Operation: First Flight

Sand Island Air Force Base

September 27th 2010, 19:27

"Calibrate connector…steady…steady…" Although sun is coming down, but the base is still a scene of busyness, engineers are setting up new, additional defense structures for possible further attacks.

Crew Quarters

This room is shared by Blaze and Davenport, but now only Blaze is in. He had finished his dinner — stirred fry made by rice, chicken, mushroom, onion, pepper and extra BBQ sauce, plus a bottle of Coca-Cola — Blaze named this configuration as "default meal" and said "I can eat this for twenty years". As the supper is being digested, the pilot is up to something else: He is examining a few photos taken by onboard cameras of his F-14D during previous operation, photos of Yuktobanian fleet. Different from ordinary naval vessels, ships in photos have large, specialized ECM/ESM panels installed on both larboard and starboard side, which render them very low observable on radar and infrared.

A trace of uneasy flashes through his mind, Blaze takes out a folder from his orderly organized cabinet, opens it. Inside there is a document titled "Internal File No. XXXXXX", the contents are about some experiments conducted by Osean Maritime Defense Force retrofitting ships to be electronic low observable several months ago, by installing ECM/ESM panels on broadsides. Blaze finds that the panels on Yuktobanian vessels are identical to the ones used by Osean vessels, it's obvious something fishy out there.

As Blaze put everything back to their places and plans to take a good bath, Davenport comes back from mess hall. He turns on his combined speaker cabinet and begins to play one of his favorite rock-and-roll track "Blurry", he is enjoying himself on sofa: "Man! I love this song, it calms me down. I'm gonna sleep well tonight!"

Blaze: "I recommended Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Pachelbel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, Smetana, Brahms, Liszt, Chopin, Schubert, Tschaikovsky, Grieg, Saint-Saëns…a galaxy of great music to you…why don't you ever listen to me?" He is not upset, yet neither happy.

Davenport: "Classical music is a little too much, I'll just stick to rock-and-roll for a long time." He sits up: "When I was on the way back to here, I saw Fatty His Highness asks everyone with a glum face."

"(imitating Commander Orson Perrault's tone, expression and actions) 'Was there anything suspicious about Captain Bartlett's behaviour recently?' He asks anyone who runs into him the same question. That's cruel! Fatty makes us having hallucinations of Yukes in our soup." Davenport is making fun of base commander, "I think he is the most suspicious one from beginning to end…"

An unpleasant noisy pattern of sound howls, Blaze rushes out of the door like a triggered bullet.

"An air raid?! C'mon! How many times they attempt to disrupt our peaceful daily life?! That's cruel!" Davenport collapses on sofa, acting like being exhausted, for one second, then jumps up and follows Blaze.

Corridor is filled with twinkling light of scarlet, a voice is being repeated again and again with air raid alarm: "Yuktobanian squadrons approaching, all personnel go to combat posts, Yuktobanian squadrons approaching, all personnel go to combat posts…"

In overground hangar, Blaze, Nagase and Davenport are sitting in their own Super Tomcat's cockpit respectively, ground staff is stuffing air-to-air ordnances and fueling. Enemy attacks with F-117A Nighthawks from low altitude, when air defense radars picks up their traces, intruders had reached doorsteps, worse, new stationary defenses are just under initial construction and many new mobile defenses are still non-operational due to operatives are not arrived, Sand Island now is in a big disadvantage.

"Can't it be faster?" Everyone is nervous as they hear roars of explosions and various jet engines, especially Davenport. If there's something explosive hits hangar, it will be nothing more but a cloud of smoke. Like an echo to Davenport, another loud explosion occurs outside.

"You're clear to take off, go go go!" Ground staff packs up equipments as fast as they can, clearing a path for Wardog Squadron to runway. When they move out from hangar, they can see dozens of anti-air vehicles and structures are firing into sky, and get fired upon from sky. Blaze notices enemy F-117As mainly attack any ground targets with anti-air capacities and planes parking on ground.

Control Tower: "Wardog Squadron, take off immediately and gain as much altitude as you can!" All remaining operational anti-air units and structures redirect their firepower to fend enemies from runway, creating a safer surrounding for the taking off planes.

"Captain Bartlett's reserve plane is still in underground hangar." As they accelerate from one end of runway, Nagase reminds others.

Blaze: "Hope they can find someone qualified to pilot it now." As they leave ground, he looks at burning wreckage of aircrafts in apron area: "Seems we're the only ones who successfully get to airborne, hostile main force is not arrived yet, we must shoot down all presenting bandits before the base is dust."

"Are we stick together or break into single?" Davenport asks.

"We're off the standard procedure, engage as you see fit." Blaze had already tallied on a Nighthawk. Although being electronic low observable, but it is bright and clear to F-14D's active radar at a distance that close. Instrument panel release a jingle as on the HUD, the square reticule is overlapped by a rhombus reticule, he immediately launches a AIM-7M. Another downside of F-117A is being an attacker, it is slow and cumbersome, susceptible to fighters, once get locked, it's unlikely to survive. At the blink of missile hit, Blaze turns right, aims on the second F-117A's belly and fires his gun.

Control Tower: "This is bad…we lost all radars…get those things back online quickly! Wardog, reinforcement from mainland still needs 15 minutes to arrive, so you're on your own. It's all right base structures sustain damage, but make sure the main runway remains intact."

"Roger." Blaze is after an F-117A which is diving to base complex. His target is about to drop a bomb, but before that it takes two missiles and crashes into a burning heap of scrap. Nagase and Davenport have their hands full as well, but the number of enemy is rapidly decreasing, the base itself sustains no severe impairment except anti-air defense and radars are down as well as majority of the planes parking on ground were destroyed during initial air strike.

"Bingo!" Davenport flies only a dozen meters behind an enemy and is firing gun, solid slugs shred it into debris. Nagase chases down a bandit only tens of meters over the complex and blasts it.

Suddenly the crew in Control Tower notice something: "Hey! Who's that?!"

An F-14D comes out from an underground hangar and is taxing on the route to main runway. Nagase is the first one in the sky who has an eye on it: "I think its Captain Bartlett's reserve plane, but who is the pilot?"

A young voice, so young that feels like a high-school boy, sounds in radio: "This is Airman First Class Hans Grimm, callsign 'Archer'. I was helping mechanics in hangar, I'm taking off now."

Davenport: "Are you out of your mind?! You're still in replacement pilot training! Can you find any other spare active pilots?"

Grimm: "I don't see any. And I think I should help you, Pops also encourages me to go up."

Nagase: "Be careful Archer, I'll cover you."

Grimm: "Thank you very much."

Blaze: "Edge, Chopper, a change of priority, we're going to cover Archer to take off." He immediately turns to a formation of bandits which is coming to Grimm and shoots them down by a salvo of AIM-120D.

Grimm: "Begin final checking sequence…control systems…okay…"

An F-117A launches a missile to Grimm's plane but misses, then is destroyed by Blaze.

Knowing more planes airborne equals to have more threats, hostiles begin to concentrate their attacks on Grimm — if they can get past Wardog Squadron.

Grimm: "…fuel pressure…no problems…" He doesn't know he is saved again by Nagase, who shoots down a bandit attempted to attack him.

"…engine sounds great…" Davenport turns hard and fires missiles to two enemies, good kills.

Grimm: "…fuel quantity check…full tank…"

Davenport: "C'mon! Just take off already! We can't hold them off forever!"

Nagase: "Easy Chopper. Archer, take off ASAP once you finish checking."

Grimm: "…ejection system okay…this is Archer, control tower and all aircraft, I'm in take off point, engines full power!" The nozzles of his plane squirt flames.

Control Tower: "Come back! Come back!" But then changes attitude: "Don't stop him. Let him go."

Grimm: "I'm airborne and I'm joining Wardog Squadron."

Blaze: "Good, now you're temporally Wardog Four."

Grimm: "Roger captain!"

Davenport: "Archer! Get over here and cover my six!"

Grimm: "Roger! I'm coming!"

Actually Davenport doesn't need to be covered, for F-117A is the only type of enemy presents in this airspace, and F-117A doesn't have any air-to-air capabilities, not to say they are not agile. Even Grimm, who only has a few hours of actual solo flying duration to date, manages to shoot down several. Blaze also notices although not a formal fighter pilot yet, but that boy is quite fast-reflecting and stable while piloting F-14D, he is definitely tougher than he looks.

"I see you managed to make it up. Is your plane all right?" Wolfgang communicates Grimm on radio, people are shouting in background: "Fire team, stop the fire from spreading to our ammo dump!" "Get anything flammable out of there! The ammo too!" "Rescue team! Help out the wounded!" "Everyone still can move help the fire control crew! Use the water in the supply tank to put out the fire!"

Grimm: "I'm fine Pops, thank you very much."

Wolfgang: "Glad to hear that. Looks like keeping them in good shapes had been paid off. I'm going to assist others, you be careful out there, follow captain's instructions."

Grimm: "I will."

Blaze: "Don't you worry Pops, I'll take care of him." He nails the last enemy with an AIM-9M.

"Last target down, sky is clean." Blaze looks at his radar screen and looks around from canopy: "Don't let you guard down yet, I sense it won't over so soon."

"Radars are back online…what is that? Can we make it clear?" Control Tower's voice comes through communication: "Alert! Hostile formation is approaching from west! They come in very low altitude so we cannot match the types, but large-profile singles are mixed among them, presumably to be bombers. Shoot them down before they're above us!"

Several Tu-95s, escorted by fighters, are flying to Sand Island at a very low altitude. You have to admit those Yuktobanian pilots have some guts with them, for example flying such a large, sluggish fuselages at such a low altitude, it really needs some boldness.

Four Tomcats of Wardog Squadron dash to west horizon to intercept new hostile formation.

Nagase: "They even send strategic bombers! Are they planning to erase Sand Island from map?"

Davenport: "Those Yukes really think highly of our island."

"This is Lieutenant Colonel Ford! We're approaching Sand Island from southeast!" Finally, reinforcement from mainland arrives. Well, being late is better than being absent.

Davenport: "If you come a little earlier, you could enjoy the show even participate in it."

Blaze: "Don't mind him Lieutenant Colonel, we're grateful that your squadron come to rescue."

Davenport: "That's cruel! I'm among the ones who made major merits today!"

Blaze: "I know, you're as good as Edge. Lieutenant Colonel, we're going to attack enemy bombers, please keep fighters from us."

Ford: "No problem. Boys, show the Yukes what we've got!"

Yuktobanian formation rises high, and the fighters speed up to enter combat status. But Lieutenant Colonel Ford's squadron engages them, opens a safe channel for Wardog Squadron to intercept bombers.

Blaze attacks the closest bomber head-on, he launches six AIM-120Ds in a salvo, the Tu-95 goes down with engulfed in flames. He flies through bomber formation, takes a tight chandelle turn, catches up behind them, where is most suitable of pursuit and destroy.

Other three pilots appear beside Blaze. "Aim on their engines, attack with AIM-120D or AIM-7M, don't get into range of tail turrets." Tu-95 has a dual-machinegun turret mounted to its tail, if a careless fighter follows too close, it can be insidious and deadly.

"I got one! I got one!" Grimm can't help to exclaim in excitement, although bombers like Tu-95 are easy targets, but shooting down such a large bird truly generates some satisfaction. Blaze blows another bomber up, he loosens stick, let himself enjoys this micro victory for a few seconds, then turns to next prey.

Only one Tu-95 remaining, Wardog Squadron is confident to destroy it in no time. In fact, they do. Although this one is tough, spamming chaffs and flares continuously to deflect missiles, but it is against four armed-to-the-teeth Tomcats, the outcome is too obvious.

"Control tower to all aircraft. All hostiles, fighters and bombers, are confirmed destroyed. Thanks for protecting our base everyone! We will hold a welcome party for you once you touch down!"

Blaze: "Better save me some stirred fries."

Davenport: "Hugh! Today is intense." Tries to wipe off sweat from forehead, but unable to do so due to the helmet: "I won't be able to join another fight if they come again before sunrise."

Nagase: "Chopper, please not to mention that possibility."

Davenport: "Just kidding, Yukes are not terminators, they need to eat and sleep too. I bet they won't be able to do anything more in 24 hours."

Grimm: "Was my flying all right captain?"

Blaze: "Not only flying, fighting included. Would you like to formally stay in Wardog Squadron as Number Four?"

Grimm: "Me? Formal Wardog Four? Sir, I'm absolutely honored…"

Blaze: "You needn't to sir me, I'm probably only one year, maybe just a few months older than you. Just refer me as 'captain' or use my callsign will be fine."

Grimm: "Yes sir…um...I mean, captain."

Blaze shakes his head with a slight smile, then opens a channel to Ford: "Lieutenant Colonel, thank you for your squadron's assistance, my team had been exhausted, please provide guarding perimeter while we're landing."

Ford: "You got it, we're taking over, enjoy your deserved credits, Wardog Squadron."

Blaze: "Thank you." He aligns to runway and puts down landing gears.