You can join us on Patreon for as a little as $1 a month. In addition to this serialized pulp adventure, you also get other exclusive serialized novels, news, updates, sneak peeks, and more. Every little bit helps keep this creative train rolling.
Learn more about Lance Star: Sky Ranger HERE.
Chapter 5 just posted to Patreon.
Here's chapters 2 and 3. Enjoy.
BobbyLance Star and the Ghost Squadron
Lance Star had landed planes on every terrain imaginable, from airstrips to aircraft carriers, from fields of wheat to mountain passes, and more. Setting the Skybolt II down on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere Utah did not pose a problem.
It had been years since his last visit to this part of the world. Back then, he'd been delivering a custom-built plane to another satisfied client. In addition to being a world-renowned adventurer and war hero, both of which brought his life no end of excitement and annoyance, in equal measure, Lance owned Lance Star, Inc., an aircraft design and manufacturing facility located in upstate New York. They built planes for various businesses, medical organizations, Hollywood movie studios, private clients, and they also held a few government contracts. He also owned and operated Star Field, a private airport connected to the manufacturing complex. He lived in a small cabin on the far end of the property. The business paid the bills that allowed Lance and the other Sky Rangers to travel the world on their various misadventures.
A frantic phone call from a friend sent him flying out from Star Field in the wee hours of the morning with Buck Tellonger tagging along as his co-pilot. Cy Hawkins and Red Davis were scheduled to follow later in the morning in their one-man Hornets. The Hornets were fast and maneuverable, perfect in aerial combat. Their adventures during the war inspired the sleek, aerodynamic design.
The Skybolt II was the signature vessel of the Sky Rangers, the name hung on Lance's team back during the war when newsreel footage captured amazing footage of the original Skybolt in action. When that fabled plane was destroyed, the team immediately started designing a new one. The design remained similar, though the new plane carried several upgrades over the original.
Jacob Cutter waited nearby, shading his eyes to ward off the glare from the silver sesquaplane as it rolled to a stop in the space marked. Lance, Buck, and Jacob had all met during the war when the Sky Rangers were temporarily assigned to aid his unit with a mission. The mission was a success but remained classified to the day.
After deplaning and a round of hellos and greetings, the three pilots headed toward Cutter's cabin. As they hiked across the field, their old friend explained why he called them. “Thanks for coming, guys,” he started. "I didn't know who else to call.”
“We'll help if we can, “Lance said. “You know that.”
“I appreciate it. I talked to the local sheriff, but he all but laughed me out of his office.” He opened the door to his barn. Inside sat his pickup truck. “Even with the evidence, something tells me he won't be much help.”
“Do you know who attacked you?”
“Yeah. But you’re not going to believe it. It was a ghost.”
To be continued…
Lance Star whistled. “This is some heavy-duty artillery, Cut,” he said, taking a closer look at Jacob Cutter’s bullet-damaged vehicle. “You're lucky to be alive.”
Cutter ran a hand through his hair. “Don’t I know it.”
“Did you get a good look at the attackers?" Buck asked.
“Yes. That's the problem”
“It's the darndest thing, Lance. I could have sworn these things were ghosts. Four of ‘em.”
“Ghosts? You mean like the shadow brigade we faced over Berlin that time?”
“No. I don't mean stealthy. I'm talking a Bob Cratchit kind of ghost.”
“You realize how that sounds, right?”
“Yes, I do, Buck. But bullet holes don't lie, do they?” He pointed at the battered truck.
Buck shrugged. “It is hard to refute the evidence.”
“So, you'll help me?”
“Of course,” Lance said.
“Good. Because there’s a four plane ghost squadron out there, gentlemen,” Jacob Cutter said, staring off toward the open plains and the mountains that dotted the horizon. “And they're up to no good.”
“Then I suggest we go take a look,” Lance said. “Can you take us out to where you were shot at last night?”
“You bet,” Cutter said. “I have to tell you boys, despite the situation, I’m as excited as a schoolboy to get to ride in the famous Skybolt. I’ve seen you guys in action in recent newsreels. Bob at the deli doesn’t believe me when I tell him I know you guys.”
“Maybe, once this is all over, we’ll swing by and let you introduce us,” Lance joked.
After gassing up the Skybolt, Jacon Cutter climbed into the seat behind Lance Star in the Skybolt II’s main cockpit. Buck Tellonger climbed into the second cockpit, the co-pilot nest. Once they were strapped in, the silver plane’s mighty engines roared to life. Seconds later, they were in the air, the plains stretching out beneath them.
“It’s your backyard, Cut. Which way?”
Cutter relayed directions and coordinates to the pilot. The plane arced in an easterly direction, following a dirt road that cut through the wide-open plains.
“Any idea what we’re looking for?” Buck asked, his voice coming through the speakers.
“None,” Cutter responded, squeezing the pressure plate on the throat mic each of them wore. “There’s a whole lot of nothing in front of us. A few ranchers and farmers scattered about, but nothing that would warrant an attack squad like the one I saw.”
“Let’s head toward those rocky buttes,” Lance suggested as he changed course. “If I were trying to hide a squadron of planes, that’s probably where I’d start.”
“You might be right,” Buck said. “Someone just fired a rocket at us. Incoming!”
To be continued...
The first 5 chapters can also be found on Patreon.