I closed my eyes and opened a small window by my side. High speed wind brushed my face making my skin tremble. I felt the touch of the air on my face and god! You can never get that feeling unless you are flying at 26,000ft altitude on a Cessna Citation CJ3+ jet plane. What do people think of when they are about to die? Why does that question pop into my mind?
Yesterday, I woke up to an emergency alarm from The Sovient Air Forces. Yes I work for Russian Air Force and I am a commander and leader for a squadron. We quickly gathered all our commanders and the general told what the emergency meeting was about. “Commanders, we got an intel from our spy working in NASA. It says that, in their next rocket which is firing the day after tomorrow, they are deploying a spacecraft which is programmed to destroy our entire satellite network without any clue.” I knew that the time was not running well between the USA and Russia, but I couldn’t believe that they took such a massive step towards war. General continued, “As the intel only came with the information but not any proof, we have to do something about it rather than going legal.” One of my fellow mates stood up and said, “How about we do a ground assault?” I took over and said, “If we start a ground assault based on an intel without any proof, it would seem like we are starting the war. Add on to that, General, are they launching the rocket from Florida?” General quickly nodded his head. I continued, “It is one of the most secure places. We don’t have enough time to move enough troops there. Everyone, including the general, agreed to what I said. “So what do you suggest Commander Hedrick?”asked the General.
“Sir, what’s the time of the launch?”
“5:53Am USA time.”
“So we have sixteen hours to do something?”
“How about a stealth mission? We go there, sneak in, plant explosives, sneak out.”
General thought for a while and said, “I guess we have no other option left than this. Hedrick, make your squadron ready for the mission.” With that we dispersed and started to make our arrangements for the mission. I’ve seen many movies where soldiers look at their family pictures before going on a mission. But I don’t have anyone to look at before death. I was an orphan and all of my friends are working for the Air force as well. So this is my family and our base is my home.
We made everything ready for the mission and onboarded on to a Cessna Citation CJ3+ jet plane. NASA’s primary launch center is located on Merritt Island, Florida. It took us almost twelve hours to reach the borders of Florida and that’s when we came to know that Americans somehow got the intel about our attack. Entire radar was sent on high alert and nothing will go undetected over an altitude of 20,000ft and 100km radius. We had no option but to land our plane outside their radar area in a deserted land. One of them in the squadron said, “Should we grab a vehicle or something to reach there.” I know that we don’t have enough time for it. Now we have only an hour left to stop that Rocket. I couldn’t think of any solution other than what I got. I quickly got back into the plane and asked the team to wait for me at the rendezvous point. I said, “Our team will be there for pickup and If I don’t come back after two hours, don’t wait for me.” I know they are good soldiers and I know what good soldiers do. They follow orders. I got into the pilot seat and started to go up straight into the air. I boosted the engine to the fullest and I am flying like an arrow that shot upwards. When I reached the altitude of 26,000ft, I made sure that I am out of the radar’s range. I started moving towards the Rocket’s launch site in the same altitude. That’s when I opened my window and looked down.
I could’ve asked any of the team members to do what I am doing. But I don’t know why I wanted to do it myself. I looked through the window and I could see a beautiful Island. I thought, ‘Not a bad location for someone to die.’ By the time there’s a few seconds left to fire the Rocket, I almost reached the place, exactly from which they are firing the Rocket. Three, two, one. They launched the Rocket and I launched my jet but in the opposite direction. I started to fly down. Initially I made it a free fall and after a couple of seconds I gave fire to the boosters. Now I am falling like a meteor from the sky. While the Rocket is pushing its way up against the gravity, the same gravity is helping me to gain speed. I never achieved this speed in my career. Now I am almost at 10,000ft and now I can see Rocket coming towards me. It’s massive, really really massive. That can’t stop me. A small needle can blow out a balloon of any size. Rocket started to gain the momentum and I too. I aligned my trajectory exactly with the Rocket’s. 20 fifteen seconds from now, I am gonna hit the Rocket with my jet, crashing it into pieces. But I am gonna die. Should I have to die? Is there any way that I can make the mission successful and me getting out alive? PARACHUTE! Oh god! How foolish I am. I quickly pulled my seat parachute which pushed me out like a cap from the champagne bottle. Parachute came out of my seat and is about to unfold. I looked down and then I saw my jet and Rocket colliding perfectly like two arrows cut each other. That blasted the Rocket and the explosion is massive. Luckily I am out of the range of the fire and collision but my ears went blank. I can feel the heat beneath me and I suddenly felt the heat to my side as well. It’s the sun rising. ‘What a way to start the day.’ I saw the massive wrecked Rocket dropping back to the launch site and I am sure that there won’t be anyone under it. I drove my parachute to the rendezvous point. I could see the boys celebrating the success of our mission with happy faces. When I landed, one of them said, “Commandor, I thought you died in the crash.”
“No. I guess my death is reserved for something grand.”