I had learned to fly when I was fourteen. The war started a couple of years later and has slowly escalated. I wanted a change so when I joined at eighteen it was to be a Shark pilot. A Shark was a slim two man hover flyer. It had a mage engine and lift plates to keep it up and moving.
It also had short stubby wings that held a single thirty round pod of missiles on each side or a pod of fifteen and another of pod of four heavier missiles for armor. Close to the end and inside the wing was a five centimeter grenade launcher. The Shark only carried a belt of two hundred that stretched through the wing and into the body.
Under the nose was a revolving eight millimeter machine gun with six barrels called a minigun. The feed belt twisted back and into a container that held twenty five hundred rounds. Both the pilot and gunner had firing controls for the grenades and missiles. The gunner sat below and in front of the pilot and mostly only controlled the minigun.
The Shark was only a meter and a half wide and fifteen meters long and just over three meters tall. With the wings the width was six meters wide. It had a range of almost six hundred kilometers and a speed of three hundred kilometers an hour. Only the pilot had the controls and could fly the Shark.
There were other vertical lift aircraft like the Pony which was a small scout. There was a Charger which carried up to twelve soldiers not counting the five crew. There was the Mule that could lift and carry a whole platoon and last was the Crane. It was a huge vehicle used to move cargo pods and large pieces of equipment or armor.
I went through basic and officer training before flight school. Everything was rushed and in only six months I was on my way overseas. The war was in a country bordering the ocean and mostly thick jungle. When I walked off the Atlas heavy lift plane it was hot and very humid. I was carrying a duffle over one shoulder and had a second in my hand.
Like all pilots I had a slim eight millimeter pistol in a shoulder holster under my left arm. A captain started calling officers out as we walked towards a large hanger. We loaded up on another plane and flew the six hundred kilometers north to Clar. Recently the Rus had started supplying them with a limited amount of weapons and advisors.
The Nees were already allied with them and had some troops in Clar. We were here because Han was our colony and Clar had invaded. This time when we walked off the plane a sergeant major was getting our names and sending us towards waiting vehicles. Mine took me and four others across the landing field to large hangers.
Lined up in front of them were Sharks and Chargers. I grabbed my bags as the soldier pointed towards a hanger for me. When I walked in I set the bags down and came to attention. I hesitated before glancing out and then saluted the lieutenant colonel. He grinned, "always wise to check."
He returned my salute and assigned me a Shark and a gunner. The sleeping huts were across the field and crowded so I was authorized to find a place in the captured city. Instead I made a few checks and contacted a construction battalion. A few cases of very high quality whisky and the commander had his people start working.
Of course I had traded six boxes of Danger Bangers which were large expensive smoke sticks for the cases. My gunner was a slim sergeant with a long drooping moustache. Our first mission started smoothly except for full lieutenant Mcbride who flew behind me and kept crowding us. I had no idea what was coming.
Besides the grenade launchers we had two thirty round pods of missiles. Two entire wings were going to support a battalion of combat soldiers. They were under attack from at least two battalions. The lead wing spread out as we sped just above the tree tops and I shifted as our wing moved to their left.
Lieutenant Mcbride was supposed to move up to my left but he was hanging back. The dense jungle the first wing fired into was a mass of explosions and fire. We had slowed to let them clear the zone and then started our run. I accelerated and switched my controls to missiles like sergeant Rosalez and I had agreed to.
I began to fire as the minigun sprayed the jungle and grenades began to rain down. I fired the missiles and got off a dozen before rounds from behind and to the left streaked past. I cursed as I yanked the controls right, "Mcbride!"
I felt the impact of rounds hitting the rear and back of the Shark and the controls went soft. I spun and tried to maintain control and headed back towards our lines, "this is Shark Bravo three. We are hit and are going down."
I was ready to kick the missile pods free and dump the minigun ammo when the Shark reached a wide river. I turned as we dropped below the tree tops and that was when I saw the enemy on the northeast bank. Rounds ripped into the side and I spun the Shark as I began to empty the two missile pods.
Sergeant Rosalez held the trigger down on the grenade launchers as the Shark tilted and kept dropping. The whole area the enemy was in vanished in explosions. I ran out of missiles right before we hit the water close to the bank with the enemy. I hit the emergency canopy release and it exploded up and out of the way as I yanked on the self destruct lever between my legs.
I came to my feet and started to dive out when I saw Rosalez. He was struggling and I bent over to pull him up and out. He screamed as I yanked us to the side away from the enemy and we slipped into the water. I started to swim and pull him after me and he went quiet. We had to go to the east bank and when I reached it I pulled him up and looked around.
We were not far from the enemy and I shook my head. I turned to check Rosalez and saw the blood on his legs, "bullets?"
He was gritting his teeth and nodded and I gestured, "stay here."
I stood and pulled my pistol and started walking into the smoke and fire. Small secondary explosions were still going off as an enemy sergeant almost ran into me. I shot him in the gut as I jerked back and then I fired into his head. I knelt as he went down and put my pistol away to take his carbine and then his combat vest.
I needed that because it held his spare magazines. I slipped it on and moved towards a vehicle flipped onto its side. I glanced at the rifle, it was matte black and slim with a full stock that went almost to the muzzle. The barrel was black with four mage bands. When I checked the magazine I saw short ten millimeter carbine rounds.
Four men were working to free someone and I lifted the carbine and started firing. The enemy soldiers went down before they could react. I reached the vehicle and looked in to see a Nees senior officer. I was tempted to kill the bastard as he fumbled almost blindly with a shiny black pistol.
I leaned in the shattered front window and slapped him, "stop before I have to kill you."
I looked around and took the pistol. I grunted as I pushed and the vehicle crashed back onto its solid wheels. I moved around and yanked the door open and pulled the officer out and carefully laid him down, "your people should be here soon."
He had a leather pouch like case on his chest and I took it before looking in the vehicle. On the back seat was a pack and several silver mage bands had spilled out. I leaned in and scooped them up before shoving them into the pack and taking it. I glanced around once more and took a map before I walked away while putting the pack on.
The mage bands had to be for the Clar army. Each would accelerate the round fired from the weapon it was on by twenty percent. I looked at the pistol and the rear half had a slide while the barrel extended for twenty centimeters and had two mage bands. I slipped it into one of the many pockets of my flight suit.
I found the sergeant and knelt and helped him up. He hissed as I juggled the rifle and put him over a shoulder. I started away from the enemy but followed the river. I heard the thump a little later and glanced back to see a huge geyser of water in the river where the Shark had been. I snorted because it had been the demo charge in the Shark, "it took long enough."
I walked for a day before one of our patrols found us a kilometer from our lines. The pouch the officer had been carrying held a lot of large gems. Sergeant Rosalez said it was to buy some of the villagers that might be thinking of coming over to us. The heavy pack was full of mage bands of all sizes.
We were flown back to base in a medical Charger. I watched as sergeant Rosalez was taken away towards the hospital before I turned to head to our hanger. When I walked in I saw the other officers around the flight commander. I went straight towards them and caught Mcbride's shoulder and yanked him around before I slugged him.
I held his shirt and struck him several times before I was pulled away. Lieutenant colonel Ellis growled, "what the hell are you doing!"
I pushed the other officers away as I glared at Mcbride, "this moron was the one that shot down my Shark. He almost killed us."
The flight commander shook his head, "that is a serious thing to accuse him of."
I snorted as the Mcbride's face turned red, "yeah I do not see him denying it."
I shifted and looked at the commander, "he comes close to my Shark again I will kill him."
He sighed, "you do not have a Shark and we are not expecting any for awhile."
I nodded, "I will find one."
I looked at Mcbride, "you are warned."
.... There is more of this story ...