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Chapter Two - Bomb Squad

The AC-L shuddered with such ferocity that Allen nearly fell from his seat were it not for his belt.

“Shit...” Blitz murmured, recovering from the violet shake. He turned his head towards the cockpit and shouted. “Rini, what the hell?!”

The pilot's voice came over the intercom. “Sorry, lads! That last one was a bit close. Took out one of ours, right next to us. And that's Captain Rini, to you, boy!”

“Pft.” Blitz rolled rolled his eyes.

Allen looked out the view port in the wall next to him. In the sea of propellers and engines, he could see rockets exploding all around the fleet. If they didn't do something to quell the cannon fire from below, they would be blown into oblivion before they ever reached the their destination.

He glanced at the helicopter closest to them. Inside the cockpit, the pilot bobbed his head side to side, trying to see through the clouds. He tapped his headset radio and spoke something into it, apparently to the other pilots; he looked over to their AC-L, towards Rini up in the cockpit. Nodding, the man took hold of a small lever beside his control throttles and pulled back. Still having a hold of it, he then pressed a small button on the very top. Immediately, rockets dropped out of a compartment underneath the helicopter. Hovering for a split second, they flared up, speeding off under the clouds, leaving streaming trails of smoke in their path. Right after, Allen, along with Cherzevok, Elza and Omith, could feel the vibration of their own rockets shooting off underneath them.

After all remaining units had fired a round, there was a short silence. Then Rini was filling the passenger cabin with the sound of his voice once more, cheering.

“Ha-ha! Oi, you see that! We just blew their entire front line into bloody smithereens!” he said. “Their cannons are destroyed. Every one of 'em!”

Allen looked back out the side way view port once more. He could see pilots in other helicopters cheering as well; some shook their fists, some nodded their heads, smiling. One, younger, obviously more excitable pilot was almost hopping up and down in his seat, grinning wildly.

The four men in the hull raised their arms and cheered, giving enthusiastic “Yeah!”s.

Cherzevok was the first to speak up afterwords. “Alright, Rini!” he shouted. “Is there any more resistance you are picking up on radar?”

“No, sir.” came the reply.

“What about heat-sensors?”

Their was a moment's pause, then the pilot responded. “Eh, hold on here, general – I'm getting a radio transmission from one of the others.” The intercom went silent.

In the cockpit, Hank sat in the single seat, fidgeting with controls and listening to the incoming message. It was from the pilot in the helicopter next to them.

His voice fluttered over the empty static, deep and strong. “This is Black Widow, repeat, Black Widow. Do you copy?”

Hank held in the button on his headset radio with his index finger. “I copy, Black Widow, this is Spangled Tiger. What is your situation?” He let up on the button, and looked over to the other copter as he listened.

“Uh, yeah, are you pickin' up on anything? Radar, heat-sensors, anything?”

“Negative. Are you?”

“I picked something up – a lot of them, actually. Multiple units, possibly hostile.” he said. “They were on my radar for a split second, then they blinked off.”

Rini looked at his scanners. Tinkering with their controls, he listened to the other pilot. “Are you sure it wasn't a glitch?”

“I'm not sure if it was a glitch, or – wait, wait!” he exclaimed.

“What?” Rini asked.

“There they are again! Scan the area.”

“Eh, that's a negative.” Rini said, giving up on his scanners. “I'm not picking anything up on rad-”

Visual scanning, Spangled Tiger.” Black Widow said. “Drop a little lower through the clouds.”

Hank turned to look at the other helicopter again, but it wasn't there. He realized it descended below the bulk of the clouds. He went to follow, but then stopped. “Hold on a minute.” he said. “If we drop too low, we're losin' our coverage.” There was a pause, then Black Widow responded.

“Just get down here.” The transmission ended.

Heaving a sigh, Rini came back over the intercom. “Alright, lads, hold tight. We're droppin' below the clouds for a better look at the field.”

Back in the deep red-lit room, Blitz's jaw dropped. “What? You can't be freaking serious! We'll get blown to pieces if they see us!”

“They already know we're coming, lad. We're just descending for a quick look, then we're coming right back up.”

Blitz looked to Cherzevok. “General, you can't really agree with this?” When he received no answer, he creased his forehead and shook his head. “This isn't gonna end well, man.” He folded his arms, and looked out the side way view port to see if any of the others were dropping as well.

Cherzevok spoke up. “Hank, what are you looking to see?”

“One o' the other pilots said he picked up some possible hostiles on his radar. Now he says he can see them if he drops blow the clouds.”

“Make it quick.” came the confirmation.

“Yes, sir, general.”

Rini reached up above him to another board of controls, pulled, then twisted a small rippled cap a little to the right, steadying the air pressure inside the helicopter for when they descended. He put his hands back onto the motion controls, leaning forward. The AC-L sped up a little, then lurched downward. Back in the main cabin, the four men struggled against the force pushing them back into their seats.

“Shit...” Blitz murmured.

“Level us out!” Corporal Omith shouted up to their pilot.

“Sorry, lads! Hang on!” Rini said over the intercom. He pulled back on the throttles as Black Widow's helicopter came into view, the clouds around them giving way to a massive expanse of sand.

After the soldiers eased back into their seats, they awaited Rini's voice over the radio once more.

“Whadd'ya seeing out there, captain?” Blitz shouted. He strained for a look outside the view port next to him, but could only see Black Widow's copter and a huge expanse of desert. “I knew we shouldn't have dropped. All we did was expose ourselves...” he muttered.

Hank ignored Blitz. “Hang on a second, here...” he said. In the cockpit, he looked out at the ground, but saw nothing but desert, as well. He put his finger to his headset once more. “This is Spangled Tiger. I'm not seein' anything...”

A few silent moments later, and the pilot responded. “I hear you. Maybe there's a glitch with my system, although it should've been caught during flight inspection. Half those engineers don't do their damn jobs. Alright, let's pull up.”

Rini looked back out at the desert. Nothing. “I copy, Black Widow. Ascending now.” He pulled back slowly on the control throttles, easing the helicopter back up above the clouds. Coming back over the intercom, he said, “Alright, lads, nothing to see down there. A glitch with the other pilot's radar systems. Get ready for th-”

KRACK.

Everyone jumped as an ear-piercing explosion went off next to them.

“What the hell was that?!” Blitz yelled, looking out the view port along with the others.

“Were we hit?” Parker called up.

“No. Whatever it was, it hit something else.” Hank said. He tried to tap back into the comms to talk with Black Widow, but when he called out to him, the reply was broken by static and very faint.

“I...Tiger...what...I think...under...camouflaged...pick up...drop...”

Rini sat trying to make sense of the jumble of words, all the while keeping his eyes trained on the bit of desert he could still see. “Black Widow, adjust your radio output.”

The other pilot's voice could be heard still talking, intertwined with waves of static. “This isn't...send...the rest...group...repeat...cannons...sand...signal...the group...”

Rini spoke back. “I repeat, adjust your radio out-”

“Shit!” Blitz startled scream hit his ears. He immediately turned his head to see a group of tiny rockets speeding towards Black Widow's AC-L. They were faintly glowing a light red, leaving streaming trails of smoke in their path. Before Black Widow had time to react, they collided with the helicopter, clouds of red smoke engulfing the machine.

“God damn...” Omith said under his breath. The four soldiers strained to see past the thick red smoke.

“Captain Rini, can you see anything?” General Cherzevok called up.

“Just wait a minute for the smoke to clear. I'll try and make contact with him.”

“Oh, we're screwed.” Blitz murmured, leaning his head against his seat.

“Shut up!” Allen yelled. Blitz looked away.

“Alright, lads, I can see him.”

The four fixed their eyes outside the view port. Through the thinning smoke, they could see Black Widow's copter, although it was blurred by the engulfing red veil. But the giant holes in the armoring were obvious nonetheless.

“Holy crap...those rockets ate holes in it!” Parker said, eyes round and wide.

“Those weren't rockets...” Corporal Omith said. He went to say something else, when he noticed a small little hole burning in the wall next to him. “No...no, no – Rini! Pull us up! Those aren't rockets – they're some kind of acidic-?!”

BOOM.

Black Widow's AC-L exploded in a red-hot ball of flame, spewing metal in all directions.

“Ah, bloody hell!” Rini jerked the helicopter to the left, away from the explosion. Even from as far away from it as they were, metal chunks were still hitting them. He turned and watched the other copter tumble out of the sky, engulfed now in flame. “Damned things must've eaten through its engine. I'll call this into the rest of the group, if he didn't already.”

“No time!” Blitz shouted.

Rini raised his gaze to the sight of a group of the red-glowing rockets flying towards them. “Oh, no, no, no, no....Close the view ports!” Hank's voice sounded panicked.

Before anyone in the hull could move, the AC-L rocketed upward, everyone thrust back into their seats. Explosions all around rocked them violently.

“That acid's gonna eat through the glass a lot faster than our armoring if they hit us!” Rini said over the intercom. “Close those view ports, now!”

Omith tapped the button next to him on the wall. The aerial view port snapped shut at once. Cherzevok closed the side way view ports right after. The inside of the hull had an eerie atmosphere afterwords. Between the explosions, Rini's grunts every time a blast came close, the blood-red light, and the constant shaking, Hell seemed closer than ever.

Up in the cockpit, Rini set a distress signal to the rest of the group. “Alright, lads, help's on the way! Eh, it looks like they're mixing their fire around. Acid rockets and missiles, both.”

Cringing at the scream of the rockets flying past them, Blitz spoke up. “Oh, man, we're screwed. I told him we shouldn't have strayed so far. Oh, man, we're screwed. We're totally s-”

“Shut up, Elza!” Omith snapped.

“Sean is right.” Cherzevok said. “All of our systems are still functional. And, as of yet, I wouldn't want a pilot other than Rini.”

Allen suddenly found himself thinking of Black Widow's copter, an orange star tumbling out of the morning sky towards the Earth.

“Just pray to God the rest of the group can get to that outpost in time, Blitz.” Omith said.

“I don't believe in God.” Blitz said.

A huge blast knocked the ship to its side, nearly sending it into a roll. The four soldiers were thrown into awkward positions in their seats, restrained from falling by their belts.

Sitting upright, Allen adjusted his. “Something tells me you'll be reconsidering. Soon.” Blitz thought about it a moment, but his thinking was interrupted by Rini's voice.

“Oi, here they come!”

“Ours?” Allen shouted, a bit apprehensive.

“You got it, lad!”

Omith opened the side way view ports immediately, the slate-gray metal giving way to dozens of AC-Ls firing off their rounds. Like metallic, fuel-powered angles with jumbo jets, they swopped down from the clouds and let loose their array of rockets below.

In the cockpit, Hank picked up radio contact with the others in the group. “This is Spangled Tiger. Eliminate any remaining targets – they must be hidden in pockets under the sand.” He stopped to lock onto a cannon and fire some of his own missiles. “Remote-controlled.” he said to his passengers. “Must be why they weren't being detected on any of our sensors.”

Before anyone had a chance to fully recover from the recent scare and voice a response, Rini was speaking over the intercom again, just as the firing died down. “Alright, lads, recognize anything?”

Straining for a look outside the AC-L, the men in the cabin could see the others seemingly flocking to a specific point out of sight for them.

“We can't see.” Allen shouted.

“Just a second.” came the reply. “I suppose that's why we ran into so much cannon fire there.” The helicopter spun 90 degrees, making the hull parallel to what Rini was seeing. “There we go. How 'bout now?”

A few hundred yards away, standing alone like a centerpiece that every tumbleweed and cactus in the desert were revolving around, was the UDA outpost. It was larger than any of the four men remembered. Then again, it'd have to be to house such a large weapon as the one they were preparing to fire. The walls, a thick, gray stone, stood tall, three or four rows of barbwire embedded in them and around the edges of the single landing pad, discouraging anyone who dared an ascent. The windows were barred with enough complexity to stop any hand grenades from rolling through and into the building. At the top, a large, heavy-duty dome capped the small mountain of metal, glass and brick. Divided up into dozens of thick layers of extremely resistant metals, it looked like it could withstand even the heaviest of air strikes. They would just have to find out if that was true.

Pulling forward into the group, Rini took his place at the head of the fleet. “Alright, lads, it's still morning time – too early for this. We're gonna get through this quick! I want Omega squadron to the left, and Alpha squadron to the right. Attack form Delta. Omega and Alpha, stay low, stick to the plan. Flank their left and right. Aeolos, take Orion squad and lead an attack from overhead. Attack form Taurus. Go, now!”

On cue, the three squadrons peeled away from the bulk of the group.

“All remaining call signs, on me!” Rini said. He leaned forward on the control throttles, sending them jetting forward. The others followed in a semi-straight line; one behind Rini to the right, one behind that to the left, and so on.

“Alright, lads.” Hank spoke over the intercom. “We're gonna run overhead a few times and try and take out as many mounted turrets as possible. Then we'll drop you all off.”

“Got it.” Allen yelled.

“Hang on!” Rini shouted back.

Up ahead, they could see Omega and Alpha squadrons beginning to fire off their rounds. Turret fire had already opened on them, tearing through their AC-Ls more and more as it was focused.

“Opening fire!” Rini howled. The AC-L vibrated as their numerous rockets fired off from their wings and underneath the hull. The string of helicopters behind them followed, doing the same as they passed over the building. The surface turrets immediately opened fire on them. The second-to-last copter in the line was hit and exploded furiously, the AC-L bringing up the rear behind it colliding with the mess of burning metal.

“We lost some!” Allen heard Rini say to the other pilots.

As they swiveled around and back over top the building, firing off their rockets once more, another pilot came over the radio, frantic.

“I can't shake 'em! They're locked onto me!”

“Stay calm, and follow the line out of there.” Rini assured the pilot, trying to keep calm himself.

“I can't! They're rippin' into my haul!”

“Stay calm.”

“I'm hit hard!”

“Jet!”

“I'm hit!”

Jet!”

“I'm – wah!” The pilot's voice was replaced with loud static. The helicopter directly behind them caught fire, it's engine exploding. Spinning out of control, it plunged towards the ground.

“Bloody hell, these turrets are more of a hassle than we thought!” As if to punctuate his sentence, the fiery helicopter behind them crashed into the ground.

They immediately broke left, jetting under Omega squadron as they preformed their attack pattern. In a single-file line, they flew towards the building, focusing the turret fire on this wall on the AC-L in front. When all turrets had turned their attention to the leader, those behind him broke, left and right, from the line, opening fire on the turrets. A few went down, smashing into the wall and taking their foes with them. The others scattered in all direction, regrouping again to perform the attack once more.

“That got 'em!” Rini cheered as he lead his line of copters around to the front of the building.

As he rounded back around one of the building's corners, four large, cylindrical cannon-type turrets that had laid dormant most of the ensuing battle so far had come to life, firing off in all direction. They were aligned in a square shape one two decks; two on a lower deck, just above the main entrance, two on an upper deck, near the roof. They were slow, but almost any SLM helicopter they managed to lock on to was destroyed moments later. They would need to be cleared out; the landing pad jutted out from the building in between the two decks, so landing with those things still operational wasn't an option.

Trying to avoiding their fire, Rini spoke up to his fellow pilots. “Alright, boys, you see that? Up front – heavy cannons, four of them. By the looks of it, they're dealing quite a bit of damage!” he said, watching an AC-L in Alpha squadron explode. “Extinguish all fire from those heavy cannons, you hear me?”

“Yes, sir, captain!” another pilot answered.

“Copy that.” said another.

“Good. Now, break formation and regroup around back!”

The twenty or so copters he had left broke, flying in all direction towards the outpost, shooting rockets at will. The cannons fired back just as hard, wiping few of them out as soon as they started shooting. Hank fiddled with his controls; soon, he had locked onto the bottom-left corner cannon and immediately shot a group of rockets at it. The smoke left over from the blast was tremendous; upon it's clearing, he could see that the cannon was still functioning, as if his missiles were just heated pebbles. It turned in the direction it was shot at, a prepared to return fire.

Hank pulled sharply to the side, just as the cannon fired. It hit the copter behind him, sending chunks of flaming metal bursting from its fiery core. As he pulled back in line, the string of copters flew over head the uppermost cannons, then the building.

A pilot from Rini's squad came over the radio. “Doesn't look like there are any vulnerable spots anywhere on those things, captain. How're we gonna take them out?”

Rini thought for a moment, then spoke. “Aeolos do you copy? This is Spangled Tiger.”

Aeolos immediately responded, grunting as he was hit by turret fire. “Yes, sir, captain Rini.”

“Lad, I need you to to take what's left of your squadron. Break from your overhead attack. We need you to focus all fire power on their heavy cannons, forward position.”

“Cannot comply!”

“Why not?”

“We're taking too much heavy fire from from these turrets alone! That dome is impenetrable. We can't get through it. We just keep getting hammered harder and harder every time we make a pass back around. I've only a few left in my squadron!”

“Then just hold your position.” Rini said, turning his AC-L to fly back overhead the building. “I'm on my way to your location.”

“No time!” Aeolos shouted. “They just took out my last – wait, wait! Sh –” There was a loud, muffled bang on the other end, then static.

“Alright, boys,” Rini said as he veered his AC-L in back towards the font of the building, swallowing remorse for his friend. “New plan.” He re-assumed his place at the head of his squadron. “If we can concentrate enough fire onto one of those things, we just might be able to break through its armoring. I want you all to swarm around them, one by one, and fire on them. We need to work together, you hear me? One at time.”

“Don't get us killed, Rini.” Blitz shouted from the main cabin. “It's not like we're not in here!”

“I'll try to keep that in mind.”

As the group rounded a corner and came around to the front of the building, three of the four cannons turned in their direction, firing. Almost immediately, two helicopters dropped.

“Open fire!” Rini shouted. The rest of his squadron began to launch their rockets once they were locked onto the cannons.

The group flew around in every direction, all swarming around the same cannon on the upper deck. Unfortunately, no matter how many rockets were fired, no effect seemed to be taking place. The cannon only fired back, taking down a helicopter.

“We're gonna be blown to bits!” a pilot yelled.

“Alright, just steer clear of that area. Get out of their firing range.” Rini pulled his helicopter to the left, away from the cannons. “I'll think of something else.” Pulling back around to face the outpost, the helicopter to his left exploded, sending scraps of metal through the side way view port.

“Dammit – will you be more careful?” Blitz shouted.

“Not my fault, lad. Those cannons are ripping us apart!” the pilot shouted back.

“Captain Rini!” General Cherzevok called out. “Are the other squadrons having much effect on the turrets?”

“Orion squadron is gone, but Alpha and Omega seem to be managing. These bloody heavy cannons they've got up front are the problem. We haven't taken a single one down!”

“Try form Delta on a single cannon. That may work.” Cherzevok suggested.

“Maybe. Let's see – all call signs, on me!” Rini shouted out to his squadron. As they began to regroup, Rini continued, “Alright, we're gonna give this another try – attack form Delta, on the top-right cannon. There's enough of us, this should work.”

After a many “Yes, sir!”s, the group of thirteen or so lined up in a straight line, and headed for the right-side cannon on the upper deck. As they approached, the cannon immediately began to lock onto Rini, who, at this point, was praying that his last sight wouldn't be a two yard-long barrel aimed straight at him.

They got closer. The cannon was locked on, preparing to fire. And it did.

Just before its rockets hit, the entire group broke, scattering left and right, firing at the cannon. Try as it might, the gunner couldn't suppress the fire all at once. It's base sparked, smoke rising up. A few more rockets, and the cannon exploded.

“There you go!” Rini cheered.

Their jubilation was short lived, for another cannon had already locked onto an AC-L, and fired. It exploded in an outward gust of fire, metal and glass, tumbling downwards towards the outpost.

The few men on the upper deck scattered, trying to get inside, even jump to the landing pas below and the AC-L fell on top of them. It hit the deck with a small explosion, crumbling the entire right-hand side and destroying the cannon to the left.

The pilots watched as the crumbled deck fell past the landing pad and onto the lower deck, destroying the two cannons on it.

A chorus of cheers erupted once more.

Rini called out to the other squadrons. “Oi, the forward cannons are destroyed! How many of us are left?”

The leader of Alpha squadron replied, “About twelve of us, sir.”

“I've got seven, her, including myself.” another pilot from Omega squadron said.

“Alright, that's a little over a hundred of us. All squadrons, push on to the landing area!”

“Yes, sir!” the leader of Alpha squadron said.

Rini, with his group, circled back around the building and proceeded to the landing pad. The turret fire from around was still plenty, so the pilots wouldn't be able to stay for long. Setting down for a few seconds, the helicopters took turns beginning to unload their soldiers.

As Hank approached the pad, he came over the intercom. “Alright, lads, this is it. Do a damn good job. We can't handle a failure, gents.”

The soldiers began to unbuckle.

“We hear you.” Omith said, sliding his rifle off of his back. The others did the same; Cherzevok and Blitz stood their automatics at their sides on the floor. Allen upholstered his MPK5 and gripped it in his hands.

The four men waited, bathing in the blood-red light, as their AC-L touched down. With a light buzzer, the light turned green, and the door slid open.

“Hoo-ah!” Omith, Blitz and Allen shouted in unison.

“Follow my lead, and stick close.” Cherzevok told them as he jumped off. One by one, the others followed, leaving the momentary safety of the cabin.

“Don't get yourself blown up; we need a ride outta here!” Blitz yelled to Rini. The pilot only closed the door in response, and lifted off.


Submitted: July 03, 2010

© Copyright 2022 Noah. All rights reserved.

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darkman1408

i like anything to do with rebellion, so this is cool. this is action packed, and awesome. so many other stories on here are all romance or lame character driven stories. this is personal with the characters, but also has a large scale feel. nice work

Mon, July 19th, 2010 6:19pm

Author
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You know, I think thats one of the best comments I've ever been given. Thanks, man.

Tue, July 20th, 2010 1:10am

Green Highlights

Sorry it took me so long to get to this chapter, but I like it -against my initial expectations.
This is one of the extremely few (like, 3 -including this one) war stories I've enjoyed. I'm looking forward to reading more!

Tue, July 27th, 2010 9:59pm

Author
Reply

Thanks! I'm glad I was able provide above-expectations.

Wed, July 28th, 2010 12:33am

Green Highlights

Keep me updated too, please! The next chapter of my novel is here as well.

Tue, August 3rd, 2010 8:14pm

Author
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.

Thu, August 5th, 2010 12:24pm

Demyx306

Darkman already explianed everything I was thinking!

Fri, August 6th, 2010 11:22am

Author
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nnn

Sat, August 7th, 2010 10:40am

Christian Taylor

Excellent work with this chapter! :) Onward to chapter 3!

Sat, August 21st, 2010 6:17pm

Author
Reply

Thanks.

Sat, August 21st, 2010 11:23am

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