Friday, September 19, 2008

The Quiet War, Chapter 2

Cash Baker was just twenty-six, with eight years’ service in the Greater Brazilian Air Defence Force, when he was selected for the J-2 singleship test programme. From inauspiciously ordinary origins in a hardscrabble city in the badlands of East Texas he’d risen through the ranks with astonishing speed. Luckily, he’d received as good an education as anyone in his neck of the woods could reasonably expect, and one of his teachers had spotted his preternatural mathematical ability and given him extra tutoring and steered him towards the Air Defence Force. He scraped into the top percentile in the induction tests, was streamed straight into basic pilot-training at the academy in Monterrey, and a year later, on a hot, thundery day in August, marched at the head of the graduation parade for the class of 2210. He started out flying fat-bellied Tapir-L4s on supply missions to remote camps of the Wreckers Corps east of the Great Lakes, was quickly promoted to the combat wing of the 114th Squadron, flying fast, deadly little Raptors, and distinguished himself in a string of air-support missions during the campaign fought by General Arvam Peixoto’s Third Division, clearing bandit settlements in and around the ruins of Chicago.


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