In the days that followed, Cobalt started to receive a lot of deliveries from the various crazy trucks that drove the road between his house and Pudgy’s forest. The neighbors were used to it by now and waved while they walked by. The basement of his home was a wreck now, with open boxes, and piles of parts everywhere. The man due to garage / yard sales, had a bunch of white folding tables piled with items. These served well for the various technical components of the new plane that was in the process of being assembled. The instruction booklet was 50 pages long, and the parts list was 15 in its own separate book. With both coffee pots going on his wet bar, the stereo was on, and loudly playing heavy metal music.
The framework of the plane had been assembled, and the interior components were much more complicated than the bi-wing airplane. The engine was sitting in pieces on one table and was accompanied by a printout of a discussion regarding supercharged Allison V-1710 V-12 engine characteristics. The model engine was for recreation and not meant for heavy use, so the man was researching ways to boost the performance output. Luckily, there were many sources nearby, and Cobalt had made a call to a local engine mechanic for advice. He had to buy a couple of oil changes but was given details on what to do. So, while the basement did not look like it, the man had made a lot of progress. The assembly and testing of the plane were of urgent concern. While the group chat had quieted down, as the shadow monster visits had ceased, everyone knew that it was only a brief reprieve.
Stopping a moment, to check his computer, Cobalt saw an email had just arrived in his inbox. Since both his personal and work computer equipment was tucked into a corner of the basement, he kept his equipment turned on. After scrolling through, and clicking on the appropriate link, he started to read. It was the Airforce advising that MP officer was going to arrive today for an inspection visit. “I see, checking up on me as they advised.” He muttered and realized that the solider would be quite interested in what was going on in the basement. He could cover the tables with blankets, but the officer most likely would want to see what was underneath. The email indicated that the arrival time was to be at 1 pm. The computer’s clock read 2:13 pm, “oh crap!” Turning, he started to ascend the stairs to quickly reach his living room. He turned to his right and headed through the short hallway to his front door.
Pulling back the curtain, he could see an annoyed dark-skinned man dressed in a digital camouflage uniform. The officer was drumming his fingers on the black steering wheel of an olive drab army jeep. Cobalt opened his door and exited his home to stand on the front porch stoop. As the MP swung his legs out of the jeep, cobalt spoke. “I am so sorry; I was busy working in the basement. I did not see the email till now.” MP Washington looked at Cobalt, “aren’t you forgetting something?” Cobalt saluted, “oh yeah, forgot Pudgy and I have been drafted into the Air Force.” The MP returned the salute, “still needs work. I’m here to discuss the intel you sent to the Colonel.” Nodding while motioning to enter, Cobalt spoke, “please come in. I don’t have a lot more to provide, but we do have a possible lead.” The MP passed by and entered the home, while Cobalt stepped up into the home and shut the front door.
“After your group left, my phone started to blow up with conversations. Everyone that Pudgy visited on his adventures were visited by the shadow monsters we fought in the forest. We had a group chat to discuss what was going on.” The MP nodded, “we’re aware of that conversation.” Cobalt laughed, “oh, you guys hacked the video chat? I think that might be a terms of service violation somewhere. You won’t be able to post cat videos again.” The MP did not laugh, but he started to smile a bit. “Anyhow, afterwards another Pudgy friend stopped by the house. She and I discussed other matters, and do not worry, I did not tell her about the Air Force. We think the Kaiser may be heading to Obersalzberg, in Germany.” The MP turned and gave Cobalt a look, “why would the Kaiser go there?” Cobalt nodded, “that is where Hitler’s summer retreat was, but also bunkers for the German army. While the retreat has been demolished, there is a museum there full of artifacts and materials. The Kaiser has been collecting artifacts from all over the world, of both religious and historical significance.”
The officer nodded, “I see, but what do you think he is going to do with those?” Cobalt nodded and motioned to follow. As the two men walked through the home, and headed down the stairs to the basement, Cobalt continued to talk. “Hitler had an interest in magical items, to increase his power and influence. Up until Pudgy came into my life, I thought magic was a hoax. I have seen things that make me question everything now. If the Kaiser is following the same play book, there must be magic within the items. Pudgy’s magical talisman is a good case in point,” the man said before MP Washington grabbed him by the arm and twisted it behind him. He yelped a bit as the pain hit his shoulder socket, as MP barked out in a gruff voice. “what the hell is all of this?”
The MP saw the tables, covered in airplane parts. Cobalt coughed, “hey let go, please? I am working on a better plane for Pudgy, specifically a model version of a Curtis P-40 Warhawk.” The MP let go of the man’s arm and walked behind him inspecting the various tables. The engine table was a mess, but the fuselage was in the framework stage of assembly. “The MP took out his cell phone and started taking pictures. “What did the Major General and Colonel say? You two were not supposed to be taking to the skies once again.” Cobalt nodded, “Yes I remember that instruction, but I have a question for you? So, let us say that we figure out who the Kaiser is? What then, send the armed services after him? There is no way that the German government would ever allow that. Having a tiny plane with a hedgehog at the controls would be the best method for intelligence. Unless you have a friend at the CIA that we can ask for help? If Pudgy were to go in, the United States government would have the benefit of deniability.”
The MP nodded, “true, but even still, you know I will need to report this to my superiors.” Cobalt nodded, “yes, so that is why I am being so open about this. Can you imagine if I tried to hide this, Pudgy takes off for New Jersey, and then you have to explain why to the Colonel?” MP Washington laughed, but then cocked an eyebrow at him, “wait … why New Jersey?” In the corner of the basement, Cobalt’s computer started to make noises. “Oh good, she’s calling. Hey, help yourself to some coffee and a donut,” the man said while pointing to the wet bar. Walking past the officer, Cobalt sat down at his computer. The video chat icon was blinking, so he clicked the accept conversation button. A middle-aged woman with long brown hair appeared on the LCD computer screen. “Hi Brenda, how are you?”
Brenda smiled and waved, while a white cat was walking across the top of her couch behind her. “Hi Cobalt, hey I don’t see Pudgy over there?” The man nodded, “yeah, I know, sorry about that. Pudgy was supposed to come over earlier, but he has not shown up yet. I will need to check up on him later today. So, were you able to check up on that lead for me?” The woman nodded on screen and got out some pieces of paper. “Yes Cobalt, I stopped by the Temple Knesseth Israel, which is not too far from my home. The Rabbi was not there, because just my luck, I went on the day he was off. So, after a few things, I was able to ask your questions through the secretary. He has not yet responded though, but I provided your contact information. I’m confused, why do you think he can help Pudgy and you again?” Cobalt nodded, “I was researching, and a former Rabbi who held services at that congregation was from Poland. I have a suspicion that the Kaiser may be a holocaust survivor, due to the numbers Pudgy described on his arm. I do not think the current Rabbi can identify him using the numbers, but he may have access to the former’s effects. It might help us figure out who and what we are dealing with?”
Brenda nodded, “that makes sense. Have you told Pudgy anything about what happened in Germany during world war 2?” The man shook his head, “no, I am trying to avoid filling his mind with such sad thoughts. I am still trying to figure out how to explain this and found a children’s book on the subject matter.” The woman sighed, “yes, I think that is for the best. So, when is Pudgy coming back to my house? I really need a hedgehog hug, after the scary monster attack.” The man laughed but noticed that MP Washington was making a face at him from the bar. Cobalt smiled, “hopefully soon, but we need to be safe and smart about this. Thank you for helping with this Brenda, I really appreciate it.” The woman smiled and waved, with the video screen closing as the call ended. Sighing, Cobalt looked over at the MP who now had powdered sugar all over his mustache.
“Cobalt, where is Pudgy?” The officer asked, while Cobalt locked his computer screen using the appropriate keyboard command. “I know Pudgy moves at a slower pace, but he should have been here by now. Looks like I have to go over and check on him,” The man said while putting his boots on, which were beside the computer desk. “Hey, did the Colonel and Major General make it out of the forest, or did you have to carry them the last time?” The officer smirked, “well, let us say that there were many falls. Those uniforms needed a good cleaning afterwards,” the officer ended with a laugh. After his boots were on, Cobalt put on his winter jacket, and then walked over to the gun cabinet. Opening it, he took out the deer rifle, and slung it over his shoulder. The pistol was tucked into a coat pocket and zipped shut. “Hey, can you turn off the coffee pots?” The man asked the officer, who leaned over and pushed the two buttons accordingly.
Cobalt and MP Washington exited the basement through the back door, and after locking it, walked through the back yards. Down the hill, across the scary road with the delivery trucks, past the thorn bush, down the hill, and across the creek they went to get to Pudgy’s home. Cobalt noticed the barricades were down, and the home was dark. The chimney pipe was puffing with white smoke from the wood fire going inside. Looking around the forest, Cobalt could not see anything out of the ordinary. Walking up to the underground home, he knelt beside the door. Tapping gently on the window, “Pudgy, it’s Cobalt. Are you home?” In a short time, the man could see his hedgehog friend peeking out of the window through the barricade shutters. After a wave, the hedgehog disappeared and then opened his front door. He scampered out, ran up Cobalt’s leg, and started hugging him crying. Cobalt hugged back, “Pudgy what is it? Are you all right?”
The hedgehog started to explain that the shadow monsters have been constantly moving throughout the forest at night and sometimes during the day. He had been out gathering firewood earlier, and they chased him to his home. The MP nervously looked around the forest, and then down at Pudgy. “How long ago was this,” he asked in a gruff tone of voice. Pudgy wiggled his nose, “Pudgy unsure, couple of minutes ago, it headed towards Mr. Bear’s cabin.” Cobalt nodded, “get back inside Pudgy, lock up.” The hedgehog nodded, and scampered back into his home, and shut his barricade and doors. Peeking out of his window, he watched as Cobalt stand up and unshoulder his rifle.
Cobalt pointed with the barrel, “Mr. Bear lives a short distance from here. I need to go check on him.” The MP nodded, “I’m coming with you, so lead the way.” The two men nodded, started to short trip through the woods. The beavers were hiding, so their partially frozen pond was empty. Past the dam, and along the creek they headed, until the large granite boulder could be seen. Making a quick turn, they walked up the hill past the boulder, seeing the myriad of animal tracks. MP Washington stopped, and pointed, “what the hell is that?!?” Cobalt stopped and saw the astonished man was pointing at a dinosaur track. “Oh, that’s grump, he’s a tyrannosaurus. He lives the opposite direction up the hill,” Cobalt said with a chuckle. “Boy I’m glad he’s back, and the moon dinosaurs didn’t decide to keep him up there when they stopped by to visit.”
Washington shook his head, “ok, we definitely need to go meet that Dinosaur next.” The two men started to walk again, through a grove of pine trees, to see a log cabin with green shutters. As they turned the bend, Mr. Bear was dressed in his black Kevlar outfit. The bear growled menacingly, and stood up on his hind legs, to rake his claws at a shadow monster. Before the MP could say anything, he saw Cobalt take off running towards the bear and creature. Cursing under his breath, Washington started to unholster his pistol, as he started to quickly follow. To the astonishment of the MP, he watched as a large tyrannosaurus charged out of an opposite tree line and was heading towards the shadow creature.
Cobalt aimed his rifle and shot at the glowing red eye of the creature. The sound of the gunshot echoed throughout the clearing around the cabin. Mr. Bear dropped back down to all fours and started to back up. Grumpy was charging full speed, and using his head rammed the shadow creature, and flung it across the clearing. Teeth bared, the dinosaur roared menacingly, then noticed Mr. Bear was dressed in Kevlar. “Where did you get that?” Grumpy asked, while Cobalt patted his leg. The dinosaur saw that Cobalt was accompanied by another human, dressed in a military outfit with a black bulletproof vest that had MP emblazoned on the shoulders. Mr. Bear laughed, “the same place MP Washington got his.” Washington blinked and hesitantly touched the tail of the dinosaur, “my … God. An actual dinosaur,” the confused and astonished officer remarked.
The shadow creature stood back up and started to twist its head back into position. The black miasma swirled like a tornado around its body. It raised a shadowy claw and pointed at Cobalt, “you will never stop the Kaiser. We know what you are up to,” the monster trailed off. Cobalt coughed, while he was reloading his rifle, “Oh, and just what am I up to, shade?” The monster laughed insidiously, “the plane will never be able to reach the Kaiser.” Smirking while he lifted his rifle, “do you mean that wind bag Nazi fudger that visited the other day?” The monster howled in rage, “HOW DARE YOU CALL HIM THAT? My master will make you regret those words when the trains run once more to the seat of his power. The cleansing fire will burn away the impurities of this world!” The creature howled once more, and then charged forward with its claws extended.
Cobalt and MP Washington started firing the guns, with each bullet ripping chunks out of the monster. But the creature continued its charge and grabbed Cobalt with one of its clawed hands. The man was flung against the side of the cabin and landed hard onto the ground. Mr. Bear growled and started to rake his claws at the shadow monster. While Washington was reloading, he watched the dinosaur raise his leg and stomp his foot down on top of the creature. It howled in pain, and tried to break free, but the dinosaur was far too heavy to move. Mr. Bear continued to bite and rake at the creature. The MP shouted, “everyone, hold it! We need to interrogate this … monster. Now, where is the Kaiser?” The creature laughed insidiously as it watched the assembled group.
Getting back to his feet, Cobalt used the butt of his rifle to help him stand up. He limped over to where Grumpy had pinned the creature. “Wo ist der Kaiser?” Cobalt shouted while aiming the rifle barrel at the creature’s one remaining red eye. The creature was coughing and making an ominous hissing sound. “Du wirst ihn nie finden, er ist auf dem Rückzug.” The creature started to laugh evilly and began to fade. Cobalt and Mr. Bear spoke German, to varying degrees. The brown bear said, “The retreat you say?” The creature started to glow with a blood red light, and in one last violent act, it exploded underneath the dinosaur’s foot. Everyone was flung back a dozen feet or so, except for the dinosaur who was knocked onto his side when he felt over. Cobalt coughed, “owww……is everyone all right?” Mr. Bear groaned, “I’ve been better.” Grumpy was trying to get back to his feet and making growling noises. The MP was sitting on his rear end and looking at the crater where the monster had been pinned. “It exploded, now we have to worry about kamikaze attacks.”
Mr. Bear waved his paw at everyone, “thank you for coming to help. Please, everyone come to my cabin for drinks,” the large brown bear said while walking on all fours back to his cabin. Cobalt nodded, “that sounds good, thank you Mr. Bear.” He walked over and extended his hand to help pull up the MP. Both men walked over to the cabin, while the tyrannosaurus rolled back up, and got to his feet. He gingerly put his foot back down and tested to see if anything was broken. After a few steps, he limped slightly towards the cabin. Cobalt turned, “you ok, Grumpy?” He nodded, “slight pain, from standing on a shadow monster grenade.” He leaned in and took a long sniff of the MP, and then grinned at the officer. The MP smiled weakly, and then jogged a bit quickly to reach Cobalt’s side.
The brown bear had moved quickly, and soon on the front porch were steaming cups of coffee. While Cobalt would have preferred a bit of milk, he did not mind drinking it black. All the mugs provided were bear sized, so they resembled beer steins. The dinosaur did not drink anything, but was standing half on guard, and half intently listening to the group. MP Washington sipped, and then looked at the group. “My superiors will never believe any of this.” Cobalt laughed, “hey, why don’t you video chat them? Well, I think the creature screwed up. He confirmed something I was researching.” Grumpy looked confused, “what do you mean Cobalt?” Mr. Bear nodded, “yes, what do you mean?” The tow humans drank at the same time, and after a moment to ponder, Cobalt took a deep breath.
“The shadow creature mentioned the trains. That is a reference to the Nazi forced movement of the Jewish people during the final solution.” The dinosaur blinked, “can you back up a bit?” Cobalt nodded, “during world war 2, the German leader Adolph Hitler did many terrible things. He believed in a pure race, and any impurities would need to be purged. He created a scapegoat for all the country’s problems: the Jewish people. So, he ordered a purge, and forced them from their homes. He stole their wealth, their land, and their freedom. Packing up entire families, and shipping them like freight on the trains, to various ghettos throughout Germany and their occupied lands.” MP Washington nodded, “that was a terrible time during the war. I remember my grandfather telling me about that.” Mr. Bear nodded and motioned with his paw to Cobalt to continue.
“These train references keep coming up for some reason, which I am starting to understand why. Pudgy said that the Kaiser’s one arm has numbers on it, which means that he was on one of those trains. What is not clear, is if he indeed were to be taken to one of the ghettos, why would he become part of the Nazi army?” The officer nodded, “that is strange, but perhaps the numbers are a fake? Something to throw us off?” Mr. Bear shook his head, “that could be something to consider. But I agree with Cobalt’s theory, that the Kaiser was taken to a ghetto. The key question is, where is the retreat he spoke of?” Cobalt nodded, “Obersalzberg, was the site of Hitler’s summer retreat. The building has been torn down, but in its place is a museum filled with historical artifacts. Underneath the mountain is a series of German army tunnels and bunkers, a perfect place to hide out and run a shadowy operation.”
Grumpy nodded, “I understand now. Ok, so what do we do? I don’t think sending Pudgy is going to cut it, we need assistance.” Mr. Bear nodded, and Cobalt sighed, “Pudgy is the only one that can use the talisman, it’s attuned to him. No matter what, we will unfortunately have to send him over there. So, I have been working on a better plane. Washington, I have a question?” As the MP nodded, “yes, what is it?” The group grew quiet as Cobalt asked his question, “provided I get the plane built and tested, is it possible for Pudgy to land somewhere out in the ocean?” The officer’s eyes grew wide, “I can not authorize a landing on one of the carriers!” The group started to laugh, which calmed the MP down to respond. “I would need to check with my superiors. I still don’t understand how that little plane would be able to make it to Germany?” Mr Bear smiled, “Pudgy has magic, though limited. He flew from Washington state to Pennsylvania on one tank of gas in a bi-wing airplane. That is almost 2,600 miles,” the bear nodded.
Cobalt pulled out his phone’s map application, “ok to get to Birmingham is about 3,500 miles if I am estimating this right. Pudgy can land in Great Britain, resupply, and then fly further inland.” The officer looked confused again, “why stop in Birmingham?” The dinosaur nodded, “that is where Purple lady and Starry-Eyed Girl lives.” The MP nodded again, “this is going to require a lot of calls, but I will see what I can do. Cobalt, I think you are starting to make sense, which scares the heck out of me. But didn’t you mention New Jersey before?” The dark-skinned man noticed Cobalt was checking his phone and typing on the screen. “Looks like Pudgy has a meeting scheduled in a week with Rabbi Elazar, at the temple. This means, I better get my butt in gear so Pudgy will be able to make it.” The man walked over, and showed his screen to the officer, who then took a picture of it. The MP took a picture of the dinosaur, bear in body armor, cobalt, the cabin, and the surrounding areas.
After everyone had a chance to finish their drinks, one by one the assembled group departed the brown bear’s cabin. Mr. Bear remained on his porch, waving to everyone and saluting the MP. The officer returned the salute and disappeared over the hill with Cobalt. Taking the short cut, which was a bit treacherous due to the mud, they quickly made it back to Pudgy’s home. Cobalt knelt beside the front window and called out. “Pudgy, Mr. Bear is safe, you stay inside.” The window opened, and a little voice called out, “Ok Cobalt, Pudgy stay inside!” The MP smiled as he watched the forest, and then was joined by Cobalt. Motioning to follow, the two men walked back across the creek, up the hill, past the thorn bush, across the scary delivery truck road, up the hill, and through the back yards to the human’s home. Upon reaching the back patio, Washington coughed. “Cobalt, I will walk around the house, and head to my car.”
Turning around to face the MP, Cobalt nodded. “Ok. Hey next time, let me know sooner when you are coming, I can get cinnamon rolls. Hopefully, we do not have to fight the shadow monsters again. Of course, with my luck, the moon dinosaurs will stop for a visit, or the aliens that were helping Cthulhu.” The officer laughed while he smirked, and patted Cobalt on the shoulder, before heading through the yard and around the home’s exterior. Cobalt chuckled still, and then entered his home through the basement door. After shutting the door, he took off his mud-covered boots, and placed them on a boot tray. The myriad of airplane parts lay before him, and that plane was not going to assemble itself. He walked over to the coffee pots and turned them back on to warm up the remaining coffee within the carafes.
The hours quickly passed, and the airplane took shape. It was around midnight when Cobalt’s phone started to ring. The Colonel was calling, and a tirade of 4 letter words were spoken in an angry tone. After some time passed, the superior officer calmed down, he wanted to do a video call. Cobalt turned on his phone’s camera and did a salute. Then began to film the parts laying on the tables, as well as narrate what had happened earlier in the day with MP Washington. The reason for the call, was due to the field report being submitted for their review. After several other officers started to appear on camera, Cobalt realized that this was some sort of intelligence briefing. He was peppered with questions from all sides and answered the questions as best as he could. The group also wanted to see the bi-wing plane, with its booster rockets. Cobalt apologized, that he was all out of bottle rockets, so he could not attach them to the plane. But he mocked up some paper tubes he used for a variety of craft projects, so the assembled video call participants could understand what it looked like. There was much attention on the tiny machine gun that had been assembled, complete with an interrupter gear off the engine.
The colonel nodded on the call, and then spoke very clearly. “Cobalt, you will continue on the plane assembly. BUT your hedgehog friend will not take flight without the proper notice and clearances. Is that understood?” Cobalt nodded, “yes sir, I understand. Hey, may I ask a favor though?” The colonel blinked as veins started to appear in his forehead and temples, “what?” The man nodded, “one major problem I have with the Pudgy trips, is that I have no way to contact him. This also applies to the various authorities, which poses a problem sometimes. On the New Orleans trip, I was able to rig a nautical/marine radio as well as a cell phone in the steam ship. Is there any way, you could mail me some radio parts and possibly a transponder?” The Colonel nodded, “that definitely makes sense, we can track and communicate with the hedgehog. Winston, submit a request to the armory and see what we can provide.” The call ended with salutes, as well as pleasantries, but a stern warning not to take to the skies without authorization.
The next few days continued same as before, where the man would work his 8 hours shift, and then all free moments were spent on plane assembly. Much to his surprise, a package arrived the next day via overnight shipping, which included a handheld field radio and beacon. There was a technical schematic included with the package, and a phone number to call if questions. Which was extremely helpful, as the man continued to pack inside the airplane the various components into the fuselage. So, after an all-night marathon, the man had finished the assembly, and passed out in the basement on a blow-up mattress. He awoke to the sound of tapping on the patio door glass in the early morning of the next day and rolled from the mattress onto the floor. Yawning terribly, he headed to the patio door, and pulled back the curtain. MP Washington was standing there with his hands on his hips, tapping his foot.
Cobalt opened his door, “Morning MP Washington.” The MP looked over the exhausted man, who looked like he had not slept right in days. “Hello Cobalt, you look like a wreck. I’m here for another inspection, per the Colonel.” The man saluted tiredly and waved in the solider. To the amazement of the solider, the airplane was finished and sitting on the carpet. Taking out his phone, the MP started a video call, and started to show the status of the airplane. A superior officer who did not identify himself spoke, “does it run?” Cobalt coughed hard, “I need to test the engine. I wonder if Pudgy is up?” The MP smiled, “I stopped by the hedgehog’s home on my way here.” The officer unzipped a chest pocket, and Pudgy peeked out from within. He waved at Cobalt, who smiled and laughed. “Careful Washington, that grenade might go off if you give it Braunschweiger.”
The solider was careful with Pudgy and placed him on the ground beside the plane. The plane was painted an olive drab color, but the famous black and white teeth under the engine was clearly seen. The Warhawk was much bigger than Pudgy’s Bi-wing plane, with a wingspan of nearly 6 feet. Cobalt gently pulled back the canopy, which was a mixture of plastic, glass, and metal, to reveal the cockpit of the plane. The hedgehog excitedly scampered over, and climbed up the side of the plane, and swung himself inside. The men smiled, as Cobalt sighed, “oh good, you can get in it.” MP Washington noticed the patio doors were French doors, and could swing inwards, so he opened the second door. He watched Cobalt push out the airplane onto the concrete patio.
The officer was being asked to change the camera angles and noticed that there were mounts under the wings. The superior officer called out, “hey, what are those mounts for?” Cobalt had disappeared inside his basement, to get out a fuel can. When he returned, the solider repeated the question, which the man nodded and responded. “Those are external fuel tank mounts, the actual tanks were back ordered, but should arrive tomorrow.” Washington nodded, “and is it armed like the bi-wing plane?” Pudgy looked up from the cockpit and wiggled his nose watching his friend respond to the intense questioning. “Yes, it is, there are 2 machine guns. There are 20 rounds as before: 2 mm shells, 10 belt fed rounds per gun, mounted in the wings like the original fighter. The rounds are not loaded yet though, for safety reasons. Now, let us fuel up the plane, and tune the engine.”
This is the nervous part; did he seal everything correctly? Getting out a tiny funnel, he began to gingerly pour the fuel inside. Pudgy bounced gently in his seat, “fuel gauge says one quarter Cobalt!” Stopping to check for leaks, the nervous man started to fill once more till he heard his hedgehog friend say, “stop, it’s full.” After securing the gas can, and placing it to the side of his patio, Cobalt knelt beside the plane. He started to go over the basic plane operation to his hedgehog friend, and the audience listening on the call. He would write the instructions, and Pudgy would rewrite them later in an easier to read hedgehog format. But Cobalt already was thinking ahead and had placed numerical stickers on things inside the plane. After setting the rear landing wheel lock, using a brake handle topped with a red plastic handle, Pudgy started to follow instructions. One by one each step resulted in various parts of the aircraft to react, and soon the engine started to crank.
The propellor blade started to turn, and soon the engine was running at a good speed. But it did not sound right at all, so the man went inside to get out tiny watch repair tools. Returning to the patio, he found the MP getting a close shot of the interior of the cockpit with its hedgehog pilot looking around. As Cobalt laid down on the ice-cold patio stone, he opened the engine compartment, and started turning tiny screws. Each adjustment made the engine sound a lot better, as well as made the propellor spin faster. Once the adjustments were completed, Cobalt shut the compartment, and screwed the lock into place. Rolling onto his side, the man was upright, though still kneeling. “Pudgy, ramp up the throttle, let’s see if the adjustments are done.” The hedgehog nodded, and throttled up to 50%, causing the plane to roar and lurch a little forward.
In the hedgehog’s excitement, he had bumped the lock brake of the landing gear, and the plane started to move forward. Pudgy was excited, it was time to fly, so he worked the canopy controls and it swung forward into place. The plane bounced in in the snowy back yards and started to gain speed. Pushing the throttle to max, he pulled the stick back like his bi-wing, and he took off into the skies. Unlike his first plane, this plane was a lot faster, and soon he had reached the forest. He circled Cobalt’s home, before flying to check on Mr. Bear’s cabin. The cabin was safe, and covered with snow, but no exterior sign of his friend. Banking to the north, Pudgy flew to check on Mr. Dinosaur’s cave. The cave door was open, and he could see that his dinosaur friend was carrying a large stag in his mouth. The plane’s engine was efficient and had only used a tiny amount of fuel in his first test flight. So, the hedgehog realized he needed to return to Cobalt.
Pudgy piloted his plane and found the snowy yards that stretched behind the homes where Cobalt lived. He started to descend and eased back on the plane’s throttle. Little by little the plane eased down, and soon he was flying at the height of the bushes. The hedgehog could see MP Washington waving his arms and pointing. The critter landed the plane, and it bounced along the ground, eventually slowing to a rolling stop in front of the patio. This time setting the locking brake correctly, he turned a tiny handle, and the canopy slide backwards. Following the numbers in reverse one by one, Pudgy turned off the engine. “Pudgy test plane Cobalt,” he said excitedly while bouncing in his seat. Cobalt smiled, “yes we saw Pudgy. You may have caused a security incident in Pennsylvania airspace, and given poor Washington a heart attack though.” The test flight had been a success, and though it only lasted 30 minutes, it proved the plane was ready for flight. Cobalt nodded and looked at the officer, “Washington. After you left, I received the contact information and directions for Rabbi Elazar. I also contacted Brenda, who is excitedly waiting for Pudgy’s arrival. Would it be ok for Pudgy to leave tomorrow, to head to Middlesex New Jersey?” The MP blinked and looked down at his phone. The assembled group was quiet, until the superior officer spoke up once more, “Yes, you are authorized. Washington, turn on the transponder beacon, and radio for our air…hog? Pudgy, if you are contacted by one of our pilots or central command, you must respond to us, is that understood?” Pudgy saluted in his cockpit and bounced happily. That drew some laughter from the video call, and the call ended. As the MP knelt to check on the tiny plane, Cobalt smiled and looked up into the skies above. This would be his hedgehog friends most dangerous adventure yet, but he was hopeful. Pudgy had backup and was not alone this time. He had all his friends, the air force, a demi-goddess, and a Goddess on his side. That Kaiser would be defeated, one way or another.
One reply on “Land of Sorrow: Chapter 3: Warhawk”
Pudgy’s Warhawk sounds awesome!