Disclaimer: I do not own Area 88.

"Area 88: Tale of the Lone Cat"

Prologue: "Retirement"

Pentagon, Washington, D.C., USA

Sublevel 4, General Access Area Charlie-5

1954 hrs Eastern Standard Time

Two officers, one a high ranked admiral, the other a low ranked ensign, walked by the many officers, NCOs, WOs, and enlisted personnel who were on this level and in this area. There were a few civilians, but not many as the sublevels below Sublevel 3 were only open to military personnel. As the two walked, it was clear why they were drawing so much attention. They were in a heated argument about a retired fighter plane and the two were obliviously at odds about the fighter. The admiral was against and the ensign for the return of the recently retired plane.

"Listen to me Ensign Johnson! Listen to reason! The Tomcat outlived its need and thus had to be retired!" the admiral said.

"That is a load of bull and you know it sir!" Ensign David Johnson snapped back.

"Be reasonable ENSIGN! You have only a few years service as an officer and don't know…" the admiral was cut off.

"Sir, with all due respect, but DO NOT pull rank with me! Any school child can tell that the Cat is superior to the Hornet and in some areas even the new Raptor pales in comparison due to the fact that the Raptor and the Hornet have the same radar set up, but were the Hornet was meant as a GROUND ATTACKER, the Raptor is an Air Superiority fighter, BUT can only engage four targets at NINETY miles!" the ensign was furious at being called a nugget by an officer that had yet to see even a skirmish, where as the ensign had two Bronze Stars with combat V for Valor each and a Silver Star, not to mention he had been in the Army Infantry and had a Combat Infantry Badge, a Distinguish Service Cross, and a Purple Heart with a Unit Citation for gallantry.

"What difference does ninety miles make in the type of plane?" the admiral did not know what he had stepped into.

"The Tomcat can shot down SIX hostiles at nearly TWO HUNDRED miles sir," the ensign had just caught the admiral in his own words.

"Err… Yes, but the Tomcat is also an Air Superiority fighter," the admiral really stepped into it.

"Wrong sir, the Bravo model is called the Bombcat, because it is a bomber model and very adaptive at its job and has been flying most of our branches bombing runs for many years now, despite the introduction of the Hornet," then after a few seconds, "Did I mention that was before the Bravo model was introduced?"

"No," growled the admiral feeling like an idiot.

They both arrived at the elevator that took them to the upper Sublevel 1 floor and from there, the two walked up the stairs and came to Basement Level 3 and then took an elevator to the next their next floor, the fourth floor. There they went to a meeting to discuss about the Proposed Retirement of the F-14 Tomcat. By the end of the meeting, despite several senior officers with a dozen junior officers, the F-14 Tomcat was officially to be retired and half of the retired birds were to be scrapped. The reason was that the planes were simply too old and expensive, but Ensign David Johnson said was that they needed new F-14s to replace the old ones and that the older F-14s would make excellent trainers. He was told the same thing, it was too expensive. Yet, a hundred new F/A-18 Super Hornets were to be activated soon to replace the aging Tomcat. Even with the upgrades, the Super Hornet was still sub par to the Tomcat and everyone knew that quantity did not make up for quality.

Later that night, with the help of his hacker girlfriend, the young ensign found a man who still used an F-14 Tomcat, but not with any official force or military. A man named Mickey Simmons and according to his record, he had a huge kill record flying only the F-14 Alpha Tomcat. Much to the ensign's delight, he found that Mickey Simmons was currently a mercenary at Area 88 in the Ashlan Foreign Brigade and that a respectable black marketer was there. Respectable meaning that he didn't ever back out of a deal in any way, shape, or form. With a little work, the ensign planned to save as many Tomcats scheduled for scrapping and send them to where they belonged, a battle front and he would go as well. He had lost all faith in his government and military leaders when it came to protecting the people of his nation.

"Sammie, I want you to hack and redirect as many F-14s to a new area, but first contact this McCoy and inform him of the situation," David knew what he was talking about.

"That's what you would call treason?" Sammie said.

"I mean to protect the Cat Sammie. It is a symbol of American military excellence and bravery. It is our most powerful fighter and most powerful bomber short of the Stratofortress and Spirits. Sammie this fighter will be needed in the future, it can even stand up to the Raptor, its radar is that sensitive!" David Johnson showed her his resignation form.

"You plan on joining to prove your theory?" she said sadly.

"Yes… I must do this, but look at Mickey Simmons record," he pointed to one line and spoke again, "he flies the Cat solo with no Radar Intercept Officer and that is supposed to be impossible, yet he does it."

"I've already contacted Old McCoy as he is called and saved a hundred Tomcats of each type, well a hundred and twenty of them," Sammie said.

"That is fast," David admitted as he finished filling out his forms to join the Ashlan Foreign Brigade.

"I know! But you forgot my last name is McCoy!" Sammie said.

"Oh brother! Your father!" she smiled as he chuckled.

"John Cedric McCoy is his full name and he is my one and only father! He used the money he made to put me through college and he never once tried to talk me into joining any military so he could get supplies that much easier. In fact, he seen enough pilots not return to ban me from enlisting," she said.

"That's good news," David said.

"But he forgot to ban me from joining the AFB!" she showed her enlistment forms all signed and ready and David growled slightly.

"Dumb old cot," he muttered under his breath.

The next day found the two packing only what they needed and wanted. The rest was to be picked up by their families, mostly his, since Sammie Jasmine McCoy only had her father and a few other relatives. The Navy would get his resignation, but not his wings, for those he kept. They arrived outside the Ashlan Embassy and told the guard they wanted to join Area 88's ranks. He let them in and they were quickly processed and with one of the rescued Tomcats, on their way to Area 88.

While out in the middle of no where, in the state of New Mexico, one hundred and nineteen F-14 Tomcats were quickly broken down into their components and loaded aboard transports and then flown all the way to South America where they were reassembled in secret and then loaded aboard several ships in secret and ironically given US Navy escort to the nearest Ashlan port that was close to Area 88. It would take a couple of weeks for them to arrive, but enough spare parts and ordnance arrived to service two Tomcats, both F-14As or Alpha models to be technical.