"Ghost Troop this is Ghost Two-Two," Grayson said over the squadron command net. "I'm at minimum fuel allotment and heading home. Have fun boys. Over."
"Ghost Two-Two this is Ghost Leader," the voice crackled through the headset. "You are free to go, too bad you'll be missing out on some tank killing fun. Over and out."
"Roger that, out."
Grayson swung the ORCA around and headed toward the coast. "Hawkeye Oh-Three this is Ghost Two-Two, feet wet," Grayson said to the wandering CH-47D Chinook on early warning patrol. "Where is Crocodile?"
"Ghost Two-Two, Hawkeye Oh-Three. Crocodile is five clicks North-Northwest of your current position. Over."
"Thanks alot Hawkeye Oh-Three. Over and out."
Grayson halved the power to the ORCA trying to conserve as much fuel as possible. A few minutes later the USS Wasp's control room took over and told Grayson the landing procedures. As soon as the ORCA set down and Grayson cut the power to the engines several EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) crew ran over to the ORCA and took the 70mm rocket pod and Hellfire missile rack off the pylons. Other red-shirted flight deck crew ran over and attached four AIM-9M Sidewinder short range air-to-air missiles. Martinez opened his door and yelled at one of the ordnance crew. "Hey! What the hell are you doing?"
"Sorry, sir. Several enemy aircraft have been detected inbound so we are scrambling every available air asset." "Damnit," Martinez looked over his shoulder at Grayson. No rest for the weary, eh?"
"Guess not. Just be glad they aren't making us do a mid-air refuel. Here comes the 'Purple Shirts'."
Several flight deck crew with purple shirts and helmets latched the fuel nozzle to the recepticle and began fueling. A full two minutes later on of the Purple Shirts hammered on Grayson's window and gave him the thumbs up indicating that the fueling was finished. As soon as the flight deck crew was clear the man standing in front of the ORCA wearing a green shirt and red helmet gave Grayson the all clear signal. Grayson hit the power and lifted off quickly with eleven others in "V" formation, Ghost Two-Two taking up the far right flank.
"Trojan Three-Zero to all ORCAs. I'm picking up contacts to our left just outside our Sidewinder range..."
"Trojan Three-Zero this is Meatball Oh-Seven. I have a visual on the bogeys, AH-64C Apache," another voice crackled over the radio.
"Trojan Three-Zero to all ORCAs. Let's go kill 'em!"
"Tally ho!" Martinez shouted over the radio as he flicked the Master Arm switch.
The ORCAs got the jump on the oncoming Apaches because of the greater range of the AIM-9M compared to the Nod copy of the AIM-9L. Martinez locked two of the Sidewinders onto a pair of older Nod CH-47A Chinooks with jury-rigged pylons with Exocet anti-ship missiles mounted on them. The Chinooks had no way of maneuvering their enormous bulk to escape the Sidewinders. Martinez quickly locked the last two on a pair of Apaches equipped with the AIM-9L Sidewinders, an older and shorter ranged version. Martinez pulled the trigger in five second intervals, reflexively shutting his eyes so he wouldn't be blinded by the rocket motors going off.
"All missiles away, Mike," Martinez said.
"Roger that. Time to go in there and mix it up with 'em." Grayson slammed the control forward and the ORCA sped towards the Apaches. Martinez switched weapons to the twin 30mm cannons on the nose.
"Shit! Missiles coming for us, pop some flares!" Grayson yelled.
Martinez dropped a packet of flares as Grayson forced th ORCA into a steep climb towards a nearby Nod Chinook to try to shake the lock but the Sidewinder wasn't so easily fooled. Martinez dropped another set of flares and Grayson pulled more high speed maneuvers. The missile fell for the last salvo of flares and Grayson turned the ORCA around and headed toward the Nod attack group once more.