Knight of the Sky
“What mission?” Alice stood up and jogged over to ask.
Lin Chucheng inhaled and answered, “Send the child to my tent and prepare to fly. The target is the enemy aircraft carrier.”
Lin Chucheng strode forward, but someone grabbed him from behind. He looked back to see Oraina and juddered.
“Lin Chucheng, I approved of your request to join the battle. With that said, you have to be aware of who you are. You are to follow me in this mission. You are not to attack without my order. I want you sticking close to the fighter jet team, understood? I won’t accept any defiance!”
“I won’t ask about the girl before the battle is over. However, I expect a detailed report afterwards. Sort her out as soon as possible.” Oraina stole a gander in the hangar’s direction and added before strolling off without waiting for a response.
“… Yes… Ma’am.”
The team preparing for take-off wasn’t the only people on edge. There was loud braying all across the hangar, metal clanging and gunpowder permeating in the air. Handling the logistics sounded simple only on paper. The pilot and the aircraft may go out with a bang and end up as scrap, but that was no excuse for them to slack. They had to believe those flying would come back and to ensure they were best equipped to increase their chances of survival.
Lin Chucheng entered his aircraft. Adjusting herself in the backseat, Alice said, “I told her to wait in the tent. I don’t know if she understood my instructions, but I suppose she’d fall asleep soon given how tired she should be.”
Lin Chucheng fiddled with his dial and checked for any abnormalities. Fortunately, everything was functioning as it should’ve. He gave his ground team the thumbs up. They stepped back and saluted him to see him off.
As the planes moved to the runway, Oraina instructed over the radio, “All dive bombers are to immediately take off. Our navy has already engaged the enemy and requires immediate support. The mission may be important, but you are our air force’s most precious asset, so please don’t make any mistakes. Take flight!”
Lin Chucheng gulped and looked over his shoulder. He blurted without thinking, “Alice, you scared?”
“Not as scared as you since I’m not piloting,” answered Alice, calm as she usually was. “Plus, I know how competent you are as a pilot. I have absolute faith in you. I know you can bring us home safely.”
“If anything goes awry, I hope you can swim because I’ll need you to save me. I can’t swim, after all.”
“… Neither can I.”
“In that case, don’t let us fall, hehehe.”
A reassured smile came to Lin Chucheng’s lips without him realising. He shoved the control joystick and began his ascent, eyes fixed on only the blue sky.
“Get into your teams and adjust your radio frequencies to communicate with the navy’s fighter jets,” commanded Oraina.
Lin Chucheng came up behind Oraina’s aircraft.
“Air force bomber unit? We’ve confirmed the enemy aircraft carriers’ coordinates. The four of them are together. Our bomber team can’t get into range, so we need your support!” someone shouted over the radio.
“Coordinates received. We will proceed with the first bombing now. We have a total of twenty-four bombers. Aircraft carrier, please ready the runway and supplies for us.”
“Our fighter jet team is closing in on your position and shall provide protection while you are in the air. We’re hoping for good news from you.”
Oraina swooped down. Lin Chucheng peered outside. He didn’t see an enemy aircraft carrier. Instead, he saw the one of their planes burning away on the water surface.
How many have died? How many knights of the sky fell here?
A perk – if it could be called that – of being a pilot compared to other jobs in the military was never having to see bloody corpses as no corpses were ever seen if they died.
The pilots kept mum due to their pent-up tension. Lin Chucheng was glad to see the navy’s fighter jets arrive overhead.
“Everyone in formation. Pay attention to the enemy fighter jet’s positions. Our target is the enemy’s aircraft carriers. If there’s no way of bombing them, return to the hangar to prepare for a second attempt. This is our first clash with Troy’s pilots. Our kingdom is a noble kingdom. Our soldiers are the best knights. Don’t disgrace our homeland, but don’t make your family shed tears, either. Mission, commence!”
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