Mick's Rejects

The fiction no one wanted


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ALL THINGS – Chapter 8 part 6

“Do you need a bigger engine?” Alkeemer queried.

“No,” said Moses, “I like the balance. I only have to touch the controls to make her dive or climb. Can you get anything more out of the engine?”

“Yeah, there’s a few things I can do.”

The keys of the computer clicked somewhere in Moses’ consciousness. Then the final plane in his sights leapt into effective range with the slamming open of his throttle. A short burst sent the plane into a lazy uncontrolled dive beneath him.

He flew into a wide arc around the next group of four planes to materialise. Their tracer fire missed, trailing crossing arcs behind his tail.

“What did you do to her?” asked Moses.

“Nothing you’d understand, but you’ve now got four hundred horsepower under the cowl. By the way, that’s the ASA limit. Which is just as well. I couldn’t get any more out of her, if I wanted to. How is it?”

Moses dived beneath a plane firing head on then pulled a tight loop, hoping to outturn and fire on his quarry. It stayed just beneath his sights, long enough to necessitate him abandoning the move as another fighter engaged him.

“It’s fast but a bit sluggish in the turns,” Moses said. “Could we add slats.”

“We want to make her lighter, not heavier. I could trim a few things, making for less drag.”

The computer keys tapped.

“I’ve just been given a table of possibilities,” said Alkeemer. “Each one’s only small, but if I go through all the drag eliminations, it might make a difference.”

Keys tapped continually as Moses flew. He fired head to head with another fighter. The simulated biplane banked aside, as Moses performed a flat spin turn whilst still firing. Rounds cut through the struts, separating the top wing. The simulated fighter fell away from Moses, disappearing in mid descent.

Computer keys never ceased to chatter, as Moses flew on. Whatever changes Alkeemer made to his plane, made it feel as if it shed minor hindrances with his every turn and roll.

“It feels good,” he said.

He dived, raking rounds through a fuselage on the way. Evasively he flew for several seconds until satisfied that the remaining planes all followed him. Abruptly, he pulled up, corkscrewing into their midst as he fired, cutting into them all. They faded from view as he climbed above them, then levelled out into clear skies. His simulated view of the passing clouds died, revealing to him the interior of the workshop.

He slipped off his leather cap and goggles to see Alkeemer’s excited face by the computer.

“I don’t think Dad’s ever flown like that,” she said. “It looked easy.”

“Your design made it easy.”

“But it still needs colour; still needs a name.”

Moses knew this was his cue to think of a name, according to the behaviour of their latest creation. It angled sharply, aggressively, it’s trajectory unhindered by gunfire. Only one type of bird reminded him of the plane. A dangerous, aggressive bird that would brazenly attack people in the spring to protect its nest.

“Can you paint it in black and white stripes?” he asked.

He thought Alkeemer, might have either, made regular stripes lengthways, or an irregular patchwork of black and white. Instead, stripes started narrowly at the centre of the top wing and fanned out over the rest of the plane… he liked that better.

“That’s her,” he said, “that’s our plane; the Magpie.”

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8


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ALL THINGS – Chapter 8 part 5

Moses declined the offer to eat when he returned home, electing instead to seat himself first in the simulator again. He slipped on his mask and goggles and looked over Alkeemer’s shoulder. She keyed in the experimental program for their latest plane. A two dimensional diagram appeared on the monitor. Moses liked the sleek lines of the biplane. Alkeemer had input information of its construction and dimensions. The computer returned with images and specifications, such as weight as determined by materials used, and speed according to power/weight ratio.

According to the computer, the engine produced a little over three hundred horsepower, making it the fastest to date of any Dogfight biplane. Moses always felt helpless during the planning stage of the aircraft. He could only tell Alkeemer how the plane behaved in the air. She would then make the required adjustments. The plane always performed better, acrobatically.

“What do you think of her?” said Alkeemer.

She tapped a key on the computer. A three dimensional scaled model of the plane swirled from the holographic projector on the desk. Moses appreciated being able to look over the model in detail. He had learned how to angled the plane to give him a better view of its every aspect. Its nose looked angular, but everything gleamed as it would once built from a resin compound of Alkeemer’s making.

“How about red?” Alkeemer suggested.

It instantly changed hue. Moses pursed his lips, trying to find ways to accept the colour. A plane’s markings had to reflect its behaviour aerobatically. Red said nothing, except “flying cherry.”

“We’ll work it out later,” he said, climbing into the simulator.

Moses waited as Alkeemer prayed. She became a Christian not long after they first met. Moses enjoyed their little secret, out of Sudenjah’s notice. With the prayer over, she began the simulation.

Clouds raced by him swifter than any aircraft he had flown before.

“It’s fast,” he commented.

From what he’d seen of the model, Alkeemer went to every length to streamline the plane, including adding a glass canopy. It had a few other extras as well, such as electric start and two way radio. He drew back the throttle to full speed, smiling with the building pitch of the engine. The plane accelerated smoothly ahead. Moses banked left then right, then barrel rolled into an inverted position.

“And responsive too,” said Moses leveling off.

Without warning, three biplanes appeared on the horizon, coming toward him.

He smiled to himself, refraining from berating Alkeemer for not alerting him. Sudenjah had taught them to train for unexpected situations. Moses banked at the last moment, slipping between two of them. Barely had he passed them, when he performed a flat spin turn vertically, essentially cartwheeling. At the end of his first loop, he throttled into a climb, firing. His guns tore through one biplane, narrowly missing another plane, veering aside.

“It’s got to be faster!” he cried above the engine.

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8


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ALL THINGS – Chapter 8 part 4

Four years later… 

Sudenjah loved his daughter so much, but found the twelve year old so frustrating to speak with. True, she had progressed better than most aircraft designers, but she had reached an infuriating plateau in her knowledge. Enough to design and build with confidence, but too much to want to listen to advice. He winced several times in the Sydney grand final Dogfight. Moses’ plane struggled to loop, and at times abandoned maneuvers in favour of a different tactic.

Sudenjah refused to believe Moses’ God kept him alive. Instead, he opted to think the boy only won the event through superior skill alone. During mid congratulatory spiel over the loudspeakers, he abandoned the royal box and made his way over to the contestant hangars. His grease smeared daughter looked up from her computer, already hard at work to determine where she went wrong. Her countenance fell at Sudenjah’s approach. Neither father, nor daughter enjoyed the discussion to come.

“You’ve got listen to your pilot,” opened Sudenjah.

“You told me ‘I’ve got to work this out for myself,”‘ she protested.

“That’s true, but might I remind you that it’s Moses flying; not you?”

He hoped to convey the right amount of concern for the human child; enough to fool Alkeemer. In truth, he had no emotional attachment for the boy, but Moses had consistently won every Dogfight event thus far. He saw potential for the Somme Re-enactment Dogfight. Currently, all that got in the way of fame and glory for his household was his daughter’s stubbornness.

The sound of a plane’s engine, reverberated through the hangar walls. Moses’ biplane taxied within the entrance and came to a stop with the dying of the propeller’s revolution. Moses stood up in the cockpit and removed his cap and goggles. Tossing them in the seat, he vaulted down to the floor and came towards them. He wore a smile befitting the occasion; winning the city Dogfight championship.

“And what about him?” asked Sudenjah. “Are we another one of those families who just get another pilot when he dies?”

“No,” responded Alkeemer.

“Twice I thought that plane was going to stall. Do you care?”

“Yes,” she said, wounded.

“Grand Emperor?” interrupted Moses.

“Yes?” he hissed.

“ASA (Aircraft Safety Association) made all the checks and passed the plane.”

Sudenjah took a breath to compose himself. “That’s true. I’m sorry,” he said, kissing the top of Alkeemer’s head. “You would never willingly allow any harm to come to Moses, and… well done… both of you.”

The smiles returned to the children’s faces.

“Well,” he said awkwardly, beginning to walk away, “I’m sure you two will want to make plans for a pilot, designer celebration. Just be warned of one thing; that plane is far from good enough to win a state event.”

“We’ve already planned a better plane, Grand Emperor. I’m testing the program in the simulator tomorrow,” said Moses.

“Excellent,” said Sudenjah, adding vigour to his step. “Please inform me of the results.”

***

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8


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ALL THINGS – Chapter 8 part 3

Moses slipped off his leather flying cap and goggles.

Sudenjah wore the merest slip of a smile and something else; wonder? 

“How is it you can fly like that?” he asked.

Moses opened his mouth with the shake of his head, lacking the words to explain his God to this man.

“No one has flown like that since…” he trailed off. “Does Kilmere speak to you too?”

Moses rapidly shook his head.

The orange slitted pupils narrowed, taking on an ominous quality.

“He must speak to you,” said Sudenjah taking hold of Moses’ wrist.

Sudenjah immediately gasped in horror, recoiling.

“There is someone else in you,” he said. “Who speaks to you?”

*I Am, sent me.*

“I Am, sent me, Grand Emperor,” Moses repeated.

“That’s impossible,” Sudenjah said in barely audible whisper. “He’s not real.”

“What’s he saying, Dad?” asked Alkeemer.

He swallowed hard, panting as he looked away.

“Are you alright, Grand Emperor?” asked Moses.

Still trembling, he straightened, sniffing in a deep breath, then forced a crooked smile.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I had hoped to train you myself, but it seems you have… natural ability. It’d be best if I didn’t interfere with your talents. Whether I train you, or you learn on your own; all that matters, is that you bring honour to the house of Sudenjah.”

He swallowed hard and backed away from Moses before turning and opening the door.

“Please excuse me,” said Sudenjah, “There’s political papers in the house I have yet to read.”

The door closed after him, leaving the children alone.

“Moses?” Alkeemer asked softly.

“Yeah?” he answered, still dazed by his exchange with Sudenjah.

“How do you fly like that?”

“I don’t know,” he said simply.

His thoughts strayed to the day the police arrested his father, recalling his final words…”The Big Daddy will always be with you! He’ll walk with you and protect you better than I can! He’ll even love you, son, better than I can!”

His eyes watered at the memory.

“Dad told me that he shot down three planes in his first fighter simulation,” said Alkeemer. “He said that no one at the academy could ever do more than two.”

She hinted at something, but Moses was too lost in thought to ponder what?

“How do you fly like that?” she repeated.

How could he tell her of the God he shared with his parents? An Otarkwan would only consider it foolishness, even heresy.

Nightly readings from his mother returned to him, giving him a different perspective. He had gained salvation through Jesus; the difference between Heaven and Hell. It would be wrong not to tell Alkeemer, thus depriving her of a chance for eternal life.

“It’s something my Dad told me before he went to jail,” began Moses.

He stopped, fearing the consequences.

“What?”

*Tell her.*

“He told me about Big Daddy.”

“Who’s that?”

Moses sighed. “It’s not really His name, I just call Him that. My Dad was the little Daddy, and God is the Big Daddy.”

“God’s His name?”

“He’s got a lot of names; even I Am.”

Revelation glinted in Alkeemer’s eyes.

“He’s always with me, just like Dad promised. When I was in the simulator, He made me do things.”

“So you could fly better?”

Moses nodded.

“But Dad says He isn’t real.”

“He’s real,” Moses assured her. I can feel Him… hear Him. He’s always been my best friend… I love Him,” he said, almost moved to tears.

“I thought I was your best friend.”

“You don’t understand, Alkeemer… you can’t.”

“I want to,” she said meekly.

Moses gauged her expression a moment, wondering if she tried to entrap him. It remained constant, convincing him to take a chance.

“Alright,” he said, at last. “I’ll tell you what I know about Him while we work on the new moulds.”

***

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8


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ALL THINGS – Chapter 8 part 2

*Enjoy,* the voice in Moses’ mind whispered.

Moses grabbed the stick and throttled on full, heading for snow capped mountains in the distance. For the better part of twenty seconds, he didn’t get any closer. He could only assume the computer program inhibited his efforts. It didn’t matter; he only wanted to reach his full potential and race against the breeze. His muscles tensed almost involuntarily. They were prompts. He followed God’s lead and moved the stick in conjunction with the pedals.

His Fokker triplane pierced the clouds on its climb, then reached its ceiling height, hanging by its propeller, then he dived. The G forces attacked his face, tugging at his cheeks in its icy grip. Never knowing such speed before, he broke into joyous laughter.

“Astounding,” gasped Sudenjah.

Moses couldn’t see his face. He wished he could. In the months on the Sudenjah estate, he had never seen a break in the Otarkwan’s composure.

*He will see even more miracles greater than this… but I will harden his heart.*

“Let us make this more interesting,” said Sudenjah from somewhere in the void.

The distant mountains sped toward Moses like logs in a stream. He found them unavoidably around himself, threatening to close in on him. With a controlled tug of the stick, Moses rolled his plane away from a sweeping rock face, flying along its contours. A bank of rock swept across to swat him. Unharried, he dived beneath and angled between two cliff faces sliding together.

He heard unintelligible sounds from Sudenjah along with the frantic clicking of computer keys.

Laughter? 

Cold mist seeped into the mountain pass, obscuring possible routes. A shift in the air or a flex of sinews called to him; instigating his decisions. His every manoeuvre moved him out of danger. Others would have called it “instinct,” but he knew better.

Mountains and mist passed either side of him at the tap of computer keys, bringing him into clear skies. A glance downward, showed he now flew several thousand feet above the ground.

“Let us begin your combat simulation,” said Sudenjah.

A pilotless Nieuport fighter materialised ahead of Moses, firing its guns. Moses flew head on, returning fire. His hand tightened on the flight stick, about to roll aside to avoid collision. The hand over his, pressed heavier.

At the last moment, the Nieuport rolled aside, as Moses performed a flat spin turn, angling sharply onto the biplane’s tail. A short burst of his spandau guns sent the plane into a smoke trailing dive.

Moses looked down to see the plane disappear in mid descent. Machine gun fire from above ripped through his top wing, forcing him to climb. Two Sopwith camels now crossed his path, intent on forcing him from the sky.

He cartwheeled into a dive, cutting down one plane in his arc, then fired on the second as he hurtled toward earth. The second plane jolted under the tracer fire then fell into an uncontrolled dive.

Moses performed a flat spin turn, angling 180 degrees in order to scan for the next surprise attack. He grinned in anticipation; his expression soon fading as the sky abruptly disappeared, replaced by the interior of the workshop.

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8


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ALL THINGS – Chapter 8 part 1

At both Xleta’s and Alkeemer’s insistence, Sudenjah allowed Moses to sleep on a small mattress at the foot of the Princess’ bed. A converted double garage on the estate served as a workshop for the first biplane for Dogfight events.

Moses shared in Alkeemer’s delight at the equipment within. It’s computer had an advanced technical drawing program. Connected  to it, was a three dimensional printer, able to form any moulding of Alkeemer’s design. Moses had to help the gardener maintain the grounds during the day. When the school bus hovered to a halt by the front gates, Moses would sprint to meet Alkeemer as she got off.

On the times when Sudenjah didn’t attend government conferences, he’d peer through the front curtains as the children happily chatted away, crossing the lawn. Whenever Moses saw the curtain pull back, he withdrew a step from Alkeemer. He’d have to wait for her to finish any homework she had before they ventured into their workshop. There they’d while away the hours, moulding or designing the parts of their first aircraft until called for dinner.

Although not allowed to take part in the planning or building of the plane, Sudenjah made the final rejection or approval at each stage of Alkeemer’s designs.

Moses always felt uneasy in the Grand Emperor’s presence, especially when made to sit in the simulator to test Alkeemer’s theoretical planes. The simulator seemed so real to him. On Moses’ first flight he almost landed his plane when Sudenjah suddenly added a lake in the middle of the runway. Moses instantly felt the chill and damp of the water enough to get out of the chair and shake himself off. It brought on raucous laughter from both Sudenjah and Alkeemer; enough to have him laugh sheepishly at himself.

As suddenly as the laughter erupted, Sudenjah adopted a serious expression.

“Let us get to work now,” he said sternly.

Moses put on the leather flying cap and goggles, before taking hold of the flight stick in waiting for the simulation to begin.

A grassy airstrip appeared with hangars off the side; the same as the ones Moses saw in the education disc.

“Contact,” cried Sudenjah from somewhere unseen.

The propeller turned then spun. Adding a bit of throttle, made the engine chatter loudly, swiftly rising in rhythm until it became a deafening drone. He gradually opened the throttle taking him at walking pace onto the designated strip. Aligned; he powered up the aircraft, sending her lurching ahead while pulling back accordingly on the stick. The aircraft separated from the ground smoothly and steadily climbed as Moses added more throttle.

A hand slipped over his.

I am with you said a gentle voice.

Whether it spoke in his mind or audibly, Moses couldn’t tell. He only knew the voice was soothing, paternal; not Sudenjah’s.

Speak to me, son. 

*Who are you? Are you Dad, or are you the Big Daddy?*

I am the voice answered.

The reply carried a lot more meaning than the words themselves. He knew the Big Daddy was God. From what his mother read to him in the past, no words could explain the vastness of His being or the depth of His love. “I am,” said it all.

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8


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ALL THINGS – Chapter 7 part 18

“The sky too, knew the might of human superiority,” said the voice over.

A human version of Sudenjah flew a Fokker triplane, firing white laser bolts from his spandau guns. They cut through enemy aircrafts, tanks, and guns like fiery bullets piercing chocolate, with similar effects.

“The humans were escaped criminals,” said the voice over. “Unfortunately, they lied about their past and by the time we learned of their plans for the future; it was too late.”

The scene reshaped to show Helden Square; this time, from the outside. An explosion opened a gap on the third story facing the gathered crowds. A human version of Sudenjah shoved an Otarkwan version of Hitler through the breach. Screams rose from the crowd as they tore in different directions.

“For a time, the inhabitants of Earth suffered open slaughter at the hand of the humans.”

A montage of missiles and lasers followed, all ending in the destruction of Otarkwan lives.

“Otarkwans would have perished, if not for an exceptional fighter pilot; Sudenjah.”

Sudenjah stood on the seat of his Stormbringer, with helmet held in the crook of his arm as he addressed a crowd of Otarkwan pilots.

“He who rules the sky, rules the world,” he said with conviction.

The scene disappeared; replaced with Stormbringers in open combat. An air to air missile threaded through the clouds, just prior to Sudenjah’s Stormbringer emerging. He banked right, strafing cannon fire into a second jet as the first exploded.

“It is for this reason, that he is haled as the “Champion of the Skies.”

Lighting changed hue, becoming the inside of a conference room. Dignitaries, both human and Otarkwan sat around a huge elliptical table. Sudenjah signed a document and shook hands with one of the humans.

“In his compassion, Sudenjah decided against the total annihilation of human beings. Thus the earth has crowned him Grand Emperor, as his compassion exceeded even his prowess for battle,” said the voice over as the lights returned to normal.

Moses looked dazed. Sudenjah had seen this situation before. Quite often, human children had difficulty absorbing their education discs.

“Are there any questions?” Sudenjah asked.

“Is that why the Otarkwans call us guests, Grand Emperor?” Moses asked in a far away tone.

Sudenjah smiled. “Yes. It is never meant as an insult. You may join the party now.”

He watched Moses leave and close the door after himself. In his absence, Sudenjah sighed and replaced the Bible on his bookshelf.

How odd that he should choose Moses for his name. 

When he first learned to read, he made sure the Bible was his first book. It had a lot of naive nonsense about love and sacrifice, but he took note of the characters. He didn’t believe in God, but in this case, history repeated itself in such detail that it made it seem as if his future was orchestrated.

“I am Pharaoh,” he whispered.

Like himself, the king of Egypt once had absolute  rule. Pharaoh attempted to kill the Israelite male babies, and Moses was orphaned, due to this very law. Of all people to offer the babe sanctuary, Pharaoh reared the enemy child as his son. When Moses grew to manhood, he reconnected with his God, and destroyed Pharaoh and his army.

Sudenjah pondered the sobering thought a moment, then broke into laughter.

“There is no God,” he told himself.

***

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7

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