The previous Owl, Tiny noticed, seemed to have had the same affinity for his Phoenix that he did. A deep and abiding love for the craft that went beyond affection for a good tool.
Even the later incarnations, it would seem, spurred that affinity. Ryu’s opinion of them, as outlined in these reports, was less than positive. After seeing the pictures, Tiny Harper agreed. No wonder their designers had gone back to the sleek, beautiful lines of the God Phoenix for this latest incarnation.
Ryu was luckier, in his opinion. At least there was a reasonable backup pilot – Ken, the Eagle, was able to pilot the God Phoenix without any major disasters.
Unlike Mark. It would have been charitable to say that Mark was not a good Phoenix pilot. It was more accurate to say that watching him pilot the Phoenix would make one wonder if he was actually a pilot at all. Accuracy begged the reminder that the Phoenix technicians had sent an official memorandum to Anderson – with Tiny’s endorsement – that Mark never be allowed near the flight controls of the Phoenix.
What had surprised Tiny in that episode is that Mark himself had agreed.
Tiny had read these reports many times over the past few years, always looking for an edge against Spectra. Trying to pick up on any techniques his predecessor had perfected to outfly Galactor.
Always, he had been pleased to note that he had also found the same techniques.
The most beautiful lady – his Phoenix. No woman could compare to her. Tiny Harper knew that his integration with Phoenix was more than Ryu’s had been. His cerebonic implant was linked directly to the heart of the Phoenix and, to Tiny, he knew that she was more than just a machine.
Like no other, she understood him. Like no other, she supported him. To put it simply, Phoenix was the love of Tiny Harper’s life.
Every piece of damage cut at his soul. The times she had been all but destroyed had crippled him. Every change suggested to her had to pass his rigorous examination.
The techs knew that now!
Ryu had loved his God Phoenix, but nothing like Tiny Harper did his.
His beautiful bird flew through water, air and the vacuum of space with equal ease. She could balance with the lightest of touches on ice like a figure skater, or crash through the side of a mecha with the power of a wrecking ball.
When Phoenix went firey, Tiny often wished he could see her from the outside. Could see the true form of Phoenix revealed. When Phoenix was firey, Tiny knew better than any of his team mates that they were completely one with the blue and red warbird.
The scream that Phoenix unleashed when she went firey came, he knew, partly from his own self. The joyous scream of the bird unleashed un her full power and glory.
Tiny leaned forward and stroked the console in front of him, his touch light, his fingers knowing every button, every ridge, every rivet.
His hands, which seemed so large and clumsy, when in control of Phoenix moved with the grace and delicacy of a ballerina.
A light touch. His lady responded best to a light touch. The touch of a lover.
In his mind, he felt the Phoenix respond to his reaching out to her.
“This is our watch,” he heard her say. “On our watch, we will not fail.”
Yes, he agreed silently. For when the Owl and Phoenix worked in unison, they could not fail.