18w, 2dProject ACES
a link from past to future,
The sheltering wings of the protector... "
Trottingham AFB, Equestria
April 28th, 2015
Betrayed. Forgotten. Abandoned.
That was how Rainbow Dash often felt these days.
It was another dreary day at Trottingham Air Force Base, except a steady downpour of rain was drenching anypony who was unfortunate enough to be outside. Normally, the ponies could easily stop the storm with a few weather teams. Now however, there was no available Pegasi that ERAF could spare to handle the rouge weather. Dash didn’t really care about the reasons why however, just that she was getting soaked as she crossed the runway that the humans had once used to help get their aircraft in the sky. But now they remained empty, used only to house support vehicles, or some armored transports if the army base had no room for them. Dash sighed, as the runway was just one of the many reminders of the reality that she was living in. After she crossed the damp asphalt of the runway, Dash opened the door to the mid-sized building that was the Officer’s Quarter’s. She entered into the heated room of the lounge, attempting to dry off her mane and uniform. Sitting at one of the tables were two earth ponies, one mare and one Stallion, that seemed to be looking over a report of some kind. Both were wearing standard Army Jackets, but the one on the right was wearing a large hat that was clearly not standard issue.
“And that’s all ya have?” The mare asked. Her companion nodded.
“Yes ma’am,” He replied, regret in his voice. “We lost three more of our scouts in the past couple of days, so we’re not getting in as much information as we’d like.”
“Not enough information that ya’d like?” The mare scoffed. “This isn’t what ah NEED! We’ll going out into the field blind, and that means more lost lives! What do you Intelligence bozos not get about that?” The stallion returned her glare with a look of genuine sadness.
“We do understand Lieutenant,” He said. “But we’re stretched incredibly thin. Every Army, Navy, and Air Force Officer is begging for more and more information, because the lives of their troops are on the line. But we simply don’t have the resources to get what everypony needs, it’s just not possible. We lose more and more agents to the Gryphons every day. I’m sorry Lieutenant, but this is the best we could do.” The stallion gathered his things, and started making his way toward the door. He nodded at Rainbow Dash as he passed her.
“Commander.” He said. She simply grunted in response, moving to the side to let him exit. As the door closed behind the pony, Dash took a seat beside her friend.
“Long day Applejack?” She asked. Applejack rubbed her forehead with her hoof.
“Yep,” She said plainly. “And it just got a whole lot longer for me.”
“Why’s that?” Rainbow asked, taking a look at the report on the table.
“Intelligence was supposed to get me reports on the Gryphon activity in our patrol zone.” She sighed and sat back in the chair. “Unfortunately for me, they got a fat load of nothin’. We’ll be movin’ on our patrol practically blind.” Rainbow nodded, completely understanding her frustration.
“I can sympathize,” She said. “Without the human drones, we have no idea when or where the Gryphon squadrons will strike.” She made no attempt to hide the bitterness in her voice. Applejack looked at her out of the corner of her eye,
“Oh don’t start this again…”
“You can’t tell me that you’re not furious about it!” Applejack groaned and looked Rainbow in the eyes.
“Ya, I’m angry,” She admitted. “But I think they did what they thought was best.”
“What THEY thought was best?!” Rainbow Dash was outraged. “They abandoned us! They pulled out to save their own hides! They don’t care what happens to us so long as they stay nice and safe!”
“Now don’t go around saying things like that,” Applejack replied, feeling slightly annoyed. “Riley promised that they’d be back!”
“That was over a month ago,” Dash shot back “And we haven’t heard a peep from the Federation since! Face it Applejack, the humans left us to burn.” The Earth pony remained quiet, not sure how to respond. Rainbow had a point; the humans had all left Equestria, save a few who refused to abandon the ponies. But other than a handful of exceptions, almost all the humans had just packed up and left, and hadn’t been seen since, despite their promise to return and help their allies. But she couldn’t give up on the hope that they would return, because if they didn’t, Equestria didn’t have a chance of winning the war.
“Ah… Ah’m not gonna give up on them just yet.” Rainbow snorted,
“Why not? They’ve already given up on us.” She shook her head. “Keep your illusions then, Celestia knows I won’t be the one to shatter them.” The pair sat in silence, neither one wanting to start up the argument again. After about five minutes of the uncomfortable silence, a brown Pegasus wearing an Royal Air Force uniform entered the room. He walked up to Rainbow Dash and gave a sharp salute,
“Orders from command Ma’am.” He said, handing her a piece of paper. She nodded in acknowledgement, letting him find his own way out. As she heard the door slam shut, Dash looked at what she had been given.
Rainbow Squadron, report to hangar three for patrol orders.
Rainbow sighed and stood up from the chair,
“Back to work.” She said. Applejack nodded,
“Good luck to ya, Ah’m gonna have to head out before too much longer myself.” She tipped her hat. “Stay safe out there Rainbow.”
“You too AJ.” Rainbow replied, making her way to the door. As the exited the warm lounge, she noticed that the rain had died down some. It would make flying a lot easier on her and her squadron, one of the few blessings she counted these days.
She doubted any more would be coming soon.
City of Coronet, Human Mainland
United Human Federation Command Center
1200 hours, April 28th, 2015
If there was one thing in the world that could put General Davis in a bad mood, it was a lack of coffee. This was one of those days, one of those days when you put your cup to the coffee machine, pressed the button, and nothing happened.
Fortunately for him, the assistants had long ago realized that the General with coffee was a happy General. That was most likely why he found a hot cup of his favorite roast from one of the local stores on his desk. Davis smiled to himself, pleased that he had such dependable staff. As he sipped the hot liquid, he read over the stack of reports on his desk. Nothing new had arrived this morning, status on the armada, Gryphon troop movements within Equestria, and the completion of another squadron of planes being constructed. As he read over the latest scout reports, his intercom buzzed. He pressed the button,
“General, your presence is needed in the war room.” Davis furrowed his brow, he hadn’t been asked to go to the war room in some time now.
“I’m on my way.” He said.
The War Room hadn’t changed much since he had last been in it. It was lined with computers and monitors that spouted out all sorts of Tactical information. Men and Women from every branch of the military; Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, manned each monitor. Known as “Minutemen”, they would be the first ones to receive any and all military information as it came in, then send it off to their respective commanding officers. One of the Minutemen whom Davis recognized as Major Coats, an Air Force Officer, was standing away from his console, looking at the General. He approached, saluting the superior officer as he did so.
“General,” He said. “A situation has developed that demands your attention.” Davis nodded,
“Show me.” He replied. Coats nodded, and lead him towards the tactical map in the center of the room. It was an interactive holographic image that showed a map of Equestria. The image had become very familiar to Davis, as he had seen it dozens of times. A red color covered over three quarters of Equestria, showing the part of the country that was under Gryphon control. In the south, the green color represented the part that the ponies had managed to hold on to, even though that part was shrinking by the day. Doting the east coast of Equestria, which was under complete Gryphon control, were blinking blue dots, each representing an Advanced Reconnaissance Commando, deep behind enemy lines, sending back every ounce of information they could find to the rest of the Human forces. Coats pressed a few buttons on a nearby console, entering a command. The image zoomed into the Equestrian coast, showing a Gryphon base with an ARC trooper nearby.
“ARC Trooper one-oh-one has discovered a major increase around Rigley Air Base.” Davis thought for a moment.
“Rigley, that’s one of the bases we had to abandon. What’s he found?” Coats handed him a computer tablet,
“He hasn’t gotten us much detail, but it appears that the Gryphons have moved a squadron of bombers to Rigley along with a full escort team.” The General raised a brow, reading over the report more carefully. Bombers were the only Jet-propelled aircraft that was used by both Gryphons and Ponies, since both species could fly unassisted. They were mainly used for heavy ground support or bombardment when machine guns or ground vehicles couldn’t get the job done.
“Rigley is nowhere near the frontline, why would they be moving bombers there?” Coats punched in another series of commands, now the image zoomed into an area that Davis had never seen before. It was a very small outcrop of land off the Equestrian mainland. Even more surprising was that it was green, meaning it was still under Equestrian control.
“What is this?” The General demanded.
“This is Allenfort Air Base, the last Equestrian holdout in the north. We believe that it has remained unknown due to its remote location, but the Gryphons are now planning to take it out.” Coats replied. General Davis rubbed his chin,
“I see,” He said. “This isn’t good, but I fail to see why you needed to bring this to my attention right this moment.” Coats didn’t even blink,
“Sir, Allenfort is the only remaining base in the north, which means they probably have loads of information that we’ll need. If we lose Allenfort, our entire plan for a counter-attack may very well fail.” Davis considered,
“Then we need to make sure Allenfort doesn’t fall,” He said. “Do we have any forces in the area that can deal with this?” Coats nodded, and the image changed again.
“We have an Aircraft Carrier, the F.S.S. Glory, that’s close enough to respond.” Davis studied the image.
“That’s awfully close to the mainland, I thought all Naval forces were recalled back to our borders.” Coats nodded.
“That’s correct sir, but the Glory stayed behind to help pick up a few stranded forces.”
“I see,” The General said. “What’s their compliment?”
“A single squadron of F-16’s.”
“Rogue Squadron sir.”
Just the sound of their name gave Davis a headache.
They were well deserving of their name. Even before the war had began, they were known as a rowdy bunch, known for their wild parties, running late during training operations, and wild maneuvers while in the sky. During the war, they had been almost insubordinate. Ignoring orders to do what they thought was best, attacking targets that had been deemed non-threatening, and refusing to drop bombs in civilian areas for fear of hitting innocents. They were noble, but not practical. The only thing that stopped them from being court-marshaled was the fact that they were one of the few active fighter squadrons within Equestria when the invasion had begun. He actually was surprised that they followed the withdraw order, fully expecting them to go AWOL and keep fighting.
“Are they the only ones within range?”
“Yes sir.” Davis sighed, knowing he was in for a long day.
“Give them the go ahead,” He said. “And get an AWACS in the air; I don’t them flying blind out there.” Coats nodded.
“I’ll send out the orders sir.”
April 28th, 2015
There were many reasons why Cole had joined the Air Force instead of the Navy. For instance, he had always loved the sky, flying through it always made him feel free. Also, the cockpit of a plane offered privacy that was precious to people in the Navy.
But mostly, it was because he got sea sick. Very easily.
Sitting on his bunk, Cole tried to think about other things while his stomach threatened to empty its contents on the deck. As he had his inward struggle, he heard a stifled laugh from his right. Well, at least he thought it was his right. His dizziness was making it hard to tell.
“What’s wrong Commander?” came Dare’s teasing voice. “You’re not going to keel over on us are you?” He glared at her through his swimming vision, using the color of her Blonde hair to pick out her position.
“Not… Funny Dare…” He grumbled. Next to him, his Wingman Justin laughed along with Dare.
“Actually, this is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time,” He said between laughs. “You look even worse than after the party that Pink Pony threw for our arrival at the new base.”
“Yes, well that’s what you get for drinking hot sauce.” Dare chimed in.
“It’s… not my fault they put that bottle next to all the other drinks…” Cole said, remembering the embarrassing moment.
“Man, I remember how you drank at least two gallons of water trying to cool your mouth!” Justin laughed. “You couldn’t stop going to the bathroom for DAYS!” Cole opened his mouth to retort, but the ship’s booming intercom cut him off.
“Attention, all Rogue Squadron pilots, suit up and report to hangar deck for assignment. That is all.”
The announcement ended with a click, leaving all three pilots silent for a moment. Justin was the first to speak.
“Did… Did I hear that right?” He asked, as stunned as his companions. “Did we just get an order to suit up?”
“We did.” Dare said, a smile forming on her face. “They have a mission for us!”
“Then what are we waiting for?” Cole shouted, leaping up. “Let’s get going!”
“You sure you’re feeling up to it?” Dare asked, faking concern. “You were looking pretty sick just a few moments ago.” Cole had already managed to get his flight suit on.
“Are you kidding?! Just the thought of getting off this rust bucket makes me feel two-hundred percent better already!” Zipping up the suit, he bolted out the door. Justin couldn’t help but laugh,
“Ah, our fearless leader…”
The Hangar seemed very empty to Cole, at least compared to other operations he had been a part of. All eight pilots of Rogue Squadron were gathered around one of the ship’s officers, who was giving them a five minute briefing while their planes were finished being armed. Cole had been expecting a simple patrol run, what he got was something else entirely.
“About six minutes ago, one of our Reconnaissance troopers spotted a group of Gryphon bombers and about a dozen escort Gryphons departed from Rigley Air Force base. Long range radar confirms that their target is Allenfort Air base off the coast of Equestria.” Cole recognized the name. He had served with a Pegasus Squadron out of Allenfort, even though he had never been there himself.
“Do we have an exact number on the enemy craft?” Dare asked. The Deck Officer shook his head,
“No, the ARC trooper wasn’t able to get an exact count during their takeoff. We need you to intercept these bombers and take them out before they reach Allenfort.” Cole’s mind started racing.
“Are we… Returning to Equestria?” He asked. Everyone in the hangar knew exactly what he was asking. None of Rouge squadron had wanted to leave the fight, and had almost ignored the order.
“No Commander,” The officer said. “We are not returning to the mainland in force quite yet, but this will be a big step towards the counter-attack.”
Well, that’s a start, Cole thought.
“Do we have any support from the sky?”
“Not from the Ponies, intelligence says that all their units are away at this time.”
“So in other words, they’re a Sitting Duck.” Dare said plainly.
“Basically,” The man replied. “However, we have an AWACS in the sky; by the time you reach Allenfort they should make contact with your squadron.” He looked around to the pilots. “Time is of the essence here Rogues, get to your planes and prepare for immediate takeoff.” The pilots nodded, and headed toward their jets. As he walked past his F-16, Cole ran his hand across the jet, feeling the smooth metal. Climbing into the cockpit, he felt more at home than ever. The familiar buttons and controls were much more comforting to him than any building or ship could offer. He strapped himself in, running through his pre-flight checklist. Once he was satisfied that his plane was combat-ready, he found that he was already on the runway. He looked into the blue sky, already feeling the excitement of flight.
“Rogue one, you are cleared for takeoff.” He heard the control tower radio.
“Got it Tower.” He responded. He kicked in the throttle, hearing the rockets boom behind him, shaking the jet. It shot forward, sending Cole slamming back into his chair. He pulled back on the stick, gaining altitude. The plane’s wheels lifted off of the Aircraft Carrier, now gaining more and more altitude by the second. Below him, the beautiful blue Equestrian Ocean flowed. It was one of the few things that had been left relatively untouched during the war. Cole might not have liked ships, but he loved the beauty of the ocean currents. He admired the view for the few minutes it took for the other pilots to take off. Once his radar showed all eight planes were in the sky, he activated his radio.
“Glory, this is Rogue Leader. All planes are in the sky, and we’re about to commence operation.”
“Copy all Rouge Lead, happy hunting.” He switched to a squadron frequency.
“Rogues, form up. We’ll head east until we make contact with the AWACS.”
“You got it Lead.”
It felt great to fly again. The freedom of the sky was always welcoming, as was the privacy of his own little world that his jet offered. He wished that he could just fly around the world for days. Unfortunately, they still had a war to fight, so his dream would have to wait for now.
“Hey Lead,” His radio crackled. “We’re about fifty miles from Allenfort, but where’s that AWACS at?”
“I don’t know Six,” Cole responded. “But I don’t think they- Hold on.” Another radio signal was cutting through the static.
“…Repeat, Rogue Squadron, do you copy?”
“This is Rogue One, identify.”
“AWACS here, callsign ‘SkyEye’, do you read?”
“We read you loud and clear SkyEye.”
“Roger that, you’ve been transferred under my command now Rogues.”
“Oh goody, a new boss!” Justin said. “I’d like a raise SkyEye!”
“Ya well join the club.” Came the response. “And while we’re dreaming, why not give me a new sports car while you’re at it?”
“Well, I’d also ask for-”
“As much fun as this is,” Dare said, cutting through the channel. “I do believe that we have to, you know, save the world or something?” SkyEye laughed.
“Nothing quite so extreme,” He said. “But you’re about twenty miles from Allenfort right now, so we’d better get to the mission.”
“SkyEye, do you have an exact count on the enemy numbers?”
“Affirmative, short range radar confirms six enemy bombers and a dozen Gryphon escorts, continue east to intercept.”
“I’ll be damned, that ARC got his numbers right after all.” Rogue Eight commented.
“Oh and by the way,” SkyEye added. “Today’s my birthday, so a victory would be nice.”
“Then we’ll be sure to dedicate this one to you SkyEye,” He kicked in the thrusters. “Rogues, accelerate to intercept speed.”
Studying a radar screen was an art. Or at least, that’s what Trail Blazer told himself. As a flight officer 2nd class, he was basically in charge of the radar room. Really, he was a glorified babysitter, but the title sounded nice at least, and he made sure to emphasize it whenever he was away from base. He doubted he would get many Mares if he just told them that he just stared at a computer screen all day. At this moment, the screen was, like usual, blank. Nothing was making a blip, but Trail hadn’t expected anything less. He leaned back, stretching his stiff limbs, making a few popping sounds. He closed his eyes, letting them rest for a moment.
Trail’s eyes snapped open. That couldn’t have happened, he had probably just imagined it.
He sat forward, staring at the screen, hoping that it was just his mind playing tricks on him. He followed the flowing green line, watching it intently. He watched in horror as dots began to form on the radar; five, six, seven- no eight dots showed up in the sweep. His heart started pounding in his chest, fearful of what this meant.
“C-Captain!” he yelled. “We have contacts! About twenty miles out and approaching fast!” He looked over, seeing the color drain from his commander’s face.
“Gryphons?” He demanded, asking the question everypony wanted to know. Trail went back to the radar, looking carefully.
“I...I don’t think so,” He said. “They’re approaching from the East, not the West, and they’re too big to be Gryphons or Pegasi, but too small to be bombers.” The fear left his Captain’s face, replaced by confusion.
“Open up a hailing channel, find out who they are.” The Pegasus ordered. Trail complied, reaching for a nearby headset and activating the radio.
“Incoming aircraft heading eastbound, identify yourself immediately.” He said, speaking with more confidence than he felt. A male voice crackled over the radio in response.
“Allenfort Air Base, this is AWACS unit SkyEye, flying along with Rogue Squadron of the United Human Federation.” Trail sat in stunned silence, not quite believing what he was hearing.
“Who is it Blazer?” He heard his Captain demand.
“It’s… humans…” He said, not quite believing what he was saying himself. The officer returned the answer with his own surprised look.
“Ask them what the buck they’re doing in our airspace; they forfeited the right to free travel long ago!” Trail swallowed, regaining his composure.
“Uh, SkyEye, what-“
“Incoming from the West!” A Unicorn radar operator from the other side of the tower called out. “I’m counting over a dozen contacts! These are definitely Gryphons, with what looks like bombers!” The Captain’s shocked look re-appeared.
“All of our combat units are out on assignment,” He said, almost like he was talking to himself. He whirled around to face Trail. “Tell the humans that we’re under attack, and we need assistance!” Trail nodded, and faced the radio.
“SkyEye, we’re about to fall under air attack from our west, we request assistance from your fighter squadron immediately!” Another voice came over the radio, who Trail could only guess was Rogue Leader.
“Why do you think we’re here Allenfort?” The man asked sarcastically. “Just sit back and watch the fireworks!” Outside the windows, eight human F-16 fighters rocketed past the tower at full speed.
"SkyEye, we have just passed Allenfort, we now have enemy targets on radar. Request permission to engage.” Cole said.
“Roger that, Rogue Squadron, you are cleared to engage enemy bogeys.” Cole smiled under his breath mask,
“Now the fun begins,” He said. “Rouge Five, take your wing and head to the enemy’s ten-o-clock, try to draw away and deal with the escorts. We’ll ambush the bombers.”
“Got it boss.” Dare replied, leading three other fighters into the designated position.
“Two, Four, and Ten; stay in formation. We’re going to gain some altitude here, stay close.” He pulled up, watching his altitude counter increase as he did so. After he pulled through a group of clouds, he leveled the fighter. “Hold here in loose parade formation,” Cole ordered his wing. “Let them come to us.” The four jets began to float around in a circle, waiting. In the distance, he could know see the bombers as blots on the horizon.
“Tally ho on the bogeys,” Dare said over the radio. “Moving to attack position.” On the radar, he watched the four Rogues turn their fighters toward the approaching Gryphons and accelerate.
“Rogue One, we’re picking enemy short range radio transmissions.” SkyEye said. “Patching you in now.” The radio buzzed for a moment, then he heard a Gryphon voice come to his ears.
“…Copy that, stay on course and we’ll be on top of their base within a couple minutes.”
Cole smiled to himself. Thanks to a lot of scouting and intercepting transmissions, the Federation had managed to crack the Gryphon’s encryption, allowing the humans to listen in on their radio signals.
“Grey One, we’re picking up bandits on our ten-o-clock.” Another Gryphon said.
“Affirmative, I see them on radar too.” Another responded. “I count four of them.”
“Only four?” One laughed. “Haha, is that the best the puny ponies could muster? This’ll be even easier than I thought.”
“Cut the chatter Grey Five,” Said another, who Cole assumed was the leader. “They probably have more up ahead. Red group, break off and engage the bandits. Blue group, make a defensive perimeter around the bombers.”
“We’ll take care of them sir.” An arrogant voice responded. On radar, Cole saw six Gryphons break away from the main group towards Dare’s wing of fighters.
“Oh boy, are these bastards in for a surprise.” Justin said over the radio. “They’re expecting a group of Pegasi, what they’ll find will scare them to death. Literally!” Cole didn’t respond, he just watched the radar intently as the two groups moved towards each other. Just a few more seconds, and the jets would be in range.
“Hey Red Four,” One of the Gryphons said. “Do you hear that noise?”
“That’s just the bombers.”
“No… that coming from ahead of-“
“Rogue Five, Fox Two!” Dare yelled. A missile launched from her plane, flying strait toward the enemy formation. Before they could react, an explosion of fire and shrapnel engulfed the lead Gryphon.
“Rouge Nine, Fox Two!”
“Rogue Six, Fox Two!” Two more missiles streaked away from the jets toward the Gryphons. One managed to dodge the missile, but his friend wasn’t so lucky. Know the Jets and Gryphons were on top of one another, getting into a four on four dogfight. The Gryphons tried to whirl on the humans, using the machine guns on their backs to try to shoot down the jets. This strategy worked well against Pegasi, since they were flesh and blood opponents. However, this strategy didn’t work very well, since a rake of gunfire on a jet typically wouldn’t bring it down, while a rake of gunfire from a jet to a Gryphon had much more devastating effects.
“Red group is getting torn apart!” He heard a Gryphon cry. “What the hell is happening over there?!”
“Doesn’t matter,” The leader replied. “We’re ten miles out from the target, open the bomb-bay doors!”
Cole checked his radar again, seeing the bombers were much closer now.
“Now!” He cried, kicking in the accelerator. His fighter responded to his orders with exact precision. He bursts through the clouds, the enemy formation right in front of him. His radar made a beeping noise, affirming that he had a target lock on one of the bombers.
“Rouge One, Fox Two!” He shouted, sending two missiles toward his target. He was rewarded with a fiery explosion as his jet through the enemy formation. He heard the satisfying sound of the rest of his wing confirming missile releases and more explosions.
He whipped the fighter around to re-engage, seeing two bombers and a Gryphon escort falling out of the sky. As he leveled out his aircraft, he saw two Gryphons break off to engage Cole and Justin.
“Rogue Two, take down that bomber.” He ordered his wingman. “I’ll take care of these two.” He rolled the plane away from his friend, flying towards the two bandits. His radar targeted one on the left,
“Radar locked,” He said. “Fox Two!” He pressed the button, launching a missile towards the Gryphon. The two rolled away in opposite directions, sending the missile flying harmlessly past them. He swore under his breath, sending his fighter after the pair.
“Missile shot trashed.” SkyEye commented.
I couldn’t tell, Cole thought. He pushed the accelerator, putting himself right behind one of them. The Gryphon noticed, and tried to pull away, but it was already too late.
“Guns guns guns!” Cole said, squeezing the trigger. The Vulcan machine gun opened fire, raking the Gryphon with bullets. It dropped out of the sky, falling quickly towards the ground. His wingman suddenly decelerated, sending Cole rocketing past him. Cole swore, as the Gryphon was now at his six-o-clock. He pulled his fighter left and right, trying to shake his pursuer off, but the Gryphon stayed with him. The pilot send his fighter into downward spiral, feeling the g-force pushing against his body like a massive weight.
“Rogue One, you are losing altitude fast, pull up!”
“I… Know what I’m… doing SkyEye!” He shouted between gritted teeth. At the last moment, he pulled up on the stick, bringing the fighter into a climb. The pressure was so intense that it would have certainly destroyed any fighter that wasn’t up to milaspec standards. Cole expected the Gryphon to give up the chase, but incredibly, the bandit was still on his tail, firing bullets wildly.
Not bad, He thought. Lucky for me, he’s an even worse shot than a drunk Conscript.
“This is Rogue One, I’ve got one stubborn bogey on my rear,” He said. “Anyone feel like lending a hand?”
“I see you Lead,” One of his friends said. “Hang on.” Cole watched another F-16 moving towards him at high speed. “Rogue Ten, Fox Two!” The human’s missile jetted past Cole, taking out the confident Gryphon with a resounding boom.
“Nice shot Ten.” Cole said, looking back to the skies. He spotted the last two remaining bombers now about four miles from Allenfort. “Looks like our friends are getting uncomfortably close to our pony pals, feel like helping me show them the exit?”
“You bet! I’ve got your wing Lead!” Ten responded, taking his position on Cole’s left. The pair accelerated, using the plane’s powerful engines to quickly catch up with the pair of bombers. Within seconds, his radar confirmed a lock on the enemy plane.
“Fox Two!” He yelled, sending two more missiles toward his target. They both impacted at the same time, splitting the bomber into a showing rain of metal and fire. A quick look from his peripheral vision told him that Rogue Ten had made quick work of the last bomber as well. The Gryphon crewmembers that had survived the explosions were now bailing out of their steel coffins in any openings they could find, fleeing as fast as their wings could carry them back in the direction of the mainland.
“Looks like we’ve got some stragglers,” Rogue Four observed. “Should we engage?”
“Negative, let them go Rogues.” SkyEye answered. “I think they’ve had a bad enough day.”
The second wing of F-16’s had rejoined the rest of the squadron, circling around the downed bombers. Cole glanced at Dare’s cockpit, seeing her middle finger extended toward the retreating Gryphons.
“Ya, try doing THAT with talons you bastards!” She mocked. Looking around the sky, Cole was relieved to see that all eight fighters were still in the sky.
“All planes report damage.” He ordered. A few of them, including his own, had suffered mild bullet damage, but nothing serious. “Alright Rogues, let’s-” A voice came over the radio, the same voice that had greeted them when they had arrived.
“SkyEye, this is Allenfort, we have visual on the downed bombers!” In the background, cheering and hollering could be heard. “Be sure to thank those pilots for us!” Cole smiled, activating the radio.
“Just be sure to have drinks ready next time we stop by and we’ll say it’s even.” He joked.
“That’s a roundup Rogues, all aircraft RTC.” Suddenly, a clicking sound came to Cole’s ears, and the control panel indicated that SkyEye had opened a direct channel to him. “And Rogue One, if you defy my orders again, I’ll have your ass grounded.” Cole smirked, thankful that the control officer couldn’t see his face.
No offence SkyEye, but it didn’t scare me when General Davis said it, it doesn’t scare me when you say it, he thought. But outwardly he simply said,
“Understood SkyEye.” He pulled his plane back into formation, then set a course back to the Glory.
The control tower had now fallen silent, as they all watched the humans depart from the airspace. They had all remained quiet, as they all knew that something important had just happened, but they didn’t know just how important quite yet. After a few minutes, the silence was finally broken.
“Somepony get a message to Princess Celestia,” The Captain said. “She needs to hear about this.” Trail nodded.
Not just them, He thought. Everypony needs to hear what had happened today.
The Humans had returned