|Air to Surface
by Greg Williams
© Greg Williams -- all rights reserved
I got off the Pearl Harbor ferry and stepped into the ARIZONA Memorial with dozens of other tourists, most of them giving me a look that says "What's HE doing here?" Being a kangaroo morph SCAB, it's hard not to be noticed. My plane doesn't leave for the states in a couple days so I decided to site see.
I walked to the railing and looked out onto the wreck. A couple on holiday across the way was staring at me and talking about me as If I wasn't even there. I turn around to give them a dirty look, as dirty as I can for a kangaroo anyway, then go back to looking out. A young man in about his 20's steps up and gazes with me.
"Lovely day isn't it?"
"This is Hawaii, it's always a lovely day." I say
"True. So, did you come here to brood about how miserable your life is or what?"
"I suppose your life is better?"
"That depends. You see, I'm a SCAB too."
This get my attention. Then it hits me.
"How old are you?"
"I know." he says with a knowing smile. "Have you ever served in the navy?" he suddenly asks me.
"Yeah I have. How'd you know?"
"Heh, a lot of former navy guys come to the ARIZONA Memorial to brood. I've seen it all to often. Where were you serving when it happened?"
"I was a chopper pilot aboard the GEORGE WASHINGTON when it happened. Name's Charlie Jenkins by the way.
"Hopper Reagan." I say, shaking his hand. "You seem about old enough to see combat."
"I did" says Charlie "During Desert Storm."
"Really? All I've done is mock combat."
"How long were you a pilot?"
"Only 6 years unfortunatly."
"Ouch. So, want to talk about?"
"What, you mean spill my guts about my transformation and damn the Martian Flu for ever getting me?"
"Sounds about right." he says with a smirk.
"Hmm, where to begin."
It was last year when I was serving as a navigator in an F-14 tomcat on the carrier RONALD REAGAN. We were about 50 miles south of Pearl Harbor and were scheduled for a mock dogfight against some F-18's. My squadron assembled into the breifing room and got our orders. Back then my name was Brian Hopkins, callsign Hopper. My pilot was Lieutenant John "Striker" Cunningham.
I had just recovered from a nasty head cold, or what I thought was a headcold. The CMO said I'd gotten Martian Flu and that I'd change anyday now. Just so long as I didn't change in midflight. As we took off my air mask was starting to chafe.
"I told you to use that razor I gave you." said John
"Can't worry about it now. Here they come!"
This is squadron leader, engage!
"There he goes Hopper! Watch him! He'll try to get behind us. I got this one!
I had to whip my head around to see him go by and that's when it started. That whip gave me a big dizzy spell.
"Gotcha! Confirm Gamma three.
Roger that Delta two. Heading home.
The threat indicator started to beep like crazy at the point.
"Damn. Hopper where is he, I can't see him! Hopper?"
"My head." I moaned
John must have looked into his rear view mirror at me then.
"Holy Scrag! Mayday mayday! This is Delta two to base. My navigator's changing!"
What do you mean changing?
"I mean he's turning into a SCAB as we speak sir!"
My head no longer fit into my helmet and I had to take it off.
"Put your helmet back on Hopper! My God man, your turning into a kangaroo!"
"It's too tight in here! I need to get out!"
"My legs are changing! It's too tight! OWWW!! Ejecting!"
"Brian wait, no!"
As I was floating in my parachute down to the ocean I must have blacked out, because next thing I know I was in the REAGAN's sickbay.
"Glad your awake." said the doctor.
"Tell me it was a dream doc."
"Afraid not. Have a look."
He handed me a mirror and a morphic kangaroo looked back at me.
"How am I supposed to fly now?"
I turned to see my squadron leader aproach Commander Kevin "King" Richard.
"Only thing to do is retire."
"What? But the SCABS Military Inclusion Act of '23 says I can stay."
"Yeah, as a sailor, not a pilot."
That part really hit me hard. I loved flying, ever since I was a boy. When I first got out of the bed I could only hop and not walk. I promptly bashed my head on the ceiling. The cramped lower decks of an aircraft carrier is no place for a kangaroo.
"Lucky for me, they gave me an honorable discharge and changed my name to Hopper Reagan. I've learned to walk with these legs but it's a lot easier to hop."
"I can understand that." says Charlie "So, you live here in Hawaii?"
"I did shortly after I was discharged but now I'm going back to the states in a couple days. I think I'll go to the east coast, I've heard a lot of stories about this bar called the Blind Pig Gin Mill."
"I've heard of it."
"Ah, there's the ferry. Nice talking to you Charlie. Thanks for hearing me out."
"Not a problem."
As the ferry got underway I looked back towards the memorial and saw Charlie standing there and gave him and the memorial a salute, which he returned. It'll be nice to be stateside though it can't compare to paradise here in Hawaii.
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