0011 launched high up into the California sky and I was right behind him. Our chase took us on a winding labyrinthine path through the desert canyons of the Mohave and screaming over scrub brush, pristine lakes, and vast red sands. Jet stream sliced the sky into smokey quadrants. Battle signs for passing motorists on the Interstate below.
Good thing I brought my iPod. I had Beethoven’s 5th to listen to as I fired round after round at the enemy target, in what I must admit had to be the most exhilarating dogfight of my young career. 0011 was a slippery opponent though, with his deft slip and dodge tactics he expertly turned my steel messengers aside as if they were flies.
After about 10 minutes of aerial acrobatics I became convinced that 0011 had taken advanced training lessons since the last time we faced off at The Academy. Again I was impressed. At least this mission had not been a bore. Nonetheless, I was getting a little tired of all this tomfoolery. I needed to pull the kill switch on his pesky and relentless attempts at escape.
I suddenly remembered that back at The Academy 0011 was known for his tendency to cut the engines in order to force his opponent to fly overhead. He would then change his direction and flee the scene. The opponent was always left wondering where he had vanished to. I was betting he still kept this trick in his arsenal, and when he pulled it, I would be ready.
Just before we entered yet another towering mountain pass 0011 cut his engines. I anticipated it perfectly, and as he passed beneath me, I unloaded a volley of destruction from my wing machine guns. Direct strike.
Business as usual. I saw the whites of 0011 eyes as his plane went up in flames and began to spin out of control…