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Flight 792

by on August 22, 2010

“Agent Smith.”
“Agent Jones.”
They exchanged curt nods and the usual Bureau badge waving.
“So, what have we got?”
“Well, Agent Smith, I don’t have a lot to tell you at the moment,” Jones said, shuffling his feet. “I just got here myself. What I can tell you is that…” he reached into his jacket and fished out his dog-eared notebook. He flicked through case information and grocery lists, looking for today’s Biro-scribbled notes.
“Anytime today, Agent.”
“Sorry, Agent Smith. H-here, ” he stammered, finding the page. “Air Traffic Control reports that they lost contact with Flight 792 at 1152 hours. Nothing unusual before that. They just… went down,” he said, waving his hand at the wreckage in front of them.
“Here’s what we’re going to do. You go talk to the dousers,” he nodded over at the group of charcoal-faced firefighters, “while I have a look around.”
Jones scampered off. Smith checked the display on his palm. Fifty metres, North-northeast. He only had a few minutes, he thought, clambering through the wreckage. There: the Flight Data Recorder. He cracked it open, swapped the drive out, and resealed the FDR in less than ten seconds. He allowed himself a smirk; he was the best in the business at this. His employer’s secret was still safe.
As he walked back to Jones he passed one of the engines. It was covered in feathers and blood. Birds, he thought. It’s always fucking birds.

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10 Comments
  1. Cool idea. Everybody likes a conspiracy theory (maybe the idea of conspiracy was planted in our heads by…)

    Really like the movie-like agents and their formality and the differences in voice between the confident Smith and intimidated Jones.

    Also like how little is told or implied – I have a whole back story on my head.

    Wasn’t really happy with ‘Smith checked the display on his palm’ because I had to think about it a lot and it broke the flow for me – it was unclear to me whether this was everyday technology in his world (seems unlikely in light of biro-scribbled) or a secret gift from his alien/hi-tech employers – either way for me too much is revealed in that one sentence – for me it reduces the sense of mystery.

    • Thank you!

      Re palm: yeah, agreed. It was supposed to be along the gift-from-employer side, but no time or space to expand on it. Perhaps I should just make it Palm. πŸ™‚

  2. Our Hero, the traditionally named Agent Smith, reports at a crash site where he then proceeds to replace the plane’s black-box with another. He is about to cover up that birds caused the crash of flight 792.

    I enjoyed the officious, agent-type banter between the characters. One gets the sense that Agent Smith is more competent β€” and higher up in the food chain β€” than poor Agent Jones. Good use of language for this (such as having Jones “scamper” off).

    I thought that they sometimes overused calling each other agent. For instance, “Anytime today, Agent,” sounded a bit forced to me.

    At the end I was left wondering how Agent Smith was going to remove the bodies of the birds from the plane to finish the cover up, but also thought that this was a good beginning for him!

    Fun piece πŸ™‚

    • Traditionally? Tradition is virus, Mr Neeser.
      Ahem.

      Re Smith and Jones and food chain: that is indeed what I had in mind.
      My thoughts for saying Agent a lot was that they were in the middle of a puddle of local cops, so were being a bit stiff. This isn’t clear, though, and on rereading I do feel a bit too Agented.

      Thanks, man! πŸ™‚

  3. parfles permalink

    This is fun – a little window on a giant conspiracy. I am left wanting to know more about Smith’s employers, about what they are covering up – but that is good, and what you wanted!

    I would have liked to have a little more twistyness about the actual accident – I surmise that birds brought the flight down by accident, but that the FDR would have shown something – but can’t make sense of it quite.

    Some of the dialogue felt a little stilted – I agree with Rudy, I think it may have been the overuse of Agent. I would have felt more comfortable with them using their last names without the “Agent” in front.

    Thank you, I enjoyed it!

    • Re Smith’s employers: they pay well and give 45 days of annual leave.
      πŸ™‚

      > but can’t make sense of it quite.
      Yeah, me neither. The idea is still kind of churning around in my head, to be honest. I never quite locked down exactly what was going on.

      Agreed re Agent provocateur – see my reply to Rude above.

      Fanks! πŸ™‚

  4. cbraz permalink

    I enjoyed this a lot. It was light and fun, in a creepy conspiracy kind of way. I actually enjoyed the slightly stilted agent-speak. It built up the formality and hierarchy of the characters.

    Because of this formality and control in the interaction, I was a little jarred by “scampered” as it didn’t fit with that vibe.

    I was also unsure about the ending. I assumed that birds were being used to cover up what actually happened to down the flight (pun intended πŸ™‚ but it wasn’t clear.

  5. Thank you! πŸ˜€

    See what you mean re scampi. The scampering was supposed to be from Smith’s POV, which I realise makes no sense in the pot with the rest of it.

    Re unsure: for sure. You’ll know when I do.
    Ahem.

  6. This was fun, conspiracy theories ftw, and the agenty interchanges were vibey – I enjoyed their tongue-in-cheek take on officialese. I have to agree with Parfles and Cbraz, though, that the story felt a little unformed, like unbaked cookie dough – I wasn’t entirely clear on what was happening. Conspiracy theories tend to be characterised by an excess of information rather than a dearth, and there wasn’t quite enough here to get one’s teeth in.

  7. Mmm… cookie dough.
    Alas, I have to concur re unbaked.

    “I wasn’t entirely clear on what was happening” I know the feeling!

    Various excuses (mostly canine ones) meant a little more 11th houryness than usual. As a result I’m not too happy with it.
    I think you’re right: too much time / words on the interchange and not enough on the conspiracy.

    Ah well.
    Must try harder.
    “Three stars. Would read again.”
    πŸ˜‰

    p.s. thank you!

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