The Squadron Leader called out.
He called again after no answer.
The Sergeant, a long time member of the 34th, looked around after hearing the hail but didn’t set eyes on the encroaching REPF officer.
Kaimanawa yelled as he advanced further towards the confused pony.
The Sergeant finally looked at Kaimanawa and made eye contact with the snowy white pegasi, holding it as Kai kept coming. The Sergeant looked confused, unsure why he was being hailed. To gain a clearer picture he pointed to himself with raised eyebrows.
“Yes you. Didn’t you hearing me calling you?”
Kaimanawa asked as he finally came up on the bemused Sergeant.
“Yes sir. I heard someone yelling but was unsure if it was me.”
“Well your name’s Pick isn’t it?”
“No sir. I’m Pike, Pick’s my brother.”
Pike replied, finally clarifying the misidentification.
“Yes sir, Squadron Leader.”
The New Friesian pegasi face hoofed and rubbed his mouth in frustration.
“And here I was thinking I knew you two apart after all this time.”
“Nope! Sorry sir. Easiest way to remember is that I’m the good looking one.”
Pike replied and buffed his hoof on his chest and smirked.
“Very good Sergeant, thanks for the clarity. Have you seen your Captain?”
“Captain Fyre is off base currently sir. Running an errand I believe”
“Is he just?”
Kai asked with a raised eyebrow. It was unlike the Captain to not inform him that he would be absent from Tangmare for any length of time.
“That’s right sir.”
“Do you know where he was going?”
“He was hitched up to a cart sir and Lieutenant Sugar was with him from what I saw. I believe they’re going into town to collect some final stores for Saturdays stalls.”
The Sergeant replied.
Kai thought on this but decided there was nothing further he could do until the Captain’s return so he thanked the army NCO and turned to leave. But a momentary thought came to mind and he paused, half turning back around to face Pike.
Pike replied to Kai’s hail.
“Um…no, never mind.”
The Squadron Leader finished off without further conversation before rotating back to his intended direction. Kai had thought of asking Pike if he had any knowledge of the Tangmare bookie that had been fleecing Purse Strings but the New Friesian didn’t think it an issue that should be brought up with a pony of NCO rank.
If Kai was to make use of the 34th, the prior approval of Fyre would be required but there were doubts that the Captain would give permission for his Sergeants to be put to task. Kaimanawa also had lingering doubts about the short timeframe that was left to him, prior to both his posting and the open day.
It was a task Kai would have taken on board any other time during his Squadron Leadership, alas though, the time was nigh for his departure.
He stewed on the thought of what he had thought of taking on board in trying to get revenge or rid of Tangmare’s unscrupulous bookie but, he couldn’t decide what the best course of action would be. Let alone who would be the best part to act upon.
The 34th would have been a good choice given their history of under the table dealings but, that put them at risk of coming to grief at the hooves of the authorities, both military and civilian, if things got out of hand and they were arrested.
However, he was unsure if he could request the military police to investigate it either. As much as a REPF mare had been adversely affected, Money Grubber was a civilian and therefore not culpable under RAMMO (Army) or REPF law doctrine.
It madeKaimanawa’s head tingle with anxiety and all he could think about was getting a beer to try and drown the thoughts and set them to the back of his mind.
Once back at his office, the New Friesian pegasi sat outside on the small deck, staring around in no real concentration. He hadn’t be flying since his effective grounding the Monday prior when Wing Commander Canterbury Scotch found the Squadron Leader had passed his second tour of duty timeframe.
Kai shifted on the spot as he sat and twitched his wings that were beginning to ache and feel stiff from the lack of exercise. His body had become so accustomed to a daily work out that the reduction in the strain on his muscles made his whole body tense up.
He rotated his hoof on the wooden planking that made up the deck and scowled at this, feeling like an earth pony, unable to get airborne or make use of his added abilities.
The mares voice replied through the open window.
“We’re all up to date on things at the moment, aren’t we?”
“Yes sir. As far as I know.”
Kai looked up at the clumpy, cotton floss like clouds that were slowly trudging parallel to Tangmares position on the countryside. They seemed to be whispering to him, calling him high, calling him to soar and zoom, to circle and dive freely with unfurled wings.
“I’m going up for a bit.”
The Squadron Leader commented, loud enough for Colgate to hear but not directly in her direction. Merely he wanted at least someone to know that he would be absent from the air station for the next coming while.
Even though he had informed Colgate indirectly, his loyal Corporal had heard it clearly and she came outside to join him on the deck.
“You’re going for a flight sir?”
“Yea I’m thinking about it. Need to kill some time while the Squadron is airborne.”
“Don’t go looking for trouble Kai. They’re okay on their own and you won’t be able to catch up with them.”
“Yes, yes. I know. No combat flying any more, thanks mom.”
Kai replied smartly.
“Be safe okay? I don’t want to see you come to grief before you meet Bristol.”
“I’ll be fine Colgate. I’m a competent flyer.”
Kai smiled as he looked down at the Corporal sitting by his side.
“Very good sir. I’ll have the kettle hot on your return.
Kai nodded back in reply and stood up, walking in front of Colgate then inside to dress in his flying gear. He wouldn’t be suiting up in his BOD Belle but still needed his boots, leather head dress with goggles and of coarse the trusty flying jacket he wore while off duty.
This would help insulate him from any cold he would feel while airborne and ensure he was sturdy and obtained ample grip under hoof as he thundered down the runway.
Dressed to the nines, Kaimanawa walked back out on the deck and stuck his snout into the air. There was a slight head wind blowing down the runway which would assist in his lift as he went to take off.
“How long will you be sir?”
Colgate asked as she looked Kai over.
“About two hours. I just want to get up there again. I feel like a canary all caged up right now.”
“Must suck not being able to fly.”
Colgate joked sarcastically.
“You try writing out a form with your teeth.”
Kai replied with a smirk.
Colgate covered her mouth with a hoof and chuckled to herself as each pony played off each others genetic gifts, Colgate being a unicorn and Kaimanawa a pegasus.
“But, that lot seems to get along fine.”
Kai said as he lifted his head an indicated towards the 34ths crew working in the hangers across the way.
“They do fantastically for earth ponies.”
“Well, I’m off. See you in a bit.”
The Corporal acknowledged.
Kaimanawa trotted down off the deck and onto the path leading from his office building towards the end of the air strips, adjacent to the hangers and the same position the 486th had set off from 1.5 hours earlier.
There was no hope in pony hell that he’d ever catch them now but, the New Friesian wasn’t interested in combat flying, he wanted a more recreational jaunt skyward so he could unfurl his wings and stretch his twitching muscles.
As he trotted towards the strip Kai spotted Wing Commander Canterbury Scotch standing in his office through a window. He was talking but Kaimanawa wasn’t able to see clearly who it was his fellow New Friesian was conversing with. As he passed, moving forward onto the hard stand at the head of the strip, Kai could see an impressively fitted out chariot parked to the right of the Wing Commanders office with two Royal Guards standing at attention, guarding the new arrivals transport.
Kai spotted the sleek lines and familiar design of the De Haultand Mosquito chariot that Star Fighter had been towing the morning Frolic had delivered the invitation to Tanmare’s Open Day to Princess Luna, the Friday prior.
But this Mosquito wasn’t painted midnight black with temperate day scheme of Dark Green and Medium Sea Grey upper. This one way painted in Royal White overall with a blue shield insignia on the fuselage sides &upper wings. The nose was painted in medium and light blue diagonal stripes as was the tail from the base of the vertical stabilizer back to the very tip of the tailplane.
A similar set of stripes adorned the wing tips.
Under the fuselage glasswork nose art adorned the otherwise perfect white finish.
“Cadence or Bust.”
Kai eyed the Mosquito from a distance and admired the its sleek figure. It was an elegant chariot bomber but also made a speedy VIP transport. Before long, he suddenly found he made eye contact with one of the Royal Guards who was staring back at the New Friesian with a protective scowl.
“Hey, eyes off buddy.”
The Guard ordered.
“How about a salute with that numb nuts? You’re addressing a Squadron Leader.”
Kaimanawa replied defensively.
“Yea and what?”
“And you’re mother wears lieder hosen.”
Kai replied to the rudeness of the Guard with typical authoritative free spirit.
“C’mer and say that!”
The guard said with a snarl as he took a step forward.
“Oi, let him go he’s just trying to rile you up.”
His colleague advised in keeping his fellow pegasi in tow. Like the guards on red outside Buckingham palace they were there to stand like unyielding statues, unable to move unless there was a direct threat to their charge.
On this occasion though, with their charge in secure lodgings, inside the Wing Commanders office, they could relax slightly more as they ensured no one tried to intrude and tamper with the Mosquito chariot they were guarding.
It was safe to say Tech had already spied it and was thinking of a way to getting her grubby hooves on the pristine chariot. This, an obvious outcome in Kaimanawa’s mind, given how she had fawned over the Mosquito that Star Fighter had towed in last week.
Kai kicked the ground under him with his front right hoof and made a solid clunking sound which let him know that the strip was dry and solid enough so he wouldn’t sink into soft ground as he took off.
He had galloped down Tangmare’s airfield countless times but, no two take offs were the same. Be it a cross wind, soft ground under hoof or an over laden BOD, no two were even similar.
Kai stepped his rear right hoof back and his rear left forward then braced, setting himself lower and bending his knees. He unfurled his thick wings and spread them out wide beside him. Kaimanawa’s wings were big and were as wide as his body was long from his shoulders backwards. Not long like Rainbow Dashes but, broader which gave more lift with each oar like stroke which helped propel him into velocity assisted flight.
The Squadron Leader leant back slightly then with a spring, Kaimanawa released the pressure and threw himself forward into a well practiced gallop. His wings were spread out on either side of him, parallel with the ground but weren’t moving. The leading edges were angled upwards to the breeze coming head on which deflected the air downwards, providing him with and abundant source of lift and made him feel light, alleviating some of his bulky weight as he thundered down the runway.
One third of the distance down the strip Kai felt was moving fast enough under his own power, ground speed, so with strong loud thrusts of he pumped his white bird like extensions as fast and powerfully as he could until he felt his hooves lifting and barely touching the ground with each step.
With a last stamp of his hind legs he threw himself into the air in a superman leap, allowing his wings to take over the momentum until he was clear of the ground with ample speed and altitude.
Kaimanawa kept his direction leaving Tangmare far behind and gained altitude up to 300 hooves then banked left back towards his daily abode. Without the normally cumbersome BOD strapped to his body he felt light and nimble, able to yaw and bank, dive and climb without the hindrance of steel or brass projectiles.
He had travelled for loosely a mile away from Tangmare before turning back on a reverse heading but, was moving parallel to the air station while still at distance. As he neared Tangmare once more his altitude allowed him to scan the Air Station and watch as ponies mingled between buildings, moving to and fro and on to their next destination.
Kai could clearly see the two sand bagged gun emplacements that were installed at the tail end of the runway. Guns that were installed with the defense of Tangmare in mind, effective 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns that had been put to use during the Battle of Equestria.
On the opposite side of the runway, neighboring the left gun was an Oerlikon 20 mm anti-aircraft auto-cannon. Four of these, complimenting one other 40mm bofors, had been strategically placed around Tangmare in open areas where they would be able to provide a concentrated field of fire against pegasi and bomber attacks.
Kai knew the pop-pop-pop-pop sound of the bofors and actually found the sound of them almost soothing. The 20mm Oerlikon’s he was very familiar with as they were practically the same as those he wore previous on his Typhoon,the airborne version that armed his BOD being of a shorter carbine design in comparison.
Now closer to Tangmare once more Kai winced, straining his vision and trying to sharpen it. He could see the control tower half way down the runway with the Winger Commanders office further north and Kaimanawas own next door.
The Squadron Leader smirked with a cheeky grin as he spied the white Mosquito parked next to Canterbury’s administration building.
“There they are!”
He said out loud.
Kai rotated his body, rolling into a wide yawing left hand turn that took him away from Tangmare once more but at a 90 degree direction with the air station behind him. At 300 hooves Kaimanawa lacked the safety of altitude to complete a split-S maneuver where he would roll onto his back and nose down into a dive and pull out parallel to the ground. If he were to complete a split-s at low altitude he would certainly nose down into the ground with critical consequences.
Instead Kaimanawa nosed up and clawed for altitude, climbing to 1000 hooves in altitude at which time rolled to his right and ceased flapping, reducing his forward momentum and letting his speed wipe off to nothing. Kai hung momentarily in the air as his body was held in the vacuum between acceleration and deceleration, a vacant 0 g sensation where the world didn’t move and only the slightest of breezes brushed across the fur on his face & ruffled his feathers.
All noise was cancelled out and only his breathing and heart beat broke the airy silence.
“Life as we know it!”
Kai thought in no real manner as his mind momentarily wandered and his eyes scanned the beautifully crisp distant horizon that slowly began to move skywards in front of him. By now gravity had applied its cosmic force upon the New Friesians body which pulled him towards terra firma and, without corrective action, certain doom.
The Squadron Leader leant back into the fall and folded backwards over himself, tucking his wings into his side to reduce drag as he descended earthwards. Kai kept his eye on a single point on the ground below him, a small vegetable garden outside a farmhouse, so not to become confused and develop vertigo which had the potential to induce panic which could be deadly for a pegasi in a dive.
With speed build up in his dive Kaimanawa began his pull out in a wide angled recovery until he was at a mere 100 hooves above the round and zooming, zipping with high acceleration while he jetted towards Tangmare once more.
Kai’s body vibrated and shook as his wings flapped vigorously beside him as they pushed him continuously through the thick air at lower altitude. His snowy white wings chopped through the oxygen rich atmosphere greatly helped the feathers and wing structure grip, pulling him forward quicker and quicker.
He continued on his beeline back towards Tangmare but ruddered left three degrees until he was lined up directly with the Wing Commanders office and his intended ‘target’.
Outside Canterbury’s building the two royal pegasi guards sat at attention still, keenly watching their surroundings in case any pony thought they were ninja enough to encroach upon their position.
The guard that Kaimanawa had irritated prior to take off was scanning the red and white checkered hanger across from him as he had noted some strange activity that was occurring within the hanger.
A small white head, swimming in yellow hair and a bigger, fawn colored head with goggles were popping back and forth from behind the right side hanger door and this raised the suspicions of the guard. His eyes glued and knife like, picking up all details of that the two ponies were doing.
“Ohhhhh…I want that Mozzie.”
Tech bemoaned as she stared intently at the securely guarded chariot. It glistened in the mid afternoon sun and enticed her to no end but she knew she would be arrested if she tried to get near.
“Hey Frolic, go distract them or something.”
She said to the L.A.C.
“Hmmm…nope. Kai would spank me if I got into trouble before the open day.”
“Oh c’mon, you’d love it if Kai spanked you.”
Tech teased, trying to trigger the stout little mare into action.
“Nah, uh. I’m staying put. I just like being nosey.”
Frolic replied and stomped her hoof in confirmation.
The two mares continued to watch the guards standing taught and unwaivering from their position in front of the white chariot. Frolic not being so much nosey as having nothing better to do and Tech wanting to tear it apart piece by piece.
Frolics ears twitched and turned like radar dishes, catching the sudden whisper of noise coming from behind the guards.
Tech asked, looking down at the small pegasi.
“Did you just fart?”
Frolic looked up at Tech innocently.
“Wha-NO! Girls don’t fart…”
“The discreetly pass wind.”
She finished as she looked across the airfield again.
But Tech’s own ears twitched & turned now, suddenly able to pick up the subtle, faint rumbling sound that Frolic had picked up. Instinctively she flicked her tail, swatting it around under the assumption there was a bee or fly bussing around her. Looking behind her there were no flying insects in their direct vicinity so it wasn’t an inquisitive bug.
“What is that?”
Tech asked her companion.
“Don’t known but it’s getting louder.”
The two mares stuck their heads out the hanger door further and looked up and down the air strip but they could see no activity taking place out of the ordinary, nothing that would create a buzzing or rumbling sound like they were picking up.
In the distance though, directly behind the guards, a small white spot appeared to twinkle and grow bigger as it approached. Tech was the first to spot the incoming object with Frolic shortly after, it being hidden behind the surrounding buildings until it peaked over the roofs and given Frolic short stature.
“Hey look. There it is!”
Tech said as she pointed into the distance.
Frolic strained her eyes, squinting to see the object but was finding it difficult. She fluttered up and saddled herself on Tech’s back so she was on a podium and could see what the Sergeant was pointing at.
“What is it?”
Tech surmised she also squinted but barely able to positively identify the oncoming target.
“I might be. That would have been him running down the strip just now.”
It was in fact Kaimanawa that was bearing down on the two pegamares as he reached the maximum speed he had been able to gain during and in the immediate post dive period. His wings were pushing as hard as they could to help him maintain it, yet Kai wasn’t fazed by the knowledge that he’d never be as fast as his former wing mare Rainbow Dash. Kai was happy being subsonic but he still was able to boom & zoom under certain circumstances.
Thanks to his flight goggles he didn’t have to strain his eyes to see his intended victims but he wasn’t in combat either and was able to fly in a straight line for a length of time without the risk of having his flank shot off by marauding Woofwaffe fighters.
He mentally thought as he approached Tangmare’s perimeter fence.
Kaimanawa blasted over the fence, frightening a herd of ponies that were marching down a road parallel to the fence. Mares screamed and colts yelped in fright as the speedy Squadron Leader zoomed in a blur of white, yellow and brown. The rumbling of his wings rippled deep through their beings and set them uneasy.
Almost all in the group of frightened ponies looked into the distance at the disappearing being that had caused them so much panic.Breaths were short and a few had a cold sweat from the sudden and unexpected fear, all thought they were under attack but luckily it was not to be.
Kai continued forward over the base and as he neared 100m from the still staunchly set Royal Guards he opened his mouth and began to yell, edging meters/second closer.
He screamed passing over the unexpecting guards who yelped and threw themselves to either side of the Mosquito that they were guarding. The pony Kaimanawa had irritated, launched himself into a ditch in front of the Wing Commanders office with his colleague diving behind a hedge in a ruffled crump of leaves and branches.
Reacting quickly they looked up to see the New Friesian Squadron Leader pull out of his roaring zoom, clawing skyward in a high and wide victory roll over Tangmare’s hangers then into the distant countryside and the two guards yelled profanities in his direction but well out of ear shot.
“SON OF A *****!”
Inside the Wing Commanders office the two senior officers had gripped the arms of the comfortable chairs they had been sitting in due to the fright.
“What in Celestia’s name?”
Shining Armour asked as he rushed to the window to see Kaimanawa rolling out of his victory roll and disappear in a similar fashion that the guards had witnessed.
“THAT, would be Kaimanawa Lieutenant General.”
Canterbury Scotch proclaimed as he sighed and joined the Army General at the window.
“And he can get away with that? What kind of outfit are you running here Wing Commander?”
Shining Armour demanded in an incensed mood. He hadn’t been expecting such a fright at a base as seemingly secure as Tangmare.
“In all due respect General, I did mention he was due to retire from his post as Squadron Leader soon. So he would be burning off some excess energy since being grounded. Kai’s a professional sir. Trust me.”
“So that’s the New Friesian Squadron Leader is it? He’s the kind of pegasi I could use in the home guard.”
The Lieutenant General stepped away from the window back towards his chair and sat down once more as the Wing Commander followed suit, sitting in his own chair behind his desk. Canterbury leaned forward and picked up his coffee cup but frowned, seeing it empty and the plate of biscuits also so.
He leant forward once more then pressed a buzzer to hail his assistant.
“Sergeant Ink Quill, another coffee please and some more biscuits also.”
Canterbury ordered but looked up at his companion.
“Sir? Anything else for you?”
Shining Armour looked at his empty cup and nodded.
“Make that two coffee’s.”
Canterbury took his hoof off the buzzer and leant back in his chair again, folding his fore hooves together.
“Bzzzzz-Yes sir, right away.”
Ink Quill replied.
Canterbury & Ink had a different relation ship compared to the Squadron Leader and Colgate. The Wing Commander was more professional and there were no personal feelings existing between them. Canterbury though, like Kaimanawa, wasn’t above sneeking a cheeky gawk as the Sergeant when she was meandering around the office. He too was a hot blooded stallion after all.
Canterbury trusted Ink Quill with the utmost endeavor as she had dealt with details higher in rank than those of Kaimanawa and Colgate due to the requirements of the Wing Commander’s rank. Ink had been hoof picked and her background thoroughly checked prior to being promoted to her position.
“So Kaimanawa’s last day is on Sunday isn’t it?”
Shining Armour asked with raised eyebrows.
“That’s right. He tried to get away with it but I snapped him after I checked his service record. He’s a strong character and a passionate leader too. The 486th has been his baby since he took command and has worked them into the most efficient and battle hardy squadron I’ve ever commanded.
He’s chosen a good replacement in Flight Lieutenant Pipiwai but I expect there to be some teething troubles as the Flight Lieutenant gets into his own grove in command.”
“I would expect there to be a drop in the Squadron’s readiness but I assume that wouldn’t be a long term trouble, am I right?”
Shining Armour tilted his head away from the Wing Commander and raised an eyebrow, smiling from the corner of his mouth.
“That’s something for the Group Captain and myself to be concerned over sir. The army will have no concerns when it comes to receiving the air support it needs over the battlefield. The 486th doesn’t slouch and we ensure you and your soldiers safety to the best of our abilities.”
Canterbury nodded strongly and stared back at the Lt. Gen in a reassuring demeanor.
“Ha ha hahaha, glad to her it Canterbury. Now the arrangements for the open day have been made then?”
Shining Armour queried.
“Yes sir. The REPF Police will be in force with security being their first priority when your royal kindred arrive to share in our celebrations. You will be providing your own element as well as you’ve promised.”
“That’s right. They will be on free roaming patrols around the air station during the open day. I appreciate all you’ve done but the Home Guard won’t rest on its laurels while the war is still on. Spies are everywhere.”
The Lieutenant General replied to the Wing Commander.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less sir.”
“So what time do you expect the Squadron Leader to return Wing Commander? I wanted to talk to him before I returned to my wife’s side this evening.”
“Can’t say that I know, sorry sir. Kaimanawa didn’t check with me prior to setting off so he could be any length of time. He could be one hour, he could be three.”
The senior commissioned New Friesian replied with a shrug. It irked him the Kai hadn’t in fact checked with the Wing Commander first. Kai should’ve seen the mosquito and thought better than to take off. He should’ve queried the arrival of a Royal transport at Tangmare due to it’s rare occurrence.
“No bother. I will be able to talk to him on Saturday regardless.”
Shining Armour replied.
A knock on the door behind him caused the General to half turn towards the noise, his right fore leg resting on the top of the chairs back rest.
With a creak of wood the door handle glowed white as Ink used her unicorn magic to open the door and walk through the doorway into the stallions company.
“Your tea and biscuits sirs. Is there anything else?”
The mare asked as she placed the metal tray on the desk in front of the officers.
“How about a back rub?”
Canterbury asked with some humor.
“I’m sure the M/O (medical orderly) can assist you with your cramps Wing Commander. But is there anything else I can help you with?”
Ink Quill asked with cool efficiency.
“No no that’s all thank you Sergeant, you may go.”
“Thank you sir. Lieutenant General.”
The unicorn nodded towards Shining Armour.
The blue maned stallion replied.
Shining Armour turned back to face his fellow officer and smiled.
“She likes you, you know.”
“Who Ink Quill? Ha haha. No sir she doesn’t like me in that way. She’s just fond because she was given the position she was. She’s a professional and very functional in her role. I have a mare friend mate, she’s my special some pony.”
The two officers chuckled and leant back in their chairs. The two stallions were relaxed in each others company as they shared a similar level of responsibility but also because of the mutual knowledge they held of their respective commands requirements in defeating the Auffenpinscher threat.
There was a silence that then fell in the office as neither stallion seemed to find the right works or subject to open on. Canterbury had given the Lieutenant General the full low down on the forth coming open day on Saturday and Shining Armour had briefed the Wing Commander on his role in ensuring the security at Tangmare and for the Royalty that would be attending.
“Tell me more about the Squadron Leader. He wouldn’t be out of place in the Royal Guard. He’s well built, a seasoned veteran, his colours suit the role. Kai’s characteristics are what we look for in a pegasi. I can guarantee him an officers rank in the home guard once the war is over.”
Shining Armour queried and described.
Kai did in fact seem akin of those enlisted in the Royal Guard. He was a white pegasi, spoke perfect Equestrian, was already enlisted in the forces with a proven combat record. He didn’t have any criminal convictions that would hinder his enlistment. Kai was foreign also and so brought a worldly bank of knowledge and forethought his subordinates didn’t hold.
Kai had seen the enemy face to face and in the air. He knew what they were capable of and had already been recorded as reacting to the flow of the battle over Wellington and during the Battle of Equestria. Even recently in the battle against the Griffons after the scrubbed mission. Kai could husband his resources well and aggressively push an advantage, a good mixture of aggression and caution.
“I don’t know if you’d be that lucky sir. Kaimanawa doesn’t like being tied down so close to somewhere full of, what he classes, those pompous twits running the war.”
Shining Armour’s face seemed to darken as he scowled at the thought of the Royal Alicorns being scorned in such derogatory term.
“Is that what he thinks of us is it? Then he won’t have the honor of joining the guard.”
Canterbury rebuffed his quote of the Squadron Leader as he attempted to back track and cover his tracks, having picked up that the Lieutenant General has misunderstood the statement.
“That’s not it at all sir! I didn’t mean it as if Kaimanawa looked down upon the Royal Alicorns like they were some kind of overbearing hierarchy. Kaimanawa is a soldiers officer, he would rather be on the field with a rifle and bayonet or flying with his neighspano’s than rubbing shoulders with the likes of Colonels, Generals, Admirals or Air Marshalls. He finds their conversations horribly boring so shy’s away from formal functions.
The last he attended was the Royal Equestrian Officer’s Balls months ago.”
“HA, that’s where I heard his name. The Officer’s Ball. He was the pegasi that destroyed the back door and nearly killed that unicorn. Ha ha. Hell, I wish I was there to see him in action. Princess Luna told me he looked like a rabid wolf, murder in his eyes and everything.”
Shining Armour chuckled to himself and tapped the arm rest on his chair before leaning forward and taking his coffee cup up, ingesting a large mouthful of the amber liquid.
“See, I told you he’d make a good Royal Guard.”
Canterbury sighed a breath of relief as the Lieutenant General enthusiastically cheered once he recalled the descriptions of Kaimanawas endeavors at the ball.
“Good luck sir, that’s about all I can say.”
“I’ll try Wing Commander, I’ll try.”
Shining Armor replied as he bit into a biscuit with a loud crunch.
In the distant skies to the North West of Tangmare Kaimanawa had completed his victory roll and was making his way at low level across the undulating Equestrian countryside. The Squadron Leader was in his element in the thick, oxygen rich, air below 500 hooves.
Kai’s eyesight was keen and his reactions instinctual as he zipped and zoomed between low lying hills and plantations. He ducked and dived, rolled and rotated, following the line of the aptly named Snake River that swirled the course that IT had cut into the land over centuries of ebb and flow.
Snake River wasn’t a dangerous body of water as it could be traversed but it was certainly dangerous for a fast flyer who wasn’t used to ground level maneuvers like the New Friesian. This was Kaimanawa’s element, flying at mere hooves above the surface of the winding river, flying with great gusts of his wings as the yawed and lent into the many tightly twisting turns of the snake.
The river at times ran close to ground level with the rolling lowland countryside but also dipped and dropped below where it and it’s dare devil passenger were out of sight of any and all.
Rising and falling, Kaimanawa kept his momentum at all times lest he come to a watery end on the bottom of Snake River for he had indeed crashed on many occasions while trying to traverse the tightly winding rivers course.
Never seriously hurt, lest he be brought on a charge of reckless endangerment, Kai had landed back at Tangmare worst for wear and looking like a drowned rat, walking ashore from the wreckage of his craft.
Coming to a right chicane the snowy white New Friesian mentally steeled himself for the quick exchange of directions that would take. The chicane was a tight cohesion of quick branches in the river where it twisted left, right, left, leaving little time to correct any over correction a mistaken pegasi could make.
Kai though, had negotiated this same stretch of water countless times before therefore he felt familiar, almost akin, of the rivers trickery.
He said as he smirked, almost challenging the river’s chicane to challenge him more.
Like a V8 Supercar nearing its apex Kai quarter rotated and positioned himself at the mouth of the corner, extending his wings half to slow his momentum enough which would provide him with more maneuverability and the ability to turn within the confines of the chicane.
The three corner chicane was raised at each point so there was little room to move the closer to the water that the Squadron Leader travelled. Each chicane was made up of a diamond like mound that rose up to a point, parallel with the ground and was tipped at the top by a tree.
It took experience and steel will to ensure safety and quick reactions and Kai knew he had these in earnest.
Now moved closer to the right bank, Kai drove into the first left hand corner as he rotated his body left, lifting his nose and pulling into the first corner with ease. But now that he was in, he was committed to complete the next three tight reactive movements, which would take him to safety and a wide open river once more.
Half way through the first turn the Squadron Leader shifted his weight back to his right and twisted his front body, flicking his flank left which caused him to enter a left hand drift that now aimed him back to his right, ready to turn once more.
Sliding sideways Kai unfurled his broad wings, which acted as flaps that rebounded the flow of air off the feather extensions which added to his low altitude turning ability. His right wing dipped towards the water mere inches from the banks edge then cut through the water as the outer most feathers gripped like an anchor, adding to the pressure and assisting him in his right hand turn.
His wings, knifing through the cool water, acted like fingers grabbing at a vine, primate like as he swung his muscular body from one branch of the river to the other. Now facing forward and no longer yawing left, Kai gave two strong wing strokes so not to stall before repeating all of the prior actions, entering the next left hand corner.
As if it were second nature Kaimanawas move were fluid and unhindered, nothing seemed ungainly or out of place as he twirled, twisted and drifted through the chicane towards the final half left hand turn that he had done countless times before.
Into the next left through a string of hanging vine.
Back to the right where a bushel of yellow daffodils grew in the summer.
Returning left again, knifing through the water and spraying a boysenberry vine with a cooling clear spray.
But today strife and anarchy was to swing its disastrous scythe.
Unforeseen by the Squadron Leader a mother and her ducklings had been spending a lazy sunny afternoon on the river, washing their feathers of dirt and bugs and searching for food along the trickling edge.
The small family of ducks with mother in front and mallard at the read, were swimming in formation like a small feathered flotilla towards the opposing mouth of the chicane. The flock quacked in unison like a keyboard being played as each replied in turn to their parents call.
With sudden and panic stricken timing the two parties came beak to muzzle as a speedy Kaimanawa appeared ahead of the feathery flotilla, wing tip knifing through the water as practiced and directly bee lining for the ducky brew like a marauding sharks fin.
All hell now broke loose as Kaimanawa responded instinctively so to avoid a disastrous collision that would inevitably end in the young ducklings possible demise or critical injury.
Kai yelled without thought as his eyes met the mother ducks at the head of the small flotilla. Time seemed to slow to a crawl and the white New Friesian pegasus’ perception and being felt as if it had been caught in a time rift. So fast was his mind and body reacting to the sudden emergency that his mental capacity was caught moments behind his actual actions.
As if in a time slip, what seemed like a mental image of himself danced meters ahead as if a ghostly white shadow was guiding him away from impending doom to safety. Kaimanawa blinked, trying to catch the fleeting white figure as its figure streaked ahead, leaving a white trail for him to follow.
His breath seemed to lose its pressure and his brain tingled as the figure spokes.
“He he hehehe. Come Squadron Leader, follow me.”
A soft female’s voice spoke as she led her charge away.
“We’ve been waiting for you for so long Kaimanawa.”
The figure added.
Kai’s thought echoed while his world spun around him, turning and rotating through his abrupt break out maneuver. He knew who the figure was too and it instantly scared him but he refused to allow her his hoof.
She was the white mare of death, the harbinger of the deceased who came to guide the fallen to the heavens and relieve them of their mortal vessels. It was true that she had frequented Kaimanawa before, she had frequented Tangmare and his friends too. Today though, even as quickly as events were unfolding for the Squadron Leader, the New Friesian refused to lose.
He yelled louder while upside down and heading to his eventual crash landing.
As best as he could, Kaimanawa had little choice regarding his landing zone due to the sudden reactions he had to make after coming upon the ducky family. With his normal routine interrupted he was forced to twist his body quicker than planned and he winced, feeling his abdominal muscles stretch and pop as they pulled further than the bodies intended extension allowed.
Kai’s right wing that had been sharking through the rivers face curled upwards above his body and was joined by his left as he attempted to remove them from the vicinity of any foreign objects that would cause them to form a hoop momentarily as they were withdrawn.
When his wings formed the hoop he had been quarter of the way through his starboard rotation with his wings now facing down towards the ducks he was so desperately trying to avoid. The mother duck at the head of the flotilla had launched into the air in panic and had in fact performed a perfect launch, flying through Kaimanawa’s hoop with acrobatic grace, being entirely spontaneous yet still impressive nonetheless.
Kai’s maneuvering had by now left him over extended and rotating to the right faster than he was able to react while hoping for a safe landing on either the shallow water or the grassy bank on either side of the river.
The best the Squadron Leader could now hope for was the set down in a deeper hollow in the river so the weight of his body could be supported by the wet, cooling cushion of the river itself.
Completing his split second reaction and rolling level with wings now tucked, Kai spotted a deep pool near the left bank which he now aimed for with ungainly precision and the hope there was nothing he would snag on while his speed was wiped off.
Unfortunately the landing was not to go as planned for at the moment Kai sunk down and attempted to surf to a stop his front hooves were abruptly caught by an unseen tree root system that grabbed like an anchor, throwing him suddenly to starboard and over onto his side.
Kai’s body rolled in the water and his head was thrashed about, slamming into the water with a slap and dunking him into the murky blue water;the momentum of being turned catapulted him back into midair, skipping like a stone into the shallow water at the banks edge and landing heavily on a rocky outcrop.
He yelped as his body crumpled to a stop.
All the commotion, all the noise and panic suddenly seemed to abruptly end with only the sound of the rustling leaves of the forest and the trickling of the river being heard in the surrounding area.
The river would appear unchanged and unaffected by the Squadron Leaders entry and rapid ejection from its watery body. It continued to run unabated by the intruder’s rude interruption as it flowed down river towards the eventual lake it fed.
The trees around creaked and swayed, leaves fell and birds chirped with little knowledge or care for the New Friesians predicament. For at that moment, an unconscious Kaimanawa lay on his bed of rocks and shingle, unmoving, unflinching to the shallow water that was twinkling and rippling through his fur. The water bumped against his body and ran away as if nothing had changed. A river didn’t care if something was organic or mineral, it just continued to flow.