xxxxvii. freefalling to hong kong

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Chase was unable to get a signal back to headquarters. I pull out my laptop and connect it to the monitor via an ethernet cable. "If I wanted to run a program, it would take about a week to run all 36 to the fourth power possibilities for just four digits for letter or numbers. Looks like we're going to have to do this the hard way."

"Changing the trilateration of the signal tower?" Ace suggests. He brushes his chin in thought. "You're right... tricking the system into thinking we've arrived turns the plane on manual for landing. We can then reroute the plane into the middle of the ocean after we jump."

"Exactly. Altitude and speed!" I yell at Chase.

"35,000 feet and 640 miles per hour," he reports. "Aye, aye, Captain."

Shit. All of us look between one another. We were falling, and we were falling fast. "How much time does that leave us?" I ask.

"Fuck I failed trigonometry," Chase groans.

Ace helps me at the monitors. "Somewhere around twenty minutes at best before crashing." Together, we pull up the inner workings of the signal. I hand Ace my computer to start calculating alternate distances. "Whoa, you're letting me use your computer?" He grins.

"Yes. Mess it up and I'll kill you," I threat. Well to be fair... If either of us messed up, we'd both be dead so...

Meanwhile, I work on bypassing the three satellites. Ace calculates the new coordinates somewhere in the middle of the ocean. 27,000 feet, 720 miles per hour, fifteen minutes. Briefly, I managed to get on the secret service version of the ARTCC. Lines of code flash by. Almost instinctively, my fingers react without much of a second thought. 18,000 feet, 800 miles per hour, nine minutes. I'm finally able to access the signal tower.

"Alright Skye," I state. "As soon as I enter the new coordinates, you have to manually lower the plane so it's safer to jump and we can swim to the harbour. Only two minutes though. After that, we risk the plane becoming too low to fly up back in time without hitting the city."

"We have to leave your computer on the plane for the ocean's coordinates," Ace says.

"My computer? My baby?" I wince. "It's fine. Just know you killed my first born child, Blackwell."

"Just call me Roose Bolton."

I slap him. "Now is not the time for a Red Wedding reference you... you... White Walker."

Ace quickly then types in the new location from my computer. The plane suddenly jerks back and forth as it switches to manual, throwing me onto Chase. Swiftly, like water, Skye slides into the pilot's seat and drives steadies the plane. There wasn't enough time nor experience to land the plane properly; we were too low.

"Skye, we're going to get parachutes ready. Try your best to lower it to about 10,000 feet," Ace states.

"I'll stay with her," Chase nods.

Ace and I run back into the cabin where we found Xavier and Daniel rummaging for the parachutes. The slope of the airplane was starting to become steeper, indicating time was running out. All of our luggage started to slide to one side of the plane.

"There's only four parachutes," Daniel yells.

"Alright," I smirk. "Ace and I can share one, Chase and Skye will each have one, and you two can share one."

Daniel and Xavier look between one another. "What? No," Daniel shudders. "Why can't Skye and Chase share one?"

I give them a glare. "Do you really want to argue with the pilot of this plane right now?"

"Come on, I'll spend all my deutschmark on you," Xavier says, taking a swig of his maotai. The briefest hint of a smirk passed onto his face. "Strap on, you overweight sausage wurst."

"That's such a weird historical reference that no one will understand," Ace facepalms. "If someone makes a documentary or writes a book about our lives, should that obscure statement really be included?"

Xavier shrugs. "I have hobbies that don't just include killing people."

He goes on to fit the parachute around him. He opens his arms, beckoning the brooding Daniel to strap in with him. Daniel awkwardly hugged onto Xavier while avoiding eye contact. Their bodies pressed close together, with Daniel's chest vis a vis Xavier's.

"Why can't I control the parachute?" Daniel spits. "You'd probably make us smack into the side of a boat."

"Well if we do I hope you're the one that gets smushed." Xavier then goes on to ready the emergency exits. "But I guess we could each steer one strap."

Quickly, Ace and I carry the other two parachutes into the cockpit. Skye is hanging desperately on the controls and forcing the plane to remain steady despite the climbing speed and lowering distance. Her entire body is straining to drive the plane into the water despite the hurl-inducing momentum. Chase, relatably, is trying very hard to not throw up in the corner.

Ace hands the parachute to the gang leader and he exits away from the window. Through the thin glass barrier, the skyline of Hong Kong grows closer and closer. Small spots of boats migrated around in the harbour below us, but we were just barely far enough to cause any extreme damage.

10,000 feet, 910 miles per hour, forty seconds.

"Now is it," I say to Skye. Like a Cirque du Soleil trapeze artist, I hold out the parachute for Skye to strap into while driving the plane lower. Ace immediately grabs me and straps me into him. All of us put on our gear and goggles.

"Heads up everyone. We're all meeting at the safehouse. Autopilot is going back on; this plane will head to the middle of the ocean," Skye yells. "We need to jump. Now."

Daniel opens the emergency latch. A giant, ear-bursting hurricane of wind sweeps through the only exit as the plane starts to, for a second, free fall for ten more seconds. I look from the never-ending blue sea and back to Ace's determined golden eyes.

"I need you to trust me," he whispers.

I don't get a chance to protest before he throws us out of the plane. 

Ace: "Vote if you think the password is CIARox123 ;)"

Skye: "Click on the link in the profile for merch and to read the next chapter for free now!"

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