Katrina "Sidewinder" Mojave
"Can't say on an open channel. Good luck finding a plane by the way!" Young's voice filtered through the radio. I frowned heavily and bit back a scream of rage. That Raptor, my aircraft, had been my first officially assigned aircraft. Ever since my promotion to First Lieutenant, it had been with me in the skies.
In times of rain and storms to ice and the blinding heat. It'd always been there, whenever Duke was an asshole or I needed some quiet place to think. I'd just climb into that familiar cockpit, relax in the tiny space, and forget the world around me. No longer, I was alone again. Duke was gone, probably dead, and Young was somewhere classified that I was now heading to.
My head rested against the trembling metal hull of the aircraft as we continued onto our destination. The marines that sat with me marveled at the fact that I was still alive, considering my appearance. Blood, mud, and water stained my hair and flight suit giving me an bedraggledaura. Twigs and leaves were nestled messily in my hair, as if a bird had made it's next atop my head. Yea, I was a freaking mess. At first I was half tempted to ask one of the Marines for a mirror, but then again what Marine checks their appearance in the mirror? They're soldiers!
I smirked in spite of myself, as I struck up a conversation with my so-called "rescuers".
"So what's got everybody so riled up?" I shouted over the thrumming blades and snarling engine. The leader, Hicks, pulled off his helmet and rested it on his knee. His hand moved to his breast pocket, though I doubt the action was conscious. He retrieved a cigarette and pinched the smoke between his teeth. Either a nervous reaction or a forceful habit. The soldier didn't light the smoke, only nibbling on the end as if debating how much he should tell me.
"Staff Sergeant, I'm tired, pissed off, and ready to bite someones fucking head off if I don't get some answers. I've not only had to live through my jet crashing, but my evac chopper crashing and the Chinese chasing all over this god forsaken mountain. so I've giving you one chance to answer on your own accord." My fingers twitched over the pistol grasped tightly in my had. "Or I'll get the answers I need some other, more...unpleasant, way." The Marines narrowed their eyes but Hicks sighed and smiled bitterly.
"The nickname suits you," he started, grinding the cigarette in his teeth. "Alright, so the Chinese have been practically racing across the western states at a record rate. Nascar would be jealous." I stared at him, scowling. Hicks glanced away and swallowed, at the moment his humor wasn't appreciated. "Well not only is their pace and brutality a problem but in the haste to retreat, we left behind vital resources which-"
I held up a hand, stopping him mid-sentence as I rubbed my temples furiously. "So let me guess, the Reds have been taking those abandoned resources and have been using them against us right?" I didn't look up to see if Hicks acknowledged my question, continuing on with my own logic. "Command ain't too happy about that, even though they were the ones who told us to abandon those resources instead of torching them. Now command is not only trying to cover their asses, they're trying to pull a fast one on the Reds and get one good punch in." I chuckled at the utter stupidity of it all.
The bureaucracy of it all drove me crazy. Whether you'd been in for 2 years or 20, it never got any easier to handle and it always got old! The helicopter tilted and slowed, allowing me to look out its open side door. Aircraft were scrambling by the dozens hauling ass to get in the air and holding high above in rotating holding patterns. The helicopter jumped a bit and then finally eased to the ground. Without any prompting, I slid out and limped quickly to a nearby hanger. The door was wide open but to my dismay, it was empty, only a few mechanics cleaning up.
"Hey!" I shouted over to one of them. The youngest looking one jumped but ran over to me.
"Shit are you hurt?!" he asked, looking to the gash in my leg. I waved my hand dismissively.
"I'm fine, you got any spare planes left?" The kid frowned and bit his lower lip, pondering the thought. His eyes brightened and he snapped his fingers.
"Yea, we have one F-15E left in the hanger to our left. It was supposed to go to some pilot on his way back here, but he got shot down and killed." I nodded not in the mood to deal with the teary eyed mechanic. I spat a thank you over my shoulder and moved to where he said the aircraft was. Pushing the biting pain to the back of my mind I peered in the hanger.
"Hell Yea!" I cheered, seeing the pristine bird waiting eagerly for a pilot. The thing that got me as approachedI the plane was that its right wing was painted a bright crimson red. Other than that the aircraft was normal. What would prompt someone to paint only one wing of the aircraft red? I instantly shook the thought from my head, it was irrelevant, I had to get into the sky and find Young. Jumping in the cockpit, I threw on my helmet and started up the engines. The canopy shut, allowing me to Taxi onto the runway.
"This is Sidewinder, I'm taking off!"