Disclaimer: Airwolf was created by Donald Bellisario and I presume he owns it. I really wish I did, 'cause a supersonic helicopter would really reduce my commuting time. Oh and you shouldn't take some of the historical or military stuff I detail in this story too seriously.
Author's Preface: I used to watch Airwolf when I was a kid, mainly for the aerial dogfights. With the great revival of a number of the old TV shows into movies, I think it's inevitable that Airwolf will return, probably to the big screen. Hopefully it won't be crap like so many of these remakes are. I suppose you could think of this as my reimagination of how the movie should be.
7/21/10 Update: JJ Rust pointed out some minor grammar errors that I have gone and fixed.
Windows of the Soul
U.S. Army Test & Evaluation Command Base
Dugway Proving Ground
Well, it looked damned impressive, Michael Coldsmith Briggs III thought to himself as he strolled around the sleek, gleaming matte-black helicopter. But can she really accomplish everything that Moffett had promised? That was the real question.
"Impressive isn't it?" a low, modulated voice remarked behind him, mirroring Briggs' own thoughts. Briggs inwardly grimaced but kept his expression blandly neutral as he swiveled to see Dr. Charles Moffett smirking at him.
Moffett was of average height and weight and even appearance. There was nothing striking about him. With his graying hair, he looked perfectly ordinary. Even harmless.
But there was something about him that was distinctly unsettling. Something that made Briggs' hackles rise up. It was Moffett's eyes, he decided several years ago.
It was a sort of dreamy, unfocused look. Like he was lost in his own world. "The eyes are the windows into the soul," Michael Coldsmith Briggs the II, his father had solemnly told him as a child. And Briggs believed him.
He had gazed into the eyes of hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people and judged them by what he saw in there. That man was a patriot, full of fiery zeal and energy. That man was a plodder, seeking to do as little as he could until retirement. That man was a traitor. That man was a closet sadist. He had seen all sorts of emotions in the eyes. Anger, boredom, lust, hate, despair, even insanity.
But he had never seen anyone with eyes quite like Moffett.
He wasn't quite sure what it was … and that bothered him. A lot.
Unfortunately the man was almost as good as he thought he was. And considering Moffett's godlike opinion of himself, he was pretty damn good.
Briggs gave a dismissive shrug and instead commented dryly, "Well, it's pretty."
He saw a slight tightening of the jaw but Moffett regained control over himself. "I think you'll find that Airwolf exceeds your wildest imagination. And more."
"Oh I don't know," Briggs drawled as he stared down Moffett, "I think you underestimate my ability to imagine quite a bit."
Moffett suddenly broke out into a wide grin, "Airwolf is the next generation of aviation warfare Deputy Director Briggs. It can outfly and outfight anything. Or anyone. I promise you that."
Briggs gave another shrug, "I hope so Doctor. Considering the time and money we've invested into this project…" he trailed off when one of his pockets let out a buzz. Annoyed, he reached into it and extracted a small cellphone and peered at the screen. He straightened and adjusted his tie, "The Director is here, I've got to go meet him," he said, sliding the phone back into the pocket. "Don't embarrass us Doctor. I want this test flight to go perfectly!" he snapped as he strode off.
Moffett watched him go, a slight smirk twitching at the corner of his mouth. "Trust me, Briggs. It'll be absolutely … perfect."
The tallish balding man strolled into the empty corridor, surrounded by several men in sunglasses and bearing light machine guns and other weapons. He spotted his subordinate dressed entirely in shades of white and gifted him with a slight smile. "Michael."
Briggs gave him a respectful nod, "Sir."
The bald man gave an expansive wave, "Well, this is your dog and pony show."
Briggs gestured down the corridor, "If you'll follow me," he said politely. "Dr. Moffett is about to perform the test flight for the Airwolf Prototype."
"And you really think this uh … gunship is going to win the war for us in Iraq and find Bin Laden and his merry bunch of Islamic loonies?"
"If it can perform like Moffett has promised us, then I think it will. As you know, our biggest problem isn't manpower or firepower sir. It's intelligence. Basically we're stumbling around blind out there and Al-Qaeda knows it. They pick and choose when to hit our troops and where we're most vulnerable, while our boys are scattered all over the place. Airwolf can be a powerful reconnaissance asset."
"Oh I agree. She's tricked out with the most sophisticated surveillance and spy gear that we have available. It's all the firepower she's also packing that troubles me. I just know that the Joint Chiefs are going to go ape shit when they find out just how heavily armed your little 'reconnaissance' asset is," the Director remarked, making air quotes with his hands.
Briggs flashed a wide smile. "Oh, I believe it'll be more like envy than anything else sir. They'll all want one just like her. Probably an entire fleet of her."
"Hah! If they'll pick up the tab for that, they're welcome to it!"
"Yes sir," Briggs gave a nod at that not so subtle jab at how much of the CIA's budget had been sucked into this project. "But as I was saying; we need her. We need the ability to locate our enemy and then deliver enough massive and overwhelming firepower to surgically annihilate them."
"Surgically annihilate. I do like the sound of that. It's so …" the Director smirked and waved his hand around in the air, searching for the appropriate word, "so contradictory in terms."
"Al-Qaeda isn't like other conventional military forces. They don't rely on an organized army. They're mobile, on friendly territory, and fairly primitive so that it's hard to spot them by any kind of extensive logistic infrastructure like any regular army units have. They can disappear and vanish into the desert at will. And of course, once we do spot them, we can't react fast enough. It takes us time to concentrate our forces and by the time they do, they just scuttle away and hide under a rock, lurking for their next chance. They're ghosts. It's like how we had to fight back in the Vietnam War."
"I know," the Director growled, flashing back to his own experiences as a soldier in Vietnam. And it hadn't been that much fun for him either, as he expected the poor bastards in Iraq and Afghanistan were finding out. Grimly, he gazed intently at his subordinate. "We can't afford to lose this war Michael. Not like we did with Vietnam. Unlike the Vietnamese who just wanted us to get the Hell out of their country, Bin Laden is a touch more ambitious."
Michael Coldsmith Briggs III glanced around the Control Center with a touch of pride as his aide, Gabrielle gestured towards the wide vista as shown through the huge window panes and with a theatrical flair, intoned solemnly, "May I present … Airwolf."
There was a moment of silence as everyone waited expectantly. Then there was a brief surge of snickers and chuckles as it became obvious that a slight miscue had taken place. They quickly turned to gasps as the air in front of the window rippled and then the gleaming black helicopter appeared out of thin air, hovering almost silently.
The Director straightened up, his eyes gleaming as he breathed out, "Damn. You did it. You really did it, Michael. A fucking invisible helicopter."
"Merely one of Airwolf's stealth technologies sir," Briggs said happily, hiding his own amazement at how well the mirror camouflage worked. That had been one of the biggest wrinkles that had plagued the Project. Moffett might be an arrogant asshole, but he was a damn genius who happened to be an arrogant asshole—so Briggs could forgive him for the later.
"The outer skin of the aircraft absorbs radar waves and radiates practically no infrared signature. The crew can also initiate the Whisper Drive. Built-in audio speakers generate white noise and combined with the audio dampeners to mask it's audible noise footprint of its rotors, Airwolf can run almost silently. All and all, she's a very stealthy gunship … er … 'reconnaissance' asset," Briggs corrected himself with a pair of air quotes and a sly smirk that the Director returned.
"...she's a very stealthy gunship … er 'reconnaissance' asset."
Moffett smirked as Airwolf bounced a laser off the huge window panel, interpreted the subtle acoustic vibrations, translated it into words, and relayed it to Moffett's helmet. He half-listened to Briggs' bragging about Airwolf to his superior.
As if that intellectual pigmy had the brains or the skills to build this magnificent machine. Or the daring to even conceive it. No, he scoffed. Of course he didn't. In the end, none of them could. I am surrounded by unworthy morons and short-sighted fools. And afterwards Briggs actually believed that I would turn over Airwolf, my greatest creation, to him and his cretinous swine?
He reached out and stroked one of the display panels reverently. It was a pity. I am going to miss the CIA. They did have such wonderful resources for me to play with. But I'm bored now. And anyways, I have the best toy of them all. I have Airwolf. And now … now I don't need you anymore Briggs…
And Moffett's dreamy eyes narrowed and glinted as he reached out and stabbed a control key. I did promise you this demonstration would go perfectly. I just didn't say for who…
Suddenly armored panels on Airwolf opened up and Briggs saw the Wing Guns snap out, followed by the Missile Pod locking into place. He blinked in total surprise. Furious, he was thinking, What the Hell was Moffett playing at—when there was a flash of white light and the world suddenly exploded.
The entire set of windows imploded inward as all four of Airwolf's Chain Guns exploded into full auto action. Metal jacketed projectiles blasted through pre-stressed concrete as well as various plastic forms and metal beams. What they did when they struck human bodies was simply indescribable.
Briggs found himself lying flat on his back, dazed and struggling to retain consciousness. He heard screams and shrieks.
But Airwolf wasn't done yet.
He heard a distinctive high-pitched whistling sound. Sunburst, part of his brain instantly recognized.
The Plasma Lasers struck the Command Complex like the flail of an Angry God. The outer wall, which so far had somehow managed to remain relatively intact, was instantly destroyed. Huge chunks of concrete and structural members came raining down.
Briggs heard more shrieks. More screams. Although they were fewer and fewer in number. He heard more than one suddenly being cut off.
He gasped and struggled to rise, but he couldn't breathe and he felt a sudden stabbing pain in his chest. The dust wasn't helping either and his right leg wasn't working properly. Something was pinning that leg.
Dazed, he glanced around and saw the shredded and broken wreck that had once been a man. A man whom he considered a friend. "D-director—" he wheezed, as he reached out with his arm. Or he tried to. It too didn't seem to be working either. Most annoying, some small and detached part of his brain commented wryly.
Everything was spinning. Darkness crept up into his eye. Well, one of them. The other was totally black already.
Airwolf continued its furious assault. The rockets came now. They rode their pillars of flame and detonated, creating huge fireballs and the Complex finally gave way. Entire sections collapsed, support pillars came crashing down while others groaned and splintered under the weight they were now being forced to bear, until finally, they too gave away.
He blinked as he saw a ghostly image of Dr. Charles Henry Moffett gazing at him bemusedly with those dreamy, unfocused eyes of his and with that arrogant smirk on his face. Briggs gasped and lunged out to grab the bastard's throat and throttle him but his hand passed through the apparition harmlessly.
No. Not insanity, he realized at last. It was all just a game to the fucking Judas. None of it was real. Nothing was. It was just him and him alone. Other people … they meant nothing to him. It was like he inhabited a world composed entirely of Dr. Charles Henry Moffett. And if nobody was real, then that meant that Moffett could do whatever he wanted to them. Everything and everything around him just existed for his own amused and twisted whims. Or at least until he got bored of them.
He heard the whispering growl of Airwolf's rotors as the most powerful helicopter in the world spun on its axis … and then, finally he passed out.
TO BE CONTINUED...
TOP SECRET DOCUMENT: ARW-001-A MEMORANDUM
To: Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Director, Office of Scientific Research
Date: September 20, 1961
Memo: Due to the increased causalities sustained in the ongoing Vietnam Conflict, it has been determined that improved reconnaissance and scouting capabilities are needed to locate enemy forces, enemy logistical supplies, and Prisoner of War (P.O.W) detention centers.
The President of the United States and the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services hereby directs the Central Intelligence Agency with the cooperation of the United States Army Engineering Corps to implement Project: Airwolf.
Project: Airwolf is dedicated towards developing new technologies to be incorporated into aircrafts for improved surveillance and intelligence gathering capabilities.
TOP SECRET DOCUMENT: ARW-281-D MEMORANDUM
To: Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Director, Office of Scientific Research
Date: November 12, 1965
Memo: Additional technical objectives identified by field reports (Reference Documents ARW-173-A, ARW-198-D, ARW-243-H, and ARW-274-A).
Although the helicopter platform model does provide superior maneuverability and reconnaissance capabilities compared to jet fighters; for maximum survivability and intelligence gathering, the helicopter platform model requires increased stealth capabilities, improved flight ranges, and augmented durability in order to withstand damage from improved enemy fire power and support.
Night flight operations with new infrared imaging technologies do greatly reduce visibility profile, but noise suppression of rotors highly desirable for greater stealth capabilities.
Also recommend the implementation of improved offensive capabilities to future helicopter platform models. Surveillance air assets can positively identify Viet Cong's locations for search and destroy missions but enemy troops possess rapid mobilization and thus local air fire support or ground support units' inability to reacquire them after they have been located.
Reconnaissance air units armed with high firepower capabilities could engage enemy locations as targets of opportunity once positively identified by air unit themselves.
TOP SECRET DOCUMENT: ARW-761-A MEMORANDUM
To: Central Intelligence Agency Director
Date: August 25, 1990
Memo: The recent illegal detention of several United States citizens by the Iraqi Government only serves to highlight the limitations of our intelligence capabilities. We are unable to mount any kind of rescue operation as we can not determine the current physical location of these hostages. Despite improvements of satellite imagery and electronic intercepts, our intelligence gathering abilities are severely limited or hampered in hostile/neutral territories and countries where we lack access to their information infrastructure.
It is the proposed recommendation that we immediately reactivate Project: Airwolf (Reference Code Prefix: ARW Series Documents).
Originally shut down in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, much of the research and development from Project: Airwolf led to the development of infrared imaging, parabolic microphones, as well as the design of the V-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor Helicopter and the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers.
It is believed that the CIA could utilize an aircraft with advanced stealth and intelligence gathering capabilities for a wide variety of intelligence missions and field operations. Such an aircraft could be inserted into hostile territories or environments and perform real-time intelligence gathering operations or perform a wide variety of covert military missions including but not limited to; infiltration of intelligence agents and operatives, the insertion and sabotage of military installations or support facilities, the extractions of hostile personnel or intelligence assets in enemy or neutral territories, or providing air support or transport for clandestine ground operations.