Opening Shots

Major Anton Brinsky had his active search radar on. Hundreds of targets presented themselves directly across the border. His squadron of nine other aircraft along with himself was one of the few pilots who still flew the older MiG-21F-13. A vast majority of the other pilots flew either MiG-23s or MiG-31s. Major Brinsky himself personally didn't like the newer aircraft. It had a much wider turning arc and performed horribly at low altitudes. Major Brinsky led his squadron, Cossack Squadron, towards the border. They flew in a perfect V-formation bearing down on the border with K-13 AAMs armed. These men were ready for anything. At the last possible moment Major Brinsky pulled his MiG up; his squadron followed close behind.

This was the situation on the entire border. Squadrons of fighters rushed towards the border with active search radars on before pulling up or turning away at the last minute. It was a dangerous game of chicken. The loser risked starting a war. Hundreds of aircraft performed this deadly game all along the border. Tan ground forces stared their counterparts down on the border waiting for the order to fire. The men were nervous and pumped up at the same time. None of them wanted to die but they all wanted to be great heroes. Each man and woman currently in a T-72 or BMP-3 or even on foot wanted a big, gleaming Hero of the Tan Republic Medal. It was the highest distinction a Tan soldier could ever receive. The men on the ground watched as a lone white streak sped across the night sky. A Green fighter pilot got nervous and fired a single air to air missile. There was a tense moment while the missile was streaking through the air. When there was a large orange fireball on the Tan's side of the border every single Tan soldier and airmen felt a fit of rage take over them. Without warning artillery shells began falling on the Green soldiers' positions. T-72s fired their large main cannons and BTR-80s fired their AT-5 Spiggot Missiles. Hundreds of Green tanks and armored vehicles went up in flames before they ever had a chance to return fire. The smell of burning plastic was heavy in the air.

Major Brinsky snarled in anger when his wingman, Cossack Two, was brought down by a missile. The capitalist pigs drew first blood, now it was their turn.

"All Tan Air Force pilots vector towards Green airspace. Safeties are off. I repeat; safeties are off. This war just got hot my comrades. Good luck." the A-50 AWACS operator said. There were twenty such aircraft up at the moment. They were already directing friendly missiles onto targets.

"Cossack Squadron, break off and engage the enemy. Try to keep tabs on your wingman." Major Brinsky ordered keeping his voice calm as he turned his MiG-21 towards the enemy. The squadron sounded off and flew off in whatever direction they pleased. Almost immediately his threat receiver began chirping quietly. An enemy aircraft had a radar lock on him. Major Brinsky kept his aircraft level and pushed the throttle forward. He kept his head on a constant swivel watching for enemies. The second he crossed into green territory he saw a white flash. Now his threat receiver chirped loudly in his helmet. He jerked his stick to the left and tucked it into his stomach. His MiG reacted instantly. It banked left quickly but the SAM still closed in. Keeping close watch on the missile as well as his surrounding, he banked left and right waiting for the missile to close in a little. It wasn't the smartest thing to do but he had a plan. Once the missile got close enough Major Brinsky popped chaff and rolled right. The maneuver put a few Gs on his body but the missile trailed off into the darkness. Major Brinsky's radar showed him a massive aerial fur ball was developing directly over him. Keeping watch for more SAM launches, Major Brinsky began climbing up to join the massive dogfight. Tracers cut through the air with little effort. Missiles streaked through the night sky leaving trails of white smoke. Every few seconds there would be a bright orange explosion signaling another young life snuffed out. Major Brinsky had no time to think of who he was killing at the moment. He quickly got on the tail of a Green F-15C that was in turn chasing a friendly MiG-31. The MiG-31 was twisting and turning every which way but the more mobile F-15 easily kept up. The slightly annoying beep meant that he had a radar lock. Either the F-15 pilot was confident in his abilities to dodge a missile at such short range or he was very stupid. Major Brinsky was close in dogfighting standards. He was a mere half mile away from the green painted F-15.

"Help me! I have a Green Eagle on my tale and he has a missile lock!" cried the MiG pilot as he desperately jinked up and down.

"Just hold still for a second, comrade. I have this bastard." Major Brinsky said in his soothing voice. The pilot seemed to hesitate for a moment before suddenly diving for the deck. The F-15 pilot followed without a second thought. Major Brinsky swore under his breath as he put his aircraft into a steep dive. He didn't think he would be able to get into cannon range so he would have to use one of his two valued K-13 AAMs. The steady beep in his headset meant he had a solid lock. He let loose one of the inferred homing missiles and tracked it visually. The missile, with a top speed of Mach 2.5, quickly homed in on the arrogant F-15. It detonated right between F-15's two engines almost shearing the plastic frame of the aircraft in two.

"Kill confirmed Cossack Two." an AWACS said in a beaming voice. Major Brinsky had no time to return the congratulations. His threat receiver began chirping loudly again meaning that more SAMs had fired at him. He fought to pull his aircraft level and didn't even bother to look for the pilot he just saved. When he finally did get his aircraft level he seemed to be skimming over the ground. Missiles reached at him but none found their marks.

"Comrade Major, you have two F-4s and a F-15 bearing straight down on you!" one of his squadron mates reported.

"Coming from where?" Major Brinsky barked as he raised and lowered his aircraft to match the terrain.

"Six o'clock high, sir." another squadron mate reported.

"Can you get them?" Major Brinsky asked. He took note of the three radar contacts advancing steadily towards him from behind.

"This is Cossack Five. I can get one, sir. Pull up and I'll make a fast sweep."

"Roger Cossack Five. Pulling up…now!" Major Brinsky buried the control stick into his stomach sending his aircraft into a straight up climb. He felt the mounting G forces pull the blood from the upper portion of his body to the lower portion. He wiggled his toes and tensed up his legs in an effort to prevent him from blacking out. He saw his fellow squadron mate heading towards him from the front. The three enemy planes had followed him into the steep climb. Major Brinsky now had a plan. His fellow MiG-21 streaked past on his radar and one of the red triangle blips disappeared. The explosion lit his cockpit up faintly. Judging from the radar activity he was still being pursued by one F-15 and an F-4. Both had their targeting radars blazing his aircraft. Major Brinsky took a deep breath and tensed his entire body up. If he was able to surprise the two Green pilots he could make it, if not he was going to be little more than melted plastic. Major Brinsky was a few seconds away from reaching his maximum surface ceiling. He grabbed the throttle and threw it backwards. His MiG's engines nearly shut off and his aircraft seemed to sit still in mid-air. The two enemy jets rushed past. Major Brinsky fired his last remaining missile and fired a steady stream of cannon fire. The F-4, with its massive engine exhaust, drew the missile. The K-13 rammed itself into the F-4s right engine before exploding. The entire aircraft disappeared in a massive orange fireball. A few streaks of cannon fire lanced up and caught the F-15 on its left wing. The wing shook violently then tore itself from the aircraft. The F-15 quickly spun out of control heading back towards Earth. Major Brinsky roared with victory at his two kills. Two more and he would be an ace. Then, his MiG then stalled and nosed over.

"Shit." he swore cursing his ignorance. He kept a careful eye on the fuel meter as he slowly pushed the throttle forward. His engines choked back to life and he was flying again.

"Cossack One, two enemy planes dropped of radar. Did you kill them?" an AWACS operator asked.

"Roger, comrade. Two kills. I got in on gun camera." Major Brinsky said proudly.

"Confirmed. Gun cameras will be reviewed when you get back to base."

"Was that an order?" Major Brinsky asked as he brought streaked back towards the battle.

"That is an order, Major Brinsky. Entire first wave of aircraft his pulling back. Second wave is en route. Do not worry, once you and your men are rearmed and refueled you are going right back up."

Major Brinsky hands squeezed the flight stick in frustration.

"Order confirmed. Returning back to base." Major Brinsky said with a touch of anger in his voice. "Cossack Squadron form up on me. We are going home." There was multiple confirmations as his squadron formed appeared to his left and right. He counted the MiGs and noticed he was two planes short. He knew one had been shot down sparking the battle but the other was a mystery.

"Sound off squadron." Major Brinsky ordered.

"Cossack Three, roger."

"Cossack Four, roger."

"Cossack Five, roger."

"Cossack Six, roger."

"Cossack Eight, roger."

"Where is Cossack Seven?" Major Brinsky asked frowning behind is oxygen mask.

"I think he got to low and was shot down by enemy SAMs." Cossack Five replied. Major Brinsky swore under his breath. He had lost an experienced pilot. It would take time and cost his government a lot of money to replace him. Even worse was now Major Brinsky now had to write home to two pilots' next of kin. He was sure his letters weren't the only ones going out today.

They flew over the frontlines of the battle which had shifted quite a bit. Major Brinsky caught a glimpse of charging T-72s led by larger T-80s. The infantry looked like ants running alongside the BMP-3s. The muzzle fire down below seemed to illuminate the night. Major Brinsky kept his head on a constant swivel. He didn't allow himself to relax. The chance of a SAM reaching up and swatting him out of the sky was still great. He didn't want to die. He knew the chances of finding a dead pilot among the melted remains of his aircraft was next to nothing. His tan skin and uniform would blend right in with his aircraft's twisted hulk. It was a fate that all feared. Major Brinsky finally let out a sigh of relief and relaxed a little once he and his squadron crossed the Tan border. He was greeted by the friendly voice of a female AWACS.

"Welcome home, Cossack Squadron. Your service to the Motherland is appreciated."