I buckled in and started up the plane... as the engine purred beneath me I smiled and relaxed, I missed this feeling. Foster slipped into the co-pilot chair and I briefly nodded to him before I turned back to the plane. It's not that I was being rude, I was just savouring the moment.
"So this is where our tax money goes..."
I laughed at Beth's statement and flipped up several switches. I felt so at home in the cockpit it wasn't natural. Foster just watched me as I checked all the engine stats and radioed the command for a report on flying conditions. NK here we come. I was more then ready for this, WAY more then ready. I was edging for a fight.
There was only one problem I could foresee in things though, and nobody seemed to have realised it. There was only going to be the chance to save one hostage, when it boils down to it, the kidnappers are going to realise one has been freed and they'll kill the other. We were going to have to decide what was more important, getting the president back and having him emotionally unfit for government because of the assassination of his daughter, or get the girl, and mourn a president and a father.
"Cruise 615 this is tower control, you are free to depart, the skies are yours. Good luck." The voice crackled over the radio and I smiled as I took the controls into my hands, forgetting everything for a moment as I only thought about flight.
"Lets see what this baby can do!!"
I took the jet up slowly and then tried a few battle maneuvers. I looked back at the others and they all looked a bit green, I stole a glance at Foster and saw that he was completely calm and unfazed. Ah nuts... I tried!
I took the jet up higher and we headed towards NK. Clouds brushed the jet as she crept through the skies, like a panther, like water, fluid, beautiful.
"Wow it's so up close and personal isn't it?" Dani broke the silence and then Beth and Jagan agreed with her, adding their voices in. "Kian is a fighter pilot now isn't he Crow? You know your best friend Kian from when you were in high school?" Beth was beside me all of a sudden, her hand on my shoulder as she looked out the window. I spoke then, my voice laced with emotion as memories crept over me. "Kian is dead."
"What? When did he die? How? I mean.. why didn't anyone say anything...?"
"He was shot down last year. I was there, routine training mission only we got ambushed. Kian took em head on so that we could get back to base airspace in one piece. Bird went down in flames. I didn't realise nobody told you, I'm sorry Beth, I know how much you used to like him... Well he always said he'd die doing something he loved, and he loved flying. He lived for it, and he died for it... Looking out at this... can you blame him?"
"I'm sorry Crow..."
"Don't be. He wouldn't want you to be. Not you Beth, definitely not you... You see this guys?" I waved a hand at the clouds floating past and the land far below "This is poetry! Visual f*cking poetry..."
"I will meet my death up here, somewhere among the clouds above...." Foster's voice cut in.
"Not if I can help it mate!" I interrupted his quotation of Yeats and he grinned so I quoted a line from it. "A lonely impulse of delight, drove to this tumult in the clouds...." my voice was still heavy with sadness as I thought about how Kian died.
"Nice subject change by the way Crow..."
"Thanks for such compliments"
Aaahh sarcasm and the skies... I was home.
"Oh and Foster?"
"If anyone asks...No, I don't want to f*cking talk about it."