I dived to a more comfortable five hundred feet, where the air wasn't as chilly. My neck felt numb and the wind still found ways of getting behind my visor. My slowed hands played across my instruments as my eyes scanned the skies. 

My left eye became irritated and I blinked rapidly, sending small red dots into my visor. The dull pain in my forehead became more acute and a small shaft of light at the top of my visor caught my eye. My left hand moved across my head until it found the glass in my skin, wiping just below. I returned to scanning the skies when a missile from above caught my eye. My fighter dipped to the treeline and pulled to the left, directing the missile into the trees.The roar of an all too familiar J-20 engine made me check my back. It followed close, firing it's main gun. I went lower, ducking back and forth. A missile launched from the trees and I barely lifted my left wing. It soared past, circling around. Why do you have non-detectable missiles?!

A F-22 fell to my right a click away, smashing into the ground. My gaze almost lingered too long, bullets nicked my rear fin. I slammed the afterburner and took the freezing air. A missile lock screamed, the J-20 only sixty meters away. Dammit! 

The J-20 exploded behind me, a F-22 came into view and matched my velocity beside me. Duke lifted his visor, lowered it and gave an old world war 2 hand signal. I tried to reach my memory for those lessons I had performed a brain dump on. Frustrated, I waved my hands, gave Duke a thumbs up, pointed at the sky and made a throat slitting motion. Duke nodded, pointed at the sky, his fighter, made a fist and accelerated up. So... he goes up... and... uhh...

After a minute, I saw what Duke wanted. He rolled to the earth, pursued by three J-11s. Grinning, I accelerated perpendicular to their wings and fired, cutting down two. The last tried to pull out without avail, his plane shredded by one of dukes missiles. I relaxed a little and pulled to the right. My hand slipped of the joystiq, still wet with blood. A little shocked, I gripped the joystiq harder. Duke lined his fighter besides mine and gave a thumbs up. Then, the middle finger. Wait... what? 

He pointed in the direction of the airfield and made a zero with his fingers. I nodded and we went full afterburner to the air-base. My fighter jumped on landing, literally dipping into a pothole from airbourne shelling. I corrected and met the mechanics in a hanger with Duke. They fitted our fighters with new ordinance/fuel and threw a new canopy on mine from a damaged fighter. A mechanic tossed a hand held radio into my cockpit and closed the canopy. Angry, I yelled behind the closing canopy "How is this going to work?!"

It closed and the mechanics waved me off the airfield. Shaking, I grabbed the radio and asked "Duke, you there?"

Duke responded "Yeah... these radios work of a different kind of signal. Almost like a cell phone."

"Why don't we already have these?"

"Cost and the air-force doesn't give-a-shit for situations they don't think will happen. Mechanics must've borrowed them from the army."

The word army gave me hope. AA sites should be up soon. Duke mumbled "Ever get tired of being separated from Sidewinder?"

"Damn, already br-"

"She likes you, you know that, right?"

I pushed the throttle down, taking of before the potholes. Duke followed, moving to my right. Pale, I lifted the radio back up and stated "I've known you two for literally two days." 

Duke chuckled "Really? It's felt like weeks to me."

"Alright, what's my favourite place?"

"The Mojave?" 

"You just won't let this go!"

"Birds and bees can't."

"You know what? Do me a favour and crawl into a bush and die." Guilt instantly stabs me. Why did I say die?

Irritated, I stated "Man, I hate to say it, but there is a shit load of China men to deal with."

As if to prove me right, a wing of J-20s peeled of towards us.

The End

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