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Unlikely Allies

by Robert Norman and Jason Kinart 
Chapter 1

    Once brothers in arms, they were torn apart in world plunged in despair and forced to
become enemies.  Now, almost ten years later they are reunited as they led their squadrons in a
mission that will either save their nations or destroy them.

Somewhere over North Carolina, November 12, 1937

        The first squadron of the Currituck Corsairs, commanded by Captain Eddie Teach, were on standard escort duty.  It was more a courtesy than anything else, since the winter storms had come, transatlantic shipping had decreased as well as tourism, which made the area less appetizing to any pirates or any other enemy that were looking for a good score.

        Teach was flying shotgun so he could control his squadron better in case of any action.  To tell the truth Teach was getting bored with these dull flights, what he needed was some action to hone his skills.  All of this was going through his mind when all of a sudden tracers appeared from below slamming into the rear envelope of the Magnolia, doing little harm to the airship but scaring the crap out of everyone else.

        "Where they come from?" someone screamed into there radio.

        All Eddie Teach knew was that the Corsairs were under fire from below.  Jinking left, he brought the ‘Cutlass’ into a wide bank to give him a look at what was coming up at his squadron from below.

        There was no mistaking the planes, Slade's Black Water Bandits.  How they managed to hide in the Great Dismal was a mystery, though the rum running pirates clearly used pontoons to allow water landings.  The pirates were circling in on the Magnolia, the Air Piedmont airship the Corsairs were escorting to New Bern.  The Magnolia's cargo of copper would be useful in the Bandits' shine
operations.

        "All right, cats...Ginny, Mitch, Harry...you squares dive with me.  Izzy, Wahoo, y'all get the
Magnolia up to six thousand and stroke it for Plymouth, dig?"

        Engines roaring, the Corsairs swung around to engage the enemy....

Somewhere over the Atlantic - November 25, 1937

        Lt. Colonel Sisto Fanfarillo, a handsome man, about 6 feet tall, lightly tanned skin hidden under his navy blue flight suit and a thin mustache that adorned his upper lip, was sitting in the pilot's lounge on board the airship Albatross as it patrolled the southern approaches to the Empire States.  Without warning the alert bell started to ring.

        Sisto immediately jumped to his feet, grabbed his flight jacket and ran aft to the fighter bays along with the other pilots.  Being the commander of the squadron, Sisto’s plane, the 'Mary', was in the first of the fighter bays.  He asked the ground crew a few quick questions before hopping up into ‘Mary's’ cockpit.  He quickly slipped his flight helmet on and jacked  into the comm system.

      "What's up CAG?" Sisto inquired.

      "We have received a distress call from an air ferry off Cape Henry.  Since the place is considered a free zone by the Confederacy and Columbia, we think it has to be pirates," CAG answered.

      "Let's hear a sound off," ordered Sisto after he had changed to the intercom frequency.

      "Ready to go boss," Scott replied.

      "I'm all yours, Sweetheart," replied ‘Mel’ with that sexy voice of hers.

      "Ready to go," replied ‘Irish’ with only a hint of his Irish brogue.

      "Let's get the show on the road," ‘Rascal’ replied anxiously.

      "Ready," was all ‘Virgin’ said in his usual quiet voice.

      With that Sisto ordered the drop and pulled his release lever.  His plane went from a total stop to over a hundred miles per hour in a matter of seconds.  He ordered the squadron to fan out and form into a flying wing.

          They went in low and fast to try and gain surprise over there enemy.  They had a little help in that their planes were painted navy blue, which helped them to blend into the dark blue seas below.  As they approached, Sisto could see that the air ferry was under attack by two squadrons of what appeared to be Bell Valiants and a small gunship.

          As the squadron got closer Sisto could see that the Valiants appeared to be equipped with
pontoons, which made them slower and less maneuverable but still more of a match for the lightly armed ferry.

        Well, they would be evening things up a bit.

        He could not identify the pirate group, with their brown and green colors that seemed to be just splashed on, although Sisto had to admit he did not know much about the pirate units this far south.

      He was surprised that the pirates had not noticed them as his squadron approached in their low
altitude formation.  At the last second the whole squadron pulled back on their sticks and gained
altitude and ascending directly for the pirate squadrons.  They opened fire as they zoomed through the
formation.  Caught by complete surprise, most of the pirate Valiants started to scatter and a few
even started to retreat.

      Sisto swung his plane in a tight loop and into the six of one of these Valiants and opened fire.  The shot would have been too low for any normal Valiant but it tore into this one's pontoons.  His second shot was right on the mark chewing up the Valiants engine and prop causing it to pitch over and slid into a dive to a watery death in the Chesapeake Bay.  Right then Sisto’s aircraft was racked with fire from the pirate's gunship.  Doing a quick spin to fool the gunner he swung his craft into a tight left turn.  He came into sight of the pirate's gunship and let loose a couple of HE rockets before pulling hard on the stick and shooting straight up into the sky.  Maintaining his course until he almost stalled his engines, he leveled off and did a quick little turn to see what his handy work had done.  He was quite surprised to see the airship falling out of the sky in a huge fireball.  Sisto did not think that his missiles were that effective, that is until he realized that the pirates' zep must have been filled with the flammable hydrogen instead of the much safer helium.

      Sisto then swung ‘Mary' about and dove on the fight that he had left behind only to discover that
the pirates were retreating to the south.  The loss of their gunship must have convinced them that
the air ferry was not worth it.

      "Break off all pursuit," Sisto ordered, "the fight's out of them today.  Form up on the ferry, we are going to escort it safely to port, you hear"

      In all the Flyers had destroyed three planes and a small zep and damaged most of the others.  It
looked like a good day's work for the Fanfarillo's Flyers.

Moffet Airdrome, Empire States - December 4, 1937

            When they first heard the drone of engines from the south, the Moffet AA gun crews angled their weapons skyward and brought their heavy guns to bear on the bogies appearing on the horizon.  Sweat beaded on their brows as they waited, tensed and ready, in the unusually warm Empire State December.
 
    Two faint specks appeared, and with their appearance trigger fingers tightened.  Safeties were disengaged.  The moment to fire came...

              Crack gunners that they were, they recognized the colors on the J2's approaching at treetop level.  The Currituck Corsairs, recently frequent visitors to the area were coming in on runway 2.  With guns depressed, ammo feeds disengaged, gunners leaned at ease on their weapons and smoked cigarettes.

              It was Eddie Teach's "Cutlass" and Ginny Dare's "White Doe of Roanoke" that landed, taxiing to the parking apron.  The Furys' engines roared in unison three times before their pilots shut down their planes.  Aviation enthusiasts, watching from a distance, wondered what could bring a pair of Dixie air militiamen to land so...calmly at Moffet.  They noted the Air Marshal himself driving out to meet the Corsairs.
 

            Teach dropped down from the wing of his Fury.  Dare did likewise and walked around to join her squadron leader.  Vice-Air Marshal Jason "Draco" Kinart noted the Dixie captain's black flight jacket, boots and nickel-plated Mauser Broomhandle in a custom holster.  The lady wingman's flightsuit was black, trimmed with scarlet.  Both pilots' jackets proudly displayed the colors of the Currituck Corsairs and the Dixie flag and both carried long knives in their boots.  They sauntered up to the jeep as the air marshal got out.

          "Afternoon, Airmarshal," drawled Teach.  The militiaman pulled a flask from his jacket and
offered Draco a hit.

          "I'm on duty, captain," said Draco, waving the flask away, "thank you, all the same."  Teach
handed the flask to Dare, who uncapped it and took a straight shot.

          The two aces eyed one another in the unseasonably warm December sun.

          "Sooo, captain," said Draco, inviting the southerners into the jeep, "How are your men?  We
haven't heard much out of the Coast Guardians lately."

          Teach and Dare shared a glance.  "Oh, nothing much, Airmarshal," said Dare.  "The cap'n here's fussin' bout these air pirates movin' round in the Dismal."  She leaned forward to whisper in Draco's ear.  "It's got him a mite riled up at th' moment.  We jus' can't pin th' bastards down, ya know?"  The driver slipped the jeep in gear and turned it around to head back to the base.

        The Airmarshal turned in his seat to look at Teach.  "Air pirates?  Yeah, I seem to recall something about air pirates in our last radio conversation."  He raised his eyebrows.  "Don't remember you saying anything about having problems."

        Teach shrugged.  "Them cats are sly, Draco.  They're flyin' with pontoons.  Don't handle so well in the air, but they can land on water and hide in the swamp."  Teach assumed a reflective expression.  "There's lots of them cats, too.  We'll get hep to 'em soon enough.  We got Gale Force under contract to snuff the bastards right enough."

      The jeep raced towards the commissary.
 
Weeksville, Confederation of Dixie - December 4 1937

    "...please watch y'all's step, thank you.  Now over hyere we have the service bays..."
 
            The tour guide was way too perky.  Thomas MacAfee didn't like perky.  Just wasn't his speed, especially with that southern accent.  He wasn't too happy to be this far south, this far without
backup.  Just Rico, Forrest and Muldoon to watch his back.  Not that the Airmarshal had given any
indication that there was any real danger.  This wasn't an official recon.

          The group they had joined for the tour consisted mainly of mothers and children, a couple of
school groups and an air explorer post too.  The kids clutched souvenir comic books handed out at
the start of the tour.  Only Rico had accepted one.  The children gazed at everything in wonder; the
Furies, the Valiants, the airdocks, the trophy room.  Now they were coming through the
maintenance hangar and back outside.

          Forrest nudged MacAfee, "Hey, boss.  Look over dere."

          MacAfee followed Forrest's gesture.  He saw a group of privateers, the Gale Force, engaged in hand-to-hand combat practice.  The unusual thing about their practice was that they wore
parachutes and wielded long knives as well as .45's.  The kids were getting a thrill out of seeing the
practice, though they wished that the guns were using live ammo.

          "Looks like dey're gettin' ready for something, huh boss?"

MacAfee merely nodded at Forrest's query.  His attention was focused on the four planes making
their final approach.  Three Furies and a Valiant with Hatteras Harrier colors.  MacAfee looked
farther down the airstrip and saw six Furies in Corsair colors lined up in the "Ready One" position,
their pilots lounging in the shade of the wings.

          "Yeah, Forrest, something's up."
 



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