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    Civvies for a Flightsuit

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    Phantomphanatic10

    Posts : 106
    Join date : 2015-06-19

    Civvies for a Flightsuit

    Post by Phantomphanatic10 on Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:47 am

    March 22, 2029.

    Locking his store’s door, Chris Riley sighed. He walked over to his dark grey 2016 Corvette and climbed in, throwing his backpack into the back seat area. Settling into the seat, he closed the door and started the car. Turning out of the aviation shop’s lot, he pulled onto the long road the paralleled the small airport. Pressing on the accelerator, his older but still high performing car took off like a shot. The speed reminded him of his days in the Osean Marine Corps, flying fighters. He grinned as he applied more acceleration, but his joy was interrupted by a pair of blue and red lights flashing behind him. Slowing his car, Riley pulled off to the side of the road. Bringing the Corvette to a halt, he sighed and rolled down his window. A tall officer with a dark mustache walked up to his window and leaned in and said, 

    “I assume you know why I stopped you.”

    “Yessir,” said Riley in a polite tone. “Sorry, how much will the ticket be?”

    Not so fast sir,” said the cop, “License and registration.” 

    Riley handed over the proper papers and card and sat back in his seat with a grunt. He missed his fighter days, despite having purposely leaving the Marines to pursue a business career. His store was doing just fine, but he felt empty. There was no adrenaline rush in taking inventory, or any of the thrill of flight. But what he missed most was the camaraderie and the rush of speed. Light aircraft hadn’t done it for him, but even old A-4s were out of his reach. Returning, the cop gave him his papers and said, 

    “The ticket will be 150 dollars sir.” 

    Riley nodded his head, and said, alright, thank you officer.”

    The tall man tipped his stetson and returned to the patrol vehicle and drove off. Riley followed a minute later. Another 20 minutes passed and he returned to his home, a small two story house. Parking in the driveway, he got out and went inside. Throwing his pack on the couch, he was greeted by his ever energetic bengal, Knight. After feeding his cat, Riley went into the kitchen and made his dinner, rice and chicken, with some spices rubbed in. After his meal, he sat down in his leather recliner and put his feet up. Setting his laptop on his lap and turning on the TV, he began scrolling through his e-mails. Most were asking about product availability and others were obviously people trying to get a deal off of him. Rolling his eyes, he responded to each new message. After that, he closed his computer and started  hunting through the channels. Nothing caught his eye except for an old rerun of the History Channel show, Dogfights. Riley left it there, and drifted off into thinking about his days as a pilot. He was half asleep when it dawned on him. He pulled up his send window and selected the address of his old friend and WSO Charlotte Redford. She had left the Marines and joined Rosenthal, Inc. a PMC that provided aggressor and combat support to other nations. He had never given it much thought, even when “Shamu” Suara, Redford’s then-boyfriend, had given him a card at the end of the Shamlaki-Kedhani War. He fired off an email to her, inquiring about any open positions. After sending the email, he poured himself a glass of scotch and watched the TV until it was around 2230, then fell asleep in his bed.

    The next day, he rose early, as usual and performed his morning calisthenics before showering and shaving. He checked his email on his phone, but seeing nothing from Chart, gathered his things. He picked up a cup of coffee from his local shop on the way and arrived at his store. He spent the day how he usually did, but felt distracted, hoping that Chart got his message. When he returned home he had still heard nothing. He was about to go to bed when he got a response. Chart told him she had snooped around that day and found the company was looking for a new pilot, one who was skilled at CAS and preferably with combat experience. Instantly charged, he quickly responded and went to his safe to retrieve his DD-214 and other needed documents. He sent those off that evening, before going to sleep. The next morning, he woke and found a an awaiting application attached to a message from Chart. He was forced to wait until the evening to respond, but he filled the application out and sent it off. Then came the anxious wait. One week passed with nothing except his ticket, which he paid. 

    Only on Wednesday of the second week did he receive a response. His application had been received, but there was another wait. Days seemed to drag on for months as he waited. It seemed like a form of mental torture, almost as bad as SERE school. Fortunately, it only took two weeks and he was called in for an initial interview. He took the day off and received a video call around 1430. The interviewer, from the company’s HR section, asked him a set of basic questions about his qualifications and reasons for applying. The call seemed almost to be an anticlimax to his weeks of wait. After signing off, he sat back and looked out of the bay window in the front of his house.  He hoped Shamu and Sharky, the two Rosenthal men he had flown with, would be on whatever committee his application would be put through. 

    Another two weeks passed, with Riley working his shop in quiet suffering, hoping he’d see another email from Rosenthal in his inbox. It finally came, telling Riley he would need to drive to Oured for an interview. Taking the next two days off, he set out in his Corvette. Arriving in the sprawling capital, he found the sleek Rosenthal building and was able to park in the underground garage. Entering the modern building, he walked to the reception desk and checked in. He was forced to wait a little, but soon was called to the desk, where he met a short, stocky man of around 50. The man introduced himself only as Greg, and asked him to follow. Riley trailed behind the man as he led him through the twisting halls of the office. Eventually, he arrived at a conference room with a clear view of the city skyline, and Greg opened the door, leading Riley inside. After offering Riley a seat, the man took the one across from him and opened a file, which Riley assumed was his. After going through some introductory material, the man seemed to go through a slightly more in depth variation of his initial interview. After about an hour of this, Greg left Riley for a while. He sat back in the hardbacked chair and wondered what he had said wrong, but his concerns vanished as another man, taller with dark eyes and a wide grin, entered, followed by 3 others He almost immediately recognized Sharky, the pilot he had met all those years ago.

    “Sharky, holy shit I never thought I’d see you again!” he exclaimed, extending his hand. 

    Sharky accepted the handshake, chuckling.  “I’ll admit, I didn’t expect to see your name cross my desk. Civilian life finally get too boring for ya?”

    “Pretty much, got a nice business, but it is low on the heart pumping adrenaline that I seem to be addicted to.” Riley said with a wide grin.

    “I know the feeling.  Anyway, meet Speedy, Peaches, and Taco,” he said, gesturing to a short Puerto Rican, a gruff-looking woman, and a skinny Caucasian who looked like he’d hopped right out of a hookah shop.  “Shamu would have been here, but he’s got some paperwork he’s gotta catch up on.”

    “Fun times, he could be doing exciting things like interviews.” said Riley, who then shook hands with the other pilots.

    Sharky shrugged, “Eh, such is life.”

    The men and women sat and Riley was surprised to find himself drawn into what felt like a conversation back at the O’Club. After about a half an hour, the conversation turned more serious as the four pilots slung different scenarios at Riley. He answered to the best of his ability, and another hour passed before the men left. Greg returned and took him back to the lobby, where they parted. Climbing back into his car he drove to the cheap hotel room he had rented for the night. He returned home the next day, where he endured what was now his third set of agonizing weeks. 

    He managed to keep his mind busy with a particularly mind boggling order from a customer in Sapin, but finally he received a call from Sharky’s secretary, inviting him out for a tour of the facility. He eagerly agreed, and three days later, was at the front gate of the sprawling Rosenthal complex outside Oured. After passing through security, he parked his car in the visitor lot.  He stepped out of the vehicle and adjusted his baseball cap on his head. He noticed a man about his height with mid length black hair and dark skin. Riley walked over to the man and tapped him on the shoulder. 

    “Hey there, Shamu!” he said with a grin. 

     Shamu extended his hand and said, “Hey, man.  Good to see you.  Find the place okay?”

    “Nice to see you too. No problems finding the place, I just followed the smell of jet fuel,” said Riley, accepting the hand. “How have you been? And how’s Chart doing?”

    “Eh, busy as usual.  Chart’s doing alright.  She’s on rotation in Estovakia right now if I remember right.”

    “Fun times.  So, where do we start?” he asked. 

    Shamu gestured to the Rosenthal SUV parked behind him.  “We’re gonna drive past the flight line and then hit up the gear shops and whatnot.  Just a quick tour to give you an idea of what we’ve got in store.”

    “Sweet, let’s get going then!” Riley said, controlling, at least for the moment, his inner airplane nerd. 

    Shamu opened up the driver side door and climbed in behind the wheel while Riley got in on the passenger side. Shamu started the truck and they took off down a side road. The road eventually deposited them onto the large flightline, which housed a variety of aircraft.  Shamu kept up a running commentary as they passed rows of F-14s, F-15Es, F-16Hs, and F-111s.  After a few minutes, the hordes of fighters gave way to transports and helicopters, signifying that they’d arrived at the 426th SOAR’s territory. Riley gawked at the sheer numbers of fighters and other aircraft. He had never seen anything like this, even when back in the Marines. He was used to lots of F/A-18s, F-5s and occasional F-35s, but nothing on this scale. 

    “How the hell do you keep them all flying?” he asked, awe in his voice.

    “Motivated maintenance crews.  Those salaries aren’t just for show, you know.”

    Riley laughed. “Do you machine your own parts for the 14s and 111s?” 

    Shamu nodded.  “Pretty much every jet you see on this flight line, especially the Tomcats and Varks, has been rebuilt at least once.  We re-tool the parts, make the older assemblies less complicated, more efficient, all that jazz.  These aren’t your grand-dad’s jets.”

    “I see, what will I get trained on?” asked Riley.

    “Well, assuming you get the job, we’ll start you out in F-16s, but eventually you’ll have to get cleared on everything here.  You’ll also have to get VERY comfortable with flying low.”

    “If there is one thing I learned very quickly while flying F-5s, it is get comfortable at low altitude unless you want to be killed by Hornets and Lightning.” he said. “I look forward to flying these birds. I hope I can pull it off.”  

    Shamu shrugged, “We’ll see.  Anyway, next stop is the survival gear shops.”

    With that, Shamu turned off the flight line down a row of similar looking concrete buildings. He pulled into the parking lot of one with a sign outside that read. “Survival Gear Loft, Saving your ass since 2012” 

    Putting the SUV in park, the pair disembarked  and entered the store. Again, Riley was wowed at the amount of gear in the shop. 

    Shamu was amused by Riley’s amazement.  “Not sure why you’re so surprised.  it’s the same gear you find in any other para-loft.”

    “I’m used to being under-funded with the squadron always being under the axe. We never had anything like this. We never had more than twelve pilots on hand at one time, not to mention that we basically had a modified shack for our loft.” 

    Shamu shrugged, “Where one loses the other gains. For example, we got these buildings when the cargo company that used to own them went out of business.  Same with the hangars the C-17s are in.  Half our inventory and personnel came from the Estovakians when they downsized after 2015.  The Varks we got out of the boneyard, etc, etc.”

    “Nice, never a bad thing to inherit some hangars.” said Riley, looking around the shop. “I expected more people to be around, where is everyone?”

      “Eh, you caught us on a non-flying day.  Most people are either at home or doing paperwork.”

    “Ah, paperwork, the arch-nemesis of fighter pilots everywhere. That, and SAMs.”

    “Hehe, yeah.  Anyway, we’ll stop by the tactics spaces and then get you headed home.”

    “Sounds good.”

    They exited the shop and climbed back into the car. They drove by more concrete buildings before arriving at another one, this one set up inside with a number of classrooms and office spaces.  Shamu walked Riley through, waving to a couple of pilots who were briefing for a sortie planned for that night, before walking back to the car and taking him back to the visitor parking lot.

    “Thanks a lot man, this was a fun tour. I hope to be here on a much more regular basis in the next couple of months.” said Riley, again shaking Shamu’s hand. 

    “No problem, man.  I wish you luck.”

    6 months later... 

    Luck had come to him, thought Riley. He grinned as he walked out to the sleek F-16H that sat on the flightline at Ghedi Air Base, in the nation of Wielvakia. The country had contracted Rosenthal out as tensions with the larger country of Ratio had ratcheted up. A large area of resource rich territory had long been in dispute, and as Ratian businesses moved into the area. Both sides had been building up troops, and Wielvakia had decided it needed to take the initiative. That morning, Riley would return to combat. Greeting his WSO, Zing, he performed his walkaround of the delta-winged F-16. Returning to the front, he climbed into the front seat and donned his helmet, marked to look like his old one from his time with VMFT-609. Starting the engine. He checked the ICS and checked in with his flight lead.

    “Serpent 1, Serpent 2, radio check.” he said into his oxygen mask.

    “Roger 2, got you loud and clear, standby.” said his flight lead, Gopher.

    Gopher switched channels and requested clearance to taxi. After getting permission, he flashed his lights at Riley, and began to taxi. As his jet passed, Riley let off the brakes and fell in behind Gopher. They were behind two of the EF2000s assigned to hit the Ratian armored division that stood in the path of the coming offensive. Serpent flight was going to provide SEAD with HARMs, CBUs and JSOWs. Riley’s jet carried a pair of AGM-88s and a set of 3 CBU-103s on each wing. He also carried four AIM-154s on the conformal fuselage stations along with a pair of AIM-9Xs on the wingtips,and a full load of 25mm cannon. Gopher had four JSOWs on a pair of dual racks and a pair of HARMs, plus the AA compliment under his wings. As the pair of SEAD jets neared the active runway, a pair of Typhoons lurched skywards with their heavy bombloads. He watched the ungainly looking fighters climb away and suddenly it was his turn. The Vipers swung onto runway. Briefly pressing on the brakes, Riley watched as the second hand on his watch ticked past 0400. Gopher punched his jet into afterburner and Riley squeezed his eyes shut as not to be blinded by the dazzling flames. He then brought the power up and went into afterburner. As the jet reached takeoff speed, he pulled the stick back and climbed into position behind Gopher. They climbed and joined the strike package. 

    “Guardare, Serpent 1-1, two ship of F-16H checking in.” said Gopher.

    “Roger Serpent 1-1, climb to angels 15 and push in front of the package.” said the EL/W-2085 AWACS.

    Riley looked outside the cockpit, and noticed some more aircraft in the early morning sky. Mostly EF-2000s, but some F-35s also lurked in the dark. 

    “Scintilla 4-2, flight of four F-35s are also flying SEAD with you.” said Guardare. 

    “Roger that,” said Gopher, who switched frequencies, “Scintilla 1, Serpent 1-1, visual, starboard side.” 

    “Roger Serpent, Scintilla has visual,” said the Wielvakian pilot. 

    The package flew on for a while, and tension built in Riley’s cockpit.His adrenaline was high as and he took deep breaths in order to keep himself calm. Soon enough, the tension snapped. “Serpent 1-1 spiked, ROLAND. FENCE in.”

    “Roger,” said Riley, turning on his ECM pod, and flipping his master arm off. His RWR warbled, signifying he had been spiked by a radar. 


    “Serpent 1, walking the dog.” said Gopher, streaming his towed decoy.

    “2” responded Riley, following suit. The RWR remained the same, and the Ratian SAMs were definitely interested in the SEAD group. Suddenly, the RWR changed tone. 

    “ROLAND launch, west!” he called. The F-16Hs maneuvered hard to shake the incoming missile and Gopher spotted the smoke trail. He rolled left and Riley followed.

    “Serpent 1. Magnum, ROLAND west!” Suddenly, more RWR hits came up, this time both SA-6s and more Rolands. The F-35s of Scintilla had broken off to engage their own threat. Guardare called out bandits, most likely JAS-39s. The EF-2000 CAP had broken off to engage it. Riley concentrated on sticking with Gopher. Zing dealt with the radio and monitored the RWR. Another change in tone, this time an SA-6. 

    “SA-6 launch!” called Zing. Pulling the stick back Riley thumbed off some chaff and fired a HARM at the offending site.

    “Serpent 2, Magnum SA-6 west!” he called as he pulled the trigger. The HARM lept from the rail and took off after the Straight Flush radar. The radar burst into flame as the missile struck home. Zing had found another SA-6 site on the SNIPER pod and had dialed in the coordinates. The battery sat just to the south of the main body of armor. The problem wasn’t the SA-6s, their radar could be dealt with, but the RS-70 IR guided SAMs and the protecting ZSU-23-4s, which could not be dealt with as easily. Gopher had found the site too, and fired a JSOW at it. The JSOW destroyed the radar and mangled the surrounding TELs, but the RBS-70s and ZSUs remained up. Zing had selected the coordinates of a ZSU-23, while Gopher engaged the RBS-70s with another JSOW. As all this was happening, the strikers had neared the target. They began their attacks as Riley got above the Zeus gun.

    “Two is in hot from the west!” he called

    Rolling inverted, Riley put the CCIP pipper on the ZSU and dropped one of his bombs. It fell away with a satisfying thunk and the small shells rained down upon the SPAAG like the hand of some vengeful god. Pulling up, he waited for Zing to load the next set of coordinates. Bombs from the strikers fell upon the dug in tanks as he waited, and he watched his radar. Two of the strike EF-200s had been hit, one pilot had punched out, and another jet, a SEAD F-35 had also been lost. Zing was also monitoring the CAP as they duked it out with the Gripens. Three had been downed, but more were coming. The next set of coordinates punched in, Riley performed another bomb run. Another ZSU exploded below him on the open plain. Pulling up, he got spiked by another ROLAND. It launched just as he checked the RWR. With his jet pointing in that direction, Riley hurriedly fired at the site before violently twisting the fighter into a hard turn, spewing chaff.

    “Serpent 2, Slapshot, ROLAND,” he gurgled as he strained under the gees. He didn’t know if his decoy was still there as he reefed through the turn. Pulling out, he said, 

    “Serpent 2 blind.” 

    “Roger, Serpent 1 at angels 13, moving east.” Riley soon spotted his fellow F-16. Gopher had fired off three of his JSOWs and both HARMs. 

    “Guardare, this is Serpent 1-1, all SAMs out of commission in our area. We have x4 CBUs, x 1 JSOW and full guns for the section.”

    “Roger Serpent, engage any remaining armor.” said the AWACS. 

    “Copy, 1-1 out.” replied Gopher.

    Turning right, the fighters swung in over the burning wreckage of tanks. Riley found a set of Pandur II APCs and dropped his remaining CBUs on the group. One by one, the Pandurs were shredded by the anti-armor cluster bombs. Gopher selected what appeared to be a GHQ truck for his JSOW, which destroyed it with predictable results. After forming back up, the SEAD group began to turn back towards friendly airspace to refuel before returning to base. Suddenly, the RWR came back to life. 

    “Dammit,” grumbled Riley, expecting to see another SA-6 or ROLAND launch. But no, it was a pair of JAS-39s, who must have been masking themselves among the ground and the package. 

    “Serpent 1-1 spiked, bandits!” called Gopher. Riley slammed the jet into full burner and followed him through a hard turn. Putting the Gripens on their nose. Gopher selected the wingman while Riley locked the leader. 

    “Serpent 1, Fox 3!” called Gopher. The Gripen pilot didn’t have time to react, the range was so short and the missile so fast. It ripped the Wellow-built jet apart in a ball of orange and black. The leader reacted to Riley’s missile and turned hard inside, streaming chaff. The missile streaked past but Riley pressed in.

    “Serpent 2, engaged offensive.” he called. The Gripen maintained his tight turn, and Riley slid in behind him. The Gripen pilot spotted him and reversed hard. This proved to be his undoing, as Riley selected his AIM-9X and put his JHMCS on the target. The AIM-9X looked where he did and he gained a good lock a second later. The ‘Winder growled loudly as he squeezed the trigger.

    “Fox 2, short!” He called. The AIM-9X turned hard and flew up the tailpipe of the JAS-39. Its innards showered the sky as Riley barrel rolled over the wreck.

    “Splash two!” whooped Zing.

    “Good kill Raptor, let’s go home!” called Gopher, who had watched the brief fight. Rolling wings level, he rejoined the F-16. They left the rolling plains, now filled with the wrecks of Ratio’s one proud 5th Armored Division. The adrenaline, however did not go away until his wheels touched the runway and he had taxiied back to his revetment. Spooling down, he removed his sweat-soaked helmet and unstrapped himself. Sitting back in the seat, he sucked in cool air and grinned to himself. He was back in his true home.   

    A/N: Special thanks to Shomu1 for technical and dialogue assistance, plus editing. Leave all feedback in the reply area!
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    Ronin201
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    Re: Civvies for a Flightsuit

    Post by Ronin201 on Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:15 am

    I'm seeing some notable improvements in pacing, description, and character development with this. Keep on em, Phantom.


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