Lloyd stood before the airplane, staring up. He took a deep breath in, then exhaled.
The nose was crumpled in like a pug. The wings were unstable – still held on, but only barely. The right engine, attached to the rear of the fuselage, was fine. The left engine looked dodgy, in part because a chunk of was torn off.
Lloyd shook his head. How did this happen? he wondered. Who were you, and what were you doing?
Lloyd wasn’t near the plane when any of this happened. There had been some news reports, but nothing discussed in depth. The media was too busy, at that moment, with a push from Islamic extremists, or Buddhist extremists, or Anglican extremists – he couldn’t remember which, but knew it was one of the fear-inciters du jour – to cover a small plane accident.
As he stood staring at the not-quite wreckage, watching as service personnel and engineers crawled over the thing, putting it back together if they could, he wondered what had happened, if anyone had asked, if anything had been discovered.
“Lloyd, you ready?”
“Yes boss,” Lloyd said, turning.
“That’s captain, to you,” a greying man in a pilot’s outfit said.
“Sure thing, cap’n.”
“Come on then, co-pilot. Time for your trial flight.”
Lloyd followed the captain toward the gate, trying to calm his nerves.