Previously, I discussed the antagonist and the support that Captain Mallard was attempting to gather. Here she gains more support, this coming from a new character who is introduced here. Air Marshal Collinsworth, who also happens to be the headmistress of the Academy.
Captain Mallard went over her findings carefully, feeling she had done everything necessary. Before her own evaluation was to be handed down, however, she needed to gain approval from the headmistress of the academy herself, Air Marshal Cecilia Collingsworth. Collinsworth was a portly Vulpine vixen who’d had her hay day as an air force pilot during the last year of the Great Lupine Land War. She’d flown a good number of successful missions with the 103rd and even had a tale or two about renowned pilot Left-tenant Colonel Artemis Dawkins. Collinsworth was also the mother to House Fennec leader Left-tenant Philburt Collinsworth. She was most pleased when her son worked studiously to attain the rank he achieved, and always encouraged him to study. Some might have said that was a small amount of favouritism, but Cecilia happened to do that with all of the students at the academy, cadets and civilian alike.
Collinsworth read over Captain Mallard’s report carefully, nodding with each point she came across. She wasn’t one to sit down while reading such things, and paced back and forth in the small office Captain Mallard kept. As for Captain Mallard, she waited patiently for the final clearance to be announced.
“Good,” Collinsworth finally said with a nod as she thrust the data pad back to Mallard. “I managed ta witness the trainin’ run from the main communication office in the faculty buildin’. Your final evaluation will hold up as far as I’m concerned. Those students did a right smart bit o’ flyin’ out there t’day.”
“Thank you, Air Mashal,” Mallard said with a nod as she rose to her feet. “You have no objections to my evaluation of Miss Hawkspur?”
Collinsworth perked an ear as she looked to Mallard. “Jada Hawkspur is still a member o’ House Ocelot until she graduates. An’ if I had it fully my way, Miss Hawkspur would not be stripped o’ rank as was done with ‘er. However, I know protocal in manners such as this.” Collinsworth approached Mallard and looked her right in the eye. “If anyone gives you any guff ’bout Hawkspur, you send ’em ta me. Consider that an order, Captain.”
“Very good, Air Marshal,” Mallard said with a smart nod of her head.
“Now, Captain,” Collinsworth said as she lowered her voice, sounding almost conspiratorial. “Rumour has it that you’re concerned ’bout Left-tenant Felix’s placement.”
“I was concerned about a line of questioning regarding Felix and her speech impediment,” Mallard explained honestly. “I went to Colonel Tyrell to voice these concerns, he suggested I take the matter up with you. Unfortunately, I’ve been busy arranging the final training run.”
“Colonel Tyrell tol’ me ’bout your concerns,” Collinsworth said with a nod. “After he explained the situation, I believe I share them. Senia’s a good pilot, a top ranked one at that. An’ the disciplinary tribunal has no business tryin’ ta sway the discision o’ the final evaluation tribunal.” Collinsworth huffed and stepped back a bit. “Stigian be damned. He’s nothin’ more ‘n a desk jockey an’ never had a moment o’ true service. He wouldn’t know a pilot from a dust pan.” She held up a hand to Mallard. “Keep that ta yourself, Captain.”
“Of course, Air Marshal,” Mallard replied, but couldn’t help but smile at Collinsworth’s description.
“Should there be any problems with the final placement o’ Left-tenant Felix,” Collinsworth said as she regained some air of authority. “I may have an idea or two ta deal with that.” She nodded firmly and then waved her hand to Captain Mallard as to send her off. “For now, just hand out your final evaluation, Captain Mallard. “Leave matters like evaluation tribunals ta me for now.”
Mallard gave her a solid salute and hurried on her way, clutching the data pad in her hands. She smiled as she walked down the hall to the main conference room knowing that she’d gathered herself a few allies should she need to defend Left-tenant Senia Felix.