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.”