Somewhere on The Eastern Front 194_
Lydia welcomed the gray darkness and musty air of the hangar. To most, it would have seemed to match the dark and grime of Ravensbrück, but to her it was a world of difference. She allowed herself to drift in the clacking of her shoes on the resin floor, swaying at the shoulder to klezmer in her mind. The quiet was total, save for occasional murmurs and shuffling feet.
Lydia snickered at the thought that the men who had brought her might be scared. She had seen and done things others couldn't conceive, and she was sure these people had done likewise. She thought a moment, they were essentially alone, the enemy didn't seem to know where they were. Really, there was just her. But they weren't scared of her, not in the sense of her posing a danger to them. They were scared of what she might do or say.
There were frantic, rustling, swishing and swooping noises. She swore she heard a rich, deep voice curse at what sounded like a smaller man, who was grunting with exertion. Another man called for the lights to be brought up. Everything stopped for a moment then young men ran to turn on the lights.
They hissed and buzzed, slowly, haltingly. Eventually, however, the cold, white light spread over the entire space. It began to grow diffuse at the edges, fading to almost pink and creating dancing shadows of indefinite shape, which Lydia watched with interest.
Suddenly, a man strode into the center of the room. He was evidently of high rank and quite decorated, given the flourishes and filigrees of his uniform, as well as how his men reflexively cleared a path for him. He spoke, “By order of Lord Dowding, you are sworn to secrecy concerning what you are about to see. It comes courtesy of Gideon Powers.”
After this brief statement, Lydia glanced in the direction of the speaker and saw that he was standing in front of (what was evidently, to her at least,) some sort of plane partly covered by a tarp.
The ranking officer continued to speak, “This beautiful beast is called the Shesh Knafayim,” he hesitated a bit in pronouncing the Hebrew but confidently carried on. “Apparently, that means ‘Six Wings,’ which, as you can see, it doesn't have.” There were general mutterings of agreement here. “Not exactly, Sallow here tells me that the others are, what was it you said?”
A pale young man, clearly the one he had called “Sallow,” stepped forward, with the unwelcome assistance of some laughing compatriots, “Permission to speak somewhat candidly, sir?”
“Well, sir, as I said earlier, the other wings exist on another plane of existence. In remotely current terms, they move not through air, but through Aether. The Shesh Knafayim is able to move not only through space, as we understand it, but also through another space. It may be worthwhile to note that the Hun have devices very much like this one.”
“Brilliant. Now, what else did you tell me it could do?”
“Due to the Names of God inscribed between the panels, it is both faster than other military craft and more resistant.”
“What about weather?”
“Well, it is not so much weather resistant as weather negating, the miraculous power of the Names allows the pilot to command, to an extent, wind and clouds.”
“Now that that's over with, we come to our real question, Miss Litvyak, can you fly it?