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2351 Hours, August 24th, 2555

Above New Belgrade, Gilgamesh Free State

Gilgamesh, Alpha Chandra System

"Yellow 1, this is New Belgrade Tower, over."

"Yellow 1 here, go ahead New Belgrade Tower, over."

"We've got an unidentified contact on our scopes within New Belgrade restricted airspace, heading 210, without clearance. Yellow 1, Yellow 2, move to intercept, over."

"Roger that New Belgrade Tower, moving to intercept, over."

Switching out his COM to communicate with his wingman, Captain Alex Vens keyed his mic. "You heard the man Leonov, follow me in, moving to intercept" he said, banking his aircraft onto a new heading that would intersect the unidentified bandit's. Consulting his aircraft's panoramic display, he looked on his radar screen. Sure enough, there was one yellow square chugging along on the screen on a 210 heading. Tapping it, he locked on, and looked as a green square around a dot in the distance began moving across his field of vision.

"Got him." Vens said, keying his mic.

"Got him as well Yellow 1. Lead the way, over."

"Roger that, standard intercept pattern" Vens said, pushing the throttle forward and climbing to slightly above the bandit's altitude. Changing his own heading to be slightly ahead of its flight path, he flipped the master arm switch on the console to the 'ARMED' position, and tapped several times on the screen until a circle with a dot in the center appeared on his HUD.

As he approached the craft, from its running lights, the distinct shape of a D77-TC Pelican became obvious. Slowly drawing back his throttle, Vens felt the rumble of the afterburners fade away as the dropship became larger in his windscreen. Aiming slightly above the ship's cockpit, one moment it was massive in his canopy, so close he could touch it, and the next it was gone, replaced by the night sky and lights of New Belgrade. Drawing back his engine power, Vens exhaled short, choppy breaths as he turned his aircraft around and felt the G suit around his lower body constricting.

Spotting another, smaller aircraft below and to the left of the dropship, Vens keyed his mic again. "Yellow 2, status?" he asked.

"Yellow 1, doesn't seem like they're too fazed by the flyby. No radio contact."

"Roger that Yellow 2. Any idea who these people are?"

"Baal Defense Solutions, name's all lit up by the running lights."

Of course it's those bastards. They were well below 10,000 feet, which meant that the pilots were, without a doubt, not out from hypoxia, and were deliberately ignoring him. He had already heard the mercenaries were abandoning the Free State, yet they thought they owned the airspace. I'll show them what happens when they cross the Free State. He pulled up off to the right and above the dropship, within view of the cockpit. He set his COM to broadcast on all channels, and keyed his mic. "Unknown dropship, this is the Gilgamesh Free Air Force. Identify yourself and your intentions immediately." he spoke in a firm and commanding voice that would have made his military training instructors back at the Glabetovan Aerial Training School proud.

Waiting a five-mississippi count, Vens heard no response. He keyed his mic again, stating "Unknown dropship, I repeat, identify yourself and state your intentions. If your radio is unable to transmit, rock your wings to signal you will follow our directions."

Waiting again, this time for nearly a minute, still no response, vocal or physical, came from the dropship. Looking to his left, he could see that the pilot was definitely awake and conscious, his movements illuminated by the light of his own display. Filled with equal parts annoyance and satisfaction, Vens keyed his mic again. "Unknown dropship, this is your final warning, if you do not provide affirmation that you are prepared to follow orders to land at New Belgrade Airfield, we will be forced to take action against you." he stated. Returning his COM to the aircraft-to-aircraft band, he said "Yellow 2, this is Yellow 1, he isn't taking action, prepare to shoot him down."

"Roger that Yellow 1, Fox 1 ready for launch."

Suddenly, the Pelican pitched up, roaring within only feet of Vens' fighter. "Son of a bitch! Cocksucking bastard!" Vens spat, hoping he didn't have a hot mic. Hitting the throttle forward, Vens was pushed back in his seat as he pitched up with the Pelican, pursuing it.

"In pursuit, Yellow 2, cover me!"

"Roger that!"

Quickly tapping his screen, Vens' crosshairs turned into a circle with a diamond in the middle. Placing it over the Pelican, he pressed the bright red button on his control stick, keying his mic and calling out "Fox 1!" as he did so. The missile streaked skyward, leaving a thing white trail behind it, before impacting the Pelican in a sizeable orange explosion. Starting to level out, Vens pulled out of the way of the crippled ship, staring vertically as pieces of it began to rain down.

"This is Yellow 2, good kill Vens."

"Roger that."

Suddenly, a third voice cut in. "Yellow 1, this is New Belgrade Tower, has the bandit been shot down, over?"

"Roger that tower, bandit is down." Vens said triumphantly.

There was a long pause, then a response. "Roger that Yellow 1. Upon landing, you're under orders to report to the squadron commander for debrief, over."

"Roger that tower, over."

Privately, as Vens and Leonov formed up, the former began thinking as to what was about to happen. Shit, I'm in deep trouble now, aren't I?" he thought.

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