The tranquil scene of the dilapidated oil platform standing silently in the middle of a unusually flat-calm sea was suddenly shattered. Sky 1 burst from the depths and soared into the air with a roar from its rocket motors.
“Orca from Sky 1, airborne!” Captain Waterman reported.
In Orca’s control room, Colonel Freeman was studying the sonar traces with a keen eye, “Roger, Sky 1. They’ll be on you at any moment – sonar shows they’re coming shallow. Watch yourself!”
Freeman’s words had barely registered when Waterman saw the menacing shapes of three UFOs spinning out of the ocean ahead of him.
“Targets sighted – diving to engage!” he said, pushing the yolk forward and sending his craft into a steep attack dive.
The UFOs were already beginning to fan out. Waterman knew he needed to act fast.
He positioned the targeting sight over the UFO to starboard and fired.
The deadly missile streaked downward and hit the target dead-centre. The alien craft was blown apart in an instant.
“Confirming first UFO destroyed,” he reported as he banked Sky 1 for another attack, zeroing in on the next UFO.
He fired again, but this time the alien craft weaved to port at the last second and the missile went wide, impacting uselessly with the ocean.
The radio cracked as Freeman gave an urgent update, “Orca to Sky 1, you’ve got more incoming!”
Waterman saw another three UFOs rise from the water.
“Damn! Sky 1 to Skydiver, see if you can take out a few of those UFOs before they reach the surface!”
In Skydiver, Lieutenant Gordon Maxwell acknowledged Waterman’s message, “Roger Sky 1 – moving to engage. Stand by on torpedoes 1 and 2!”
Relieved of its streamlined fighter bow, Skydiver moved more slowly, but its advanced torpedoes could travel further and with greater accuracy than conventional models.
“Target and range verified, fire one!” Maxwell called.
The side-mounted hatch opened, a torpedo rolled out and then its propulsion system engaged. In seconds it was homing in on its sub-aquatic target. The UFO tried to maneuver out of the way, but the water made rapid course changes impossible and the torpedo struck home.
“Skydiver reporting another confirmed kill! Continuing attack!” Maxwell advised.
Freeman and Lieutenant Ford were keeping a close watch on the sonar and radar screens.
Suddenly, Freeman shouted a warning into the radio, “Sky 1! You’ve got one closing on your tail, get out of there!”
Waterman threw his craft hard to port, feeling the shudder as a UFOs energy weapon fizzled past and sheered off the tip of his starboard wing.
“Sky 1, are you okay?” Freeman asked urgently.
“Affirmative,” Waterman replied tensely, “Damage to starboard wing and weapons pod, but I should be okay. Thanks for the warning.”
Freeman turned to Ford, his face like thunder, “Where the hell are those reinforcements? He’s a sitting duck up there!”
Ford’s expression was equally serious, “Inbound, ETA five minutes, Sir.”
“Tracking room to control, several UFOs have made it past Skydiver. They’re on direct attack course!”
“At this rate there’ll be no one here in five minutes,” Freeman replied, “Mortar crews – open fire!”
At the touch of a button, concealed panels around the superstructure of the Orca’s surface platform slid back and powerful mortar cannons slid into position.
Seconds later a barrage of shells were fired high into the air, which came crashing down into the ocean on delayed time fuses.
A series of undersea explosions rocked the support struts as the mortars detonated. Freeman was watching the sonar contacts on the screen with feverish concentration. After an initial moment of uncertainty, several of the contacts flickered off the screen.
“Confirming four UFOs destroyed! Fire second barrage!”
Even in the control room, Freeman and Ford could hear the blasts as another round of shells was fired.
“Tracking to control – UFOs going deep!”
Again the distant explosions reverberated through the structure. Freeman’s eyes never wavered from the screen. Then…
Just then a deafening explosion shook the room violently and several operatives were knocked off their feet.
“Weapon section to control! Direct hits on mortar batteries – we’re wide open!”
“Skydiver reporting another positive destruction, but we’re being swarmed down here!”
“Sky 1 to control – they’re everywhere! I can’t hold them back! They’re-”
The transmission ceased abruptly.
“Waterman!” Freeman called urgently, “Sky 1 – report!”
“Tracking to control, multiple UFOs in firing range!”
The Orca rocked under the merciless energy blasts from the alien craft. Alarms blared and red warning lights flashed as the main power in the room was cut off.
Freeman looked at Ford, “We haven’t got a chance now. This is the end…”
TO BE CONTINUED