14 September 2017 05:00 hours
Maverick was jolted awake by someone banging on his door.
"Hey time to get up newbie!" Yelled a female voice. Maverick groaned and layed down again.
"Come on man I know yesterday was rough but it doesn't matter to the air force!" She continued banging on the door. "Don't make me call you know who's wake up service!"
"OK I'm up Tiger Angel!" He yelled back. He opened the door to see the black and orange Pegasus standing there.
"About time. And just call me Angel" she said as they headed to the mess hall. When he walked over to the table where the rest of the squadron was, it was obvious by the looks on their faces Angel had given them the same treatment too.
"How do you like our squadron alarm clock?" Whiteblaze, the squadron commander asked.
"Does she have a snooze button?"
"I think so but it takes a baseball bat to activate it", replied a pink Pegasus with red mane.
"And only if you can get close enough, Dahlia" Angel said with a growl. Then a white unicorn with purple mane chimed in.
"Come on you two let's just eat".
This was only Maverick's second day at the base. Originally a pilot in the Crystal Empire Air Force, he was one of the few who managed to escape the LoD's invasion. He tried to live a regular life in Cloudsdale, but the sky kept calling him. He hoped that someday Discord would be defeated so he could return home. He decided to become a mercenary, and wound up doing work for the NLR Army until about a month before the war, when he transferred to the Air Force.
Despite his past experience, he still had to go through NLRAF training which might have taken months, but the war sped that up. He started with the 2nd Training squadron, then was transferred to the 24th Tactical Fighter Squadron where he served until the squadron was almost wiped out in an air battle near Canterlot. Him and one other plane survived.
The squadron was temporarily disbanded, and he went to the 13th TFS, which had also suffered losses since it was a front line squadron. Originally 15 planes strong, it was now down to seven. One pilot had been injured and pulled from service (whom Maverick replaced), 6 were shot down and believed to be POW, and one was killed.
The remaining squadron members were Whiteblaze (Lunar 1), Glory (Lunar 2), Dahlia (Lunar 4), Tiger Angel (Lunar 5), Sunfire (Lunar 7), and Ice (Lunar 13). Maverick became Lunar 9.
At 6AM Tex, the base commander, began the briefing for the day's mission.
"OK pilots here's what's goin' on today. Once again be escorting bombers from our own 4th Tactical Bomber squadron as well as some from the 2nd TBS. They'll be bombing a concentration of Solar empire troops and three new SAM sites here along our border. Two Ravens from the Night Owl squadron will fly with the Berserkers to take out the SAM's radars. The 4th Tac' fighter squadron will assist you with the defending. And once again Sentry 2 will be our AWACS."
"Oh boy. 2 of my favorite pilots in the same area" Angel said with a smirk. Her and Ice were friends with Ocelot 5, and Sentry 2 was Angel's favorite controller to pester.
Whiteblaze chimed in about Ocelot 5.
"I still think they need to put her with the Nightstalkers. If she can do moves like that with the Tomcat, imagine what she could do with the Berkut".
"It'd be the first plane to fly backwards at full afterburner", Sunfire replied, and everybody laughed.
Tex interrupted them.
"OK ponies let's get started. Good luck up there and don't dance with the angels". And with that everypony went to get suited up.
Out on the tarmac the ground crews had their planes loaded up with missiles and ready for flight. The 13th was one of only 2 squadrons of SU-37 Terminators the NLRAF had. Though the camouflage colors were the same standard 3 tone blue, they had a unique pattern, and was also one of the few that had their squadron color on the tips of the wings and tails. Not far from them the F-111's of the 4th bomber squadron were ready too.
"You're ready to go guys", the ground crewpony said to the group.
"Then let's go!" Replied Whiteblaze. And with that all of the ponies got strapped in, fired up the planes, taxied out to the runway, and took off.
Southeast of Everfree Forest
14 September 2017 12:30 hours.
The group was 20 miles from the border when they were joined by the Ocelots and the Wraiths.
Sentry 2 came on the radio.
"Pilots here's the plan. Berserker and Night Owl Squadrons, you will hit the SAM sites with Lunar as cover. Wraith Squadron, once the SAM's are gone you will bomb the troop concentrations and armor with the Ocelots as cover".
"Aaaw I wanted to hang out with Ocelot 5", Tiger whined.
"Cut the chatter Tiger", the controller replied.
"Roger carrot head."
Everypony snickered under their breath.
"Sentry 2 to all planes, we are in the target area. Split off and engage".
(Music: Chasing the Angels)
"Roger Sentry, Lunar squadron engaging", Whiteblaze replied as the 2 groups of planes split off.
On the ground the radar operators had picked them up.
"Alert! Alert! Incoming bandits! Get the Air Force here!" one of them yelled.
The F-111's had split off into 2 groups. The first was approaching the first SAM site when they got a lock warning. Almost immediately the Raven fired an anti radiation missile, taking out the radar and rendering the SAM's inoperative. The bombers then attacked them. This was repeated with all 3 sites.
"Nice. They took care of that fast", Maverick commented.
"They're not a front line squadron but they've proved their worth many times" Ice replied.
"Berserker one to AWACS the SAM's have been destroyed".
"Roger Berserker one. If you have any bombs left use them as you see fit". Just a few seconds latter Carrot Top came back on.
"Sentry 2 to fighters, we have 10 bandits 40 miles out and closing fast. Engage".
"Roger", Whiteblaze replied. "Let's do it guys!"
"Yeah! About time", Angel shouted. Both fighter squadrons hit the afterburners and headed for them. In short order the Ocelots fired off their Phoenix missiles, taking out 3 of the bandits. Soon the dogfight was on.
The group got their first look at the Solar Empire planes.
"Mirages. Don't underestimate them", Ice said.
"They won't be fooling me", replied Sunfire as she got on the tail of one. She got the first kill of the day, followed by Whiteblaze.
Maverick now had one in front of him. He was still getting used to the Terminator's controls, but soon was exploiting it's thrust vectoring to it's full extent. In short order he got the bandit.
"Lunar 9 that's a confirmed kill" Sentry announced.
"Not bad Mav, but there's one coming up behind you!" warned Glory.
The SEAF pilot was good, but Maverick left him dumbfounded by performing a cobra and getting on his tail, and Maverick got his 2nd kill.
"Holly shit dude!" Angel yelled. "That was awesome!"
Dahlia chimed in. "You do know your way around a plane don't you?"
"What do you think?" he replied.
Meanwhile the rest of the bombers had begun their run. The 3 B-52's flew in a delta formation and dropped their mix of cluster and iron bombs, decimating the ground forces. The Berserkers used their remaining bombs also, and the Night Owl's used their remaining missiles on some ZSU-23 anti aircraft tanks.
"Sentry 2 this is Wraith squadron, we've completed our mission and are returning to base".
"Roger Wraiths. Ocelots, escort them and the other bombers back".
"Roger" replied Ocelot 1. Before they did though Ocelot 5 got a kill.
"Alright Derpy!" Ice exclaimed.
"Thanks! I'll catch you later", she replied as the squadron turn and headed back.
Then Angel got a kill, with the last one going to Ice.
"This is Sentry 2. All enemy planes downed. Good work!"
"Thanks Carrot Top, we're returning to base", Whiteblaze replied. And the squadron formed up and headed back.
"Well how was my flying?" Maverick asked. The radio was silent for a couple of seconds before Whiteblaze came on.
"Mav'. You're gonna' fit in with us just fine".
"You're one of only 2 ponies i've seen perform a cobra in a Terminator", Dahlia chimed in.
"Thanks. When I was in the Gracemareia Air Force the only plane I've done that with was the F-15".
"What?" Sunfire exclaimed.
"OK when we get back you're going to tell us more", replied Angel.