Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Friday, January 29, 2010

Because You Asked For It

Well, okay, only Laura asked for it. But I thought I'd put my money where my mouth is and let you decide for yourselves if I can pull off fighter combat. Here is a scene from my novel, Defenders of the Covenant. Derek is the eighteen year-old commander of the combat fleet of strike fighters called the Avenging Angels. Here they are facing their first battle against the alien attack vessels. Hope you enjoy!

Any semblance of section integrity broke down almost as soon as the fighting began. The Angels swarmed around the sky in a desperate, futile attempt to keep the attack vessels away from the refuge and the fleet. Derek's eyes stung as he tried to keep track of it all. After bringing down four or five of the attackers, the SAM launcher went up in flames, and Derek watched mesmerized as the smoke curled upward. The temple was already crumbling. His throat tightened.
"Break right, Derek!" his wingman, Marius' voice screamed through his headset. He pulled his Angel to the right, snapping out of his melancholy just in time to watch the attack vessel's laser guns slice past his wing. At least someone was still watching out for his wingman. He continued his turn, and watched Marius dive on the attacker from above.
The attack vessel hadn't noticed Marius and had pulled into a climb and roll to try to regain the offensive on Derek. Derek obliged, keeping his Angel in a steady turn as Marius easily maneuvered into firing range. The attacker exploded, sending fiery curls across the sky. Derek sighed with relief, rolled to check his belly-side, then pulled himself up, away from the main fight to try and get control of the situation again.
Another plane exploded somewhere behind him, and he couldn't tell from looking if it was an attack vessel or an Angel, or even who had fired. It was sheer miracle that the squads weren't shooting each other down in the melee.
"This is Commander Halstead," he called over the radio. "Everyone find your wingman and reform sections in combat spread immediately. I need to know how many of those attackers are left, and how much damage we've sustained. Squad captains account for all of your squad as soon as possible. When you've rejoined, attack again."
He barely paid attention to the jumbled Yes Sirs over his radio, concentrating as he was on getting himself back line- abreast with his wingman, and trying to figure out the attackers' next move at the same time.
He needed Brother Harmer at the GCI to tell him what was happening, to activate another squad to relieve them, to send someone out to recover the pilots who'd been shot down, but he couldn't raise Brother Harmer at all. Please let it be communications failure, he prayed. He didn't know what he would do if Brother Harmer and the others were dead down there. He didn't even want to think about it. From up here he couldn't tell how bad the damage really was.
Another attacker exploded below him. He rolled out of the path of the debris, and tried to study the 3-D map and watch Marius' six, and listen to the pilots checking in all at the same time.
"Derek, you see the one coming straight at us?" Marius asked. Derek blanked the map and looked. Yes, there it was all right. A great black wedge coming at them head on.
"All right. Let's force his hand. Split, now." They pulled their Angels apart and the attack vessel went for Derek still head on, but this time the attacker didn't lose sight of Marius coming up on its left. It turned toward Marius to defend against his attack, and Derek climbed up to watch the fight and wait for the right opportunity. Marius forced the attack vessel into a vertical left turn from which it could not reverse without subjecting itself to weapons fire. Derek rolled around the top of his climb, and came down again on the attackers' belly-side for a laser shot. It was almost too easy. Another fireball filled the sky, and Derek and Marius joined line-abreast again.
"Commander Halstead, this is Captain Jonassen reporting in. I've lost two pilots. The rest are here. Our squad has shot down four including the two you and Marius brought down."
"Good," Derek said. "Captain Lu?"
"Captain Lu was shot down," a choked up pilot responded. "We've lost two others from the squad, too. We've shot down two of them all together."
Derek ignored the knife stab in his heart. Five pilots shot down. But they'd brought down six of the attackers, and with the four the SAMs got, "That leaves five, then. We'll rejoin to the north with sections in trail and come in for another attack. Marius and I will lead."
"No need," said Marius. "They're bugging out."
And sure enough, five attack vessels shot through the sky back over the mountains and disappeared.
"Why?" someone asked.
Derek set his mouth in a grim line. "Mission accomplished," he said. "Let's head home."


Kat Harris said...

That was great! I don't know much about fighter jets or military flying, but I felt like I was right there with them.

Good job.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Linz said...

I have always been impressed with your battle scenes! Well done!

Nisa said...

Yep, you do a great job with it! :)

Suzette Saxton said...

Wowza!!! I love this! Your love for the jets blazes through your writing.

L.T. Elliot said...

I was impressed with the emotion layered in with the technical details. These are trained pilots, both fighting and mourning at the same time. Well done, Angie! Bravo!

ali said...

Very exciting! Good job Angie :)

Angie said...

Aw, thanks everybody. Glad you liked the scene. :)

Tess said...

Great job, have a way of sweeping away the reader. I could feel the action all around me.

Angie said...

Thanks so much, Tess!