Days to go
Kaimanawa rolled around in his bed under the duvets that lay heavily on top of his pegasi body and insulated him against the cool night air. The night had been clear and colder than previously so he was snuggled, balled tightly against the cool air that was trying to seep in through any gap around his shoulders.
He pulled his blankets in and curled his fore hooves under to try keep the warm air from escaping and it seemed to work as he found a comfortable medium. Kai shuffled around and snuggled into his pillow and set himself on his right side, facing out towards the window.
The Squadron Leader had enjoyed his lodgings since coming to Tangmare and he knew every inch of it. The Window on the left, the hoof basin and mirror on the right, his free standing wardrobe to the right of the door and of course the personally purchased oak bed settee Colgate had brought on his behalf from the antique shop in Tangmare township.
Kai opened his eyes and sleepily stared forward as the sound of chirping sparrows radiated from outside his window. Colgate had installed a bird feeding station on the side of his hut earlier in the year as she thought it would be a nice spot for them to feed from. That way she could watch them when she was sitting on the deck outside Kai's office as she drank her afternoon tea.
Unfortunately for the Squadron Leader though, it had been a bone of contention at times due to the early morning wake up calls he received from the hungry sparrows, finches and robins happily jumping around and consuming the seed or cobs of corn nailed on the side.
This morning though Kai wasn't flustered by the morning chorus, in fact he thought it rather pleasant as he slumbered half way between sleep and consciousness. He dozed with no particular cause to get up. He lifted his head slightly and tilted it upwards to see the alarm clock that was perched on his bedside drawers.
It was 7:45am, Wednesday morning.
He murmured, knowing he wasn't due to get up for a while still. In fact, really, he didn't have anything that needed his immediate attention today except to check on the preparations for Tangmare's open day on Sunday.
Kai rolled onto his back and shuffled around getting comfortable then attempted to open his eyes but they seemed to momentarily be glued shut. They felt like lead but he eventually opened them and started at the ceiling above.
Blinking a few times to help align his sleepy eyesight he drew a deep breath, exhaling noisily through his snout and gritting his teeth.
He stated out loud.
But this was short lived as Kai rolled to his left, snuggled in again and went back to sleep until his alarm woke him at 9am.
With his alarm ringing in his ear, drowning out the serene bird songs outside, Kai quickly rotated and slapped his hoof onto the clock and turned it off with a loud moan. He lay on his front with the duvet thrown back and his wings fully extended in a vertical vector. It was not morning wings that he had, just the shock of the alarm interrupting his slumbering rest.
Kai lay on his belly still and lowered his wings down over him and then tucked them back into the stowed position. It had warmed up only a little since 7.45am so the cool air was starting to seep in under his fur, helping him to wake up more as he hung his left hoof over the side of his oak bed.
"Fine, I'm getting up."
He grumbled out loud to himself.
Kai shuffled sideways and sat on the edge of the bed with his rear hoofs hanging over, resting on the floor then leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and looked up at the window in front of him. The sun was sifting through the cracks between curtains, allowing bright morning light to seep through into his room.
The Squadron Leader looked around his room while a sombre feeling filled his entire being. He was frowning and feeling unmotivated this morning given that he wasn't required to be anywhere, any time soon.
Given that he wasn't on flying duties he didn't have to spend as much time organising flight rosters or having meetings with the Winger commander. After being stood down on Friday Flight Lieutenant Pipiwai had taken over his combat position at the head of the squadron, the roster being shuffled accordingly to make up the gap in Kai's absence.
no one needs me anymore."
He stated in a moment of self pity.
Surely, Kaimanawa was relieved to be out of danger finally but he felt lost because of it and he didn't know what to do with himself. He still had a clerical duty to fulfil but it was far less stimulating than before.
Kai stood up on all four hooves and slowly made his way out the room to the hallway, turning left into the bathroom and turning on the faucet to run a hot shower. He shook out his stiff muscles and ruffled mane then looked in the mirror momentarily.
He looked old in the dull morning light, he thought. He winced and looked at the corners as what seemed to be wrinkles formed, jutting out from the ends. Even the fur on his forehead seemed to form frown lines.
Kai rubbed his face and muzzle then adjusted the Pega Force blue towel that was hanging below the mirror. He liked uniformity when it came to certain things. After such he turned back to the shower and climbed over the edge of the bath the shower ran into, pulling the curtain across.
The Squadron Leader rotated around, wetting his whole body and letting the hot water run through his fur, feathers and fire like yellow mane and tail. He sat his snowy white rump on the basin of the bath and dropped his chin, letting the hot water spray on his head and over his back to his broad wings.
After a short while he turned around 180 degrees and allowed the water to spray over his broad feathered wings, letting the water run across and through his feathers. Given their bird like make up the water ran down and through but not actually soaking in due to the oily residue they held.
Kaimanawa exhaled happily at the warmth soaked into his body and helped to wake him up from his early morning sleep in. Kai was more of an evening shower pony but he had more time at hand so this was somewhat of a luxury.
Shortly after he was cleaned, preened and dressed, ready to meet the morning and carry on as if nothing was amiss. A neutral smile strewn across his face he opened the front door to his billet and stepped out.
"Morning Squadron Leader."
"Top of the morning sah."
"Hi Kaimanawa, nice day huh?"
"You're looking smashing this morning Squadron Leader."
Kai paused outside his billet as he was suddenly bombarded with warm and chipper greetings from the ponies that were milling about the air station, while they passed his abode.
"And some to you."
"Yes, it's lovely outside."
"~Salute~ At ease Warrant Officer. Carry on."
The soon to be wayward Squadron Leader replied to those that greeted him in an almost confused state. It was like he had been transformed into a celebrity overnight once the news of his leaving had been broken the Monday prior.
1730 Hours The Monday prior
A Flying Officer yelled out as two senior commissioned officers walked into the briefing room which drew all inside to attention as was required in military doctrine.
Wing Commander Canterbury Scotch called out as he walked up the middle of the isle with Kaimanawa hot on his heels.
The two officers walked up to the front of the room and up the two small steps onto the stage where the briefing officer would normally stand while laying out the coming days operations. Today though would be different as there was no briefing taking place at this late hour, in fact, it was very informal.
Scotty stood tall in the middle of the stage while addressing his subordinates. Only the air crew were gathered this afternoon, no ground staff were present as they would be informed the day following. Or, if the rumour mill was running at full power, the word would quickly spread through the barracks.
"Thank you all for coming at short notice every pony, we won't keep you too long. The Squadron Leader will address you shortly but first I want to say that I'm proud to see you all returned safely from your sorties today."
Scotty started but paused, seeing Sergeant Pilot Wing Over with his abdomen bandaged and an evident lump from a cushioned wing splint, the Sergeant Pilot having suffered a hairline fracture from flak while attacking a train the morning prior.
Scotty said with a smile which made the air crew chuckle.
"The 486th has a proud history and I am pleased with how it has matured from a top rate fighter squadron, into the penultimate ground attack squadron of the REPF. You all took to the new Typhoons like ducks to water too, which is most righteous. I received a communication from Group Captain Talon this afternoon complimenting us on our high level of readiness and efficiency. Well done every pony, I have put a small tab on the Officers mess bar to celebrate."
A loud cheer went up for the Wing Commander with high hoofs and a clatter of floor boards from the excited flight crews.
Kaimanawa called out as the celebratory yelps went on a moment too long and loudly.
thank you Squadron Leader."
Canterbury said which received a replying nod from Kaimanawa who was sitting stone faced to the Wing Commanders right.
"I'll now pass the floor to my good friend Kaimanawa to carry on."
"Thank you Wing Commander. Good evening everyone."
A few replied.
Kaimanawa sat down in the middle of the stage, front and centre, ready to address his crews.
"As the Wing Commander stated, we won't keep you long this evening so you can go enjoy your free drinks sooner than later. I have asked you all here so I can share some news with you about my current status.
Some may already know what I'm about to say if a certain pudgy little pegasi wasn't able to keep from blabbing, so this mightn't come as a sur-"
"We'll be sad to see you go sir."
A voice suddenly rang out, cutting Kai short which annoying him to no end. Normally he would balk any subordinate that spoke out of turn but he allowed it to pass on this occasion. Although a flush of stomach nerves still surged through his abdomen in reserved irritation.
"Swan Soooong, don't interrupt him."
Flight Lieutenant Azalea Petal scowled as she nudged the relatively new pegasi in the shoulder.
"That's perfectly fine Azalea, she didn't know."
Swan Song replied to Kaimanawa.
Kai closed his eyes and held a moments pause as he collected his emotions and thoughts before starting to delivery his final words.
He started, clearing his thoughts and setting himself into a calm mannerism.
IS war. We are the kings and queens of promise, and we are the vox populi for those that we love and give protection to. We are at war, fighting against an enemy who's only demand is the unconditional surrender or their victims. Keiser Bullenbeiser would only be happy if we were his slaves, crushed under their iron paws.
Well this cannot, has not and will not ever be in proof. We New Friesians and Equestrians are the masters of our own universe, we are our countries and the commonwealth incarnate. We ponies, we few, have denied the fascist dogs their bloody sport and we will continue to do so until this unwanted war is over.
We speak not just with our voices but with our actions as well. We have spoken through the voluntary enlistment in the RNFPF and REPF. We have spoken through the bravery and sacrifice in combat, through the guns that we fire and we have spoken and by the laughter that we've shared.
This is something that will forever live in my heart and the memories that I have forever."
Kaimanawa started in a stately, professional manner.
"But, my time as Commanding Officer of the 486th has
Kai paused as a rumbling murmur of voices rolled around the room. The flight crew of the 486th had been unaware of the impending end of Kai's tour of duty as it had always been a well kept secret.
please every pony, quiet down."
The Wing Commander asked at volume as the murmuring died down to a low mumble.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you all sooner so you could've had time to take it in. I myself don't like formality or being the centre of attention so I tried to keep it on the down low. Admittedly this may have been the wrong course of action but I hope you can forgive me for it, I'm sure my good conduct over our time together will reduce the burden."
The reply was immediate and positive.
"Of course sir."
"We could never be made at you Squadron Leader."
"Kia kaha Kai."
A few kind worded ponies replied.
Kaimanawa nodded with a smile in thanks to the replies.
"We've been through some tough times together and I could not have asked for a better herd of ponies to have flying on my wing. From the early days when we flew into Neighston Heath, up to the current day flying Typhoons and ruling the roost at Tangmare.
The professionalism and confidence of the 486th has risen to its highest point ever, so I'm confident that you will all carry on this tradition for my replacement. In that regard, I'd like to congratulate Flight Lieutenant Pipiwai who will be taking my place as Squadron Leader in my absence.
Popeye your commission will come through next week when the formalities are sorted and you can move into my billet at that time. Sorry you're not allowed my bed, you'll have to make do with your own."
"That's alright Sir, pony knows what stains are on the mattress."
Pipiwai replied humorously which drew a burst of loud laughter from the crew in the room. It helped to lighten the mood that seemed to have quickly dropped but once more picked up to the normally chipper attitude that was shared within the 486th.
"What you do get though is the best assistant in the REPF. My office is yours as well as all the fittings and Colgate will be your right hand mare for all things clerical. She is there to help you out no matter how trivial is may seem. She's a professional, treat her as such and watch out for the Captain."
"Thank you Squadron Leader. I'll make sure I'll meet your high standards."
"I won't be here for much longer Popeye, you'll need to live up to your own."
Kai replied wisely, putting the onus on his soon to be equal.
"Baron, I'm sorry to be leaving you. You've had my flank for countless sorties and have been a constant companion at the bar. You can still drink any pony under the table and are unmatched in the air."
"Thank you Sir. It's been a pleasure to be on your wing."
"I guess you'll want to know what now?"
"A tad sir."
The blood red mare replied.
"Azalea and Petal will become number one element, taking over from us as lead of Kai flight. I have confirmed with the Wing Commander with your promotion to Flying Officer being accepted. You will be allocated a winger, taking over as Kai 2nd element lead.
You did me justice as my wing mare but it's time for you to take the lead and become a leader. Remember, a flight is not two halves but of the same whole. Watch out for your winger and they'll watch out for you, just as you did for me."
Kai finished with a wing flick, similar to an air five.
Clockwork chuckled and winged back playfully.
"Now, also, Moa will be lead flight given that I'm retiring. Kai flight will take Moa's place in the lineup. I will talk with all flight leaders tomorrow morning before the days sorties so I want you all in my office by 8am. Not too early I hope?"
"No issues here sir."
Grey Stone added.
"Affirmative Squadron Leader."
Kai waited for a few seconds but there was no reply from Flight Lieutenant Azalea Petal, Kai flights new lead.
"Petal dear, were you asleep just now?"
"Uh, no sir."
The mare replied.
A chuckle from the attending 486th flight crew alerted her to the fact she'd missed something big.
"You're Kai flights new lead dummy."
Harmony Belle whispered as she nudged Azalea in the side.
"Oh? Oh, uh, yes sir, tomorrow morning. Sorry sir, it kinda went over my head just now."
Azalea replied finally with a wing salute which drew another round of chuckles.
"So you're okay with having a flight of your own then?"
"Yes sir. I'll make Kai my own."
"I'd hope not Flight Lieutenant, Bristol will have something to say about that if you do."
Clockwork dryly added with a sly sideways glance.
"Hahahaha. Right you are Baron, she would too.
So really, that's all I have to say for the time being. Is there any questions?"
"Sir, will you be handing in your commission and heading back home?"
Flight Lieutenant Finch asked.
"Nope! Not yet, not before you lot at least. I will retain my rank as Squadron Leader at my new post."
"Where are you going sir?"
Finch asked again.
"Canterbury offered a post at Hillbourne, North of here near Canterlot."
"That's a training squadron, isn't it?"
A Sergeant queried.
"Yes it is; a training school I believe. From what the Wing Commander has told me, I'll be in command of the 32nd Combat and Conversional Training Squadron. It'll be a hoofs on job and will be helping to train pegasi on how to wear and use their BODs, as well as providing combat training too, before they're posted to a front line squadron."
Kai's description of Hillbourne was fairly bang on.
He would provide knowledge and expertise in the operation of the BODs that he had worn in combat. These would include the Hurricane and Typhoon. He had worn Spitfire also but only while at Bucksombe Down while off duty. Nonetheless he would still be training pegasi on them so he would have to familiarise himself on the Spitfire once there.
More importantly, and a major reason for his transfer to Hillbourne, was his years of experience over the unfriendly skies of Equestria and the occupied territories. Kai would put his hard fought experience in combat to use, applying it to good use so those coming through training would be justifiably ready to face the enemy.
At this point in the war the enemy was being slowly worn down on all fronts, yet, with the constant combat taking place they were still formidable foes and far from being beaten. This is why the experience of combat leaders was needed, not just on the front line, but also drawn in where tricked down to those yet to fight.
"That sounds just up your ally sir. Lots of new hardware to wear and lot of recruits to mentor."
"Lots of mares too."
A voice called out which made Kaimanawa subtly blush.
"Yes well, eh-hem, touche. Be that as it may I'm spoken for now. "
An Sergeant Pegasi called out.
"It never hurts to still look sir."
The Sergeant replied.
By now the mood in the room had become very much chipper and the air crew felt at ease around their Squadron Leader. It was certainly not tongue in cheek but it was a friendly exchange of what could be considered similar to a father and his children.
This description described Kai's relationship with his crew to a tee. As the pegasi below him chatted quietly Kai sat on his podium like stage and smiled proudly. It was as if his chicks were flying the coop but in fact it was completely the opposite.
Kaimanawa was leaving his brood and it made his heart ache.
Kai sounded as he wiped his nose and drew back a tear that had been welling in the back of his sinus. His eyes had become well lubricated and the bottoms of his eye lids felt heavy. He was looking across the room from side to side while taking in the scene before him.
Flight Lieutenants were mingling and laughing with Sergeants and Pilot Officers.
Mares and colts intermingled with no tension or suspicion between the two sexes.
All was well, all was right.
"Hey, is Kaimanawa crying?"
He heard at volume suddenly which caused all heads to turn towards him.
Kai replied bluntly as he turned his head away and sniffed back a tear again, swallowing the salty liquid from the back of his nose.
"I don't cry unless I lose a family member or a pet."
"But you are losing family sir. You're losing us."
Swan Song added.
"Of course you lot are family to Kaimanawa. We all are."
A familiar voice from the back of the room echoed.
All head turned 180 degrees to look at the door to the briefing room as Colgate stood in the doorway, waiting patiently for the meeting to end.
"Tangmare has been as much the Squadron Leaders home as New Friesian itself. We're his brothers and sisters, his children and his parents."
Colgate said as she slowly made her way down the aisle between the rows of seats.
"But most of all, we've given him the magic of friendship."
"The Captain's cider is getting warm sir. Will you be long?"
Colgate asked with the sweetest and most honest of smiles.
"No Corporal, I won't be long. Thank you for coming."
"It's always been a pleasure sir. I'll tell Fyre he can down it and get a new while he waits."
She nodded softly.
"I won't keep him. Order me a beer please."
The Corporal replied to her superiors request.
Colgate about turned and slowly made her way out of the hall with a small swagger in her trot as she did. Inwardly, she had enjoyed being the centre of attention at that moment because she knew, as all did, that those were words of truth spoken elegantly.
All eyes were on Kaimanawa as he sat up straight once more and pushed his shoulders back, plumping out his chest and taking a deep breath which made him look larger. He sighed it out strongly, scanning over his crew again.
"Fillies and gentlecolts. This is the zenith of our time, the greatest moment that we will be remembered by. Ensure in my absence that you continue as you have been and make the most of the opportunities that arise.
Your job is to live, not survive.
Your job is to destroy, not self destruct.
your job is to raise the generation of tomorrow, SO BE SAFE.
Thank you, for everything.
The squadron replied in chorused volume to Kaimanawa's prompt.
The Squadron Leader walked to the end of the stage and down the few small steps onto the floor at the front of the room. He stood at attention read to dismiss his squadron when Clockwork barked out a powerful command.
The whole squadron rose to their hooves and stood at attention in front of their long standing commanding officer and stared forward like porcelain statues. Stone faced and concentrated they awaited the next command.
"SQUADRON, WINNNNG SALUTE!"
As one, the whole squadron raised their right wings erect into the air above them in a flush of feathers and vertical protrusions. It could have been taken humorously, and probably would be later on during happy hour, but in this instance in front of their highly regarded New Friesian Squadron Leader; it was a penultimate honour.
Kaimanawa stared forward with tears in his eyes and lifted his wings also in replying salute but also put an open facing hoof to the side of his head in formal REPF salute.
"Carry on good pegasi. Squadron dismissed."
Kai gave the order, allowing the attending crew the freedom to leave at their own digression.
Row by row the squadron left in line but moved forward and shook, hugged and kissed the cheek of Kaimanawa as they moved out of the briefing room they'd been called to earlier.
"Thank you sir. It's been a pleasure."
"Ka Pai Kaimanawa, have fun relaxing without us."
"Come back to us some time sir. It'll be great to see you again."
"Thank you for the extra tuition sir, it really helped when I first came to the 486th."
"Don't be a stranger buddy."
By the time the 486th had finally vacated the briefing room only Clockwork, Canterbury and a nearly sobbing Kaimanawa were left in the now empty space. Clockwork had whispered something in the passing pegasi's ears as they left but this was unknown to either of the senior commissioned officers.
Clockwork slowly walked up the aisle to Kaimanawa and his quivering lip. He was fighting back tears and snorted back the moisture in the back of his throat.
"Well Baron. It's been a good run."
He said as he nodded a few times.
"Doesn't have to end sir, I could come with you to Hillbourne."
"Naa. You need to get out of my shadow now Clockwork, become a leader in your own right."
He had been thankful to have Clockwork as his wing mare but he knew it was time for her to fly the coop.
"Teach your new winger what I taught you and don't rest on your laurels, alright?"
Clockwork saluted with her wings erect and hoof to her forehead.
She said sharply.
"As you were Flying Officer."
Kai replied with a hoof salute.
"I'll see you outside Kai."
Kaimanawa replied with uncertainty.
Clockwork turned and slowly walked out of the briefing room, leaving Kaimanawa and Canterbury Scotch alone.
"That was very rousing buddy. Popeye will make a good Squadron Leader. You promoted the right pegasi."
"Thanks sir. No hiding it anymore huh?"
"Nope, it's official. Come on, the Captain is waiting for you at the bar."
"Right you are Scotty. Right you are."
Kai replied to the Wing Commander.
They both made their way down the aisle and out of the briefing room, turning right leading to the door outside. As they passed through the door, onto the sidewalk they were greeted by the line of flight crew that had previously been attending the meeting.
They were lined up in two rows, arrowed with the new Squadron Leader at the head of the impromptu formation.
Pipiwai suddenly called out which drew the flight crew to alert as all ponies stood up on their hind legs and dropped, slamming their hooves onto the earth below. They looked menacing as is normal before a haka is created, but on this occasion they seemed more intimidating.
Pipiwai continued and would perform the haka in its entirety due to his strong New Friesian heritage. He was, unlike Kaimanawa, ancestrally native to New Friesian and his Iwi (extended family) had resided in the lands of their country for centuries past.
Kaimanawa's family, like many of Equestrian/Scandinavian decent, were not fluent in Te Reo unless they were taught it. Kai being lucky that he was taught by the village elder he had grown up near and also by his father Hoka Rewa's good friend Red Dawn. But the majority of the 486th New Friesians were not that fortunate so it was Pipiwai that completed this rousing haka with the rest of the flight crew thumping the ground in unison and echoing him as felt natural.
Kia whakangawari au i a hau
Let us prepare ourselves for the fray
I au-e! Hei!
(The sound of being ready)
Ko Niu Tireni e haruru nei!
The New Friesian storm is about to break
Au, Au, aue hā! Hei!
(The sound of the imminent storm.)
Ko Niu Tireni e haruru nei!
The New Friesian storm waxes fiercer
Au, Au, aue hā! Hei!
(Sounds of The height of the storm.)
Ka tū te ihiihi
We shall stand fearless
Ka tū te wanawana
We shall stand exalted in spirit
Ki runga ki te rangi,
We shall climb to the heavens
E tū iho nei, tū iho nei, hī!
We shall attain the zenith the utmost heights.
Au! Au! Au!
As Pipiwai finished his rousing haka he stomped his rear hooves down firmly underneath him and placed his fore hooves on his hips. Finishing by tilting his head to the right and poking his tongue out while laying it flat down his chin, it was certainly something that would put fear into any pony unfamiliar with the New Friesian tradition.
But to Kaimanawa it was blood pumping and motivating, filling him suddenly with adrenaline and the want to run as fast as he could to burn off the sudden surge or energy. But instead of run, he reclined and puffed out his chest again.
"GET TO THE BAR ALREADY YOU MUPPETS!"
The flight crew yahooed and whooped, chuckled and cheered as they ran past Kaimanawa in a stampede of dust and thumping hooves.
"Not you Popeye."
Kai said as Flight Lieutenant Pipiwai went to pass.
Pipiwai asked as he was stopped by an outstretched hoof.
"Keep that same intensity throughout. No wavering."
"Ka pai sir. Ka pai."
"Very good sir, very good."
"Right, off with ya then."
Kai ordered and set Pipiwai on his way.
Back in the present
"Morning sir, fashionably late today?"
Colgate asked with a smug smile as Kaimanawa walked into their shared office building towards his office. The door was locked which was irregular and it stopped Kaimanawa in his tracks.
"Something like that. Why's my door locked?"
"I locked it last night sir."
"I've been evicted already have I?"
Kai asked as he looked back at the beautiful blue unicorn behind him.
"No sir. There was a lot of activity here yesterday so I locked your office in case anything was stolen or misplaced after I'd left."
She was wearing a short sleeve shirt today compared to the long sleeve blouse normally worn in recent months. Even the fire in the corner wasn't churning at the same intensity now which was good indication that winter was on its last legs. That's not to say that it wasn't still burning and emitting a comfortable warmth.
Kai was quick to remind himself though that spring was coming and with the change of seasons, storms could be common.
The Squadron Leader reached into his pocket and pulled out a small key chain, finding the appropriate key and sliding it into the lock. He turned the copper key to the right and heard a click as the lock unlatched.
The door creaked as he pushed it open and stepped in, out of sight of Colgate who was watching him intently with a anonymous smile on the far side of her mouth, unseen by Kaimanawa.
"Yes Squadron Leader?"
Colgate replied with an air of innocence.
"Did I become an honorary member of the Knights of Ni."
Colgate asked, not getting the reference.
"I don't recall asking you to bring me a shrubbery."
Kaimanawa's voice was confused and the sounds of his hoof steps hadn't advanced further than a few steps inside his doorway.
"Is there a problem sir?"
She was acting innocent, purposefully oblivious to the New Friesians sudden plight.
Hoof steps echoed through the doorway as Kaimanawa slowly made his way around his office, inspecting said shrubbery that he had referenced.
"Come here please Corporal."
"Did you want me to bring you a coffee sir?"
Colgate asked, still acting oblivious.
Kai reinforced seriously, ignoring the beverage question.
The minty fresh unicorn had been leaning forward on her elbows and resting her chin on her hoofs when the Squadron Leader called, therefore it was with a mischievous chuckle that she stood up and pushed her chair back, making her way around her desk into the Squadron Leaders office.
"What is the meaning of this?"
Kaimanawa asked as he stood on the right of his office surrounded by bouquets of flowers, chocolates, sweets, cards and even a muffin basket.
"Well, you see sir, when you flew out to Hillbourne yesterday morning, a flood of well wishers came in to see you but you were away so I said they could leave their gifts here so you could pick them up on your return. It's just, well I didn't actually think there would be this much.
She had been happy to see so many ponies coming in to visit the New Friesian after the word had got around of his departure and she just couldn'y turn them away. Colgate had in fact been quite taken aback the evening prior and had felt lost without Kai being around after the sudden influx of visitors.
Due to this seemingly vacant feeling she'd spent the night with Captain Fyre in his quarters which helped her relax and feel close to her special some pony. This had also helped to reminder her that there were no feeling between herself & the New Friesian, apart from those of mutual friendship and respect.
The Captain not complaining in the least.
"It did take up a lot of space...didn't it?"
The Corporal explained.
Kai replied rhetorically to Colgates question.
"I don't know what to do with it all."
Kai said as he nudged a bunch of flowers on the couch to his right.
"It's a pity you don't have mistresses or you could share them around?"
Colgate said wryly.
"Serious moment here Colgate. What do I do with it all? I can't send it all back, I can't take it with me."
"Sir, may I make a suggestion?"
The mare asked.
"By all means, be my guest."
"We could take them to the cemetery and put them on the graves. There's plenty of flowers here, I think more than enough to lay some on each head stone."
It was a very smart and heartfelt thought from the Equestrian mare, a suggestion that felt right to Kaimanawa too.
The Squadron Leader turned his head to his left and looked Colgate in the eyes. His eyes seemed to glimmer with unexpected moisture and he smiled, nodding in agreement.
He said quietly.
"I like that idea."
"I'll talk to Mother Superior now if you want. We can keep them alive until the show on Saturday and we can ask the crowd to visit the graves on their way out. It would be only right to honour the pegasi we've lost while here at Tangmare."
Kai nodded a few slow times and made his way forward, around the side of his desk and sat down on his chair with no audible squeak from the previously fractured leg. Fyre had been busy during Kai's absence.
"Make it so Corporal. Thanks for your hard work while I was away."
The mare replied.
"I'll leave you be."
Kaimanawa looked around at his desk and moved a few of the bunches of flowers and treats aside, placing most on the floor to his right that so he could sort them later after he'd complete a few items of paper work. There was only three days until Tangmare's Open day and only five until his eventual departure so the amount of paperwork was minimal but very important nonetheless.
Once he had cleared the gifts off his desk and leaned back and stretched out in his chair, stretching his fore hooves above his head and his rear hooves out in front. Even his wings were extended to full length before stowing them once more.
Kai took a deep breath and leaned in again, placing his fore hooves on the desk in front of him.
He raised an eyebrow as his eye caught a small piece of orange stationary that was sitting, neatly folded in the middle of his desk in front of him. It was out of place between all of the gifts left by his well wishers, and certainly out of place on his neatly sorted desk.
Reached forward he placed a hoof over the paper, dragging it towards him and unfolding in inquisitively, unblinking and not taking his eyes off it.
On the inside there was familiar writing in the style of his Corporals with what seemed like an extension number and instructions of where, when and who to call.
Below the instructions a small script followed;
The Squadron Leader smiled.
Kai called out.