The map screen opened and showed 'Calculating' while snowflakes fell down the screen. A small squeaky voice welcomed her. 'Arwin, I am Pepper Minstix, your guide for this journey. Please start up your vehicle and take the first right onto Flight Road.', Arwin checked her mirrors and set off. At the end of Flight Road the voice instructed her to go straight across into Maintenance Road and stop at the gate.
As she pulled up at the gate her radio crackled into life. 'Rudolph One, Rudolph One, this is Charlie Golf, Ground Control, please hold at the gate until it opens, cross the yard ahead until you pass over the solid white taxi line, turn right and keeping it on your right proceed until you reach Access Avenue and hold there, please acknowledge, repeat instructions and contact us again when in position, over!'. Arwin keyed her mic and replied to Ground Control. This was going to be different. The gate slid open and the she eased the bus forward between aircraft being worked on. Keeping a close eye out for anything else moving she made it to the taxi line and turned right. Ahead of her she saw a crossing road and pulled to a stop.
'Charlie Golf, Charlie Golf, this is Rudolph One in position at Access Avenue. Instructions please, over!' , 'Rudolph One , Rudolph One, this is Charlie Golf, please switch to frequency 118 decimal 3, over!' Click, click, on the radio controls. 'Rudolph One, Rudolph One, this is Charlie Tango, the Tower, you are clear to proceed to runway 31, please hold on the threshold striped markers and line up with runway. over!'
Arwin could hardly believe it, they were going to let her onto a working runway? 'You bet they are.', came the squeaky voice from the GPS. 'What?' thought Arwin, 'Now the darned GPS is reading my mind.' 'What little there is of it.' retorted the GPS. Arwin hit the brakes and came to screeching halt. 'I'm dreaming, or hallucinating or something, this can't be real, or if it is someone is playing games with me.', Arwin said out loud, 'Who are you?'. 'I told you,' came the voice from the GPS, 'I'm Pepper Minstix, I am here to guide you to Santa's Workshop. As to reading your mind, that is only one of the many things I can do. So, get used to it and drive the bus.'
Arwin resigned herself to the possible options, she was dreaming or going mad, either way she may as well see how this trip was going to develop. She started up the bus again and followed the route marked on the GPS and was soon at the end of the runway. She turned to align the bus with the centre line and called the tower for more instructions. Now they passed her to the Departures frequency. Departures? That meant taking off! Enough was enough, no way was she trying to fly a bus. 'Of course not,' piped up Pepper, 'I'm doing the hard parts first time through. You can learn as we go.' Arwin took her hands off the controls and sat back in her chair, this she just had to see. While she could believe the workshop could gimmick a radio into the GPS to fool her there was no way they could move a bus.
Arwin's eyes opened wide as the talk switch on the mic depressed itself and the voice from the GPS said, 'Departures, this is Rudolph One, awaiting clearance for take off.' click. 'Rudolf One,this is Departures you are clear for take off on runway 31, wind 330 at 8, after take-off turn right to 356 degrees and climb to 5000 feet, Merry Christmas, over'. The bus engine revved hard and the yoke moved from side to side, suddenly the bus was moving and Arwin watched as the needle climbed up the speedometer dial. 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 ! The front of the bus lifted up and the noise from the tyres vanished . The bus was flying …...............