so in advance for him, but it is the fate of a woman he barely knew that haunts him, and as it turns out, will continue to haunt him for the rest of his life.

Pacific Clipper Take-off    After him, his crew and remaining passengers, et al had left Karachi, their odyssey Pan Am Clipper2continued for another ten days, across the Arabian Peninsula, the sands of the Sahara, the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to the tip of South America, then finally and mercifully, New York City.

Ford Map-001 The loss of one passenger will taint the joy of flying, for a flyer without parallel. Instead of retirement, he is granted two weeks leave and a reassignment to an Atlantic Clipper route. He will china_clipperdo so dutifully, if not unceremoniously.

In the two-week layover, he writes out a complete debriefing for his friend, Lyn, so she can fill in the blanks for her war mystery, The Hawaiian Spy. He promises a visit to Tallahassee on his summer vacation. Not an altogether disagreeable notion, even for her. Friendship is friendship, after all.

Pan Am ClipperPan Am Hat-001fords-flight-route1937 CC P.I.-001

As in the case of their country, they find: a lesson not learned  is the hardest lesson of all.

End of Chapter Fourteen


Author’s note:

What I enjoy most about writing Historical Fiction is being able to weave stories, like Robert Ford’s Pacific Clipper WWII ordeal, into the fabric of ***Alpha Omega M.D. – Granted he never actually had a passenger go missing from his Pan Am Clipper on the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), but what fun it was to include characters Carolyn Hanes (Constance Caraway) and Sara Fenwick (Fanny Renwick) in on one of the most amazing stories that no one knows about.

One sunny Sunday, while knee-deep in writing this book, I came upon a feature article in the Chicago Tribune’s Travel Section. Somewhere in my old-fashioned stack of research material is that article. At the time, I could not put it down, nor could I let it rest.

As it is with the construction of any book, one writes one-day-at-a-time and a once well-planned story takes a sudden turn. And so it did; from a story about a kindly Southern doctor – to a fictional fiction writer who takes a holiday aboard one of Pan American Airways flying boats, WWII breaks out, she loses her companion and blah, blah, blah etc…

I would like to thank the faithful readers of the Writing is Fun-damental (WIF) blog, for allowing me to share my book, along with this amazing story with you. – Gwen

*** THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR – ISBN 978-1-4691-9018 Xlibris Publishing

For the real story behind the Pacific Clipper, (Daley, Robert, 1980, An American Saga, Juan Trippe and His Pan Am Empire, Random House, New York)  follow the link below:

Captain Robert Ford’s Factual Pacific Clipper Story

Pacific Clipper-001



Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #268


page 249 (end ch. 14)

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #267

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #267

…Please give me some details about how things turned out. I had planned on being there, when you get to New York, you know, for my book and all…

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS by Mario Ortiz Martinez

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS by Mario Ortiz Martinez

Answers prove to be too slow in coming. As much as he regrets having to do so, it is time to ascend into yet more of the unknown.

“I am truly sorry, Miss Hanes, but we are leaving within the hour. May I assume you will be staying behind?” Ford has to keep the Clipper moving. He has two dozen other people he is responsible for and he cannot be sure of what lies ahead.

“I understand, Captain Ford. At least we have the British to look out for us.” She hangs her head in despair.

 “I know you’re worried to death and it may be small consolation, but until a body is found….”

“Okay, yes, thank you,” Lyn cares not to think about unaccounted bodies and such. “I pray that the rest of your journey goes well.” She scribbles an address and a telephone number on a scrap of paper. “Please give me some details about how things turned out. I had planned on being there with you in New York, you know, for my book and all.

“I will do that, Lyn.” he promises.

She appreciates the kiss on the cheek by a true gentleman.

Questions WO Answers-001

Answers are not forthcoming; two days after Sara vanished into the Ceylonese night. In a strange way, at least bruised and battered body would be tangible evidence.

“An innocent civilian woman becomes the first victim of a Pan American Clipper trip”

… the newspaper headline may read. Instead, Carolyn Hanes is obliged to play an agonizing waiting game, at the mercy of authorities on a huge island off the southern coast of India.

With tears streaming down her face, ten days and no news later, Carolyn Hanes changes the text of her manuscript. The man in the blue suit is much more dangerous than they had 1937 CC P.I.-001suspected. Neither he nor Fanny Renwick is ever seen again. Constance Caraway has only a film-less camera to remember her by. Constance will always be Constance, and retirement to a life of seclusion will never happen, as is the case with her creator. Both author and a fictional heroine move on, without their right hand gal.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Questions WO Answers-001

Episode #267


page 248

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #266

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #266

… “PAA should not stand for Postmortem American Airlines.” Words can be weapons, particularly when used by a professional like Lyn…

Words are Weapons-001

“She’s not onboard, Miss Hanes,” reports 1st Officer Brown, Sara’s escort for the evening and not feeling real good about now. “It seems she never made it back.”

Lyn is wondering if life is about to imitate art. In her book tentatively titled, Constance Caraway: The 1937 CC P.I.-001Hawaiian Spy, Fanny Renwick disappears while following the man in the blue suit. Lyn is hoping upon hope that Sara is merely lost, just as Fanny had after being spotted and subsequently ditched by the blue suited suspected spy.

Sure, that is it. She will turn up soon, all safe and sound.

“We’re not leaving until we find her, are we Captain? The mechanics haven’t completed repairs on that cylinder in number three engine.” Rod Brown is seriously concerned about Sara and not just because she was his “date”. He had had his eye on her ever since they left San Francisco. It is without reciprocation that he now acts.

  “Don’t worry, Rod. She can’t have gone far. I have already informed the British authorities about Miss Fenwick and you can head up a search team of your own. Now get cracking, we’ve only about 24 hours before we have to take off for Karachi.”

 “Pakistan?”

 “Yet another glamorous destination. Pan Am should make you guys pay for an around-the-world tour like this one.”

fords-flight-route

“It seems that your Miss Fenwick is not the only person who has been reported missing,” reports a British Army security person to 1st Officer Brown and Carolyn. “Another civilian, a Ceylonese woman and one of our Army nurses vanished about the same time.”

 “All women, what’s up with that? Is there some sicko out there?” Rod Brown fears a rapist is on the loose.

 “Normally, I would make the same assumption folks, but we have had no previous reports of assaults on women, especially since the disappearances were in the vicinity of Embassy Row. We are not talking back alleys or poorly lit streets.”

 “What about that blinding light we’ve heard about? Is that cause and effect or just coincidence?” Lyn is leaving no stone unturned.

 “We don’t know Miss, although our base radar did spot a strange blip on their screens at the same time as the light. When the light went out, the bogey was gone. Frankly, nothing in our skies can move that fast.”

“Three people do not just vanish into thin air, Sergeant. I suggest you redouble your search. PAA should not stand for Postmortem American Airlines.” Words can be weapons, particularly when used by a professional like Lyn.

“We need to get some answers soon. We will be leaving for Pakistan early tomorrow. I want that woman found.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Pan Am Clipper-001

Episode #266


page 247