The C5 is here, like it or not!!
The Junkyard Warrior gazes silently into the night sky above from the kitchen window. He eyes Orion's belt in the distance, knowing that all too soon, he will have a much better view.
The preflight on the Yellow C5 fighter jet has gone smoothly. The weaponry replaced since the last mission, and all systems are fully functional.
He drinks a final sip of coffee, as the fax in the OPS room screeches with the final mission plans. Intelligence reports from Jacksonville confirm the target location, and a quick check of the 'Net, confirms there is no recall.
With a quick kiss to his lovely wife, The Junkyard Warrior zips on his G-suit and heads for the hanger. Along the way, the cool air causes him to stop while a quick shiver travels the length of his spine. He glances around to see the tarp covered remains of what once was, and will be again, another Prototype pulled from the clutches of man and nature's destruction. But that will be for another day.
He opens the hanger door and quickly surveys the sleek yellow ship for a final time, noting the way the seams and gaps fit so tightly together. He effortlessly slides into the low slung cockpit, and turns the key on the instrument panel one detent to the right.
Screens flicker and come to life. The scrolling display asks for the coordinates of the target so the GPS can safely lead man and machine there. Once the numbers are entered, the Computer beeps and a series of question marks appears with "confirm?" at the end of the message. The confirm button is pressed and the machine silently hums as the commands are reluctantly processed.
Another series of switches are thrown to activate the fuel, fire, and safety systems, and five beams of blinding light appear from the lower driving lights and landing gear lights. A quick flick of the key clockwise brings the jets twin LS1 engines to life. The Junkyard Warrior pushes the leather and black duct tape wrapped control stick forward and taxis out of the hanger. It sounds like radio noise in the headset, but it is actually only a ghostly sounding voice .
"WE CAN ALL DRIVE our Escorts, Grand Am's and Toyota Camry's, and gather to talk about how we just enjoy driving a car just because it is a car." it says.
The pilot slams the throttles forward and the aircraft accelerates to over two hundred miles an hour in less distance than two football fields, and climbs into the clear night sky at forces greater than three times the earth's own gravity.
The climb feels really good, so the pilot holds the straight vertical acceleration all the way to 90,000 feet and levels off. Breathing pure oxygen now, his head, and the mission are clear. Orion's belt is very clear from this altitude, with other stars twinkling between. A quick scan around shows nothing but the curvature of the earth far, far below.
The jet appropriately handles like a Corvette, so the pilot cannot resist a few rolls and aggressive turns as he descends to a more appropriate attack altitude of 20,000 feet as he turns inbound, towards a Singular state.
The first hour of the journey is uneventful. One of the display screens flickers with the latest intelligence from the 'Net, and confirms that no recall has yet been ordered. The GPS guided autopilot takes over as the pilot stretches in the leather covered seat.
That noise fills his headset again.
"For fun -- and $5 a slam, all proceeds to charity -- we could have a Huge Corvette Bash -- literally -- where with a sledgehammer, you get to whack a Corvette, just like at the county fair where unfortunately they always seem to substitute a 1968 Ford Comet."
After tapping the headset, the Junkyard warrior sadly rubs his hand over the slight dent in the dash pod where a sledge hammer once struck, and tightened his grip on the boomerang shaped flight controls. "Relax", he told himself, and to pass the time, he inserted a compact disc into the receptacle on the console.
Appropriately the sounds of Golden Earring's "Radar Love" fill the cockpit, reminding him of the stealth capabilities of the ship. The pilot relaxes and speeds up slightly.
The GPS system beeped twice as the aircraft banked towards the final leg of the target, it also indicated that we had just flown over home. The ship's home. Bowling Green. The lights of the city were twinkling in the distance, and the pilot considered briefly going down for a closer look, but there would be time for that later.
The next fifteen minutes were spent checking fuel (damn these things get good mileage) and other systems. The weapons system was activated, and the targeting computer quickly beeped to confirm the target location. The arch of St. Louis, another home, sweeps by off to the left.
A switch was thrown to fold the side covers away from the weapons, and the missiles glide effortlessly from their temporary womb.
The targeting computer blinked once, and then twice. Something about the location of the strike was conflicting with the programs burned into the chips deep within, and the system beeped once more and abruptly died.
The pilot struck the side of the computer with his nomex gloved hand, with no response. A command in the heavily multiplexed computer systems just simply wasn't being heard. "No problem, we will just have to do it the old fashioned way" the Warrior sighed. Pushing the AWS off button disables all the fancy computer stuff and superimposes a bulls-eye targeting display with distance and azimuth information to the center of the crosshairs on the front of the canopy. The pilot sets the weapons to "safe" and slows to the quietest setting of the LS1s for a quick reconnaissance run. Wouldn't want any civilians getting hurt. The house on the end of the street, the intended target, is quiet. There are three Corvettes proudly parked in driveways surrounding the house, gleaming in the iridescence of the street lights. "Maybe he is jealous" the pilot thinks. "Yeah, that must be it" he says as he notices a rusty foreign car, complete with oil stains underneath, parked in the driveway.
Maybe its a character flaw, or a bad childhood experience, or something, that has caused someone to openly write:
"We can invite noted experts to come lecture us on how Corvettes may be cool, but so are our refrigerators, and they may be investments, but so was Whitewater, and they may provoke girls to make lurid, gushing remarks ('Hey, nice car!'), but so will a rusted 1983 Chevy Chevette ('Hey, are you the guy delivering my pizza?')."
What could he possibly have been thinking?
The final circuit around the neighborhood reveals nothing, and the Warrior lines the rusty car up in the crosshairs, unsafe's the missiles, and pushes the button.
Two orange streaks speed away from their perches and barrel down on the rusty car. The impact is immediate, and the pilot basked in the flaming glory a millisecond too long before pulling up. A bang is heard, the ship momentarily buffets, and then smooths out. The piece of foreign tin is deflected by the Kevlar-like undertunnel of the ship.
A quick return to the sight confirms the smoldering destruction. One of the neighbors is outside with his dog and is jumping up and down waving something. It looks like a Corvette hat. Yes, it IS! The neighbor undoubtedly recognized the four oval taillights at the rear of the jet as friendly. Some would not. Lights are coming on inside the house, and the pilot slides the window down and tosses out his calling card. A C5 emblem with JYW on the back of it. It lands near the smoking remains of the insignificant little car.
The pilot unzips his flight suit all the way to his navel for a moment, and laughs. "We'll see who has the chest cold after walking to work" and turns for home.
The GPS computer comes back to life, and the pilot decides to savor the nights events a little. Full throttle all the way to Bowling Green, and this time a low level pass directly over the plant and museum complex. A red shark is spotted on Corvette Drive, and the pilot wonders if it might be Shane. Whoever it is deserves a special treat and a low level pass and victory roll are done directly over the car.
The yellow spire is a bright contrast to the surrounding darkness, not unlike the ship itself.
The pilot aims the Jet towards home, knowing he will return in lesser transportation in a few short days.
Hope you all enjoyed the flight!
Ed Simmons - Junkyard Warrior
Yellow C5 fighter jet found crashed in the desert...