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Prompt for the Round: Write a fic telling us some backstory for any member of the team. It must take place before season 1 of the show and can include any characters, canon or OCs.
Sweat trickled through his scalp as the plane shook around him. Whoever was flying that MiG was good. John jerked the stick to the left, pulling his F-16 into a tight roll as bullets pinged his undercarriage. He checked his instruments again. Fuel was low, he had one missile left, and the South Korean border was still ten minutes out.
Alarms sounded as the MiG got a lock. John dove for the deck and spun right, the crushing g-forces causing his vision to gray. The missile flew by, but the MiG stayed with him. John twisted, turned, plunged, rolled then slammed on the brakes. The MiG rocketed past, and John’s focus narrowed to one thing.
He got missile lock and fired.
John flew through the debris, his plane shuddering when bits of MiG shredded the wing. Neck veins bulged as he fought to keep the nose up. Engines flamed out. He had to eject while he had time.
“Mayday, mayday. This is Foxtrot Alpha Niner. I’ve lost instruments and engines. I’m going down.”
John yanked the ejection handle between his knees, punching out into the overcast sky. He jerked like a puppet on a string during the staccato bursts of drogue chute then seat separator then recovery chute. Years of instructions and training flooded his mind while he gripped the lines tightly and tried to steer away from the forest below.
Branches and limbs ripped at his g-suit as he plummeted through the canopy. His parachute caught suddenly, and he smacked into a tree with enough force that his arm snapped like a twig. He dangled in a haze, panting heavily until his vision cleared.
“Way to go, John. Trapped in a tree while the bad guys are on the way.” He glanced down and winced. At least a ten foot drop. “Great.”
John grappled with the harness until it loosened and he hit the ground, howling when he rolled on his broken arm. Staggering to his feet, he shrugged out of his g-suit. After grabbing his compass, he stuffed his auxiliary kit and radio beacon in his rucksack and slung it over his neck then tucked his injured arm in the strap and headed south.
He kept low and quiet, listening for engines as he navigated through the woods that stretched for miles. Every hour he turned on his radio, double clicked, waited five minutes then turned it off and moved on. Day turned to night. He hid in a hollow log, chewed on some leaves for nourishment, wondered who would tell Nancy, Dad, and Dave what had happened and if they would care.
Rumbling engines woke him. He crawled out, crept through a frigid stream and up the other bank. Stones skittered under his boots, and a shout in Korean chased him from the forest. Hoping the swaying grasses would provide enough cover, he dashed across an open field.
Gunfire rattled around him. His legs burned. His arm screamed in agony. Bullets kicked up dirt around him.
White hot pain skewered his left side.
John went down hard. Gasping, he pressed his injured arm to his bleeding side and struggled to his feet.
“Oh, God, please, please, help me.”
He ran for the hills ahead, darting behind small outcroppings of rock and slender shoots of trees. By the time the sun rose, he was dripping in sweat and his legs were rubber. When he turned his radio on, a Boston accent confirmed his emergency code and sent rendezvous coordinates. According to his compass, freedom and rescue were on the far side of the valley. John stumbled down the hill and slid to a stop when he spotted vehicles closing in.
He wasn’t going to make it, but he was going to die trying.
John ran for his life.
The most beautiful Pave Hawk he’d ever seen swooped over the trees, her gunner providing cover fire as a medic leaped out and wrapped an arm around John. “You ready to go home, Captain?”
“Hell, yeah.” They staggered inside, and John collapsed on the floor as they lifted off. “Thank you,” he whispered. “I would’ve been a goner if you hadn’t come.”
“We don’t leave our people behind, Sir,” the medic said simply. He inserted an IV then bandaged the bullet wound in John’s side and splinted his arm. “We’re thirty minutes out, Sir. We’ll have you patched up and crashing Vipers again in no time.”
“Maybe I’ll get me one of these instead.”
The medic smiled wryly. “Of course you will. Sir.”
Maybe it was the exhaustion or the gratitude or the comforting chop of rotor blades, but the thought of rescuing downed men, of saving those left behind, struck a chord deep inside John.
Maybe he would check it out when he got home.
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