Hi everyone, excerpt from my work in progress of book 4, please let me know what you think, this is part of a later chapter that I have been working on, I have not given it much of an edit so apologies it is a rough draft:
Sunlight glinted off the deck of the 280m long aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth II, as she floated in her mooring at Portsmouth harbour. She had recently returned from an extended voyage of sea trials with the new F35 Lighting Joint Strike Fighters.
A cluster of seamen and women were jogging circuits around the flight deck.
A beacon flashed near the main control tower and a klaxon sounded, all heads looked towards the tower. Protection was being cleared from two F35 Lightning aircraft, their pilots were jogging over, helmets in hands.
They were soon strapping into the aircraft as grounds crew were finalising the preparation for the scramble take-off. Their orders were simple, full speed to intercept, super-sonic permitted, identify the reported sighting and report for further orders.
The engine room increased the power to the aircraft carrier, a standard procedure in heightened warning order situations.
Within minutes the two F35B’s were casting a shadow over the sea as they jetted off the carrier, banking hard in a curving arc, climbing steeply and briefly. Observers at the National Maritime Museum watched, hands covering their foreheads as they saw the fighters scrambling from the aircraft carrier.
The two aircraft levelled out and then the pilots applied full throttle.
The flightsuits took some of the G-force but they could feel the crushing power as the Pratt and Whitney turbofan engine roared. The fighters skipped through the air towards their target.
Call sign ‘Black Knight’ gently yawed to the right, the airspeed was at maximum as all four engines propelled the E-3D Sentry closer to the target, towards the Isle of Scilly.
Black Knight had been 190 kilometres away from the target, out on patrol in the Atlantic, but the Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft had picked up the radar anomaly at that range.
Now after ten minutes at its maximum airspeed it had cut that range down significantly, the radar operator was able to get a much more accurate location.
The Sentry was able to pick out a floating object in the sea from over one hundred miles away on a good day. This anomaly was much more than random flotsam. There was also evidence that it was moving much more quickly than floating debris would be.
Black Knight’s accurate location was transmitted to the two F-35B’s. They were also highlighted on the radar display, two blue icons demonstrating the friendly status.
Various other aircraft littered the sky, but were now starting to be turned away by the RAF, Royal Navy, Army, coastguard and civilian air traffic control. Part of the AWACs crew’s role was to assist in coordinating the clear airspace.
Lastly they were keeping an eye on a pair of red icons that were tittering on the edge of the 400 mile effective range of the AWACs radar. They had unidentified IFF but from the profile, speed, size and general approach they were easily recognisable as Russian TU-142s.
Russian military aircraft were usually probing and pushing the boundaries of the invisible UK or Commonwealth borders somewhere, this was not uncommon; however this pair of TU-142s was lingering with apparent interest.
It wasn’t clear whether they were interested in the scrambled launch of the F-35B’s, the sudden change in direction and full speed angular approach of Black Knight, the presence of several Eurofighter Typhoons that were also jetting across from mainland England, or the immediate and combined re-direction of all civilian air traffic, perhaps it was all of the above.
Either way Black Knight received its instructions from command, new orders were to direct two of the Typhoon’s to an intercept course with the TU-142s, direct the F-35’s to the anomaly in the sea, continue to track and record the direction of travel of the anomaly and also importantly track for any other potential threats.
Within seven minutes the F35’s were a tens of kilometres away and at over mach 1.6 the choppy sea was a blur to their sides. The rear fighter dropped its airspeed right down and maintained altitude, keeping air cover above its wingman, the lead fighter had dropped down to several hundred metres above sea level and dropped airspeed to a third.
Captain Conroy was the pilot of the lead F35. He was slightly bemused at the radar signal he was receiving. It was perhaps not a clear picture of what was happening, but it appeared to him to be a large solid mound bobbing up and down in the sea, it was moving quite regularly.
He rotated his joystick slightly, tilting the fighter, banking the left wing to point down at the sea to grant him with a better view, his fuselage camera was automatically auto tracking the target, the dark blob in the distance was visible and his plane was thundering towards it.
Sea rushed past at a tremendous speed, he continued to reduce speed, easing back the throttle.
His fighter shot past the dark object, his heart was beating hard in his chest, he blinked a few times, recalling the image in his head of what he had just glimpsed. It was utterly impossible. He banked to the right and accelerated.
“Zero-Alpha, this is Echo One, Contact Over,” he recorded on his tight beam radio. The was a slight crackle of the other channel opening from Black Knight.
“Echo One, this is Zero-Alpha, confirm contact over,”
“I am struggling to describe the contact. It was a moving mound, it looked like a large back with dark wet hair trailing behind, over,”
There was a pause for a few seconds.
“Echo-One, say again, Over?”
“Zero-Alpha I am turning for another flypast, unable to identify the object. It was moving, it was a moving mound, it looked like a large moving animal, with dark wet hair trailing behind, I could see large eyes, over,”
“Roger Echo-One, keep the channel open and describe as you approach, send through snapshot images as you make your approach, over,”
“Echo-One Roger, over,” the Captain responded.
“Echo-Two maintain air cover, over” Black Knight, as the tactical air coordinator, instructed.
“Echo-Two roger, over,” the other F-35 maintained its aerial vigil.
Captain Conroy was struggling to comprehend and process what he had seen. He had been trained to rapidly process information, inputs and outputs and respond accordingly, but what he had seen was not registering in his brain. He hadn’t said it but it looked like it was the top of a giant human head, that was surely impossible. It looked living.
He started to think about various aquatic mammals, it reminded him of a large walrus but with much longer hair. No it wasn’t shaped like a walrus. Why would it even be here?
His fighter was now back on another intercept path with the moving unidentified object.
He dropped speed significantly as he flew towards the object, in the corner of his eye he noted the video cam picking up the object and recording.
He fixed his gaze on it directly, it was bobbing up and down, as if it was… swimming… the object turned to look directly at his aircraft as it approached. It had long dark hair, and dark eyebrows and eyes, staring directly at him, a long nose below, and his F-35 thundered past again, leaving it behind.
His heard was racing in his chest. It had looked directly at him, the stare had sent a chill through him. It had intelligence and focus about it. It looked like a huge human head.
He clicked send on the images.
“This is Echo-One, visible contact made, it appears to be living, it looks like a giant human head, I have not ever seen anything like this before, I have sent over reconnaissance images, over,”
“Zero-Alpha Received, await further instructions, do not make further contact, hold position, out.” Black Knight closed the channel.
“Echo-One, did you say human head, over?” his wingman asked from above.
“Roger, human head, giant human head, its swimming, I could see a set of giant shoulders beneath the water, over,” his wingman didn’t reply. He was either thinking that Captain Conroy had lost it or was wondering what the hell was going on, whether this was some kind of training exercise.
“Hello Echo-One, this is Zero-Alpha, approach target with VTOL,” he noticed the object on his radar display had been switched to red by Black Knight, they were designating it as hostile or potentially hostile. “do not engage the target, do not close more than one hundred metres range, record visuals and report, over,”
“Roger Zero-Alpha, Echo-One, Out.”
He spotted incoming Typhoons on the edge of his radar, they were jetting at a much faster speed than his F-35 was capable of and closing on his position.
Another pair of Typhoons were presumably already intercepting and turning away the waspish TU-142s, they had left his radar range.
Queen Elizabeth was reporting that she was launching a further two F-35s to provide aerial support. Two Royal Marine helicopters were also being reported as being prepared, he caught it over the general chatter.
He turned the F-35 in a tight wheel, his heart thudding in his chest as he approached the target again. The two Typhoon’s roared past over his left shoulder, their delta wings glinting in the sunlight, armed to the teeth, studded with several air to air and air to ground and sea missiles.
Captain Conroy focused on his task, he could feel sweat building up on his spine, he felt hot, it felt like a prickly heat. It was probably the adrenaline and anticipation.
He closed to a kilometre and then adjusted throttle to slow the speed right down, the huge turbine engine rotated to engage in vertical thrust, enabling him to hover above the sea and gradually approach the object.
The giant head, it definitely was a giant head was bobbing up and down and gradually approaching. It was looking directly at him, he felt that blood chilling again. It was a terrifying predatory stare.
The head continued to bob up and down, the huge shoulders now visible above the waterline, themselves rotating… it was a giant woman’s head. She was swimming breaststroke; he could see her feet kick out behind, a huge hundred foot splash of water behind.
This was impossible.
He switched his weapon system to engage, the tracking to target told him she was three hundred metres away and closing.
His fighter continued to tremble under the vertical thrust, he goosed the throttle slightly to bring him closer to the moving object and then settled the plane down. He tilted the nose of his plane slightly downwards.
He closed to one hundred and fifty, continuing to record.
The giant head paused, looked directly up at him, rising out of the water. He looked in amazement through the cockpit glazing, water reflecting off her giant face, it emerged, he could see the detail of her face, her nose and giant mouth.
Her eyes were directed right at him.
He clutched the throttle until his knuckle grew white.
“Zero-Alpha, are you seeing this over?” He asked over the radio.
“Roger, Echo-One, we are seeing very clearly, await instructions, maintain safe distance, over,”
The giant mouth opened, she was saying something, and it looked like she was mouthing ‘go away’ repeatedly.
A wave of water appeared and he saw a blur as a giant hand emerged from the water, it thrust upwards, it was too far away to be a threat, but what he hadn’t considered was the airborne wave of water that the giant cupped hand had just tossed in his direction.
“Move clear Echo-One,” Black Knight ordered, he was already gunning the throttle and banking away. The wave covered his aircraft. Water splashed over the cockpit, fuselage and wings.
He pushed the throttle forwards, turning away from the giant head.
His chest tightened as he felt then heard the large turbine splutter.
His wingtips wobbled uncontrollably as the turbine struggled to process the sudden influx of water. It was designed to withstand waves, being a carrier borne aircraft, but it was not advisable.
He gently eased off the throttle, and then increased it again, reverting back to horizontal flight and jetting away. The turbine turned the water into vapour and two coils of mist and vapour trails followed his fighter for a few hundred metres as he sped away, clearing himself from the threat.