The F/A-18 Super Hornet is the backbone of deployed Naval aviation.
(Source: Cibi Chakravarthi, Unsplash)


Today, we try a spot of fiction. If you like it, let us know and I’ll sprinkle in some more on occasion. If you hate it, please do likewise and you’ll never see it again.

T-Mas was a Navy Lieutenant Commander flying F/A-18F Super Hornets off of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. A graduate of Top Gun and career fighter pilot, the call sign “T-Mas” was short for “Toxic Masculinity,” something he had been saddled with as a midshipman at Annapolis. A professional playboy, T-Mas was hard, single and at the top of his game. However, at this particular moment, he was about to die.

This fight was truly righteous. An Air Force C130 carrying the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders to a USO gig had been engaged in international airspace by North Korean fighters and brought down over the Pacific. Uncle Sam had tolerated Kim Jong Un’s sophomoric tantrums long enough. Rattle sabers and test fire missiles if you like but murder a military airplane full of American’s finest cheerleaders and POTUS drags out his ‘Big Stick.’

The Commander in Chief deployed the Teddy Roosevelt battle group with the directive to make things right. Two weeks later, T-Mas was an ace — the first since the Vietnam War. It turned out flaming obsolete North Korean fighter planes was positively recreational. Then this happened.

It was some kind of long-range SAM system, and it was butt nasty. His wingman had been pulverized, but T-Mas hadn’t time to mourn. He torqued his powerful fighter around in the fight of his life. Bitching Betty squawked in his ears, and he rippled off flares by rote. His jet then shook as though throttled by the hand of God and the world started spinning. The last thing he remembered was groping for the black and yellow handles between his legs.

Ejection from a high-performance fighter plane at warp speed is one of the most violent events the human body can endure. The good folks at Boeing appreciated this fact and designed their ejection system accordingly. Once you tug those rings the plane spits you out and your parachute deploys of its own accord. Upon contact with the water your life vest activates to keep you from drowning even if you’re in no shape to help out. The synergistic melding of all that tech was the only reason T-Mas still drew breath.

He dreamt he was at home asleep in his hammock. He had come of age in the piney woods of South Mississippi and the hammock in his parents’ backyard had been the place he found refuge as a kid. On some primal level, it passed for heaven now. The gentle rocking was a soothing balm. Then he slid up against something hard.

Being stuck on an otherwise-deserted island wouldn’t be so bad with the proper company.
(Source: Kurt Cotoaga, Unsplash)


His consciousness returned like a dim light gradually penetrating a fog. The warm surf sloshed over his head and displaced the darkness while the wet sand felt firm and substantial underneath. He found he lacked the strength to sit up and was subsequently at the mercy of the waves.

As he regained his wits, he slid his hands weakly across his chest. Everything moved, and, despite hurting pretty much everywhere, nothing appeared to be broken or irrevocably damaged. His heart sank as his fingers slid across his vest. His sidearm and survival radio were gone, torn away in the violence of the ejection. Before he could assimilate the significance of that discovery, he heard voices.

High-pitched and strangely familiar, the sounds grew closer. T-Mas struggled yet failed to press himself up in the surf. This part of the Pacific was dotted with islands, many of them uninhabited. His lizard brain wandered to images of North Korean interrogators or cannibals, but the higher bits pressed those thoughts aside. Strong small fingers took hold of his vest from both sides and gently dragged him out of the waves and up onto the sand before rolling him carefully over onto his back. T-Mas tried to raise his arms against the blinding sun but failed. Whoever these people were, they were soon to have their way with him. Fighter pilot and trained warrior, T-Mas was as helpless as a child.

He squinted against the blistering sun to make out the figures who knelt above him. The nearest was tanned and windblown but an undeniable looker, the kind of face on the kind of woman that graced magazine covers. Her tattered baseball cap sported a blue star and the word “Dallas” across the top. The several excited female voices melded together as T-Mas let his head drop limply back into the sand. He suddenly wasn’t so terribly distressed over the loss of his sidearm and radio.

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