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Short Stories

Close Encounter

The F-35A fighter jet soared effortlessly high above the Nevada plains. The sun had begun its slow march towards the horizon. It was perfect flying weather. “Perfectly boring flying weather,” the pilot thought to himself.

Maybe it wasn’t going to be so boring, after all. His eyes focused towards the dipping sun. A much-smaller shining object was visible off to one side of it.

The pilot lowered his sun visor and leaned forward. It wasn’t glare off of the canopy. The light drifted upwards and away from the sun. Something was definitely there.

“Nellis Control, Demon one-five has a visual on unidentified aircraft ten miles ahead. Please Advise.” The aircraft continued to nose up and away from the sun, but was still too far away to make out. He slowly started closing the distance.

“This is Nellis Control, we read you. Aircraft is unidentified and unresponsive. Permission granted to intercept.”

“Roger Nellis Control. Demon one-five moving to intercept.” The UFO had accelerated. The pilot increased his thrust, breaking the speed of sound to catch up.

The jet fighter quickly caught up with the other aircraft. The pilot whistled as he approached the UFO from behind. He flipped a switch on his control panel. “Nellis Control, are you getting this video feed?”

The aircraft was like nothing he had seen. The sleek vehicle had only stubs for wings and stabilizers. Two jet ports glowed a brilliant blue behind the craft. Dipping down, the pilot could see four more angled ports gently glowing the same blue underneath the aircraft.

The pilot jumped as his radio crackled to life. “Demon one-five, Nellis Control is receiving your transmission. What in God’s name? Demon four and Demon one-two are en route to your location. Acknowledge.”

“Understood.” The pilot flipped up his sun visor and accelerated alongside the aircraft. It pulled away suddenly as he reached the cockpit. The pilot banked to follow.

The UFO accelerated up and to the right at a high rate of speed. The pilot pulled back and urged the jet fighter upwards. The UFO shot forward, accelerating at what should not have been a survivable rate.

The pilot gritted his teeth and went full throttle. The jet fighter screamed as it raced to mach 1.5. The UFO slowly grew larger in his field of view. It suddenly veered left again. The UFO pulled away as the jet fighter slowed. The pilot couldn’t bank that hard without tearing the jet in half.

“Nellis Control, Demon one-five. Be advised UFO is making evasive maneuvers.”

“Demon  one-five, Nellis acknowledges. Fighters are in the air, over.”

“Roger.” The pilot grimaced as he straightened the fighter and began climbing rapidly. The UFO was performing maneuvers that even the most advanced aircraft would be unable to duplicate.

The pilot once again pulled into line behind the UFO. He crept up on it at the speed of sound. He suddenly veered the plane left as alarms sounded in the cockpit.

The jet fighter rocketed past the UFO. The pilot started bringing the jet around in a wide circle. “Nellis Control, Demon one-five. The UFO… stopped.”

A pregnant pause followed. “Demon one-five, repeat. The UFO stopped?”

The pilot stared at the stationary UFO as he came around with the jet fighter. “It’s just hanging there. Air speed appears to be zero.”

“Demon one-five, Nellis confirms on radar.”

“What in the hell…” The pilot maneuvered the jet fighter to fly past the nose of the UFO. He closed the distance rapidly.

The UFO accelerated up and away before the jet fighter could reach it. The UFO turned upwards sharply, looping through the air. It settled in behind the jet fighter.

Alarms went off around the pilot. “Nellis Control, Demon one-five. UFO is now a bogey on my six.” He veered to the right and gunned the throttle.

The UFO effortlessly followed the pilot’s evasive maneuvers. The jet fighter suddenly leveled out and began to decelerate. “Nellis…” Static roared through his headset before the radio cut out completely.

The jet fighter experienced flame out before losing power entirely. The pilot listened helplessly to the roar of the wind slipping over the aircraft. He continued to slow. The pilot turned to see that the UFO remained behind him.

The pilot looked around in confusion. His visual cues told him the jet had come to a complete stop, but it was not tumbling towards the earth. The UFO remained behind him.

After a time, the UFO nosed forward and overtook the stationary fighter jet. It turned about and hung motionless before the helpless aircraft. The cockpit glass was mirrored blue, hiding the occupants behind it.

The glass suddenly split down the middle. The two pieces slid upwards and backwards, revealing the two pilots controlling the UFO. Both were human. One appeared to be an older version of the pilot in the fighter jet. A thick scar ran down one side of his face.

The pilot’s radio crackled to life. The words coming through synced up with his older doppelganger’s lips. “How’s it going, ace?”

The pilot stared, mouth agape. “Yeah, crazy shit. Look, I don’t have a lot of time. Do me a favor and tighten your harness, would you?”

The pilot numbly looked down at his harness. It was loosened slightly to allow him a greater degree of motion. He cinched it down and looked back up.

The older version of the pilot grinned broadly. He undid his own harness and stood up. “It’s been a hell of a long time since I’ve been able to do that. Thank you.” He sat back down and secured his harness.

“It’s time for us to go. You’re about to lose a ninety-four million dollar jet, but it’s not your fault… or mine. Damn Chinese parts, anyway. Ciao!”

The glass canopy closed over the waving older pilot as the UFO began to back away. The strange craft turned away from the jet and rocketed away in a flare of blue light. Two more jet fighters rocketed past the stationary jet in pursuit of the UFO.

The sleek aircraft easily outpaced the jet fighters before disappearing entirely in a brilliant flash of light. The pilot’s jet fighter suddenly came back to life. The jet’s systems came back online as the engines reignited. The jet fighter quickly accelerated close to mach 1.

A loud crack issued from somewhere ahead of the cockpit. Thick black smoke rolled out from behind the instrument panel. Multiple alarms started screaming at him. The screen before him indicated “General Control Failure”.

The jet fighter rolled sharply to the right before the pilot could do anything. The aircraft drifted nose-down and began accelerating dramatically. He pulled the eject handle as the jet fighter began to spin.

The pilot rocketed up and out of the jet fighter. Debris slammed hard off the side of his face as he went. He blacked out from the blow. The jet continued its suicidal trajectory, slamming into the ground below and exploding.

The pilot woke up on the ground a short while later, still strapped into his seat. He groaned, gently touching the large gash in the side of his face. “The scar,” he croaked. His vision faded again as the sound of emergency vehicles floated to him from a distance.