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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 2:55 pm 
Mr. Party-Killbot
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"Captain Rankin?" came the voice of the adjutant. "The Admiral will see you now."

Captain Michael Rankin stood up from the metal bench he had been uncomfortably perched on, and followed the adjutant out of the waiting room, past two armed sentries ensconced behind sandbag fortifications. 'As if that'll stop a Jerry beast' he thought, and then forced himself to focus. The Uxbridge command center was large, cavernous, and mostly underground, and he didn't want to get lost.

He brushed smooth his bottle-green coat and uniform, wishing once again he had had a chance to change before arriving. Not that it likely would have mattered, he supposed. He was grateful that he didn't have to wear his dress uniform here, as that would have entailed his nametag, and he didn't feel up to the stares that his name would likely produce. As it was, most everyone roaming about the fortified command bunker seemed to be ignoring him, a welcome change from Belfast... or Reykjavik... or Jamaica...

"Captain... Rankin?" asked the adjutant, finally catching on to the name. Rankin sighed. It was too much to ask that he be allowed anonymity.

"Yes?" he asked.

"Erm... nothing... nothing sir..." said the adjutant, casting him an odd glance out of the corner of his eye. "Just... recalled that name from somewhere."

"My great-grandfather, no doubt," said Rankin, who could tell that the adjutant knew exactly who he was talking about but was feigning ignorance. Rankin clenched his jaw. He normally did not take such nonsense from a lieutenant, but this was the Admiral's adjutant, and he didn't wish to start this relationship off on a bad foot.

"Ah yes," said the adjutant. "Some sort of incident in India during the Mutiny was it?"

"A mention-in-dispatches and a medal for valour, actually," said Rankin, and he couldn't help but relish the narrowing eyes of the adjutant. If this officious little weasel was going to start bringing up family pasts, then the least he could do was emphasize the positive aspects...

... such as they were.

They walked down endless hallways and stairs, and Rankin realized they were going much further than he would have supposed necessary to get to the Admiral's office. "Are you certain this is the right way?" he asked.

"The Admiral is in the covert now," said the adjutant sharply, "with his flagdragon."

Rankin nodded thoughtfully. He supposed that he should have guessed. After all, there were odd rumors surrounding Admiral Tolkien, but then what else did one expect from a South African? Most dragon officers were born into the service practically, their fathers and fathers' fathers (or occasionally mothers' mothers) serving in the Air Forces and passing their mantle along to the next generation. Tolkien was different though. The files said he was an orphan, adopted into the air force as an expediency to avoid the usual fate for such young boys, who had managed to work his way up through excellent service in the Great War to a command of his own, first a dragon, then a squadron, and now an entire air group. And as an Admiral, his eccentricities were tolerated. There were rumors he had a literary taste of some sort, spent his free time composing ridiculous fairy tales, even had published one or two before the war. None of that mattered of course, there was a war on after all, but Rankin hoped that, being a new man to the corps (in the Roman sense), Tolkien might be willing to overlook certain... disquieting elements of a fellow aviator's family history.

Lord knew nobody else did.

The last door opened finally, admitting Rankin into the cavernous depths of Uxbridge's underground covert. It was the size of a dozen cricket pitches, with retractable ceilings that were presently open but could be slid shut by huge machines to keep bombs and acid out. There were only a handful of dragons here, mostly couriers, and in one corner a brilliant Golden Anglewing was sitting quite sedately, with a middle-aged man wearing Admiral's stripes seated on its foreleg, holding a sheaf of handwritten papers in one hand and reading from them aloud. As Rankin approached he could hear the Admiral reading, and the words he read sounded... very odd indeed.

"And now at last it comes," said the Admiral to his enraptured dragon, who was clearly hanging on every word. "You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me and despair!"

"Oh, that is much better," said the dragon appreciatively. "I think it works quite well."

Captain Rankin, feeling a mite embarrassed, cleared his throat. Admiral Tolkien turned and saw him standing at attention, and without the slightest hit of embarrassment himself, turned, set his papers down, and stood up.

"Captain Rankin," said the Admiral, and Rankin saluted, a gesture the admiral returned in a perfunctory manner. "I trust Aequitas is well?"

Rankin was caught off-guard by the inquiry, but didn't show it. "Very well sir. He is waiting for me topside."

"Of course," said the Admiral, in a formal, precise tone that reminded Rankin of an Oxford Don. "Galadriel and I knew Aequitas and your father from the Great War. It was... a terrible shame what occurred." The Admiral's dragon nodded in agreement as she peered down at Rankin, looking for Lord-knew-what. Rankin's fist tightened and he whispered a brief "thank you sir" before the Admiral got down to business.

"So I suppose you are wondering why you were transfered to 11-Group?"

"Not particularly, sir," he said, deciding upon honesty all of a sudden. Perhaps Tolkien was the sort who would appreciate that.

"No? And why not?"

"Admiral, may I... speak freely?"

"Of course."

"Sir, the Admiralty has made it quite clear than Aequitas is welcome within the frontline squadrons of this war at any time he wishes, so long as he deigns to choose another captain to fly with him. Since he has refused the Admiralty in this, it has been made known to me that he and I are to be posted at the most remote locations imaginable until he comes to his senses."

"I see," said the Admiral, betraying nothing of his own thoughts. "Go on."

"Every so often, they call us down here to tempt Aequitas with the fabulous glory and honor there is to be won as a front line combatant and veteran, and beg him to reconsider. No doubt that is what they are up to this moment with him. Every time he refuses, we are packed back off to Newfoundland or Iceland for another tour, so forgive me Admiral, but I'm not at all curious about what we're doing here, as I believe I know the routine well enough by now."

"And you don't think that the fact that there's a war on might alter the situation somewhat?" asked Tolkien almost bemusedly.

"Given that it has not done so for the past year, no sir."

"Yes," said Tolkien, "well the past year has not gone all that well for our side, as I'm sure you're aware. And as such, it is my duty to inform you, Captain, that you are both right and wrong."

Rankin hesitated. "Sir?"

"You are right, you were brought here so that the Admiralty could plead with Aequitas to see reason once more and de-harness you. However, should he refuse to, and I imagine that he will, given your history together, your new punishment is to serve under my command... as a squadron commander."

It took about ten seconds for Rankin to absorb what Tolkien had just said, and when he finally did, he saw that Galadriel was studiously studying the ceiling pattern and trying not to laugh, while Tolkien had a smug grin of satisfaction on his face at having stumped the younger captain.

"... is this a joke?"

"This war is no joking matter, Captain, and before it, even officious enmities must fade for the greater good. Accordingly, I am placing you in command of a new squadron to be based at the covert in Tangmere, near Chichester in Sussex. Your squadron is already being assembled there."

Rankin didn't know what to say. He half expected flashbulbs to explode and catch him candidly before the Admiral confessed to this being a joke and dispatching him off to a weather station in Greenland.

"My own squadron?" he asked incredulously. "I... I don't..."

"Of course you don't," said the Admiral, "because you don't see that the only reason I was allowed to do this is so that the Admiralty could punish you further."

Now he was really confused. The Admiral picked up a small folder and handed it to him. "This should contain all the information you need," he said, and Rankin took the folder and began to leaf through it. Tolkien waited a moment or two as Rankin glanced over the various files within the folder before the Captain raised his head again.

"Sir... what is this?"

"Your punishment," said the Admiral evenly.

"This squadron is... it's made up of... dear God, a Wendigo? And are these lightweights? A Smoke Devil? A Bonetail? A Queen Victoria's? What is this?"

"Some would call it the sign of the times."

"Sir?"

"We're losing the war, Rankin," said Tolkien evenly. "The Luftwaffe outnumbers us by nearly two to one, and all they are waiting for is for the RAF to crack under the strain and fold, and then they will be able to launch an invasion of England on a scale that will make Napoleon look like a miserable bungler. Our frontline squadrons have been decimated, and replacements are not forthcoming nearly fast enough. The dragons in that file are literally all that we have left to throw into the battle. Volunteers from foreign lands mostly, with one or two British veterans to stiffen them. It should be enough."

"But... but sir this... you cannot be serious!"

"Can't I?"

"There's not a single heavyweight among them, sir, and you propose to place them in Tangmere?! What happens the first time a Kampfritter comes over? Or a Jotun? Or god-forbid a fullblown jerry squadron? They'll be cut to ribbons!"

"There's a heavyweight in there."

"A Wendigo barely qualifies, sir, and that's only when they're not stalking down and eating the other captains."

Tolkien adopted an icy glare. "I should have thought, Captain, that one with a background such as yours would hesitate before making such remarks about a dragon you have yet to make the acquaintance of."

That one shut Rankin up.

"I appreciate this is not an ideal situation," said Tolkien, "but we have absolutely no choice. The previous squadron based in Tangmere simply must be withdrawn and rebuilt from the ground up, and we have nothing more to fill the gap with besides these beasts. There's a pair of special weapons dragons in there, a heavyweight, three middleweights, counting Aequitas, and as many Lightweights as we could get together."

"They'll be outweighed three to one by every Hun squadron in France, sir..."

"And it will be your task, Captain, to see that they get the job done anyhow."

Rankin took a deep breath and let it out very slowly. "Do any of them have combat experience?"

"Some," said Tolkien. "We had a few spare veterans about, foreign and otherwise, and added them in to stiffen the mixture somewhat. Semmemnon, Fulminatus, Aequitas himself..."

Rankin's eyes widened. "Fulminatus?!"

"Yes," said Tolkien sardonically, "he's back in Britain. Volunteered against the Hun. No idea why, you'd have to ask him. The Admiralty gave him to you in the hopes he'll finally get himself killed and cause trouble for the Germans in doing so."

Tolkien turned back to Galadriel and picked the sheaf of papers up from atop her foreleg. "You have your orders, Captain," said the Admiral, indicating that the briefing was now over.

"Sir," said Rankin, snapping off another salute, and then turning to leave. He felt like he had just been handed... well was it a gift or a time bomb? He couldn't tell. Perhaps it was both.

"And Captain?" called the Admiral after him. Rankin stopped and turned back.

"Good hunting," said Tolkien, seated once more on his dragon's foot, "and good luck."

Rankin considered this a moment. "Am I going to need luck, sir?"

Admiral Tolkien glanced up at Galadriel a moment, then returned his even gaze to Captain Rankin. "We're all going to need luck, Captain."

*---------------------------------------------------------------------------------*

"Always wanted to meet a Wendigo," commented Aequitas dryly, as he glided along a thermal current. Rankin merely grunted, as he tried to keep the papers in order that he had spread out on the back of Aequitas' neck and held down with magnets.

"No doubt you'll be best of friends in seconds," commented Captain Rankin sarcastically, and the dragon chuckled. Rankin rubbed at his eyes and sighed.

"Problem, Michael?" asked the beast below.

"No matter what I do, I can't make this TO&E look like a real squadron," said Rankin, frustration oozing from his voice. "Even conceding the Wendigo as a heavyweight... we're completely out-massed, to say nothing of trying to get a handful of volunteers and foreigners to behave like a proper squadron."

"Well, it could be worse," commented Aequitas.

"And how is that?"

"They all speak English, don't they?"

Rankin laughed, he couldn't help it, and laughed again as the dragon added an offhanded "assuming that you call what Americans and Australians speak 'English', that is."

"From what I hear," said Rankin, "you and Semmemnon should get along marvelously."

"Another Malachite?" said Aequitas with an audible smile. "Are you daft? You know we can't abide each other's arrogance. It's a miracle we haven't gone extinct."

"The miracle is that you haven't been put out to pasture yet," said Rankin, giving Aequitas an affectionate pat on the nape of the neck. "But then I suppose we do need every Dragon that can fly, even irredeemably thick ones."

"Michael, if you don't stop with this nonsense I will eat you," said Aequitas with a smirk, and Rankin chuckled and returned to his papers.

"There's going to be Australians?"

"Two of them," said Rankin, "but one's a Venomspitter, so be careful around him."

"Why? I've always heard Venomspitters were quite likable."

"Yes, well they can kill you by speaking too quickly, so I imagine there's a reason everyone is polite to them."

"And the other?"

"A Queen Victoria's I believe, but the weight figure they give is much too low. I suppose it's a typo. They're small middleweights, but not that small."

"And the rest?"

"Americans. Well Canadians and Americans. Fulminatus..."

"Fulminatus?!" exclaimed Aequitas suddenly, jerking his wing as he did so. "What the devil is he doing here?"

"Fighting the Germans I suppose, how in the world should I know? Ask him yourself when we get there."

"Is there going to be a problem with him and the Wendigo?"

"Knowing my luck, they'll be killing each other within a day. You tell me."

"Who else do we have?"

"Let's see... a Bonetail with a Jerry name I can't pronounce..."

"Spell it."

"Oh dear God, Aequitas, I am not eight any longer! 'Vald-wanderer' or some damn thing."

"What else?"

"A Smoke Devil..."

"A what?"

"Smoke Devil. American breed from Virginia it looks like. Lightweight of course. Charcoal-colored it says here."

"I thought Virginians were Emerald."

"Virginian Emeralds are Emerald," corrected Rankin. "This is something else."

"Interesting... I do enjoy meeting new breeds..."

"Aequitas, these are all volunteers. I swear, if you manage to drive any of them to turn in their commissions in the middle of a war, I will stuff you!"

Aequitas laughed loud and long. "Why Michael," he said in a mock hurt tone, "whatever are you talking about?! I am extremely personable!"

"Funny," said Rankin, "I think that Aesyrian from Keflavik would say otherwise."

"I was a perfect gentleman to that Aesyrian!"

"And at what point does being a perfect gentleman entail flinging another dragon off a waterfall?"

"It was a misunderstanding," said Aequitas. "He was insinuating unkind things about my heritage. Besides, it was just a bit of water."

"And that had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Aesyrians are chronically hydrophobic?"

"They're not hydrophobic," corrected Aequitas, "they're simply afraid of the water. Hydrophobic means rabid."

"And I would say he was fairly well rabid by the time they fished him out of that canyon, wouldn't you?"

"Perhaps by some definitions..." said the Malachite Reaper as he winged over and changed the subject. "I think we're here."

Down below stretched a large section of cleared land, organized into several large open fields, surrounded by fences for some unknown reason. A fence was neither going to keep dragons in, nor deter anyone who wasn't already deterred from entering by the presence of the dragons themselves. Lined up along the side of the clearings were shabby pre-fabricated wooden buildings, only several of which seemed to have power lines running to them. Pens of sheep, cows, and goats were located behind barriers of trees to prevent the prey animals from bolting at the first sight of the dragons. A windsock, a few small automobiles, several sheds and hangers to keep equipment, and what might have been an office or two, completed the base.

"Good lord, bare dirt?" asked Aequitas, eyeing the fields. "What is this, the eighteenth century?"

"We've had worse," said Rankin, and he knew it to be true, but that was no excuse. The fields for the dragons had no shelters built over them, no heating system, no pumped water. It was plain that this base had not been occupied in quite a long time.

"Shall we land, Michael?"

"Yes," said Rankin, still staring down at the covert, where now a few small forms could be discerned laying or standing in some of the fields that could only be dragons. Most of the squadron had plainly not arrived yet, but would soon, and he needed to be on the ground to meet them.

"Michael?"

"Hmm?" Rankin shook out of his daydreams for a second as Aequitas addressed him.

"You'll manage fine," said the seventeen-ton dragon, and Rankin smiled and patted his neck but did not reply. Whether or not he managed fine, there were a lot of strange dragons on their way to this place, and soon, very soon, they were all going to be thrown into the meat grinder. There was nothing for that really.

He just hoped that he wasn't going to get them all killed when it happened.

_________________
Gaze upon my works, ye mighty, and despair...

Havoc: "So basically if you side against him, he summons Cthulu."
Hotfoot: "Yes, which is reasonable."


Last edited by General Havoc on Wed Oct 03, 2007 3:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:28 pm 
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The Spitfire flew through the air, beating his wings. His captain laid against him, scanning the skies on the chance that a Jerry squadron or dragon would drop by. Captain Jack Taggart Jr, spoke to his dragon, Godfrey. "I wonder what the squadron will be like?" He asked, his voice nervous.

"I'm sure you'll do fine." Godfrey said, cutting through to the core of what was bothering his young Captain. "And as your father and I have told you, you have gotten where you are on your own merits, not because of his influence. And I'm sure this time, the squadron will do fine." Their last unit had been cut up by Jerry so badly that the few survivors were sent to bolster other squadrons.

Jack sighed, looking down and spotting the fenced off dirt area. Godfrey saw it as well and banked down, flapping his wings as they landed. Looking around the dragon scoffed. "Well, I see they didn't spend any money on frivolous expenses."

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Last edited by Agent Fisher on Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:00 pm 
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From the clouds spewed forth a large multi-ton behemoth, wings pulled back so that the creature looked more like a multi-colored bullet than a proper dragon as it sped toward the ground at an insane speed. The bullet seemed to be coming straight down into the woods, without stopping, at the last second wings extended and the Queen Victoria's pulled out of it's dive, spinning gracefully in loops as it came in low on the base. Hanging from the tail, barely tethered in, looked to be the shape of a human. The dragon skimmed the ground as they came in for a landing, the dust billowing out around them before a great flap of it's wings brought it in a giant loop, the human figure actually dropped off the tail towards the end of this loop, seemingly attached to nothing for a brief second or two before the turn completed, landing the pilot 'softly' in his seat. The Queen Victoria's came to a skidding stop on the field and looked around as it's pilot peeked his head over his mount's, resting his elbows on the great creature's head.

The young man was breathing hard as he spoke. "Think they look a mite impressed Kunja?"

The dragon, also breathing rather hard seemed to smile as it too looked at the flight crew as well as the others that were there. "It is hard to say Jake, most of them look worried."

The pilot hopped off his mount, landing hard on the solid dirt ground, slicking back his hair he leaned against the dragon, his 'uniform' a mud crusted, wrinkled, mess. "Ah they're just not used to someone who knows how to have a bit of fun's all."

The dragon, unlike it's rider, seemed to be very clean and well kept. It grinned at it's captain. "You said that about the last squadron too."

"Yeah but they were all 'proper Englishmen'." Jake puffed up his chest and waddled around a bit, feigning putting a monocle in one eye. "I say old chap, my great-great-grandfather served as a military man in Mary Queen of Bloody Scots, God save the Queen and all that, terry-ho."

The dragon could not help but chortle at it's captain's antics. "True, they did not take kindly to the idea of 'lowly barnstormers' in the squadron."

Jake grinned as he stood next to his dragon again, seemingly ignoring everyone else. "I heard we've got some other foreigners here too, some American's I think they said."

Only then did the two actually begin to examine their surroundings.

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In one of the dimpled green fields, someone had noticed the new arrivals. "Showoffs...," the human muttered, turning back to the dragon.

"Wahl Ah don' know, Jude, Ah'm a-thinkin' we could do jis 'bout as well..," the dragon answered in a drawl that even the worst dregs of Lancaster would call countryfied. The dragon was barely six foot at the shoulder, but long and lean, built as if for speed and control. The surprise was the dragon's coloration: softly rippled blue and white bands, like that of a blue-lace agate or rolling mountain ranges fading to a distance. A closer look would show large claws on the alar bone of the wing, the wings themselves as sharp and thin as those of a hunting falcon.

The human with the dragon was dressed uncomfortably in RAF green, which did absolutely nothing to hide the fact she was female. Her hair, a shade between red and blond, hung in a plait down to the bottom of her uniform shirt. "Jeb... now tha we're here... Ah'm a'wishin' we'd stayt home.."

"Hwa? Ya wantin' back onta tha' big ship this soon, Judith?" the dragon teased, smirking at the young woman. "Ah thought you were 'bout ta empty all yer insides ta th' outside. N'er saw no one tha' sick an' live afore... "

"Shush, you... Jis' you shush..." the young woman answered with a blush.

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"Michael?"

"I see it," said Rankin, blinking at the serpentine form before them.

"Is that a Spitfire?"

"I believe it is."

"Do we have a Spitfire?!"

"Not according to the files the Admiral gave me, no."

"So then what the devil is he doing here."

"I was about to ask you to go over and find out. Land next to him, will you?"

Aequitas pumped his wings and aborted his original landing, fluttering up into the air before setting down fifty yards ahead of where he had planned to. The Malachite's crew scrambled down to the ground as Aequitas landed, even as Rankin stood up from his position and slid down a carabineer rope to the ground, glancing around for the captain of the Spitfire.

Spotting a likely-looking young man in an RAF uniform festooned with captain's bars (which was a decent sign), he walked directly over.

"Pardon me," he said. No use taking the risk that this captain actually outranked him. "My name is Captain Michael Rankin, Squadron CO of this place as of a few hours ago. Are you captain of this Spitfire?"

*---------------------------------------------------------------------------------*

Kunja's landing had disturbed more than just the pigeons...

From the side of the covert, a small, horse-sized dragon slowly stirred itself up. It looked roughly like a ripe banana, its scales a dull creamy yellow splotched with brown, and it stared at the larger Queen Victoria's Reaper with broad, unblinking eyes, before slowly walking over towards it. As the captain dismounted, he found the small dragon standing less than an inch behind him, blinking as it stared down at him.

"G'day," said the little dragon in a soft Australian accent. "'oo're you?"

There was something in the dragon's tone that, while not at all unfriendly, was a bit off. It's stare was a bit too intense, its mannerism a little too placid, as though something just might be going a bit wrong inside.

Of course, a Tasmanian Venomspitter could get away with such things by virtue of the fact that they could kill an elephant by licking it.

*---------------------------------------------------------------------------------*

At the sound of Judith and Jed's voice, a small hill nearby perked up an ear.

Of course it wasn't a hill at all, it was a dragon, but a dragon whose coloration resembled nothing more than a heap of dirt streaked with rocks. The dragon was mottled brown with small bits and spots of purple and gray all over it, a random, haphazard pattern that made clear its true nature. This was an American Reaper, one of the ubiquitous mutts of the American continent, the scourge of professional dragon breeders everywhere.

Slowly the dragon lifted its head, and as the light flickered over it, one could see the many scars that pockmarked and criss-crossed this dragon's surface. Its eyes, pale brown in color, one of them permanently half-closed by a deep scar that extended across its eyelid from snout to horn, settled carefully on the Smoke Devil that had just touched down in the center of the clearing. Carefully almost resignedly, it stood up, joints creaking as it did so, and yawned, before shaking its head and unfurling its wings to get the dust off. Oddly for any dragon but especially for a middleweight, it wore no harness, nor any other equipment, save for a large silver figurine mounted on chain that hung around its neck.

"Americans?" asked the dragon directly, though whether it was calling out to Judith or Jeb was anyone's guess. The dragon's voice was gravelly and the accent roughly midwestern, though as always with American Reapers, hard to place. "You're a long way from Appalachia, hatchlings. What could you two be doing in a place like this, I wonder?"

Nonchalantly, the middleweight dragon slowly walked towards the two Appalachians, tail flickering back and forth, as it stared down at the two of them.

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Havoc: "So basically if you side against him, he summons Cthulu."
Hotfoot: "Yes, which is reasonable."


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Jack turned around, spotting a man with captain bar's. When he heard the words Squadron CO, he snapped to attention, his hand snapping up to his head, giving a salute.

"Yes, sir." He said, waiting till Rankin returned the salute. Once he did, Jack's hand dropped. "Captain Jack Taggart, sir." He pointed to the Spitfire behind him. "This is Godfrey, my dragon." He said.

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Rankin raised an eyebrow as Captain Taggart said his name, and had to stop himself from gasping as he heard the name of the dragon he was flying. Godfrey was a name he had heard before, usually in connection with antics of the Great War.

He retained enough sanity to salute the man back, and glanced up at Aequitas, who was presently rearing up on his hind legs to enable the ground crew to remove his harness.

"Godfrey," he said, turning to the Spitfire before glancing back at Captain Taggart. "I've heard a great deal of you. So then you would be John Taggart's son?" Could the Admiralty actually have assigned a Great War ace to stiffen the ranks a bit? He certainly hoped so.

He glanced back at his lists. "I don't have you on the roster," he said. "Please tell me this is not merely a stopover, Captain. I would give a great deal to have a proper veteran in this outfit."

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Havoc: "So basically if you side against him, he summons Cthulu."
Hotfoot: "Yes, which is reasonable."


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Jack looked down for a brief second. Once more people where glad to meet him because of his father. Looking back up he shook his head. "Not a stop over, sir. And yes, he's my father. As for why I'm here, my last group got cut up by Jerry so here I am, sir. They told me to report here to you sir." He said, looking around the dirt field.

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General Havoc wrote:
"Americans?" asked the dragon directly, though whether it was calling out to Judith or Jeb was anyone's guess. The dragon's voice was gravelly and the accent roughly midwestern, though as always with American Reapers, hard to place. "You're a long way from Appalachia, hatchlings. What could you two be doing in a place like this, I wonder?"

Nonchalantly, the middleweight dragon slowly walked towards the two Appalachians, tail flickering back and forth, as it stared down at the two of them.

Jebediah and Judith both turned at the American voice and looked up at the larger dragon as he approached. The two 'hatchlings' exchanged a fast glance before Judith spoke to the scarred elder. "Lend-Lease, sir," Judith answered respectfully. Anyone that scarred, man or dragon, was due respect. "My name's Judith M'Clung, an' this here's Jebediah," The Smoke Devil lowered his head in polite greeting. "We saw as they was asxin' fer dragons ta help th' English, an' so we're here.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:36 pm 
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Rankin let out an audible sigh of relief. A Spitfire, particularly a veteran Spitfire would be a priceless asset, particularly since they were so heavily under-weighted as it was.

"I'm sorry to hear of your previous difficulties, but we are very glad indeed to have you and Godfrey, Captain," said Rankin, quite emphatically. "I fear we may need your services sooner rather than later."

Rankin looked around, trying to figure out what was where. "Do either of you need anything specific? I'm still attempting to locate my office, if there even is such a thing here."

*----------------------------------------------------------------------------*

The middleweight Reaper sat down slowly, turning the names of M'Clung and Jebediah over in his head. He looked at them with a similar expression to that of a shark considering whether or not to eat a guppy nearby. "Help the English?" he said, sounding almost bemused. "And how do you two expect to do that? This here's a full-scale war, not a game. Do either of your parents know that you're over here?"

He crouched down onto all fours, and narrowed his gaze. "I don't think the two of you could hope to fight me... and I'm not even a quarter the size of the monsters the Krauts have to send over here. And they'll send 'em. Oh yes, they've been sending them every day, half a dozen at a time sometimes. Big gray bastards. Kampfritters. Stupid maybe, but real nasty. They'll swallow the both of you like appetizers if you let 'em, and you don't look like you know how to make sure they don't.

The dragon chuckled darkly and settled his head down on his front paws, smiling a bit as he regarded the two West Virginians.

"So I'll ask you again, what are a pair of mountain hatchlings doing all the way over here in a warzone?"

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Last edited by General Havoc on Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rankin looked around, trying to figure out what was where. "Do either of you need anything specific? I'm still attempting to locate my office, if there even is such a thing here."


Jack laughed slightly. "No sir. I'm fine for now." Jack looked back to Godfrey then back to Rankin. "Uh sir, where should Godfrey go?" He asked. "I don't see any housing for them like they had at Northolt." He said.

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"No, I get the sense they just reactivated this place. It looks like something from the Napoleonic Wars. I'm afraid they're just going to have to rough it for a little while, and most likely so are we."

He turned back to Aequitas, who was still eying Godfrey carefully. "Do you think you can shift for yourself for a while? I have to find the rest of the squadron."

"There's a few herds I saw flying in," replied the Malachite. "Do you think we could..."

"By all means," said Rankin. "I'll have to call Uxbridge and try and get a construction team down here to build some proper revetments for the dragons, but until they do..." he shrugged.

"Captain," he said to Captain Taggart, "you can try and find a spot for yourself in what whoever built this place decided to pretend were the barracks, over there. I'm presuming that those herds of cattle and the like on the north side are for our use, so Godfrey should feel free to make use of them, and if you wouldn't mind, I'd like some idea of what you and he are capable of. Your records weren't in the file they gave me, and I'm trying to see how we can fit a proper squadron together out of the bits and pieces they've given us."

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General Havoc wrote:
The middleweight Reaper sat down slowly, turning the names of M'Clung and Jebediah over in his head. He looked at them with a similar expression to that of a shark considering whether or not to eat a guppy nearby. "Help the English?" he said, sounding almost bemused. "And how do you two expect to do that? This here's a full-scale war, not a game. Do either of your parents know that you're over here?"

At that, Judith stiffened, not in the horrified way of a runaway kid, but with the somber insult of the bereaved. She did not get a chance to answer, however, as the Reaper continued.
Quote:

He crouched down onto all fours, and narrowed his gaze. "I don't think the two of you could hope to fight me... and I'm not even a quarter the size of the monsters the Krauts have to send over here. And they'll send 'em. Oh yes, they've been sending them every day, half a dozen at a time sometimes. Big gray bastards. Kampfritters. Stupid maybe, but real nasty. They'll swallow the both of you like appetizers if you let 'em, and you don't look like you know how to make sure they don't.

The dragon chuckled darkly and settled his head down on his front paws, smiling a bit as he regarded the two West Virginians.

"So I'll ask you again, what are a pair of mountain hatchlings doing all the way over here in a warzone?"


It was Jebediah who answered the dragon, before Judith drew breath to speak. "Wahl, Ah'm a-thinkin' you mighten be s'prised wha Judith an' Ah can do. Ah aint so dumb as ta take ya in a fair fight, a'course." The smaller dragon eyed the American Reaper weighingly. "Ah'd say yer quicker'n you look too... bu' Ah kin cut th' wind twixt two tall trees wi' room ta spare, an' these aintent jis' fer show," Jeb said as he presented the claw on his wing. "Iffen Ah can snag rock, Ah ken snag you. Wha' then, when Ah've clum clear up yer back?"

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Jack nods before a look of embarrassment crosses his face. "Oh, uh here, sir." He says, reaching into a bag hanging from his shoulder. "They sent this with me." He said, handing over his file. Jack looked up at his dragon, tilting his head towards the livestock. Godfrey nodded and began walking towards the food.

Jack looked back to his new CO. "Well, I'm sure you know what Godfrey is capable of. I scored high marks on ground attack training and my instructors told me I was as a natural like my father. As for against other dragons, well, I just sort of let Godfrey do what he does."

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A slow broad smile crept over the American Reaper's face as the Smoke Devil spoke back to it. It took a long, slow breath before replying.

"Well..." said the Reaper, "assuming you're as good as you say, and you did all that, I'd likely just turn my head around and grab you by the throat, maybe snap your wing or try and tear it off. You look fairly scrappy, so I might not be able to, but a heavyweight sure could. You can snag rock with those claws of yours, but can you snag a rock that weighs forty-five tons and is trying to have you for mid-day snack? The last lightweight I saw try a trick like that on a heavyweight got caught by a foreclaw and bitten in half." He shook his head as he chuckled, recalling the sight. "The captain was still aboard."

Whether or not he was exaggerating was anyone's guess.

"So I'll ask again, don't you think you might want to be heading back the way you came? There's all kinds of ways for a dragon to die in this war. I should know."

*----------------------------------------------------------------------------------*

Rankin took the file and quickly glanced through it. It was roughly what he thought it was going to be. "Thank you Captain," he said. "Ground and sea attacks will no doubt be useful, but for now I believe we're going to be called upon to stop the Hun from bombing London into rubble and powder. I suppose I needn't ask, but will you and he be up for such a thing? I don't know if they gave you any rest after your last squadron was de-activated or not. We're hard up for dragons, especially special weapons ones like Godfrey, but there's no use sending him up if he's nursing an injury or something..."

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Jack shook his head. "He's fine." Jack said, not mentioning that his own leg still had a limp to it. "We'll be ready when you need us, sir. If that will be all?" He asks, hoping to be dismissed, so he could carry his bag over to the huts and try and find a bunk.

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Waldwanderer's wings beat leisurely up and down. Providing just enough lift to maintain altitude

"think we should land?" the dragon asked the man riding on his shoulders.

"Ein moment" the man replied, taking a set of binocs from around his neck he scanned over the assembled dragons. A spitefire, a venomspitter, american reaper, a malachite, a queen victoria

"A bit... unbalanced" he commented

"Vell, lets make ze introduction ja?"

The dragon spread his wings out straight to his sides and began a slow and measured glide toward the ground. No need for anything fancy. He `altered the pitch of one wing to release the proverbial wind from the sail and started a slow spiral that lasted until he hit the ground 20 meters from the Malachite

Richard dismounted like one would dismount from a very large horse, patting Waldanderer on the side. He was not an unhandsom man. Standing at around 6 feet and weighting about a 170 lbs, he had the build of someone who took care of themselves physically, but an odd bearing. If his eyes focused on any one thing for too long they became like spears training upon a charging horse, ever watchful, seeking out even slight movements and changes. As it stood, he was subjecting everything in his sight to that gaze, his eyes darting back and forth soaking in everything.

Waldwanderer sat on his haunches, his tail behind him twitching lazily but rolling the bone club menacingly, like some great scaly winged cheetah scanning the savanna for prey. He was a bit stockier than the Smoke Devil, built for tight maneuvering as well as speed.

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General Havoc wrote:
A slow broad smile crept over the American Reaper's face as the Smoke Devil spoke back to it. It took a long, slow breath before replying.

"Well..." said the Reaper, "assuming you're as good as you say, and you did all that, I'd likely just turn my head around and grab you by the throat, maybe snap your wing or try and tear it off. You look fairly scrappy, so I might not be able to, but a heavyweight sure could. You can snag rock with those claws of yours, but can you snag a rock that weighs forty-five tons and is trying to have you for mid-day snack? The last lightweight I saw try a trick like that on a heavyweight got caught by a foreclaw and bitten in half." He shook his head as he chuckled, recalling the sight. "The captain was still aboard."

Whether or not he was exaggerating was anyone's guess.

"So I'll ask again, don't you think you might want to be heading back the way you came? There's all kinds of ways for a dragon to die in this war. I should know."

One look at the scars on the Reaper -- both Judith and Jebediah's eyes flickered to that battered hide -- told them that the Reaper meant every word he said. But the Reaper was also challenging them. While the McClungs may only have been in the Appalachian range since the late 1700s, the nature of those mountains and the Smoke Devils who lived within had already seeped inside. "Iffen yer wantin' ta fight, then call yer captain an' gets airborne. Iffen yer jis' a-tryin' ta scare us off, tain't gonna work."

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"The myriad ways of death are undoubtably drilled into volunteer's heads the whole way across the Atlantic, to say nothing of the German's foul methods of sinking a ship." These words were cultured and measured, coming from a Malachite Reaper bearing the signs of age and many battles. Semmemnon strode forward, flanked by his two crew, and wearing his harness, complete with the Vickers.

"However, if they are brave enough to come to an ally's aid, they are welcome aid indeed. To berate them for not being larger is to be incredibly discourteous." The Reaper said simply, settling in to examine the other dragons. "Semmenon Tahalshia, with Blackthorne and Philedelphia, of the same, reporting for duty."

They were admittably an odd sight. The Middleweight Dragon towered and wore a pair of spectacles, no doubt customized for him, and bore all the signs of middle age. Yet the two flanking him were young men, and one, for reasons no one had yet put together, wore a pair of cavalry sabres. "Well." Reflected the sabreless one. "So much for getting anyone to believe I got named Phillip."

"A Bonetail, a Smoke-Devil, a Venomspitter.. Good grief. Well, we'll maul Jerry's knees and no mistake." The one with the sabres shook his head.

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Richard looked at Semmenon and turned to Waldwanderer

"Dieses sollte interessant sein" he muttered the dragon nodded and stepped forward.

"Waldanderer Niehuis" spoke the dragon

"Und Richard Niehuis" said Richard

"I think ve will do more zan maul his knees. Et least ve kan maul his tighs, maybe his belly"

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There is no word harsh enough for this. No verbal edge sharp and cold enough to set forth the flaying needed. English is to young and the elder languages of the earth beyond me. ~Frigid

The Holocaust was an Amazing Logistical Achievement~Havoc


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Judith first looked to the elder dragon who'd joined them, then to the two introduced as Blackthorne and Philedelphia. It was obvious by the griping about his name the smaller one was Philedephia, which made the one with the sabers Blackthorne.

Then the other man joined them, speaking in a accent she'd heard a time or two from some foreigners who'd come and worked building the dam and tunnel that drowned the town of Hawks Nest. She never once connected it to Germany; to her ears they'd called themselves 'dutch'.

"Pleased ta make yer 'quaintance," she said politely. "M'name is Judith McClung, an' this is Jebediah."

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Frostfell dipped down low, breaking cloud cover to suddenly drop down towards the ground. The bone white dragon circled the landing field once before settling in on a place to land.

The dragon's claws closed on soft dirt. "Nice landing," said Nathan Reynolds. The Canadian veteran pulled down his flying goggles and patted Frostfell on the neck. The big dragon couldn't really feel it, but it was the act that counted. The dragon captain turned his leather masked face back to the rest of his crew. "Okay, let's everything squared away double quick."

"Get this junk off me," Frostfell rumbled.

"Soon enough," said Reynolds. "I have to go report to whatever self important Limey is in charge of the squadron."

"We should lead," rumbled Frostfell. "None can match my cunning or your experience. We are death and destruction incarnate. You are the veteran with many kills and I am bred for slaughter."

"That's not the way things are done old bean," said Reynolds in a dead on impression of a British upper class accent. He switched his voice back. "Don't worry, if he can't do the job he'll die quick enough."

Reynolds walked to where he saw several people gathering in the airfield, his chopper slung over his back. The Canadian was on the tall side, but it wasn't his height that drew eyes to him but the black leather mask that covered his face. Ice blue eyes peared from eyeholes. "Captain Nathan Reynolds, reporting as ordered."

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The landing of the huge bone-white dragon definately drew the eye. "Wahl there's sumthin' ya don't see e'ery day...." Jebediah drawled in amaze.

Judith nodded, staring herself. That would never have fit on the ship that she and Jeb came over on. "Iffen not fer the crew, Ah'd think it a haint."

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Richard's eyes went wide, and Waldwanderer subtly interposed himself between Frostfell and his brother and they shot eachother a look that could only mean "only one of us sleeps at a time"

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Kunja's landing had disturbed more than just the pigeons...

From the side of the covert, a small, horse-sized dragon slowly stirred itself up. It looked roughly like a ripe banana, its scales a dull creamy yellow splotched with brown, and it stared at the larger Queen Victoria's Reaper with broad, unblinking eyes, before slowly walking over towards it. As the captain dismounted, he found the small dragon standing less than an inch behind him, blinking as it stared down at him.

"G'day," said the little dragon in a soft Australian accent. "'oo're you?"

There was something in the dragon's tone that, while not at all unfriendly, was a bit off. It's stare was a bit too intense, its mannerism a little too placid, as though something just might be going a bit wrong inside.

Of course, a Tasmanian Venomspitter could get away with such things by virtue of the fact that they could kill an elephant by licking it.


Jake almost seemed completely non-plussed as he turned around to face the Venomspitter, smiling. "G'day. Name's Jake Collington, native of th' Graet Downunder, much as I imagine you're. Wha's your name?"

Jake, for now, avoided the other pilots that were landing, far more interested in the dragons they flew, he recognized every type, knew their temperments, how to appropriately deal with each breed.

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