The death of an emporer
by Mike Haran
Page 1 of 7
The GCI is pleasantly cool, a necessary pre requisite where aircraft are
closing at several thousand miles per hour. Gratefully he sat himself in front
of the terminal , glad to be out of the burning heat .On the balcony above: the
soft tones of Squadron Leader Burgess and Flight Lieutenant Smyth as they
discussed the coming air exercise.
"20000 feet, try not to go below that with the Tornados, the navy will be
coming in from the direction off Crete and they will be on the deck."
"Yes not good on the deck for our chaps, no maneuverability at all down
there is there, no none at all."
The air conditioning buzzed contentedly, teletypes clacked away, the radar
dish turned with a soft hum on its mounting situated high overhead on the
baking black top. He looked at the wall clock. Three o clock exactly. It
reminded him of his dream .A bright blue wave lined ocean seen from a great
height. Upon the waters a double line of ancient sailing craft, the line slowly
turning until it faced the shore. A ship bursting into flames and going
down in smoky a funeral pyre.
The qualifying squad is lined upon the range in the prone position, sandbags
under the right wrist, hand clutching the stock of the personal infantry rifle,
elbow resting upon the hard gravel, the rifle barrel lined up with the small
targets at the end of the one hundred yard shooting range.
A man dressed in khaki wearing, boots, puttees, and a green webbing belt
around his waist presides over his charges laying
prone in front.
"Now when 'ah' say load take the right hand away from the small of the
but, flip open a pouch and take out a mag'. Place the mag' in the magazine port
and then wait for my word of command .D' yees all get that? Good. When 'ah'
say, ready, grab the cocking handle and pull back on the cocking lever. When
'ah' say, fire, push the change lever forward and at your target in front carry
on with single shot application fire in your own time, d' ye get it? Good."
As he repeated the mantra he thought, 'this GDT is a good go, no bullshit
parades, no bullshit inspections and most of all none of that getting out of
bed at Christ knows when in order to be flown to god knows where in order to be
part of a combined services exercise or to put down a fuckin'riot. Still I do
miss being on a squadron. I swear if I hang around these penguins for much
longer I'll go strange.'
" At your target in front, in your own time, carry on."
There is a ragged volley of shots. He counts to twenty.
There is a clacking of cocking handles and a soft whoosh as the actions move
forward under the weapons wooden sheathing.
"Go and collect your targets,"
he orders needlessly as he already knows the results. One wash out, two first
class shots, one qualifier and one marksman, the army re-enlistment.
He moves the binoculars away from the blue square targets towards the almost
painfully blue Mediterranean Sea. Grey glints upon the horizon. A turn on
the focus wheel. Elongated tear drop shapes and raised tail planes. He further
adjusted the wheel. A large ace of spades on the front fuselage just
below the cockpit.
Eighteen miles inland LAC Chattoway hauled on the handle of the squat blue
painted bomb handling dolly .His brown naked back trickles sweat down his spine
and then onto the tops of the KD shorts.Next Page
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 Mike Haran, sffworld.com. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author. The author has submitted the work in accordance with and in agreement with the following Submission Guidelines.