Author: Maxwell Granger
Date: 11-23-09 01:10
A chill wind blew across the exposed airfield and Verity shivered. At least it ought to be warmer where they were headed, she thought. Miami was in the Sunshine State, after all. They'd change there to continue their journey south to Africa. A thrill of excitement ran through her.
Clambering up the steps onto the plane, she sank down into the seat indicated by the cabin crew and then leaned over to peer out of the small rectangular window. There was a slight jolt as the twin propellers began to slowly turn.
The pilot had just settled into his cockpit seat as passengers began to board. The two stewards on board greeting each briefly upon entry. The rich man that had chartered this jaunt had joined the Captain during his preflight inspection of the plane. It was something of a relief to be done with it. He hoped the fella would not join him for every preflight. The guy made him feel awkward for some reason. Shaking off his feelings he began the cockpit checks with his copilot.
Not too bad, Elena though to herself as she eyed the plane. She was an aviator herself, although she kept it fairly quiet. A female pilot was not a popular concept and she disliked being a novelty. She preferred to take the controls when she could and didn't mind, for the moment, being a passenger. The Spaniard crossed the tarmac, ascended the stairs and found a seat, smiling to herself as the propellers started up. She was dressed a little less formally, having donned shoes with a smaller heel and a skirt that allowed a little more movement. She rearranged her hat and then sat back, quite at home for the moment.
Gavin arrived just behind his companion, watching the sway of her hips as she crossed the tarmac and grinning to himself. The gun slinger took his time boarding the plane, enjoying the anticipation of a long journey ahead. Dark eyes settled on Elena as he ducked through the door and he winked at her, but let his tall frame fall into the seat next to Verity. “Gavin,” he introduced himself, adding Santos after a moment's thought.
Peter stared at the plane with a dread that didn't show on his worn, inexpressive face. It was so small, and seemed far too vulnerable to go up in the sky full of people and manage to stay there. He knew intellectually that it must work. People flew all the time: just, people who weren't him.
There was no backing out of this now, though. And he didn't want to, he'd come for the adventure of the whole thing, after all. He just hadn't banked on the tiny little plane.
Taking a deep breath, he made himself climb on board. There were women present, so he took off his hat. There was no way he could bring himself to be as cavalier and inappropriate as the dark man in front of him and sit next to a woman, so he took a seat by himself and did his best not to look terrified.
Verity's head turned as she heard someone sit down beside her. It was the attractive, Latin-looking gentleman from the meeting. She smiled brightly, her enjoyment of the whole occasion reflected in her flint-grey eyes.
"Verity Granger," she said, offering him her hand. "Pleased to meet you, Mr Santos."
Taking off his hat, Zack lowered his head and stepped into the cabin of the plane. The drone of the propellers was dampened, but the hum seemed to reverberate from the hull of the plane through the soles of his feet all the way up to his scalp. The sensation matched his excitement about the adventure. He grinned and nodded to those of his fellow adventurers who were already seated, making his way to a free seat next to a man with dark blond hair and a pleasant expression. Zack smiled and nodded at him. The man's tanned face bespoke many hours spent outdoors, and a small scar on his left cheek added interest. "Zack Quicksilver," Zack said. "I remember you from the meeting at the Explorer's Club, but I didn't catch the name." Zack reached into a pocket on the inside of his jacket and took out a flask. "Air travel gives me the jitters." Unscrewing the top, he offered it to the man. "Bourbon. Care for a tot?"
Gavin took the offered hand and pressed a kiss to the lady's knuckles, his dark eyes aglitter as they held hers. “The pleasure is all mine,” he assured in a low, heavily accented tone. “Miss Verity Granger.” The Spaniard smiled as he released her fingers. “You have the look of someone who has flown on one of these before. Do you travel often?”
A broad grin warmed Peter's features at Zack's offer, and he took the flask with an upward nod of thanks. "Pete Durban." He had a slug of bourbon, and had to admit it was steadying for the nerves. He wiped the mouthpiece before handing the flask back. "And yeah, me too. Came over here on the boat, y'know? I get boats. Big, solid. Know what they're doing. This thing? Decent gust of wind'd knock it right... Not helping, am I?"
Zack laughed and took a swallow from the flask. "I gotta tell you, it's not the actual flying that worries me. It's the taking off and the landing." He took another swallow, then put the flask away and withdrew a rabbit's foot charm from another pocket. "Yeah, the taking off and the landing." He smiled and settled into his seat, rubbing the rabbit's foot absently with his thumb.
After concluding the flight check with the pilot Omar stood at the base of the few boarding stairs to acknowledge each expected passenger as they boarded for their adventure. Supremely satisfied with the company he had gathered for this excursion Omar simply nodded and smiled as each one had entered the plane. He was watching for Ms. Quartermaine curious about her more than the others because of her intense interest in various antiquities. The astute businessman had gathered as much from the brief conversation they had at the Explorer’s Club when introduced.
Max slid into the seat beside Elena, a hint of a smile on his lips. "Maxwell Granger," he said to her, introducing himself. "I hope you don't mind if I sit here. Have you made this sort of trip before?"
Verity's smile widened. Gavin was very charming, and she suspected he knew it. A hint of laughter sparked in her eyes. "I have flown before," she said, "although it's not something I do regularly. My family are all archaeologists, so I've done quite a bit of travelling for one reason or another."
Wakanda hurried across the tarmac. She nodded at Omar as she climbed the steps into the plane. She was more comfortably dressed this time. Gone was the dress and heels, replaced by levis, coolie and moccasins. The wool cloak concealed her and her weaponry and tools. She settled into a empty seat alone and took a deep breath. So they would be on their way into the unknown.
Alison hurried towards the boarding stairs of the plane noting that Omar had not boarded yet. She had a feeling she was the last to arrive but there had been a last minute call to a friend to let them know she would be gone for awhile. No sense causing unnecessary worry. Though if she had told the friend where she was headed and who she was going with there would have been hell to pay. And she had needed appropriate clothing for where they were going. No dresses, but slacks and footwear that no well- dressed woman would normally be seen in.
She briefly glanced at Omar as she hurried up the steps and into the plane. Sure enough only a couple of seats left, in the very back. Oh well, she thought and headed straight for an empty one with a window. Sitting herself down she dropped her oversized bag next to her feet and closed her eyes for a moment. "I'm on my way grandfather," she whispered to herself.
Mildly disappointed he did not get the chance to speak to Alison before she’d gotten on board; Omar lightly shrugged it off knowing he would have six hours of flight time to have a conversation. Noting that Tristan had boarded on the heels of Alison the rich businessman climbed the stairs into the plane himself.
Moving deliberately toward the cockpit Omar informed the crew all were aboard and were ready for departure. Satisfied with that chore done he now headed straight back to the rear sitting right next to Alison. “I hope you don’t mind but I would like to get to know you better.” He had known of her from his many conversations with her grandfather but until now he had not actually met her. She intrigued him.
As soon as the door was secured the engines revved up to a higher degree and the plane slowly taxied to the end of the runway. The weather between New York and Miami was good so the flight looked like just another routine trip.
Gavin watched Omar with slightly amused curiosity, then returned to his conversation with Verity. “Ah... good,” he said with a smirk. “There is nothing more stimulating than flying with an experienced woman.”