[Originally Posted at Slacktivist, in response to another of the classic threads.]
[Christopher Smith is Rayford's Copilot.]
"This is Pan Continental Flight 209, is anyone fucking out there?" Christopher Smith said into the radio. He'd given up on polite and was currently making good use of the seven words Mister Conductor had taught him.
"I say again, this is--" a crackle of static stopped him.
"We hear you Pan Con."
Smith turned off his microphone and shouted, "Tell Ray we've got someone!" then switched it back on and said, "Thank God, we've got an emergency and we're flying blind."
"You've lost people too?"
Smith registered the new information, and said, "About a hundred. I take it it's not just us."
"We've lost close to fifty," the voice on the radio said, "From what we heard it's happened everywhere."
"Sounds like it." There was a pause. "Where are you headed Pan Con?"
"Change course, European air space is closed."
"What!" Smith shouted.
Rayford sat down beside Smith and and put on his headset. "This is still Pan Con Heavy 209," Rayford said. "Can you repeat your last transmission?"
"Until they know what's going on the Europeans aren't letting anyone in unless they're going to run out of fuel."
"Then where are we supposed to go?" Smith asked.
"If you have the fuel, they're telling you to return to your point of origin."
"And if we don't?" Rayford asked.
"If you're low on fuel you're supposed to find the nearest place that isn't full." There was a pause. "For the record, the airports in the Azores are full. All of them."
"Ray, we've got enough fuel to make it back," Smith said. "This is a mess."
"Heard you, Pan Con," the voice over the radio said. "And we don't even know what happened."
"I know," Rayford said.
"You think you know, Ray," Smith said. "Will you still know if we get back and it turns out that Irene is still there?"
"Rapture?" the voice on the radio asked.
"Rapture," Smith said.
"Rapture, alien abduction, and quantum thingamajig are the three most popular explanations on our plane so far."
"Who could forget the venerable theory of quantum thingamajig?" Smith asked. Then something occurred to him. "I don't think we ever got your name."