"Please Numbuh 2? Oh, pretty, pretty please!"
"Not now Numbuh 3." sighed Hoagie as he glanced at the bubbly girl skipping beside him.
"Please? Please, please, please!" Kuki grabbed Hoagie's chubby hand in her own. Her violet eyes widened, and her mouth turned down gracefully.
"No, Kuki." said Hoagie, averting his eyes. "I'm busy… I've got stuff to do…"
"Please." said Kuki again. "Please teach me how to fly the S.C.A.M.P.E.R.!"
"Why do you wanna learn how to fly anyway?" asked Hoagie curiously.
"It looks like fun!" said Kuki chirpily. "Please Numbuh 2?"
Hoagie sighed and rolled his eyes. "Alright fine. Lemme go get the keys an-"
"Yay!" Kuki squealed happily, cutting off the end of his sentence. She threw her arms around the chubby boy, her face lit up with excitement.
She released him after a moment and skipped joyfully down the hallway towards the hangar. Chuckling to himself, Hoagie set off after her, at a more reasonable pace.
"This should be interesting."
"So what do I do first?"
Hoagie and Kuki were securely strapped into the co-pilot and pilot seats respectively. Hoagie was sitting calmly, a little tense. Kuki was bouncing up and down in her seat, her seatbelt trying – and failing – to restrain her.
"First, you need to stop bouncing." advised Hoagie. Kuki instantly settled down and turned her face toward Hoagie's, a huge grin on her face.
"Now you gotta turn it on." said Hoagie, pointing to the ignition. "Here's the key."
Kuki took the key and jammed it into the ignition. The S.C.A.M.P.E.R's engine spluttered, then came to life with a low drone.
"Okay." said Hoagie. "Before we go, I'm gonna explain the controls okay?"
Kuki nodded, her ebony hair swinging jerkily.
"That," said Hoagie as he pointed to a red button with a lever next to it, "is the thrusters. You push the button to activate it, and use the lever to control the intensity. The thrusters are used for liftoff. They're activated until we're a fair distance from the ground, then we switch over to flight mode."
"That," said Hoagie straining against his seatbelt to point to a switch by Kuki's left hand, "Turns on flight mode. Then you use the controls right in front of you."
Kuki nodded and looked down.
"The big controller right in front of you controls which direction the S.C.A.M.P.E.R flies. Just pull it in the direction you want to go. Speed lever's next to it. Push it away from you to make it go faster."
Kuki nodded again, her face still glowing with excitement.
"Okay." said Hoagie. "Turn on the thrusters. Red button."
"Okey-dokey." said Kuki chirpily "Red button!"
She daintily pressed the button, cheering as the ship jerked upward.
"Give it a little more power." said Hoagie.
Kuki grabbed the lever and pushed as hard as she could.
"No, Kuki!" cried Hoagie as the ship shot upward. "Pull it back, pull it back, pull it back!"
Kuki grabbed at the lever.
The ship continued to shoot upward, getting closer and closer to the hangar roof. Hoagie squeezed his eyes shut and gripped his armrests.
The aircraft jerked to a stop.
Hoagie slowly opened one eye and glanced out the cockpit window. The aircraft had stopped only inches from the roof of the hangar. Slowly Hoagie released his death grip on his seat.
"Umm… " Hoagie's voice cracked "That was, uh, pretty good Kuki."
"Thank you!" said Kuki, her happy smile brightening her face. "What next?"
"Now, you, uh," said Hoagie "You gotta switch it into flight mode."
"Okey dokey!" said Kuki as she flipped the proper switch.
"Okay then." said Hoagie "Now, gently, tilt the nose of the plane down…er… pull the controller up a little."
"Up?" asked Kuki confused "Wouldn't I pull it down?"
"It's opposite in airplanes." explained Hoagie. "So, go ahead, tilt the plane down a little, and then push the lever to get going…only a little bit though okay?"
Kuki nodded, her tongue sticking out between her lips as she slowly positioned the nose of the aircraft.
"Like this Numbuh 2?" asked Kuki, her eyes still narrowed with concentration.
"Perfect." said Hoagie, earning a beaming smile from the young girl beside him. "Now push the lever forward just a little."
Very, very slowly Kuki pushed the lever forward. The plane didn't move.
"A little bit harder then that." advised Hoagie, his hands instinctively heading towards his armrests.
The plane jerked forward, but at a reasonable pace this time. Slowly, the hangar floor moved closer, while the ceiling receded.
"Level out." said Hoagie to Kuki once they were about half way between the ceiling and floor. "Pull the controller down until the plane is level."
Kuki did so, a little sloppily, but eventually managed to get the plane on a level heading.
"Okay." said Hoagie, checking the gauges and radar in front of him. "Now, slowly, but not too slowly push the lever forward.
The plane jerked forward awkwardly, but after the first initial bump, smoothed out into level flight.
"Good job." said Hoagie earning yet another smile from Kuki. "Now head wherever you want. I'll help you keep an eye out for other planes, and I'll help if you need it, but I think you should practice steering for a bit."
"We should go get ice cream!" suggested Kuki. "Can we Numbuh 2? Pretty please?"
"Sounds good to me." said Hoagie drooling at the thought of his favorite rocky road ice cream. "You gotta turn left."
Kuki yanked the controller to the right. The plane shot off in that direction, heading straight towards the tree house.
"Turn it the other way!" cried Hoagie, his hands once again clutching his armrests. Just before collision, Kuki jerked the controller to the left. Hoagie felt himself slide down his seat, only to be stopped by his seatbelt.
"Left Kuki." said Hoagie, panting from fright. "You gotta go left."
"But you said it was opposite in airplanes." said Kuki, her bottom lip trembling.
"Ohhh." said Hoagie. "I did, didn't I? Um, it's opposite when you want to go up or down. Left and right aren't opposite."
"Okay." said Kuki as she slowly moved the controller left. "Now which way?"
"Straight ahead." said Hoagie. "Keep going straight until I tell you to."
The trip to the ice cream parlor was, for the most part, uneventful. There was one frantic moment when a bird flew in front of the plane. Kuki, in her effort to not hit the bird, turned the plane so sharply that if Hoagie hadn't been wearing a seatbelt, he would've flown right through the cockpit window.
"Okay." said Hoagie as he glanced from the radar to the ground, making sure they matched up. "Time to land. This part is kinda tricky. First you gotta push the lever for the thrusters to half power."
Kuki did so, smiling at Hoagie's approving nod.
"Don't do this yet." warned Hoagie "Just listen. You're gonna switch off flight mode, and then right away you need to turn on the thrusters. Got it? Turn off flight mode, then quickly turn on the thrusters."
"Flight mode, thrusters." nodded Kuki. "Should I do it now?"
Kuki flipped off flight mode. For one stomach wrenching second, the plane free-falled. Hoagie barely had time to register the feeling, when Kuki got the thrusters on. The plane immediately stopped its fall, and hovered gently.
"Great job." said Hoagie, smiling at Kuki. "Now slowly lower the power of the thrusters."
Kuki did so, bringing the S.C.A.M.P.E.R to a gentle landing.
"Take the key out of the ignition, and then you're done."
Kuki tugged the key, grinning as the plane's drone stuttered to a stop.
"We should get some ice-cream for the others." suggested Kuki as she threw off her seatbelt.
"Good idea." said Hoagie as he slowly released his seatbelt. "My treat."
"Are you sure?" asked Kuki, her hand already reaching towards the rainbow monkey purse that had slid away from her during the flight.
"My treat." repeated Hoagie.
"Thank you Numbuh 2!" chirped Kuki, flinging her arms around his neck in a quick hug. The cheerful girl skipped happily from the S.C.A.M.P.E.R, her head filled with thoughts of rainbow monkey raspberry ice cream.
Hoagie chuckled again as he followed Kuki off the plane.
"No problem." he murmured to himself. "After all, today's a special day."
"That was nice of you to teach Kuki to fly."
Abby and Hoagie were leaning against the hangar wall, happily eating the ice cream. Abby had turned her head slightly sideways to glance at Hoagie, her spoon digging around in the container she held.
"She's pretty good to be honest." said Hoagie glancing down the hallway the cheery oriental girl had vanished with her and Wally's ice cream in hand. The girl had insisted on being the one to deliver the tasty treat.
"And after all," said Hoagie as he chucked his empty container into the trash.
"It is her birthday."
A/N: So. For y'all who didn't get the memo, two days ago was my good friend stoplight-melody's 16th birthday. Speaking of which, Kati, I'm sorry I didn't get this up in time for your actual birthday! I was hoping I could, but I had a SUPER GINORMICA math test I had to study for, and then life kept getting in the way…Happy belated birthday, girl! *huggles*
…Sorry, where was I? Oh yes. So 16 is a big one. It's also the year that (in the US) we can take our drivers test. (TRIVIA: Andra failed her first driver's test. Turned into the wrong lane coming off a one-way. No biggie though, she passed the second time ^^) ANYWAY, this story – while not directly about the drivers test – is about someone learning to drive (fly?). It also pays tribute to the parents who clutch their armrests and scream in terror every time their child is behind the wheel.
There. That's the point of the story. That is all.
One last thing to say, and then I'll stop rambling.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATI!!!! I hope you had a super duper fantabulous birthday!
Thanks for reading :)
Codename KND © Mr. Warburton