Unfortunately Ardon did not get to spread his wings and enjoy his flight during the next few days. Apparently negotiations with the EA were taking longer than expected. With the considerable circumstances that brought Ardon to Earth, there had to be rather extensive conversations about his existence here. To the few people involved in the conversation, there were a few very loudly opposed and colonel Sanders definitely had his work cut out for him, trying to convince others that this would be a benefit to the world. Earth was not ready to know about the existence of dragon. The crew of the Apollo would all have to sign contracts of non-disclosure. It would all be rather tricky business.
Despite this ongoing delay, Ardon kept busy, entertaining himself by chatting with the onboard staff and sitting through more lessons of reading and writing. The gold dragon was progressing nicely, and enjoyed writing, his own script had become distinct.
He had a thousand questions about the world that he hung above and he was eager to see it all but kept out of trouble while they waited for clearance.
The lab results from their medical exam had returned and they had been given the all clear. Nothing nefarious had been brought over from Kilara and the Apollo would no longer be under quarantine This was a step in the right direction but still progress was slow.
"Sorry you haven’t been able to stretch your wings, it shouldn’t be too much longer," Jack said to the young gold as they rested in their quarters. Ardon looked up from the pile of blankets he had curled up in. “Oh, that’s okay. I can wait. I just hope it isn’t forever.”
"Won’t be forever Ardon, just to make sure we aren’t carrying anything nasty, hence why were screened coming on board, soon you be flying about on Earth, first dragon ever," Jack smiled.
Ardon thrummed happily at this. It was terribly exciting thinking that he would be the first of his kind here. He couldn’t wait to see the world and what it had to offer.
It was the next day, just after lunch when Ardon and Jack were sitting in the canteen that they were finally given some good news.
"Captain?" said Lieutenant Nichols as she approached them, "Your reports have come back. Ardon has been cleared for a short flight around the ship. You must not go far from the ship, however. Ardon isn't yet permitted to land."
"Thank you, he will appreciate spreading his wings around the ship, has Colonel Sanders returned from EA London HQ?" he asked.
"Not quite yet, sir. He's still dealing with negotiations regarding you and Ardon," she explained.
"Ok, that is fine, I best get young Ardon to stretch his wings," Jack said.
As if on cue the little dragon had returned from getting a drink of water when Jack shared the good news with him. Lieutenant Nichols smiled and offered to lead them down to the hold so that they could launch from there. She had expressed her concern about not having a harness for them but was surprised when Jack said they didn’t need one.
Nichols led them through the ship to the holds were the rear cargo door was. She turned and looked at them, hands clasped at the small of her back.
“Stay close to the ship. No more than 50 metres from it please,” said the woman as she pressed the button that controlled the doors.
It was suddenly very loud as the hold opened up. Ardon was struck by the smell of fresh air as he breathed in deeply. Nichols moved back seeing that the young dragon was excited to take flight. His wings flexed slightly at his sides as he could feel the wind on his scales.
Jack got atop his shoulders as Ardon walked to the edge where the floor suddenly opened up to the world below.
"Let’s fly!" Jack said with a grin upon his face.
Ardon unfurled his golden wings and leapt. That stomach churning drop was everything Ardon had been looking for. He beat his wings and rose up, flying alongside the hovering ship. Utter joy enveloped him as he returned to the sky.
Ardon flew around the ship, catching sight of the officers and other staff peering out the windows to see the dragon in flight. He returned this smiles with his own as he passed by. It was glorious to have the wind under his wings again. Forge had always said a dragon’s place was in the sky and now he was beginning to understand. Having been cooped up for so long he had been missing the joy that flight brought him. It was a freedom that had been unknown to him until he had learned he possessed it.
He beat his wings, making them rise higher and higher until he broke over the top of the ship. Clouds dotted a familiar blue sky above. He spotted a thin sliver of moon along the horizon, only one, just like Jack had said. The dragon grinned wildly, looking at the world around him. It wasn’t much in this secluded area but he was excited all the same. This had been a wild dream of his, back when he was a yearling on Kilara. Now he was here, on his Attilu’s world, flying his sky and soaring over his land. It thrilled the young dragon to no end.
“Hello Earth! I’m Ardon!” he called out to the world around him before laughing slightly. If Jack hadn’t been aboard his back he would have danced in the sky for the sheer joy of it. He was beginning to think he would really like this place.
“So, what do you think, young dragon?” Jack asked him.
Ardon turned his head so one bright golden eye looked back at the man, “I love it!”
He gave an excited whoop and played in the air before diving. Not too steep, Jack’s weight on him still bore him down faster than he could manage in a proper dive and gaining altitude was still a task. Still, he looped around the ship, flashing a smile as he flew past the windows that surrounded the helm.
Only when his wings grew shaky and tired did the young dragon return to the hold, panting but joyfully tired from the flight.