“Alpha-Charlie-Alpha 2-1-6, climb and maintain flight level 4-0-0, turn right heading: 1-7-3.”

No response. Major Richard Jackson growled, the A319 had been flying without radio contact for forty-five minutes now, long enough to raise some eyebrows on the ground and earn the airliner the dubious honor of an F-16 escort.

“Alpha-Charlie-Alpha 2-1-6, I repeat: Climb and maintain forty thousand and turn heading 1-7-3 or you will be fired upon.”


“Alright.” Jackson switched his radio off the civilian frequency, “Actual, Lima 1. Bogey does not respond, request instruction.”

The radio was dead for moment and sweat beaded on Jackson’s forehead. The next few seconds would determine the fate of everyone aboard 216.

“Lima 1, Actual.” A voice crackled over his radio, “Weapons free, you are cleared to engage.”

Jackson clicked his acknowledgment over the radio and slid his plane into “the slot” behind the airliner. Drawing a bead for the gun kill he uttered a brief prayer for his own soul and fired.

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