The German Imperial Army had been marching through Brussels for twenty-nine hours when the mandarin duck flew into Imke Tison’s apartment, landed beside her breakfast, and tapped an SOS on the china with a webbed foot. Imke offered the duck, her former mentor Monsieur Pilo, whom she hadn’t seen since the invasion began, chalk and slate. He snatched her cigarette instead.
Amelia is the best pilot the Territorial Revolutionists have. That's not boasting, it’s just true. They don't have many pilots, and none of them have as much experience as she does. She may be only twenty-two, but her pa taught her to fly at eleven, when she could barely see over the console, and she still flies his old steam-engine balloon, which may not be the newest model but is nevertheless steadfast.