Person of Interest – Col. William “Wings” Peterson

This character overview is for all of you out there to make a story with.  If you do make a story, put a link in my comments and I will give you credit at the beginning of my next character prompt.

Name: Col. William “Wings” Peterson

Age: 30

Appearance:  Wings is a wiry man of average height with a rock hard body corded with muscle.  His chocolate brown skin is covered in thin, pale scars. He walks stiffly with his shoulders wide.  He looks around constantly eyes darting wildly. He has short, tight curly hair.

Background: Wings beat the odds and became a fighter pilot.  His early years were spent reading about flying. He made plastic models when he was able to get them and had dozens of balsa and foam planes.  He even learned to make a dozen different paper airplane designs.

His parent were not well off, and could not afford to get flight lessons.  As he got older he began doing as many odd jobs as possible. He mowed lawns, shoveled walks, delivered papers.  In his spare time, he would go to the airfield and listen to the ground training courses. Much as he would like to, he just hadn’t earned enough money.

One day at the flight school walked over to him at the end of class. “You know all this ground stuff, yes?”

William nodded “I’ve watched the class 10 times now.  If I took the test right now I would pass.”

The man laughed “Tell you what.  Take the test and if you get a perfect store I will give you lessons for free.”

“Ok” William agreed.  The man gave him the papers and with shaking hands he began answering questions.  At first he went slowly but he realized the questions were easy and buzzed through. He handed the paper to the instructor and waited.  He read it and a strange look washed across his face.

“Damn.  You really did it,” he looked at the 12 year old “I’ll give you lessons, but you are gonna work for it.”

The man was true to his word and the next day he had his first lesson.  The instructor, Dan, went over the instrument panel, but William knew them already.  Wanting to move on to new stuff he cut Dan off and listed off the instrumentation quickly.

“Well Wings, you know the plane so let’s get started on the real stuff,” Dan started clicking instruments.  The rest of the lesson was interesting. Afterwards, he had to sweep the hangar.

The pattern continued with lessons followed by work.  The work grew more complex, and he sorted and handed tools to the engineers.  They explained the inner workings of the plane. After 2 years there he had finished his training and had started help repair engines.

His license was bittersweet because he would miss the airfield and he wouldn’t be able to afford flights.  Dan handed him his license and he broke down. It meant everything to him. “I’ll miss everyone and I’ll come to visit.”

Dan shook his head “You think I’m letting you get away that easily?  We just got you trained. You’re stuck here. I suppose I’ll have to pay you now.”

Wings, shocked, shook Dan’s hand in a daze.  The next day he started as an employee, doing all his usual work.  Dan made sure he got into the cockpit at least once a week. Wings grew skilled beyond his years and was doing complex maneuvers by the time he was 18.

When he finished High School he signed up for the Air Force.  He applied many times to fly, but he only received vague responses that talked around the real issue – he was the wrong color.  Instead, he was stuck doing repairs in the hangar. At 20 he was moved to a base in Iraq in the middle of the power struggle between the different groups of Muslims.

One day a man ran into the airfield with a bomb strapped to his chest and charged the pilots, killing most and wounding others.  Then the shelling began.   He decided he had to take out the mortars. He would probably be court marshaled but only he was the only able bodied pilot there.

He ran to a nearby F-15 that had just loaded and jumped in.  The mask was the wrong size but he made due and took off. He saw the mortars and dropped a load of smart bombs that took out most of the guns.  A couple of rockets came at him from shoulder launchers so he made a strafing run, killing many insurgents. As he passed one got a lucky shot and hit his right turbine.

At this point, he could go back to base or end this now.  He would probably never be allowed to fly a plane again, so he made a sweeping turn.  His plane was now aimed at the remaining mortars. He loosed some air to ground missiles at the mortars and soldiers.  He let go of the stick and said a prayer for a second before he barrelled into the weapons platforms.


He awoke to beeping and a mob of nurses and doctors.  “He’s waking!” a nurse said excitedly. They tested his reflexes and found no issues.  After that, he was mostly alone until the day a general walked in. the court marshall had finally arrived.  He still saluted the man as he entered.

“You are a crazy bastard.  With no combat training you took out a mortar battery and most of its soldiers,” the general looked at Wings.

Not knowing what to say, Wings said “Thank You, Sir.”

“Don’t thank me yet.  I may be bearing bad news,”  the general laughed “Seriously it’s up to you how to take it.  You’ve been assigned to me. I am getting ready to test a quantum engine.  If it works you will travel at speeds we never dreamed were possible. Interested?”

There was no thought needed “I would crawl out of this bed now to fly such a plane,” Wings eyes glimmered.

“Excellent, although you have 6 months of intensive convalescence, advanced flight classes, and weapons training,” the general stood and saluted, preparing to leave.

“Sir, may I ask why I was chosen for this job,” Wings asked.

The general froze “Do you want the official reason or real reason?”

“Real, sir”

“You are expandable and skilled.  If they hadn’t drummed you out you would be fixing planes until the end of your enlistment,”  he sighed “people are so short sighted. You are better than many pilots with years of training with no training.  I need people like you,” the general smiled awkwardly and left.

The training went as scheduled, and the day came when he sat behind the stick of the experimental plane.  According to the theory he should reach mad speeds. There was also the possibility of the engine imploding crushing the plane and the surrounding area into a crumpled ball the size of a baseball.

Wings sighed and began the preflight checklist,

Published by Robert C Hartwell

I live in Northeastern Vermont in the US. I am currently working towards becoming an author. I am the proud father of two great kids.

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