Stratospheric Aerodrome Renoire

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Zephyr Ambulance LTD 11/5/2023 11:08pm

"Docking secured, mam,"

"Fine technique, Ensign-intern Roberts. Also on the piloting, Surgical Tech Ronson. Catching up with this runaway aerodrome was no easy feat."

"Thank you mam," Ronson answered. She appeared to be still in awe of if herself. It really was a fine piece of work, basically lobbing the LTD at the aerodrome as hard as we could--a target that was in motion itself--followed by a pinpoint docking on a jetway port. Now we were snugly secured, it was time to find out what was happening on the Renoire.

"We'll need a boarding party. J.G. Lt., you've got the bridge. I'll need the Chief Patient Engagement Officer, Chief Clinical Officer, and somebody from Accountable Care."

"I'd feel safer if you had a few residents with you as well," The J.G. Lt. said. "We have no idea what's going on on the Renoire. No comms and no signs of life. Hostiles might have seized it and they're laying low."

"There's more than a pirate trap at work here," I said. "You and diagnostics need to find out where the hell we are, because we both know we aren't on Sun Temple anymore."

"It was quite a storm. If a Drapery Ship had gotten wrapped up in it too..."

"We could have passed through a Curtain and never knew? At least Ensign-intern kept her cookies down this time."

"There's a theory it's mostly psychological."

"You just make contact with the fleet. Barring that, find me that Drapery Ship."

"Aye aye, mam."

Zephyr Ambulance LTD 8/3/2023 11:39pm

The passage through the storm was smoother than I would have guessed.

"Helm! Do you have control?"

"Yes mam. We've left the weather behind us. And look! The Renoire is still ahead!"

And there it was in all its girth, the Stratospheric Aerodrome Renoire floating in the distance ahead, bright in the afternoon sun.

"Mam..." said the J.G. Lt., "it was dusk. Just a moment ago. The sun was going down."

He was right. These were noonday clouds, stark and white. No hints of dusk or rose. The sky was clear and blue.

"Also," J.G. Lt. continued, "it's a lot colder here. And what happened to the jungle?"

I joined the J.G. Lt. at the window. Between the clouds below us, the ground looked frozen. Covered in ice.

"The Renoire is moving at quite a clip, mam," said the helmsman. "I didn't think an aerodrome could move that fast."

Normally they didn't. Aerodromes weren't made to travel, and generally needed tugs when they did.

"Catch up with her, helm," I ordered. "And Vocational Nurse Troy -- keep hailing their Harbormaster. Sky."

Troy had pulled the binders from the Forester mission and was flipping through them.

"Call sign @Harkback Union," Troy said.

"Make the call," I said.

Zasha C. En
Lead Attack Nurse
Emergency Response Unit
Zephyr Ambulance LTD

Zephyr Ambulance LTD 4/20/2023 10:20pm

"The Stratospheric Aerodrome Renoire? That's impossible. It disappeared on Forester."

"I know mam. But the transponder's encrypted and it checks out. And... just look at it."

We'd spent a lot of time back on C18764-f (nicknamed Forester on account of the massive woodlands that covered the surface) searching for the Stratospheric Aerodrome Renoire, and every crewman had studied its image. And there it was, giant and basking in pink and purple sunset clouds, identifiable by not only its markings but its unique helium condenser structures as well.

"Hail the Harbormaster. What was his name? Smee?"

"Sky, mam."

"Yes, Sky. Open a channel."

"Aye mam."

"Mam," the J.G. Lt. broke in. "There's a massive low pressure system opening up behind the Renoire. It's... we've never seen pressure this low. And the Renoire is falling into it."

"Massive cloudwave approaching from the aft. It's moving fast," the weatherman announced.

"Follow the Renoire in, helmsan. Full speed ahead!"

Zasha C. En
Lead Attack Nurse
Emergency Response Unit
Zephyr Ambulance LTD

Zephyr Ambulance LTD 11/25/2022 10:59pm

Most of the battalion lay in burning heaps on the ground, billowing smoke. We were gaining altitude, watching the beams of light from the pyramids slice through the haze.

"Get us into the clouds, ensign."

"Aye aye, mam."

We lost visibility as we entered the clouds, but suddenly the bridge got very warm.

"Evasive, ensign!"

The ship lurched starboard and leveled off.

"Why didn't we catch fire. Diagnostics?"

"The beam was much lower intensity, Lead Nurse. I suspect those beams were refracting sunlight, and now the sun's almost gone."

We broke through to find ourselves in a different world. The burning battlefield below was replaced by a sea of clouds, lit purple with the final rays of sunlight.

"Aerodrome ahead, mam."

That didn't make any sense. No aerodrome was assigned to this sector. But there it was, a small floating city in the clouds.

"Get a read on their transponder, ensign."

Renaldo glanced down at his control panel and fiddled with some knobs. Then fiddled some more.

"Is there a problem, ensign?"

"Yes. Well... no. But it's registered as the Renoire."

Zephyr Ambulance LTD 9/3/2022 10:51pm

Like every planet we visit to extend our treatments to, this one had an unmemorable designation. B88721-e. The troops end up giving them informal names, which spread with surprising speed and authority throughout the ranks. This one they're calling the Sun Temple planet.

Operation 277765a was centered on a medium-sized megalopolis of blocky stone pyramids. An industrial center for this particular continent, producing rope and glass, according to the mission notes. The city had an equally obscure designation, but hopefully we wouldn't be here long enough to give it a pet name.

"Shred those kites, Physician Assistant Joiner."

"Shredding now mam."

Joiner let loose with the staple guns.

The sun was beginning to set, pouring its rays over the city, stretching the shadows of the towering stone structures and turning the sky a beautiful apricot.

Something glinted at the top of one pyramid, then another, and another. Like fireflies waking up. Their light grew brighter and brighter. This was not in the diagnostic report.

"Lead Nurse, the St. John is on fire," announced the ensign. Three o'clock."

In the orange sky, the St. John Ambulance was slowly bursting into flame, impaled on a beam of light.

Beams of light began to criss-cross the sky, burning holes through ships throughout the battalion.

"Take us up, helmsman! Maximum angle!"

Zephyr Ambulance LTD 6/22/2022 11:48pm

The dirigible bay of the Stratospheric Aerodrome Charcot is packed. We've nuzzled the Zephyr Ambulance LTD in between a towering Mega-hospital Carrier and an evil looking Intensive Care Frigate.

"Where's the party, nurses?" I call to the crew loading health munitions onto the frigate.

"Buncha sun worshippers!" one calls back. He looks eager to take a break and saunters over.

"Civilization's a 3-4," he continues, pulling out a pack of cigarettes. Most nurses smoke. "They've got some big kites, but nothing lighter than air. No serious projectiles. Sounds like another cakewalk. Where are you in from?"

I catch myself before mentioning the Stratospheric Aerodrome Renoire and its strange disappearance.

"Aw, shucks, well, 'loose lips' and all that. Afraid I can't say."

The nurse looks at me with a newly suspicious air.

"Oh, uh, sorry, mam. Didn't mean anything by it. I better get back to my shift."

He tosses the cigarette on the ground and steps on it on his way back to his ship.

Zasha C. En
Lead Attack Nurse
Emergency Response Unit
Zephyr Ambulance LTD

Zephyr Ambulance LTD 3/26/2022 11:50pm

Passing through the curtain is never a comfortable experience. For some new recruits it's downright harrowing -- a mixture of extreme air sickness and extreme fear.

"Take you meds, everybody. Passing through the curtain in five."

I'm gotten used to it, and lost track of exactly how many times I've crossed through to find another world to heal, and add to our empire of wellness.

The Drapery Ships take their place, then unfurl the shimmering field we call the curtain.

"Ensign, take us through. Steady one-third"

"Aye aye, Lead Nurse."

It's over in just a few seconds. They say it's instantaneous, but we all know first hand you've got to keep your eyes shut. That's the key to---

"bluHURLLLLL...." goes the ensign. Luckily he had his sick bag ready.

"Mam," the J.G. Lt. speaks up, "There she is. Stratospheric Aerodrome Charcot, dead ahead."

The great floating dome glows golden in the setting sun of this world. Probably looks a lot like the Reniore did.

"Take us in, JG."

Zephyr Ambulance LTD 1/18/2022 11:08pm

"... and with the rest of the planet peaceful, they're calling it a wrap. Going to send us through the curtain again to provide care and healing to some new unsuspecting barbarians..."

The Doctor tends to get a bit maudlin when we drink. Doctors and nurses aren't supposed to fraternize like this. Well, not openly. But when your commanding officer opens up the bottle at his desk, you're better off rolling with it.

"But there's still known resistance in the Idris Range. They brought down the Renoire!"

"As you've clearly stated, we don't know that. It could have been some freak atmospheric event. They mentioned cloudwaves..."

"They also mentioned small arms fire, and being under attack."

"You've confirmed there's no sign of them. Using our best technology."

"It just doesn't seem wise to leave it unsolved. What if there's something going on?"

"There will be an occupying force. And they can call the fleet back through the curtain whenever they need it. But Division Surgeon Stumpkin says it's time to move on to the next campaign. I hear they give the Division Surgeons quotas to fill. The one with the most planets under their scrubs wins their own therapeutic fiefdom."

I've finished my drink and don't want any more. I set it on the Doctor's desk.

"We leave at dawn," he says.

Zephyr Ambulance LTD 11/25/2021 10:40pm

"But how could an entire stratospheric aerodrome just disappear?"

"I assure you we have been quite thorough in our search, Doctor. Even at full power, it couldn't have outdistanced the perimeter of our search. And there's no sign of wreckage on the continent below within a similar radius."

"What if the wreckage had been camouflaged? Or crashed and dismantled before your arrival?"

"The techs have been over the plates multiple times. The land below is largely a pristine boreal forest, and there is no evidence of impact anywhere."

There's an empty hiss on the radio.

"Alright, Nurse En. If you're out of leads, we can use you back at HQ. Expect details by condor in the morning."

"Yes sir."

Zephyr Ambulance LTD 10/5/2021 10:25pm

Late Domsday, Peripheral Calendar

Arrived at the last known coordinates of the Stratospheric Aerodrome Renoire. No aerodrome in sight.

Visual reconnaissance of the surface could not confirm wreckage, but low altitude observation was contraindicated due to potential local hostiles. Photographic plates were taken with the M-95 Aerial Eye and are enroute to Zephyr HQ via homing condor for further analysis.

Executing search pattern SPIRAL-V12 until new orders received.

Zasha C. En
Lead Attack Nurse
Emergency Response Unit
Zephyr Ambulance LTD

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