Raine, four ???? Oh my, you have it down to a science.

Lou, fab writing. Between you and Raine you two are constructing a fine novel. Great interplay!

Feldwebel Lazlo Halász,

Jasta 1, Bertincourt, France
September 25th 1916

Lazlo sat, gloomily, in the corner of the officer's mess. The sadness of losing his friend, Wintgens, had been compounded by the news that his recently arrived wingman, Horst Kremer, had also perished, during their assault on the Strutters at Bellevue. Lazlo had notice he was missing as they formed up after the action, but thought he was probably just a straggler. The man had been there such a short time that Lazlo hadn't formed much of a friendship with him, at least, but the losses had dampened the spirits of the unit.

Von Mulzer wandered into the mess.

"Ah, Lazlo! I was hoping I'd find you in here". He made his way over and sat at the table next to Lazlo. "The Commander asked me to inform you of the good news! One of your Strutters was awarded already, from yesterday. Sadly not both of them." Lazlo looked up slowly, nodding a silent acknowledgement. "And I have more good news", the pilot smiled and fumbled in his pocket to produce a small square box. He handed it across the table to Lazlo, who took it and slowly prized open the lid. Inside was a medal. "It's the Iron Cross, 2nd class! Awarded for your brave actions yesterday". Lazlo stared in wonder at the thing in his hand. A watery smile formed on his face as he thanked his fellow flier. ".... and one more thing, Vizfeldwebel Halasz, congratulations on your promotion!" Even if he hadn't been awarded both kills from yesterday, clearly the brass thought his actions special enough to warrant further recognition. Lazlo was humbled. In truth it was fury that had pushed him forward, not bravery. His mind was whirling with conflicting emotions. The two men were suddenly aware of a growing commotion outside. Loud voices, shouting and cheering. Lazlo and Von Mulzer quickly got up and strode to the door. On the field stood three gleaming new Halberstadt DIII machines, engines idling.

"Oh my, those sound like good engines" beamed Lazlo, lighting up for the first time that morning.

"Indeed they do, Lazlo, and the final bit of good news for you today is that one of them is yours".

"B,bu, but I am not seniors in much enough for having this!", exclaimed Lazlo in shock.

"Maybe not, but you've suffered more than most at the hands of those terrible engines in the DIIs. We felt you should have one of these. We've also given one to that new fellow who just arrived. We can't let anymore youngsters go to their deaths from faulty engines if it can be avoided." Lazlo walked over to one of the machines and stroked its fuselage lovingly.

"I reckon that one's got your name on it", said on of the mechanics cheerily.

"Really?", asked Lazlo, eyes full of wonder. He started scanning the length of the plane searching for something.

"Well, figuratively speaking" smiled the mechanic. "Although we could try to arrange something for you along those lines. Let's see, Leffers has 'L', so we can't give you that, and I think 'H' is gone, too. But we coud give you 'R' for 'Red'. What dya think?" Lazlo was smiling broadly now. Von Mulzer shook a bemused Lazlo by the hand and congratulated him once more.

"I have to go. Secret mission", winked Von Mulzer, setting off to the office with a wave. Lazlo continued his inspection of the DIII. He couldn't wait to take her up. For now at least, his sadness for his fallen comrades was temporarily forgotten.

To be continued......

Last edited by HarryH; 09/27/19 04:02 PM.

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