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Re: [FH] Breaking News - Dogfights Galore

From: Nicholas Caldwell <nicholascaldwell@e...>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 14:53:49 -0500 (GMT-05:00)
Subject: Re: [FH] Breaking News - Dogfights Galore

Loved this one!  Great job, Beth.  

You know, I read some interesting articles about the pace of the air war
in Iraq where it sounded like the only time the pilots had to rest on
some days was when their planes were being refuelled.  What happens when
even that time is cut to near zero by technology like this?  


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Jan 11, 2005 8:55 AM
Subject: [FH] Breaking News - Dogfights Galore

Dogfighting over Mars

New Guardian Times, Fort Willhays, January 10th 2194

I'm one half inch too tall to be a fighter pilot; the unfairest half
inch ever in my opinion. I have wanted to be a fighter pilot since I can
remember. When I found out I was too tall I even considered corrective
surgery, my mother talked me out of such drastic action. You can only
imagine the joy I felt when I found I'd been embedded with a squadron of
the Royal NAC Airforce. Me riding VR shotgun with an NAC flier!

My pilot was a quiet unassuming kid, one of those good looking
aristocratic kids they always have on public school adverts with sandy
hair, perfectly straight smile and sharp chin. He didn't seem affronted
to be saddled with a VR fly-on-the-wall, though he did ask rather
politely if I could remain silent during any combat so as not to break
his concentration. 

The force you feel in your gut and ears as you take off is quite
astounding, despite the many compensators built into the latest gear.
The forces are even stronger once you're in combat, which we were
surprisingly quickly. An initiation by fire, live fire, in the biggest
dogfight you can imagine. As the armour battled below, so we battled
above. We had a few initial jockeying passes and then we found a mark.
Driving nose on at this Krak fighter slewing this way and that as it
hosed us with all its cannons. We managed to chew up its nose well
enough that those cannons didn't work anymore, but not before the Krak
monster got a homing rocket headed our way. The kid's response was to
dive; dive right into the thickest shellfire I think anyone has ever
seen. He said later it was the only way he could think of getting that
rocket off of us, as he'd found out right before the mission that our
decoys are no good against these alien munitions. I've never seen a
flyer so good, scooting through the fire, rolling and turning until the
rocket was blown from the sky by a tank shell. I wouldn't have believed
it myself if I hadn't seen it with my own baby blues. 

My head pounding with the pressure I fought to stay conscious as the kid
threw us through this fight with apparent disregard for life and limb.
He brought down five marks before we got slammed from the side, ending
in a spin no one could've survived. 

Being shot out of VR is not the most pleasant of experiences, but its
one hell of a lot better than dying in a fighter wreck; which is what
would've happened to the kid if he hadn't been flying VR remote. As it
was his nose bleed had bloodied up his smock front and he must have lost
a good deal of fluid, he was sweating so badly. Quick wipe up and a cool
drink and he was strapping in again, picking up a new bird. Remote VR
banks like these were pretty standard in the last solar war, but Krak EW
is streets ahead of ours and most times we've had to resort to real
human pilots again. Bit of a shock to the old airforce system; the loss
rate in those live body fighters is horrendous, especially amongst VR
pilots who either get caught up and forget they don't have any second
chances, or become so aware of their mortality that they hesitate until
the freeze up. Guess that's one advantage to fighting so close to home.
Big booster stations and the best tech we have to offer means we can
still use VR drones here, at least for now. And boy am I glad about

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