Chains – Chapter Eight

The crowd was densely packed around the old Eagle Mk 2. Children were hoisted upon shoulders, parents craned heads and all chattered to one-another.

“What are they playin at now?” “.. bloody good show though, they ain’t done that for years, long since I were a kid ye’ ken..” “I still says they put our en’s off laying and the bovines off the milk you know..” “..hah you recon they’re goin t’offer rides or summat?”

Euan looked around as he tried to approach the crew office. There were tell tale signs of this being part way through a kind of festival. Overflowing rubbish bins were dotted around the field, small tents and shades popped up here and there, even a handful of barbecues were under way. Over near the hanger a few chords of a barn dance broke through over the chattering of the assembled people.

A man in his late fifties, dressed in a light brown jacket and trousers stood atop a crate a few steps in front of the old fighter.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, today is a new day in the story of our little world. Yesterday those few that heard about us might call us quiet or relaxed. Tomorrow they will call us heroic.”

The man spoke loud and clearly, without any speakers, as was well established his style. Miles Ailby was the elected leader of the regional assembly. Well liked, he had served in either local councils or as mayor for nearly thirty years since taking early retirement from his agri business. There had been rumours these last few months that Miles was about to pack in politics, but this didn’t seem like a farewell fling.

“I defer you now to one of those who will set forth to blaze our trail. Sergeant Moz Bawdry”

Euan’s jaw dropped. Miles stepped aside to reveal Morris. Clad in a purple and black flight suit  he stepped up onto the box. Behind him were assorted others from the Lancers all in the same colours.

“Times are hard, not for so long in our history have we had to worry for piracy or slavery but now we do. We can’t afford to let them catch up to us.”

The chattering from the crowd subsided quickly as hundreds of faces looked up at Morris.

“We’ve kept them away but it has cost us dearly, not just in money or materials but people.”

Nods and whispers greeted this along with audible “here here” and “well said lad” from a few.

“We need to be stronger to defend our little world.”

Morris paused, took a deep breath to compose himself.

“It isn’t just a long overdue airshow today everyone. You are the first to know. Today we tell you all that Breckland is entering the world of racing. Two weeks from now, we will stand, with three ships from here.. on the starting line of the Rat Race. We will take all of your names with us across a hundred stars right there to the finish line.”

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