Shootout Over Jacer

Posted: March 31, 2014 by writingsprint in Dubrillion Burning, Fantasy
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

fighter HUD

“Com, com, this is Blue Four Four. I read enemy targets coming in, range nine zero, speed mike seven.”

“Roger that, Blue Four Four, we confirm. Reinforcements inbound on your location. How many are you seeing?”

“Somewhere around seventy. Small targets. Looks like bombers and fighters… hang on, I’m getting frigates. The frigates might be there to refuel the small units.”

“Roger that. We’re picking them up now.”

“Uh, com, where are those reinforcements? Enemy fighters firing thrusters. Contact two minutes.”

Pause. “Hang in there Four Four, we’ve got you covered. CSP inbound thirty seconds.”

“Don’t waste time, com. These guys are looking hungry.” Blue Four Four’s captain toggled the mike for his crew. “Get hot, everybody!”

A wave of fighters passed over Blue Four Four. “Hallelujah. Go get ’em, guys!”

“Blue flight, this is Red Alpha Leader. Back off and give us some eyes higher up. We’ll take it from here.”

“Roger that, Leader. Beer’s on me back at the barn.”

“Red Wing, targets are lit. Get some!”

“Get some!” Red Alpha’s pilots chorused.

Low orbit over Dubrillion lit up will dozens of long-range fighter attack missiles fired from both sides. Red Alpha broke hard evasive as Blue 44 and other reconnaissance craft picked up their missile targeting. The captain of Blue 44 smiled as his scoped chimed again and again from confirmed kills. Hard targets became wreckage. Bursts of electromagnetic countermeasures scrambled readings farther out.

“Red Alpha, this is Four Four. Looking good but they’re still coming. I have squadrons breaking left and right.” He frowned. “Red, these targets aren’t going evasive. Do you have visual?”

“Negative, Four, we’re closing range now.”

Blue 44’s captain looked back at his deep scanning officer. “Dyles, pick one of the enemy targets and get me a deep scan. I want to know what these things are.”

“Got it. Scanning.”

They were slowing down now. 44’s captain checked their speed and signatures. “Com, com, targets are Nighthawk-class heavy bombers.”

“What do you think they’re after?” Dyles asked.

“You’ve got me. Jacer’s a trade center. Maybe king Ro wants to blow up a shopping mall.”

One of 44’s sensor officers cried, “Tango tango interceptors breaking formation and coming in hot!”

Red Leader said, “One through three, cover cover cover! Four through six, follow me and get those bombers!”

Blue 44’s captain checked the range. “Com, be advised, bombers are sixty seconds from firing range on Jacer.”

“Acknowledge, Blue 44.”

Dyles gasped. “Captain, I’ve got a plasma reading on the lead enemy formation!”

The captain’s heart dropped. “Confirm!”

A deadly pause. “Confirmed, plasma reading, level three or higher. It’s shielded. I don’t know which one it is!”

“Com, com, I have a confirmed plasma bomb detection in the enemy formation. Number unknown, strength unknown, minimum level three.”

Red Alpha Leader came back on. “All units. Target the lead formation. The lead formation! Interceptor cover, max thrust and break off the enemy fighters. We need your guns up here!”

44’s captain said, “Blue flight, we need deep scans on that lead formation. Find those bombs.”

The other recon birds acknowledged. The bombers were thirty seconds away.

The enemy formation changed. All the fighters broke to cover the lead formation. The rest of the bombers headed for higher orbit. Blue 44 picked up targeting sensors and long-range anti-fighter missiles.

The sky over Jacer became a shooting gallery. Red Wing jumped on the lead formation like a swarm of hornets. Blue 44’s screens lit up with countermeasures fired by the bombers. The enemy bombers rained guided missiles on the Red fighters that hadn’t engaged yet. Red flight’s pilots broke evasive if they could or charged the enemy bombers if they were close enough.

Dyles said, “Cap, I’ve got it! Marking!”

Four Red Wing fighters got clear and targeted the bomber. Then two more. 44’s captain hoped. Blue flight’s jamming officers poured a stream of noise into the enemy bomber that would drown a star.

The bomber fired.

44’s captain almost wept. His scope lit up with telemetry on the missile. Impact in ten seconds. Minimum safe distances. “All units, break for high orbit! Prepare for shockwaves!” 44’s captain’s stomach dropped as his pilot fired their thrusters and headed for high orbit.

He saw two of Red Wing staying on the missile. Red leader was pushing his thrusters over the edge. He heard Red leader saying, “Come on… come on… come on!” The captain’s scope registered blaster fire.

A miss.

A hit!

The bomb still detonated. The city of Jacer still died.


Note to self:

  1. Find out how pilots actually talk.
  2. Do research on real fighter and bomber tactics. That said, this scene is a unique situation, for reasons to be revealed later. I can cut myself some slack here.

This is the new first scene of the novel. I was thinking, the story didn’t start with as much of a bang as it should have. It needed something to make the audience’s jaw drop. This way, the menace of what King Ro has done is hanging over their heads as they read the scene where Risha and Raffa find out.

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Comments
  1. A.D. Everard says:

    YES! This caught my attention right away. I came in today and scrolled down (right off the page) to where I had last visited, thinking that I had such a lot to catch up on, but a couple of lines in and I didn’t care anymore, I was hooked.

    I would love to see more detailed visuals on the fight scenes. This isn’t criticism because I know this is a first draft and you’ll add to it. Loved the tension and the pace.

    I really like how you share the process, and here, your notes to yourself. You think like I do – “Find out this, find out that, get it right.”

    YES, I would certainly do that. Somewhere out there, there’ll be a reader who’s a fighter pilot, you don’t want him tossing the book and missing out on a bloody good story just because the language isn’t authentic. You want him to think, “Man! This guy’s done his research,” then share the book with his mates.

    The research might be a pain in the butt right up until the moment you find what you are looking for. Mentally carrying across that authenticity will get you so excited (because suddenly the scene is bigger and better than you ever imaged), and when you’ve done it and the results are so fantastic, you’ll want to do that everywhere. That’s what I found anyway. 🙂

    The end of this scene has real impact. I really got a sense of “Oh my God!” Cutting it very abruptly at that point is perfect. It gives the reader a very powerful sense/experience themselves of being cut off – Just as millions of lives were. At. That. Moment. In Jacer.

    Brilliant.

    Like

    • Thank you VERY much for the encouragement, on multiple levels.

      I’m glad you liked the scene. I really like your writing and since we have some of the same interests in genre I love hearing your thoughts.

      Thanks for letting me know on the detailed visuals. I’ll make a note of it. My main hangup was not having a detailed battle scripted to draw from — my older brother, the gamer, will probably start rubbing his hands together with a big grin on his face when he reads that one. The other was the possible lack of authenticity. I have a TON of respect for the armed forces and felt that I was taking enough liberties as it is. With a longer scene my lack of knowledge could really show.

      Actually talking to a real pilot about this intimidates the hell out of me. I’ve never done it before. Guess I just need to man-up and do it. The alternative is having a scene where even the regular Joes in the audience are looking at each other and saying, “I don’t know what it’s like, but it can’t be like this.” Your encouragement on the UP side of research is something I never thought of, either.

      While out shopping for groceries today I was wondering how to weave a realistic, large-scale military action like a rebellion with heroic science fiction like Star Wars. (For those who aren’t writers: yes, these are the kinds of things we think about during our normal lives.) Sort of like Band of Brothers with blasters and light sabers. That’s how I plan to approach it.

      I’ll keep you informed how the research goes 🙂 . Thanks again!

      Like

      • A.D. Everard says:

        You’re most welcome. I think we have a lot in common.

        Listen, I used to think the same thing re talking to someone about whatever, and I couldn’t do it. I didn’t know a doctor to ask about surgical techniques, and how the heck could I walk into a police station and ask how to incapacitate the cops?

        It didn’t happen.

        I hit the Internet instead. It’s the biggest library in the world. I worked out for myself that law enforcement evolves along with civilization, therefore would be small and not expected to reach across a vast territory, but everything else I got from books or the Net.

        That included how aircraft pilots talk to the control tower for take off and landing procedures (although my ships have vertical take off and can tiptoe into the air, they still need to move out onto a launch pad and get clearance. It’s still air traffic).

        I couldn’t believe how excited I got about that. I mean, c’mon, it sounds like it would be so boring, but it so wasn’t. In the writing of it, I had to explain some of the terms, but it wasn’t too hard to slip that in gently. Hopefully, readers get a “Oh, good, that’s what that means,” rather than a “why is she trying to teach me something?”

        Weapons handling, surgical techniques, everything – it’s all on the Net. I found it more tricky to find out how to do the search (terminology-wise), but generally I headed off roughly in the right direction and from what I found, could then narrow my search as I learned the terminology for what I was actually after.

        My favourite research of the lot – weapons handling. I found a forum full of USA cops and SWAT members talking to each other about firing techniques. Everything I took from there had to be reworded (so as not to plagiarize), but it was a massive amount of detail.

        On my blog, one woman asked me if my time with the police was where I learned my shooting skills. Nope. I was never a cop, although I did spend over a year training with them in martial arts. I did put her right on that, but I got a good buzz thinking that she thought I was writing the gun-training scenes from firsthand experience.

        Sorry, I’m rambling…

        Your story – sounds great with the lasers and blasters and such. Yes, good visuals there and very sci-fi (I explain why I went with guns in my book in the story itself. Your guys most definitely would have light sabres and blasters).

        The fight scene itself can be made up of cameos. A blaster hits and what the ensuing explosion looks like, back to dialogue of what else is happening (listening through the headphones), then a different pair of craft, a hit, a miss, damage to one side or other, or just a shot of how close these vessels are coming to each other, flying across the bow or swooping up from the underside. Heaps of potential.

        Like

      • This is all very encouraging for internet research. Thanks. I’ll add a separate section of my to-do list just for research. After I read this I looked around and found a dogfight transcript from a battle in Vietnam!

        Like

      • A.D. Everard says:

        I bet that felt good! 😀

        Like

  2. Just getting started 🙂

    Like

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