Pudgy woke up just as the sun started to peek through the windows of Brenda’s home. He noticed that Patches had curled around him and was still asleep. The hedgehog very carefully maneuvered away from the cat, and then slid down the edge of the couch. Brenda’s head was leaned back, and she was snoring softly. She was still dressed in the clothes from the night before, which Pudgy recognized was appropriate given the day they had. As the critter scampered through the home, he located the door to the garage. It was still slightly cracked open, so he pushed the door open and then headed into the dark garage to check on his plane.
The plane was sitting in the middle of the floor, which meant it would be easy to inspect the plane. As Pudgy marveled at what his friend had built for him, he started to worry a bit about crossing the ocean. When he used the Goddess’s magic talisman to extend the fuel for his bi-wing airplane, it started to hurt his paws. If he needed to land, he could have, whereas the ocean was not possible. Nodding to himself, he started to check the external tanks that were mounted underneath the wings and plane’s fuselage. For obvious reasons, there were round fuel windows that would show if the tanks were full. On the trip out to New Jersey, he used the magic sparingly, so he used more fuel than he had expected.
The door started to open wider, and Patches padded into the garage looking for the hedgehog. Pudgy waved and kept checking on his plane. The cat meowed sadly and was upset that her new friend would be leaving soon. In a short time, Brenda soon appeared in the doorway yawning. “Pudgy, you were not thinking of leaving? We have to have breakfast first, and then fuel your plane, and hug a bunch before you go.” The hedgehog nodded, and then scampered beside Patches to follow the woman back into her kitchen. Brenda watched as Pudgy followed Patches to a spot near the counter where she would eat normally. Smiling to herself, she got out the tin of cat food, opened and plated it as she normally did. Bending down, she placed the bowl by Patches. Then she gently scooped up Pudgy into her hands and stood back up.
As she sat Pudgy down on the counter, Brenda headed to the refrigerator to get a couple of eggs, as well as some butter. Pudgy watched her melt butter in a pan on the stove, then crack two eggs to start cooking. Throwing away the eggshells into the trash, she turned and looked at Pudgy. “Pudgy, I’m concerned about your trip. I did a quick search online, and it is roughly 3,600 miles from New York to London over the ocean. How will you make it?” The hedgehog nodded while the smell of cooking eggs filled the kitchen, “Pudgy has magic talisman, can make fuel last longer. Pudgy used it to fly from Mr. Rainier to back home east of Pittsburgh.” The woman nodded, and then started to serve the over easy eggs on 2 plates. She had a thoughtful look, and while moving the plates to her dark wooden kitchen table, she spoke. “Ok, then I think it should be all right. Cobalt made that plane with much larger fuel tanks, so you should be fine.” Gently she picked up and moved Pudgy onto the table beside a plate. Pulling out a chair, Brenda sat down, and started to eat.
Pudgy nibbled on the fried egg, which had the big round yolk part still running. He always liked to sip the liquid part out, so after some careful maneuvering, he started to drink the egg yolk. That drew a laugh from Brenda, who used a piece of bread to dab at the liquid yolk. Breakfast was quick, though Pudgy noticed his friend was repeating that everything should be good, all right, or some variation of that word. He knew she was worried, like Patches, and to be truthful: so was the critter. But the Kaiser would not stop until everyone was hurt, or worse, so Pudgy knew he had to stop him. The hedgehog watched his hostess clean up the table, and then wash the plates.
After a couple quieter moments, Brenda turned around wiping her eyes from a couple of tears. Sniffing her nose, “ok Pudgy, let us get that plane ready.” She reached down and gently picked up Pudgy once more, and then carried him into her garage. She headed to the automatic garage door opener and pushed the button to open the door. One by one the slats opened upwards, and then started to reveal a black government vehicle parked in front of the driveway. There was a MP officer dressed in camouflage and sitting on the hood of the SUV. Brenda smiled, “hello there, how can we help you?” Pudgy bounced and waved from Brenda’s hands. “Hello MP Murphy! Pudgy know him, he’s ok.” The slender man walked up to the garage door and laughed at the hedgehog. “Why yes I do know that hedgehog. And you must be Brenda?” The woman nodded and watched as the plane man’s blue eyes went wide at the sight of the plane behind her.
Pudgy looked up at MP Murphy and saluted. The solider smiled, and saluted back, “at ease air…hog?” Brenda looked down at the hedgehog, who was wiggling free of her grasp. He slid down the side of her leg, and then bounced on the ground. “I would have put you down on the ground Pudgy. A please to meet you Mr. Murphy. So, I take it you are here to see off Pudgy?” The solider nodded and walked beside Brenda rubbing his eyes. “Washington told me that there was a new plane, but I didn’t believe him. Oh, yes, that is why I am here. Pudgy, I need to reprogram your radio. Plus go over your flight plan,” the man said while watching Pudgy checking the fuel tanks. Brenda nodded, and noticed the tanks. “Oh Pudgy, I have a little bit of gas left over from summer for the mower. Let me help you with that,” she said while heading over to a small red gasoline can.
Murphy was busy working inside the tiny cockpit, while Pudgy helped Brenda fueled the tanks. They did not have the tiny funnel that Cobalt had, so it required some careful pouring. There were a couple of splashes, which Pudgy wiped up from the floor with an oil-stained rag. One by one the tanks were filled, and both Brenda and Murphy noticed that the plane dropped a bit from the weight. After a couple more minutes passed, Murphy nodded and stood back up. “Ok, that is better. The transponder was not working correctly, and now you can communicate back. Pudgy, where did you go?” Brenda looked around as she was putting the red plastic can back along the wall. “Pudgy?” The two humans looked around confused, and not able to find the critter. Before they started to call out again, they spotted Pudgy underneath a bush in front of the garage door. He then scampered back up and sat at Brenda’s foot, “sorry, Pudgy had to go tinkle.”
The two humans laughed heartily, and then Brenda quickly scooped him up into her hands. Hugging the hedgehog gently, “now, please be careful Pudgy. I do not want to hear that anything bad happened to you, ok? You have many friends that would be sad if you went away.” The critter was hugging back tightly and looked up nodding at her. “Pudgy understands, Pudgy be careful!” The critter said while hugging her again tightly. Brenda sighed, and then leaned down, to let Pudgy hop out of her hands and bounce on the ground. Patches the cat padded up to him and started to hug him tightly. The cat was meowing sadly but swished its tails to and fro when Pudgy climbed back into the plane. Checking his gauges, and releasing the rear wheel lock, the plane started to roll backwards as the garage floor had a slight decline to let the water run outside.
Murphy helped Push the plane outside to the space beside Brenda’s car. The MP nodded, “Ok Pudgy, you need to fly east, and skirt New York City. There are several large airports there, that will be quite difficult to maneuver around the commercial flights. I have programmed the GPS, and radio with the proper flight path. Keep to your course, and if something is approved, we will let you know.” Brenda looked confused, but the hedgehog bounced in his seat and waved at her. The solider helped turn the plane around 180 degrees, so the plane could enter the roadway for takeoff. The black SUV’s engine turned on, and then the vehicle started to back up.
Pudgy nodded and started to follow the instructions that Cobalt provided. To the amazement of the solider, the engine fired up, and the propellor started to turn. Pudgy rolled the crank, which slide the canopy back into place. Murphy walked in front of the plane, past the black vehicle, and then out into the road. He waved and pointed for which way Pudgy should go and watched as the plane began to taxi out of the driveway and turn out to the road in front of the solider. Pudgy put the throttle to max, causing the plane to lurch forward quickly, and then start to gain speed. Quicker and quicker the plane went, until soon it started to glide over the road surface. In a moment, the assembled group of neighbors and soldiers watched as the tiny olive drab plane gained altitude and disappeared over the tree line at the end of the street. The last image in people’s minds were the tiny landing gear retracting up into the body of the plane.
The reprogrammed radio and GPS seemed a bit brighter, and instead of the air traffic controller chatter, there was a different type of broadcast. A gruff man called out, “Pudgy Hedgehog, are you there?” The critter pushed the radio button, “yes, this is Pudgy. Who are you?” The radio hissed for a moment, then the man returned. “This is Lieutenant Smith, flight controller for eastern operations. I am your commanding officer for this region, is that understood air hog?” Pudgy nodded, “Yes, Pudgy understand, sir. MP Murphy told Pudgy to head east, and then skirt New York City to avoid the airports.” The radio went silent, so the critter assumed that was the reason for the communication. In an hour of flying, the hedgehog could see the outlines of the huge city looming to the north east of him. The land below was heavily developed, with homes, businesses, trains, and all manner of things stretching in all directions.
Pudgy was following Cobalt’s instructions, keeping the plane under a thousand feet, since most of the commercial aircraft flew much higher. He would need to get much higher into the air once he was over the ocean, but for now it was ok. The air traffic controllers were talking again, and he did not understand what they were talking about. But when they mentioned which plane was landing or taking off, he knew that was important. He checked his cell GPS, and confirmed that he was flying over Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The bay was called Raritan bay, but it really was the start of the Atlantic Ocean. Once he passed over the shipping docks, he was over the water of the ocean. Waves crashed below him, while huge shipping vessels sailed to and from their ports. The lieutenant called out again, “Pudgy, where are you flying?”
The hedgehog pushed the transmit button, “Pudgy stay under one thousand feet. Was going to skirt the shoreline of long island, if that is all right sir?” The man grew quiet, and then returned the message, “Yes, stay along the barrier islands. The first one to your left will be Rockaway beach, then proceed to an altitude of 5,000 feet.” In a couple of minutes, he could see the beaches along the barrier island, and knew it was time. Pulling back the flight control stick, the plane started to gain altitude. The GPS called out the locations he was passing: Long beach, Jones Beach Island, Fire Island National Shoreline, Mastic Beach, Westhampton beach, and finally Montauk. As the last visage of land disappeared behind him, Pudgy kept ascending, and decided to turn on some music. Cobalt had programmed Queen’s One Vision in the set list, and as the plane neared the requested altitude, Pudgy leveled the plane off.
The ocean stretched in all directions, a vast blue surface that stretched further than he could see. The GPS lost connection, but the radio was still functional. Settling in for a long flight, Pudgy read the tiny instruction manual that Cobalt had made him. He also noticed for the first time, there was ring holding down a red trigger on the stick. Cobalt had installed a monster go away button again, but he did not see the machine gun at the propellor. That should be in the book, so he started to read. Occasionally the GPS would reconnect, and the map would update. He was over the coast of Nova Scotia, which meant he was in Canadian airspace. Then the GPS quit working, until it reconnected as he passed over St. John’s which was in Newfound land.
The plane was much quicker than his original plane, but the hedgehog realized that even with Goddess magic, he would be cutting it awfully close. The fuel tanks were still draining, despite the glowing talisman he was holding in one of his paws. The skies had darkened considerably quick, and soon he found himself in utter darkness. There were clouds above him blocking out the stars above, and clouds below him that blocked out the ocean. The familiar hum of the engines droned on, while Pudgy turned off the music. He locked the control stick into place, as well as the throttle, and felt himself growing sleepy. He had to stay awake, it would not be safe to fall asleep so far up. But the sleep won, and his eyes fell quickly shut.
In what seemed like only moments, the loud yelling over the radio woke up the hedgehog. “Pudgy Hedgehog wake up! That is an order!” Pudgy nodded, and wiggled his nose, “Pudgy awake. Sorry Lieutenant.” The male voice laughed on the other end, “The lieutenant went to sleep, I am the night controller Lieutenant Jones. It is zero four hundred hours. Based on your course, speed, and altitude, you are over the northern Atlantic Ocean. I need your gauge readings,” the solider said. Pudgy wiping the sleep away from his eyes, “ok. Main fuel tank three quarter full, external tank one empty, external tank 2 empty, external tank 3 empty. Battery 95%, Pudgy out of cookies, but has water. Pudgy was using magic talisman but stopped when fell asleep. Pudgy use more fuel than expected…” The solider was quiet for a couple of minutes, before returning to the channel. “Ok Pudgy, this means that we need to have you stop somewhere. I checked with flight command, and you have been approved to land on the USS Nimitz. It is a nuclear carrier we have out in the Atlantic. Proceed to a heading of due east and start to descend to 1,000 feet.”
The hedgehog started to use the talisman again, and then followed the instructions provided. The tip of the plane pointed downwards as Pudgy pushed the control stick forward. The altimeter started to spin quickly as he descended through the cloud bank that was below him. In a couple of hours, he had reached the heading and altitude as instructed. In the distance ocean, he could see a huge rectangle in the distance. The morning light had just started to fill the skies, as the sun began to peek over the horizon. A new feminine voice, called out, “This is the USS Nimitz flight control, please identify yourself!” Pudgy pushed the transmit button, “Hello, my name is Pudgy. Lieutenant Jones said Pudgy should head this way.” The controller responded, “yes, we have you on our radar. You are cleared for landing per the eastern seaboard command. Have you ever landed on a carrier before?”
Pudgy wiggled his nose, “Pudgy flew to Mt. Rainier and landed at a mine on a mountain once.” The woman started choking on the radio, before recovering. “Ok, well this is not a mountain. The ship will keep moving forward, so it will be moving when you land. Please descend to 200 feet and line up your plane with the big white lines on the deck.” Pudgy nodded, “okie dokie sir!” Pudgy followed the instructions, and continued to descend, until he reached the requested flight altitude, before receiving another communication. The woman was now joined by a man in the background, “I do not see you yet Pudgy, where are you? We have your transponder though.” The hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy at 200 feet, Pudgy plane is olive green with big tiger face painted on the engine.”
The aircraft carrier loomed large in front of the tiny plane, and Pudgy could see the lines that the lady was talking about. The woman spoke again, “Jack, do you see him yet?” The man coughed, “it is a tiny green airplane, with a mouth painted on it? Linda, that looks like a P-40? Clear him to land, you have to see this in person to believe it.” Linda then spoke, “Pudgy, you are cleared to land. Descend to 60 feet and come in for approach. The hedgehog nodded again and tucked the talisman into his vest pocket. “Okie dokie Sir Linda lady!” He could hear laughter on the radio, and then a gasp as he came into visual range. He quickly reached the flight speed, altitude, and was lining up with the carrier deck. He pushed the lever to lower the landing gear, which started to emerge from the body of the plane. But like the woman said, the ship was till moving, so he had to speed up the plane. Going full throttle, he quickly gained speed.
After some tense moments, and a stiff cross breeze that blew his plane to the side, Pudgy heard the wheels touch down on the carrier deck surface. As he started to throttle down, the rear tail wheel connected with the deck surface, and the tiny plane continued to taxi forward. There were several humans on the deck, dressed in different colored outfits, and wearing helmets. There was a guy in a bright yellow outfit with a set of light up direction hand cones that was motioning to Pudgy to follow. Pudgy figured he was in charge, so he maneuvered the plane to park in a spot that he was pointing at. The hedgehog started to power down the engine, and then watched as the astonished man in the yellow outfit peered down into the canopy. With the propellor started to stop spinning, the critter rolled the crank and started to open the canopy. Pudgy waved at the man in the yellow outfit and watched as a mob of other soldiers appeared dressed in blue, green, brown, white and red outfits. They were all pointing at the tiny plane, and its hedgehog occupant.
It was extremely loud on the deck, and Pudgy could not hear what the men were saying. Pudgy watched as his little plane started to be pushed towards a large tower by a man in a yellow outfit, that sat at the right side of the large vessel. It was a short push, and soon the man was looking down at the hedgehog from above the cockpit. He yelled out, “is there a way you can lock the wheels?” Pudgy nodded and pulled the lever that locked his rear wheel. The hedgehog pointed and then looked up while smiling at him. “You will come with us now; command wants a word with you!” The critter nodded, and then climbed out of the plane, and bounced onto the deck surface.
Pudgy watched as the crowd of multicolored soldiers were busy looking at and kneeling beside the plane. He hoped that his plane would be safe but followed the man in yellow to a set of steel doors at the tower. Of course, at hedgehog speed and curiosity, it took a while. So much so, that the man in yellow scooped up Pudgy to carry him. Pudgy watched as they passed a big 68 painted in white, and the watched as they entered the tower. A series of flight crew officers, and sailors were busy working. But at the same time, the entire ship had found out through word of mouth, of their new visitor. They reached a counter of sorts, with a series of computers lined up and a couple sailors working. Pudgy was sat down on the counter, and the man in yellow pointed. “Plane has landed and will be inspected. How this little guy got out this far, I have no idea.”
Pudgy watched as he turned around and headed out the short hallway, to get back onto the flight deck. The hedgehog looked up and there was a blonde woman with a short haircut, wearing a dark blue shirt with a baseball cap that read USS Nimitz. The hedgehog waved at her, “hello, thank you for letting Pudgy land on ship. Pudgy was almost out of fuel.” The woman’s mouth opened agape, and she stared in disbelief at the talking hedgehog. She watched the brown hedgehog’s quills bounce around, and his little brown nose twitch as he looked around at everything. The woman smiled, “well … hello there …Pudgy? Yes, I am glad you were able to land too if that was the case? May I ask where you were going?”
Just as the critter was going to answer, a man dressed in a pale brown shirt with downward pointing arrows on his arms appeared. He had a tight olive-green hat on, and a piercing set of brown eyes. “That is classified information, sailor. Pudgy hedgehog, I am here to take you up to the captain’s ready room.” The solider picked up Pudgy a little too rough, however in a short couple of steps, the hedgehog was passed through the flight crew. The hedgehog looked up, “are you with the air force too?” The solider laughed, “No, I’m with the Marine corp. And I might add, this is a United States Navy vessel, so I suggest you keep that in mind. I do not know what is going on, but I suspect there is a particularly good reason for a talking hedgehog to arrive in a world war 2 era plane.”
It was almost like a maze inside the tower: down a hall, up some stairs, down a hall, up more stairs. Everything was made from metal and painted a light gray or light blue color. No wonder the sailors, and soldiers, wore spiffy colors the critter pondered. In time, they reached what appeared almost to be like an office setting. The Marine stopped in front of a door labelled: Captain’s ready room. The solider knocked on the steel door, and another male voice rang out from inside, “enter!” The door was opened slowly, and then they had entered the ready room. It was a large by hedgehog standards room, with a big wooden table that was round on the ends. Along one wall, was a gigantic television set, and video cameras set up for remote conferences.
Pudgy immediately recognized the Captain, who was wearing white pants and had an orange dark blue coat on with all manner of insignia on it. As the Marine stopped at the end of the table, he sat down the hedgehog onto the table. “That will be all Lieutenant,” the officer in charge said with a commanding tone. The Marine saluted, and the exited the room, shutting the door behind him. Pudgy was still new at being a solider, so he saluted the Captain. The older man smiled softly, and saluted back, and then motioned for Pudgy to come closer. The hedgehog scampered along the long table, and in between piles of paperwork, to reach the spot at the table in front of the officer. Pudgy bounced happily, “hello, my name is Pudgy! Thank you for letting Pudgy land plane!” The man blinked, and then gingerly reached down to touch the hedgehog. When he was satisfied that there really was a talking critter in front of him, he sat down into his overstuffed chair.
“My name is Captain Ezekiel Miller, of the USS Nimitz. And I presume your name is Pudgy Hedgehog?” The hedgehog bounced happily and nodded in front of him. It was hard to be authoritative with the bouncing happy critter in front of him, so he sighed and dropped the formality for a time. “I must say, that when we received word of your impending arrival, the crews were confused. Then a tiny Curtis P-40 Warhawk appeared on the long-range scopes, and then landed on the flight deck. To say the men and women of this ship are excited, would be an understatement. I want to ask you so many questions, but we are waiting on a conference call with the United States Airforce command. For now, can I get you anything?”
Pudgy nodded, “do you have a potty? Pudgy been holding since Newfoundland,” the hedgehog said. The man blinked, “oh my, yes that would be an exceptionally good thing to do. It is over there,” he pointed at an adjacent door that was partially open. Before Captain Miller could say anything, woosh the hedgehog scampered off the table, bounced onto a chair, slide down the leg, and was making a beeline for the bathroom. Soon the hedgehog had disappeared, leaving a quiet room, save for the occasional noise of aircraft taking off in the background. He had paperwork to do anyway and started reviewing a dossier of documents in a manilla folder. Looking up at the television screen, soon little squares began to appear. Each square was a different officer, and solider from a variety of branches.
The hedgehog returned from the bathroom, and started to head back towards the chair, and began to climb it. In a couple of minutes, the critter was back on the tabletop, and waved at the captain. “Thank you, Captain Miller, for letting Pudgy use potty!” The speaker phone went from mute, and soon a familiar voice was talking. The squares changed size as each solider, sailor, marine, and airman spoke. There was a variety of uniforms, and mostly men on the call. Pudgy saw Major General Williams, and this is Colonel Jackowski introduce themselves. The cameras were able to be remote controlled, so soon turned to the Captain and his hedgehog visitor. Pudgy saluted the camera, which drew smiles, and a couple salutes back.
Major General Williams smiled at Pudgy, “well Pudgy hedgehog, it certainly has been a while since our visit at your forest. I understand that you have been on a grand adventure so far. Now that my distinguished colleagues have been assembled, we need to know what is going on. Please start from the beginning of your adventures. Pudgy nodded, and started to speak, but he was not loud enough. After a couple people asked, he scampered over to the speakerphone on the desk and spoke into it. The assembled group stared in disbelief at the talking animal. But then the tales of his grand adventures, his woodland friends, Santa Claus, ghosts, and scary monsters; kept their focus on the hedgehog and his grand tale.
Captain Miller blinked and was writing notes down. He was fascinated by the tale, and especially the tiny hedgehog. The existence of Mr. Bear in the air force, and a time travelling dinosaur also got his attention. So, when he reached the part about the Kaiser, that is what drew the most attention. Colonel Jackowski spoke next, “thank you Pudgy for bringing everyone up to speed. Now, since last we were at your forest, the forces of the Kaiser returned?” Pudgy nodded, “yes, the shade monsters kept appearing. They attacked all Pudgy’s friends. But Pudgy now have way to stop the Kaiser,” the hedgehog said while bouncing beside the speakerphone. The Major General spoke next,” how is that exactly?” The critter took a deep breath, and ten pulled out his gold talisman. It began to glow, and when he pulled out the silver coin from the Rabbi, Pudgy’s quills started to stick out as he began to crackle with electricity.
“Rabbi Elazar from the temple in Middlesex tell Pudgy that there are 5 books of the Torah. There were 5 Rabbis who were taken to Auschwitz, and each had a silver coin. The coins were for the: the Bareshit, the Shemot, the Vayikra, the Bemidbar, and the Devarim. Pudgy was given the Vayikra coin, which made Pudgy talisman more powerful. A shade monster attacked the temple, and with the help of the Rabbi, Pudgy obliterated it.” The Major General was staring wide eyed, but as Pudgy glowed on camera, it was clear that they had a plan. Pudgy put away his coin and talisman and returned to a more natural brown hedgehog form. Pudgy spoke again after taking another breath. “The Rabbi tell Pudgy that in Mechelen Belgium is another Rabbi, who has the Bamidbar coin. With the second coin, Pudgy will be able to fight the Kaiser and maybe make him go away forever!”
A Marine officer nodded, “I can see that this is going to be an interesting call. Well, Pudgy. Do you know how to find the rabbi in Mechelen?” Pudgy shook his head, “No, but Pudgy friends Cobalt and Brenda were working on that part. When Pudgy fly to Birmingham, will stop at Purple Lady house. There Pudgy find out where to go next,” the critter said. An Army officer spoke next, “So, let us say you get the second coin, then what? Where is the Kaiser now?” Pudgy nodded, “Cobalt figure out, the Kaiser is at a place in Germany called … Obersalzberg. Pudgy friend Angeliki already there, but also another Pudgy friend there too. Pudgy hope Eris is all right,” the hedgehog worried out loud.
“The Kaiser was collecting all manner of artifacts he said. Pudgy unsure why, but their use will not be good at all. Pudgy worry what he is planning. Cobalt thinks that it is Auschwitz related, but was unsure. From what little Pudgy know of that place, it is terrible. And if Kaiser go there, something unbelievably bad will happen. Pudgy have to stop Kaiser, so everyone is safe.” The hedgehog’s word calmed the call, and a couple soldiers looked concerned. Captain Miller was in disbelief and could not believe the hedgehog was ready to go to certain doom to save everyone. The Major General spoke again, “therefore, for obvious reasons, we are keeping this operation discreet. Pudgy, you are cleared for your next leg of your mission to Birmingham. Once there, you will report to your friend Cobalt. He in turn will report to us what your status is. Captain Miller, can you please help Pudgy?”
The Captain nodded and looked down at the hedgehog. “What do you need Pudgy?” The critter bounced, “Potty was first, which you already let Pudgy use, thank you! Pudgy need a cookie, and some fuel.” The assembled group started to laugh heartily, and the Captain could not help but smile. “Why yes, I believe we can accommodate those requests. What does your plane use Pudgy, normal gasoline?” The hedgehog nodded and waved at the camera as the soldiers one by one disappeared. Pudgy Saluted the Major General and Colonel, who smiled as they saluted back in response. With the call ended, Pudgy heard Captain Miller talking, on a desk phone that was wired into the ship’s communication systems. As he hung up the phone, there was a knock on the door. The same Marine entered and stood at attention. “Yes sir?” The Captain smiled, “please take our friend Pudgy here back to the flight deck. We will be refueling his plane and assisting with the next leg of his mission to Birmingham, United Kingdom.”
Pudgy turned and saluted the Captain once more, and then scampered over to the Marine. He jumped into the man’s hands and waved at the Captain. “By Captain, Pudgy hope to see again someday!” The captain smiled and saluted back, before waving back and dismissing the Marine. By now, the hallways were mobbed with naval men and women, trying to get a glance at the tiny hedgehog. That meant it took longer to get back to the flight crew counter. Eventually though, the Marine was able to snake around the throngs of people, to reach the counter. He sat Pudgy back down and waved. “I hope you have a safe trip Pudgy. Oh, and here’s your cookie.” The solider took out a silver foil wrapped cookie with the USMC logo on the outside. “As you know, the best cookies come from the Marine corp!”
The flight control crew boss rolled his eyes, “yeah sure Ortega, best cookies my butt. Pudgy, let me give you a proper Navy cookie.” Pudgy was then handed a blue foil cookie wrapped cookie with an American flag logo on it and the USS Nimitz insignia on it. Pudgy bounced happily, “thank you both very much!” As the two men started to argue about which branch was better, another man dressed in yellow walked up to the counter. He smiled, and picked up Pudgy, “we had a devil of a time filling that plane of yours Pudgy. But all tanks are fueled, and your ordinance is secured. Ortega the Marine blinked, “wait did you say ordinance?” The man in yellow nodded, “looks like 20 rounds in total. They are the tiniest bullets I have ever seen though,” the man said while turning with Pudgy to head back to the flight deck.
In a flash, Pudgy soon found him being carried outside the doble steel doors and was back on the flight deck. There was a man dressed in a purple outfit, with a red gasoline can and a tiny funnel kneeling beside the tiny plane. There was also a man dressed in a red outfit checking the wings. As Pudgy watched, soon he found himself being lowered into the cockpit. The hedgehog bounced out the man’s hands, and then stowed away the cookies. They were tiny cookies by human standards but took a lot of room in the cockpit. Eventually though, Pudgy and his supplies were properly put away. The tiny hedgehog waved and saluted everyone. They smiled and saluted back as well, and watched the hedgehog go through his preflight check list. Pudgy also checked to ensure he had both his coin and talisman.
Once satisfied, he turned the crank and rolled back the canopy. After the men had a moment to walk away, the critter watched the man in yellow move in front of the plane. Pudgy hit the ignition, and soon the engine began to crank over. The tiny propellor started to turn faster and faster, and the radio began to talk again. The tower spoke, “Pudgy Hedgehog, this is Captain Miller. Please stay safe, and you are cleared for takeoff.” The critter turned to wave at the tower, “Thank you Captain Miller!” He released the tail wheel lock, and soon the little plane was taxing out to the flight take off area.
There were some men in green smiling, and soon were joined by a variety of colored outfits, who were watching the tiny plane start to move again. Putting the throttle to maximum, the plan e started to roll quickly forward. In a couple of tense moments, it began to glide off the deck, and then ascend into the skies. As the crew in the tower watched the landing gear retract and fold into the plane, the tiny plane continued to head into the skies above. Captain Miller sighed, “I hope that little guy stays safe.” The officer also hoped he could contain the excitement, and the stories of the hedgehog from leaking from the ship. That was the last thing the public needed to find out, was about the United States secret Hedgehog fighting a world war 2 monster terrorizing the planet.
One reply on “Land of Sorrow: Chapter 5: Nimitz”
I love it when Pudgy runs into a group of adults who have a childlike wonder about him. Great chapter!