Rolling Thunder

"This is Banshee Charlie-Delta-Niner, a.k.a. the give-em-hell-o'copter. Requesting permission to-..."

"Yeah yeah Trudy, we know the drill."

"Shut up Clarence and give me clearance. And make sure Victor gives me the correct approach vector this time."

It was a routine that Lieutenant Trudy Spellman had carried out numerous times, and one that she was unsure as to whether she enjoyed it or not. Ursa wasn't exactly the most exciting moon (or planet, whatever) in the Koprulu Sector and blowing out some hot hair that didn't pass through her craft's turbines was one of the best ways to alleviate that boredom. On the other hand, quibbing with desk jockeys in the control tower of Starport ESC-01 could only go so far. Besides, it always served as a reminder that she was about to come down to terra firma and spend the next hour confirming that Ursa was free of rebels, terrorists and general alien scum.

Which it always was. Unfortunately.

"Alright Trudy, I've granted you clearance," came the voice of Victor, seemingly forgetting his role. "Land at section Gamma Nine, off the side of strip three, over."

"Rodger wilco."

It was a basic confirmation, but Victor had ruined the feeling by not having Clarence do his job. Sighing, Trudy kept one hand on her acceleration while using the other to fiddle through radio frequencies. The pilot of an incoming puddle-jumper was reminding his passengers to turn off their fones while a planet-hopper was about to start showing Ghost Academy: The Musical, starring the hunk of an actor Zach Afron and the noticeably less attractive Korben Green. Trudy knew it was a bit sad fantasising over holo personalities, but as abundant as white stuff was in the sky, she flew through far less down on the ground.

Shaking off the memories, Trudy returned her other hand to her altitude control. Strip 3 was in sight, and in the spirit of what went up had to come down, she was obliged to follow orders.

"This is Banshee Charlie-Delta-Niner, approaching-..."

"Charlie-Delta-Niner, this is control. Remain airborne, repeat, remain airborne."

It was one of those cases where Trudy's body reacted faster than her mind. In theory, remaining airborne was a good thing, given her love of flying. On the other hand, being ordered to do so and having an order to land rescinded only meant a deviation from schedule. And after three years of flying Banshees, even in these comparatively peaceful times, Trudy knew that there had to be a good reason. Or bad, given the circumstances behind it. So while her body reacted instantaneously to the good news, her mind lagged behind on catching up with the bad.

"Alright guys, what's going on?" Trudy asked, getting back in touch with the control tower. "I'm burning fuel here and-..."

"Just a sec Trudy," came a voice, one that was unusually high pitched and could have easily belonged to either Victor or Clarence. "Things may be tough on your end, but-..."

There was a scuffling sound as the mike on the other end of the line underwent a change of hand. Remaining stationary, all Trudy could do was wonder which of the monkeys commanding the starport was about to get in touch. That, and wonder who had decided to play Flight of the Valkyries in the background.

Ba ba ba baaa bam, ba ba ba baaa bam..

"Charlie-Delta-Niner, this is Wing Commander Kilgore," came a voice from the other end, explaining in an instant why archaic Old Earth music was being played. "We have a situation that needs to be solved ASAP, and as you're already in the air, you'll be among those who deal with it."

Trudy suddenly felt her blood rushing, and not only because Valkyries had reached a crescendo. Kilgore didn't get involved in much of the going ons at ESC-01, but when he did, there was guaranteed to be plenty of fire, missiles and sometimes even napalm. And while the lieutenant wasn't as enthused about classical music or the smell of burning bodies in the morning as her superior, that did nothing to stop her general enthusiasm about a mission in general.

"KLF did a hit-and-run attack on the Ghost Academy," Kilgore continued, a tac-map being fed to Trudy's HUD. "Stingers, Sabers, the works. Given our proximity and the transport involved, aerial pursuit is our best option. Meet up with Red Squadron at the following co-ordinates and bring down the apocalypse on them now."

A red blip appeared at the edge of the starport, along with a dotted line that led to a blue blip situated about twenty klicks to the west.

"Roger wilco," came the voice of the pilot, noticeably more enthusiastic about her assignment than she had been with Victor and Clarence. "Preparing to link up with Red Squadron now."

Confirming that she had enough fuel to make the trip to the KLF force's current location and back, Trudy made a ninety degree turn and headed towards the RV point. Never mind that the song in the background was going the same way as the actual Valkyrie missile frigate, nor that Kilgore had forgotten to turn off the radio and was bullshitting about how "the war" was going to end (what war? Technically the Dominion was at peace). Never mind that some arsehole in Red Squadron was going on about how his only friend was the end while another was whining how he'd picked the wrong day to quit stimpacks. All that mattered was that she finally had a mission to carry out that involved more than taking off and landing.

"Ah, and look who decided to join us," came the voice of a fellow Banshee pilot. "Blue Squadron's record holder for low flight."

Laughter rippled through the Reds, making Trudy's face turn the same colour. Jerks.

"I hear you're like a real Banshee," came the voice of Flight Sergeant "Hot-Shot" Willard as Trudy joined the formation. "Even in space they can hear you scream."

Laughter once again rippled through Red Squadron, Squadron Leader Sully unable or unwilling to contain it. Realizing she had to take matters into her own hands, and show why the Kel-Morian Combine's autocannon-equipped Banshees were a step in the right direction, Trudy decided to take matters into her own hands. Matters that involved opening fire at the space right in front of Truman's cockpit and reducing the idiot's tirade into a stammer instantly.

"Jesus Christ!" Hot-Shot exclaimed. "Did you just-..."

"Yeah," grinned the pilot of Charlie-Delta-Niner. "You're not the only one with a gun, bitch."


Probably obvious, but this is based on the Banshee's quotes in StarCraft II. Probably also obvious that I took a few extra references from Avatar and Apocalypse Now. Take what you can I guess.