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The Journal of Lt. Morning Gale. Penned by Anon

By CosmicNaute
Created: 18th December 2020 05:12:55 AM

  1. November 7th, 1917.
  2.  
  3. The whole date system these creatures use is still somewhat foreign to me. They say it's been one thousand, nine hundred, and seventeen years since their god walked in this world. I can believe it too... seeing how far they have strayed from the light.
  4.  
  5. Anyway let me introduce myself. I'm Lieutenant Morning Gale, or just Gale. First Pegasus of the Royal British Air Corps. Not by choice, but by "duty".
  6.  
  7. How I came to these lands of warring mechanical monkies is still beyond me, and everyone I meet. Perhaps I died and this is punishment for being such a horrible mare in life, perhaps I got in the way of some great magic, or maybe one of the Princesses just hates me. I do not, and cannot, know. All I know is I was found by my friend, and amanuensis, Anonymous. Several months ago I was found wandering the outskirts of the aerodrome where he's a mechanic. It's kind of funny, he wanted me to start a journal for a while now. For history or something. (*Yes for history, because a talking winged pony who's employed to fight our war should have a log of some kind*).
  8.  
  9. Anyway, continuing, after quite a bit of adjusting on both the human side, and mine, it was determined I could be of use. The people, as they're called here, are flyers. They've built and maintain great, loud, and in my opinion, ugly contraptions to bring them aloft. They use these machines mostly to kill each other or to spy upon the other side. But that's their problem, because the machines are so big and loud they are shot down very frequently. They loose so many planes, and people, every week trying to spy on their enemy they decided to use me. Yes, lucky me. But I'm small, and silent, and from far enough away, even look like a harmless bird... or so I'm told. But they forced my hoof, what am I going to do? Run away? Forsake my only friend in this world to live with stinking rabbits, or worse be sold into their cruel idea of a circus. No, and besides, it almost sounded fun at first...
  10.  
  11. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  12.  
  13. "Is that all you wanted to write in your first entry?"
  14. >You look up from the journal you'd purchased this morning.
  15. >The pony on the cot in front of you is staring into space again.
  16. >The thousand yard stare if you’d ever seen it.
  17. “Gale.”
  18. >No response.
  19. “GALE!”
  20. >Her ear twitches.
  21. “MORNING GALE! You there mate!?”
  22. >She shakes herself out of her stupor.
  23. >”Oh yes, ummm yes, that’s enough for today. Want to get something to drink from the canteen?”
  24. >You’ve seen this before, on the faces of young soldiers, unprepared for the horrors they were forced into.
  25. >You’re lucky, always behind the lines. Just a mere mechanic in a big war.
  26. >But aside from a few fliers and the odd fellow mechanic, she was the closest thing you had to a friend… and you feel like you’re that to her as well.
  27. “Yah, reckon ‘ol Nicky hasn’t shut up shop yet eh?”
  28. >”Nah, come on, it’s only… what time is it?”
  29. >Glancing as your watch.
  30. “Oh, just half past ten… say we still have thirty minutes.”
  31. >She smirks.
  32. >”Bet I can drink more than you before last call.”
  33. “Ay you’re on, little horse.
  34. >She’s been a drinker since you found her.
  35. >Though she’s been imbibing more and more as the weeks wear on.
  36. >But it’s nice having a solid drinking buddy.
  37. >Besides, she always thinks she can handle far more than you, and she’s always wrong.
  38. >You close the fresh book, and place it on her cot.
  39. >She’s already half out the door, waiting on you.
  40. >Following her toward the makeshift bar of your aerodrome you can’t help but wonder why your best friend became a magical flying pony.
  41. >Maybe because your last one died the day before you met her.
  42.  
  43. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  44.  
  45. November 8th, 1917
  46.  
  47. This cold is really starting to get under my feathers. They say it'll get colder though, but it already feels like it should be Hearths Warming Eve. This place I'm in is called "France", and they say it can get much colder here. I liked the warmer months better, but they say those are easily another hundred or more days away. That it will get colder first, the days will get even shorter, and that I should find some kind of jacket. Well I guess I'll try to find a tailor tomorrow to make me something. At least I'm paid well for my duty.
  48.  
  49. Today was the same as most days for me. I woke up early, 7AM, to begin my spying run. That's what I am, a spy. I coated my underbelly in more of the blue powder they gave me. It makes my eyes burn, but it makes me blend into the sky, makes me less of a target for their flying machines and soldiers on the ground. My once long blond tail is nothing more than a stub these days, same with my mane. It needs to be, so it doesn't get in the way, or give me away. I like it. Just less for me to maintain.
  50.  
  51. They made a special camera for me. It fits like a saddle on my back, with the actual camera pivoting forward in front of my face when I need to take a photo. It was a standard run. They told me to fly over the lines, and take photos of anything that looked new or interesting since yesterday. So I did. Some artillery moved, some new looking dug outs, more barbed wire... more death...
  52.  
  53. I could hear the explosions. Even high up in the air. The rumble of dozens of shells exploding in the mud below. The constant chatter of machine guns. The occasional faint scream, carried far by the wind. I'll be one of them one day, we all will.
  54.  
  55. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  56.  
  57. >You put your pen down, glancing toward the pale green pony that's been pacing across the tent.
  58. "You don't really mean that now do yah Gale?"
  59. >She looks up from the floor toward you.
  60. >Her sad green orbs pierce your soul.
  61. >"Every word of it, Anon."
  62. "But you're a bird to the enemy, and I'm a better mechanic than I am a shot."
  63. >"This will consume us all. It already has, don't you see!?"
  64. >She goes back to pacing.
  65. >"We're like little prey in the grip of a griffon. Maybe it won't eat us today, but it looms over us all the time, and one day, it'll come for you and me."
  66. >Her wings rustle nervously.
  67. >What can you do for a little pony caught in a great big war?
  68. >Closing the journal, you shift yourself toward her, looking her in the eye.
  69. "Ay, so it might eat us one day, but are we eaten tonight?"
  70. >She looks up.
  71. >"We're already on the menu."
  72. "So we must be like haggis eh? The last thing anyone would order."
  73. >"Hehe look who's talking you look more like it than me."
  74. "Maybe, but your fried liver and onions."
  75. >You ruffle her cropped mane.
  76. >She smirks at you.
  77. >"Earlier today I saw them carving a horse."
  78. >You withdraw your hand, frowning.
  79. "Lets not think about that eh Gale. Maybe a pint of ale on me?"
  80. >The treat of alcoholic bliss seems to bring a smirk back upon her muzzle.
  81. >"You know I was waiting for you to say something like that."
  82. >Getting up toward the tent flap.
  83. "Ay, what did you need to wait on me for?"
  84. >Following you she replies.
  85. >"I can't always be the one looking for booze, need to know my friends have it just as hard."
  86. >She tosses you a wink and smirk on your way to the 'ol Ace's Pub.
  87.  
  88. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  89.  
  90. November 11th, 1917
  91.  
  92. Today Robert Baron died. He was a fellow flier, a near ace, and almost a friend of mine. I didn't see it happen, but I heard enough about it from his squadron earlier today. He was wing-man to our local ace Freddy "The Butcher", and arguably gave his life for Freddie's. Damn it, damn it all! I hate Freddy! Rob was an alright man. He talked to me, treated me like a pilot, even bought me beer on occasions. Damn Freddy is just fine skilled filth. He cares about himself more than his comrades... But his comrades care about each other more than themselves. I'd butcher "The Butcher" if I'd ended up on the other side of the lines... But I wouldn't, because I'm part of this side. Nor do I wish him dead, because that is a cruel thing to do, and no one deserves it. Rather I just wish he had a little more heart... But if he did I'm sure it would have been Rob telling me of Freddie's death. Blast this whole war, blast these friends I always loose, blast it all! I'm still here though, and I'll keep taking photos of those trenches, and I'll keep letting our boys know where to go so they don't die as much, and so they can kill more.
  93.  
  94. I really do wish I was home, that I'd never met any of these humans, that I'd never been wrapped up in their horrible war. I wish I was still that trouble making mare from the suburbs of Cloudsdale. That I was still making lighting to scare the foals, that I was still causing a riot by crying "griffon!" in the festivals... I wish I was still a pony at heart. But no, its been ripped out. Ripped out and replaced by something I can't even understand. I want to kill whoever killed Rob.
  95.  
  96. But that's not what a pony would wish... Am I a pony? Rob knew me since nearly the day I arrived, and I knew him. We laughed, we drank, and we lived. He was a friend of everyone, even Anon, the grumpy (*not very grumpy*) mechanic. It's funny this is the first time I mention him in this journal. If someone were to read this they'd wonder who Rob was. Maybe I'll write about more of my friends while they're still alive. Just to remember them when they aren't anymore. When none of us are anymore.
  97.  
  98. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  99.  
  100. >You close the book once more, resting back in your chair. You glance toward an exhausted pegasus sitting in the middle of the tent.
  101. >She's looking down, at nothing, and everything, again.
  102. "Hey Gale, you doing fine since 'ol Rob bit the dust?
  103. >She falls on her side, looking up to you with teary eyes.
  104. >"Do you think I'm fine?
  105. "Err better than the buggers in the trenches I'd say."
  106. >"Heh, yes, but no."
  107. >She rolls over, away from you.
  108. >"I don't know. He was a good guy, a happy guy, why'd he have to go and die?"
  109. >You get down to sit next to her on the worn rug.
  110. "I can't say. It's madness, all of it, but he flew head first into it every day."
  111. >"Yah..."
  112. "And you know, he saw his mates die just the same, he hated seeing it you know."
  113. >"Yah..."
  114. >You move closer, petting the side of her head.
  115. "He saw more friends die than any being ever should. He'd tell me about it over drinks. He'd laugh his hearty, sad, laugh."
  116. >"Yah..."
  117. "And he'd drink until he forgot, and he'd go right back into the skies the next day. Hell he'd joke about his dead comrades the next night!"
  118. >"Yah..."
  119. >She turned over to face you, tears staining her muzzle.
  120. "That's how he'd deal with the loss of his friends. 'Ol Nick just deals with it by being cold and distant, not caring, or at least not showing it.
  121. >She nodded, pushing herself against you.
  122. "But Rob, he told me this once. He told me he'd want people to joke about him if he died. Because what good is feeling sad about something you can't change? Better to just try to squeeze a laugh out of anything that happened."
  123. >"Heh sounds like him..."
  124. "Ay. And you know he'd be wanting you to remember him as the red faced drunk he was at night. The one who started a fight with a helmet on a prop, the one who got his ass handed to him by a rogue supply mule. Instead of the serious faced man of war he was in the mornings.
  125. >She was smiling now, her eyes closed in remembrance.
  126. "And tomorrow night we'll tell jokes about him, as he did about the men who died before him."
  127. >She stirred, and looked up at you.
  128. >"As you will about me when I'm dead?"
  129. >You went cold for a moment, frozen.
  130. >But you recovered quick, and smiled down at the little creature resting against your side.
  131. "Ay, I'll tell 'em what a stubborn block head 'ye were."
  132. >She smiled and settled back down.
  133. >"Thanks..."
  134. ...
  135. >The two of you sat there for a few minutes, resting against each other.
  136. >It was you who broke the silence first.
  137. "So you want to grab a few beers before they close?"
  138. >She lazily pushed into you more.
  139. >"No... not tonight. Could you just... just hold me some more?"
  140. >You wrap an arm around her, and bring her closer.
  141. "Ay Gale, ay."
  142. >"Anon?"
  143. "Yes?"
  144. >"I'm afraid to die."
  145. "Me too Gale, me too."
  146. >You pause, looking up contemplatively.
  147. "But I would if I had to."
  148. >She protests, raising her eyes to meet yours.
  149. >"You can't die, not before me."
  150. "Heh I won't. I'm just a mechanic. But you can't die either.
  151. >"What if I do?"
  152. "Then I'd have to follow you I guess."
  153.  
  154. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  155.  
  156. November 12th, 1917
  157.  
  158. Today I took more than just my camera equipment with me on my spying run. I also took two small bombs. Hell I call them small, each must have weighed twenty pounds, and nearly kept me from being able to take off. The commander didn’t seem to have a problem when I asked for a few of the smallest bombs we had this morning. Didn’t even ask why I wanted them. Well he probably didn’t need to ask… What else was I going to do with a few bombs? Try to go fishing! I don’t even eat fish.
  159.  
  160. I wanted some kind of revenge for Rob. Even though he was killed by one of their flyers, I just wanted some kind of catharsis. To take out this anger, this sadness, this everything I’ve been made to feel, upon the enemy. So it went. I took off just a few minutes after my normal time, and was soaring high over no-mans land soon enough. It looked like the Huns had tried some kind of advance over the night. The first line of our trenches were over run, and there were a lot of fresh machine gun nests. Our boys were being hammered hard by them. I took pictures of everything that looked important. I took a lot of pictures today.
  161.  
  162. Anyway, after the photoshoot I decided on a few good targets for my… presents. There was a forward machinegun nest that was set up in a shell crater operated by two of them. They were firing away at anything that moved. Probably spooked by every little move, being that close to the enemy line and all. Not like they could really tell, but most of the people in the trench opposite of them weren’t anywhere near where they fired. But that’s beside the point. I didn’t really think about much. I just sort of stopped midair above them. Hovering, as I lined up the drop. There wasn’t a wind today, so it made it easy for me, even though I was more than a thousand feet above them. I pulled the pin, and just sort of let go. I watched it the whole time as it fell, like a rock. I watched as one of them raised his head, probably hearing the little whistle it made as it plummeted. And I watched as pieces of them flew everywhere.
  163.  
  164. They were the first humans I’ve ever killed. And in that moment I don’t think I really felt anything. The other bomb I had went into their trench. It exploded like the last, but I don’t know if it had the same effect… I turned away when I dropped it… I thought I heard a faint scream though. But it could have been anyone screaming for any reason.
  165.  
  166. When I got back to base a little while later I cried for what I’d done.
  167.  
  168. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  169.  
  170. >”No no! Erase that last bit. I don’t want it. I don’t want people to read it.”
  171. >You look up to Gale. She’s sitting on her cot, head held in both of her hooves.
  172. “You know this is written in ink Gale.”
  173. >”I don’t care! Cross it out then.”
  174. >You grimace.
  175. “You sure ‘ye want me to do that? It almost makes you sound… you know… human, errr pony… alive?”
  176. >You’re not quite sure how to put it, but you like the last line.
  177. >”I don’t want to be human! And I really don’t want to be pony either.”
  178. >She tosses herself over.
  179. >You turn in your chair to look at the sad form, lying in her cot, faced away from you.
  180. “Well ‘ye know, you just so happen to be one of ‘em, and you’re becoming more of the other each day.”
  181. >She lets out a single sob, but pulls it back in, turning to face you.
  182. >”Ponies don’t kill, and all humans do IS kill.”
  183. >Your frown deepens as you hunch yourself forward in the chair.
  184. “Ay, so it seems we do. But there is a lot more to humans than just killing you know?”
  185. >”Heh like what? I haven’t seen much of it.”
  186. “Well we do a lot of things you ponies do, or at least what yah tell me they do.”
  187. >”Like?”
  188. “For starters we laugh, and play, and love, just like you ponies.”
  189. >She glances to the side.
  190. >”Yah, I’ve laughed with you, and seen kids play in town… but where is the love in your world?”
  191. >You sigh, looking down.
  192. “War makes it scarce, lass.”
  193. >You notice she’s looking at you.
  194. “But when there isn’t war it’s everywhere. It’s in the way a young couple walks with each other, the way a father plays with his children, the way a grandmother looks at her grandchildren, and how a child can look into the woods, and imagine a whole new land…”
  195. >Is that a tear forming in your eye?
  196. >A sly swipe of a hand dismisses any sign of emotion you may have inadvertently shown.
  197. >You look back up to her, and she’s still staring at you, but something’s different, even odd.
  198. >She’s smiling, a genuine smile… something you haven’t seen from her in months.
  199. >”Don’t stop, Anon. Tell me more.”
  200. >You can’t disappoint her.
  201. >You recline back, closing your eyes while you think.
  202. “Ahhh well we humans are like ponies in a lot of ways… maybe we just feel certain negative emotions a wee bit more strong than your lot. But love, I think every creature feels that one. I would see it sometimes in the birds that would nest back on my farm. I’d see it in the eyes of my parents when they would talk at night… I thought I saw it in the eyes of my friends sometimes… in better times. Really, I think it’s what stops us from killing one another. It’s what makes us want to share in the joys of the world instead of fight over them. It’s what makes us want to live.”
  203. >You look back to her; she’s silently crying again.
  204. “What’s the matter Gale?”
  205. >She flinches.
  206. >”I don’t want to live, not with what I’ve done, not as myself…”
  207. >You shake your head, and walk over to her.
  208. >The poor little pony…
  209. >You take a seat next to her.
  210. “Ay, but I do want to live with you as you, regardless of what you’ve done.”
  211. >”Do you mean it? Even though I’ve killed people?”
  212. “Did you not want to live with ‘ol Rob just because he’d killed people?”
  213. >She shakes her head.
  214. “Then why shouldn’t I want to live with you?”
  215. >”B-because I can’t live with myself.”
  216. “Well that’s just something you’re gunna have to learn ta live with then.”
  217. >”Yah…” She sighs, and gets up.
  218. >She roots through a trunk under her cot for a second and proceeds to pull out a bottle of absinthe and two cups.
  219. >”Would you help me with this… you know, hooves and wings and all.”
  220. >You smile at your friend.
  221. “Sure.”
  222. >”Also… could you maybe sleep here tonight?”
  223. “Hrmmm?”
  224. >”Just so I don’t think about the people I killed. Could you please?”
  225. “Ay Gale. I’d be happy to.”
  226. >"Heh bet old Rob would kick you in the pants if he heard you'd slept with me."
  227. "He would, if he wouldn't kick a tree thinking it was me, the 'ol drunk!
  228. >"Ha and he'd kick it again because it hurt his foot!"
  229. >You can't stop yourself from smiling as you pour out a few shots, handing one to her.
  230. >"A cheers eh?"
  231. "Ay a cheers to Rob!"
  232. >"To Rob!"
  233. >You down your drinks, gagging on the heavy alcohol content.
  234. "Another?"
  235. >"You know it."
  236. >You pour the next round.
  237. "A cheers to the dead."
  238. >"Yes to the dead!"
  239. >Another awful wash of 70% alcohol.
  240. >"Another!"
  241. >And so another round is poured.
  242. >"A cheers to the living!"
  243. "To those still among us!"
  244. >A gag and cough.
  245. >"A-and one more"
  246. >You oblige.
  247. >"To us and all those who will be with Rob one day!"
  248. "Ay to us and those who will be dead one day!"
  249. >The burning and gagging sensation almost feel natural at this point.
  250. >You and her share a canteen of water to dull the sensation.
  251. >And not more then fifteen minutes later your both fast asleep on her cot, huddled together for mutual comfort.
  252.  
  253. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  254.  
  255. November 13th, 1917
  256.  
  257. Commander made me stay at base today. Probably because he saw my little breakdown when I got back yesterday. He told me to take a day off, that they’d just send a normal spy plane in my place. I didn’t like it very much; a normal plane is a lot easier to see and to shoot down than me. But they did make it back in the afternoon, so at least I didn’t cause anyone else to die today.
  258.  
  259. In other news we got some new planes today, and some new pilots. Nothing but the best for our little air corps. Five Sopwith Camels with five pilots so fresh they look ready for high school classes. There’s a pattern I’ve noticed going on with our squadron. Every time we lose five planes and pilots, we get five new planes and pilots. Ol’ Rob was the fifth out of the latest cycle. I doubt any of these new pilots will be anywhere near as good as he was.
  260.  
  261. Freddy went pretty hard on them, telling them they have to learn to do everything on the ground before they could even think of taking their new planes on a test flight. He chewed them out, yelled them down, and when one was so bold as to ask him a question, the old ace slapped him across the head with a stick. I think Freddy misses Rob too. He’s been acting a bit rougher around the edges lately. Rob was one of the only people who had been with him when the squadron was formed. And he was the last of the original fliers who was still around, other than Freddy of course. I almost feel bad for the bastard.
  262.  
  263. I met a few of the recruits today. They were naturally taken aback by my good looks and charm… Anyway once they got used to me they actually were a pretty friendly bunch. They seem spunky, and full of life. Something I haven’t seen in quite a while. But come to think of it, all the new flyers are so energetic until they actually go out on their first patrol. They seem like good friends among themselves, probably went through some kind of basic training together or something. The veteran pilots are distant as always.
  264.  
  265. I still believe in trying to make a friend or two if I can, but then again I haven’t been here as long as Freddy or Anon. There’s one who seemed more interested in me than the rest, Patrick. He told me he came from a horse farm, that his whole family kept and maintained dozens of horses, that they were all taken by the military for the war effort two years ago. Poor guy, his whole family has it rough, and he sends all his money back home. The only reason he became a flyer is because the pay is better than anything else he could do. I felt bad enough for the kid that I bought him a drink earlier today. I doubt he’s ever had whiskey before, the way he coughed. It made me and Anon smile. So we kept buying him more and more until he couldn’t walk straight. I wonder if any of the other recruits were jealous of all the free drinks we gave him?
  266.  
  267. I hope Patrick makes it through this. He’s a good kid… but Rob was a good man.
  268.  
  269. I guess it’s also worth mentioning the tailor finally finished my new jacket and pants. Took a week, but they’re damn nice if I do say so. Gray blue belly and legs, dull green on top, good sized holes for my wings, wool lined, fluffy collar, not very loose, and the pants have a nice little hole for my tail too. However, I don’t really like pants. They just feel weird on my legs, but they’ll keep my plot warm in the air though. The whole ensemble should keep me properly warm. The best part is I don’t have to coat myself in that awful camouflaging powder anymore.
  270.  
  271. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  272.  
  273. >”That’s enough for tonight I think.”
  274. >She trots over to you, still wearing her new coat, minus the pants.
  275. >You put down the fountain pen, letting the fresh ink dry.
  276. >You feel her collapse against your leg, so you turn to see the pony resting against you.
  277. “So you think you’ll really be friends with this Patrick eh?”
  278. >She sighs, knowing what you mean.
  279. >”I think it’s too late Anon. We already got him drunk. We’re his buddies now”
  280. >You chuckle, remembering how red his face got.
  281. “Ay we did, and he held his liquor better than some.”
  282. >You jostle the leg she’s resting against.
  283. >”That was once! Can’t you forget it? I’m sure you’ve had to puke too in the past.”
  284. “Heh but not when your around.”
  285. >”Sure, sure, not yet at least.”
  286. “Not yet.”
  287. >There’s a moment of silence that floods the air between you.
  288. >”So how long do you think it’ll be until we drink for Patrick?”
  289. >You slump forward, resting your head on your hands.
  290. “I don’t want to think about it.”
  291. >”You know it’ll happen.”
  292. “Why’s it have to happen Gale? One out of every five always seems to make it.”
  293. >”Right… but you know that game, the one they say the Russians play?”
  294. “Ay I do. Where they put a bullet in a revolver and pass it around until one dies.”
  295. >You shiver, and your pretty sure you feel her as well through her coat.”
  296. >”Yah, that one. It’s like that with the new pilots… Only they put four bullets in the gun before playing.”
  297. >You lean back in the chair.
  298. “So what makes you think Patrick can’t be the lucky one in this case?”
  299. >She shifts a bit against your leg.
  300. >”Because he’s too nice. He sends all his money home, he has a loving family, he spoke to me before I spoke to him… The ones you never want to die always die, and the ones you do want to die always live.”
  301. >You slide off the chair to sit with your side against hers on the dirty old rug.
  302. “You know, I once heard a story that ‘ol Freddy wasn’t always so mean.”
  303. >”Really?” She stretches herself against you, yawing as she does so.
  304. “Ay, but it’s just a rumor. He’d been here a whole year before I arrived back around two years ago.”
  305. >She sits up resting her head on your shoulder.
  306. >”He’s been here a while, he’s grown old here.”
  307. “He has. He’s watched his whole life fly by here.”
  308. >”Watched as his youth ended, as him and his friends grew old, as all his friends died before him.”
  309. >You wrap an arm around Gale.
  310. “And now he’s an old man watching today’s youth waste their lives away.”
  311. >”Should we buy him a drink? Give ‘em the old Patrick Special?”
  312. >You chuckle a bit at the idea.
  313. “We could try… but ye’ know, I’ve never seen him drink.”
  314. >You feel her head shift some.
  315. >”Well lets, and if he isn’t in the pub tonight, at least we can drink for him.”
  316. “Haha, now that’s a plan, Gale!”
  317. >Forcing yourselves up, Gale heads for the tent entrance first.
  318. >You linger to eye the journal for a second. You brush a finger over the now dry ink before closing it.
  319. >The next hour is spent drinking with your best friend.
  320. >Freddy wasn’t in the pub of course.
  321. >That night she wanted you to sleep with her again.
  322. >So you did.
  323.  
  324. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  325.  
  326. November 14th, 1917
  327.  
  328. I went back out today on my normal run. Freddy didn’t go out today though. I noticed him talking with the commander before I took to the air. I think Commander wants him to stay out of the air for a little while longer. Just as well, maybe he can teach the new recruits some actual skills they’ll need. Not like the pushups and button polishing I’m sure they were taught in basic. Speaking of them, I saw them running laps around base today. Patrick seemed a bit slower than the rest. Probably the hangover we gave him, I’m sure.
  329.  
  330. It was cloudy today, and the air had a cold moist feeling. I’m glad I’ve got my new jacket and pants. I like the clouds, it gives me things to hide in, and observe from. No chance of being spotted when I’m deep in a cloud with just my face and camera sticking out. Sunny days are the worst. There’s never anywhere to hide, and I usually have to fly higher so there’s less chance of me being spotted. And if an enemy flier were to ever see me on a sunny day… I don’t know what I’d do.
  331.  
  332. The front seems to be back to it’s old self too today. Our boys pushed them back to the normal lines yesterday. And things seem to have settled down on the ground. The chatter of gun fire is less today, and the mortars don’t seem to be falling as fast as they usually do. I guess both sides tired themselves out the past few days. Maybe they just ran out of people to fire the guns and mortars. Regardless, it could almost be called serene for a few minutes between distant explosions. I took pictures of how their lines had changed, but I’m sure they look very similar to the pictures I took a week ago.
  333.  
  334. I also got to observe a little bit of a dogfight today. I heard it begin before I saw it. It stated a couple hundred yards away, and below me. IT looked like a French plane was trailing a German fighter. He must have dropped out of the clouds to surprise him. The German plane was slower, and he was maneuvering hard. The French got a lot of shots into his tail, but he didn’t go down as fast as I thought he would. He was trying to get over his lines as fast as he could. It looked like the Frenchie was going to get a kill. Well that was until they got over the German lines, and their flak cannons opened up on them. I’ve got to admit; they have a few good shots on the ground over there. One shell hit the French guy dead on, and he burst into hundreds of little flaming pieces. The German craft was quick to land behind their lines, trailing lots of thick smoke. I took a few pictures of their flak cannons from my cloud observatory. Hopefully our artillery will make quick work of them.
  335.  
  336. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  337.  
  338. >She’s sitting next to you on another chair looking into the distance as she finishes narrating to you.
  339. >You can tell she’s finished for today in the way she pauses so long.
  340. >You could almost see the French plane bursting into pieces in the reflection of her glazed over eyes.
  341. >You reach out to shake her shoulder.
  342. >She snaps her head to the side quickly, coming out of her daze, and looking at you.
  343. “Enough for today eh Gale?”
  344. >”Yah I think that’s all I wanted to say.”
  345. “Ha, what more could you write about?”
  346. >She gets a devious grin on her face.
  347. >”Oh I could have had you write about how I took a shit over the enemy lines today.”
  348. >You smirk at her.
  349. “And what makes ‘ye think I’d actually pen that for you?”
  350. >She rubs a hoof on the side of her head in mock contemplation.
  351. >”Oh what was that thing you said a few days ago? That it would make me sound more… What was it? More ‘pony… human… alive’?”
  352. >She’s grinning at you.
  353. “Hoh yah, it sure makes you sound alive… But only a pony would crap on a man!”
  354. >She sticks her tongue out at you.
  355. >”And only a man would write about a pony taking a crap.”
  356. “Not I, little horse.”
  357. >”Then what are you?”
  358. “I… Ummm”
  359. >This makes you think a bit harder than usual.
  360. >Of course you’re a man, a human, but you didn’t much enjoy identifying yourself with the same thing that was killing itself with such vigor.
  361. “I’m a mechanic.”
  362. >”Heh, and I’m a spy. Doesn’t make us different than what we are deep down.”
  363. >You look over to her, she’s looking down again.
  364. “Ay, and what’s that?”
  365. >She sighs.
  366. >”I don’t know.”
  367. >The two of you sit together in silence for a few moments.
  368. >”Hey Anon. Want to see if Pat is still up?”
  369. “Ha I bet not. After last night and the hell Freddy put ‘em through today.”
  370. >She gets up and pokes you with a hoof.
  371. >”Still, lets see. If not, maybe Freddy will be in the pub.”
  372. >You sit forward, hunched over.
  373. “I doubt that one too. But lets. I could go for a pint or two.”
  374. >”Me too.”
  375. >You get up, and walk toward the tent flap with her.
  376. “You know, I don’t know what will kill us first. The war, or the booze.”
  377. >”I don’t care anymore, they’re both poison.”
  378. >That night you and her slept apart, in your own beds.
  379. >She had nightmares.
  380. >You felt cold and empty.
  381.  
  382. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  383.  
  384. November 15th, 1917
  385.  
  386. It snowed today. The first snow I’ve ever seen in this world. It looks a lot like the snow back in Equestria. It was wonderful actually. Made me feel like a little filly when I first walked outside this morning. It was still snowing actually. The snow only stopped maybe an hour after I got back from my spying run. Yes, I still had a duty to do, even though the snow kept all the other fliers grounded today. Really though, I couldn’t have been happier. I still did my duty. But without the threat of an enemy craft spotting me, I could actually enjoy it.
  387.  
  388. I noticed, when I was over the lines, the snow seemed to have a similar effect on the guys in the trenches. It was even quieter than it was yesterday, and no-mans land looked so peaceful all covered in white. There were only a very few fresh shell craters where the snow had been turned up and made muddy. I like this, I like it a lot. I wish it would snow every day. And keep snowing until both sides are so frozen they have no option but to end this whole war. I hardly took any pictures today. There was nothing to really take pictures of. It was just so silent up in the clouds.
  389.  
  390. When I got back to base the guys were having a snowball fight. Anon got me good as soon as I landed. Though commander wasn’t too happy, saying my camera gear is too valuable, and it might get damaged or something. A few minutes later, when I'd taken my gear off, I flew over him and pelted him with a few of my own. Funny thing is he threw one back at me too. Nearly hit me, but I’m just too quick. The quickest Pegasus in the whole world right here. Commander didn’t stay around for any more of the festivities though, went back into his officers’ quarters and probably smoked a cigar or something with the other higher ups.
  391.  
  392. The rest of us, well the fun loving ones among us, stayed outside to enjoy the weather. Pat and the other recruits were having one hell of a time in the snow. Anon, I, and some others from around base couldn’t help but join in.  We had one bloody good snowball match that stretched the whole airfield. We made sides, and built up snow fortifications. Pat, Me, Anon, and two other mechanics versus the rest of the recruits and another flyer. I was the bomber, dropping loads of snow on the enemies while the others ducked and dodged. I don’t think I’ve had as much fun in my life. One of the other recruits has a pretty good arm on him. I think his name is Oliver or something. Anyway he got me right good in the chest with a snowball. Wonder if he’s as good behind a gun?
  393.  
  394. Afterwards we all went to the old pub. Nicky, the ever-imaginative bartender, had a special drink for us on account of the snow. Ice cold whiskey in a cup full of snow. It was actually wonderful. I only had one though. Same for Anon. We just find it’s a bit more fun to watch others get drunk in the afternoon than get drunk ourselves. This way we can always go back later once all the kids have tired themselves out.
  395.  
  396. After we left I saw Freddy in the snow. I didn’t talk to him, I didn’t think I should. He was out behind the tents lying in the field of fresh snow. It looked like he was making a snow angle, but he wasn’t moving. He was smoking a cigarette, the only reason I noticed him in the dark. Is it wrong that I wanted to hug him? I bet he was thinking about his first snow on base. But I can’t know. If I make it through this all, I’ll probably be like him. Just lying in the snow one day, remembering.
  397.  
  398. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  399.  
  400. >She paused her long pause again, so you put down your pen.
  401. >She was lying on her cot facing you.
  402. >You felt your curiosity welling up.
  403. “So, you went from wanting to kill Freddy a few days ago to wanting to hug him… What changed?”
  404. >She stretched and yawned some.
  405. >”Errrr… I don’t know, maybe me. Maybe I just realized he’s not who he is by choice, but necessity.”
  406. >You get up and walk towards her.
  407. “Maybe, but Rob was still jovial. He didn’t need to feel so, well, so mean.”
  408. >You sit on the cot, and she pushes herself over, making room for you.
  409. >”Yah, and you see where the old guy is now.”
  410. “Ay.”
  411. >You lie down next to her, and she wraps a foreleg around you.
  412. “So it’s a war won by the ones with the coldest hearts now eh?”
  413. >”I think so.”
  414. >You bring an arm behind her shoulder, and puller her into your side.
  415. >She snuggles back.
  416. >”Anon.”
  417. “Gale.”
  418. >”I dreamt about them last night. The two Germans I killed.”
  419. “What was the dream?”
  420. >She turned a bit in your arm, staring up at the top of the tent.
  421. >”I can’t remember all of it. But what I do remember is that it was them in the crater, but they were kids. It wasn’t a machinegun they were firing, but instead a broom. They were playing, and I wanted to join them… So I did, by dropping a pinecone on them. Then it exploded, and I saw them as men again, with their guts everywhere. But they were still alive, they were looking at me in horror and pain. I tried to fly away, but I couldn’t. I was just stuck there, stuck in the crater with the horrors I’d created.”
  422. >She was shivering heavily, and her foreleg felt cold.
  423. >You grabbed for a blanket by your feet, and pulled it over the two of you.
  424. >You went back to holding her, trying to warm her up a little, and comfort her.
  425. “It was just a dream, Gale. They probably felt nothing when it happened.”
  426. >”But it was real!” She yells.
  427. >Quickly she silences herself, obviously not intending to yell so loud.
  428. >You feel another series of shivers wrack her body.
  429. >She’s silent while her body calms.
  430. >As she tries to get herself back under control you feel your mind drift back a little, to the time you got leave a half year ago.
  431. >When you were at the train station you saw a bunch of the freshly wounded being loaded onto a train car.
  432. >Covered in bandages soaked with blood, missing limbs, still moaning in occasional washes of agony.
  433. >They were forever damaged, never to know the full human experience again.
  434. >Maybe those Germans were lucky that they had died so fast.
  435. >Little to no pain or suffering.
  436. >No life spent as half a person.
  437. >No endless struggles of being a cripple.
  438. >Yah, that’s the best way to go.
  439. >Might not have even known it was coming.
  440. >You feel that Gale has calmed again, her body still save for a tender heartbeat and shallow, rhythmic, breathing.
  441. >her eyes are closed, she looks so serene.
  442. >Might as well do the same.
  443. >But first.
  444. >You gingerly get up to blow out the lamp.
  445. >As you do so there’s a whimper from the cot.
  446. >”Don’t go…”
  447. >You blow the lamp out, and reply by getting back into the cot.
  448. >She instinctively wraps a hoof around you.
  449. >You toss the blankets back over the two of you.
  450. >A moment later you’re both in a sound, dreamless, sleep.
  451.  
  452. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  453.  
  454. November 16th, 1917
  455.  
  456. Today was nothing like yesterday, as much as I wished it had been. The day started off early, as they always do. But Commander had everyone on base clearing the snow off the main airstrip in the morning. Everyone save for me. No joking around, no laughing. He wanted a patrol to take off by lunch. However, I still had my same old spy routine to accomplish. So I did.
  457.  
  458. It was sunny and cloudless today, but there was no one else in the sky thankfully. Just me alone with my thoughts, trying to look as much like a bird as possible. The trenches were active today, and I got a number of photos of where they seemed to move machinegun nests, a few sniper looking spots, the beginnings of a new bunker or dug out, among other interesting things. The snow in no-mans land wasn’t nice and white anymore. There were great scars across the land from shells, and what looked like a charge. I saw a number of fresh bodies on top the snow. It was impossible to miss them, like little motionless ants on a white wall.
  459.  
  460. The artillery was booming at it’s usual pace again. Often I’d hear a whistle followed by a great boom, and a column of mud would burst maybe a hundred feet into the air. I don’t even know why they waste so many shells. They almost never hit anyone. I can only guess it’s just to keep everyone down there nervous. Though they also have the side effect of slowly burying the dead. Maybe that’s why they do it.
  461.  
  462. When I was flying back I caught sight of Freddy’s squadron on their way out to patrol the lines. The commander must have drove them like slaves to get the whole strip cleared in such a time. As I came in for a landing I noticed the recruits were practicing on a machinegun. Really I heard the chatter of the gun long before I saw them. It was setup in a mock cockpit, and they were taking turns in it. One would shoot maybe twenty rounds, while the others jostled and shoved the wooden frame around. I don’t think they were getting many shots on target. But I didn’t stay long enough for them to notice me.
  463.  
  464. Anon and the other mechanics had it pretty busy in the afternoon too. The day off and cold seemed to make the planes even more difficult to start than normal. It took them quite a while to get the second patrol’s fighters going, and even than one had to return to base after takeoff because of engine troubles. He says the plane may take a whole day to get back into proper flying condition.
  465.  
  466. I spent most of the rest of the day alone in the pub. Nicky is always nice to talk to for a while, but he’s never got too much to say. More of just an old ear who will give you a drink now and again, or an apple if you ask kind enough. Ha! I wonder if it’s a horse stereotype to ask for an apple? Well probably, if horses could speak. No one was free for a snowball match today, but at least I could get another snow whiskey or two.
  467.  
  468. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  469.  
  470.  
  471. >She finishes another lap of her tent, walking back towards you.
  472. >”That’s enough for tonight I think.”
  473. >You set down the pen, and lean back in the chair letting out a great yawn as you do so.
  474. >It had been a mighty long and hard day for you.
  475. “Ahhhhh…. Blimy, what a rough day you had eh?”
  476.  >She turns her back to you, flicking her tail.
  477. >”Oh shut up you. Would you like to be a spy flying over no-mans land every day?”
  478. >Getting up from the chair, you stager past her to her cot.
  479. ”Ay, if it would keep Commander from yelling at me to shovel faster ‘for The King’.”
  480. >You collapse on the “bed”.
  481. >She fixes you with a glare.
  482. >”No, you wouldn’t.”
  483. >You roll over, away from her judgmental gaze.
  484. “Yes, I would. “
  485. >You hear her flutter over to you, landing inches away from the cot.
  486. >”Do you want to see a thousand dead men every day!? Do you want to see people run into machinegun fire from a thousand feet in the air!? Do you want to constantly worry about being seen, and shot down into that hell!?”
  487. >You roll back over, and give her a sad look.
  488. >She’s panting heavily, wings flared.
  489. “Ya’ know I would want it all if it would mean I’d be closer to you during the days.”
  490. >Her visage of anger contorts as her wings droop, and her whole body seems to go limp.
  491. >”Oh…” she meekly sighs.
  492. “You know I worry about you right? Every day you go out, I think you might not come back.”
  493. >She’s looking down, haunches on the ground.
  494. “It’s true. I don’t want to think about it, but I always do. You’re my best friend yah know.”
  495. >You see a little smile flash across the corner of her muzzle, but it quickly fades.
  496. >”You’re mine too.”
  497. >She pauses for a moment, before looking back up to you, sadness filling her big green orbs.
  498. >”Sorry I make you worry so much.”
  499. >You reach out a hand to frazzle her mane.
  500. “Don’t feel sorry for me, you’ve enough to feel sorry about already.”
  501. >She looks back down.
  502. >”Yah.”
  503. >She gets up, and trots to the lamp on her desk.
  504. >As she does, so she turns back to you for a moment.
  505. >”But Anon, can you promise me something?”
  506. “What is it Gale?”
  507. >”Don’t become a flier.”
  508. >You frown.
  509. >She blows out the lamp.
  510. >”At least, not before I die… I don’t want to be alone again.”
  511. >You hear her trotting back to you.
  512. “But why would you make me be alone again?”
  513. >She climbs in next to you.
  514. >”Because. I’m selfish.
  515. >You feel her lips press against the side of your cheek, and her foreleg wrap around your chest.
  516. “At least you know what you are.”
  517. >You pull her against yourself, as she hums a reply into your neck.
  518. >Sleep comes easy to the two of you tonight.
  519.  
  520. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  521.  
  522. November 17th 1917
  523.  
  524. It was another typical day as a spy pony. Early to wake, in the sky at the crack of dawn, take some pictures of the front, back home for a late lunch. Nothing I can really say about today aside from one remarkable barrage of artillery. I can’t say why, but it seemed that the German guns were really interested in one part of the front today. They were bombarding it the entire time I was in the air. I can only assume they launched an attack after I left.
  525.  
  526. When I got back to base and offloaded my negatives to the Commander I decided to check up on the recruits.  They were in a tactics class today. I was curious so I sat in with them. The instructor went over things like how to sneak up on your enemy, how to use the sun to your advantage, what to do if you’re being tailed. Actually rather fascinating stuff if you ask me. A few of the recruits, including Oliver, weren’t too attentive. Though the instructor was quick to remind them to stay alert with the threat of a meter stick to the head.  I couldn’t help but chuckle when Oliver got whacked. He made the saddest little yelp.
  527.  
  528. After class the recruits and I headed to the pub and got some food and drinks. Anon couldn’t join, still too busy with repairing the craft that had engine trouble yesterday. He says it’ll need a whole new engine which might take a week or two to get here, and another whole day to install. Anyway, times were good this afternoon. We played pool for a few hours and I learned the rest of their names. Aside from Patrick (still my favorite) and Oliver, there’s Lawrence, Edward, and Cyril. When he’s not drunk Pat is actually pretty good at pool. I, however, didn’t do too well. I blame hooves.
  529.  
  530. Really, if every day is like this I could actually get used to things. But they aren’t. Though I’ve got to say this is a nice lull in activities. Did I mention it was mostly cloudy today? Yah, today’s been a pretty good day, if there is such a thing as a “good day” anymore.
  531.  
  532. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  533.  
  534. “Well now, so it is possible for you to have a good day after all?”
  535. >She’s sitting on her haunches on a chair next to you.
  536. >”Oh haha!” She mocks.
  537. >”You know I used to have lots of good days before I found myself here.”
  538. >You set down the pen.
  539. “Ay, and so did I before all this happened too.”
  540. >”You’re one to speak, always behind the lines.”
  541. >You recline, yawning some.
  542. “It’s never a good day when there’s a risk your friend might die.”
  543. >She emulates your yawn.
  544. >”Well there can be better days.”
  545. “Maybe, but you know war’s always got a way of finding you.”
  546. >She sighs.
  547. >”It usually finds me in my dreams.”
  548. >You look over to her downcast figure.
  549. “And how have those dreams been going for you lately?”
  550. >She looks up to you, a shimmer of a smile on her muzzle.
  551. >”Not so bad when you’re here.”
  552. >You smile a little too.
  553. “Glad to help.”
  554. >Her smile grows as she chuckles a little.
  555. >”And you’re pretty good at keeping me warm too.”
  556. >You smile, reaching an arm out to frazzle her mane.
  557. “And I can say the same about you… I think the other guys are getting envious of us.”
  558. >She instinctively rubs into your hand as you scratch her ear.
  559. >”I’d be too if I was all cold and alone in a cot while my mate’s snuggling some magic horse.”
  560. “I can’t blame them really. They’ve started to joke about it too. Telling me I smell like horse.”
  561. >She raises a leg, sniffing curiously at herself.
  562. >”Do I smell bad or something?”
  563. “Heh, yah might smell a little like human, but I don’t think you smell bad.”
  564. >You lean over and kiss her forehead, eliciting a little giggle.
  565. >The two of you have been growing closer and closer over the months.
  566. >You’d never have tried something like that much earlier.
  567. >But it was just feeling more and more right each moment you’re with her.
  568. >And besides, she started it by kissing your cheek the other night.
  569. >She yawns again.
  570. >”Maybe, but I like it.”
  571. “Ay, and I’m fine smelling a bit like horse.”
  572. >She looks sideways at you.
  573. >”You should still take a shower, Anon.”
  574. >You nod, while smiling.
  575. “Every day Gale, every bloody day.”
  576. >”I think it’s time for bed eh?”
  577. >You agree by closing the journal and blowing out the lamp, plunging the two of you into darkness.
  578. >”Couldn’t have waited for me to find the bloody cot first?”
  579. “What can I say? That I’m too excited to sleep with a little, flying, horse.”
  580. >She slowly walks in the direction of the cot, you following.
  581. >”Curb your enthusiasm mate and be a good space heater.”
  582. >The two of you find the cot, and climb in.
  583. “Augment your enthusiasm and be a good cuddler.”
  584. >”Cheeky eh?”
  585. >She shifts up against you.
  586. “All that and more.”
  587. >”Just shut up and go to sleep.”
  588. >You wrap an arm around her, settling in.
  589. >The last thing you feel before falling asleep is her shifting to be as close to you as possible.
  590. >…
  591. >You’re woken up by the piercing sound of sirens.
  592. >Moments later there’s a deafening explosion outside.
  593. >Followed by another.
  594. >And another.
  595. >By instinct you throw yourself and Gale off the cot and onto the ground.
  596. >The explosions continue outside the tent.
  597. >Bright flashes punctuated by deafening bangs.
  598. >Between the earth shaking explosions you can hear screaming and gunfire.
  599. >You and Gale are shaking, curled in a ball under the cot.
  600. >After a few minutes the explosions, gunfire, and sirens stop in that order.
  601. >The only sounds that remain are the screams and roar of many fires.
  602. >Someone rushes into the tent yelling about bombers attacking the aerodrome, and how they need your help.
  603. >So you force yourself and Gale up.
  604. >Outside is chaos.
  605. >Fires have consumed a third of the tents, there are craters all over the aerodrome, and many planes are in pieces.
  606. >Some people run around, many covered in blood.
  607. >Gale flies off, you don’t know where.
  608. >As you rush toward the hanger to inspect the damage, you see Freddy in his fighter, with two other pilots trying to start the engine.
  609. >As you turn away you can hear their success as it roars to life.
  610. >Commander is directing people in front of the main hangar.
  611. >He orders you to help put out the fires in the hangars.
  612. >The rest of the night is spent fighting fires and accounting for the damage.
  613. >Both to people and to the aerodrome.
  614.  
  615. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  616.  
  617. November 18th, 1917
  618.  
  619. Everything is horrible, and I hate the world I’m forced to live in. Nothing is right about this, and I want to kill everything and run away from it all at the same time… I just want to be alone, or home, but I can’t. If I were to run away, where would I go? I can’t leave my friends, my new home, my purpose in this life. I had to stay. Or at least that’s the conclusion I came to last night after our aerodrome was bombed.
  620.  
  621. It was horrible. Seeing everything in flames, so many familiar faces running in panic. I couldn’t bear to stay in the middle of that holocaust, so I flew away without even thinking. I flew into the night, eventually stopping in some forest a bit away. I sat there in the forest trying to make sense of it all for so long the sun was coming up when I decided I had to return. All the while I could see the orange glow in the sky. The glow caused by the destruction of my old home. I couldn’t stop thinking about everyone I’d come to know who were still there, trying to save it. I wondered who had been hurt, who had survived, and who had died.
  622.  
  623. So when the glow of the rising sun became stronger than the glow of my burning home, I started to return. When I got back Commander was actually glad to see me, glad I was still alive, called me his most valuable spy. He hugged me and I think I heard his voice waver a bit as he gave me a new mission. He said it would be the most important mission I’ve ever had.
  624.  
  625. He told me to fly over the enemy lines and find the air base they had launched the attack from. He wanted to return the gift they had given us. He was determined, and, I think, very worked up about the bombing of our base. Before I even had a chance to find out about Anon, the recruits, and the others I cared about, he’d given me my camera, and sent me off on my mission. I told him to say goodbye to the others for me if I didn’t return.
  626.  
  627. On my way to the front I noticed something I wished I hadn’t. It was the smoldering remains of a plane in the middle of a little pasture. I couldn’t help my curiosity, so I flew down to inspect it. It turns out it was a German bomber, a Gotha, if my identification skills are worth anything. Probably one of the ones that attacked us last night.
  628.  
  629. I didn’t see any movement, so I went in for a landing to get a better look at the downed beast. The pilot and at least one other person were still with the craft; dead. But there was a trail of blood in the frozen snow that lead off to a nearby tree. I probably shouldn’t have done what I did next, but I followed it. Maybe a hundred meters away I found the poor guy leaning against a tree. He was slouched over, and bleeding bad, and it looked like he was sleeping. I could only tell he was still alive because of the little puffs of breath he was making in the air.
  630.  
  631. He wasn’t sleeping. When I got closer he turned to face me. I couldn’t tell what his face was saying. It was covered in oil and blood, but he didn’t try to move away. He just stared at me for a while. There was a large pool of blood around him, I think he was shot. I felt so much in that moment. Odium for destroying my home, pity for the dying, and so much else I can’t explain. He tried to say something. I don’t know what. I wish I spoke German. But after he spoke it, he sort of chuckled before falling sideways coughing up a lot of blood. When I got a little closer his whole body was shaking, but went still a moment later. I turned him over, and he wasn’t breathing anymore.
  632.  
  633. He had blond hair, and piercing blue eyes that were fixed on nothing. If his hair was red, he’d sort of look a bit like Patrick. I left him alone, and continued my mission.
  634.  
  635. I was out long after dark today. After flying over their lines I really did feel like a spy. I had to be extra vigilant of what was around me, and always kept an ear out for the sound of engines. Though it was very calm on their side. It looked so much like our own side; fields, forests, and the occasional town. I spent hours surveying the land, took a few pictures of what looked like supply depots, and barracks, but I couldn’t find their air base. When it was getting dark I decided to head home. I was very hungry and tired, but I didn’t want to tell Commander about my failure.
  636.  
  637. But I had to tell him. He wasn’t happy, but not very mad either. He told me to get a good rest and that I’d be doing the same mission tomorrow. He did like that I’d found a few tactical targets for our own bombers to hit, even if it wasn’t the main target. He also told me that we’d be moving the aerodrome about forty kilometers North next week. There are already people setting up the new facility. Until then we aren’t allowed to have lights after 11PM and there will be regular night patrols of fighters.
  638.  
  639. When I finally got to speak to Anon again he told me what happened after I left. Oliver was killed in the bombing run last night, Cyril was badly hurt, and had to be evacuated. A few mechanics had also been killed along with another pilot and some service people. There were many injured too. About a third of our planes had been destroyed, and we lost our main mess tent. At least the pub survived undamaged. Little miracles I guess. I think I’ll miss Oliver. But not as bad as Rob.
  640.  
  641. Funny, I lost another near friend, but I don’t feel much about it. I’d have been more devastated if the pub was destroyed. Am I becoming a bad pony? Or am I becoming a worse pony than I already am? I don’t want to think about it. That’s why I drink about it I guess, and why I care so much about a bloody pub. I don’t know how Freddy manages to stay sober all the time.
  642.  
  643. I also discovered that the wrecked bomber I found was the work of The Butcher. He’d taken off alone last night to hunt down the bombers that attacked us. He’d actually gotten two of them. I swear I’ll find a way to give that man something he can appreciate. If not alcohol, something.
  644.  
  645. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  646.  
  647. >She was lying on her cot, staring up at the dimly lit roof of the tent.
  648. >She remained silent for a while, probably thinking.
  649. >You probably shouldn’t let her think for too long; no doubt her mind will end up somewhere morbid.
  650. “So what do you think you’ll get ‘ol Freddy?”
  651. >You wait for a reply.
  652. >She’s not responding again.
  653. “Ughhh Gale? Yah there mate?”
  654. >She shakes herself a little, turning toward you.
  655. >”Oh, yah. Ummmm I really don’t know.”
  656. >You close the journal for tonight, and angle your chair toward her.
  657. “Well you know you could try talking to him instead of about him.”
  658. >”Maybe, but what about. I don’t k now him.”
  659. “Anything I reckon. Not like I see him speak to many others often.”
  660. >”You’re right about that… How do you think the recruits are doing?”
  661. >You sigh, resting your head on your hands.
  662. “Probably bad. They went from five to three in a night.”
  663. >She rolls back to facing the ceiling.
  664. >”I saw them going toward the pub when we were leaving earlier.”
  665. “Think they’re drinking to their lost friends?”
  666. >”I know they’re drinking to Oliver and Cyril.”
  667. “Think they know they’re supposed to laugh about them?”
  668. >”I hope so.”
  669. >You check your watch. 10:55.
  670. “We got to get to bed soon. Almost time for blackout.”
  671. >She nods, covering herself in blankets.
  672. >You blow out the lamp and make your way to her.
  673. >She throws off the covers, letting you slide in next to her.
  674. >You feel her hug you.
  675. >You hug her back.
  676. >”Do you think the bombers will come back tonight?”
  677. >She’s whispering.
  678. “I hope they don’t… besides we have fighter patrols to scare them off if they do.”
  679. >”Yah, but I’m still scared.”
  680. >You feel her shiver.
  681. “Ay, so am I… so am I.”
  682. >The night passes without much sleep for either of you.
  683.  
  684. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  685.  
  686. November 19th, 1917
  687.  
  688. Last night was horrible. Well not nearly as bad as the night before, but still bad. Me and Anon couldn’t get any sleep. Each time we started to doze off we heard engine noises, and thoughts of the horrors of the other night passed before our minds. It was always just one of the patrols flying close over the base, but in our minds it very well could have been the lead bomber in a squadron come to finish the job they started. I’m so tired… I don’t know how much more of this my mind can take.
  689.  
  690. On the bright side I completed my mission, though it almost got me killed… I think. At the crack of dawn, I was set forth on my mission to find the enemy aerodrome. I was unlucky because it was bright and sunny today, without a cloud in the sky. On a side note it’s starting to warm up, and the snow is melting rapidly. Anyway I soared as high as I could when I crossed the lines. The front looked so calm from way up high, almost like it was a great dirt road cut through a field. Once I got to the other side I found a nice forest and went in for a landing.
  691.  
  692. I had a plan today. I figured that it wouldn’t be a good idea to go flying around looking for a hornet’s nest on a cloudless day. So instead I’d let a hornet come to me, and I’d follow it back to its nest. I settled down atop a tree, and made myself comfortable. Maybe a little too comfortable at points, because it seemed like time passed quickly. I think I dozed off a bit. But, regardless, I heard what I needed to hear after a while. The unmistakable sound of an aircraft’s engine. It was a recon plane returning from a run.
  693.  
  694. I began to tail it from below and followed it for quite a while. A lot farther than I’d have thought I’d need to. Maybe thirty kilometers past the front. Eventually I saw where it was going. An absolutely massive complex, maybe three times our little aerodrome’s size. I had to quickly duck down into a little group of trees not to be seen. There were enemy planes everywhere. Fighters returning from patrol, while more went out. They flew North, South, and West. This thing was obviously an important airbase for them.
  695.  
  696. It was difficult getting any good photos since I couldn’t risk flying very close to it. Instead what I did was I took photos from afar, and photos of the surrounding land marks so we’d have an idea of where it is on maps. All the while I was constantly worried I’d be spotted and, well, killed on the spot. Or worse I’d be like that German the other day, and suffer for a while before dying a horrible death. But that didn’t happen obviously. Still I can’t help but think such things when I’m so far away from safety.
  697.  
  698. When I got back to base the Commander was overjoyed that I’d succeeded. He said he was putting me up for a medal for my bravery and stuff. I guess I should be honored, but it doesn’t mean much to me. I did what was asked of me, like always. Still, I haven’t seen Commander smile like that before. He swore that the base was on top of their bombing list now, and that we’d be giving them what for soon enough.
  699.  
  700. Sometimes I wonder if there might be a pony like me over on their side, doing the same thing I’m doing. I wonder what would happen if we were to meet, what they might treat their pony like. I wonder if I’m alone, if this is really my fate. To be the only Pegasus in this whole land. I wonder if the imaginary pony on their side is just as scarred by this whole thing as I am. If they’ll ever be able to live with themselves properly again. I wish there was another pony, but I guess I’ll have to make do with Anon, and all the other humans here. They’re alright, really, most of them are. I just think they get angrier than ponies do sometimes, and more violent.
  701.  
  702. Me and Anon had drinks with the recruits again. We drank to my successful mission. And we drank to the ghost of Oliver, and Cyril’s missing arm. Cyril will never have to come back to this hell, but he’s in his own hell now. The recruits are still taking it all rather hard. They all got so smashed, none of them could walk back to their tents. We, the soberer, had to help support them on the short walk back to their beds. They were funny in a sad way, how they still think drinking will make them forget or feel any better. The one, Edward, he cried on me on the way back. Bloody emotional wreck.
  703.  
  704. They need to learn to laugh at the horrors of yesterday to try to dispel the inevitable horrors of tomorrow. No doubt there will be more than enough tragedy tomorrow, so why weigh your mind down with the tragedy of yesterday?
  705.  
  706. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  707.  
  708. >All throughout tonight’s session Gale has been yawning.
  709. >It’s still rather early, only 9:30.
  710. >But it’s been a very long day for the both of you.
  711. >It’s been hard for you to focus on writing, feeling like you’ll doze off at any moment.
  712. >You lay down the pen and turn toward her.
  713. ”Eh Gale?”
  714. >She rolls over on her cot.
  715. >”Mhmm?”
  716. >You yawn again.
  717. >Seeing you, she does the same.
  718. “Don’t suppose you want to go back to the pub and get bloody drunk?”
  719. >She chuckles a bit, calling your bluff.
  720. >”Not unless you bring the pub here. Not leaving this bed for anything…”
  721. >She rolls over, away from you.
  722. “Heh not even another bombing run?”
  723. >You blow out the lantern.
  724. >”Be better if a bomb hit me, than I wouldn’t have to deal with waking up ever again.”
  725. >You walk over to her cot.
  726. “Ay, that sounds bloody nice. Want to make some room for me?”
  727. >She moves over a bit.
  728. >As you lie yourself to rest she rolls over to face you.
  729. >She’s whispering again.
  730. >”When I was at their base, trying not to be seen, I was thinking about you. About what might happen to you if I didn’t make it back.”
  731. >You hug her.
  732. “What did you think would happen to me?”
  733. >”That you’d be sad, that you might come looking for me, that you might get yourself killed trying.”
  734. “So I might. But it’s what I’d have to do.”
  735. >”Why would you have to?”
  736. “Because I couldn’t live without you.”
  737. >”But you could.”
  738. “I wouldn’t really be alive if you were gone.”
  739. >You felt her press herself closer.
  740. >Her head shift.
  741. >Her lips press against yours.
  742. >You pressed back, returning the embrace.
  743. >It felt natural, like you’d done it a thousand times before; but this was the first.
  744. >The gentle kiss lasted a few moments before she pulled away.
  745. >”If I die… don’t get yourself killed Anon.”
  746. “I can’t promise that Gale, you know that.”
  747. >"I know... But I don't want you to die because of me."
  748. >You don't have an answer.
  749. >She turned over; you wrapped an arm around her midsection, holding her close.
  750. >Sleep came easier tonight.
  751. >But the occasional sound of engines in the distance sent a shiver down your spine.
  752.  
  753. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  754.  
  755. November 20th, 1917
  756.  
  757. Today was another day, nothing particularly special happened today. I woke up at the normal time, was given my usual mission of spying on the lines, took off at my usual time, and returned at my usual time. I mean yes, I witnessed more death and destruction today, but that’s just the usual in this hell. Commander did mention to me that our bombers would be doing their work over the coming days thanks to my intel. Yay me, pointing the way for more death and destruction as always. I never really thought about it like that until Commander mentioned it to me, that without me they wouldn’t be able to launch the bombing strikes. I am an arbiter of death. What I take pictures of gets destroyed, and whoever is there at the time of destruction is killed. I don’t like this thing I’ve been forced to become.
  758.  
  759. The salvage job at the base is going slow and steadily. Anon and the other mechanics were busy all day trying to pick out useful parts from aircraft damaged in the bombing raid the other night. Most of the useful pieces were crated up to be brought to our new aerodrome. Some were left out for the planes that might need them over the coming week. Though it’s unlikely we’ll need many spare parts. We barely have ten functioning fighters after that raid.
  760.  
  761. The recruit’s training has taken a serious setback. Their instructor was one of the casualties, so Commander has been having a few of the other pilots instruct them. They aren’t nearly as good, barely better than the recruits themselves. At least that’s what Pat tells me. We had another round of pool in the pub today after their classes. He and the other recruits aren’t very fond of most of the other pilots. Probably because the other pilots aren’t very fond of them. Though they do hold a certain amount of respect for our ace Freddy. They say he’ll be doing lessons tomorrow. I think I’ll drop by for that if I’m back in time.
  762.  
  763. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  764.  
  765. >”That’s about it for tonight, Anon.”
  766. >She’s been sitting on the ground next to you while she dictated tonight.
  767. “Glad to hear it was a boring day today.”
  768. >”Yah, I like these kinds of days the most.”
  769. “Ay, the simple days…”
  770. >There’s a moments silence as you recline back, stretching your back.
  771. >”Anon.”
  772. “Yes Gale?”
  773. >”I’ve been thinking about what I do. How I’m a spy and all.”
  774. >You look over to her, seeing she’s got that downcast expression about her again.
  775. “What’s the matter dearie?”
  776. >”Well Commander said that if it wasn’t for me they wouldn’t know where or what to bomb. That I essentially pointed to what we should destroy, to who we should kill.”
  777. >You know where this is going, and you don’t like it.
  778. >You get down and sit next to her.
  779. >”People will die because of me. Because of the pictures I took, and continue to take every day.”
  780. >You pet her back, between her wings.
  781. “Don’t beat yourself up too much Gale. Your pictures also save a lot of live too.”
  782. >”Yah, but they also cost the Germans their lives. Are they really any worse than us?”
  783. >You sigh.
  784. “No, no they aren’t… But it’s a matter of them or us.”
  785. >She lies herself low, head resting on the ground.
  786. >”I don’t want to be a part of this. I used to think my pictures just saved lives… but they are just used to keep more of our people alive and kill more of their people.”
  787. “Ay, but I can say the same thing with the planes I fix. If I didn’t maintain them, they would be shot down more, and we’d lose more of our pilots. But because I do fix them, and fix them properly, our pilots have a better chance of shooting down their pilots.”
  788. >She rolls such that she’s facing the opposite wall.
  789. >”We’ve got blood on our hooves… hands… all over us. We’ll never be clean. We’re horrible, every one of us. We’re all monsters for participating in this – this - this thing!”
  790. >You lie on your back next to her.
  791. “Funny… because we don’t act like monsters, you and I.”
  792. >”That’s because we’re just little pieces of the monster that this whole war is.”
  793. “is there a way not to be a monster in your mind?”
  794. >”By not being a part of it.”
  795. “You know as well as I that we’d be executed if we deserted.”
  796. >”I know… I just want it to end.”
  797. “It will one day, it has to eventually.”
  798. >She chuckles in a grim way.
  799. >”Yah, when everyone is dead. You. Me. Pat. Freddy. Everyone here. Dead. That’s when it will be over, only when there’s no one left to die.”
  800. “You know you’re awfully grim Gale.”
  801. >”And I don’t understand how you can’t be Anon.”
  802. >She turns back to facing you.
  803. “I don’t know either. I guess I’ve just found it better to try to not think about it as much as I can. It helps a lot when you’re here with me though.”
  804. >”Thanks for listening to my morbid ranting.”
  805. >She went in for a hug.
  806. >You hugged her back.
  807. “I like your rants… you remind me I’m not alone in this all.”
  808. >You move your head closer to her, pressing your lips against hers.
  809.  >Your embrace lasts a few moments before you pull apart.
  810. >”Glad to have you too.”
  811. “So, reckon we get some drinks? Still have over an hour before curfew.”
  812. >She’s already getting herself up and stretching.
  813. >”First rounds on me, you got next?”
  814. “You better keep up.”
  815. >”Don’t think that’ll be a problem.”
  816. >She offers you a hoof.
  817. >With a bit of help you hoist yourself up.
  818. >That night you and Gale got mighty drunk.
  819. >So drunk neither of you noticed when the patrol planes flew overhead.
  820. >It’s nights like these, cuddled together, that provide the only real escape from the horrors of the day.
  821.  
  822. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  823.  
  824. November 21, 1917
  825.  
  826. Well it was raining today. A cold kind of rain that makes flying miserable for me, and impossible for the enemy. It was a good day. A cold day, but a good day. I had the normal assignment of photographing anything important. Not much to note today since the rain has a way of freezing a lot of potential movement on the ground. The rain had an added effect of melting any traces of the snow that was left. Which is for the better anyway, it was getting muddy and icy.
  827.  
  828. Today Anon spent most of his time with the other mechanics trying to repair our fleet of aircraft. He tells me that some of them are becoming little more than patches on patches supported by nailed together splinters. I can’t even imagine how some of them are kept flying… Come to think of it I can’t even imagine how they fly in the first place. We never had anything like them in Equestria. I actually thought they were like birds or dragons when I first saw them flying around when I arrived. And I do still think they are like dragons, because they can cause so much damage and death.
  829.  
  830. I was back early enough today to sit in on Freddy’s lesson. He has an interesting way of instructing the recruits. He doesn’t use a meter stick to keep their attention, no they have too much respect for him for that to be necessary. Instead he asks the recruits how they would respond in situations. Say they were jumped from above and behind. How would they try to escape or get on the enemies’ tail. Most said they’d dive and dodge. Freddy didn’t like that answer. He’d slide in one direction, attempt a barrel roll, while trying to slow down enough to throw the enemy for a loop. This went on in several situations. How they would engage an enemy coming from directly in front, how they’d engage an enemy that is above and in front of them. Just about every scenario he could think of.
  831.  
  832. He had a grim demeanor about him. When a recruit would answer he’d usually just state: dead. Then explain why the recruit was dead. Other times he’d take on the role of the enemy, telling them what he’d do, and wanting them to tell him how they would continue. Like having a spoken dog fight. If the recruit he was verbally dog fighting with didn’t answer immediately he’d keep going on, and on, maneuver after maneuver, until the recruit either responded or he’d just state that they had died.
  833.  
  834. After Pat had put up a somewhat meager fight against Freddy I tried my hoof. He was actually a little amused, but took me up on the offer. The scenario was simple. I’m flying toward him, he’s above and in front of me, and we spot each other around the same time. I’d fly directly toward him, and down, gaining speed, making him over shoot. He’d pursue by breaking and spinning his craft around to be behind me. I’d pull up as soon as he was behind me in the dive and pull a loop to try to get him in front of me. He’d skim left and try to throw off my maneuver while pulling up. I would level out and follow his moves, trying to stay on his tale. He’d break the opposite direction and pull an Immelmann loop to fly the opposite direction as me. I’d try to follow. He told me he’d continue his loop to make me fly in front of him. I’d break right. He’d follow, and open fire. He’d hit me, but I’d continue my evasive maneuvers. He’d continue to try to tail me, firing short bursts. I’d try to make it over our anti-aircraft guns. He’d pursue until he’d either killed me, or started taking flak.
  835.  
  836. He told me I might have survived the encounter, and I thought quicker than many of the recruits in the room. I think I may have embarrassed a few of them. I also think I put up one of the better fights that day. At the end of class Freddy said there would be more lessons like that in the future, and to practice with partners. Me and Pat had a go of it tonight in the pub. Of course I gave him more time to respond than Freddy did, and he gave me time too. But of course we wouldn’t have that kind of thinking time in the air. Freddie’s main point about today was that if you panic, or can’t think under stress, you will die.
  837.  
  838. Around the base I’ve seen them starting to pack things up on trucks and horse drawn carriages. I won’t even begin to get into how uncomfortable the horses of this world make me feel. But there isn’t much time left until our move. From what I hear the aerodrome we’re going to is huge, and that the pilots get to stay in a chateau with real beds. I don’t know how I feel about that. Because the mechanics would stay at base. I’ll probably see if I can’t get my tent set up on base so I don’t have to sleep alone. Anon makes a good pillow.
  839.  
  840. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  841.  
  842. “And you know you aren’t half bad to sleep next to either… But yah do kick in your sleep.”
  843.  >”And your hands like to wander.”
  844. >She was giving you a sly look from her cot.
  845. >You grin.
  846. “Do you have a problem with that?”
  847. >She rolls over.
  848. >”Well I wish you’d spend more time on my belly.”
  849. >You put down the pen, and stretch back in your chair.
  850. “I think that can be arranged, eh Gale?”
  851. >”I don’t know… between wings and hooves, it’s a tight schedule.”
  852. “Oh I think time can be made.”
  853. >You pause for a moment in thought.
  854. “But you know, you’ve got to give me a back rub. I’ve been wondering what a hoof massage might feel like.”
  855. >”I don’t think you’ll be impressed Anon. Hooves aren’t really the best for that. Now fingers on the other hoof… or hand, those do the trick.”
  856. “Ay. I’m sure they do. But say Gale, were you serious that you would want to live on base with me, instead of in the chateau with the other pilots?”
  857. >She rolls back to face you.
  858. >”Absolutely.”
  859. “Glad I’m worth living in this hell hole for. Am I the only reason you haven’t flown away yet? I mean you’re a magic horse. Even if they did catch you after you deserted, it’s not like they’d kill you.”
  860. >She sigh’s
  861. >”Well, again, yes. You’re about my only, or at least me best, friend in this world. I’d be lost without you.”
  862. >You nod silently for a second.
  863. “And I’d be too without you. Have I ever told you about my best friend before I met you?”
  864. >”You mean Sammy? You’ve mentioned him.”
  865. “Yah, yah, but did I ever really tell you about him?”
  866. >She thinks for a second.
  867. >”No, I don’t think you have really.”
  868. “Well figures… I don’t like talking about him that much.”
  869. >”Then why are you now?”
  870. “Maybe because I feel like reminiscing a little.”
  871. >You get up and a second later you’re lying next to her on her cot.
  872. “Well, anyway, Sammy was my best friend from childhood. He is the reason I’m at this aerodrome to begin with.”
  873. >She’s nodding as she shimmies closer to you.
  874. “I used to repair his bike when we were lads. Kept him on the thing whenever he’d try to take it down a hill that was too steep, whenever he busted the thing. I had a knack for fixing his accidents like he had a knack for getting into them.”
  875. >”Don’t tell me he…”
  876. >She had a look of worry painted on her face.
  877. “Ay, but he did. He went into the air corps, I went into the mechanics, and a year and a half later we were here. A little bit of whiskey and a friend in the right spot can get two pals into just about any post they want it would seem… But long story short, he died just a few days before you came along. Funny thing is he died by his own hand. He clipped his wing trying to do stunts over a church tower. I couldn’t fix the bloody idiot after that one…”
  878. >You were looking into space, remembering better times. You felt a hoof on your shoulder, bringing you out of your reverie.
  879. >”I’m sorry about Sam, Anon… but why’d you tell me about him?”
  880. “Well he was my last best friend, and now you’re my new best friend… I figure I owed it to you to let you know about him.”
  881. >”Ohhh…”
  882. >Now she was looking into the distance.
  883. “Gale?”
  884. >She looks back into your eyes.
  885. >”Do you want to hear about my former best friend Anon?”
  886. >Now it’s your turn to put your hand on her shoulder.
  887. “Absolutely.”
  888. >She takes a deep breath.
  889. >”Ok, well back when I was just a filly in flight camp I liked to make a lot of trouble. I’d play pranks on the other colts and fillies, and kind of mean ones too… Like I’d cut their mane at night, hide all their saddle bags, and this one time I trapped a colt in a closet for a few hours… Anyway he didn’t cry, ask to be let out, or anything I wanted him to do… I thought he’d found a way out since it was so quiet from the closet. So I checked to see if he was in there, and when I opened the door, he jumped out, and flung me across the room… But he didn’t beat me up like others had done in the past, when they’d found out it was me. He actually just sort of helped me up. It was weird. He had a crush on me, and I have to say I liked him too… after I got to know him.”
  890. “So what happened to him?”
  891. >”His name was Cirrus Shine, or just Cirrus. And well what happened was that we lived in different cities. So we only knew each other during summer flight camps. He liked pranking ponies as much as me… but he toned me down. Made my sense of humor less damaging to those around me. Now I just drew on ponies faces instead of cutting their manes. Just pulled fire alarms instead of starting fires. He of balanced me out you know?”
  892. “But why aren’t you like that anymore Gale? What happened to your humor?”
  893. >”You humans and your bloody war killed it!”
  894. >She’s looking at you with sorrow in her eyes.
  895. “I’m… sorry…”
  896. >”Don’t be… where was I? Oh yah. Cirrus. Well we dated for a while. He was my first, and only… and after a while we grew distant. We stopped talking like we used to. He wanted to move away, and I wanted to stay… and it ended up being me who moved away… to here.”
  897. “Didn’t you have any other friends?”
  898. >She was looking away from you now.
  899. >”I was a lonely filly.”
  900. >You pull her into a hug.
  901. ”Ay, but you aren’t any more.”
  902. >A smile creased her face for a half second, before receding into her melancholy.
  903. >”That’s what Cirrus said too once.”
  904. “But I’m no Cirrus.”
  905. >”Heh, no, no you’re not.”
  906. >You move your face closer to hers, embracing her lips in a kiss. She returns, and wraps her hooves around your neck.
  907. >The embrace lasts longer than before.
  908. >Eventually you separate before falling backwards onto her cot.
  909. “You know one day I’ll want to hear the story of that tattoo you have on your flank.”
  910. >”Yah, one day you will.”
  911. >That night you and her slept well, plagued only by the occasional kick or stray hand.
  912.  
  913. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  914.  
  915. November 25, 1917
  916.  
  917. It has been a few days since I last did this, but there hasn’t been too much to write about. It’s been raining all week, which has been lovely. I have just been taking pictures of nearly unchanging trenches without a care in the world. I haven’t heard an aircraft’s engine in days, and it feels great! Maybe if I’m lucky it’ll keep raining until they have to end the war! Well that is the hope anyway. But they say this won’t last forever, and even if it did, they’d just start fighting on boats. Anon tells me there are great steel ships at sea that do battle with one another with guns that fire shells the size of me. It’s incredible, but with the human’s proclivity for creating new means of fighting each other, I don’t doubt him.
  918.  
  919. Without any way to fly in this weather the pilots have been taking turns teaching the recruits. I’ve made it a regular thing, to join their classes. Most don’t seem to mind, since I have no other duties around base other than to spy on the enemy in the morning. The lessons have been boring at times, highlighted by brief moments of true interest. The theory and lectures are the most boring parts to me, and it would seem the class agrees when I see them staring into space as a pilot talks about the best way to angle yourself compared to the sun. But the interesting parts, at least to me, are when we get to interact with the instructors. Mock dog fights, question and answer, and stories are the best. I also like listening to the various aircraft descriptions. What makes our Sopwith Camel’s better than the German Albatrosses, why their new triplane is a thing to recon with, and the easiest ways to identify between the different fighters they have. All very useful if you ask me.
  920.  
  921. It was during one of Freddie’s monologues that I realized what I should get him. He was wearing an old scarf, nothing special about it, just some multicolor rag. Well I don’t know why he’d still be wearing it, but I knew what I had to get him. Later that day I flew into town. Aside from the normal gawking stares, it’s actually kind of nice to be away from base during the day. So much less noise. Too bad this town is a good fifteen kilometers away or I think me and the boys would be there a lot more often. I think I may be a minor celebrity there. I was asked for my autograph a few times. Anyway I commissioned the same tailor who did my jacket and pants to make a nice scarf for him. I wanted it to be the Union Jack, and rather large and thick, so that it would be sure to keep him warm this winter. It should be ready by tomorrow, which is good luck since we’ll be leaving this aerodrome in about two days.
  922.  
  923. The packing process is difficult. I haven’t acquired much in my time in this world. A few trinkets, my flight jacket, pants, this journal. I have very little… But my memories here are what makes it so difficult. I really have grown fond of this aerodrome, how far away it is from the nearest town, the little forest that’s just a hop skip and a jump away. I’ll miss the fallow fields that surround us, and how calm it can be in the early mornings when there’s no planes in the skies, and everyone else is still asleep. When no one else is around I almost feel like I’m back in Equestria. But I’ll never be, and this was the closest I ever got to that. I wonder if there is any place for me after the war?
  924.  
  925. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  926.  
  927. >You turn toward her to speak.
  928. >But she knows what you’re about to say.
  929. >”Yes, yes, I know I’ll always have a place with you after the war. I mean, will I have anything to do besides be a freak show?”
  930. >You nod solemnly.
  931. “Well what makes you think you have to do anything once this is all settled and done?”
  932. >She stops her trotting, and looks toward you.
  933. >”If I do nothing then I’m a burden, and a burden is not what I want to be.”
  934. “If you’re so determined to do something, I’m sure there’s a place for you. Just look at yourself, you’re a bloody flying horse. Do you know how many uses we’ve had for flying horses in mythology?”
  935. >She tosses you a smirk.
  936. >”And how many of those uses involve being ridden?”
  937. >You look up to the tent ceiling.
  938. “Most…” You concede.
  939. >”If you haven’t noticed I’m a bit small to ride, Anon.”
  940. “Oh I wouldn’t say so.” You remark absent mindedly.
  941. >Indignation, as well as a minor blush spread hot across her face as she turns from you.
  942. “You know, give the kids a ride on a flying horse.”
  943. >You give her a cheeky grin as she glares back to you.
  944. >You go back to lazily looking at the top of the tent.
  945. “I don’t know what you were thinking Gale.”
  946. >”Oh I bet I know what you were thinking!”
  947. >You hear her flutter off the ground, and feel her hovering next to you.
  948. >The force of her wings having blown her journal closed and across the table.
  949. “And what would that be?”
  950. >You look toward her, and are met with her muzzle shoved against your lips.
  951. >The kiss is intense to say the least, and somewhat awkward as she tries to maintain a stable hover with her face planted against yours.
  952. >It breaks sooner than you would have like.
  953. >She backs off a bit, staring into your eyes.
  954. >”So did I guess right?”
  955. >Your smile’s returned.
  956. “Ay, I think you guessed close enough.”
  957. >”Close enough?”
  958. >She raises an eyebrow.
  959. “Don’t think too hard about it now.”
  960. >She flies closer to your face, and pokes a hoof to your nose.
  961. >”You want to rut me? Don’t you Anon?”
  962. “You know you have such a way with words Gale.”
  963. >You return the gesture by booping her nose.
  964. “And what if I do?”
  965. >Her demeanor suddenly has a much sultrier tone, as she eases herself down to the ground.
  966. >”Then I’d ask you why you were still on that chair in those clothes.”
  967. >You feel a sudden wash of heat spread through your body as you realize where this is going.
  968. >You can’t say you haven’t thought about it when you’ve kissed her.
  969. >But still, she is a magic little pony… What would happen to you if others found out you lusted for a sentient beast?
  970. >Did you really care…
  971. >And she’s not a beast like some common horse… she’s a person… a person you have fallen in love with.
  972. >This was what you wanted, and this was what she wanted too… So it shall be.
  973. *Author’s Note* Yes, I’ve gone there. But come on, you knew it was coming for a while now. Also I should mention that there will probably be an NSFW scene for this in a separate pastebin, since I do love writing steamy porn. I’ll keep the main story to kissing, cuddling, and non-graphic allusions to sex since I don’t want to spend a hundred lines in the main story writing essentially porn. Anyway on with the show!
  974. >A while later the two of you are cuddling naked in her cot enjoying the afterglow of a remarkable experience.
  975. >You can feel that she’s still awake, the way she turns herself in your arm.
  976. >And you’re not quite ready for the embrace of slumber yet either.
  977. “So you’ll really miss this place eh?”
  978. >She shifts a bit rolling to face you.
  979. >”Are you telling me you won’t?”
  980. “A little, but it’ll be nice being closer to a larger town.”
  981. >”But that’s why I like it here. We’re so far away, it’s so quiet… most of the time.”
  982. “But wouldn’t you like being in town more?”
  983. >”No. I don’t like it. All the eyes on me, and the attention… At least here most are used to me, and I to them. At the new aerodrome it’ll be so different, so many new people to get used to.”
  984. “I can’t say I’m looking forward to it either.”
  985. >”At least you’re human.”
  986. “Ay, a human who prefers sleeping with a magic little horse over a cot all to myself… It’s not like the guys here don’t give me enough shit.”
  987. >She kisses your cheek.
  988. >”And what about it? At least you’ve got someone to sleep with eh.”
  989. “You’re right, but that will only give them more reason to dislike me.”
  990. >”Then we’ve just got to stick together, you, me, our friends from here… And I’m sure not everyone from that base will be awful.”
  991. >You kiss her nose.
  992. “Thanks for the reassurance Gale. Now lets get to sleep eh?”
  993. >You punctuate your sentence with a yawn.
  994. >She rolls into you some more.
  995. >Soon you and her have drifted into a peaceful sleep in each other’s embrace.
  996.  
  997. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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