Francine was last to reach the top of the mast. By now, the breeze had turned into a gust, and it was growing stronger. They could still see Sarge coming down the field, and were scrambling for ideas.
Puddles looked up at the snoot of the blimp, and said, "I've got it. With this wind, there'll be so much confusion, all we have to do is pull the pin, cut the blimp free, then slide down these snoot lines, and run into the little house down there on the bottom, where they fly it from."
"That's crazy", Ernestine said. "The three of us handle this big thing?"
"It doesn't weigh anything", Puddles said. "It's full of helium. You know, that stuff that you inhale when you want to talk funny."
Down below, the dachsie ground crew was heading for cover as the thunder roared and the lightning flashed. Inside the control car, Tasha was still sitting in the pilot's seat, looking up at her brother's nameplate on the control panel. Beside the seat was a large metal wheel, positioned parallel to the centerline of the blimp. Tahsa toyed with it, and said, "Is this the steering wheel?"
"I don't think so", Shasta said. "It's in a funny place if it is."
"But there isn't any steering wheel in front, isn't that where it should be?"
"Usually." Just then, a gust of wind knocked the blimp slightly to one side.
Up on the mast, the rain was pouring down. Fearing that the mast might be struck by lightning, Puddles reached up and grabbed the pin. "Get ready!", she yelled. Puddles then pulled the pin. As she did so, a huge gust of wind blew over the field, and before she could grab the snoot lines, the blimp had broken free, and was sailing away in the wind.
Tasha had her paw on the wheel, when a gust caught the blimp under the nose, knocking her from the seat. The wheel started spinning like a top. And the nose of the blimp rose high in the air. Tasha and Shasta hung on, and they quickly realized the tail of the blimp was off the ground, and the whole airship was going straight up.
On the ground, Snoopy and Ernie saw the blimp rise, and before they could grab the lines, it was out of their reach. Snoopy pointed to Sarge, who was busy rounding up the usual suspects, and said, "Have Sarge get a chopper airborne, I'll meet them."
"They won't be able to get that close in this weather."
"Well, we better do something fast, because if they keep climbing, all the air'll bleed out of the ballonets, and they'll be on pure helium."
"Until they rise high enough for the helium to start bleeding out."
They both looked up at the blimp flying away, and started thinking. Just then, Snoopy's phone rang.
"Hello? Shiloh? Where are you? Grounded? You buzzed the tower again, didn't you? So you want Shasta to fly for you this afternoon? Well, that's gonna be a little difficult............"