“Goat! Daddy, a goat! There! THEEEEEERE!” A girl with chestnut brown, braided hair squealed in the air on the edge of the knoll. The clasps on her overalls clinked as she bounced incessantly. She was full of spirit, that one.
“Very good, Mercedes. It’s a goat.” It was really a Capricornus, but “goat” was good enough for three years of age. “What’s that look like over there?” He pointed to a plus-shaped cloud following the goat up.
Mercedes stood blank at the foreign shape. She wasn’t all that comfortable with challenge yet, but she wanted to impress her father. Turning to the kind, yet imposing giant, she said “face?”
Otto knelt to her eye level and smiled. He rubbed his hand on top of her head and replied, “I’m sorry, munchkin. That’s an anchor. Do you know what an anchor is?”
The little girl tucked chin in her shirt and shook her head. “Oh, OK,” he laughed, “I’ll tell on the way back home.”
He knew it meant a garbage freighter was signalling to dock at port not too far from the barracks. The method of cloud communication had evolved into an art, and it was the easiest way to send general bulletins to the watchful eyes of the townsfolk. Every family had a communications liaison, who would spend their time keeping abreast of current events.
All in all, she was doing very well. It pleased him very much. Before the age of 10, she would most likely be a spotter. By 18, she would probable be recon, maybe even elevated recon (abbreviated to LCON in the league) if she knew how to bridle her own Griffoid. If she stuck with it, and didn’t go for a “flyout” (AWOL) like he did, she’d almost certainly make colonel. Then again, had he not flown his Überadler to the peppered shores of Auaotio, he would have not met her mother.
Most people would have been demoted and sent to the brig for desertion, but many knew why General Hillensdaugh forgave and forgot: the Battle of the Lava Caves. Had the Major not been there to scout, navigate, command, fight, and single-handedly close the passage successfully, there would be no Sky League cooler to throw him in. “Calamity” Jane Hillensdaugh would never forget that.
On the porch of the house, Mercedes began crying. “Too hard!” She was quick to notice another cloud in the sky. “Too hard, daddy!” Tears streamed down her face for getting two out of three clouds wrong. She had to work on her discipline in the future.
Otto peered into the sky once again to see one large dot over four smaller dots with an “X” following.
“You’re tired, Mercy. Let’s get you some rest.”
After tucking the little child in for the night. Otto walked calmly to the basement. Out of a well-oiled, steel locker came his spotless battle dress uniform. Skull and crossbones meant a skirmish was imminent. Hopefully it would all be cleared up before sunrise, and he could get his daughter motivated enough to get to school on time.
© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved