Red lights flashed across the airfield and jets consistently flew over just below mach one. AA batteries reinforced the airfield and soldiers were digging in. I landed on the airstrip, slowing my fighter to a halt. I pulled her into a hanger and stepped out. A soldier yelled "Lieutenant, General Higgins needs all pilots in the mess hall ASAP!"
I nodded, climbed out my cockpit and jumped to the ground. My knees collapsed, slamming my back into the ground. A quiet groan escaped my lips. The soldier grabbed my limp hand and pulled me up, yelling over a sub-sonic jet "You need to go! Now!"
Irritated, I screamed "Where the fuck is the mess hall?!"
His eyes widened as he yelled back "Follow the green glow sticks!"
Through the darkness, my eyes picked them out. I half jogged, half limped my way to an open steel door. An airman standing by the door pushed me inside. The cafeteria lights blinded me. My eyes closed and I let a hand steer me towards a seat. Moaning, I waited for an eternity before my eyes adjusted. At least a hundred pilots were congregated in front of the general. The general yelled "Shut up and listen up! The Chinese are moving inland at record speed, using our resources to do so. To slow them down, I want to see scorched earth!"
My heart beat raised and murmurs instantly flooded the mess hall. General Higgins screamed "SHUT UP!"
The mess hall went dead silent.
Higgins roared "All bomber pilots will see Corporeal Straught, fighter groups A-L see me, others will see Lieutenant Colonel James! GET TO IT!"
I scurried to Higgins with close to fifty other pilots. Higgins waited for a minute then slapped his hand against a massive map attached to a board. He yelled "A-F will rendevous here, write the co-ordinates down."
A cadet finally clued in, handing out pens in a hurry. I scribbled the co-ordinates on my hand, squinting once in a while. Higgins continued "Your main objective is to protect those bombers, whatever the cost. When I give the order, you will all fall back to this airbase. Keep in mind that failure to complete this objective will result in the capture of project Icarus... all pilots without a wing leader, stand beside me."
My stomach twisted. Come on Mojave!
Higgins screamed and we rushed out of the mess hall to our respective aircraft. I jumped back into my raptor, running through my systems check. A warning beeped, setting of other alarms. My radio sat by my seat, crackling something incomprehensible. Heat ran through my body. I snatched the radio up with rage and yelled "What?!"
Static clouded the message "Young?"
Mechanics jumped on my plane, screaming for me to turn it off. I gladly obliged, dropping the radio in the process.
More static "Young?"
Sarcasm filled my voice "Young isn't here right now, if you'd li-"
A grin crossed my face, quickly replaced by a frown. "Have you seen Duke?!"
Mojave sounded bitter "Thought you'd know."
"Yeah, I lost track of him! Now I'm flying into hell without a wing leader, or-or a wing at all!"
Silence followed. A mechanic gave me a thumbs up. I re-started my fighter, re-doing my system checks. Mojave came back through "Where's the start point?"
"Can't say on an open channel. Good luck finding a plane by the way!"
I really am going into the with no backup...
Guilt built up with rage and I burried my head in my hands. A moment later, I looked back up, ready to take of.