Katrina "Sidewinder" Mojave
Out of the corner of my eye, the flicker of an exploding aircraft erupted. Orange flames roared across the aircrafts skin as the glass canopy ripped away, the pilot shot upwards. The parachute deployed it's green shaped top. The dying aircraft below spun and toppled before it nosed over thrashing itself apart as it slammed into the ground. A large bright mushroom cloud burst from the ground and signaled that Young's Hornet was no more.
It was hard not to watch the parachute while the dog fights continued around me. I was now alone in the sky, no comrades to back me up if I needed help. The feeling stabbed into my chest and I chocked back a shout. I had failed my team as the squad leader and that knowledge weighed heavily on my shoulders as Young's voice yelled over the radio.
"Hound 3 down! Sorry Sidewinder, I just barely took out my tail. Good luck up there, okay?" I sighed heavily, just thankful that he was alright.
"Understood, careful down there!" I replied, hiding the emotions in my voice. Giving one last glance to the small floating speck, I returned my attention wholly on the sky. Now only a few smoking stragglers jetted away from out lines.
"Sidewinder this is Godhand, Rescue chopper callsign Sea Goblin is on their way towards Young's crash sight. They will retrieve him and then evacuate to the nearest in land airbase."
"We're retreating?!" I hollered back. "That's bullsh-"
"Cut the chatter! Listen, our pacific coastline Navy is in shambles. China got the jump on us, sinking innumerable ships and aircraft. Your squadron is one of the lucky few to survive of the California coast, your current orders are to retreat to Nellis AFB. A tanker will be ready to refuel you for the trip at the Nevada/California line. Maintain Radio silence until in visual range with the tanker. Godhand out." Turning my aircraft's nose east, I slammed a heavy hand against the canopy's glass.
Damn China! Growling, my hand grew white knuckled on the stick as the flight continued for hours.
The sun was just beginning to crest over the mountains behind me when I finally re-fueled. The bright blue sky mixed with pinks and reds to shine upon the virgin land below. Here the war's spindly fingers hadn't touched America; kids still played baseball, men and women still went to work, and the land was flush with life. They have no idea what's going to hit them. Images of bombing runs and mass hysteria plagued my mind the entire way to the base. A small light flickered and a voice came over the radio.
"Friendly Aircraft please state your name, callsign, and IFF number." From 20 miles away at 6,000 feet, I could see the base laid out before me. Like a hawk, I rolled the aircraft on it's side and dove below the scattered cloud cover. Hangers and the extra runway space was completely taken by all the retreating aircraft, other squadron and their edgy pilots patrolled.
"This is Katrina Mojave, Callsing Sidewinder, IFF number 8492." Extra comms chatter filled my ears and buzzed like an insect until the air traffic controller responded.
"Roger that, you have clearance to land on runway 3." I rolled my eyes, lining up with the runway lights and lowering the throttle. When the aircraft finally touched down, the metal groaned and shuddered until I was at taxi'ing speed. The raptor lumbered across the concrete finally coming to a halt before a half filled hanger. Mechanics were scrambling like chickens to refeul, rearm, and patch up the craft flooding their schedule.
The familiar hiss of the cockpit unsealing prompted me to remove my helmet and slid from the cockpit. All I wanted was a hot shower, a good meal, and a comfortable bed...was that so hard to ask for?
"We'll get you your plane when we can ma'am." One of the mechanics shouted, I didn't acknowledge him, only moving like a zombie into the crew quarters. Sleeping pilots filled the uncomfortable chairs and couches, some even slept under the large oak table.
What a mess, I though shaking my head and moving to the bench outside. Large black and grey clouds had filled the sky an towered over the base, flashes of light behind their veil illuminated everything. Leaning against the building, I propped my hands behind my head and closed my eyes. Where the hell are Duke and Young? Pushing the thoughts from my mind I concentrated on rest.
"Just a quick nap..." I murmured as a yawn fell from my lips.