Two days had passed with no activity. I watched the occasional plane return from patrol with the same news. No contact, not even a whisper. The army reported the same activity as well. Sighing, I walked into a room filled with the other summoned pilots. General Higgins stood at the front, waiting. I found one empty seat- right beside Mojave. Higgins growled "Captain Young, so good of you to come. Grab your new patch, medals, then take a seat by Major Mojave."
Higgins held a small black box open. I held my ground. "Sir, what am I getting these medals for?"
The general scowled "You and Mojave are nearly our best pilots. Just don't crash any more planes, I'd hate to relieve a Lieutenant of his."
Eyes wide open, I walked to the general, took my medals, badge and sat beside Mojave. She shifted slightly away from me. Higgins began "Now that we are ALL here, I can finally begin. The Chinese are definitively after the Serenity installation."
Scared murmurs filled the room. Higgins loudly cleared his throat, waiting till the noise abated. "If Serenity falls, so does our country. The president has allowed authorization of a nuclear strike near the facility should the army fail. Now, they can not drop a nuke within thirty kilometers of Serenity, which will be explained when I damn well feel like it. Or, whenever ENSIGN JAMISON GETS OF HIS ASS AND HANDS THE PAPERS OUT!!!"
A scared young adult jumped out of his seat, quickly handing out papers. Higgins almost grinned. I grabbed a paper from the frightened ensign and looked it over. My eyes danced across the page. Serenity is an anti-nuclear facility...
Higgins yelled "The Chinese are moving in for one massive strike, intel says that will come tomorrow. Please keep in mind that a nuclear strike near this facility will spread radiation into a whole mess of cities. Civilian casualties will be very high, likely in the hundreds of thousands. A price I am more than willing to pay if you fail to protect the facility. That will also happen if the facility is destroyed. In case you hear this on your coms, bug out, dismissed!"
Mojave left her seat, walking out of the meeting room. Uncomfortable, I followed her through the hallway, saying "Mojave?"
She slowly stopped, turned around, crossed her arms and asked "How the hell is it my fault?"
I stuffed my shaking hands into my pocket and mumbled "It wasn't... just... I could've saved him." The pain came back, almost as strong as two days prior. "I wanted to blame anyone but me for it... I'm sorry Mojave."
Psychologically tired, I turned around and walked away. Mojaves door slowly shut. Finally smiling at the thought of her actually forgiving me, I walked back into my room and came up with a crazy idea. Grinning, I walked back to the hanger.
The next day, my fist rapped on Mojaves door. Minutes passed before I asked "Are you naked?"
I took a key I stole of a cleaner out of my pocket, opening her door. Mojave rolled out of her bed, face red. Pale, I asked "Could you please hear me out?"
"Not when you barge into my room!" She walked right up to my face, ready to push me out.
My eyes momentarily flickered to her computer screen. Dukes face was frozen, staring forwards. I heated up as an audible sigh escaped me "You need to get out."
Slowly, I moved around Mojave, hand about to shut the monitor of. She growled "No."
"... Okay... just, come with me, okay?"
Mojave gave me a look saying why the hell should I?!
Trying to appear as non-threatening as possible, I said "I'll give you the key as soon as we're out of this room. I promise no-one else will try to get into your room, okay?"
I backed out of her room, tossing the key to her. She caught it, looked twice and locked the door on her way out. Minutes passed before we came to the hanger. I knew she hadn't left her room in days, opting to stay inside instead. My breath held as she looked at her fighter. Hope you like this.
Painted flames escaped a missile soaring close towards a J-20, the words 4AB painted on the missiles side. Red flames covered much of the rest of her fighter, the right wing touched up with a darker red.