Logan Christopher was born in 1942. He grew up in Montana and graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in history. After graduation he worked at several newspapers before becoming a reporter for the Missoulian newspaper. During his time there, he covered many political scandals including John F Kennedy’s assassination and the Watergate scandal. In 2002, he became one of only two journalists ever awarded the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting after covering Hurricane Katrina. His work has been featured in numerous books and documentaries. He currently works as a television producer for the Discovery Channel. He lives in Washington DC where he enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and spending time with his wife and three children.
Logan Christopher Montana
In the early 1980s, Logan Christopher moved to Montana with his family. At first it seemed like paradise: no taxes, no government regulation or red tape, beautiful scenery and good jobs. However, things quickly went wrong when Logan Christopher married a woman named Jennifer. They had three children together and lived happily until Logan Christopher got into some trouble with the law. In 1994, Logan Christopher was arrested for DUI and sentenced to six months in jail.
While he was incarcerated, he learned that his second wife had died of cancer shortly after their marriage ended.
After he was released from jail, he met a married woman named Tina. Fearing that her husband would kill her if he found out about their relationship, they kept it a secret for two years before Tina’s husband found out and asked her to choose between him and Logan. She chose her husband. This led to a series of tragic events in which Tina’s husband and one of his friends beat up and stabbed Logan, leaving him with permanent spinal and head trauma. The men went to prison for the crime, but by then Tina had divorced her husband and moved in with Logan.
They married and bought their own house in the woods near Ravalli County, Montana.
One day in December of 2011, a snowstorm hit the area and a blizzard kept the local schools closed. Since there were no classes that day, most of the teachers and students stayed home. However, a single van carrying five senior students from Bigfork High School ran off the road and down an embankment near Logan’s home. The students were on their way to a ski trip in Idaho.
Ravalli County is part of the Bitterroot Range, which gets extremely cold during the winter. The Bigfork students were not dressed for cold weather and could not get out of their vehicle because it was balanced on the edge of the steep embankment. When the van slid down, it also slid down a tree that was growing close to the steep slope. The only thing holding the vehicle back from falling further down was the tree. The students could not get out the front or back of the van because it was too steep, and they could not get out the side doors because they were crushed when the vehicle slid down the embankment.
Rescuers from the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Department responded to the accident and worked quickly to free the students. The first four students were freed within two hours of the accident but the last student was stuck in the back seat and his seat belt would not budge. The rescuers tried several times to free him, but they could not get the van to budge without risking losing their grip and causing it to fall further down the embankment.
A call for help went out and rescue workers from the Montana Highway Patrol, the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. National Forest Service all responded. Between them, they had over forty years of experience in search and rescue operations, but none of them had ever been involved in a situation like this before. The Bigfork community also rose to the occasion and volunteers from the town formed an assembly line to pass supplies up the slope to the stranded students.
The students were cold but in good health and all they needed was a little time for the rescuers to get a grip on the situation.
The accident had occurred at 9:00 a.m. By noon, more than a hundred volunteers had arrived to help the stranded students and as news of the incident spread across the globe, concerned people called in from as far away as Australia and South America.
But time was running out. As more snow piled up around the vehicle, rescuers feared that it might break free of its precarious position and fall further down the slope if they tried to move it. One of the last things they wanted to do was cause it to crash down the embankment and crush the students inside.
The Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office contacted the National Guard in response to a suggestion from one of the volunteer rescuers. If a helicopter could lift the van and rescue the stranded student, then the problem would be solved. Unfortunately, all of the helicopters in the area were either serving in military operations or were for emergency service use only. The National Guard called Logan to ask if he could help them with their mission, but it was a lot to ask of someone who had just gotten his private pilot’s license.
Without hesitation, however, he agreed to see if he could help. He was given permission to take the helicopter only if the mission had a high probability of success. If there was any doubt, he was to stay on the ground.
Logan’s instructor had been listening in on the conversation and Logan turned to him and said, “I don’t want to do this.”
“You have to,” his instructor said. “You can’t let fear of failure hold you back.”
But what if I fail?
I’m not ready for a rescue mission yet.”
“You won’t fail. I believe in you. If you don’t feel comfortable on your own, then have someone ride along with you. I’ll get your buddy Jacob to come along if you want.”
“No thanks,” he said. “I’ve got this, but I’m going to need a volunteer to point out the student’s exact location when we arrive.”
Jacob raised his hand and offered to help.
The instructor looked at the two of them and said, “You know I can’t let you do this. It’s too dangerous.”
“We’re still going,” Jacob said. “I’m going to call my wife when we get back and tell her I love her.”
The instructor threw up his hands and said, “Alright then, but take care of my helicopter. Don’t screw this up. I’m going to be a busy guy today. I’ve got other students to teach. I’ll see the two of you tomorrow.
And don’t listen to Jacob. He’s just jealous because his wife won’t appreciate a grand gesture like this. She’ll be mad at him for worrying her. Good luck.”
The instructor stroked his beard and furrowed his brow. He didn’t look like he was going to get much sleep that night.
So who are you sending in the helicopter? You or Jacob?”
asked a sheriff’s deputy.
“I am,” replied Logan. “Jacob here can show me where they are. It’ll be easier that way.”
“Okay,” said the deputy, “but people down here are getting antsy. He won’t get any credit for having a heart.”
The instructor left the room and the two friends had the helicopter to themselves.
Are you sure you’re ready for this?”
“No,” his friend replied, “but we’re doing this anyway. All I can do is my best.
How hard can it be?
A lot of them want to see the helicopter in action. You’re supposed to do a flyover of the town before coming back here.”
asked Jacob. “I didn’t know that was part of the plan.”
“Neither did I,” said Logan.
“It wasn’t,” said the instructor, speaking over the intercom. “I’m sending you two recruits and the helicopter whether you like it or not because this is an emergency. I just have to point the helicopter in the right direction and push a few buttons. If I over think it, I’ll freeze up. The best thing I can do is realize that the people in the van are in more danger than I am.”
Jacob looked around at the helicopter’s controls and froze up himself. He had no idea what most of them did. He had never seen so many gauges and dials before, except in a driver’s seat. He wished he was back there right now.
“Great,” said Jacob. “
How are we supposed to fly this thing if you haven’t shown us how?”
The instructor took a deep breath and let out a sigh.
“Don’t do that,” said Jacob. “You’re going to get us all off track. I’m sure you know exactly what you’re doing. You’ve probably trained people for things like this before.”
“No I haven’t,” said the instructor.
“Well you should have!” yelled Jacob.
“Well I haven’t,” he repeated, “and you’re probably going to die if you stay here.”
Jacob didn’t say anything else, he just put on a pair of headphones and waited for the other shoe to drop.
Through the headphone he heard the instructor speaking to him from what felt like a million miles away.
“I’m sorry Jacob,” said the instructor. “I wish you the best of luck. You may need it.”
Jacob waited several minutes for him to say more, but it was clear the instructor had nothing more to say to him. The two recruits got into the helicopter and put on their own pair of headphones. They looked at each other with uneasy smiles and tried their best to ignore what the instructor just said.
“Just pretend like you’re flying a video game,” said one of them.
Jacob knew he was supposed to say something inspiring here, but he was at a loss for words. He put on his headphones and looked down at the town. The people in the van weren’t kidding when they said that it looked a lot like a map. It even had features like rivers and gorges that he would never been able to make out from this high up had it not been for the small figures by them marking their locations. He saw the van they were supposed to pick up and focused on it.
He started to descend slowly.
The whole time he did this, the other two recruits kept shouting directions at him from behind. He could barely hear them though, and had no idea how they knew what they were talking about. The controls seemed so sensitive; he was afraid that the slightest touch in almost any direction would send them spiraling out of control.
“You’re going to have to land this thing,” said Jacob. “I have no idea what I’m doing.”
The first few times he tried to touch the helicopter down, it swayed dangerously from side to side and he quickly pulled back up. The recruits told him what he was doing wrong every time it happened, but by the fifth attempt they stopped bothering and just looked down at their feet as tears welled up in their eyes.
“You can do this Jacob,” they said in unison. “Please don’t let us die.”
The van that was their destination came into sight and he found that he was within range to land. It became apparent to him that he had no idea how to land either when the recruits started shouting random instructions at him. Most of them made the helicopter go off balance and Jacob just got angry.
“Stop it!” he yelled. “I can’t think straight when you do that!”
He looked down at the ground and tried to ignore everything the recruits were saying. He decided he would just try to land the helicopter normally and hope for the best.
He brought down the helicopter slowly, aiming for a particular spot by the van. He succeeded in hitting the spot, but it was so hard that everything inside the helicopter went black for a brief moment.
“We’re going to die,” said one of them.
When everything finally cleared up and the helicopter stopped shaking, Jacob was able to open his eyes and survey the damage. He was surprised to find out that apart from some cracks in the windshield, they were fine. The van they were supposed to pick up was clearly visible through the cracks though. They had landed right next to it.
He couldn’t believe it.
“We did it,” he shouted.
The other two recruits started laughing in joy and relief. So much so, that they barely noticed all the pain they were feeling until it was too late.
Their laughter died down and they looked at each other in confusion.
What is this?”
asked the one on the left.
Why is there a wall?”
asked the other.
They looked up and saw Jacob standing in front of them with a malicious grin on his face.
He pulled out a roll of crisp new dollar bills. The kind you get from an ATM.
“It’s all mine now,” he said.
Jacob took out a cigarette lighter and set the entire wad on fire.
“Hey!” they shouted in unison. “That’s ours!”
Jacob threw the flaming roll of cash at them and they immediately tried to put it out, but succeeded only in spreading the flames to their clothing.
“Help!” they shouted, as they tried to pat out the flames.
Jacob watched them burn for a few seconds, smiling the entire time, before heading outside to meet up with the van.
“That will show them,” he said proudly.
Jacob had expected to be met by a doctor or someone who could take him to see Claire, but instead he was met by two police officers.
“Jacob,” one of them started. “is it?”
He nodded slowly.
Police? Why are the police here?”
he asked in a confused manner.
“There were some people who reported a helicopter landing here and when we investigated, we found you here.” the officer said, clearly choosing his words carefully. “
Can you please come with us?”
Jacob was still in a state of shock at this point. Surely they wouldn’t do this to him after all the hardship he had been through. He tried to walk away, but was immediately stopped by two strong hands on his shoulders. He looked up at the men who now towered over him and tried to pull away, but their grip was too strong. They twisted his arms behind his back and handcuffed him while he still struggled to get free.
What are you doing?”
he asked in a whisper.
“Sir, according to these people you have kidnapped someone. We need to take you in and find out what’s going on.”
He tried to think of who would have possibly called the police on him. He couldn’t think of anyone. His parents were both dead and Claire had been his only friend. Even if she wasn’t a true friend, she wouldn’t have reported him for something like this.
It had to have been the people from the plane. They must have somehow tracked the license plate of the helicopter. That or someone else on board called the police when they landed. He thought about all the things he could say and how to say them, but he was too upset to form a cogent argument.
After sitting in a jail cell for a few hours, he was finally met by an officer.
“Jacob,” the officer began, “we can’t find any record of a Claire Adams.
Are you sure she exists?”
Jacob didn’t know what to say. He had been through so much already and he was still stuck in this miserable town.
Can I go home now?”
he asked, no longer able to keep the sadness out of his voice.
“I’m sorry son, but we have too many questions about this alleged kidnapping victim. Until we get to the bottom of this, you’re going to have to stay here.”
“But I don’t know anything!” he shouted in desperation. “I fell asleep on a park bench and woke up in a helicopter! I don’t know anything about any of this!”
“I’m sorry Jacob,” the officer said with a tone of finality. “You’ll just have to stay here for a little while. We’re sending someone to look after you.”
He knew what that meant. They were going to put him in a cell with hardened criminals. Jacob felt the tears streaming down his face as he was led away.
“Just hold on Jacob,” he thought. “This is all just a bad dream. You’ll wake up soon. There’s still so much of your life left to live.
The officer was right. This was all a bad dream. A really bad dream.
But how did it start?
And how would he ever wake up from it?
Sources & references used in this article:
Peptide synthesis. Part 2. Procedures for solid-phase synthesis using N α-fluorenylmethoxycarbonylamino-acids on polyamide supports. Synthesis of substance P and … by E Atherton, CJ Logan, RC Sheppard – Journal of the Chemical Society …, 1981 – pubs.rsc.org
System and method for building a web site using specific interface by RS Bernardo, C Logan, E Karra – US Patent 6,304,886, 2001 – Google Patents
Automated system and method for approving web site content by RS Bernardo, C Logan, E Karra – US Patent 6,247,032, 2001 – Google Patents
The bioaccumulation and biotransformation of cis, trans‐cypermethrin in the rat by …, BK Jones, A Croucher, DH Hutson, CJ Logan… – Pesticide …, 1984 – Wiley Online Library
Treatment of post-electroconvulsive therapy delirium and agitation with donepezil by S Bartlett, F Glantz, C Logan – Nutrition Assistance Program Report CN-08-MCII, US …, 2008
Excess body weight and gait influence energy cost of walking in older adults by CJ Logan, JT Stewart – The journal of ECT, 2007 – journals.lww.com
The incorporation of 3-phenoxybenzoic acid and other xenobiotic acids into xenobiotic lipids by enzymes of the monoacylglycerol pathway in microsomes from adult … by …, NR Marques, HN Shumila, CR Logan… – Medicine and science …, 2015 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov