Danny lifted his arm into the air and backed down cutting the water with his hand. The boat was roaring over him as he tried his hardest to get out from underneath. If he passed the test, he would earn one point towards the three points needed to go on the mission.
He wiggled and twirled under the water in order to confuse the captain, so that the boat would go in the opposite direction of Danny. On the boat were sensors and direction pointers to track Danny's movements.
After he finished swimming, he ran to a tree to complete the test. He felt so proud of himself that he ate his favorite strawberry ice cream and fell fast asleep.
7:00-8:30 Free Choice: Read/Draw/Write/Play
During training time, Danny practiced using parachutes fluently. He felt well prepared. After his twenty minute break, Danny took a deep breath, ran to the airplane and sat next to his best friend, Kai. Once the plane was 14,000 ft in the air, they had reached their exit altitude. Danny checked his harness, made sure it was secure, opened the door, and hopped out of the airplane.
Right after he jumped, Danny felt a sense of calm in his heart as he floated towards the ground. After 1 minute of free fall, it was time for him to open the parachute. He felt butterflies in his stomach! Reaching towards his left hip just like he did during training, Danny couldn’t find the handle.
“Oh my!” Danny was so nervous and suddenly he remembered his instructor James saying: “Danny, you can make it!” He put his hand on his right hip and found the handle just in time. At that moment, he knew he could do it!
As Danny and his instructor drifted slowly down, they saw two American Falcons soaring by. After a few more seconds of coasting, it was finally time to land. Danny lifted his legs, landed softly on his butt, and heard James saying, “Great job, you passed the parachute test! Only one more to go!”
Mountain Climbing Test
It was sunny and 90℉ as Danny and the other boys stepped onto the helicopter. Danny was confident that he would pass the test even though it was really hard and he fell twice during training. As the helicopter ascended into the sky, Danny heard James saying, “Boys, you will climb a mountain 2,000 ft high. It should take 1-2 hours climbing up and 1 hour going down from the other side with a trail.”
“I’m ready!” Danny was very excited.
“I don’t think I can do this,” replied Kai.
“In training you managed to get to the very top. You will make it!” Danny reminded Kai. But Kai didn’t respond.
Trying to hold back his frustration, Danny said, “If you think you can’t climb, then you won’t make it. If you think you can, you will.”
Kai remembered a time when he was a toddler and he didn’t think he could climb the rock wall in his preschool. His friend, Jack, encouraged him to climb it, so he did and got to the very top. Now, Kai was encouraged and he started to think that he could make it.
After two hours, they landed at the base of Mt. Davis and started preparing for the test. Although Danny’s right glove wasn’t fully on, the test started. From base camp, they could see the whole mountain above.
“Yes! We’re done with the first part!” Kai said happily as Danny hugged him. They were ravenous so they pulled out their energy bars and scarfed them down. On the trail they found scat, so Danny pulled out his scat guide and identified it as coyote droppings. Because the trail was very rocky and rough, they had to pay close attention to the rocks to avoid tripping. Not far ahead, there was a coyote. Danny and Kai remembered what they learned during training:
1. Stand tall and confident
2. Keep eye contact
3. Do not turn your back
4. Do not run
They waited for the coyote to pass by and then walked along the path to get to the next climbing point. This part was much steeper than the previous one and Danny wasn’t concerned. They both put their gloves on, changed into their thinner, smaller climbing shoes, and started climbing. When they were almost to the top, Danny’s hand slipped and he fell about ten feet landing on the trail below. He took a minute to see if he was okay and felt his hands sparkling in pain like the bubbles in sparkling water. Then he noticed his hands were bleeding. He worried about how he could contact Kai and how he would climb the rest of the way.
Luckily, his walkie-talkie was on and suddenly he heard Kai say, “Where are you, Danny?” His hands were still stinging but he had no choice. He carefully unzipped his backpack, took out the walkie-talkie, and pressed the button.
“I fell onto the trail below and my hands are bleeding,” Danny said quickly, waiting for Kai’s response.
“Do you think you can still climb?” Kai asked.
“I don’t think so, but I’ll try,” Danny said hopefully. “I’ll contact you again if I need help,” Danny added.
He took his right hand and reached for a crack but couldn’t grip it because his hands were in too much pain. He started wondering if he was really in trouble and if he would pass the test. Thinking about what to do, Danny walked around while drinking his emergency water. He noticed a hidden pathway that looked like it went in the direction of where he needed to go, so he followed the trail, and it led him straight to Kai. They hugged each other tightly.
“I’m so happy to see you again,” Kai said excitedly and with relief.
“I’m so happy to see you, too!” Danny replied. They followed the trail and reached the top. Kai stuck a flag into the ground that said, “Kai & Danny” and took a selfie. They hiked down an easier trail on the other side of the mountain. When they got to the bottom, their instructor, James, was there to meet them.
“Good job! Wow, you did it! You both qualify for the mission.” The boys looked at each other with excitement, but their bodies were exhausted. It was time for them to rest.
Snow covered the mountain as the sun shined brightly on the eastern side of Mount Hubbard. Danny and Kai were surprised they got chosen for this mission but they knew they were prepared.
After breakfast, they were called into instructor James’ office and told that the top rescue dog of the FBI was missing. He handed them a folder with all the information needed to complete the mission.
“Pack your backpacks, quickly get onto the jet, and then you can read this,” their instructor said.
Once they arrived at the scene, Instructor James quickly hopped out of the jet followed by Danny and Kai. Their breathing froze from both the sight of the mountain and the cold air in their lungs. Danny was trying to take deep, calming breaths but it felt like his lungs were being scraped with scorpions. “I’ve trained a lot. I know I can do this,” Danny thought to himself.
The trail began just beyond a wide expanse of snow and ice. Danny and Kai carefully stepped onto the slippery ground and started climbing the mountain in silence until they came to a fork in the trail. Danny pulled out his map to see where the river was that he had reviewed with instructor James.
“Look, here’s the river,” Danny said as he pointed to the map.
“It looks like we should go to the left and then cross those giant rocks,” Kai said.
They started walking vigorously and passed a grove of white spruce trees, which reminded Danny of the last Christmas he spent with his three younger sisters, mom, and dad. He missed his family.
The sky was as clear as freshly cleaned windows and the snow sparkled like precious diamonds. The young searchers traversed the maze of rocks and arrived at the river. They wondered how on earth they would cross the fierce, athletic water full of rocks. Wandering through standing trees, the boys searched around in silence. All of a sudden, Danny tripped on a fallen log and they came up with an idea to put it across the river. Each one carried an end until they got to the edge of the river. They both pushed from one end so the other end of the log could reach the other side.
When Danny started balancing on the log, he grew petrified. “I can’t balance, I can’t balance!” Danny shouted to Kai.
“You can make it. You can balance. Put your hands out like an airplane and take deep breaths!” Kai yelled back. He did what Kai said and successfully crossed the river.
Now, it was Kai’s turn. Right as he stepped onto the log, it broke in two pieces. He almost fell into the river but quickly stepped back onto the river bank. The boys stared as the log violently tumbled down the river. When the log was out of sight, they looked at each other surprisingly. Kai threw a rope to Danny and then the boys each tied an end to a tree on their side.
Kai knew how dangerous this was but he had no choice. He grabbed the rope tightly with his shaking hands and held his breath. His lower legs were crossed around the rope. Kai’s hands slowly moved forward followed by his legs. His hands were sweating and it was hard to grip the rope. His tummy was starting to rumble. He apprehensively crossed the river. When he reached the other side, he swung his feet onto the river bank and collapsed. Danny quickly grabbed a blanket from his backpack and covered Kai tightly. Then he gave him some juice and cookies.
After Kai rested Danny asked him if he was okay to keep searching. Kai said, “Yes! But which direction do we go?”
“We have to go to the summit and then walk one mile east,” Danny replied.
The boys walked until they saw a mysterious snow creature that was blocking the path far ahead. It had a bumpy body, a big tummy, and what looked like no eyes. Their voices froze. Together, the young searchers slowly backed up and hid behind a tree. They wanted to get out their binoculars but were too scared and didn’t want to make any sound.
Just then, instructor James’ voice could be heard from the walkie-talkie.
“How are you boys doing?” Danny and Kai immediately muted their devices and grabbed their binoculars. The snow creature came closer to the scared children as Danny and Kai emerged from behind the tree. They each put the binoculars to their eyes and suddenly realized the monster was actually a lynx. The boys screamed and shouted, waved their arms wildly, and threw snow at the animal until the lynx jumped and quickly ran away. Feeling relieved, Danny and Kai danced and walked happily onward.
After a few minutes, Danny remembered that they had ignored instructor James’ message so he quickly contacted him and let him know that they were okay.
The air was bitter cold as the boys kept walking. Danny was wondering where the lost rescue dog was and when they would find it. Just then, they saw some droppings on the snow. It looked like the coyote poop they had seen earlier. Danny pulled out his scat guide and identified it as dog feces. A feeling of encouragement made his whole body dance. Kai was delighted to see Danny so happy. The boys followed the paw tracks until the evidence ended and they heard a small whimpering sound near-by.
They walked forward slowly and saw two paws struggling above the snow. Danny and Kai quickly grabbed their super thick snow gloves and started digging excitedly. They removed handfuls of snow making sure the head was uncovered completely so that it could breathe.
“Oh, this has to be the rescue dog we have been searching for forever!” Kai thought. Danny wasn't so sure. They kept removing the snow. The dog turned her head back and forth looking at Danny and Kai but the rest of her body was not moving very much. They were worried about the part of the dog still stuck in the freezing snow. They kept digging fiercely until the whole body was uncovered. Danny quickly pulled out his confidential rescue mission facts to identify if this was the dog they were searching for.
Danny read each word carefully, face mostly black with a little light brown. He looked at the dog’s face. The top part of his head was black and around the muzzle was light brown. Triangle shaped scar about the size of a quarter on the right back thigh. Danny checked the thigh. There was a little scar that was on the upper part of her leg. It was the lost rescue dog!!!!!!!!!
What a happy moment! They jumped up and gave each other a high-five. Danny gently wrapped her with the same blanket he used to cover Kai and carefully put the injured animal in his arms. While that happened, Kai contacted Instructor James about this exciting, impressive news.
“YES! YES! YES!!! I knew that you both would do an amazing job. How is Cutie doing?” questioned Instructor James.
“She is freezing and her front legs are bleeding but don’t worry, Danny is working on first aid,” Kai answered.
“Good, I will be there soon.”
Twenty minutes later, Instructor James arrived. The helicopter hovered while he lowered a basket for Cutie. Danny and Kai placed the dog in the basket and she was lifted onto the loud helicopter. The basket returned to Danny and Kai and then lifted them as well. Inside the helicopter, Cutie got on a comfortable and warm medical bed. When they landed safely at Mission Training School, a fire truck, an ambulance and a police car were waiting for Cutie. She got in the ambulance and then the emergency vehicles raced to the hospital with the onboard helicopter doctor.
Danny and Kai’s arms and legs were hurting. They felt both ecstatic and drained. The boys ate a hot meal, took a warm bath, washed the tools, and had a good night's sleep. Danny was excited to reunite with his parents the next morning.
When the boys woke up, the sun sparkled and glowed brightly in the sky as Kai took a big stretch and yawned.
“What is the time?” Danny asked.
“It’s a whisker past 7:20,” replied Kai. “It’s time to wake up.” Just then James came into the room. The boys stopped talking.
“Good morning, boys,” Instructor James said as he turned on the light.
“Good morning!” replied the boys. “For a reward, you guys will have a day off today!” said James.
“Yay!” the boys both shouted. They both got a hot breakfast and then played and exercised.
In the afternoon, the rescuers' whole families were there to celebrate!
“Mom! Dad!” Danny and Kai both shouted as they jumped in their mom’s arms.
“I miss you. I’m so proud of what we’ve done,” said the families happily.
“Thank you for this experience of these exciting and cool adventures,” Danny said joyfully. They kept chatting until Instructor James called them.
“Guys, come in this room. Let’s celebrate!” Instructor James said as he got excited.
“Yay!!!!!!!!!!” Kai shouted. When they entered the room, the group of people heard the music of love. They all started dancing!
After a while, Danny and Kai stepped onto a small stage. Mr. Sivad, the director of Mission Training School, handed Danny and Kai each a certificate of completion.
All the members of the audience including the FBI, the parents, and the instructors clapped loudly and cheered over the moon.
“Whoa! Thank you. This is so cool!” Danny exclaimed.
“Now, let’s capture a 2020 whole Mission Training School photo!” said Mr. Sivad, as the photographer got ready. All the helpers and kids that didn’t get to go on the mission walked onto the stage. 3...2...1… They all smiled and then CHEESE! SNAP! Then, they did the same thing except with silly faces. CHEESE! SNAP!
“Great! That was a terrific photo!” the photographer shouted happily. All the people on the stage got down. They heard music once more, but this time the music was happy and cheerful. The kids and adults all danced, hummed along, and kept a steady beat by tapping their feet to the ground or clapping their hands. At the last moment of the song, “Ding! Ding! Ding!” All of the people jumped in surprise!
“What was tha-”
“Cutie has been released from the hospital, her body is all normal and the leg is wrapped and fixed! Cutie will be ready to keep being our top hero and help find lost people again in a month! WHOOOOOO!” Dr. Andy, the president, and Ms. Jia, the mayor, both exclaimed together from the speaker.
“Yay!” screamed everyone in the room. They had some sweet cake and they were all ready to go home. Everyone said goodbye and wished each other a happy New Year. Kai jumped in the car with his family and felt content knowing that he and Danny saved a hero.
As Danny’s car pulled away, he was thinking about all that had happened and what the next mission would be like. Maybe going to space and stopping an asteroid from hitting the earth…?