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Shuttlewreck Point

Two Long Days into our Venus vacation we took a hopper across the Sappho Archipelago, stopping at various points of interest.  Early on the Morn Short Day, we landed at Shuttlewreck Point.  You can guess what happened there.

Our audio guide was a truly obnoxious imitation of an old American Western voice.  Don't ask me why.  But, best as I can remember, here's what it had to say:

"Back in Aught-Two there was a mighty strong storm blowing across these here islands.  What we'd call Category Five back on Earth.  Now in those days, this island was a little ol' trading post.  Goods from beyond the sky would transfer to shuttles up in orbit and make their way down here, where big barges and such would take them to the smaller islands.

"Now come one Storm Day, the winds kicked up.  The fancy 'puters said the storm was headed east, so the shuttles all flew on schedule.  Then the wind kicked up a notch.  Rain and waves and thunder and lightning swept across them landing pads, nearly strong enough to lift a shuttle off its pads and into the ocean.  So it was that ol' Bill Warner took the Chartreuse Lady off the pad to head for open space, where he could ride out the storm in the vacuum. What he didn't know was that the Hagen-Dais Express had diverted out of Flanders Field, 'cause the wind was really, I mean really, blowing there. The tower out here was off-line, and the controllers hiding down in their storm shelters, so it was instrument flying only.  And ol' Bill couldn't see a lot.  His radar didn't really work that well in weather.

"Don't know what happened to the collision avoidance gizmos -- the smash-up wrecked them both, but out over the point, the Chartreuse Lady and Hagen-Dais Express smack into each other hard.  The one still working port camera saw a flash like ball lighting and then them ships crashed down into the angry sea.  Ain't nobody got out alive to say what happened in those last few seconds.

"The Chartreuse Lady was empty.  It just lays there on its side now, them boys that owned the papers on it, they salvaged the electronics, but the hull wasn't worth raising.  The Hagen-Dais Express hit nose first.  You' all can see its back engines hanging up in the water on a quiet day. T hat hull was smashed up too, but they got the cargo got out."

...and so on.  Well, it was a spectacular view, but I'd have rather read a plaque, like we have on good o' Earth.

-- Marissa Juanita Vasquez Braun, Grand Tour journal entry, 20 September 2520

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