Cobb from Skyward.
*Spoiler free gushing follows*
Now I wasn’t altogether sure about this book at beginning. I didn’t love the main character at the start as I thought she was whining and annoying and I wasn’t all that concerned about what happened to her. Until she went to flight school that is and there she met her classmates and most importantly her teacher. Cobb was Spensa’s fathers wingmate and friend and Spensa’s father may be seen as a coward but Cobb isn’t going to let the upper echelon influence his impression of Spensa. This is a man who will make up his own mind thank you very much!
If you look at that brief list of favourite teachers/mentors you will notice a commonality among them. They are all a little crotchety. This is a sign of great mentor in my opinion. They are so wise they don’t need approval from anyone. Cobb had crotchety in spades. One of his most used lines is “I don’t make jokes!” and that’s a lie because he is totally joking. I think!
The greatest thing about Cobb though was the fact he seemed to be the only member of the DDF who valued an individual human life. Ejecting from your starfighter seems to be one of the biggest acts of cowardliness and if you eject when your ship is going down you’ll likely never fly again. I loved that Cobb disagreed with this and he disagreed vehemently.
“All right, flightleader,” Cobb said. “Call your flight roll and get a verbal confirmation of readiness from each member. You’ll do this before every engagement, to verify that nobody is having mechanical or physical troubles. Flight, if you are experiencing troubles, tell your flightleader. If you fly into battle knowing something is wrong with your ship, then you are responsible for the damage you might cause.”
“Sir,” Bim asked over the line, “is it true that if we crash a real ship while in training, we can’t graduate?”
“Usually,” Cobb said, “if a cadet crashes their starfighter, it’s a sign of some kind of negligence, the type that indicates they shouldn’t be trusted with that kind of equipment.”
“And if we eject?” Bim said. “I’ve heard that cadets do training in real combat situations. If we get shot down and eject, does it mean we’re out? As a cadet, I mean?”
Cobb was silent for a moment. “There’s no hard-and-fast rule,” he said.
“But it’s tradition, right?” Bim asked. “A cadet who ejects and scuttles their ship stays grounded from then on.”
“It’s because they’re looking for cowards,” Hudiya said. “They want to kick out cadets who are too eager to eject.”
I felt a jolt of adrenaline, as I always did when someone mentioned the word coward. But it wasn’t in reference to me, and never would be. I would never eject.
“Real pilots,” said one of Jerkface’s cronies, “the best of the best? They can steer a crashing ship into a salvageable landing, even if they’ve been shot. Acclivity rings are worth so much that pilots have to protect them, because the pilot isn’t worth as much as—”
“That’s enough, Arturo,” Cobb cut in. “You’re spreading stupid rumors. Both pilots and ships are valuable. You cadets ignore that talk—you might hear it from other flights—about steering your ship into a controlled landing. You hear me? If you’re shot down, you eject. Don’t worry about the consequences, worry about your life. If you’re a good enough pilot it won’t impact your career, tradition or no tradition.”
I frowned. That wasn’t what I’d heard. Full pilots who got shot down, they were given second chances. But cadets? Why graduate someone who had been shot down when you were looking for only the very best?
“Stupid pilot pride,” Cobb grumbled. “It’s cost us more than the Krell have, I swear.”
Cobb also had a few great ‘I am most wise’ quotes that every mentor/teacher must have along with that soft heart that’s also a must. Crotchety, wise and softhearted. What more can we ask of when it comes to a perfect mentor?
“Sometimes, the answers we need don’t match the questions we’re asking.” He looked up at me. “And sometimes, the coward makes fools of wiser men.”
I’m looking forward to more of Cobb in Starsight. I really hope he doesn’t die in a ball of flames. That would be unfortunate and where would all the wisdom come from then? Doomslug!! 😀