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.