I yelled "Holy shit!"

Fire erupted and raised in a column, consuming the edge of a town. A static filled voice yelled over the com "Why?!"

More voices yelled over the open com before a captain screamed over us "This is an open channel! Shut the hell up if you don't have anything useful to say!"

Bombs dropped into the center of the town, burning everything in sight. Aren't daisy cutters illegal?! Did Higgins go over this?

"Bulldogs, this is general Higgins" speak of the devil. "You two are hereby ordered to aid Charlie Company  at 23-41, re-negotiate with 1-5." 


I tapped the numbers into my control interface. A map came up, showing the location twelve kilometers south. Wait, he said bulldogs. 

Slightly elated and sceptical, I asked "Mojave, you got a plane?"

A static filled Sidewinder replied "A F-15E. By the way, I need your codes to sync with your Raptor."

"It's abstract light."

Rays of sunlight filled the sky above. How long have I been awake? Nineteen... twenty-one hours... why are the Chinese pushing so hard? 

A green light flashed, indicating Sidewinders success at decoding my message. She made an isolated com-connection and uncertainly said "Do you think he's dead?"

The men I shot down filled my vision instead of Dukes. I blinked, trying hard to remember. 

Sidewinder practically whispered "Hornet, you alright?"

I opened my eyes and snapped my plane back up, adrenaline pumping through me. She asked in her normal volume "Hornet?" 

Overwhelming apathy filled me. I stated "He's gone, one way or the other. I can't say for sure, though." 

I popped my visor up and reached for my emergency MRE, ripping the bag open. Dry bread filled my mouth. My hunger became alarmingly apparent. I wolfed down the rest of the bag in a hurry, thankful for Sidewinders momentary silence. She quietly said "He's de... shit, we missed the target. Circle around and dive."

My visor popped back down over my face. I mumbled "Sidewinder, I'm burned out."

"Same, take the left."

I dipped my fighter down towards a group of Chinese helicopters firing at a cluster of buildings. Without thinking, I fired a missile, soaring over a helicopters burning wreckage. Hope they're glad. 

A bright yellow explosion six clicks away burned into my vision, a mushroom cloud rising into the air. Sighing, I switched to the open channel. Screams, gunfire and static filled the radio, too loud for any drill sergeant to silence. Rays of sunlight now shot across the burning and scorched world. 

The End

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