then threw himself at the door, smashing against the wood with his


There was a loud crash, but the door held. “Made It! What are you


The guards will hear!”

“Shit,” he said, rubbing his shoulder. “It always works in the movies!”

He backed up again, paused, then took another run at the door. The

crash was so loud that Pamela thought the sound must be carrying all

over the base.

“They’ll hear …!”

“I think our guards took off the first time those Tomcats buzzed us,”

Bayerly said. He slammed his shoulder against the door again … and


“By now they’re halfway back to Burma.”

He hit the door once more, this time with a splintering crash which tore

the door from its hinges. Bayerly plunged through, landing on his hands

and knees on the wreckage of the door.

Bayerly grinned. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Yin kin! Yin kin!” The soldier appeared out of nowhere, an AK-47

raised to his shoulder, the muzzle thrusting at Bayerly’s face. Pamela

didn’t know if he’d been there all along or had just arrived to

investigate the noise. His face twisted in fury. “Reho kaho!”

“Okay, okay!” Bayerly said, holding up one hand. He started to rise.

“Keep your shirt on-”

He sprang forward and up, getting under the soldier’s AK and knocking

its muzzle toward the sky just as the man’s finger jerked at the

trigger. A burst of full-auto fire rattled the walls of the shed.

The rebel soldier went down on his back, Bayerly on top of him, both men

wrestling for the AK between them. The American outweighed his opponent

by at least fifty pounds and had the advantage of having one knee on the

man’s chest. Bayerly tugged hard at the weapon … then changed tactics

and pushed down as hard as he could. Caught off guard, the enemy

soldier took the full force of the blow across his chest. Bayerly

pulled again, and this time broke the AK free of the soldier’s grasp.

Pamela saw the assault rifle rise in the air, butt down … then descend

sharply. There was a crack, and the guard lay motionless on the ground,

his forehead oddly misshapen.

Bayerly racked back the bolt on the AK, checking the chamber. A gold

cartridge spun through the air. “Let’s go.”

They hurried around the corner of the shed, then sprinted for the fuel


Beyond, a hundred-yard clear stretch separated them from the jungle.

0750 hours, 21 January

Tomcat 201

Tombstone kept the Tomcat in a vertical climb, afterburners howling. At

thirty-five thousand feet he put the aircraft into a half-twist, then

cut the burners and let the plane fall on its back, canopy down, as his

fingers stabbed at the chaff-release button. Looking “up,” Tombstone

could see the dark green folds of mountains and valleys, the silver

twistings of the Taeng River.

The contrail of the Atoll AAM arrowed toward him from the Earth.

Still pumping chaff, Tombstone let the Tomcat slide into an inverted

dive. The trick was to create a large enough radar target for the

oncoming missile that its microchip brain would believe that the

target’s center lay somewhere behind the aircraft … instead of

squarely between the stabilizers and the cockpit.

He held his breath as the missile closed …

… and flashed past the tail of his aircraft just as he cut in the

afterburners once more.

The Atoll exploded somewhere astern, and the Tomcat shuddered with the

blast. Tombstone heard a loud ping, metal striking metal, but the

lights on his warning panel remained blissfully unlit.

Falling now, Tombstone righted the F-14 and throttled down to eighty

percent. His eyes went to his fuel gauge. Not good. They’d been in

the dogfight for less than three minutes, but using the afterburner had

burned a hell of a lot of fuel.

He was on top of the dogfight now. Looking down, he could see aircraft

and contrails everywhere he looked, spread out between him and the

jungle, silvery specks moving against dark green. South he could see

the scar of U Feng; west the sun flashed from the Taeng River.

“Eagle Three, this is Eagle Six! I’ve got two on my tail! Get ’em

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142

Categories: Keith Douglass