Hell, I can no more tell ya'll how I got back home than I can tell ya'll how I left in the first damn place. I was flying along pretty as you please one minute, feeling pretty damned good after grounding that German pilot when all my controls froze up on me. I meant to go back at check to see if'n he was all right but I was starting to run a mite low on fuel. If'n I was gonna do something for our side in this mess I was gonna have to get to it. But the throttle wouldn't move and every alarm under under God's Creation was buzzing and beeping and shrieking at me for my attention. I ignored all the consarned noisy do dads and concentrated real hard on not auguring in.

When my Mama set me on top of a horse for the first time she told me, "Chuck, don't ever get into an argument with a horse. The horse weights a quarter ton, son, and *you* weight ninety. Ya'll are gonna lose." Did I ever mention to ya'll what a smart woman my Mama is?

The same goes for a plane.

"Good job, Liri Lee**," I heard an authoritative voice say. "That's one temporal anomaly taken care of! Those new Legion*** kids are a menace. I liked them better when they were older! Who the hell gave them a time license anyway?"

"Long Live the Linear Men****, Matthew*****," came the sarcastic reply.

Now mind ya'll, this time I didn't see jack all. I suddenly had control of the 'Glennis' back and was pretty busy to tell ya'll the truth. I'm pretty sure nobody was green this time, though.

I've never really told anyone the complete truth about what happened the day I crashed that prototype Mirage. Didn't much figure it was anybody's business but mine.

Mine and that German pilot in the red Fokker triplane.

Don't think of him too often these days, but when I do it always makes me grin like a fat, sassy ol' possum leading the blue tick hounds on a merry chase through the wood of a long, warm summer night. I'm not likely to forget the sight of him saluting me as his plane flamed to the ground, no sir. And well sir, I may not know exactly what happened that day, but I do know one thing, straight out ...

That son of a bitch could *fly*.

The End


Practical things first:

*"Made in France"

**Liri Lee is one of the Linear Men
***Legion of Superheroes - DC's 30th Century team of youthful superheroes banded together to serve and protect The United Planets. Through the use of their "time bubbles" - machines invented by the Institute of Chronology, they travel in time and usually get themselves (and others!) in deep kaka. Brainy is Brainiac 5. The girl who accused him of hitting someone with the time bubble was probably Phantom Girl, Tinya Wazzo.
****The Linear Men - living in an artificial environment called Vanishing Point, the Linear Men headed by Rip Hunter, Time Master, are a sort of organization of self appointed temporal Policemen who make sure reality and the timestream flows smoothly.
*****Matthew - Matthew Ryder, AKA Waverider is another of the Linear Men. The most powerful of them. All his compatriots use technology to travel in time. Matthew uses his innate metagene (sorta like the x-factor in a MU mutant's genetic makeup) to do that.

And now that I've totally confused everybody ...

Hans Von Hammer, the Enemy Ace, the Hammer of Hell, is the creation of Bob Kanigher. He had a brief solo career in later issues of "Star Spangled War Stories" and made many guest appearances over the years in various DC books He was the star of the critically acclaimed TPB "Enemy Ace: War Idyll" by George Pratt. Briefly said, Hans Von Hammer was the DCU equivalent of the real life Baron Manfred Von Richtoffen, the "Bloody Red Baron" of World War 1 German fame. The war in the air in 1917 was a strange one:):) Aeroplanes were brand new as was the concept of using them in war. The pilots of these planes most often survived being forced from the skies by an opponent. AND, what's more, when a pilot was driven to the ground, as often as not, his foe was likely to land and the two would fight a by God, *duel* with pistols! Or so the legends go ... Certainly Von Hammer, was portrayed thusly! A titled German nobleman from a proud and ancient family he adhered to a strict code of personal honor. Ah hope Ah have managed to portray him as such:)

Charles Elwood Yeager, OTOH, is a real person. For those you who don't know him or have perhaps been living on another planet for the past few years or so ... On October 14, 1947, in the high desert of California's Edwards Air Force Base, piloting the Bell X-1, Chuck Yeager became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound. He "broke the sound barrier". Recently, on the 50th Anniversary of his achievement, while in his seventies, Chuck did it again. He was also a decorated fighter pilot in World War 11 and one of the first of the so called "test pilots".

Ah must crave everyone's indulgence here. Just as Ah don't have DC's permission to use Enemy Ace in my story, Ah likewise don't have General Yeager's permission to use him and this is a more serious matter since he is a real person and Ah could be violating more than a simple copyright heah:) Thus Ah beg ya'll's pardon for the presumption. General Yeager's also. My decision to use him in this story is born of admiration and plain old fashioned hero-worship and Ah would like to assure one and all that Ah would never do anything to offend the General:):) Among the many things Ah admire the most about Chuck Yeager, though, is his sense of humor! And besides ... Hey Chuck! Ya'll won, ya'll won! *Dannell ducks under the nearest cover and commenses to keep a sharp eye out for low flying airplanes*