13:50 (10:50 GMT)
Captain Jamie Sutton eased the stick back to clear a tower. After it flashed under his stubby wing, he descended back to just fifty feet. At four hundred knots, the country side went by in a blur. Still, he was visible from the ground, and to those he flew over. The strange noise and odd shape caused those on the ground to stop and gaze upward.
He’d entered Belarusian airspace thirty minutes ago and was only a few minutes to his destination when he saw the tail of a MIG-29UB blow past him at his ten o’clock. Checking his six, he spotted the first MIG’s partner shadowing him.
“Blackout to base.”
“Go ahead, Blackout.”
“I’ve got two Migs on my tail and I am assuming they aren’t friendly. Please advise.”
“Acknowledged, Blackout. Switch to emergency frequency and see if they’re trying to raise you.”
Jamie switched frequency.
“To the MIG’s flying around me, this is Captain Jamie Sutton of the United States Air Force. Please respond.”
“To unidentified aircraft. You are in Belarusian airspace. Follow us or be shot down.”
“Negative. I have an emergency. I’m unarmed. I repeat. I am unarmed. There is a potential terrorist attack about to happen against your country. We’re trying to reach someone from your government.”
“Captain Sutton. What is black object on bottom of aircraft?”
“Listen, I don’t have time to explain. We have credible information that a terrorist attack and an assassination attempt is going to be made on your president in less than five minutes. I can get my CO on the line with your commanding officer if you think that is necessary, but I need to get to Victory Square.”
“Yes, we will speak to your CO once you are on the ground. I ask again, what is black object under aircraft?”
Jamie made a fist with his left hand and hit the side of his canopy. “Fuck!” He pressed his mic button and responded. “It will disable the weapons that are about to be used on your people. Your president speaks in less than four minutes and as of now, we’re three minutes out. We have to act now!”
“Land immediately or we will fire.”
That’s not going to happen. “Roger that.”
Jamie started the landing sequence. The wings tilted to start hovering. One of the MIG’s flew overhead. As soon as it passed, Jamie pushed the throttle forward.
“Stop! We will open fire. Stop now!”
Sorry guys, I know you’re just doing your job, but I’ve got to do mine. Jamie powered up the EMP generator. The Phantom Swifts maneuverability was his only advantage over the faster and heavily armed MIGs. The ducted fans on the ends of the wings tilted back to airplane mode. He stayed low. Structures on the outskirts of Minsk came into view.
Using the buildings on either side as cover, Jamie navigated the craft around different structures, hoping the MIG pilots wouldn’t fire in the fear of large scale collateral damage.
I’ve got to get them away from this populated area. They’re demands for him to land fell on deaf ears as he changed the channel.
He turned to head back towards the countryside. Both MIGs flew toward him. Tracers exited the jets gun barrels and sped toward him. He banked hard right and imagined bullets ripping the pavement and up a stone building, hoping no one was hurt or killed.
Off to his right the MIGs were turning towards him. He banked hard left. Alarms bells rang. They had him locked on. Any moment, they were going to fire. The green light for the EMP illuminated and caught his eye. Taking a deep breath, he prepared himself.
Selecting vertical flight, the Phantom Swift stopped. With precision, the craft turned one hundred and eighty degrees and tilted its nose up. Jamie fired the EMP.
The older Migs didn’t have electronic fuel controllers and would still function without electrical power. However, everything else on the planes was disabled. Both jets ceased their aggressive maneuvers and a wry grin appeared on Jamie’s face as he watched them disappear over the horizon.
President Solonovich stood at the podium at attention as he stared stoically at the Belarusian flag. The Central Military Band played the national anthem while thousands sang along and waved banners and flags. As the song played on, he gazed out over the record crowd of nearly forty-five thousand people. A strange aircraft shifted his attention. He leaned in to one of his general’s and pointed into the air.
“What is that strange aircraft?”
“I do not know Mr. President. It isn’t one of ours.”
The president looked on in silent wonderment as the aircraft climbed to several thousand meters.
Captain Sutton climbed to an altitude required to make the EMP spread wide enough to take out all of the weapons. The pulse would be nearly three kilometers in diameter. Everything electronic within that zone would be useless and would devastate Minsk, but at least thousands of lives would be saved, including the president’s.
Discharging the EMP earlier drained its power. It was now a waiting game until it was ready. Jamie shifted his eyes to the clock on the instrument panel and then back to the charging gauge for the EMP. He was at sixty percent and had only one minute. His chest thumped and his breathing intensified as he watched the EMP slowly charge. “Come on, Dammit!”