The island of St. Martin is the glittering jewel of the French Caribbean. When fire threatens its narrow streets and skyscraper-studded waterfronts, the daring airborne firemen of Marin-Pyronef answer the call. Their remotely piloted drones can suffocate flames before conventional fire engines could even roll out of the station, while their jumpcraft can drop rescuers onto the roofs of buildings that no ladder could reach. This is the vision that the company's founder, veteran smoke jumper Florian Archambeault, has spent the last 20 years building into a model of firefighting excellence.
Now, in a single afternoon, 70 years of domination by St. Martin's corrupt Colonial Administration comes crashing down. In haste to evacuate after a stunning military defeat, four people are trapped atop the administration headquarters by a raging fire. Locked in a safe room with their air supply running low, only one fire company has a chance to save them. This is the rescue that would make Marin-Pyronef's reputation on the world stage, and finally vindicate what Florian has spent a lifetime trying to prove.
But there's a problem.
Among those trapped is despised colonial commissioner Pascal Beaulieu, the man who ruined and exiled Florian two decades ago. Will Florian's sense of duty trump his thirst for revenge? Can he afford to save the most hated man on the island?
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Great short story
- A. Brownlee