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May 07, 2006

Ninja Spiders, Water Buffalo, Guardian Angels

That can only mean one thing. Bill and Beer.

This morning I found a packet nailed to the portcullis as I went to pick up local recycle fodder.

My first thought was I had an ecclesiastical crisis, which is strange since the Castle is not an ecclesiastical seat of anything. I did check the scanners for KWiPs (Kossacks With Pitchforks), but it was clear. I do that every morning before raising the 'cullis. Even the Moat Monsters and Drawbridge troll won't eat them. I turned my attention to the packet. It was wrapped in a hastily handwritten note. All it said was: "See what we have to put up with!?!"

When I unwrapped the note, out fell a ragged white feather of radiant purity.

And the attached Army Accident Report form. Badly tattered and stained. I swear some of those stains look pretty salty, too.

Ahhhhhh. [light goes on] Carborundum, Bill's Guardian Angel, was by last night. Probably drunk again. He can't ever remember his Portcullis PIN when he's drunk, and he's too conscientious to fly in that condition. Ahem.

Must be because of this. Bill still needs his GAs even now that he's retired, and especially moreso since one of his GA Remotes was recalled to Piddler's Green for debriefing and rest.

Though she did leave a sensor behind.

1. Summary: Helicopter impacted water buffalo during evening transit.
Helicopter trampled and gored.

2. [Oil stain]

3. Circumstances.
A. Origin. Some godforsaken hellhole with a quonset hut, I don’t remember, they all look alike to me.
B. Mission. Morale improvement [of pilot, buddies, and anybody else wanting a beer]
C. FLT purpose code. B33R.

4. [eaten by insects]

5. Damage and costs.
A. Helicopter.
1. Effectively destroyed, unless somebody comes up with an entire skid and most of the components usually found on the left side. Plus the rotor got gnawed on a bit. And a wrench-sized hole in front windshield.
B. Army property damage. 20 kegs beer, $119.60. [handwritten: Really?][handwritten in by different hand: Nobody said get *good* beer, did they?]
C. Non DoD property damage. Bruised and irritated water buffalo, property of some guy yelling at me and no, I didn’t get his name. I could identify the water buffalo in a lineup, as long as it was restrained. Those things hold a grudge.

6. Personnel information, injuries and costs.
A. Souls on board. two, including enemy stowaway.
B. Crew. Pilot at controls, callsign SugarButtons (SB), on duty, injury to “third point of contact”, claimed shot off, claim not supported by medical staff.
C. Total number of passengers. One stowaway, fatal injury during hand-to-hand combat.[handwritten:It was a goddam SPIDER, and I don’t care what Tuttle says it is NOT Viet Cong.]

7 [missing pages]

(8) Chronology
(A) (P) All times local. times from 2000 to 0438 are approximate.
07:00 - SB awakes.
11:45 - SB gets crappy lunch.
12:15 - SB given yet another do-the-impossible-immediately mission, making 6 total for the day. [handwritten: Don’t we have a code for those?].
13:05 - SB pulls off immediate and impossible. Chewed out for lateness.
14:00 - SB tightens Jesus Nut with wrench (Exhibit A).
14:34 - Helicopter develops mange in tail boom, requires maintenance.
14:57 (est) - Stowaway enters helicopter, takes concealed position above pilot’s seat.
15:32 - Helicopter declared mange-free, SB returns to duty as bullet magnet.
17:45 - SB gets crappy dinner.
18:00 - SB featured participant in self-criticism exercise.
19:30 - SB heard to say “Oh God, I need a drink”
19:31 - SB hears of source of large quantities of beer, takes off to locate same.
20:10 - SB obtains and stows 20 kegs beer, takes off to return to base.
20:27:10 - Stowaway deploys internal ninja rappel line, attacks SB.
20:27:12 - radio transmission “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!”
20:27:13 - SB grabs wrench (Exhibit A), swings at stowaway. Stowaway performs evasive maneuvers.
20:27:16 - SB uses overhand swing to smash stowaway with wrench. Stowaway killed instantly, body not recovered. Wrench penetrates windshield. [handwritten: Did we get any injury claims due to falling wrench?]
20:27:18 - SB notices negative altitude progression, pauses victory celebration to level helicopter.
20:27:19 - Impact of helicopter left skid with startled water buffalo.
20:27:21 - Helicopter tilts and lands in non-regulation manner on side. Enraged water buffalo is entangled in skid. Beer kegs break loose from restraints.
20:27:22 - Rogue beer keg drops under water buffalo.
20:28 - Water buffalo steps on beer keg during attempted destruction of helicopter, keg is stuck on left hind hoof.
20:31 - SB exits helicopter, circles under cover of foliage, and attracts attention of water buffalo.
20:32 - Enraged water buffalo rights helicopter attempting to attack SB.
20:35 - SB leaves jacket on stick as decoy, saunters back to helicopter, restows beer, and takes off. Enraged water buffalo is still entangled in left skid.
20:51 - Water buffalo undocks from helicopter. Takes skid as war prize.
21:15 - SB arrives with beer, and there is much rejoicing.
04:20 - Maintenance chief notices helicopter missing skid and most of left side parked on pad.
04:20:03 - Heard throughout base: “TUTTLE!”
04:25:05 - SB heard to say “It wasn’t me!”
04:38 - SB states damage sustained by VC action and sabotage.

9,10. [more missing pages]

11. analysis.
a. Aircrew factor - SB failed to notice water buffalo. Rejected. Water buffalo had no night running lights or luminous markers.
b.Aircrew factor - SB had “anticipated” party and gotten hammered. Rejected. All available evidence including witness statements indicate SB could not have done any of the above actions impaired by alcohol, plus it would take more than the one missing keg to do it.
C. Enemy action - VC spider attacked SB to capture beer and/or helicopter. Rejected. There is absolutely no evidence enemy cadres have sunk to enlisting arachnids. Spider was most likely an independent actor.
D. Act of God - meteor strike. Rejected. All damage to helicopter was on lower surfaces. Meteors strike from above, and even Tuttle can’t fly a helicopter upside down. We think.
E. Bad Luck - These Things Just Happen, Especially to Tuttle (TTJHET). Accepted. Prior accident reports attached as reference.
Who: Aircrew, pilot at controls, TUTTLE!!!!
What: Bad Luck, TTJHET, ninja spiders
Why: malign fate, complacency, and problem not forseeable. I mean, who anticipates ninja spiders?