The landing was violent and jarring—far from the smooth descent that Pilot was used to with the Elevator. Normally his Elevator would have braked smoothly, banking across the atmosphere at terrific speed but in a controlled and predictable manner. Instead, he could feel himself flipping end over end over end as the Elevator spun out of control, feverishly trying to right itself and brake by using its automatic stabilizers and powerful thrusters. He headed directly for a massive ditch below; and crashed into the earth there, pushing up mounds and masses of red earth in the process. The Elevator’s smoking chassis left a charred trail over a dark, grassy embankment, turning the wet wilderness into a steaming, slippery hell fit only for a fire demon. Not being a fire demon however, Pilot was shaken rather badly. Worse, he could feel that he had hit his head on something inside the Elevator during the crash landing and was dazed and confused, as well. His mind reached back to his basic training but he couldn’t recall what he was supposed to do in these circumstances.
He took a breath, leaning back in his pod, and counting slowly, he tried to get his bearings. Before he could, however, bright Red and Blue lights began flashing on his exterior viewfinder, indicating that the Elevator must have been spotted by locals. Turning on the exterior audio inputs, the chaotic sound of a Siren could be heard, over the sound of pulsing rain. This was not good. Pilot had no plans to be discovered here, not yet, not in this state, so shaking his head free to clear the daze he still felt, he sat up and pondered over his control panel. Flashing symbols and diagrams scrolled rapidly across the holographic display—way too fast for Pilot’s dazed senses. He laid a palm on his control surface, mentally sending the sensation for his Elevator to straighten up and right itself, preparatory to an emergency take-off.
It was too late. Locals had arrived and were all around the Elevator now, grasping and pulling and pushing at its smooth hull. Pilot, safely ensconced inside, could not really be hurt or damaged, so long as life support remained online. Fortunately this seemed to be working. But there was real damage to the Elevator. Right at the moment he wasn’t sure of its extent or area, but he couldn’t get it to right itself, which was a major issue! Tentatively, he ‘asked’ it to move right, and it moved left. He tried right, and instead, it slid left. Forward, and it went back. Back, and it lurched forward. No wonder he had crash landed. His centering mechanism was clearly malfunctioning, and now with the crash, was possibly broken too. Without a closer examination it was impossible to say. This, however, was out of the question right now as the locals seemed to be taking possession of his Elevator.
Furiously, looking around the cabin for some emergency lever, slide or instructions that he might have forgotten about in his dazed state, Pilot couldn’t do much besides beat his hands on the panel. There were no emergency controls or instructions he could see. All his frantic movements did was make El wave around uncontrollably, which had the unfortunate consequence of the locals taking a firmer grip on it and extracting it forcibly from the wetlands. They lifted his feverish existence into a nearby vehicle—the one with the flashing lights. Pilot went limp, collapsing back in his pod. El settled back as well, as it was wheeled horizontally on a fabric covered gurney with smooth and controlled movements by the practiced locals into the waiting vehicle. Pilot, exhausted by the ordeal, mercifully passed out. Sirens blaring and wheels whirring, the captured Elevator with Pilot in it was whisked away at high speed.