A Short story of a military nature. In the interests of full discloser my brother wrote it. If you like stories about fighter planes, dog fights and nuclear attack, you'll get a kick out of this. I'm willing to bet that once you finish a section you will not wait until the next day to read the next section. You can leave your comments about the story on our forum.
John Anderson looked out at the traffic light, listening to the local jazz station. The day was turning out great, with clear skies and oddly cool for mid September in Florida. Just a slow day that started with a local flight in his Cessna 310 and now a short visit with his parents before heading north to his house.
The music came to a stop, interrupted by a news bulletin. From the beginning of her statement it was clear she was not prepared and was reading from the cuff. "Just released from the pentagon, ah-- officials are saying that Cuba has launched an attack on US targeting Texas and Louisiana. The Air Force is currently intercepting the attack in the Gulf as the Cuban fighters are possibly targeting nuclear power plants in that region."
"Great." John said aloud. Now Castro wants to torment his greatest nemesis before he kicks the bucket. Further proving that he really has no concern for his country. John thought. Or maybe he's dead and the new guy wants some action.
The light turned green and John turned north for the final three blocks to his father's street. As he accelerated he began to here a whining noise coming from the back of his truck. The pitch started to get louder and was soon joined by a thunderous rumble. John let off the gas thinking his truck was at it last breath of life when it dipped on its suspension as if a thousand gallons of water had been dropped on it from above. The landing gear and tailpipe of the jet got his attention as it just cleared his roof and touched down in front of his truck. There was no need to brake as the jet was moving twice as fast and was already fifty yards in front of him slowing to a stop.
Damn good thing this old beater didn't have better acceleration, John thought to himself, this pilot was committed to the landing. The question now was what in the world was an F-16 doing landing on US-1? The engine was spooling down as he caught up to the stopped jet. That told him that engine failure wasn't the cause for such a hairy landing.
Turning his truck off he made his way to the front of the jet. Unlatching the onboard ladder indents he climbed up opening the cover panel and released the canopy latch. Inside the pilot sat white faced holding his chest. John stood for a second looking at the pilot.
"You ok chief?" John asked, briefly looking at the consoles to check if he had shut down all the electronics which from the looks of things he had.
The pilot looked at John and nodded yes. Still breathing hard he seemed to concentrate for a moment. "I think I had a stroke."
John noticed the insignia and the older age of the man, which led him to the fact that the pilot was from a reserve unit. Although the man could not have been much older than he was.
John looked to the north hearing sirens and then returned to the pilot checking his nametag. "Just take it easy Lt. Robinson, you have help on the way."
"Call me Ed." Lazily pointing to Johns aviation watch. "You fly?" He asked John.
"Yes, I have a three ten, and you can call me John." Rubbing his hand along the edge of the front canopy. "Not quite as nice as this. I grew up with the F-16 when my father was in the Air Force."
"You father a pilot?"
"No, he was chief mechanic, Master sergeant. He worked the lightweight fly-off between the YF-16 and YF-17."
"Ah, that was back a ways, before my time. Nineteen seventy five if I remember, yes?"
"Seventy three to seventy six at Edwards. I had a chance to fly an F-16 simulator at Homestead just before hurricane Andrew closed the base there. Real cool toy for training"
"I wish they hadn't of closed that base." LT. Robertson said shaking his head. "We could really use it right now."
"The Cuban incident that I just heard about?" John asked.
"Yes, they have a good idea that there are some more coming from the southeast." The pilot said.
"What say we start getting you out of this thing. The rescue guys will be here in a minute." John said as he popped loose the top harness clasps.
"John, If you would, put the safeties in the ejection seat." Motioning to the pins on the right of his seat. "There is another one just like it on the left side."
It was clear to John that the pilot could not move his left arm. "These days I fly an F-16 in a software program called Falcon 40." John said, trying to keep the pilot talking and alert. "I do a lot of flying on-line."
Ed looked up at him with some surprise. "Using the unified team upgrade?"
"Yes, you've heard of it."
"Hell yeah." Lt. Robinson replied with some life returning to his voice.
"I fly out of the Tampa IC lounge." John said as he fitted the left pin.
Ed looked at John, as he was concentrating on the ejection pin. "Cool Hand" He said, getting a reaction as if he had called him by his name. "Your Cool Hand?"
"Yeah." John said, seeing a wide-eyed look that held excitement. "How did you know that?"
"I've flown against you many times. And I know most of the people in the room. Your bio say's you're from Palm Beach area." Ed reached up with his right hand and tapped his helmet. "Nice to finally meet you."
John looked at his helmet through the tinted visor that was covering the letters "Trigger Happy" written across the front. "Son of a bitch. It's a small world. You're one hell of a good fight. I always knew I was in for some good times when I saw that name in the lounge."
"There are eight of us in the Falcon 351 wing and all of us are 16 pilots. They talk about you all the time." Ed said as he pointed to the wires connecting the flight suit to the console.
"There is a guy in there named Thumper. He kicks my butt all the time. Is he with you guys?" John asked as he finished disconnecting the plugs and oxygen hose.
Ed smiled. "Well yes, and she is one hot stick, and is currently headed down to the south right now to intercept a group of Migs that the AWACS thinks are coming in over the lower end of the Bahamas."
"Female you don't say." John smiled. "Well she's a damn good pilot that's for sure. How many are left in your flight?"
"We started with three, but one had a bird strike just after takeoff and turned back. She's all alone up there John. I think it's time you got a shot at the real thing." Ed said.
"Oh no, this is no computer game." John protested.
"It's not that different John. We use that computer program as much if not more than we get actual flight time. Do you have an instrument rating?"
"Yes- multi-engine and commercial too. I don't have any jet time, and a computer simulator doesn't put physical forces on you."
"Look John, there are some differences, but not so many that you can't handle it. Here's the jest of it. Someone in logistics screwed the pooch big time, and shuffled all the planes over to Texas to take out the large wave of fighters coming in. A fast powerboat loaded with a hell of a bundle of explosives pulled a kamikaze on the aircraft carrier Eisenhower and disabled their screws sometime yesterday off the coast of Maine. That carrier was scheduled to be off the Florida coast right now. The carrier that was here is in the middle of the Panama Canal right now, meaning that the whole eastern coast of Florida is wide open. If those Migs get past Thumper they could hit any number of targets and even the nuclear plants here." Ed shook his head. "I can't move my left arm John. I can't go head to head with Migs, hell I barely landed. You have to help Thumper. I can coach you over the survival radio from the ground."
Just then a police car pulled up to the front of the jet. The officer got out and began shaking his head with disbelief as he looked up at John clinging to the side of the plane. "How did I know you would have something to do with this."
"Not me." John replied. "I just got caught up in it, but I didn't cause it. How are you Paul?"
"Not bad considering there is a jet parked in the middle of the road."
"Well it's going to get a lot worse. Can you get that ambulance to back in right here to get the pilot out." John got a nod as the officer turned to start directing. "And Paul."
"Try not to hit the plane." He then turned back to the pilot. "I'll see if I can get this done, see you after they get you out."
John pulled his cell phone out and called his father and filled him in on the goings on over the last five minutes as he got down from the plane. He didn't need to ask him to come down to help out. Getting out of the way of the paramedics John tracked down Paul. Paul was instructing another officer on getting traffic diverted around the mess.
John stopped the officer that was leaving. "Hold on a second, change of plan."
Paul gave him an irritated look. "Who the hell--."
"Easy Paul." John interrupted. "I'm sure you have a good plan, but we need to get this bird back in the air and fast."
"And who is going to fly this thing out of here?" Paul asked.
"Always thought you were crazy John, didn't think you had mental problems. I don't think the military will take lightly to you stealing their plane" Paul shook his head. "So why you and what do you need?"
"The Cuban thing, it's coming here. To make it short, according to the AWACS plane over head they believe they have six or more Cuban planes coming from the southern islands straight at us. There is only one fighter up to stop them. The other one is here." John said as he motioned a thumb towards the jet. "If any of the Mig's get past Thumper than it will be up to me to stop them from hitting the nuclear plants here and at Turkey Point.
"Thumper?" Paul questioned.
Yes Thumper, the other pilot's call sign. For our sake Paul, let's hope Thumper takes them all out, but if she doesn't than we are in deep shit."
Paul's face seemed to loose all of its blood flow. "A woman and you to protect south Florida, god help us. Anyway, what do you have in mind?"
"Ok, first we need to block off US-1 from PGA to about another one hundred yards north from here. It has to be blocked off entirely, both sides. Then we need to get a lot of people hand in hand to walk from one end to the other and clear it of debris. Rocks trash so on, anything that can get sucked up into the jets intake on take off." John looked around. "That should do it. After they get the pilot out they can set him up on the West Side of the road. He's going to stay here for now and coach me over the radio. You might want to get another ambulance here as well."
"Ok John that's easy enough to do."
"See if you can round up some muscle to get the jet turned around. I'll taxi down to PGA and take off to the north."
"Since your flying this thing, maybe I should call in a couple more fire trucks too." Paul laughed and then turned to discuss the new instructions. John headed back to the jet as the pilot that was now out of the plane and being lowered to the ground and put onto a stretcher.
Lt. Ed Robinson was a bit embarrassed at his situation as the crowds gathered in increasing numbers. A female paramedic that was working on him got out a pair of scissors to cut away his flight suit. "Hold on Miss. You can't cut this off me."
"It's standard procedure sir, there is no need to be embarrassed." The young paramedic comforted.
"I don't think he's worried about that Ma'am, the suit needs to be intact because I need it." John interrupted the conversation. "However it would help if we could get his g-suit off as soon as possible."
"So you're going to go up?"
"I'm thinking about it Ed. You never know. I might just chicken out and go for a leisurely joy ride instead."
"Well John I have to admit it's a nice rush, but combat is far beyond rush." Ed turned to the paramedic. "If we could get out of the road and set up under some shade Ma'am."
"You'll be in the ambulance and on the way to the hospital in just a few minutes." She said as she continued working to get the flight suit off.
"Miss." Jack asked. "I didn't catch your name."
"Valerie, we need to keep him here and alert if you think there won't be any serious threat to his life. I'm going to need his help in getting that jet back in the air."
Valerie looked over the two of them, "well his condition is stable, at the moment, but reg's say I get him to the hospital, so he goes to the hospital."
"Look Valerie, I need this guy here, in contact with me by radio, or I don't stand a chance."
"He goes to the Hospital like she said pal." Her assistant said stepping up closer to the gurney. "End of story."
John looked at the technician and disregarded him turning his attention back to Valerie. "Valerie, if I don't have his help, we will all be going to the hospital, if we live that long. There are Mig's approaching this coast and it is said that they are targeting nuclear plants. I need him here Valerie, there is one other plane up there against six or more Mig's, if one of those Mig's gets past then we'll have nuclear waist everywhere."
Throughout the discussion she never stopped working, but she did now. Valerie's eyes were locked on Johns, and she felt the nervousness in him. She turned to look at the Ed Robinson with the same result, except he nodded a calm slow agreement. She glanced at her assistant Dave who was leering at John and the pilot, looked past him to a nice shaded grass area.
"Dave lets get him moved over there." Valerie said, pointing past him to the tree.
Her partner had a look of disgust at the fact that she had stepped on him a bit. He turned and started reloading the medical bags that had been brought out. Valerie knew Dave was a good tech, he would act hurt for a bit, but he would have it together when she needed him. She was sure of that.
"As soon as this thing cools down, he's yours to take." Jack managed a smile.
Valerie and her partner loaded the pilot into the ambulance for the short trip just off the road under the oak tree. John helped as needed as the local city police were quickly blocking off the road.
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