There was no-one on the flight line, so Harren and Karn gunned their trikes down the runway. The base was rousing to the imminent attack. They couldn’t hear the sirens over the engines, but caught flashes of movement as they sped past.
A group of mechanics ran across in front of them. The last two of the group saw the charging trikes and froze. They didn’t know whether to stay still or run. As they dithered, Harren and Karn went either side of them.
Ground and flight crews were gathering in small groups, arguing over what to do. Harren noticed the anti airs were still covered. In fact, he had hardly seen any troops since arriving on the island. There was a lip off the side of the runway, he caught air off it as he cut across to the hangars.
All of the crew was there, already doing pre-flight checks. Harren skidded his trike to a halt, Karn hopped off the back of his and let it roll away.
“How are we!” Harren shouted.
“We have a full anti ship load, for the trials later today.”
“Good. What about our….”
“You have a three quarters fuel load sir. We can add more.” A groundcrew leader cut in.
“No time. Can you get us to the runway?”
“Yes sir!” The leader started shouting instructions and a tow tractor appeared from the back of the hangar.
Flight suits and equipment were laid out on a table, ready for the scheduled test that afternoon. The crew grabbed what they could and climbed aboard the wing before it started rolling. They changed into combat gear at their posts, shouting out system checks as they went.
A pair of Corkscrews zipped past as the wing neared the runway. The wash almost knocked the tractor driver from his seat. The remote talker was powered up by now. Harren switched to radio. “Control tower, this is wing one. Can you confirm clear runway on number one?”
“Hold wing one.” There was the hiss and popping of white noise. “This is Tower. I confirm clear runway. You have priority for take off.”
Karn waved at the tractor driver to continue. They rolled onto the runway, pointing out to sea. The Corkscrews had taken off and were banking toward the tall thin clouds. The tractor unhitched and sped off. Harren locked the brakes and began feeding on the power. The plane tucked under the force of the propellers. “Are you ready?”
“The war has finally started. Of course I am ready.”