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Here's a light little story I wrote just to fill out my short story book. It's fluff, but fun fluff!
By Jonathan St. Ives
Colonel Britt Stevens flew at thirty thousand feet over the Antarctic ice, blazing along at over eight hundred miles per hour. She was young for a colonel, only thirty-two, and she lacked many of the lines in her face that a veteran of over four years of combat should have had.
Her long blonde hair was pinned up, so that only the smallest wisps showed on the sides. Her firmly set jaw contradicted her relaxed expression. But even with that clue to her state of mind, the sparkling blue eyes that sat above her full lips and perfectly formed nose made it hard to believe that this was a tireless, efficient warrior.
The flat-black jet streaked through the beautiful blue afternoon sky with hardly a vibration. It was a state-of-the-art warplane capable of feats that would have made the pilots of previous generations turn bright green with jealousy. It could take off straight up and its vectored exhaust helped it to pull off maneuvers that made it seem more of a spacecraft than an aircraft. It was also equipped with the latest weaponry, and was made of a polymer that could change colors in an instant.
All around Colonel Stevens, large tracts of stratocumulus clouds billowed like gigantic cotton balls. Each filled with twisting tunnels and beckoning caves. To her right flew another slim black fighter like her own. Although she couldnâ€™t see her wingman, she knew that Captain Amy Tucker was as alert and vigilant as she was.
â€œBaron Zero Niner to Baron Ten, we are closing on the enemyâ€™s coordinates, do you have joy?â€ she spoke clearly into the inset microphone in her helmet.
â€œNegative, Baron Zero Niner, I have no joy. Do you think they turned tails and bugged out?â€ came the quick reply.
Brit was pleased that her young protÃ©gÃ© was with her on this mission. There wasnâ€™t a sharper or more fearless pilot on her base, as she well knew, since she had trained most of them herself.
Amy was dark-haired, dark-eyed, and sometimes dark-tempered. She had struggled a bit when she had first started the program, and her small stature made things even more difficult for her. But after Britt had arranged to take over her training, she had blossomed into the fastest and most capable fighter pilot on the base.
â€œI doubt it, Captain, with their ground offensive going full bore, theyâ€™ll try to challenge us at every turn, even in out of the way places like this.â€
At that second, her sensors began to scream at her.
â€œBaron Ten, break left and kick the burners! We have bogeys at two oâ€™clock high!â€ Britt slammed the throttles to their topmost stop and the plane lunged ahead like a quarter horse coming out of the gate. More sirens began to blare in her cockpit.
â€œBaron Ten, incoming tech-seekers! Go to blue, kill all power and flame out! She yelled into the microphone.
â€˜Roger, blue flame out!â€ came the fast reply from Amy.
The incoming missiles were technology seeking, they could home in on a target with a number of separate devices. They could â€œseeâ€ with cameras, they could sense heat, and they homed in on any electronic power source. The only defense the two women had was to change their polymer coatings to blue to match the sky and kill all the power in the jets, thereby flaming out the engines.
Then it became a waiting game to see if the missiles spotted their camouflaged planes before they had to reignite their engines. If they waited too long, they might not be able to recover before crashing into the ground. If they restarted the engines too soon, the missiles would follow the seeking cone like a duck to water.
Britt felt her stomach rise in her throat as the plane fell like a rollercoaster. She had some left rudder in as she killed power and now the aircraft was swinging into a spin. The ground was flashing past her canopy bubble in a blur. The altimeter was spinning down through twenty thousand feet, then eighteen. The wind was screaming around the cockpit and the plane shuddered and bounced as it spun out of control.
â€˜If I donâ€™t recover by twelve thousand,â€ she thought to herself, â€œIâ€™ll have to eject.â€ The prospect of ejecting over the Antarctic in nothing but a flight suit made her unconsciously shiver.
Then there was a roar of sound and she saw the two tech-seekers flash across her view on their way to the ground. She shouted into the microphone, â€œBaron ten, recover!â€ Then she quickly held the right rudder for one revolution, when she saw the ice mountain she had picked for a visual reference point come around again, she neutralized the rudder and slammed the stick forwards as if trying to break it off on the dashboard. The little jet nosed dived into the cone of recovery and straightened out. She was now rocketing straight towards the ground at over a thousand miles per hour.
She began to ease back on the stick, feeling carefully to prevent a secondary stall. If she stalled again this close to the ground there would be no time to eject. The aircraft leveled out, skimming just above the tips of the ice floes at two hundred feet.
Quickly, she bumped the throttles forward, checked the engineâ€™s RPMs, and then flicked the igniter switch. She breathed a sigh of relief as she heard the rush of sound and saw the exhaust gas temperature of her engines rise swiftly. The emergency airstart had worked. She had power again. She scanned the sky to find Captain Tucker.
â€œBaron Ten, squawk ident, I canâ€™t see you.â€ She sweated a little hoping that Amy had pulled out of her dive and restarted as well. A sudden blip on her heads up display appeared, signaling that Amy had indeed survived.
â€œBaron Ten to Baron Zero Niner, confirm ident. Those bandits are still up there, Colonel. Request instructions.â€ came the unruffled voice from her speakers.
â€œRoger Baron Ten, weâ€™re low and slow, letâ€™s get some altitude before those bandits realize weâ€™re still here,â€ she said smiling with relief. She knew that low and slow was the worst position to be in during a dogfight. High and fast was better for energy management.
The two jets poured on the power and the flame turned blue from their afterburners. They pulled up in a near vertical climb and headed straight for the sun. At thirty thousand feet, Britt pulled back on her stick in a half loop. Just as she came level but upside down, she pushed the stick to the right and flipped her jet over right side up in a perfect immelman maneuver.
Britt scanned her instruments. â€œThere they are. Flight level two zero zero, course three six zero, ten miles, sixteen hundred MPH closure speed. You ready to make their day, Baron Ten?â€
Amyâ€™s voice came back through gritted teeth. â€œSierra Hotel, baron zero niner. Nobody makes me flameout and gets a free pass. Letâ€™s send them to the recyclers.â€
Britt scanned the horizon and her displays, â€œOK Baron Ten, on my mark, break into a split-S and letâ€™s ventilate them.â€ She checked her screens again, seeing the enemy planes, apparently oblivious to them, almost directly below her at twenty thousand feet.
â€œEngage!â€ Britt and Amy shoved their sticks to the left hard in perfect unison, the two jets flipped over upside down. Then they pulled straight back and fell away towards the Earth, dropping like falcons on an unsuspecting prairie dog.
The enemy aircraft, finally sensing the danger began to scatter in all directions, but they were too late. Britt and Amy had the advantage of speed and energy.
â€œConcentrate on the two to the south, Baron Ten. Watch my wing, Iâ€™m firing. Baron Zero Niner fox two.â€ She pressed the missile stud on her stick and two tech-seekers fell away from her wing with a rush of sound and streaked out ahead. The lead enemy aircraft made a valiant try to break right and flame out, but it was too late, the missiles smashed into the engines, blowing the aircraft in half.
â€œIâ€™ve got the other one, Baron Zero Niner. Baron Ten fox two!â€ Amyâ€™s missiles streaked away, but the enemy, warned by the explosion of its wingman had already flamed out and was falling out of the sky. The two missiles streaked by the aircraft harmlessly.
â€œOh no you donâ€™t!â€ Amyâ€™s voice was cold steel as she followed the powerless aircraft down to the ground. â€œYou donâ€™t get off that easily!â€
to be continued....
Copyright 2009 by Jonathan St. Ives All rights Reserved