Authors: Thomas Scott
State of Anger
A Virgil Jones
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Novel
The State Series – Book 1
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, business
establishments, private organizations, governmental bodies and/or positions, or
persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the
author and publisher.
Copyright © 2014 by Thomas Scott
All rights reserved.
This book was previously published by Godbold
&Whiteman as: Voodoo Daddy
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by
any means without the prior written consent of the author.
Visit the Author’s Website at:
Also by Thomas Scott:
State of Betrayal
A Virgil Jones
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Novel
The State Series – Book 2
cab driver was one of the nine victims, other than the pilot, who actually saw
it coming. Unfortunately, he was also the first to die. By the time he did see
it there wasn’t anything he could do…for himself or anyone else. He didn’t see
their end, only his own, but he knew they were gone, their clocks, just like
his, coming to an end on a final tick or a tock they otherwise would have never
bothered to notice, much less count.
The other eight victims stood in
the lobby of the Airport Ramada Inn at the Indianapolis International Airport.
Six of them were guests waiting to settle their account and check out of the
hotel, the other two hotel employees coming off the night shift. One of the
guests had called for a cab even thought it would have been a ridiculously
short ride across the street to the airport departure area. Had the weather
cooperated this October morning, the hotel guest could have walked to the
departure area instead of taking a cab. But weather rarely cooperates, bitch
that she often is, so the cabbie made nine.
Nine people have thirty seconds to
One of the hotel guests at the
front of the line was disputing a charge on his itemized bill. The hotel clerk
tried to reverse the charge but failed, the computer telling her she needed
authorization from the manager to deduct the proper amount. She tucked a lock
of red hair behind her ear and smiled at the man on the other side of the
counter and informed him the manager was on the way. The man consulted his
watch and smiled back at the pretty redheaded woman, wondering how old she
might be. He noticed the name badge on her jacket. Sara. He also noticed the
plain silver wedding band on her finger and felt his face flush just a bit as
she caught his silent inquiry of her marital status. Just one of those little
every day life moments…about to end.
Nine people now have only twenty
seconds to live.
From overhead the sound of an
aircraft’s jet engine is all but ignored by the people in the lobby. It is an
airport, after all.
The hotel manager came around the
corner and greeted the guest at the front of the line by name. She offered an
apology as she entered her approval code into the computer. From the time she appeared,
entered the code and reversed the charge, only eighteen seconds had elapsed.
It was coming. The cabbie saw it,
and there was nothing he could do.
In two seconds, nine people would
The pilot, a United States Air
Force officer with the rank of captain, needed his three and three—three
takeoffs and three landings within thirty days to stay current. He wasn’t due
to fly this day, except one of the pilots in the rotation had called off sick,
so that bumped the captain up one spot in line. He sat on the corner of the
desk in the flight ready room, the way pilots do, and listened to his
commander’s final instructions before heading out to the flight line at Grissom
Air Force Base, in Peru, Indiana.
“We’ve been having a little
trouble with some of the new fuel control units, Captain. Be sure you’ve got a
steady state of fuel flow before you depart. I don’t want anything going wrong
on a simple three and three.”
“Don’t worry, Major, I’ll keep it
right side up.”
“See that you do. Call sign today
is ‘Voodoo.’ Designation is Solo, flight of one. Report back to me upon
return.” The major tossed a casual salute to the captain then walked away to
leave the pilot to his pre-flight routine.
With his flight plan filed, the
captain walked out across the tarmac at Grissom Air Force Base and climbed
aboard the A-7D Corsair jet. The ground crew members removed the ladder and
un-chocked the wheels as the pilot started the jet’s massive engine and ran
through his pre-taxi checklist. He paid special attention to the fuel flow
meter but saw nothing out of the ordinary. He pulled the canopy shut, checked
that the latch was secure and then keyed the microphone button on the joystick,
his voice calm, detached. “Grissom Clearance, Voodoo Solo, how copy?”
“Five by five, Voodoo Solo.
Clearance when ready.”
“Voodoo Solo, you are cleared back
to Grissom AFB via direct Indianapolis, direct Fort Wayne, then direct. Contact
ground and have a safe flight.”
“Roger that clearance, Grissom AFB
via direct Indy, direct Fort Wayne, then direct. So long.” The captain switched
frequencies then keyed the microphone again. “Grissom Ground Control, Voodoo
Solo, ready for taxi.”
“Good morning Voodoo Solo, this is
Grissom Ground Control. Taxi to runway 23 via Gulf, then Alpha. Hold short and
contact the tower when ready.”
“23 via Gulf then Alpha. Hold
short, tower at the end. Voodoo solo.”
The pilot bumped the power lever
forward just enough to get the big jet rolling along the apron and performed
his pre-flight checks as he taxied. When he approached the end of the runway he
stopped short of the hold line then switched over to the tower frequency.
“Grissom Tower, Voodoo Solo, holding short of runway 23 at Alpha, ready for
“Voodoo Solo, Grissom Tower, good
morning, sir. Winds are one-eight-zero at one-four, gusting to two-three. Fly
runway heading, climb and maintain three thousand feet. Cleared for take off.”
“Roger that, Grissom Tower. Any
chance for an unrestricted climb to ten?” He knew the after-burners would eat
through the fuel, but with both tanks filled to capacity he could afford a
little fun, and there was nothing quite like pouring on the power and pointing
the nose straight up.
“Voodoo Solo, disregard previous
clearance, taxi into position and hold. I’ll check with departure. Repeat,
position and hold.”
“Position and hold. Voodoo Solo.” The
pilot positioned the jet along the centerline of the runway and ran the engine
up to fifty percent power while waiting for the tower controller. The fuel flow
held steady. He pushed the throttle to one hundred percent and felt the
aircraft strain against its brakes, but the fuel flow looked fine. Maintenance
might have been having trouble with the flow control units, but this one
appeared to be operating just as it should. When the jet started to slide a bit
against the power output the pilot backed the throttle down to twenty-five
percent just as the radio chirped in his ear, distracting him from the fuel
flow meter that waggled as the engine spooled down to idle.
“Voodoo Solo, Grissom Tower.”
“Voodoo Solo, go.”
“Voodoo Solo, Grissom Tower, winds
are one-eight-zero at one-five now, still gusting to two-three. Fly runway
heading, climb and maintain ten thousand feet. Cleared for take off. Enjoy.”
“Runway heading to ten, cleared to
go. Voodoo Solo.” The captain pushed the power lever forward and held the
brakes. When the engine reached full power he released the brakes and began his
take off roll. Seconds later he was airborne. He raised the gear and leveled
off at fifty feet. Once he had the proper speed, he pulled back on the stick
and pointed the nose of his aircraft straight up. He was level at ten thousand
feet before he reached the opposite end of the runway.
“Voodoo Solo, Grissom Tower.
Nicely done, sir. Contact Departure and have a nice day.”
He clicked the microphone button
twice in rapid succession as an acknowledgement, then switched to the assigned departure
frequency. “Voodoo Tracker, this is Voodoo Solo, flight of one, with you level
ten, requesting direct Indianapolis.”
“Voodoo Solo, this is Voodoo Tracker,
good morning, Sir. Radar contact. Maintain ten thousand feet, fly heading
one-eight-zero, radar vectors direct Indianapolis.”
“Level ten, one-eight-zero on the
vector for direct, Voodoo Solo.” The captain banked his aircraft to the left
until the compass read 180 degrees, then ran through his after takeoff and
cruise checklists. His speed was over four hundred knots and he’d be ready for
descent at Indy in no time at all. Things happen fast in an A-7D.
As if on cue, the radio chirped in
his ear. “Voodoo Solo, Voodoo Tracker, slow to 250 knots, descend and maintain
five thousand feet, contact Indianapolis Approach Control on one-one-nine point
three. Good day, Sir.”
“Two-fifty speed, down to five,
approach on one-nineteen three. Voodoo Solo.” The pilot pulled the power back
to ten percent and dropped the nose, then called Indianapolis Approach Control,
who gave him a heading to fly before handing him off to the tower for his touch
and go. He would not stop. Instead, he’d just set the wheels down then power back
up, take off toward Fort Wayne, and repeat the procedure there before heading
back to Grissom AFB.
Still slightly high on the
approach, he pulled the power back to idle for just a moment to slow the
aircraft before dropping the landing gear. Once he had the proper speed, he
pushed the power lever back up to maintain his desired rate of descent.
He was less than half a mile to go
on his approach to the end of the runway when the fuel control unit failed and
the jet’s engine spooled down and died.
Nine people had twenty seconds to
Watch now as our cab driver, the
very first to die, opens the trunk for the bags he’ll carry from the lobby.
Watch as he happens to look upward, across the street at the bank building and
imagine what thoughts must run through his mind as he tries to process what he
sees. Watch the way his jaw unhinges and his mouth forms a perfect O so large
you could fit three fingers in there and pull him away from the danger of the
approaching aircraft if only there were enough time.
The pilot has already ejected and
the jet is no longer flying—it is falling. It falls on top of the bank
building and bounces upward slightly after this initial impact. It is this
upward movement that causes our cab driver to make the O with his mouth. He
turns his head toward the hotel, not in denial of what will come, but out of
curiosity of what is about to happen. His life does not flash before his eyes,
nor does he think with regret of the things not yet accomplished in his life.
The last thought his brain processes is no more complicated than the shape his
mouth has formed. It is simply “Oh.”
See the jet now, it’s fuel tanks
ruptured from the impact with the roof of the bank building. Watch if you dare
as it crosses the street and its kinetic energy seeks out the victims in its
path. Observe the jagged edge of its broken wing as it decapitates our cab
driver with such efficiency that for an instant, even while his head flies toward
the lobby his body remains standing erect. Feel the heat as the fireball erupts
and follows the twisted hulk of the aircraft into the lobby of the hotel as if
the jet’s autopilot and navigation systems were set to home in on a free
continental breakfast. See the looks upon the faces of the victims as their
clocks come to an end on a final tick or a tock. See it, and feel the flash of
pain the way the victim’s family members will feel it most every waking moment
for the rest of their lives.
Watch the news stories as the days
turn to weeks, then watch as the story, sensational as it may have been in the
moment, is all but forgotten. It is, off the radar you might say.
But you would be mistaken.