’20 minutes until checkpoint landing, please finish your whey and fasten your seatbelts.’
Barron woke up to the metallic sound of Hans, the pilot, on the intercom. He yawned and peeked through the plane window. It was dark outside, but down below Barron saw land illuminated by hundreds of specks of light. They must already be in England. So far so good.
5 minutes later Perv came out of the cockpit and asked Barron to come with him. Something came up. As Barron entered the cockpit he saw Hans conversing with a voice crackling through the radio. ‘…Repeat, runway is damaged. Please confirm change flight course to six three zero Elstree Airfield.
– ‘Flight course six three zero Elstree airfield confirmed’ Hans answered. He looked nervous and when the radio switched off he immediately turned to Perv. ‘This is bad news. They say it’s a runway fire. Could be true, but it smells bad.’
‘I agree’ said Perv. ‘Smells like a trap.’
– ‘Maybe I can find some alternate landing spot. No way Elstree is safe.’
Hans grabbed a black address book. He leafed through it and pointed at a scribbled address. ‘Here. It’s more of a farm than an airport, but they’ll have fuel and I can…’
Before Hans could finish his sentence an alarm in the cockpit went off. Recognizing the sound, Hans looked at the radar. A dot was rapidly approaching their position. Hans turned white. ‘shit shit shit it’s a missile. The motherfuckers are actually shooting at us!’
‘What?’ Barron exclaimed. ‘But that’s an act of war!’
‘Maybe, but that doesn’t change a thing for us. At least this is not the first time I’ve had to evade a missile.’ Hans took the steering wheel and pushed it forward. The plane made a nosedive and started picking up speed. Through the front windows Barron could see the missile approaching in the distance. On the radar a second dot appeared, not far behind the first. Hans murmured: ‘two missiles huh? Oh man…’ Sweat dripped off his forehead as he steered the plane in a straight line towards the first missile.
‘Just a little bit further… Just a little bit further…’ The missile came closer and closer and Barron for the first time felt that dreadful fear of dying. Suddenly, Hans jerked the wheel to the left. The plane made a sharp turn, so sharp that Barron had to hold on to his chair as to not fall on the left wall of the plane. The missile passed straight underneath the cockpit, under the wings and passed the plane.
‘YEAH’, Perv shouted, but Hans was too occupied with missile number 2, which was now visible through the window. He stabilized the plane as fast as possible and made another nosedive, pushing his entire body on the steering wheel.
‘C’mon baby, go faster…’ Hans pushed the wheel so hard it seems to almost break. The missile was now less than 100 meters in front of them. Hans made the same turn and the plane jerked to the left. The second missile flew right passed the cockpit but a second later they heard a loud bang and everything shook. A voice shouted from the back: ‘the left wing is hit!’ Barron looked out and saw the tip of the wing was blown off. The jet engine was burning. Hans frantically tried to stabilize the plane but it was clear they were losing altitude. ‘Status report’ Perv demanded.
-‘Unsalvagable. We will crash. I might pull off an emergency landing.’
‘Too risky. We will jump, rendez-vous and head for our connection in London.’
-‘Yes sir.’ Hans switched on the intercom. ‘Gents, you may have noticed we have taken a slight hit. The Bombardier can not be saved, we can. Parachutes will be provided. Stand by.’
Perv handed Barron a parachute. ‘Put this on. Have you ever used one of these?’
Barron shaked his head. ‘Yeah that’s what I thought. I’ll keep it simple: pull this rope when the ground is getting too close for comfort. Don’t touch anything else. Understand?’ Barron nodded.
In the back Perv’s men stood by calmly as the shaking of the plane threw around cutlery and shards of ceramic plates. They put on the parachutes as Perv opened the emergency door and yelled: ‘We rendez-vous below! If you lose track of the team, call me! Good luck men!’
And with that the 6 men jumped out of the plane. Barron went 5th, followed by Perv. The plane quickly became a small spot and Barron was engulfed with darkness and wind. He was barely processing all that was happening, but the sudden turn of events gave him an adrenaline rush he had never experienced before. He had never seen the other parachutists so clear, never heard the rush of the wind so clear, never knew so clearly what to do. When he could distinguish leaves on the trees below he pulled the rope and the parachute opened. As he glided downwards, he saw a big explosion in the distance, where plane was heading to.