“George, I’ve got my cameras on the scene as well as my eyeballs. I don’t know what you witnessed, but I’m seeing Sandbox Wars just like you suggested with only a few survivors left. Those survivors seem hell-bent in final combat as well. My guess is there won’t be any smart mining equipment pieces left after the final blow is given. And to add to that, it appears that the Badger is digging into the lowest rung of the open pit so it can have the rim collapse on it, like a grave. It looks like all the mining equipment is engaged in fratricide, then moving to suicide to complete the destruction of the Kookaburra mine.”
George then asked, “Do you see the drone? Any chance that you can try to reestablish its communications link? You don’t have a whole lot of time over the site before you need to head home. Your description corresponds to what we saw earlier and the progression model I built while you were en route. Everyone is now watching the video feeds, before history rolls over it. Well done, sir.”
The pilot smirked and then stated, “Yeah, well, there’s nothing like a ring-side seat to Armageddon. Let me see if I can connect to the drone and straighten out his communications link. Give me a few…”
After more than a few minutes, a concerned George asked, “What’s your status? Any luck connecting to the drone? Why have your video feeds vanished? Come back?”
The pilot could not respond since the drone link he had established functioned as a poisoned digital connection. The single engine plane had only a little of the high-tech gear that the drone had which probably saved the pilot’s life. Unfortunately, all communication links were shut down to the aircraft, leaving only basic steering and navigation instruments available for return. However, as the pilot banked to leave the area, the drone became an adversary. It tried several times to ram the departing aircraft, much to the pilot’s chagrin. The last pass of the unmanned drone clipped the wing strut, and the pilot searched for a reasonably safe place to land.
He flared the aircraft attitude as much as he dared and feathered the engine’s prop for as soft a landing as possible. The years of practice landing on unorthodox runways in the Chihuahua desert probably saved his life, as the aircraft bounced and ground to a halt in the chalky sandy pit. He couldn’t get out of the mangled aircraft. The pilot had a great view out of the now windowless cockpit of the drone spiraling into the ground, but it didn’t please him. Worse, he knew his plane wouldn’t fly again and that his options were very limited. The only bright spot was that he had his special satellite enabled cell phone with him and that just might allow him communications.
The pilot held his breath as he hit the special key sequence, hoping that it wouldn’t fail him. He was not disappointed.
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