Mick's Rejects

The fiction no one wanted

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That’s the end of my novella – ALL THINGS

I hope you enjoyed it. I got quite a lot of responses for this one. Just to let you know, if you enjoyed the creativity and the sentiment portrayed in this story, then I’m sure you’ll like my next novel. Hope to have your company for that one too… Mick Dawson.

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ALL THINGS – Chapter 9 part 8

So what happens now? Moses asked himself.

Sudenjah was gone. Thunder cracked, rocking the Magpie just prior to a jagged finger of lightning appearing. Sudenjah’s Fokker ruptured, spewing blinding white light across the sky in all directions. It blinded Moses, sending him into a panic. He pulled back on the stick, hoping that he climbed instead of blindly crashing to earth.

Thoughts entered his mind, trying to distract himself from losing his head. What caused it to reach critical mass? I couldn’t have done that.

A scene from the education disc played in his recollection; the moment the Leviathan reached critical mass. If a tracer round had struck the laser cells in Sudenjah’s guns, then they would have exploded immediately. Only one conclusion remained, lightning destroyed the plane.

But why, Lord? I already killed him. 

The Magpie’s engine droned on, uninterrupted, telling him that he remained in God’s protection. His vision gradually began to clear, like an evaporating mist. Azure blue permeated his vision, filling his cockpit canopy. Strong sunlight from a perfectly clear sky warmed his right shoulder, forcing him to squint slightly against the glare.

“Where am I?” he muttered.

He only knew he still climbed. Angling to earth, he tried to get his bearings. The broad waterway beneath him became immediately apparent; the Somme, yet he couldn’t make out any hostile activity.

“I don’t know what to say, ladies and gentlemen!” said a voice over the radio, jolting Moses from his thoughts.

Cheers accompanied the voice, which sounded so familiar to him, but he couldn’t place where.

“Moses in his Magpie has finally done it! He’s won the Somme aerobatical challenge three times; a feat never accomplished by anyone before! Give us your victory run, Moses!”

He remembered; the announcer at the Dogfight stands, and how exhilarated he felt the day he won the challenge. Minutes from now, he’d have to land his plane and be placed under arrest. Smiling to himself, he decided to soak in the adulation of the crowds one last time. He pulled the Magpie into a tight loop, then back flipped from the air, spiraling to the ground before leveling out and landing in front of the stands.

Pulling back the canopy, he climbed down onto the tarmac. The applause reached the clouds he had just abandoned as he stared, dumbfounded into the crowd. His parents, in the first few rows, cheered and waved, no less enthusiastically than the rest of the spectators. Still gaping, he turned to see a young red haired girl squealing excitedly, running his way. He remained in his shocked stupor as the teenager collided with him in crushing embrace and kissed his cheek. She pulled away with her arms still around his neck. Never had he seen a girl so pretty. Her delicate features, green eyes, and the way she arranged her red hair only reminded him of only one person.

“Alkeemer?” he asked vaguely.

She looked at him, puzzled at first, then grinned broadly, kissing him, before slipping her arms around him, holding him tightly.

“You’ve won, Moses. You’re the world champion,” she said over his shoulder.

World champion? He wondered.

More like champion of the world. He had done more than win an airshow. Not that anyone would ever know; he had rescued the world from physical destruction, and God had chosen him to do this. Moses caught his father’s eye. It was good to see him again. He felt he had to say something to God; some inward speech delivered from the heart, faultless in its sentiment. In the end, he said the only words that could do his God justice… “thank you, Lord.”


Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9

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ALL THINGS – Chapter 9 part 7

Lightning broke at the core of the cloud bank, illuminating them like a shaded lamp. Moses prayed, the rain pelting his cockpit as the sky swirled across his view with the next turn. He throttled ahead, closing with the speck beneath the clouds. White bolts sprayed from the centre of the three tiered silhouette. To avoid the barrage, he barrel rolled in a wide arc around them, already turning as the triplane passed. Moses held the trigger as the Fokker flitted by at an angle. Three, four tracer rounds raked across the fuselage, just short of the tail. He hoped that at least one of the rounds found their mark, but the plane held its course, turning.

Sudenjah laughed over the radio. “Excellent! You managed to graze my thigh. No one has ever been able to injure me before. It seems I won’t have to limit myself in the least.”

Moses had no intention of finding the extent of Sudenjah’s abilities. He swung laterally on the triplane’s tail, aligning Sudenjah in his sights. A gasp escaped Moses as the plane turned 180 degrees and fired a short burst.

“You see why I chose to modify this plane, rather than a Shredder,” said Sudenjah. “Three wings; extra lift; extra maneuverability.”

Moses corkscrewed two salvos into the blue plane. It seemed to casually elude the tracers and come after him. He banked left, then throttled into an abrupt climb as the triplane performed another disconcerting turn. White bolts fanned out harmlessly just beneath the tail of the climbing Magpie.

“You fly well,” commended Sudenjah, “but I fear, impulsively.”

Moses checked his mirror. Sudenjah climbed after him.

“You should have flown to my left, Moses. These ancient radial engines have a tendency to pull to the right. And now I will finish this.”

The Magpie arced, backward, then throttled down, effectively back flipping. Moses fired a long burst up, zipping either into or around the triplane. Nearly stalling, the Magpie turned off as the Fokker did likewise.

“I see you are not without tactics of your own,” said Sudenjah.

Fly with me, Lord Moses prayed in earnest.

He pulled up, hoping to fire on Sudenjah’s underbelly as he turned. The triplane cartwheeled into a dive, white bolts flashing narrowly past Moses’s cockpit. His Magpie shuddered, but otherwise suffered no ill effects. The tip of his right wing, smouldered like a cigarette, but failed to ignite due to the flameproof resin compound.

Both planes turned sharply to face each other. They hurtled forward, firing as they went. Aircraft and ammunition cut the air erratically in the stormy sky, making it almost impossible to maintain a straight course. Moses’ heart sank as his tracer rounds fanned around the triplane, continually missing as Sudenjah’s laser bolts did the same. In the few seconds thereafter, Moses desperately murmured prayers for God to guide his rounds; to make one hit before a white bolt struck the Magpie.

Sudenjah’s plane began a climb. In the brief moment before the triplane’s undercarriage swept above Moses’ view, he saw the Otarkwan jolt. He turned sharply after Sudenjah’s plane, firing steadily into its bulk. It made no attempt to evade him as it aimlessly climbed for the clouds.

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9

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ALL THINGS – Chapter 9 part 6

The triplane climbed at twice the speed of the DVII. It banked and spat a white bolt into the German fighter, shattering its frame at the core.  Like a bird with a broken wing it dropped from the sky, burning as if made of tissue paper.

Moses tensed on the stick, about to dive at the triplane. A voice on the radio made him jolt; Sudenjah’s.

“To the pilot in the black and white plane; I wonder if we might call a truce so that we may converse with each other?”

Moses continued to circle as slowly as he dared. “How did you know I’d have a radio?”

“It’s obvious your aircraft is Otarkwan built, so I merely assumed. May I look upon the face of my adversary? You have my guarantee that I will not fire upon you.”

Moses slid back the canopy as the triplane pulled along side him, almost touching wings. The light patter of rain stung his face. Just above, storm clouds collected and threatened to break.

“Human,” said Sudenjah with an edge of surprise. “But then I’ve known them to be good pilots. Surely an Otarkwan built your plane; a human sympathiser, no doubt. I wonder if you’d tell me the name of the traitor?”

“It was Alkeemer.”

“I don’t know an Alkeemer off hand. Was she one of my technicians?”

“She was your daughter.”

Sudenjah laughed for several seconds. “I don’t have a daughter.”

“I know more about you than you think, Sudenjah. The reason you shot down one of your own planes is the same reason we’re speaking now. You want this duel to be between you and me, because your greatest regret is that no one could challenge you in the air. You’ve been literally saying that for a hundred years.”

“So you claim to come from the future? Of that, I’m a bit dubious, but your tone suggests that your grievance with me is personal.”

“I was brought up in your house after you won the war for the Germans. You then slaughtered my people and took over as king.”

A pause followed.

“It seems you speak the truth. I’ve never shared those thought with anyone. It’s good to know that my plans are successful. But you have yet to tell me why you resent me?”

“Because you killed my parents. You killed a lot of parents. Sooner or later, you would have found out that I loved Alkeemer. She would have been sent to a nut house, and I would have been killed.”

“Then let me spare you that coming misery, human. Before I do though, I ask one last concession; what is your name?”

“Moses. You named me that. At least that’s what I thought at the time. I know now that God named me.”

“I have started reading this book of your human God. Tell me, Moses, do you believe your God will use you to free your people, just as He did for your namesake?,” Sudenjah said, peeling away. “Let us end this.”

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9

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ALL THINGS – Chapter 9 part 5

Moses looked down moments later to see a mass of faces on the airstrip, all staring skyward, and rapidly diminishing into dots. At a few thousand feet, the dots still remained. He decided to not disappoint them. He allowed the Magpie to flop over backwards at the end of her climb, then throttled, smoothly forcing her into a dive, culminating in another climb.

The ANZAC trenches beckoned to him over his right shoulder. Cartwheeling into another dive he angled the Magpie for the first of the allied trenches at full speed wishing to have them share in his joy.  He pulled back his canopy and rolled inverted, just above the ground. Waving with one hand down, he flew down the lengths of the openings. Some of the men recoiled at the sudden noise. The majority bounced on their feet, waving back ecstatically. As naive as it seemed, he hoped his display would spur them on to greater heights in battle.

Shots zipped his way from the German lines, forcing him to roll and pull into a climb. He rose well above light arms fire, spiraling aloft like a swallow. In clearer skies, he could make out a barbed wire enclosure on the German side, along with a few unrelated buildings in nearby fields. Although unauthorised, he could fly over the defenses, taking mental notes. Nothing the Germans had, could catch him. Even their ground gunners couldn’t turn quick enough.

Just in and out he told himself, now passing over the prison compound.

Men looked up at him, similar to those on the education disc, except these wore khaki uniforms, not prison attire. If history ran opposite to the propaganda DVD, Sudenjah and the other Otarkwans would have resided there only a few months earlier. A few of the guards fired at him with rifles. Out of effective range, Moses ignored them and began to climb. A debate arose in his mind whether to go deeper into enemy territory or turn back. His eyes rolled aside as he banked, making a wide arc for the AFC hangars as something caught his attention.

A triplane, sky blue, intermingled with grey stood in the mouth of an open shed. Just outside, a lone figure watched. Moses cartwheeled twice and dived for confirmation. An Otarkwan in peeked cap and long leather coat regarded him, unperturbed, even as Moses fired into the shed above his head. Holes appeared where his tracer rounds clattered through the sheet metal, as Moses flew inverted, then climbed, waggling his wings; the signal to “follow.”

He stared over his shoulder as he headed for a serviceable ceiling. Sudenjah casually entered the hangar, then moments later, the triplane exited, picking up speed and bouncing from the ground. Fokker DVIIs shifted onto neighbouring airstrips aligning themselves to take to the sky and join the fight. A green flare arced above Sudenjah’s cockpit and trailed to earth as the first of the German planes lifted off. All but one waggled their wings and circled to land.

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9

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ALL THINGS – Chapter 9 part 4

Moses found the walk to the hangars agonizingly slow. Unable to contain himself any longer, he ran for the open doorway and quickly found his plane at the rear of the hangar. Mechanics worked on SE5As in various states of disassembly. A welder fired as he passed, its crackling hiss punctuated by the piercing sound of a striking hammer. His Magpie’s resin skin glistened as always, as if freshly waxed. He recognised her sweeping black and white stripes, but she had additives. Painted on the fuselage and upper wing were bullseyes. Blue for the outer ring, then white, and red at their cores. The rudder had vertical blue, white, and red stripes, much like the French flag.

“I had those added on,” called out Henderson, now entering the hangar. “It’s so you don’t get shot down by mistake.”

Moses smiled to himself. “I like it.”

His attention turned to the nose, mounted with twin vickers guns; that disturbed him. Moses’ trembling fingers traced the mounting bolts as if his child was pierced with foreign objects. Worse still, the guns aimed through the propeller.

“You put in an interrupter gear?” Moses asked.

“It wasn’t that hard, sir. I worked with a couple of experts, making sure not to strip her down anymore than necessary. In some ways, she’s actually simpler than other planes I’ve worked on. The best part was, we didn’t have to open her up too much.”

Moses placed a tender hand on the nose.

“She still starts and performs just as well, sir. You understand, we couldn’t have you up there unarmed.”

“No… that’s alright,” said Moses. “It’s just a bit to get used to; that’s all.”

“Why don’t you try her out, sir? I’ve already fueled her up.”

“I think I will,” said Moses, slipping on his cap and goggles again.

He climbed into the Magpie, grateful that Henderson thought to get out of the way. Mechanics normally had to pull on the propeller to start the engine. Moses jabbed the electric start with his thumb and smiled to himself as the aircraft powered up.

“I’ve missed you,” he said fondly, then began to taxi the Magpie out of the hangar.

Before it passed through the doors, Henderson deftly slid into a seated position on the lower wing, riding the aircraft onto the airfield. As Moses slowed to point the Magpie down the airstrip, Henderson slapped him on the upper arm.

“Fire the guns,” he shouted.

Moses depressed the new trigger fitted to his flight stick. Six rounds chattered out of the barrels to his satisfaction. Henderson nodded then slid off the wing, smoothly finding his feet and stepping back to watch. Moses throttled forward, pleased to note that he crossed the grassy stretch no less swiftly than before. Men ran from the hangars, as did the pilots in the bar as he lifted from the ground. He pulled back on the stick and sped for the clouds, laughing. At the same time, he became aware of another presence in the cockpit with him.

“I know you’re with me,” he whispered.

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9

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ALL THINGS – Chapter 9 part 3

He fired on his first opponent at two hundred metres away. The Fokker DVII hurtled head on at combat revs, neither shifting its path, nor firing back. Its guns flashed at the last moment, as Moses too, pulled the trigger. His answering burst couldn’t have been more than two rounds before the last of his belt disappeared into his vickers gun. His air wing leader bobbed along side of him, gesturing wildly, then intercepted another plane intent on attacking Moses.

Moses quickly loaded another belt, keeping enemy fighters at bay with short bursts of his top wing mounted Lewis gun. His engagement with the first German fighter instilled in him valuable lessons; short accurate bursts and get close. Ideally, he had to get in behind the Fokkers, a feat he had learned to do with exceptional skill, due to the years of competitive Dogfights in the future.

As he had done for the crowds, he’d tail a plane and learn his evasive pattern, getting close enough to chop his trailing banner. Here in the past, it proved the optimal distance to close with his quarry, then he engaged the guns. His first opponent slumped in the seat, a mere thirty metres ahead, before spiraling to the ground. With his distance and tactics embedded in his mind, he sought out others, evading some, while simultaneously firing on others. Planes smoked and fell from the skies. At first, he counted them, then decided not to.  These were men now, not simulated opponents on a machine in his workshop.

His wing leader returned to his side as the last of the German planes slammed into a paddock. He held up ten, fingers, then added one. Moses nodded, waving him off. He banked after the rest of the wing and landed. The other pilots ran over to his plane, shouting his name and giving three cheers.

“That ought to put a huge dent in the German Flying Corp,” said the wing commander. “I’d imagine they’d want to pull what’s left of their planes well back from the trenches.”

The pilots became boisterous; each trying to speak over the other about the exploits of their newest member. Henderson pushed his way into the rabble. Moses could hardly hear the mechanic speak his name over the din.

“I’ll need you this way, sir!” he shouted, gesturing for Moses to follow him.

“See you at the pub!” cried one of the pilots as Moses jogged after the mechanic.

“I thought you might like to see an old friend, sir,” said Henderson on the walk over to the hangars.

Apart from God, Moses could think of only one other friend.

“The Magpie’s here?!” he said.

“Yes, sir. Two trucks came while you were out. One to tow your plane in; the other brought a big tank. I’d say it’s the fuel you need. This war’s got so advanced, sir. First your plane, the fuel, and now the trucks. I reckon I’ve only ever seen two before, and I come from Melbourne.”

Click here for other chapters Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9


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