“Eagle Flight, we are swinging around behind them. I have radar paints on all four, no infra-red signature yet. Each Eagle aircraft, take target corresponding to your flight position, from the left. Use AIM-120 then close in for 20-mike-mike. Not sure AIM-9 will work unless we can get a heat signature off whatever is out there. We’ll get a visual ID first.”
At twelve nautical miles range, the U.S. Navy Hornets got their visual ID. The contacts were four giant creatures, jet black in color, looking like a hideous cross between a gorilla and a bird. Four limbs, two wings, flying in an unconcerned, oblivious line.
“Just what the hell are those?”
Wong wasn’t sure which pilot had breathed the comment into the radio. Didn’t matter, they all knew what to do. So did he come to that. “Buster, this is Eagle. Targets visually identified, large flying humanoids about the same size as a Super-Bug. Wingspan at least twice as great as ours, probably much larger. Engaging.”
“Eagle, this is Buster. Acknowledged. Targets designated as demons. Good luck Eagle Flight.” A few days earlier the fighter controller might have added “And may God go with you” but not after The Message and the betrayal it had represented.
Wong switched the annunciator on his AIM-120s on. They were growling gently, a sustained continuous note that indicated their homing heads were logged on to his selected target, the demon second from the left. The F/A-18s were closing fast, the range was dropping to the point where the hits would be almost instantaneous. “Eagle Flight, open fire.”
Wong’s pressure on the firing button was almost simultaneous with his order. A pair of AIM-120 missiles streaked ahead of his aircraft, curving after the demon he had picked out for his target. He’d been right, the gap was so short that the target couldn’t have evaded even if it had wanted to. It never even tried.