Vignette:The Last Easy Day

From Anterra
Jump to navigation Jump to search
0930 Hours
Somewhere Over the Iapetus, offshore Cerveran People's Directorate
February 15th, 1984

t's a perfect day for flying.

The sky, cloudless, unseasonably-so in the morning humidity of endless equatorial summer. In a few hours, all that moisture will make clouds, will make storms, will make the sort of day decidedly less-perfect for flying. But that is a problem for later.

Today's problem, decidedly more mundane. Fly a series of waypoints, drop some practice bombs on a few floating targets, fly home in time for lunch. A proficiency flight, the higher-ups call it. Busywork, the pilots call it. Enjoyable busywork--pilots like to be flying, after all--but busywork nonetheless.

Miguel and his wingman take off, uneventfully. Fly their waypoints and check their instruments and make idle gossip, uneventfully. Drop their uneventful bombs, uneventfully.

Then, things become eventful.

"Lion One-One, Showtime, two bogeys,"

"Showtime, Lion One-One, is this real-world or scenario?"

"This is not a drill. Vector and intercept, over."

Miguel's face turns stony as he snaps his plane into a bank, wingman in tow; both men acting as extensions of machine. Acting as trained.

Training that included dogfighting, but not today. Today, they do it for real.

The enemy, also a pair, fight well. Minutes elapse at the pace of centuries as sweat beads on Miguel's forehead. Bobbing and weaving like a boxer in the ring. Fighting for his life. Soon to be fighting for his country, though he doesn't know it yet.

Finally, the enemy lets up, the sight locks on, the missile releases.

Splash one. Return to base. They don't know it yet, but the last easy day was yesterday.

Return to Top