In which our heroes cross a desert.
There was a loud thud as the planes undercarriage hit the ground. Followed by a much louder thud as the fuselage hit the ground. Then there was a horrible drawn out grinding noise as several million dollars of meticulously folded and riveted aluminum dragged itself across the ground and ripped itself to buggery. Finally there were some gentle tinkling noises, backed by the low bass rumble of a single tire rolling away from the wreckage. Then there was a long uncomfortable silence.
“Well”, announced Tony Tony to the otherwise silent plane, “that is the last time I fly on a plane that Ants picked out!”
“Oh don’t be so dramatic”, said Greg, while folding up his newspaper;”We made it, didn’t we?”
“Well, we’re back at ground level again, I don’t think I can argue with that” he glanced out of his window, his heart beat starting to return to an almost normal level, “Hey”, he said, “We fell way short; I can see Uluru in the distance.”
“Really?” said Greg who had finished collecting their luggage from the over head compartments, “That’s good, we’ll head there then.”
“What? I thought you wanted to go to Alice Springs.”
“No, I just wanted our flight records to reflect that that was where we were going.”
Greg was a very calming person to have around in an emergency and Tony Tony caould feel his customary grin starting to return. “You are a very difficult man to predict, you know that Greg?”
“Thank you, I’m relying on that to make me hard to stop.”
“Ok”, Tony Tony hoisted himself up and together they headed for the back of the plane, “So you wanted to go to Uluru this whole time?”
“No, but both Alice Springs and Uluru have plenty of road access, we’re heading for Adelaide.”
“Adelaide? What’s there?”
“A large colony of Wind Surfers”
Tony Tony considered this, “I tried windsurfing once, and it was fun, once I stopped falling off but-”, He threw his head back, his eyes unfocused “-Right, from that article we did a few years ago, that giant annual migration that they do. To Italy, right”
“Right, which geographically speaking is a hop skip and a jump from Transylvania”
“Thus taking everyone by surprise when you show up half a continent away from where you should be”
“Well I had planned on lying low for another twenty nine days once I was in Transylvania, but yea, you understand”
Tony Tony thought about this, and then whistled through his teeth while nodding slightly.
“Thank you, you’re up.”
A rather pretty stewardess in a rather ruffed uniform was sweeping towards them. Tony Tony locked eyes with her, rested his hand on her shoulder, and gave her his most winning smile. “I want to thank you for what you did back there, keeping everyone calm.”
“Oh”, she said faltering slightly, “I that’s my- I mean it was my- Thanks” She looked away, blushing.
“I’d like to take you out to dinner sometime, do you have a number?”
About a minute later he met up with Greg outside, “I don’t think that getting her number was really necessary”
“Well it worked didn’t it? I notice she didn’t object to two potentially concussed passengers walking out through a jagged hole in the side of an aircraft into a desert they have no equipment for.”
“Tony Tony, how old do you think that girl was?”
“I’d say, early twenties”
“This would make her literally half your age”
“Well you don’t need to bring that up”, said Tony Tony, looking hurt, “and anyway”, he said, his grin returning, “I’m not married at the moment, and that makes me fair game. So if you have problem with my methods”, he said, his grin getting much wider, ”You could always do it yourself”
Greg said nothing at first but after a while he said, very slowly, ”Tony Tony, do you remember when we met the Countess of Lester, and you told me to turn on the charm?”
“Yes”, said Tony Tony, his grin now taking up most of his face, “Yes, I do!”
“Good. As long as you remember that, I know you didn’t take that suggestion seriously.”
They walked in silence for a moment.
“Tony Tony?” said Greg
“What was going on when you got her talking about clever linguists?”
“Cunning; and it was just research; I asked her what kind of man she liked.”
“Ah, well I know you’re experienced with the tongues of Japan and Morocco”
“Yes, I have a certain familiarity with the tongues of all 7 continents”
“Good grief, even Antarctica?”
“You do realize that I know exactly what you’re talking about, right?”
“I was wondering, but thank you for clearing that up.”
They kept walking
“Uluru is a very long way away across a patch of baking hot desert.”
“Do you have any idea how we are going to get there?”
“Not as such, no.”
They stooped walking
They continued to not walk.
“You trained as a mage, didn’t you?”
“Yes; I also dropped out. Anyway we’re not looking to blow up the desert.”
“Right, but you’re a vampire”
“I’ve never been very clear on what being a vampire lets you do. Can you turn into a cloud of bats or something?”
“No that’s a feat only a high level vampire can perform. They can also control animals, heal the sick, and make their eyes glow an imposing shade of red. I mostly got in it for the immortality.”
“So what level are you?”
“What does that let you do?”
“I can levitate small objects, as long as I’m touching them.”
Tony Tony found this eyes being drawn back to the downed aircraft.
“Small objects, heh?”
Tony Tony’s eyes found a part of the tailplane that had ripped off, his grin became more pronounced.
“How about light objects?”
Fifteen minutes later the Uluru avenger was speeding away across the desert.
“I have to say Tony Tony that this was one of your better plans.”
“Thanks Greg, I like it too”
“But can you explain to me again why we can’t sit on top?”
“The airflow over the top needs to be smooth and fast, if we were up there we wouldn’t have any lift”
“Right, and the reason we can’t go more than a few feet off the ground?”
“That’s down to ground effect; we would lose our cushion of air if we tried to go any higher. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, no reason, I am glad we’re mobile. But in future I would appreciate it if I didn’t end up staring face down at rough ground moving past about three inches from my face at 100 kilometers per hour.”
“I’ll bear it in mind”, said Tony Tony, looking apologetic “Where were you planning on going when we reached Uluru?”
“I had planned on renting a car and driving down to Adelaide”
“That’s a two day trip isn’t it?”
Tony Tony thought about this,” I think”, he said carefully, “that I know a way to get us there faster.”
“One of my ex-wives’ former fiancés set up here, he was an inventor.”
Tony Tony waited, but Greg was silent.
“He lives a little bit out of town; we should hang a left here.”