Raine, you think her eyes were blue?! Where, pray tell, were you looking?! BTW, with so many pictures taken, when is Sanke releasing your card? Well done, despite what Lou suspects of Alex, I think James is keeping up.
Lou, loved that bit! M’thinks a picture of a broken axe should grace Swany’s aeroplane. Somewhere.
Congrats to Carrick and MFair on spiffy new bling. Soon the two of you will look like Christmas trees which all those decorations.
Shredward, where does the monkey figure in this equation? I’m having a tough time imagining it. Never mind, I don’t want to know!
Wulfe, an African dog?! You kill me. Excellent adventure and now back to the miserable weather and the misery of the Front life.
The rain was back after a nice stretch of fair weather. The young British pilot continued to follow his C.O. pleading his case. “- No, I will not let you take one of the Nieuports for a joyride. Not even if you call it flight evaluation. It is not your job!” Captain Elder was walking quickly as if attempingt to lose Toby. “- But the Americans won’t even know. They’re not even here.” Mulberry was grasping straws now. “- As a matter of fact I have just received a telegram from Capitaine Thenault of N.124 that his pilots are on the way and will be arriving this afternoon. Nothing doing!” ‘Daddy’ was becoming testy. “- But ...” “- For the final time, Commander, No! Thou shall not covet thy neighbour’s aeroplane! It is a commandment. Obey it!” Toby knew not to push it any further, but a new idea popped into his head. “Captain, when are we going to get new machines? The news of those new Fokkers must worry you as well. It looks like single-seater Strutters is a sound idea ...” Toby was interrupted. “- That is true and to test it further we are assigning to you a wingman. He will also fly a Strutter solo. If this is successful we will think about creating an entire squadron of these.” Elder was glad the conversation took a different turn. Toby wasn’t happy with the answer. “- That is not what I had in mind. What about constructing a specialized Strutter that is smaller, single-seater like ours, but scout-sized? It would definitely turn circles around the Fokkers.” ‘Daddy’ picked up his pace again. “Just because you make an aeroplane smaller it doesn’t mean it will fly any better. For all we know it could be a dog.” He wasn’t sold on the idea. Toby wasn’t giving up this easily. “- Well, look at the Nieuports. They’ve made a smaller version of the N.10 and came up with a winner. Why can’t we do the same with the Strutter? They have their Bebe, we could have our ... erm ... baby dog.” Captain Elder stopped. The rain was assaulting his umbrella. “- And which kennel would you like me to procure these ... pups from? Stop wasting my time. We are a bomber squadron not scouts.” It was over. Toby felt dejected. No Nieuports and no baby Strutters. He felt like having a drink. The muddy path led him directly to the mess. He could hear even outside excited voices of a crown and anchor game in progress. Toby walked in and shook the water off his raincoat. He sat down at the table with the loud Canadians, not because he craved their company, but because there was an open bottle of Cognac sitting nearby. Half an hour later and 20 Francs lighter Toby noticed new arrivals. They must be the Americans. Draper had already approached the pair and was taking them on a tour of the place, introducing each and everyone. Art was being his polite self and introduced the guests to his repertoire of hand gestures he uses to communicate not only in the air. The message was loud and clear. Ray was chatting them up as well. They seemed like a good sort. Compared to these animals anyone could pass for a good sort. He was now being introduced as something he wasn’t proud of - the biggest killer of them all. The man across the table didn’t seem to mind it. He looked like he had been around and tackled a loss or two of his own. The eyes were telling it all. There was anguish but also the will to survive and defiance to prove himself. Most of all there was hunger to succeed, to make the Hun pay, hunger to win. Toby was impressed and took a liking to the lad. “- Pleased to meet’cha, Toby. I’m James Fullard.” He reached and shook the man’s hand. “- How do you do? Welcome to our little war down here. It may be the quiet sector and the Huns fly the rickety monoplanes, but don’t let that fool you. They’re still as deadly as ever.” An idea popped into Toby’s mind. “- So, we’ve heard you are flying the new Nieuports. I wouldn’t mind having a look at them, if you don’t mind.” A grin crept up on his face.
"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."