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- Halt the advance of the Lalaki forces by burning at least 8 major bridges
- 10 bonus points per pilot for each bridge that is burned
- Mission failure if we cross the same bridge more than once.
Note: special care must be taken by the navigator to plan for bridge parity and polarity to avoid painting us into the proverbial corner!
Mission SummarySCUL confronted the invading Lalaki forces and burned a whopping 26 bridges to successfully defend the Boston System behind Cosima's stellar navigation. Red Squirrel brought the pyrotechnics.
The Lalaki are coming, the Lalaki are coming!
Seven pilots and three cadets came together under the fall moon to protect our home star system from an invading alien race. To do this, bridges – and lots of them – would need to be burned. We had the salt, we had the fire, we had the groove, we had Dr. Claw's classy tie, and we had our newest maggot, Henway!
But first, a new ship to christen! Ziqqurat proudly presented ZTW Traffic Control Device, a HARV that was over a year and a half in the making. We’ll learn what ZTW stands for at a future date [ed note: ZTW stood for Ziqqurat Temp Wing, a placeholder. Ship wing is ZJX]. Featuring a fire orange hull (perfect considering our mission ahead), lime green boosters, and a trailer for hauling Purple Haze, the new ship gleamed in the starlight. Ziqqurat chose a Narragansett lager for his christening liquid of choice.
After the call of "Navi, you have the conn!" pilots were off and ready for battle. Our first bridge burned came sooner than expected, when we approached a narrow and rather daunting looking footbridge to cross Soldiers Field Road. With several HARVs in the fleet and Traffic Control Device's trailer, there was concern that a few pilots might get stuck crossing and be forced to backtrack on the burned bridge. We can't fail the mission this soon, less than ten minutes into flying! However, we are a highly trained fleet, and everyone successfully made it through. One bridge down, seven to go.
About three lightyears later, we realized the life support transmission systems required some adjustments when all secondary receivers began malfunctioning simultaneously. Wookiee Bag was called to the rescue, its first use of the season, and we were soon ready to resume our flight. Now on the vacant Memorial Drive, we could really spread our wings. Mission Leader Wombat called for a wall formation, and cadets Usavich, 2 Lucky, and Henway had their first formation experience. We held the wall for almost a minute.
From the JFK Bridge to all the nearby bridges of Cambridge that crossed the Charles, it was soon time for snax. As pilots took shore leave at the next open 7-Eleven we could find (the first harrowing attempt to find a 7-11 for snax yielded some dangerous street maneuvers and too much space walking amongst the late night civi crowds of the Central Constellation, only to find a closed 7-11) a few pilots hung back to sentry the ships and chalk the place up. However, a rent-an-ST came by to warn us not to use any chalk “above the property line,” pointing to an arbitrary crack in the sidewalk near the entrance of the 7-11. When Ziqqurat came out of 7-Eleven with his pina colada/mountain dew/coca cola flavored slurpee, we realized the green slurpee cup was almost the exact color of his boosters. Tard joked that he’s going to have to keep the cup in his cup holder permanently to forever be in color synchronization.
Next stop was to burn up our longest bridge yet – the Mass Ave bridge, followed in quick succession by the Esplanade foot bridges. With each bridge burned, you could hear a POP from Red Squirrel’s mini firework poppers, while Wombat diligently sprinkled pure sodium [chloride] into the water below us.
In search of North Point Park, we passed a playground that we couldn’t resist circling back to for another shore leave. Fleet Admiral Skunk got excited as we approached, noticing the climbing web that beckoned nearly all the pilots. As 2 Lucky and Wombat stretched out in the web, a few pilots took turns flying Traffic Control Device, complimenting its construction and artistry. Cosima was disappointed when she realized she forgot to navigate the fleet across the Swan Boat Bridge in the Public Garden. Although it was past 1 ante meridiem, spirits among pilots were still quite posi, and Dr. Claw, Tard, Skunk and Ziqqurat helped her find a route that would easily bring us there and then back home to base. This new route scored us a few additional bridges burned too. 2 Lucky took an unexpected spill from Iridium on our final stretch back to base, but, like a cat, knew how to properly fall and was just fine. Too lucky indeed.
As we burned what was to be the final bridge of the night (the foot bridge closest to the fort), we passed two wild-eyed civis, clearly in shock from the fiery fleet and towering HARVs approaching them. In an effort to assure them that we are in fact a friendly chopper gang, Cosima offered them a high five as she passed. Unfortunately, this gesture had the opposite effect: the civis retreated in fear! “No, get away from me! I’m on drugs right now and you look terrifying!” Alas, SCUL isn’t for everyone…
Back on the launchpad, Wombat declared a mission success – and then some! Although we set out in pursuit of burning eight major bridges, our final number was – drum roll please – TWENTY-SIX bridges burned! Between our twists and turns across Allston, Cambridge, and Boston, the sea salt shaker, Red Squirrel’s pyrotectonics, the posi atmosphere, and of course, the epic groovin' funk, the Lalaki were forced to return to their home planet. Good Riddance.
As a final mark of ceremony and celebration, cadet Henway received some “critiques” from the gang (“You fly too well!”), Ziqqurat earned his first Medal of Builder, Red Squirrel received a Medal of Patronage for bringing the literal fire, and this was all followed by an orchestrated fire popper display at the final mention of the phrase Burning Bridges.
List of Bridges Burned
Telford Street footbridge
Arsenal Street Bridge
Anderson Memorial (JFK St.) Bridge
John W. Weeks Footbridge
Western Ave Bridge
River Street Bridge
Harvard (Mass Ave) Bridge
Esplanade Bridges (4x)
Frances Appleton Footbridge (over Storrow Drive)
Cambridge Crossing Bridges (2x)
North Point Park Bridges (3x)
North Bank "Rainbow" Bridge
Bridge(s) over the locks (3x)
Swan Bridge (Public Garden)
Cambridge Street Bridge (very briefly, but a cut is a cut!)