(1939-11-05) Dawn Patrol
Details for Dawn Patrol
Summary: 812 Squadron, RAF, goes on patrol looking for the Germans. They find some, and then return home to an unusually warm reception.
Date: 5 November 1939
Location: RAF Biggin Hill, Outside London
Related: Presents and Dancing

Near the English Channel…

Dawn is an unreasonably early hour by the estimation of most members of 812 Squadron, especially on the morning after the night before. But with the party ending in an air raid shelter, the brass is anxious that Biggins Hill get its spitfires in the air to keep an eye out for the encroaching Germans, who have become sporadically more bold. So, as the sun makes its way slowly over the horizon, turning the White Cliffs pink along the Channel, two flights of airplanes in RAF livery patrol the cold autumn skies.

Flight Lieutenant Faulkner, who looked as if he needed to close his eyes lest he bleed to death this morning, waggles his wings as he checks his new flight members like a mother hen. The act of craning his neck to look for the Hun seems more of an effort than usual, even despite the silk scarf of a pilot. Everything chafes, everything hurts. "Bloody early in the morning to play pilot, Skipper." he says, over the wireless.

Guy is tagging along with the two flights. He's plugged on, to make a flight of four planes. "It is. But still, it's a nice view." He's constantly looking around. Up, behind, below, around. Yep. Paranoia dies hard, or pilots die easy. And this despite the lack of any Bogies call on the W/T.

One of the pilot officers keys up the wireless, "Bandits! Three o'clock high." And sure enough, coming out of the east with the rising sun behind them are a flight of the (in)famous Messerschmitt Bf 109s, their profile different from a friendly craft in ways that are soon obvious to an experienced eye. The wireless lights up with calls to turn and climb.

Guy groans quietly, "Alright, you chaps. Red flight, with me. The rest of you fellas, gain some height, and watch out for extras."

Guy quints into the sun, adjusting slightly, and squeezes off a burst at extreme range. Normally, he'd have been yelling at the offender to hold their fire, but as a chunk of wing flies off his target, which starts leaking glycene into the air, it's probably alright, "Winged!"

"Tally ho." Faulkner says, falling into a rare moment of seriousness now that the chips are well and truly down. He claws for altitude, pushing the throttles full forward and keeping his wingman in tight as they close the range, then breaks hard as one of the Me109s dives on him. A sharp turn pushes the Spitfire to the ragged edge of its performance envelope, the persplex and wings screaming in protest until he's managed to corkscrew enough to get a deflection shot on the German. A burst stitches into the cockpit and engine, and in a cloud of oily black smoke the Luftwaffe machine begins to spiral downward towards the channel.

Unfortunately for Faulkner, while his attention is on the target, another one of the Hun fighters gets a shot off at his more junior wingman. Bullet holes *PING!* into the fuselage and wing angrily, but while greyish-white smoke begins to come out of the Spit, it stays in the air for the moment, and they maneuver again to get clear and look for another shot.

Guy rolls onto one wing, as the flight splits, to try and continue shots on his winged target. The attitude seems very much to be, as he slams his throttles fully forward, that the job is to make sure a 'probable' becomes a 'confirmed'. A long burst is rewarded by the damaged wing splintering some more, and the 109 goes into a flat spin, from which, after a thousand feet or so, comes a white 'chute.

Guy flicks his plane around, hearing the distress call from P/O Bloggins, "Calm down, Jerry…. calm down…. not going to let you go West…"

Bloggins replies, "I should bail out, Skipper!"

Guy's voice is very calm, "Can do, old chap. But do you reckon you can nurse her home? I'll wingman you…"

Faulkner's wingman breaks to join up with Guy, and meanwhile Birdie pulls a neat-as-you-please Immelman followed by a turning dive to bring himself around with the Jerry in his sights. A quick burst sends tracers wide. He adjusts his aim, maneuvering wildly over the channel. The Messer tries to pull away, using it's superior speed, but the pilot makes one small miscalculation, and Faulkner makes him pay. A row of tracers intersect just behind the prop and continue down nearly the entire length of the German machine. No 'probable' this time. It explodes in midair. "Splash one." the Flight Lieutenant says, laconically. "Ready to head back to the barn, Skipper? We're going to be running on vapor by the time we get back as it is."

Sometime Later, Biggin Hill

812 comes in from a dawn patrol, gathered like shepherding dogs around one of their own, which is limping in, with large holes in it. The Squadron has radioed ahead on the wireless that the airfield should prepare for a possible crash landing. A for Apple, the Old Mans red nosed Spitfire remains on circling whilst the landing occurs.

When the call comes in, the base springs into action. Firefighters are rushing to to the runway, ready to douse as much as possible in the flame-killing fire extinguisher gloop. Also known as CTC. A medical team is there too… When Bloggins lands, the teams spring into action, hosing down the spitfire and pulling Bloggins out before the thing has a chance to explode.

Pilot Officer Bloggins manages to bring his nursed-home Spitfire down in one piece. It's a near-run thing, of course, the wheels skip, the wings flex, it looks like he might not get the nose back up in time but then… he's on the ground and the prop is slowing, along with the steam and smoke coming out of the poor, abused Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.

The other pilots come in for their landings. Faulkner is playing tail end charlie, his engagement having been the last, but he lands before the old man does, putting it down smoothly with only a few bounces before he taxis off and has his plane pushed into ground hands. There is much groaning about stresses on the airframe as he pushes back the canopy and emerges.

A for Apple also drops down, to land smoothly, and he pushes his canopy back as he taxis in towards his pen. "Check her over, chaps!"

Guy hauls himself up, to stand in his cockpit, and raises a single index finger towards the base buildings. Then he points to Faulkner.

The last day and night have been extremely eventful for Rena. She came out here to entertain - and entertain she did. She sang her heart out and danced and entertained the boys all for the sake of her dear friend, Guy. But then, the air raid happened she got stuck at the airfield for the night. Fortunately for her, Faulkner was gentlemanly enough to loan her his big overcoat to keep the chill off, long before he and the others went out on the dawn patrol. Since then, it's been uneasy waiting for the little redhead, hoping her friends are all going to return safely.

Once the men have returned, more or less in-tact, Rena hangs back from the action (for the moment to stay out from underfoot) and watches anxiously, hugging the overcoat around herself tightly.

Faulkner takes a moment to have his attention gotten. Since he's too busy hearing from the ground crew what a terrible, terrible pilot he is for having stressed his poor machine so badly. He promises them beer, and then climbs down, unbuckling his mae west and pulling off his cap. Then he sees Guy signal to him and tilts his head, nodding and heading over in the direction of the HQ buildings.

Meanwhile, the crash crew have pulled Bloggins out to find him, well, shaking like a leaf, but not hurt. His kite, on the other hand, probably will require some major overhaul. He's thrown on a stretcher carried by two orderlies and moved over towards the waiting truck with a red cross on its side.

Guy also unfastens his Mae West, and gets a cigarette out, though obviously he doesn't light it. He limps over towards the base. Still holding one finger up, in the cricket symbol for 'out', or possibly the universal signal for 'One'.

Oh, right, NOW Faulkner gets the hint, and puts up two fingers.

Kahren was extremely anxious for the entire duration of the raid - her head filled with the descriptions Guy had given her of those horrible bombs - but she'd done her best to smile, and laugh, and chat with the others in the shelter, and even sing along with the one or two songs she knew. Her sleep in the WAAF barracks was fitful, and she'd woken (hung-over) to the news of the boys' early morning flight. She was standing near Rena now, watching as the planes land, and the boys hop out of their fighters one by one. "Looks like they're alright, at least. Mostly. How many have landed - is that all of them?" She tries to count the planes.

One of the WAAFs is biting her lip, as she stares down to the enfoamed plane, and then sobs out, "Seven out. Seven back." Ah. But her eyes are watching the figure being taken to the ambulance.

Rena bounces up on her toes and looks over the planes on the runway when Kahren asks about the number and hurriedly joins in the counting. "I think so… thank 'eavens for that." Her voice remains tense, however. Clearly she's looking for some very specific pilots in the mayhem.

First, Rena spots Guy, and an overjoyed smile tugs at the corners of her lips; and then, she catches sight of Faulkner. Finally, a viable wave of relief washes over her, and she breathes a thankful sigh.

"Do you suppose that one was hurt?" Kahren asks, her gaze going to the one being brought towards the ambulance. "…I could help." But she can't. That's a horrible thought to the young healer - the idea of someone being injured, and her helpless to do anything about it.

Guy approaches the base, clapping Faulkner on the shoulder, and also shooting a glance towards the ambulance. But he limps up. "Right. Splashed three. All certains, I think. I saw mine bail out. How about yours, Birdie? I saw the second one go 'bang'."

"Right. The first one bailed out, I think. The second one's gone for a Burton, I'm afraid. We press on regardless, eh, Skipper? One or both might have hit land, though. The brown jobs going to bring the P.W.s over for the traditional hail and farewell?" Faulkner continues to chat with Guy as they approach the building, to do… whatever it is they have to do.

Bloggins is carried over to the lorry where a doctor begins looking over the lad. When it's clear that there's nothing physically wrong with him that a plaster or two won't fix, he's discharged and sent off for his debriefing.

One of the nurses, however, breaks off from the medical team and walks over towards Guy. She's young and wearing the scarlet and grey of the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. "Squadron Leader Grosvenor." A soft Cambridge accent cuts through the air.

Guy turns. He's wearing the silly flying helmet, and a certain amount of oil on his face, "Hello… oh! Hello! Good to see you? Is Bloggins alright? He sounded a bit… worried."

Faulkner doesn't bother with the flying helmet, but he does have his goggles around his neck. He turns and gives a smile to the young nurse as well, tipping his well-worn service cap, "Sister." he says. Then adds, as an aside, "It's not Jerry he needs to be afraid of, it's the penguins when they find out that his kite is S.O.C.."

Rena casts a sympathetic glance in Kahren's direction. Both women know they could do one thing or another to help the men… but they are both just as helpless as the other when it comes to being on the Muggle side of the world. It's their job, and apparently their duty to stand by and watch people die if need be to protect that goddamned statute of secrecy… Of course, a Nurse appears to take care of the poor man - much to their mutual relief. He should be alright, now.

Rena can scarcely contain herself any longer as Guy and Faulkner move a little back from the planes. Without a word, she breaks into a fast run and closes the ground between herself and them rapidly. Poor Squadron Leader Grosvenor will soon find himself tackled by the young redhead. "Guy! I was so worried!" She says laughingly.

With his plane on the ground, Pilot Officer David Evans climbs out, still a bit jittery from adrenaline. In fact - he's fighting the urge to kiss the side of his plane, and settles for giving it an appreciative thump. Back on the ground - and in one piece. That's good. He eyes poor Bloggins' wreck and shakes his head. "Glad that ain't me," he mutters, before starting out across the field.

Eva's eyes flick over Faulkner's features and she gives the man a small, gentle smile of greeting before she turns her attention back to Guy. "He's as well as can be expected. Much better than he has any right to be considering how banged up his bird was." She pauses. "You'll need to set him down, though. He's a fair bit rattled by the whole affair, as I'm sure you can understand. Buck him up; give him a drink. If he doesn't shake it off… Do let us know?"

She extends her hand to Faulkner. "Sister Eva Stratton-Willoughby, Flight Lieutenant. I'm glad that we're meeting like this instead of on the operating table." So she's a trauma nurse… Shrewd blue eyes flicker over both Gosvenor and Faulkner, as if appraising their own condition. "Oh, and Guy." The woman's head tilts. "I heard that my father is on his way over to the base." Her smile grows faintly, and her eyes begin to twinkle. "I feel certain that he'll want to be present for your report."

Eventually, she looks past the two pilots to the two strange and not-in-uniform girls that are now running over towards the group and hugging the men. "Civilians?" For the first time since this whole encounter began, Eva actually looks alarmed. She glances up at the sky as if waiting for bandits to show up out of nowhere.

Kahren doesn't run over - she's fairly certain it would cause her skull to split, with the headache she's got right now. But she does follow Rena, a smile on her features as she makes her way towards Guy. "I'm glad you all seem to be alright," she calls over.

Guy starts to reply to Eva, and then there's a ballistic redhead impacting him, "Oooph!" And then more sensibly, he notes, "Oh, you need to worry about the other chaps!" He shouts over towards the Station Office, "Wingco? Could you ask one of the Ops Girls to ring the Dover garrison, and ask 'em if they'd mind sending up the chaps we knocked over, for dinner? See what they say?" He pats Rena's back. "I'm too old and ugly to be shot down easily!"

Faulkner takes Eva's hand, and with all the gallantry of the air service, sweeps off his hat and bends down to not-quite-touch his lips to it, "The pleasure is all mine, and I'm very glad to be met under far more personable circumstances. You wouldn't happen to be Colonel Stratton-Willoughby's daughter, would you?"

"Oh bother - you ALWAYS say that." Rena chides Guy, frowning at him playfully before releasing him from her grip. The enthusiasm of her hug leaves her struggling a bit to pull Faulkner's over-sized coat back around her shoulders to fight the chill of the morning air. She isn't exactly in uniform, no; but, she looks far stranger than Kahren at this point.

"'Ello," Rena says simply with a smile, given that Eva's glance at the Civilians seemed to indicate she thought they have two heads a piece. Faulkner makes a far more galant in his greeting. Rena's just a Cockney showgirl (to the Base) - and it'd seem odd if she acted like anything else.

Dark eyes drift and catch sight of David from afar. Rena waves gaily, calling out: "Dai! You made it out wi'out a scratch! Good show!"

"Yup! All thanks to my talisman, no doubt!" David responds brightly, patting his pocket as he strides closer. "Nothing at all to do with the Old Man and Birdie here showing me the ropes," he adds. "I'm starved. Will you be joining us in the mess?" After they're done sorting out all the post-flight nonsense, naturally.

After Rena releases Guy, Kahren catches up with the group, and gives the man a brief, friendly hug. "Glad you brought your plane back in one piece," she remarks. "I've heard they're expensive." Looking to Faulkner and David, she gives them each a smile and a nod, before looking towards Eva. "Hello," she greets the woman. "Kahren Umbridge, a pleasure." She keeps a game smile on - despite the pounding in her head.

Faulkner's sweeping and almost not quite handkissing distracts Eva, and her lips curl into a tickled, crooked smile. "I see that once again my father's fame has preceded me," she allows with amusement in her tone. "I am. I can't go and fight alongside our boys, so I do the next best thing. You just call me Eva, " Her attention, however, drifts back to the civilians. "My apologies, Misses. I'm unaccustomed to seeing civilians on the base after an air raid. It put all of us over at the Medic on edge. The last thing we want is to casavac innocents." She grins crookedly again. "I take it you were here for the party last night. Eva Stratton-Willoughby. I'm a Trauma sister here and at the Royal Hospital."

"Oh, well, I know him by reputation only, Siste… err… Eva. I don't think we've ever had the occasion to exchange so much as a how do in passing." Faulkner says, and then offers a little nod to the other ladies, "We made it home safely. See, there was nothing at all to worry about. There hasn't been the Hun in the air yet who could handle us."

Guy lights his cigarette, and takes a pull before removing it to note, "Do let me know if you need my Adjutant removed from your hand, Eva, won't you!" He's sounding amused. "He's old enough to know better!"

"Talisman?" Rena asks of David in a puzzled way, quirking one eyebrow. She doesn't have much time to ask for further details. "I'm afraid I really must be getting 'ome…" She replies with regards to joining them for mess. "I ought to 'ave been back in London last night." For a brief glimmer of a moment, her gaze flicks toward Faulkner. Of course, he's still talking to Eva. And where are HER manners?

"Pleasure to meet you!" Rena replies warmly, taking hold of Eva's hand when she offers it in greeting. "Irene Lee - but most everyone just calls me Rena."

"Yes, ma'am, my cousin sent it specially," David remarks in an amused tone. The other lads in the squad have seen some of the strange sketches David's crazy cousin likes to send in the mail. "Shame you can't be joining us, though," he says with some obvious disappointment in his voice.

Eva nods to Faulkner with a quiet chuckle. "I imagine that you could press Guy for stories if you feel particularly adventurous. They served together in the Great War. And as I said before, I do believe that my father is on his way here. Perhaps you'll get to how do him then." She turns then, looking for a moment overwhelmed by all the introductions and hands and offers and comments. She settles on shaking each hand in turn and ends up shaking Faulkner's again… "Oh dear." She grins lopsidedly again. "Forgive me, Flight Lieutenant." Guy's offer is merely met with a subtle smirk.

Faulkner hasn't really been clutching Eva's hand this whole time, though he shakes reflexively when she takes his hand a second time, before rolling his eyes at the Squadron Leader. "You shall have to ask the Old Man to show you his lovely new tunic, as well, Eva." he ripostes, to the jab. He then glances from Rena to Guy, and asks, "Skipper, can I have a chit to give Miss Lee a ride home? I think we're screened until tomorrow anyway, after that little dustup." Then he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a silver cigarette case. He offers it around before taking one for himself, lighting for any of the ladies so inclined, and then taking a long drag off his favored Senior Service brand.

Guy gives a little 'shoo' gesture, "Write up your log, first. Have fun. Pick up a couple of bottles of fizz for the Squadron's first kills, if you would? Or rather, to replace the ones I'm going to pop with the Hun, if they make it here."

At the offered cigarette, Kahren shakes her head though she offers a grateful smile. "You first kills?" she echoes Guy. As much as she loathes the thought of killing, she gamely adds, "Congratulations are in order, then?"

"Lob, please," Eva responds as she takes the proffered fag. "I'd better get back to the MO. Good to see you as always, SL Grosvenor. Lovely to meet you all as well."

Once more, a vaguely quizzical expression shows in Rena's features when David mentions a cousin sending him a talisman. It's not an odd thing in and of itself, is it? She must be tired and overthinking things…

The lovely nurse lady is already taking her leave of them, and Rena turns her attention back to the woman with a smile and nod: "Nice to 'ave met you, too. I'll do my best to always stay out from underfoot when I'm around 'ere." She adds, making an attempt to reassure her. Probably not terribly successful at that.

Faulkner's offer brings a brighter smile to Rena's face, but it quickly fades at the mention of report writing. Oh dear, she is NEVER going to get back home at this rate.

Faulkner gives Eva a light, and then lights his own, "Oh, don't look so down, Miss Lee. It's only going to take a few minutes. Flew out. Engaged Hun. Shot down Hun. Returned to base." He smirks just a bit at Guy, and then says, "And sure. Maybe I can even find some of the French stuff, if they still have any. I'll be back in two shakes." And with that, he heads inside the building to finish the paperwork.

Guy says, "Well… two probably survived to be prisoners. It's not like the old days. Chutes make it a lot easier to dismount!"

"Well. That's good, though, isn't it? We treat them decent - and we have to hope they'll do that same for our boys," Kahren offers - a hopeful note in her voice. It's a reassuring thought, at least.

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