After an intense weekend at the Global Game Jam we now return you to your regularly scheduled stream of updates from Dream Flight Adventures.
One of my favorite things about Dream Flight Adventures is the way it stirs the imagination of everyone it touches. Today I’m delighted to share a beautiful piece of fan fiction inspired by Vesuvius that was written by a high-achieving sixth grader at Shaler Area Elementary School:
I was sitting at my desk staring out the window. It was a gloomy Tuesday, much like any other day in October. The clouds meandered aimlessly overhead, blocking the sun from my view. It was frigidly cold outside, even for the middle of fall. I was waiting for class to be dismissed for 9th period, my GATE period. I was impatiently staring at the clock, waiting for the minute arm to move over to the five. I could practically hear it ticking. Biting my lip in anticipation, I placed a hand on my folder, waiting for my teacher to tell us that class was over. As soon as the arm reached it’s destination, I snatched up my belongings from my desk and dashed out the door into the crowded hallway. Practically throwing my stuff into my bag, I skipped off to the GATE room. We were going to go into the simulator, and I was assigned as Captain. I wanted to get to the debriefing room quickly so my favorite seat wouldn’t be taken.
When I got to the debriefing room, I realized I was the first one there. Sitting down at my usual seat, I saw my friend, also excited for the simulator, walking in the door.
“What took you so long?” I whined.
“What’s the rush?” she questioned, ”I was running, trying to catch up with you, and I still didn’t catch up!”
“We’re going into the simulator today! We’re trying out a new mission! And I’m captain!” I explained as I leaned back, relaxing in my chair.
“I knew that!” she explained. After a while, the rest of the class got there and sat down in the rows of red chairs. After the last student entered through the door, Mr.Penn appeared from behind the wall that separated the control panel from the rest of the room. He explained the mission we were going on. It was called Vesuvius. In short, we had to go into a volcano on Craft Island. A world renowned volcanologist predicted that it was going to erupt, and evacuated the island. The volcano never did erupt, and now he’s a laughing stock. We have to find out whether or not it will erupt.
“Awesome!” I whispered to my friend on my left.
He nodded and answered, ”I know. I wish I was captain. You’re so lucky.” I smiled smugly, and gave my attention back to Mr.Penn, who was reading the positions off of a roster. Sure enough, I was first on the list as captain. We all lined up to go through the revolving door that led into the IKS Titan. It was like the door you see at the fancy hotels. I rather liked those kind of doors. When I got into the ship after waiting for the other thirteen kids, I sat in the Captain’s Chair, which I had awarded “The Most Comfortable Chair on the Ship”. I sighed, staring at the LED lights that lined the walls, watching how they turned from red, to orange, to yellow, and so on. I listened as the air conditioner hummed in the corner of the room, wishing they would turn it down a bit. Forgetting my hoodie in my locker was not one of my better ideas. Getting up out of my chair, I stood in front of the screen, directly in front of the plasma ball that glowed on the dashboard.
“Hello, everyone,” I introduced myself. ”I will be your captain for this mission. Please address me as Captain Allie, or just Allie. I don’t mind.” I added nonchalantly, grinning. The my friend moved her hand to her forehead, shaking her head, and smiling all the while. I walked back up to my chair.
“Why walk around,” I thought, ”when everything is going to be a piece of cake. Hmmm, now I want cake!” I frowned, thinking about how deprived I was of the delicious, mouth-watering dessert. Suddenly, the lights flickered several times, and then went out completely. The colored lights faded, and the Ipads turned off.
Being that there were no windows, it was darker than night in the small chamber. I could hear the air conditioner’s humming grow quieter, gradually coming to a stop. The crew of fourth and sixth graders screamed, and to be honest, I did, too. A low, raspy breathing filled the ship. I sunk down to the floor and screamed for anyone, anyone at all to get us out of here. Panicking intensely, I threw myself over to the emergency exit door, and pulled violently on the handle. It didn’t budge. The breathing grew louder, becoming rhythmic.
“Darth Vader?” someone asked in alarm, but I couldn’t tell who. The air grew thicker, and I must of been over reacting, but I could feel the walls closing in. Tears streaming down my cheeks with terror, I spoke.
“Who, are you? What’s happening?” I said, voice wavering. There was no answer. The breathing lessened, and finally stopped. The lights returned to their original brightness, and the power came back on.
“Captain?” the communications officer said, ”we got a message from an unknown source. It says ‘Good Luck’.”
“Good Luck?”I repeated, unsure. She nodded and continued working.
The hacker for the mission tapped on the what once was viewing screen in front of the ship.
“It… it’s real glass!” she exclaimed,” And we’re heading straight into a volcano!” We were all too scared to scream. I couldn’t tell the pilot to stop. It felt like a cork was lodged into my throat, stopping words from escaping. As much a I tried, I couldn’t speak.
As soon as we were fully into the volcano, there was a definite increase in the temperature. Everyone began to sweat immediately. I was glad I left my jacket in my locker. I stood up gradually and wobbled over to the front of the ship. The tears had dried, leaving a weird crusty feeling on my face. Pulling myself up onto the dashboard, I found that she was right. I turned pale as I touched the cold glass. It was still cold, even though we were now in the volcano. When my hand left the glass, it left a vague hand print.
“So the lava that we’re going into, is real lava?” one of the fourth graders yelled frantically. By the tone of his voice, I could tell he was on the verge of tears. I walked over to the young security guard, and sat in the vacant chair next to him. As I sat down, he began to sob.
“Look at me, ”I consoled him. ”We’re going to get out of here. Alive. I’m going to make sure of it. There won’t be a scratch on you,” I added, smiling. We both sat unmoving for a while. After about five minutes, he turned to me, sniffed, and thanked me. Standing up, I nodded at him in acknowledgement.
By now, I could tell we were about a foot away from hitting lava. I asked the pilot to stop the ship. I pivoted around to face the fear stricken group of kids at their stations.
“Everyone. I know this is scary, and as you might of seen, I’m just as scared as you are. We will make it out alive. If we keep calm; we can do this. I know this is cheesy, but I believe in you guys,” I said in the calmest voice I could muster. I heard a plethora of okays and yeahs from the obviously encouraged crowd. I asked the communicator to make a call to Headquarters. The static buzzed around the bridge of the ship. The first officer asked the crew to quiet down for the call, something I obviously had forgotten to do. The static continued for another couple of minutes before she decided it would be best to cease the call.
“What were you trying to do?”she asked.
“I was trying to see if they could teleport us back, but they obviously already foiled our plan.”
Replying, ”Okay,” she got back to work decoding another message. Convinced they weren’t going to answer, I left.
I could hear the lava bubble faintly underneath the ship. The scarlet magma flowed gently over the ship, a bit like water, even though it was hundreds of degrees hotter. The small sliver of sky we saw above the ship diminished slowly as we ventured deeper in the the crevasse. Everyone was tapping at their IPads frantically. For the most part, everything was going smoothly, even though there was a fifty-fifty chance that we wouldn’t make it back.
Traveling deeper into the volcano was a slow process. It seemed as if the lava had gotten thicker as we progressed. Large clumps of harder lava rammed against the ship with the strength of a bull. The engines were pushed to go as fast as they could, because we had to get back as soon as possible. Medical scans were being administered left and right. Luckily, I didn’t get medical scans. Between healing crew members and monitoring the temperature, the doctor had a difficult job. I wasn’t about to bother her, until I saw the ship crashing into the volcano wall. Looking underneath it, I saw the pilot. His head was slumped over the steering wheel, unconscious. Dumbstruck, I stood. It took my brain a bit to register that the pilot had passed out, and no one was maneuvering the Titan. Terrified, I sprinted over to the senseless driver. I shook him until my arms were sore, hoping it would wake him up. The vessel was taking damage rapidly, for it had hit the side of the passage for longer that it should.. The first officer, watching from her perch on top of the top platform saw the whole thing. Rushing down faster that I had, she grabbed the pilot by the shoulders and turned to me.
“Go,” she ordered, ”I can handle this.” She had a panicked expression on her red cheeked face. I didn’t argue. Shakily turning around, I gasped in terror. The pilot wasn’t the only person unconscious. The whole crew was dropping like flies! There were at least thirty different sirens sounding at once. The walls spun, and my head throbbed painfully. That was the last thing I saw, before I blacked out, too.
When I awoke, half of the conscious crew was circled around me, their faces pale with fright. Sitting up, I found we hadn’t moved an inch, and the ship was still bumping against the rocky barrier. I was unstable and dropped back down to the freezing metal floor again. Alarmed murmurs sounded through the crowd. I tried to pull myself up onto the rickety cot near the electricity panel, which wasn’t there anymore considering it was now a real ship. My efforts were fruitless, and they had to lift me onto the makeshift bed. I was surprised no one else had occupied it, considering I was one of the last ones to pass out. The first officer thrust herself to the front of the crowd. I turned my head to the side to attempt to look at the girl, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough.
“I can’t go on,” I croaked, ”You have to take over the ship.”
“But,” she paused, ” Yes Captain.” The crowd dispersed back to their stations. I could only listen to the talking of the crew. I heard the doctor say something about a heat stroke, and the hacker about files he had gotten from the enemy’s ship. I heard the newly appointed commander gasp, for she had an idea.
“Shields on, we’re going back up,” she commanded. I could feel the turbulence of the ship as it went upwards. Yells emerged from the pilot, who must of awoken when I was out.
“We’re trapped! The top is closed off! We can’t go any farther!” he yelled.
“Okay, okay,” the Captain replied.”Are the shields on full strength?”
“Yes, Captain,” someone from the crowd answered.
“Pilot, ram full speed into the side of the volcano,” she commanded. The pilot stood up quickly in alarm, but sat back down when he saw her authoritative glare.
Pushing the wheel forward hesitantly, the vessel rocketed forward. It hit the wall with a bang! Rocks crumbling, the ship flew out into the open, baby blue sky. It seemed she knew what to do all along. Relieved, I lay back down on the cot.
“Are you okay to lead us home?” the first officer asked. I nodded, and sat back down in the Captain’s chair.
The deck chief typed in the coordinates of our school, and the IKS Titan’s GPS lead us home. The view home was magnificent; the expanse of blue sky sprinkled with fluffy clouds never seemed to stop. It would have been a lovely day if we hadn’t just had a near death experience. We landed in the baseball field behind the school and clambered off the ship. Once we were all back inside the ship, I turned to the girl who just happened to be luckily assigned to be the first officer.
“Thanks, I really owe you one,” I muttered, rubbing my neck.
“No problem,” she said, more nonchalantly than I would have expected. Maybe she had something to do with the whole catastrophe.
“No, she wouldn’t,” I thought out loud. One kid looked at me weird. I think he thought I was insane to be talking to myself like that.
We all ran back inside the school, just before two-thirty. Apparently, it was Wednesday already, and we had been gone overnight. Peering behind the control panel, we found that Mr. Penn wasn’t there. Some of us went to the GATE room, only to find that it was vacant. The phones in the office were ringing more than ever before. I heard parents’ concerned voices on the hundreds of voicemails. I stopped, for I had heard my own mother’s voice, yelling for me to come back. Afraid, suddenly wishing I could go home, I glanced at the door. My chest grew tight. But I couldn’t. Finally deciding what I had to do, I bolted down the sixth grade hall, and all of the classrooms were empty. Skidding to a halt, I heard a crazed laughter behind the the double doors of the library.
To Be Continued…