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Friday, July 26, 2013

Boeing Whale

The Boeing Whale waited patiently upon the loading ramp
Passengers climbing into the two narrow cabin pods upon either side of her main bulk
Bags and a few cargo containers loading into a belly sling below
The pilot sat atop the fwd area just in front of the blowholes
Bent down upon her belly
Arms outstretched
Murmuring to the giant beast
Stroking the shimmering black skin with her hands

With all the passengers and cargo secured
The feeders shoveled in a few more loads of food
The whale's mouth eagerly accepting the extra morsels
Making hungry eating whale sounds in response
The parking cradle straps creaking in protest
As she wiggled her bulk in anticipation of flight

The pilot sat up after a last friendly pat on the flanks of her whale
She picked up her helmet from beside her and slipped it on
Adjusting the seals
Checking the virtual readouts that sprang to life as the base of the helmet contacts mated with her suit computer

As a last preflight step
She turned in her seat
And picked up the end of the large tube that ran up the whale's left side
Leading down into the cargo area where the oxygen tanks lived
The upper end of the tube in her hands was molded to fit perfectly into the left hand blowhole
Which is where she inserts it
Twisting a little brass handle to make a bulge in the attachment just inside the hole
Securing it in place

The pilot keyed her mic button with her chin
"Tower, this is Boeing Whale six-seven-niner
Requesting clearance for takeoff and immediate ascension to flight level two-four"

Inside her helmet the speakers crackled in response almost unintelligibly
But hearing what she needed to hear
She signaled the ground crew to release the tethers
The whale quivering beneath her

Tethers off
Clearance given
The pilot grabbed ahold of the knobby ridges on top of the whale's head
Applying pressure here and there in a 'just so' manner

The Boeing Whale responded with a massive kick off with it's main fluke
Impacting the launch base and kicking off almost 100 feet into the air
Pilot and passengers were pushed back into their seats
As the whale produced a pulsing thrust with it's tail
Pectoral fins responding to pilot inputs and adding fine adjustment to their ascent

The setting sun glinted off the wet hide of the flying whale
The three foot tall "Boeing" tattoo glinting in the light
Passengers enjoying the view from their little round windows on their pods
The pilot's hands firmly in position on the whale
In complete sync with her whale
The matching "Boeing" tattoo on her neck catching the same sunlight as it shone through her helmet onto the side of her face

Reaching assigned flight level 24 in less than ten minutes
The mighty Boeing Whale set up for a two hour cruise at that altitude
Heading for the West Coast of America
Home for this particular whale and pilot
Both looking forward to a visit to the Sound
And some immersion time in the real salt water that was there

The right hand blowhole of the whale opened suddenly
Exhaling wetly into the thin air at 24,000 feet
Her breath instantly turning to ice crystals
Leaving an icy plume puff in the wake of her steadily swimming tail fluke

Heading into the setting sun
Heading home