Sandi, You Hoopy Frood
A Legion of Lawndale Heroes ‘Mini’, by Brother Grimace
Legion of Lawndale Heroes created by James Bowman
One’s family members, long-term friends/frenemies, and associates at work. It’s commonly accepted that when one is around other persons for any length of time, one picks up many things from being around them – even if you don’t necessarily like them. This can be something as simple as vocal patterns and expressions, or as useful as acquisition of information and talents. Just think of some of the skills, habits, information and even opinions you have; of course these are part of the person that you have become through the exposure you’ve had to those people across the course of your life – for good or for ill.
Which one of us hasn’t picked up any of the above from having to watch and/or listen (over, and over, and over, into abject annoyance) our parents, our siblings or our friends?
This fact of life began to show in the influence the Legionnaires had upon one another. However, there was a bit of embarrassment that came along with those bits of half-remembered information coming out when they did – even if it was immensely useful when it did happen.
-from Inside The Tower
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels. A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have...
-from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
“Everyone, calm down! It’s only been a couple of hours past our return time - and since they haven’t been able to contact us on the radio, I’m certain that the authorities have already started a rescue effort!”
A girl’s voice piped up. “Especially since they’ll be looking for the Legionnaire princess, here.”
A combined groan rose from the other nineteen people that gathered around the seaplane that lay surprisingly intact on the beach, the starboard wing broken a foot away from the outer prop engine.
Sandi Griffin let her fingers stroke the side of her handbag, felt the outline of her PFT fighting baton (a new variant built by Jodie Landon for concealed carry when traveling, it retracted to the size of a circular battery pack, and even had a working USB port) and let her fingers fall away as easily as her distaste of the other girl.
People probably still think of me the same way. Besides, the Colonel and Daria would bitch like crazy if I brained her with my baton.
A burly Samoan teenager looked up from the sand castle that he’d been working on. “My mother raised me to be polite to ladies, but I think she’d forgive me if I said ‘PLEASE be quiet’!”
One of the pilots brushed his hair back as he turned to the young woman. “If it wasn’t for you, your friends and your father ‘insisting’ that we make this flight, Miss Kiddle - none of us would be here right now. You don’t get to talk right now.”
Even the two pilots of the Boeing Model 314 ‘flying boat’ (both standing next to the large plane, with the words Sunrise Travel and Tours painted vividly on the side) tried not to smile as Dakota Kiddle – a striking young beauty who could easily pass for Sandi’s much hotter twin sister – actually sat down in the sand and pouted as the three other girls with her (each equally as pretty) gathered around in solidarity.
The other pilot shrugged. “Loud mouth aside, Miss Griffith – the girl’s right. A celebrity like you – they’ll be bringing in the military to assist in the search. The American military.”
You have no idea, Sandi thought quite loudly. The moment that they get the news at Legion Tower that my plane’s been lost, it’ll be a race between Daria and Julia to track me down - if Jodie hasn’t already, I bet she put a bug in my new baton to track it. Oh – and then there’s Tom. He’ll come charging in and come up with some lame idea and even more lame excuse as to how he found us.
Knowing him, he’ll get Brittany and a yacht, have her turn it invisible, fly it around to the other side of the island and then say ‘isn’t this a coincidence?” No, you jerk - it’s not even a good lie.
The Colonel would FREAK if any of the Legionnaires used their powers to rescue all of us openly – and Daria can’t use her powers to make everyone here forget what happened. If they rescued us that way, too many questions would come up.
Sandi turned, and watched in amusement (along with the others) as Dakota and her friends stripped out of their colorful (and expensive, I recognize the designer, she thought) outfits to reveal swimsuits more scandalous than anything she’d personally laid eyes upon - including that string mesh thing Julia Carlyle wore the morning she joined, or the monokini Stacy Rowe bought with her very first Legion check.
As the other girls laid out their beach apparel and got comfortable, Dakota pulled a huge, fluffy and offensively orange beach towel from the bag that she’d earlier dragged from the plane.
So, did you bring the tent poles and the stakes for that big, fluffy tent you’re about to put up? God knows Stacy would love a towel that size; she’s always had a thing about towels, ever since she read those weird books about hitchhiking aliens back in eighth grade. She even carries one around on that day in late May, every year…
Hey – wait a minute. That color – that’s ‘blaze orange’ - the same horrid color that Brittany and Stacy wear whenever they go out hunting, so people won’t shoot at them!
Sandi looked around the landscape; she let her gaze flow slowly over the rolling hills and the blanket of natural green that covered them, off in the distance...
Oh. That gives me an idea.
While even her friends frowned at the way she positioned herself in a spot to get equal amounts of sun and male attention, Dakota had set up her things – a bottle of water, her smartphone, a bag of banana chips – and was about to spread the towel out when it was snatched from her hands!
“Hey! That’s my towel!”
“I’ll bring it back later.” Sandi didn’t even bother to look back as she headed off towards the thick foliage.
“Miss Griffin! You just can’t go wandering off by yourself – you’ll get yourself killed! We need to all stay right here as a group, near the plane! That way, they’ll be able to find all of us!”
The pilot’s voice didn’t stop Sandi from walking away.“That’s right. I have a plan on how to signal someone to rescue us.”
“What – with a big, orange towel?”
Sandi stopped; she turned to look Dakota directly in the eye.
“Why don’t you do something useful to help out while I’m gone, Kiddle? Take a couple of deep breaths.”
Laughter rose up behind Sandi as Dakota shrieked and grabbed for her top, her skin going red as she blushed all the way down to her stylish sandals.
The lead pilot jogged up to Sandi before she made it to the treeline. “Miss Griffin – you still can’t go off like this. If you got hurt-”
“Don’t worry. We have to do stuff like this in the Legion all of the time.”
“Miss, I’m former Royal Navy. I spent a lot of time in places like this-”
“Last year, we had to do a week of tra- a week on an island like this. It’s probably a couple of hours from here, I think. That other island, I mean.”
Sandi smiled at the man. “I’m used to things like this. I’ll be fine.”
She disappeared into the greenery before he could protest any further.
Ninety minutes later, aboard the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Aurélie Genest sat within the Cupola – the ISS observatory module – and took a few moments to fantasize about flying a StarFury space fighter, fighting against bad guys like her favorite Babylon 5 character – Susan Ivanova…
A Commandant in the French Air Force, Aurélie had dreamed of flying fighters – her own nation’s Rafale, or a Eurofighter Typhoon, or even her dream of somehow being in the cockpit of an American F-16 (the plane that fueled her childhood desire to someday earn her wings)…
However, when opportunity and politics provided the opportunity to enter the space program, she put her dreams aside. Not that this wasn’t incredible – and, of course, no fighter – not even the American planes – could ever get to where she was now.
She still sighed. Being a fighter pilot in space, in something like the StarFury…
Being the professional that she was, however, it took only the glimmer of something… different to bring Aurélie out of her reverie and back to her work.
The glimmer of an… unusual color, a strange point of light against the curve of white and blue rotating beneath her…
“What… is… that?”
Slightly more than an hour after Commandant (unknown to her, to be Colonel within the next forty-eight hours) Genest witnessed one of the three most interesting things of her career, Sandi trudged out of the hills and made her way to the beach when she heard the sound of helicopters.
“Time to run.”
In an instant, Sandi flashed across the terrain at almost sixty miles an hour, as sure-footed as a mountain lion pursuing prey.
She reached the treeline she had departed from just as the first of two large, triple-engine U.S. Navy helicopters set down about a hundred feet away from the downed plane; the second hovered overhead, and Sandi could see crewmen with binoculars watch her as she went to join the others.
“Miss Griffin! Are you all right?”
Sandi had to almost yell to be heard over the roar of the helicopters as the naval officer (who had sprinted over to her as she walked away from the treeline) came to a sharp stop before her. “I’m okay!”
“I’m Lieutenant Commander Harrelson - USS Murphysboro! We’ve been looking for you and your friends for the past couple of hours, but when we got your signal - we headed right in this direction!”
“I also have a message for you from Colonel Armalin! I’ll give it to you once we get everyone on the helo!”
As she passed Dakota, she dropped the still-pristine towel into the girl’s hands; Dakota flinched as Sandi leaned in and yelled into her left ear.
Smiling as a handsome sailor secured her harness, Sandi opened the envelope Harrelson had given her and unfolded the sheet of paper; she ignored Dakota’s whimpers about how nasty the inside of the Super Stallion helicopter smelled as she read Armalin’s message.
Nice work with the signal. Extra points for style and effort. By the time you read this, Carlyle and Sloane will have started cleanup. There will be a great deal of shelters that will appreciate the large donations of towels. You get to spend time when you return ‘making’ plenty of washcloths, face and bath towels to complete the sets.
Next time you get stranded on an uncharted island, however – just spend a couple of days there letting boys chase you while we get a plan moving to find you. Explaining that signal of yours has taken some convincing and… otherwise. There’s a couple of astronauts who now have top-level clearance because of you. You’ll get to speak to them in Legion MTAC when you return.
In the meantime – take a few days on your way back from Australia and swing through Thailand. Pick up a half-dozen... durian... for me – and send a message when you get there. We’ll send a plane for you.
In the cockpit of the lead Stallion, Harrelson looked downward as the helicopter made a final pass over the island.
“How the hell did she manage to do that?”
“Eyes forward, Sunbear,” the pilot said, even as he took another look. “We’ve got a six-hour flight back. Let’s try to give our guests a smooth ride.”
Against his better judgment, Lucas Harrelson looked back one more time at ‘the signal’ that Sandi had set up for rescuers: a huge ‘frowny-face’ a good three miles across, made up of thousands of bright orange towels.
As he watched, he saw one of the ‘eyes’ suddenly disappear before his eyes – and he could have sworn that he saw a winged craft soar downward to where the other ‘eye’ was.
That wasn’t a fixed-wing - it sure as hell wasn’t anything with ‘stars-and-stripes’. What the hell was that? Too small and fast for a drone, and the wings are the wrong - is that fast-mover a ‘swing-wing’ with forward-swept wings.
Not ‘wings’ as in ‘aircraft’ – ‘wings’ as in…
Those are actual wings. That’s crazy! That can’t be a-
No. I need a drink. I need a serious drink.
Harrelson sat back; he waited a full minute before he turned to face the stern expression of the lead pilot.
“See anything unusual, Sunbear?”
“Only the very real possibility of my asking that slim little blonde we picked up out for a good steak and some pavlova, boss! That place just off the shore does the best one in town!”
“Very good, Sunbear.”
“If you could find someone to distract her friend with the dark hair, boss, I’d appreciate it. She comes across as the type to get pissed if she’s not the center of attention!”
“You got that all from a few seconds of talking to the girl as you were loading them in?”
The stern expression bled away from the senior officer’s face. “Take the plane.”
Harrelson gripped his control yoke. “I have the plane.”
_________________Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.
-Jon Stewart "We have a right to fight for our country - the same as every other American. We will not go away." -Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard), Red Tails"If we can't protect the Earth - you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it."
-Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), The Avengers"Sometimes you have to spontaneously break into song - right?" - Mack, from Teen Beach 2The PSI Corps is your friend. Trust The Corps.