|The General's Daughter, Blondie's Boys
Author: Kody Wright PM
After being humiliated by the RAF, a talented young aviatrix disguises herself as a boy and sneaks into her father's Air Force during World War 2, where she becomes a navigator on a B-17. Reviews are always welcomed and thank you to those who do. The story is completed and can be found on my private website...See bio for address.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 3 - Words: 17,454 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 18 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 09-10-12 - Published: 06-25-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3035826
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
With the declaration of World War Two, Europe had descended into a death machine. The need for licensed pilots stretched far and wide to ferry planes for the British ATA or Auxiliary Transportation Authority. Many of the pilots recruited for the ATA were women and one small group of women were from America.
Three young American women pilots had answered the call to ferry planes for the Brits. The trio shared an flat in the basement of a townhouse to keep expenses down.
They were the most odd set of women, one was a tall blonde, Bambi Jacobs. Her roommates were strikingly different than she. One of the other girls, Sadie Frasier was a fiery red head while the other, Jackie Jackson, a more plain brunette.
Out of the trio Jackie had the most interesting background for she had a history of designing and racing airplanes with her father, Brigadier General Frederick J. Jackson of the US Army Air Corps. She grew up in the military…Literally! The school for gifted children refused to accept her application. The reasoning was blatantly sexist…For little girls grow up to be housewives and mothers and not engineers.
Too advanced for regular school, Jackie had the benefit of being privately educated and seeing first hand what army life was all about. For during her young days she was even given the status as a "cadet" in name only.
Bambi's background was more average, coming from a middle class family with the means to pay for private pilot's lessons.
Sadie came from a similar middle class, the daughter of a lawyer who paid for pilots lessons during the golden age of air racing. Neither Bambi or Sadie had the benefit of a World War One fighter ace giving dogfighting and barnstorming lessons but both were equally good ferrying pilots.
On one quiet day in August the trio sat sipping iced tea and talked about the newer runs south. They enjoyed the outside weather while sitting at a picnic table having lunch.
Jackie stood out as the oddball, for she dressed in surplus military clothing while her friends enjoyed civilian attire. Needless to say, the clothing did nothing for the attractive young women for she looked bland and nearly invisible.
Bambi was dressed in white shorts and a white summer blouse, a red band kept her hair in place. Her lips painted red with fine detail to the highlights of her features. She looked like a model from a magazine. Puffing the cigarette she easily could have been selling some form of tobacco product. She looked upon Jackie's kaki shorts and button down blouse. Jackie's clunky leather shoes seemed to be her only pair. Slowly she exhaled before bringing the issues before her friend.
"Jackie, can I ask you a question?"
"Sure," she inhaled from her own cigarette.
"Why do you only wear army surplus?"
"Um…" she blinked.
Sadie, dressed casual in a red blouse and blue shorts, added to the issues, "I was also wondering about that. You have more than one pair of shoes, right?"
She nodded uneasy, "I have boots too," replied Jackie.
"Boots don't count as shoes!" Bambi insisted, "Didn't you mother teach you how to dress?"
"My mother died when I was six, my father dressed me."
Sadie casually stated to herself, "That explains a few things."
"Like what?" Jackie wondered.
"Boxer shorts," Bambi replied.
Jackie rebutted, "I only wear them for comfort. I got real underwear too."
The pair detected Jackie's tension. They exchanged glances.
Sadie held up her hand, "Okay, Jackie. Don't get upset. It was just a question."
Jackie sighed, "I'm sorry. I'm a bit sensitive about it. When I was fifteen some girl in a dairy bar thought I was a boy. I was wearing my play clothes that my father got me. It was really embarrassing."
Bambi grinned, "What do ya expect? Your father raised you and dressed you like a boy. He's brass, right?"
Jackie nodded, "A general."
"See, he dressed you in what? Surplus! He's a guy. He's doesn't know any better. Probably secretly wishing he could turn you into his son...A little version of himself."
She shook her head, "No…Of course not. My father is a really good dad."
Sadie snickered, "He dressed you in army surplus and taught you to fly airplanes and took you air racing. Come on, Jackie, you were his last attempt to have a boy. You poor thing! Now, me and Bambi have to fix that."
Perturbed she snorted, "I don't need fixing."
Bambi asked, "Have you ever worn make up in your life? And who does your hair?"
"I cut my own hair," she retorted. "I don't want to wear make up. I don't have anything to hide."
"It's just to highlight your features," Sadie told her, "you wouldn't need much at all, just need a little lipstick and blush, Jackie." She leaned closer over the table. "Jackie, your have a very pretty face, your eyelashes are gorgeous."
She melted, "Really? You think so?'
Bambi grinned, "Oh boy! We can do your hair, your make up and get you some nice civilian clothes and the boys will be tripping over themselves just to dance with you."
Sadie placed her hand on her chin and added, "I hear the Brits are really good in bed."
Jackie's eyes grew wide, "I'm not here to do that!"
Bambi couldn't help but ask, "Have you ever done…That?"
Jackie's expression said it all.
"Guess not," concluded Sadie. "What you gonna do when you find a man that you like? Ask daddy for permission to ask him out yourself?"
Jackie's face went blank, "I don't think my father would be very happy about that idea. He still thinks I'm twelve."
Sadie snickered, "Well, of course he does. You're his little girl. You will always be twelve to him."
Bambi pointed her finger, "When he's not dressing you like a boy." She pondered, "Maybe he does it on purpose? To keep the boys away."
The subject of the conversation merely rolled her eyes, "Leave me alone."
Sadie shook her head, "Nope, can't do that."
"Why not?" she asked, arms crossed.
"We're your friends. We can't let you live like this. It is summer and you have yet to be on a date."
Jackie repeated, "Leave me alone."
Bambi and Sadie grinned at their new pet project.
She looked at the pair, "Seriously?"
She feared what they would do to her. Dress her up and make her go on a date with some strange man. She really wanted nothing to do with it, for she was there just to save money for the next racing plane.
"Oh, gawd," she moaned.
Early the next morning Jackie was scheduled to ferry a Tiger Moth to one of the southern bases. As she flew the little open cockpit bi-plane her mind wandered back to the states and her days racing the Kadet. Even though she never won a major race it was accelerating, invigorating and over all addicting. The pure rush of adrenaline gave her a high beyond what any aircraft could physically accomplish.
She spotted another plane on the horizon. At first she didn't give it much thought, for air traffic was heavy with the moving about of craft. But the plane seemed to be coming towards her rather than flying away. The plane was most unusual in appearance, as the plane grew closer she could make out the distinct features of a twin engine plane and it didn't look British in nature.
The colors of the plane were also unique…A green fuselage with blue on the belly, an obvious camouflage scheme. She stared at the tail. The rudder came into focus. Her eyes grew wide upon the sight of the German Cross sticking straight up like a flag.
"Oh no," she muttered, "German recon plane. Please just ignore me and go about your business and I will go about mine."
The spy plane wasn't about to ignore the little Tiger Month out of fear of being reported. It swooped into position and put the Tiger Month squarely in its gun sights.
"Oh crap," she snorted upon the realization she was under attack. She pulled up as the German Bf110 recon plan opened fire, ripping through the lower canvas wing but luckily missing the unprotected pilot.
It was no match in comparison between the two planes. The spy plane was three times faster than the Tiger Month, sported twin engines and weapons. The fuselage was made of metal and reinforced around the cockpit with steel for added protection of the crew. Dogfighting in the Tiger Month against the German plane would be like going up against a crop duster with a P-38 Lightening, a one-sided victory for sure.
Jackie did have one advantage on her side, agility! Though not as pliable as her Kadet, the Tiger Month was still much better on the stick than the spy plane.
Climbing to gain speed, she yanked her head around to see where the Bf110 had gone behind her. She spotted him making a hard bank to the right to loop back around and finish her off.
With no match in airspeed or service ceiling, her little plane could neither outrun the adversary nor out climb him. She pulled the stick further back, adjusting the stabilizers to accomplish her task. She now flew upside down in an attempt to overshoot the oncoming German plane.
The two planes crossed mid-air, so close that she could see the face of the man at the controls and his gaping mouth as she flew over him.
Completing the loop she righted the plan off to the port side. If she had a machine gun she could have pulled the trigger at that moment in time and ended the pursuit.
However, being unarmed and rationed on fuel that was not an option. She couldn't fire back. She also couldn't stay airborne for an extended period of time.
Gunfire erupted from the spy plane from the turret gun behind the pilot. The gun swiveled about giving three hundred and sixty degree coverage of the plane but only from the top.
She put the Tiger Month into a dive and went under the belly of the predator, aiming for the trees in the distance, hoping she could lose the pursuer in the lush landscape.
Bullet holes had ripped through the wings. The fuselage was marked with gunshot holes. Gaining airspeed as she dove hard and fast for any type of cover she could find.
Spotting a field with young crops growing just the side of the tree line, she brought the bi-plane down just above the earth behind the trees. She had hoped the spy plane would give up the pursuit and just leave.
Her hopes were soon crushed by the bullets ripping through the tree tops. Bringing the plane up, she spotted the spy plane still diving towards her. Fearing she would make herself too visible to the pilot, she put the plane back down and cut back the throttle to slow down even more.
The spy plane overshot her as it buzzed by. He pulled the Bf110 back up and banked to the left to make another go around, trying to line himself up to the bi-planes vulnerable tail.
She followed his maneuver, pulling up and banking left, trying to get behind him as she was taught by her father. Over the field they flew in circles, the Bf110 spy plane couldn't make the tight turns as the little Tiger Month, though faster and heavier, it was still a lumbering beast rather than an agile little plane.
As she closed in on the tail of the spy plane the turret gunner opened fire on her. She dropped below the plane hoping to use the fuselage of the Bf110 as a shield. Bullets whizzed by the bi-plane just off the edge of the wings. She could almost touch the metal underbelly, knowing the plane would soon outrun her, she needed someway of disabling the spy plane.
The flare gun packed in the emergency kit suddenly came to mind. She reached down next to her seat and pulled the gun out and loaded a flare round into the chamber.
As the spy plane increased throttle it started to pull away. Her only hope was the vulnerable rudder and stabilizers located in the tale of the beast. Aiming for the weakest spot of the assembly, she fired the flare in hopes of buying herself enough time to escape.
The flare lodge into the tail section, the spy plane lunged forward, the left wing positioned down as the ability to stabilize the plane was compromised.
She found another flare round and reloaded the gun. She opened the throttle and brought the bi-plane to the front of the Bf110, placing her little plane directly in the line of fire, for the purpose of causing additional air turbulence for the spy plane to handle.
The machine gun opened fire on her to make the plane move away from the nose. The bullets ripped through the fuselage. Jackie made herself as small as possible, hoping she would not be hit. She then placed the flare gun over her shoulder and fired directly at the nose of the plane.
The pilot, struggling to keep the plane level by pulling up hard, now had instinctively ducked, thus placing the plane into a dive. The German plane flipped over as the ground came up fast for the two man crew.
She looked back at the wreckage in the middle of the field. Grinning she couldn't believe what she just did, defeated a spy plane with a flare gun in a bi-plane.
"No one will ever believe this," she told herself.
It was like a trip into the past as Jackie sat outside the office door on the wooden bench still in her flight gear. She listened to the men speaking about her on the other side of the door. She watched as the particle of dust danced in the sunlight beaming down through the window, recalling the day when she was rejected from the school for gifted children and feeling like she might be rejected once more.
Inside the office two men spoke candidly about the subject waiting outside. Both men were British officers in the Royal Air Force. The senior officer, Air Commodore Alfred J. Meddleton, a thin man with graying hair combed over the top, sat in his large wooden chair behind the file littered desk. His think finger fiddled with his pipe as his eyes darted over the desk looking for the tobacco.
The other officer was much lower in rank, Group Captain William Davies stood before the senior with hat tucked under his arm. He was a much younger man, dark hair combed back, clean shaven and very handsome.
"Where did that smoke go?" the Commodore mumbled as he searched. "Here it is," his think finger dug it out from under a paper. He looked up at the Group Captain and asked, "One of the ATA's lady pilots brought down a German Bf110?"
"Yes sir," the Group Captain replied. "The German pilot was just dumbfounded by it. He couldn't stop talking about it. He's asking to stay here in London and not be sent back in any prisoner exchanges."
"The German pilots want to stay here? Why?"
The Group Captain replied, "Well, it's embarrassing enough for them to have been brought down by a Tiger Month but with a woman at the stick makes it even worse. They fear retribution if the Germans find out."
"Incredible," the Commodore stated. Filling his pipe he stuck the end between his lips, enjoying the flavor of the residue. "The lady pilot is a 99er? With Cochran's crew?"
"No, sir, not with Cochran's girls. She's independent and yes, a 99er. She's Jackie Jackson, daughter of General Frederick Jackson of the States. He was a fighter ace in the First World War. She says he taught her how to dogfight in their bi-plane they use for racing. She's a flight engineer, excellent pilot and has experience designing racing planes. If she was a man we could use her."
The Commodore sucked on the end of the pipe as he fiddled the match. His mind churned for some way of using this new found talent. They were desperate for fighter pilots. The words "If she was man" echoed through his mind.
"Bring her in. I want to see her."
"Yes sir," Davies replied. He stepped back to the door and opened it just slightly, softly waving for Jackie to come inside.
She walked through the threshold and stood before the two men, she wore a leather jacket that tied around the middle, similar to the one Emalia Earhart wore, her inspiration for the look. Her hair cropped short, wearing men's trousers and a white scarf wrapped around her neck.
The commodore looked her over, wondering if he could pull the plan off, "How tall are you, Miss Jackson?"
Surprised by the inquiry she replied, "Five foot two and a half inches tall."
"Little short," he grumbled, "but we can overlook that. In perfect health otherwise?"
The commodore lit the match, bringing the fire to the pipe, puffing on it till smoke appeared. He leaned back in his chair once more, still looking intently at her.
"Can you lower your voice a bit?" asked the commodore.
"Lower your voice a bit."
"Um…" she made her voice deeper, "like this?"
"Like this?" she lowered the tone.
"Perfect, you'll do."
She couldn't help but wonder, "Do what?"
"How would you like to fly for the RAF?"
Her eyes lit up, "Would I? You need ferry pilots? That would be so cool. My two girl friends, Bambi and Sadie, they will be so jealous."
The commodore held up his hand, "No, no, no. You tell no one. This is top secret. Very few will know. You will get a new record and be listed as a Pilot Officer flying Hurricanes. We need seasoned pilots who can dogfight."
She blinked, "Um…I'm a girl."
"We can fix that," the Commodore assured.
"What?" she blinked astounded. Looking down at herself, "Fix that?"
The Commodore looked upon Group Captain Davies and gave instructions, "I want you to give her a crash course in acting like a new recruit. She's going to be listed as Pilot Officer Jack Jackson from the States." He looked at her, "How old are you, Miss Jackson?"
"Um…"still unsure about what was happening, "I'm twenty-one."
"You're eighteen now," the Commodore stated, "late bloomer."
"You're a late bloomer if anyone asks."
"You are going into the RAF as an eighteen year old fighter pilot from the states. You will have a history made up in a file for you. You will have a crash course in military life, how to be an officer and above all…Act like a boy. Dress like a boy, get your hair cut like a boy, pretend that you are a boy. And walk like a boy. No wiggly girly walks."
"What the hell is a 'wiggly girly walk?'" Jackie spouted, "I grew up in the Army. I know all about army life. I run five miles a day, march, hand-to-hand combat and I can fly like the best of them." Her old habit of having to prove herself started to shine through.
Commodore Meddleton smiled upon her, "Good! Just what I'm looking for, just don't tell anyone you're a girl."
Her mouth dropped, "Huh, don't tell anyone I'm a girl? You guys gonna dress me up like a boy?"
Davies injected, "I would also recommend we make accommodations for living quarters, sir."
"How will you do that if no one supposed to know I'm a girl?"
The two men looked at one another.
Davies then suggested, "We assign her to a squadron but only the squad knows, no others."
"We can't give her separate quarters, sir...That would be suspicious."
Commodore Meddleton agreed, "Assign her to Percy Quill's squad."
"Percy Quill?" Jackie's ear perked up. "The actor! He's a pilot too?"
The commodore chuckled, "Yes, who knew the Brits had their own Jimmy Stuart?"
"Excellent idea, sir. Quill can help her in the acting part."
Dumbfounded she resonated back what she had gathered, "You want me to join the RAF, disguise myself as a boy and take acting classes for Percy Quill?"
"That's the jist of it," Meddleton replied.
She motioned over her shoulder, "Shouldn't I call my dad about this?"
Meddleton shook his head, "Top secret. No one is to know. You don't want your father to worry. Now do you?"
She shook her head, "No…He would make me go back home."
The commodore chuckled, "Good, it's all settled. You will be listed as Jack or do you prefer Jackie?"
"Very well, Pilot Officer Jackie Jackson, son for General Frederick Jackson of the United States. You are eighteen years old and have completed pilot fighter training in Texas. You transferred the RAF upon graduation. Any questions?"
"Um, what about the ATA and my friends?"
"Tell them you have been selected for a top secret project in the RAF but nothing more." He leaned forward still puffing the pipe, "Britain needs you, Jackie. The Royal crown needs you in our most desperate hour. Will you help us?"
After a few moments of thought her head began to slowly nod. It was like a dream. To be requested to serve on some tope secret mission for the Royal Crown in Britain's most desperate hour. She couldn't believe it. Nor would she comprehend just how top secret the mission truly was.
After a haircut and issue of a RAF uniform, Jackie was nearly transformed into the secret weapon the Royal Air Force had envisioned; she looked like a teenage boy, complete with an awkward fitting uniform that was baggy on the shoulders and draping around her small frame. Most of the recruits weighed in at one hundred and fifty pounds but her weight was much less, one hundred and twenty pounds of pure skin and bones as far as most were concerned.
Her height alone should have disqualified her and the light weight was another reason to send her packing. But the Crown had decided her talent was too precious to turn away in such a desperate time. Thus, all physical aspects were ignored or outright camouflaged.
Despite dressing as a boy and having a military hair cut one thing was still in need of addressing…Her walk. She still moved like a girl, hips would sway in natural progression with each step. The sway was not on purpose but rather a natural movement. But in desperate time there is no room for Mother Nature and her speech, movement and gestures would all need an overhaul.
She was sent to meet Percy Quill in his private flat. Standing at the beige painted door in the building overlooking some of the top entertainment destinations of London. She double checking the number on the door with the paper in her hand, her small fist reached up and rapped on the wood.
A moment passed, the door opened slowly before her. Hovering over her was a tall, thin man with a dark pencil thin mustache. He gazed around the empty hall.
"Were you followed?" he asked.
She looked around her, "Um…no."
Quill opened the door and motioned for her to enter, "Get in."
She entered and looked about the flat. It was open and large, against one side of the room was a wall with a large mirror mounted from floor to ceiling. A bar mounted across the mirrored wall about four feet from the floor horizontally. It looked very much like a dance studio.
On the other side of the flat was a living area with a sofa and chair. A coffee table set before the furniture with a large radio standing in the corner. A small kitchenette off to the side and the door in the opposing corner led to a bedroom.
Percy Quill closed the door behind her. He stood wearing a blue trousers and a powder blue button down shirt with contrasting blue tie. The insignia of the RAF displayed on his shoulder. Standing back he looked upon her, his finger rubbed his chin in thought.
"You're Jackie Jackson? Aviatrix? From the States?"
She nodded, "Yes, Mr. Quill."
He took a step towards her, "That's Officer Quill to you." He stepped sideways, "Let's see you walk."
"Walk?" she asked puzzled.
"Yes, walk…Across the floor and towards the mirror."
Slightly confused she agreed, "Okay." As she took a few steps the female aspect of her motions stood out.
She turned around, "What?"
He waved his arm, "You're walking like a girl."
She blinked and cocked her head to the side, "Cause I am one."
"Not anymore," he walked up behind her. "If this is going to work you cannot move your hips like that?"
"Like a girl!"
She scoffed, "I can't help it. That's the way my hips move."
Standing behind her, he placed his foot between hers, then pushing from side to side to get her to stand with her feet apart. Then he placed his hands on her hips.
He instructed, "Now walk forward. Don't move your hips back and forth."
She scowled, "How the hell am I supposed to walk like this?"
"Move the hip straight forward."
"I can't," she rebutted.
He turned her about by her coat collar and stared directly into her eyes.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but did you not take down a German Bf110 spy plane with a handgun and a Tiger Moth?"
She held up her finger, "It was a flare gun, Officer Quill."
His eyebrow lifted, "You used a flare gun? Not a pistol? The report said you used a gun. A flare gun?"
She nodded, "Flare gun."
Looking straight in her eyes, "Then you can do this."
"But," she started to protest.
"No buts, turn you arse around and walk." He spun her about and spread her feet apart once more. "Stand more like a man," he ordered.
She looked down, "Don't men and women stand the same?"
"No," he assured her, "we do not. And I am going to teach you to act. You already know how to fly and how to fight. But you need to act like a man."
"Or boy?" she wondered.
He made one thing clear to his new student, "The boys going up to fight for are very much aware they may not come back. They fight for their country, for their friends and family. They are men. If you will be flying with them then you need to act like you are one of them. Do you understand?"
"Yes, I get it."
"Good, now march…Like a man."
Walking a bit more stiff than normal had hampered her grace and style. A more rugged movement came about, more masculine. She stopped and looked over her shoulder.
She blinked innocently at him, "Like that?"
Percy nodded, "You did fine till you stopped and batted your eyes at me. Do that to the men and you will find yourself on the receiving end of the fist."
She let out an exhale, "Sorry."
"Let's start again," Quill stated.
Just south west of London was the little town of Biggin Hill and the airfield that had recently swelled with recruits and the Hawker Hurricane mono engine fighter wings. The town itself was nestled between orchards and other villages about the landscape. In times of peace it was a sleepy little paradise compete with green trees and an over abundance of farm produce.
The little town swelled with troops and movements. Church bells and sirens to warn of air raids rang out constantly. The still and quiet enjoyed in days past have long since disappeared with the roar of war. The little airport was now the base for the 56th squadron. Under which Jackie had been assigned.
The squadron consisted of twelve craft plus seven spare fighters. The twelve were broken down into smaller color coded groups of three planes each: Red Group, Blue Group, Yellow Groups and Green Group.
Jackie had been assigned to the Red Group directly under Quill's command as the lead plane. The squadron had already seen much of the heavy fighting and they were in a desperate need of pilots. The Women's Air Auxiliary Force was also assigned to the base to act in traditional male roles, such as air traffic control tower as well as cooks to mechanics.
Upon seeing the other women at the base she quickly began to realize just how desperate the RAF was for fighter pilots for she could have easily been recruited to do air traffic control instead of flying. For that matter she could have been left ferrying for the ATA, rather than going through the elaborate ruse.
Percy Quill escorted his newest pilot to meet one of the men she would be flying the missions with in the Red Squadron. They wandered down the airfield with the Hawker Hurricane pursuit planes lined up in rows. Each plane painted in a camouflage scheme of green and brown with the coded markings on the fuselage.
Stopping before one such plane Percy called out for the man who was busy doing his inspection, "Eaton!"
A young man with red hair and a freckled face popped out from the cockpit. Wearing the same blue uniform as Percy but with different insignia indicating his rank, that of Pilot officer.
"Climb down. I want you to meet our new wingman."
Eaton lifted himself out of the cockpit and walked down the walkway of the wing to the ground. He stood before Jackie, pleasant as any young Brit. "Sir?"
Percy introduced them, "This is Pilot Officer Jackie Jackson of the US. He's assigned to our squadron, is our new wingman. Pilot Officer Jackson, meet Pilot Officer Ralph Eaton."
Keeping the tone of her voice low she saluted the young man, "Sir."
He blinked and then let out a little chuckle, "You're regular military?"
Still at attention she replied, "Grew up in the military, sir. Us Army Air Corps, my Father is a general."
Ralph shook his head and smiled casually, "You don't need to call me 'sir.' We're the same rank. I grew up around here…My parents own a farm outside town."
She never really met a farm boy who wasn't trying to get into the military before. She soon relaxed her attention, easing into the role of fighter pilot.
"Right, what would you like me to call you, Officer Eaton?"
To Ralph Eaton she seemed like a young boy trying really hard to be professional military…Something he was not. Ralph only joined the military because his country was at war and no other reason. Not for career, not for glory but out of defense. He didn't see himself as anything more than a farm boy in an airplane fighting for his home.
"Call me, 'Ralph.'"
Percy added, "And Jackson…Eaton can call you by your first name, or last. Whichever you choose."
"Jackie," she stuck out her hand eagerly.
Eaton gently took the offering. He noticed how small the hand was, how short she was and wondered how the pilot passed the physical to begin with.
"Officer Quill...Did the RAF lax the physical regs?" asked Ralph.
"In this case we made a few exceptions. Jackson took out a German spy plane with a flare gun in a bi-wing."
He blinked in astonishment, "You're kidding?"
"Nope," he shook his head. "Sh…He…Already has a kill under his belt and was taught by a World War One fighter Ace…General Frederick Jackson."
"That's my dad," she interrupted, "we race airplanes together." After the words left her lips she realized she forgot to disguise her voice. She winced in an after thought.
Quill was not enthused about the interruption but he relished in adlibbing lines on the stage, he added, "The Crown has personally asked Officer Jackson to fly on our behalf in this war due to the uncanny fly skills. And as you can see…He…Had the benefit of a private tutor."
"Maybe you can give me a few pointers then," Eaton suggested. "I had just finished flying school a month ago. Seen two missions, it's pretty intense up there."
"Glad too," Jackie told him.
"Marvelous," Percy stated while rolling his eyes.
He jumped at the chance to put Jackie on his squad due to the loss of his seasoned wingman less than two weeks ago, he now had two raw recruits under his command. One pilot happened to have had the benefit of her father's teachings and only one aerial battle. While his other recruit had only flown in two battles; one of which took the life of a dear friend. He wondered what he was getting himself into. If the war would ever end and he could go back to the stage. He hated the war theater; it wasn't much fun over all. Too much death and destruction.
The stage was far more civilized. Death and destruction was nothing but pretend play. Lines rehearsed and spoken allowed for sheer entertainment value. Now the rehearsing was nothing more than flight planes and funeral processions. The only excitement was flying itself. The only peace he found was on patrol with no other craft to shoot down. Dogfighting was a deadly dance of skill he wished he could avoid.
Percy placed his arms around the shoulders of his two protégées, "Come now, kids. It is time for some basic review." He led them back towards the plane while giving instruction to Eaton. "Ralph, I want you to show Jackie the plane. Go over everything with him. Jackie never flew this bird before. Mainly he flew bi-wings."
She injected, "I have my own plane, a Kadet...I modified it for racing. I can build racing planes too."
Ralph suggested, "You're an aeronautical engineer?"
She shrugged, "I guess you could call it that. I have a book where I draw up racing designs."
Ralph nodded in agreement, "Guess that would. Been to college?"
"Nope, not even regular school."
"Why bloody not?" the boy wondered.
She shrugged, "They wouldn't let me in. I was way above average and the school for gifted kids didn't want me either. So, my father taught me everything he knows and I taught me the rest. Science, advanced math, astrology, celestial navigation, weather patterns, physics, art, music and I learned to speak five languages on my own."
Ralph gave a cockeyed look. "What are you? Some sort of genius?"
Percy bluntly stated, "Yes. The placement test given by the RAF showed it to be so."
Ralph grinned, "Glad to have you aboard, Jackie. Hope we become good friends."
"Thanks," she cheerfully replied.
Percy muttered somewhat to himself, "I hope we live to be old friends."