I don't know where he has gone, the Brig answered, his own concern
aroused by the possibility which Debra had hinted at.
There is only one place he would go when he is hurt like this, Debra
told him. He will be in the sky. 'Yes, the Brig agreed readily.
Get down to Air Traffic Control, they'll let you speak to him. The Brig
turned for the door and Debra's voice urged him on.
Find him for me, Daddy. Please find him for me.
The Navajo seemed to come around on to a southerly heading under its own
volition. It was only when the sleek, rounded nose settled on course,
climbing steadily upwards towards the incredibly tall and unsullied blue
of the heavens that David knew where he was going.
Behind him, the solid flat-topped mountain with its glistening wreaths
of clouds fell away. This was the last of the land, and ahead lay only
the great barren wastes of ice and cruel water.
David glanced at his fuel gauges. His vision was sully blurred, but he
saw the needles registering a little over the half-way mark on the
Three hours flying perhaps, and David felt a chill relief that there was
to be a term to his suffering. He saw clearly then how it would end
down there in the wilderness below the shipping lanes. He would
continue to bore for height, climbing steadily until at last his engines
starved and failed. Then he would push the nose down into a vertical
dive and go in hard and fast, like the final suicide stoop of a maimed
and moribund eagle.
It would be over swiftly, and the metal fuselage would carry him down to
a grave that could not be as lonely as the desolation in which he now
The radio crackled and hummed into life. He heard Air Traffic snarl his
call sign through the static crackle, and he reached for the switch to
kill the set, when the well-remembered voice stayed his hand.
David, this is the Brig. The words and the tone in which they were
spoken transported him back to another cockpit in another land.
You disobeyed me once before. Don't do it again. David's mouth
tightened into a thin colourless line and again he reached for the
switch. He knew they were watching him on the radar plot, that they
knew his course, and that the Brig had guessed what he intended.
Well, there was nothing they could do about it.
David, the Brig's voice softened, and some sure instinct made him choose
the only words to which David would listen. I have just spoken to
Debra. She wants you desperately. David's hand hovered over the
Listen to me, David. She needs you, she will always need you. David
blinked, for he felt tears scalding his eyes once more. His
determination wavered. Come back, David. For her sake, come back. out
of the darkness of his soul, a light shone, a small light which grew and
spread until it seemed to fill him with its shimmering brightness.
David, this is the Brig. Again it was the voice of the old warrior,
hard and uncompromising. Return to base immediately. David grinned,
and lifted the microphone to his mouth. He thumbed the transmit button,
and spoke the old acknowledgement in Hebrew.
Beseder! This is Bright Lance leader, homeward bound, and he brought
the Navajo around steeply.
The mountain was blue and low on the horizon, and he let the nose sink
gradually towards it. He knew that it would not be easy, that it would
require all his courage and patience, but he knew that in the end it
would be worth it all. Suddenly he needed desperately to be alone with
Debra, in the peace of Jabulani.