“Well, Mister Abdullah,” Biggles grinned wildly, “it’s time to see if there really are virgins in heaven!”
With that he tore down on the battlefield like Beckham coming in for the final goal at Wembley. The ground erupted in a long line of small volcanoes, as thousands of rounds of tracer fire blew holes through houses, cars and screaming gunmen. Very quickly what had been an assault on the forward observation post dissipated into carnage and anybody called Abdullah, as the battle abruptly came to a complete halt.
“Biggles,” a voice echoed in his ears from the captain of the o.p., “You really must come and play tennis sometime, I need a good partner.”
“Only too happy to, old man,” Biggles grinned in his oxygen mask, “but first…”
“You sun-uv-a-bitch!” the voice of colonel Krankensmit thundered across the airwaves, just as an F-16 shot above Biggles’ Harrier at Mach one. “That was my kill!”
“Sorry old boy,” Biggles grinned even wider, as he guided his craft back behind across the Tigris into a safe zone, “saw an opportunity and pounced.”
With that he switched frequencies back to wide spectrum and started listening for more ‘opportunities’ as he called them. Biggles flew his Harrier in the same way helicopter pilots flew their choppers. Bouncing and jumping about the battle zone, dropping in and out, and given the need roaring up the Mach’s of the Rolls-Royce Pegasus 107 engine to charge in like a shark at Bondi Beach just after the German tourists had dipped their toes. He was the devil in the sky.
For reasons that nobody understood, Biggles was now immortal, after being shot over nine thousand times, and dying up to thirty-five times, he had somehow gained immortality. It was such a mystery that the medicos were known to have nervous breakdowns whenever he walked in for a check up.
“But you have to be one hundred and three years old,” Captain Mortimer gasped, “It’s just not possible.”
“Hundred and six,” Biggles grinned, somehow managing a deaths head grin, “but whose counting?”
“I am!” Mortimer shrieked. “You shouldn’t even be flying!”
“Where there is danger, whenever Britain sends out a need for volunteers,” Biggles stood to attention, “I’ll be there.”
“But you’re dead.”
“Old Blighty need’s me.”
“No, we don’t,” argued Mortimer hopelessly, “We’re fighting peasant boys, armed with twenty-year-old kalashnikovs and pick up trucks. The kill ratio is over a thousand to one. We can’t possibly lose.”
“Traitor!” Biggles spat, then pulled out his Walther P38 and shot Mortimer in the thigh. “Physician, heal thyself.”
Over the years Biggles had shot over fifteen medicos in the leg. It was his way of dealing with the madness of war.
“You shot me?” Mortimer gasped in disbelief.
“Flesh wound. Take two aspirins and don’t see me in the morning. Hate waking up to strange men in my tent.”
“You shot me?” Mortimer still couldn’t get this singular fact into his worldview.
“Look, old man,” Biggles scratched his own ear with the barrel of his Walther P-38, “I’m Biggles, you know Bigglesworth, famous flying Ace, hero of the Ardennes, warrior of the Wehrmacht, sturmtrooper of Stalingrad and all that.”
At that moment the regimental band happened to wander by, as it always did when Biggles got literary, and began playing Land of Hope and Gory.
“This isn’t about me, it’s about Queen, the Empire and cricket at Lords, for there will always be an England. No matter what the danger, a true Englishman will step up to the thin red line, shoulder to shoulder we will stare the fuzzy-wuzzys in the eye and send them to the netherworld. Should the Empire be threatened, should the Australians’ win the Ashes, should the tea be cold, the Biggles will be there.”
“You shot me?” Mortimer sank to the floor.
“Look, are you going to pass me as fit, or do I have to get all kamikaze on your Hippocratic Oath?”
The myth of Biggles had grown so great that even he believed in it.
His Harrier coasted along the river deftly weaving through the sand dunes, for all the world a bird of prey searching for mice and snakes as Biggles liked to think of them. Tracer fire occasionally erupted about him, but this was just what Biggles wanted, as it gave the exact location of his quarry, and he would roar his twin Rolls-Royce Pegasus 107 engines and flip onto his back. Blasting away with the GAU-12/U Equalizer, a five-barrel 25 mm Gatling gun-style rotary cannon, which always seemed to get their attention.
Sometimes he almost landed on top of the enemy, just to roast them with the down blast of the jets. Biggles didn’t hate anyone, he was too well brought up for such a petty emotion, and it was just he didn’t recognize the enemy as people; more along the lines of fast moving targets with legs. Once he had closed in, there was no hope for Mister Abdullah as he called all of them, who simply couldn’t run or dig fast enough, and shooting back at Biggles only made him annoyed, as it meant more holes in the airframe to patch up.
Once he flown so low, he had sanded away the paint and ripped off half the avionics of his plane. Which in turn, annoyed him so much he parked the jet, got out and gave Abdullah a good thrashing; then dragged the poor fellow by the ear and pointed out all the damage that had been done to the plane. The chap was so shocked he offered to clean the windscreen.
Copyright reserved by Jim O’Brien ©