Scout, you’re taking chances with that “worn out” engine. It only takes a moment to have a flambé Aleck.

14 January, 1916 9:05
Toul, Verdun Sector
Sergent Gaston A. Voscadeaux

There were some hoots and sniggers this morning at the mission briefing, when it was announced that B flight will be bombing a factory at Vigneulles les Hottonchatel. Some pilots were whispering to each other and secretly pointing in Gaston’s direction. He didn’t pay any attention to that and quite frankly he was fed up with the jabs. Instead, he concentrated on the factory location marked on the map hanging on the wall. He would be led by Adjutant Guytant to the target, but just in case the leader had to turn back, he would be prepared. Sergeant Reille would complete the formation. The baby of the Escadrille needed to get his feet wet after completing his pilot training. At 19, Niels Reille was the youngest pilot in the squad and just like Gaston joined the outfit after the new year.
They were all in the air and heading for the first waypoint following Guytant with Reille lagging behind. Gaston noted the clouds gathering in the north which most likely will obscure the target. This did not bode well for the success of the mission and the factories being an elusive target for him. “Well, let’s not be so pessimistic.” Gaston was trying to think positively. “Let’s concentrate on getting there first. Where is Niels?” Gaston scanned the rear quarters for the new guy when he wasn’t joining the formation, but couldn’t see him. “What if he’s flying somewhere very close and I can’t see him? Below? What I need now is a collision”. Gaston made another scan of the surrounding airspace to no avail. He didn’t realize Sgt. Reille needed to turn back and nurse an ailing engine back down to the aerodrome.
The reduced by one machine formation reached the factories without any problems or encountering any enemy planes. Gaston was able to get some good near misses and Adj. Guytant bombs did about the same amount of damage. The return trip was just as uneventful. Gaston was happy to see Sgt. Reille was able to bring his wounded bird back home in one piece, albeit out of commission for two days. All’s well that ends well.

"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."