It was set to take place mid-afternoon on March 31, 2012, on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. The team was broken up to take upon themselves various elements of the task at hand.
“Down With Freedom,” we chanted during the meeting the night before. The cry was deafening, but the message imparted. Before going to sleep, we ran through the plan one more time.
-Tango was to bring aboard orange juice of content purest.
-Sierra was to manage bringing fire to the sky.
-Alpha the underage, was to get a glass container of sand finest.
-Uniform, of name stupidest, was to bring tape of duct.
-Charlie to bring as much flammable material as possible.
-Kilo was to bring a kilo of purest soil.
-And I, Tasucks, would bring the dry ice.
The plan was therefore to be successful upon my own command. Together these materials would help us accomplish our mission.
As we arrived the next day Sierra came up to me shaking with fear. She needed, more than anything, to get all of her things through security. Sky fire is central to inducing fear in people and therefore was a critical element of the plan.
I told her, “No random screening is truly random.” I instructed the operatives to look as though they were going on vacation from their day-to-day, highly paid lives and to therefore look joyous or excited.
She gave me a cautious nod, not really believing me, and we went on ahead.
Smiles covered our faces as we lined up but this became difficult to maintain as the line stretched around the next bend for many an hour. Time stretched on as the line zombie-crawled forward. We peered around the corner and saw the slow pace was caused by a child being given a full pat-down and chemical screening, his father waiting for him and watching cautiously. Needless to say, he saw us all peering around the corner, smiling at his child in this situation and soon after the head of security came to us, frowning poignantly.
“Excuse me, I received a complaint that you people were smiling at a child being patted down. This is not tolerated! Happiness, under any circumstances, is not tolerated within these facilities…”
“I am truly sorry, Sir, I…”
“…because security, national security, does not ever take a break. We as a nation must be ever vigilant in ensuring our security and your happiness, is not allowing this. So please, stay in line, and take your safety seriously.”
Stunned silence faced the team as the lined stared at us with depressed frowns. I was first in line, willing to be searched, so I showcased a smile to dazzle the world. I was then called up to the counter and had my boarding pass scanned.
“Bless you. You are travelling to New York, yes?”
“Why yes, thank you, Miss. I am actua…”
“PLEASE remove any liquids and place them on the tray along with your laptop and any metallic items and proceed through the gate… NEXT!”
I placed my clearly labeled box of dry-ice onto the conveyor and it went through. Security personnel glared at me. I was patted-down and swabbed. While I was expecting this to be unpleasant, Uniform had it worse:
His bags were searched and his plastic comb removed due to a potential safety threat caused by the pointed handle. Still smiling more than a child in a candy store, he was subjected to the full-body scan, which detected his shoes contained pointed composite supports. He was detained and questioned.
-Alpha passed through without any complications.
-Tango had the sealed juice container taken away and was made an example of by the head of security . “NO LIQUIDS ARE ALLOWED!” Soon after he went and bought a container of apple juice at the store across from security. Bloody pricey, but it was needed.
-Sierra passed through no problem. He hid the flammable alcohol in the travel Listerine and brought on a gas stove sparker easily enough, concealed in his book. The scanner operator didn’t bother flipping through the settings, just sent things through.
-Charlie brought a small cache of musical instruments, all of which were maimed in some way: The ukulele had to have its strings removed, as they could be a lethal weapon. The banjo was taken outright, and the toy guitar taken as it could be used to injure a passenger and take up too much space. Not a total loss; we had enough wood to proceed with the string-less uku.
-Kilo had brought a tree, therein the soil which we required. The tree died passing through the scanner, leaving a trail of strewn pine needles, but no one cared.
Unfortunately we missed our flight, because all passengers MUST go through this single line of security and we had to wait for Uniform anyway, so we opted to take a later flight. When he was finally allowed to fly, we were taking the red-eye to New York. Easy enough.
As the plane flew over North Carolina, we gathered at the back of the plane and began to gather our materials. This is where the plan went awry:
The dry ice mixed with the apple juice, causing an abundant and overwhelming odor. In response, Kilo threw his soil onto the mixture, causing the smell to intensify as the scent of manure filled the cabin. The passengers didn’t care about the odor; they were not willing to make a fuss and instead opted to dig their faces in their shirts for protection. This is when the flight attendants came by and asked what was going on. Alpha used the glass container and knocked her out with a fell swoop. I then took the alcohol and poured in onto the dry-ice and tried to light it with the sparker. The carbon dioxide prevented the alcohol from lighting, and the extremely low freezing temperature of the alcohol caused the dry ice to evaporate faster, causing an immense apple-and-manure-scented fog to disperse throughout the cabin, only to be spread further by the air system.
Unfortunately we then passed out and awoke surrounded by police officers in the hospital. The plane made an emergency landing in Delaware, much to the passengers’ overwhelming and ecstatic approval. We didn’t even know Delaware had an airport.
The TSA gave the announcement that the “April Fools Plot” was a bust due to their advanced screening system. Because of their constant and persistent vigilance they were able to prevent the banjo from being allowed on the flight, thereby preventing its metal casing to be used as a broadcasting dish. They claimed that, coupled with cell phone signals, the banjo had the potential to disrupt the angular momentum of the trailing aileron edge which would have resulted in a failure of software intelligence within the manifold.
Lives saved, nation! Lives saved!
Fictional plot submitted by Alex from Calgary.
(Note from the author: “The character Alpha is based on my experiences travelling out of Chicago when I was 19. Yes, I was searched. Yes, they found the empty glass bottle of Jack Daniels. Yes, they let me take it. No questions about why I had the bottle or even about my age. I was just a nervous Canadian wanting to go home.”)