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“Alekseyevich, look at this!” He handed me a slip of paper. It was in translated Russian, the picture of Sacha’s aircraft unmistakably in the photo, “Red-11”. It proclaimed that she was an executioner working for the Russian air force, and should be brought to the Hague for war crimes. I laughed at this, perhaps they should submit themselves!

“Where did you get this?”

“The Internet, something you have yet to find out after you climb from your rock.”

I shrugged him off. I have not needed this Internet for some time. I have used it, I am not from the farm, but for most things, I do not have or make the time to use it. I have people who handle it. Dimitri sat beside me.

“So are you stocked up for war?” A slight smile was forming on his lips.

“Da, I am ready.” Ready as I’ve always been.

“You know comrade, I have been thinking, in our air force, we do not really make slang for our weapons delivery. I was talking to one of the A-10 pilots and he started talking about ‘Rifle’, ‘Shack’, and some other funny terms. I figure we should do this ourselves.”

I thought about it. Such terms were for wingman engagements. We practiced that when I was in the 115th, and had a miserable lead anyway. That man I hope has not been promoted.

“But Denevich, we do not usually fly together, and we do not communicate with the AWACS either. I guess you are starting to talk to yourself?”

I however, was interested in this idea. Perhaps it may be useful? I will contemplate this.

So what do you think the mission will be?”

Dimitri started to light his cigarette.“I do not know, perhaps we are to go to Sevastopol, and do recon flights of the nude beaches?”

That would be a mission I would accept, no matter how bad the aircraft was.

“Surely you have been smelling too many fumes from the fuel?”

“Nyet comrade, that would be daydreaming.”

He smiled as he exhaled the smoke. “True, but one hopes.”

He winked as he stared out towards the coast. “Life can only be so hard…..”

I leaned back, and smoke my cigarette. I decided that since I had two hours until I was to receive my briefing, along with Dimitri, that we should shower. I am sure that Major Grachev would not appreciate us looking like this!

“Denevich, we should go get ready for the briefing.”

“Yeah, another fun filled evening awaits nyet?”

He stood up, and walked to his UAZ. I did the same thing, heading back to the barracks, and took my time showering myself, and getting ready. I had a feeling it would probably be another solo mission, such as the one that brought me into this conflict. I surely hope Dimitri would be included, or would fly. Maybe as wingman? I would have no problems, but who knows right now?

After grabbing my essentials, I headed in the UAZ to the hangar, and got the status of the aircraft. So far it was still in good shape. There were the minor dents, except for that one on the nose wheel door, but that is acceptable. As long as it did not reduce the capability of my aircraft, I did not put much concern into it. Russian jets were designed to take some punishment, and this one so far has been through a lot. I had also thought of the new aircraft that sported our camouflage. I decided to wait until the briefing to ask Major Grachev, or see the new pilot that would possibly join our unit. It was intriguing, though I did not see or hear anything about the addition of another pilot. I got a good status so far of my aircraft, so I would see this possible new pilot and Dimitri at the briefing.

I parked the UAZ at my customary spot, and clambered out. I was twenty minutes early, so I decided I would smoke a cigarette and possibly see this new pilot. It was very interesting to get another pilot. Then we could really make a dent in the mujahid’s plans. So after I finished my smoke, I walked to the briefing room, to see Major Grachev seated where we normally sat, in a flight suit. I was surprised that he would be flying, perhaps we three are flying together? This mission was most interesting! He noticed me enter, smiled, and waved to the seats next to him. I naturally sat down.

“So Comrade Major, you are flying?”

“Da Alekseyevich, I will do some tonight.”

Then he merely looked around. He never was socially good, but then again, we rarely speak to him on a personal or social level, except for briefs. It is a wonder how we survive as we do. Dimitri showed-up just about the time the briefing was about to begin. He sat down, nodded towards Major Grachev, and smiled at me. I shook my head. This man was a fool. I looked at the clock, and it being mounted at the door, I saw Colonel Martin enter.

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