I was engaged in a dogfight with a Deathbringer when Josef called me. “We found him.”
There was no need to ask who “him” was.
I tried a new tactic I had thought up recently: I shot at the enemy ship with my laser cannons, targeting the right side of the space fighter. Trying to avoid the laser bolts, the pilot snapped to the left, straight into the path of one of the two Sparrows I had released five seconds ago.
I thrust my fists in the air and shouted, “Alpha Mike Foxtrot!”
How I loved fighter pilot jargons! Only we fighter pilots could pack so much emotion into such a short phrase.
I firewalled my Viper and made a beeline to the coordinates Josef had just sent me.
I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
Sometimes I just couldn’t help myself.
I found Maada’s red Deathbringer fighting three Vipers. Several enemy ships were flying or just hovering close by, protecting their commander. I was certain they were doing that on their own initiative. Maada struck me as a man confident enough to tackle a hundred enemy ships on his own without thinking about it twice.
I thought about joining the fight, and I froze.
I touched my wedding ring around my neck. When the cold metal met my hand, I saw Liz putting it on my finger. I saw her as clearly as on our wedding day, the form-fitting white satin dress setting off her smooth dark skin as she flashed her dazzling smile. She was looking directly at me, her deep brown-drizzled-with-gold eyes full of joy and passion. She was the love of my life, taken from this world in her prime. There were two people on this earth responsible for her death: Maada and me, and by God, one of us would pay today.
I dived in before I could change my mind. Two Deathbringers moved to intercept me. My cannons roared to life. I fired dead center bursts into the bandits. They both lit up like enormous candles.
One of the Vipers fighting Maada exploded into flames.
I heard Josef’s voice. “Good timing, boss. We could sure use your help.”
I flew in, shooting my remaining two Sparrows and firing the laser cannons at the same time. Maada saw me coming, wildly twisted his ship, steered clear of the missiles, and started shooting back. His laser bolts missed my fighter by a few inches.
And then, I had an incoming message from the devil himself. Maada said in my earphones, “Colonel Harrison, welcome to my party.”
“You mean your funeral, General,” I corrected him.
“Such confidence. Did you not run away in a straight line as fast as you could the last time we met?” he taunted me.
Jerking the stick hard left to avoid his incoming fire, I felt my face and ears start burning, and the muscles around my mouth became so tense my teeth started to ache. I wanted to shout, “You mother-fucking son of an alien whore!” but I bit my tongue. That wouldn’t have been very dignified, and I didn’t want him to know he had gotten under my skin. Still, hatred poured through me like white-hot liquid metal. Intense, implacable hatred for the general who had killed Liz, who was responsible for the death of half of our pilots and countless others, who would murder every single human on Earth given the opportunity.
I pulled up and to the right, and for a glorious second managed to get him dead center in my gunsight. I pulled the trigger. Maada snapped to the left and dodged my laser bolts. I stayed on him like glue, trying to get him back in my gunsight, trying harder not to get killed.
“So, no comebacks? He walks all over us and gets away with it?” said Venom.
We couldn’t have that. I hated it when others had the last word. Still following the crimson Deathbringer, I contacted Maada. “General, what we have here is a failure to communicate.”
“Seriously?” said Venom, filling in for Liz.
“How so?” he asked.
I could bring my gunsight right up to his fighter, but I couldn’t get it on the Deathbringer. I kept trying to get a clean shot. My finger poised on the trigger, I said through clenched teeth, “You seem to think you have the upper hand here, sitting in that obsolete piece of junk you’re flying. You’re wrong. We have destroyed your precious city. You’ve got nowhere to go.”
Maada rolled and put his fighter in a sharp curve. “I still have enough firepower to scorch Earth several times over. I will rain fire on Earth until ninety percent of humanity is slaughtered, then I will land and kill the rest up close and personal.”
That was it. “You mother-fucking son of an alien whore!” I yelled and pulled the trigger, missing him by a mile.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish