C5 Mission -
As you are all probably aware, The C5 Fighter Squadron was formed in late 1996 for the expressed purpose of ridding the earth of offensive people, especially those that openly attempt to influence other Corvette enthusiasts opinions by falsely publishing emails to them in an attempt to sway their thought process. This is a sometimes thankless job, but someone has to do it.
The C5 Fighter Squadron is currently staffed by well trained professionals, who have demonstrated an honest attempt to support the views of the Commander in Chief, who guides the Squadron from a far away hidden location near Atlanta Georgia, Code name Tara.
The Squadron has 5 pilots, and a missile and weapons expert. Thanks to the US Government, the C5 Squadron is well armed with the latest in technology, thereby giving the pilots an edge in fighting corruption world wide. This weeks adventure started out with an attempt by a fearless criminal to render the C5 Fighter Jet in North Carolina piloted by the Junkyard Warrior (JYW) inoperable. Fortunately due to the security system installed in the top secret hanger, his identity was exposed. And his vehicle is being tracked. Now that you have the needed background, here is what happened this last weekend...
The Junkyard Warrior spent all day in the concealed hanger Saturday, in order to rush much needed repairs on the Yellow C5 fighter jet prototype. Many of the weapons systems were very early test components, which were obsolete by the time production came around. The last two missions involved irritating weapons failures, and it was time to upgrade. Luckily, after the last mission, an avionics expert answered the call for help, and the Yellow ship would now be equipped with the latest in high tech weaponry, conveniently discarded from the Air Force after a project was cancelled. The Yellow jet was never easy to work on, but with the bulky prototype computers and screens removed, there was a lot more room to install the new equipment. The first crate he opened was the new mission planning system (MPS). The MPS is a desktop computer, which writes mission planning data (waypoints, maps, threats, etc.) to a Data Transfer Cartridge (DTC) which allows for easy uploading of all critical mission information to the jets new ICP (Integrated Core Processor) which handles the on board weapons and self test system. In layman's terms, you use a program like Map Maker, tell the computer what you want to do and it downloads it to a cartridge which you insert into the Jet. "Plug and play at its best!" said the weapons Guru.
The new computer was set up and interfaced with the 'Nets and other intelligence organizations, and a quick test was made to ensure the beacon attached to the offending Turq ZR-1 which sneaked into the compound to attempt sabotage was working as planned. The GPS transponder attached to the spare tire well was indeed transmitting, and the car was tracked to within 50 feet of its current location, on the edge of Alabama, destination Texas, no doubt.
The on-board weapons computer was installed next, with the ICP easily bolting into the cavity where the old computer used to live. The advancements in technology, and decrease in size of the components made the remainder of the installation physically easy. Only a power wire and a ground were needed to be run for external wiring.
The Junkyard Warrior installed the three remaining interconnecting modules, and connected the cables to the antenna dish under a radar transparent cover under the nose. He took a quick look at the spec sheet which accompanied the modules, and was amazed at the advancements over his prototype gear. "Congratulations" the brochure said. "You have purchased the finest in aircraft weaponry. (if they only knew) You have the latest band 3 (B3), band 4 (B4) ,and band 5 (B5) Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)/ Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system Known to man. Much of this technology is combat proven on military aircraft the world over. If you have any problems, call our 800 number on the back of the brochure. The Electronically Scanned Array (ESA) radar system is a multi-mode (A/A,A/S, A/G) radar suite that combines LO and Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) operation with outstanding range and size characteristics. In laymen's terms you could pick out a blade of grass at 30 miles and 25k feet...and kill it."
This was all too much for the Junkyard Warrior, and he had to climb down from the jet and do the famous Tim Taylor grunt. "AR, Arr, ARRRRR," he shouted into the vacant hangar as he danced around in circles, Indian style.
Another short hour was all that was required to install the new 10"x10" color LCD screens that are touch sensitive with 1024x1024 resolution. He also connected the cables to the new helmet with the fully integrated Helmet Mounted Display. Amazingly, the prototype was also equipped with a Heads-Up display, which plugged into the same module. Lastly, the missiles were reloaded into the new pods, which each held four missiles on a rotary turntable that folded out from under the side scoops. With all the compartment panels back on, the Junkyard Warrior inserted the test cartridge into the display slot, and everything lit up inside the HUD and helmet display. A brief video scene, which somehow played the audio through the CD changer, showed an air to air intercept ghostly on the cockpit face, with the enemy aircraft disappearing in flames. A message then scrolled across the jet's internal display - WEAPONS SYSTEM ACTIVE AND AWESOME. - BY CORVETTE SKUNKWORKS.
The Junkyard Warrior went and took a cold shower and prepared for the short flight to headquarters.
Back in Atlanta, The Squadron Commander was assessing the situation. After a quiet couple of weeks, the C5 Squadron was making plans to perform a charity to raise money for the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. The covert operative at the museum, (who also serves on the board of the C5 Squadron Command), had met with us to plan a display in front of the Museum after a few flybys. Right in the middle of it, we got all kinds of problems developing.
First, not yet one week ago, we had a violent young Ford enthusiast not only insult the C5, but threaten to "Key the first C5 he saw in Saint Louis." While we were doing recon work to locate and address this, we had a counter spy breach security in our North Carolina C5 hanger where JW keeps his yellow Fighter. Fortunately the criminal sabotaged the mock C5 we have in the open, but this type of activity must not go unaddressed!
Also the Squadron was heavily involved in another mission which is still classified. All I can say is that one of our pilots, Shane Regan, was preoccupied with another mission. While GlenXSands and John Rupp recoup from the trip to Bowling Green, we were all busy. Too busy!
Racer Dan sent out a message to meet at the operations room on Saturday evening. While all of the pilots made it to the Tara airstrip, south of Atlanta, it wasn't without a near disaster. John Rupp had been working on the engines of his C5. It came equipped with two factory LS-1 turbo charged power plants. But if any of you know John, he isn't the type to be just as fast as the rest of us. So he managed to do a few modifications on his red unarmed racer...
Although he lacked the authorization to modify this Fighter Jet, that didn't stop John. He had installed a few extras, including a NOS kit on both engines. Since he realized that he would need a larger tank to feed the engines, he hooked up an auxiliary fuel tank, and hung it on the fuselage. The giveaway was it was painted bright blue with a NOS log painted on it!
As he was cruising down to the operations meeting, he intersected with Shane coming in from Bowling Green. He was carrying a top secret parcel, wrapped in a canvas bag. John recognized his opportunity to try out his newest modifications, and got beside Shane. Flying wing to wing, he continued to "Goose it" until Shane said, "OK I'll run ya."
John hit the NOS button on his flight stick and that is when the excitement began. The backdraft from the acceleration created a severe draft for Shane, and disrupted the air going over his wings. The dark Blue C5 lost control, and shook violently. Then it dropped like a rock. Continuing to spiral toward the earth, out of control, Shane fought to regain control of the experimental aircraft. Then over the radio, a voice yelled out "Shane, set the throttle to 2/3rds, and drop the landing gear." It was GlenXSands coming in from Oregon. He was about a mile behind them when it all started.
Shane got control of the C5 and paired up with Glen. John had beat the pair by over 5 minutes, and set a new air speed record in the process.
As John walked into the control room, Racer Dan knew there was something going on. John walked in with this huge grin on his face, not unlike the one the Warrior had when they blew up the last Porsche he ran across a few weeks back.
"What's up John?" Racer Dan inquired. "Aw, nothing. Just broke a new record, reached Mach 4. Man was it great!" John responded.
Then Glen and Shane came in. "Man you about gave me puppies up there John!" Shane yelled with some excitement. Then in walks the Junkyard Warrior, scraped knuckles and all, and says to John "What the hell is that blue tank on your Jet?"
John looked at Racer Dan for approval, and after a few seconds, Racer Dan realized what John had done. They smiled at each other, and Racer Dan congratulated John on his newest record. Then they all sat their flight helmets on the table, and got down to business.
Racer Dan briefed the group on the Saint Louis incident, and then JW did the briefing on the security breach and avionics upgrade They then moved to the laptop computer set atop the drafting table, where they planned out their next mission.
They all drew straws to see who got to do the honors at the Saint Louis mission, Glen won. JW was voted in command of the second mission. They each grabbed a cigar out of the wooden box sitting in the center of the table, and walked outside to their War Jets.
A cold front had moved across Georgia, and the subzero temperatures had each of the members anxious to climb into the dual zone climate controlled cockpits. Shane handed Racer Dan the canvas bag, and he sat it in the passenger seat of the red jet next to a hardened plastic case. One by one, each jet taxied to the edge of the racetrack and briskly took off into the cold Georgia air. The newest members, Sonic and Glen each giggled nervously at the G-forces tickling their insides as they took off. "Rookies" The Warrior typed to the SSEM (satellite scrambled e-mail) to Racer Dan's cockpit. They both laughed briefly as they took off.
They flew in formation as they headed west. They passed over the Indianapolis Speedway, and John broke formation to take his maverick run around the track. "Guess he's been watching that Miller beer commercial too much", Glen said.
As they got close to Saint Louis, Shane picked out a Corvette Show in O'Fallon, Illinois. We all took turns doing a flyby, and the crowd waved as we all blew by in formation. Then came the arch. We saw it about 120 miles away, and throttled back the Fighters so we could link co-ordinates. The Junkyard Warrior allowed the Yellow ships new computers to take over as an act of faith, and the preprogramming software guided the jet neatly under the arch, while simultaneously playing the "Star Wars" theme via the CD changer. Inside the cockpit, the Warrior grinned widely. "You guys gotta try this out" as the jet went into a preprogramming series of barrel rolls.
With shouts of approval from his fellow pilots, the Warrior pressed the touchscreen to select his next mission. The jet began circling Saint Louis as the other pilots formed on the wing. In about five minutes, the new viewscreen blinked to life, and a target was highlighted on the infrared twenty miles away.
The target was outside an old warehouse. Actually, according to the computer, it was formerly the Corvette Plant. A Mustang was parked outside, and the driver was walking up behind two Corvetters who were parked there paying their respects. The sun was just beginning to set, and the air was very still. The man had an ice pick in his hand, and was sneaking up behind the two Corvettes. The computer in the Yellow Jet began blinking and doing an electronic version of foaming at the mouth. The Warrior downloaded the information to the On Board Computer of Glenn, who led the formation into attack mode. John took high cover, with his unarmed jet responsible for the camera work. (It is so fast, it would shoot itself down in combat, so John's mission is reconnaissance and photography). The remaining four ships opened the weapons bays and prepared to fire.
Inside Glen's cockpit, the Mustang appeared huge in the Infrared Display. The engine and exhaust system put out quite a loud infrared signature, and the jet locked on with a short beep. With his nervous command, all the jets fired two missiles at the target and broke off. The missiles gracefully arced to the left and right of the formation, and simultaneously turned into the target. The explosion was large enough to send a fireball 200 feet into the air. The eight warheads lifted the carcass of the Mustang into the air, and impaled it on the roof of the Warehouse. Pieces of Ford were scattered for blocks. The owner of the now deceased Mustang ran towards the commotion, ice pick raised in anger. The new gear on the Yellow ship picked him up immediately, and the Junkyard Warrior shouted "Dan, I got him. I'm sending you the data electronically." into the mouthpiece. The remaining jets broke away, and the yellow and red jets streaked towards the figure running towards them on the ground. Racer Dan unsnapped the catch on the hardened plastic case from the passenger seat. He pulled the SSBTT from the case, and set the selector to "War Emergency-go nuclear" mode. The Yellow jet's new avionics could have handled the offender, but new weapons testing is part of the C5 fighter's mission creed. The commander reached down and unzipped the canvas bag, and a childlike voice asked "Are you my Daddy?" Racer Dan grinned and strapped the little creature in, and slid the case into the cavernous storage area at the back of the plane. The SSBTT screen lit up, and Racer Dan put the window down on the driver's side of the plane. He put the jet into autopilot, and leaned out, aiming for the perpetrator. An ice pick was raised towards the jet, as its pilot pulled the trigger. "No Twinkies here" as a stream of white light flew from the jet and impacted the ice pick, quickly reducing the "person" to a cloud of smoking ashes. "Whoa, this thing is real powerful" as he set the selector back to safe. Whoops of joy from the other pilots kept his spirits high. The Corvette owners who had been unaware of what was happening below were jumping up and down waving towards the formation. Each jet rocket its wings, the traditional "wave" and departed.
All the pilots reformed on the Yellow Prototype, as the formation headed towards its next target, further south.
The old Warrior driving the Turq was still slapping himself on the back. "I got that Junkyard Warrior, it took me 18 hours to get there, but it was worth it." He was on I-10, crossing Mississippi when things suddenly went sour. The dash mounted Radar detector let out a screech, and abruptly smoked and died. Something appeared in his rear view mirror, something Yellow.
"The new Electronic Warfare pod works great!" Yelled the pilot, as he watched the helmet display confirm the kill. "Time to play around some more" The other jets watched from a distance, as the old jet descended towards the Turq. Racer Dan pulled up alongside, and unstrapped his passenger, who then leaned against the window for a better view. "Here, you want to do it?" asked the pilot. "Sure, daddy" said the voice, "I play with this all the time at home with the cat" The purple passenger holds the SSBTT like a pro, and aims it at the ugly car. "Make sure it is in Twinkie Mode", and he slows to a crawl over the car. The dino handles the weapon like a pro, and shoots twinkies all over the road in front of the car, which causes the offending vehicle to lose control, and spin in the weeds near the road.
"Wow, this looks familiar" said the driver of the car, as he careened out of control on the side of the road. Palmetto branches tugged underneath the car, but caused no obvious damage. Jim "the spin" Milstead stopped in a cloud of dust.
"Great shot, Barney!" yelled Shane into the radio. The other pilots were recording the events on the wing cameras. The car finally refired, and the driver began trying to get back to the road. The radar guided SSBTT was fired again, shooting 100 Twinkies a minute into the exhaust pipes and rear bumper of the Turquoise ZR-1. The car abruptly stalled, temporarily killed by a sugar overdose.
The Yellow jet flew real low over the offending vehicle, and the pilot locked missiles on the crippled vehicle. Just as the tone changed inside, confirming the missile lock, the pilot saw the reluctant surrender.
The old Warrior in the ZR-1 sighed, wishing he had never crossed the C5, and reluctantly waved a white handkerchief from the twinkie splattered window, and Yellow C5 fighter broke off the attack, and the rest of the formation flew low over the Turq, and departed.
Inside the red Jet, the dino was laughing hysterically. Racer Dan couldn't take the high pitched squeals anymore, and stuffed the dino back into the canvas bag.
Missions accomplished, the pilots saluted each other, and returned to the base. Once all the pilots deplaned and slapped each other on the back, and lit their cigars. They then headed back to the ops room. A small vault in the corner of the room was opened, and the pilots each cracked a beer. The clink of bottles was heard throughout the hanger, and someone asked "Hey Shane, are you old enough" more laughter, and a small voice was heard. "Can I have one, Daddy?" The pilots all grinned, and surrounded the dino. "Sure, Barney, have as many as you want..."
To be continued...