CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS REPORT
As the second missile streaked towards the Rhino, Grey threw the vehicle into full reverse.
With its turbines screaming, the Rhino tore backwards across the open area as the missile burst against the ground it had been resting on.
Grey and Indigo were thrown around in their restraints by the shock of the blast.
“So what do we do now?” Indigo asked hurriedly, “It’s a sure thing those choppers are being controlled by the Mysterons and they don’t want us walking away from this training course in one piece.”
“We do what we came here to do,” Grey growled, “Prove this machine does what it’s supposed to do. Hang on to yer hat, John – things are about to get bumpy!”
With well-practiced movements, Grey swung the reversing Rhino around in a perfect 180 degree skid and threw it into forward gear.
The machine thundered along between low artificial walls, barriers and other obstacles on the quarry-like course.
Behind it, the two Mysteron-controlled helicopter gunships deployed their rotary cannons and began blazing fire at the Spectrum craft.
High-velocity rounds thudded around the rugged frame, with some pinging away like a swarm of angry metallic wasps.
Inside, Indigo checked his instruments. He spoke loudly to be heard over the din, but there was no hint of fear in his tone, “Structural integrity at 60 percent. We need to get those choppers off our backs!”
“Aye, we do at that! Prep star-shells and set for auto-launch! Stand by on missiles!”
“S.I.G. – standing by!”
Another enemy missile blazed towards them.
Automatically, a blanket of protective star-shell countermeasures burst from the rear of the Rhino and lit the sky blue.
The enemy missile crashed into the defence screen and exploded.
Grey took the Rhino in a wide fast arc, turning back to face the two enemies.
Indigo stabbed the fire control. A pair of missiles blasted from their launchers on the front of the Spectrum vehicle and soared into the air towards the attack choppers.
The first chopper swung wildly to get out of the way, just missing being hit by the projectiles.
The second wasn’t as lucky and was caught by the full force of both weapons. The flaming debris crashed to the ground with a thunderous echo of metal.
“One down!” Indigo yelled.
“And one to go.” Grey replied grimly. “Alright ye Mysteron ninnies , let’s see what yer made of!”
He started weaving this way and that so as not to present an easy target, all the while advancing towards the remaining chopper.
“Countermeasures depleted!” Indigo warned.
“Set cannons to track and destroy!” Grey ordered, focusing on his defensive driving.
Another missile shot from the helicopter.
A few deft movements from Indigo and the forward cannons swiveled to track the incoming missile like twin snakes heads searching for prey.
Brilliant white-hot flames shot from each of them and the missile was destroyed in mid-air.
The helicopter opened fire with its rotary cannon once more and powerful shells smashed into the Rhino’s weapon’s bay.
“Missile control is negative, Iain!” Indigo said, automatically targeting the machine-cannons on the chopper.
“We’ll never put a dent in it with those,” Grey said “We need somethin’ bigger.”
Grey shot him a serious look, “I’d make sure you’re well strapped in…”
Guessing what Grey had in mind, Indigo stared back at him, “Oh… I hope you know what you’re doing!”
The Rhino was closing on the helicopter rapidly.
Just ahead was a concrete ramp, raised to a 30 degree angle, supporting part of the test range on the other side.
Grey steered towards it and hit the rocket thruster control switch.
Jets of flame shot from the back of the speeding machine and the Rhino charged forward at maximum speed.
It hit the ramp, thundered up it, and took off into the air – straight for the enemy chopper.
As if in slow motion, Grey saw the front battering ram tearing through the choppers fuselage, heard the roar of the explosion and then they were through.
The Rhino’s trajectory brought it down hard at the same moment as the wreckage of the second helicopter hit the ground.
It skidded to a stop and remained still, its engine winding down slowly.
Inside, the two men were equally still.
Then Indigo groaned and rubbed his head. Grey opened his eyes and straightened himself in his seat with a wince.
“Well,” Grey said, blinking to get his eyes back into focus, “I think that makes the final score Spectrum: Two – Mysterons: Nothin'”
“Alright. I guess you proved that the Rhino still has some new tricks to show off. Maybe this wasn’t a total waste of time after all.”
“I told ye so!” Grey said, with a painful grin.
“But the next time we have to do this, just promise me one thing?” said Indigo.
“Let me drive…”
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