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The Qantas Mystery

By John Grigsby

In 2009 a Qantas jet cruising above Australia survives a cometary impact on the polar Ice Cap that causes immediate and immense global flooding.

Miraculously it manages to stay intact whilst on the planet below the human race is all but wiped out.

The pilot, using all his reserves of fuel, manages to pilot the plane to some small island in the region of Borneo - once the tip of a great mountain range.

Leaving the aircraft, the passengers find all but a few of the local native population dead.

Among the passengers, bound for an international science conference in Perth, are a nuclear physicist, an organic chemist, an astrophysicist and a biologist. Other passengers include a boat builder, an architect, a lawyer and a couple of doctors and nurses. There is also a priest and a poet. The cream, one might say, of civilised society.

To begin with, without the surviving local islanders the passengers would be dead within a few weeks. They have no idea what they can eat of the local flora and fauna. They cannot hunt. The locals, whilst marvelling at the people from the sky, teach them what is poisonous, what tastes good.

A month passes. The plane is stranded in the swampy coast in which it landed. There is no fuel to fly it. It grows rusty. Eventually it is pulled out to sea by the tides and sinks. The passengers, used to living in comfortable homes, have learned how to build simple yet effective native shelters - round houses built around a central hearth.

Their method of food production is simple hunter gathering. They are gradually beginning the first lessons in flint tool production - badly.

A foray to find other survivors has proved fruitless, and the passengers decide to rethink their future.

They have amongst them the vast complexity of modern culture within their brains, but frustratingly it lies dormant, void of a means of expression. Their knowledge is useless here.

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