C5 Squadron Attacks a Corvette??
by JYW and Racer Dan
It was a balmy Sunday morning. A few families had already started Father's Day celebrations on the east coast, but down south of Atlanta, GA. a mission was a brewing.
Racer Dan had just walked out the door, and started to stroll down to the creek in his back yard, when his beeper went off. It was the General. He had not heard much from him since the introduction of the Squadron's newest member, Carl Stover. Carl lived just south of Racer Dan, and was a gearhead of sorts. He had been modifying Chevrolet engines for some time, and knows a lot of tricks to bring out the "Beast" in the bowtie blocks.
It was several months ago when Racer Dan had first met him. They had both just pulled into a Steak House for supper. Carl was in his Impala SS, having his Corvette neatly tucked in the garage. On the other hand, Racer Dan was driving his Grand Sport Corvette, with its bold white stripe, and two red hash marks on the driver's front fender identifying it as a Corvette that was bred to race.
Later they would again meet on a drag strip. But they never paired off, instead Carl worked hard to help Racer Dan tweak in the timing of his 86 Corvette, the "Silver Bullet". And once tweaked, it managed to pull some very decent runs, and do a few impressive burnouts, something the 86 was very accustomed to. Actually, it still holds the title of "King of the Burnouts" after a contest in North Carolina a couple years ago.
Carl also brought with him a lot of knowledge in weaponry, especially for the Fighter Jets in the Air Force. So it was very appropriate to elect him into the C5 Squadron. The ceremony was very laid back. The whole group arrived at the Squadron headquarters near Tara Field. They each grabbed a seat around the conference table.
The Junkyard Warrior passed out the voting slips to each of the Squadron members, and they were briefed on the newest proposed member of the group. An "X" would be a vote for, and an "O" would be a vote against. Each of the members talked of their own initiation, recollecting the voting process, and wondering if they too would be allowed to join an exclusive and unique group. A group that stood for the preservation of the Corvette marque, and the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The vote was over in a matter of a minute. And it was unanimous. The newest member of the Squadron would clearly add to the team's goals. The celebration lasted into the night. Then it was back to business, as the general had other plans for all of us.
Racer Dan turned and headed to the hangar. It was a half mile walk down a narrow path, cut through the brush. He could here a couple of hawks calling to each other in the canopy above. A courtship, he thought as they continued to trade calls. It reminded him of the jungles of Vietnam, except the musty smell was not there. Nor the humidity or the gunfire.
Once inside the hanger, Racer Dan was greeted by Blue Streak. He had been doing some modifications to his Fighter Jet, and had received the message from the General over the computer. After decoding, the Blue Streak debriefed Racer Dan.
A simple mission it would be, but one of some concern. In all of the sorties that this Squadron has ever flown, they were never directed to actually destroy a CORVETTE!
Surely the message was decoded wrong, so they ran it through the computer once more, but it came out the same. How could this be? The package with the recon information arrived shortly thereafter. Shane had been moving into a new abode south of Bowling Green, and had heard the general was looking for him. He was given the package, and requested it be delivered to the Squadron Headquarters immediately.
The rest of the Squadron had showed up after lunch, and then headed for the debriefing room. Once inside, the room was secured, and the package was opened.
Racer Dan read the first page aloud, and it was a congratulations and welcome to the newest member, Carl. The next packet of information contained several photographs of a Corvette. One was a picture of it parked at a car show around a group of Ford Mustangs. Then there was one of the Corvette going down the road. A wisp of smoke was coming out of the exhaust, unusual for a Corvette, we commented.
Then the third picture was a close up, from the side. Not only could you see the front of the Corvette well, but also could see a puddle of oil under the passenger's side, near the engine. Also strange for a Corvette...
The last picture caused the most stir however. The picture was a close-up of the engine compartment. It made several in the room groan, and then become silent. Then after some pause, Shane was the first to stand up and yell "THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!" Glen X then commented "No way can this be! This is sacrilegious!"
The picture disclosed why the Corvette was smoking, and leaking oil as well, pointed out the Tall Cool One. The Corvette had been modified all right, with a COBRA Ford engine!
There was a lot of discussion, which turned to some anger as well. Then the group got back to business. The General has instructed us to destroy the plans to this modification, and the Corvette as well. Their feelings are that it will never be a true Corvette ever again after this, and will only bring embarrassment and shame to the Corvette name like this! All in the room agreed on the mission, but could not agree on who should get the privilege of blowing it up.
After over a half hour of heavy discussion, they decided that they could split up into two groups, JYW and Carl would fly the mission, and the rest would destroy the papers and drawings of this deviate of Automotive nameplates.
They split up and left almost immediately after the meeting. All of them knew they had to act fast. The ground mission was code named "Blueprint" and the air mission was code named "Anti-oil slick". "Operation Blueprint"
The group had all slipped into camouflage, including the traditional warpaint. It was nightfall before they could infiltrate the New Jersey coastal area where the owner of the Mutant Corvette lived. The plan was simple enough. First they would locate and interrogate the builder of the Corvette. Then they would locate and destroy anything related to the mutant. Once done, in order to finish the mission they would have to successfully brainwash the builder so this would never be repeated again.
The mailbox had a name on it, painted poorly by hand with a brush in red paint. It said "MARTIN" but the R was reversed. Obviously not a painter one of the group whispered, with a chuckle. It was 11PM, the moon was hidden behind some clouds, providing the perfect cover we needed. The garage looked more like junkyard. The Tall Cool One mumbled "This looks like a dump". "Too bad the 'warrior' isn't here they laughed... We all agreed as we carefully climbed over old broken Ford engines, rear ends, and a few transmissions. An old Mustang was propped up beside the door. The odometer still showed its original mileage, only 34,000 miles. The rusted hull though told of its' life in the north that was short-lived. "The owner got what he paid for", one thought aloud.
Glen checked for any alarms or laser lights, which there were none. Then Ernie picked the lock, commenting "I knew my street training in LA would eventually come in to good use!" He was right again. We slowly entered the garage, and noticed the Corvette in the center of the floor, up on car ramps. Shane was the first to locate the office. Wearing infrared goggles, we scanned the rest of the garage. A cage in the rear held what must have been over a hundred cases of Ford Motor Oil. Must have been a month's supply for this guy! We entered the office which was unlocked. The workbench inside had grease all over it, and a few broken parts. It also held some drawings of exactly what we were looking for. On the top of each drawing was the words "Operation Discredit". Ernie was the first to see it, and we all looked at each other with concern. WHY was this printed on these drawings? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
We grabbed the prints, and after searching the rest of the Garage, quietly left just as we had come. Once we were about a half mile away, we were able to discuss our next step. During this discussion we continued to pass around thoughts about "Operation Discredit". But we needed to at least finish this part of our mission before the JYW and Carl comes raining down the "Wrath of Zora" missiles to the Mutant Corvette inside the garage.
We headed to the Martin residence, next. Thanks to the experience of several recon missions in the past, we were able to secure the guard dog outside, an older German Sheppard. Shane has a way with dogs, and he made friends with him instantly. That is one reason why his flight jacket says "puppy" on it. Mr. Martin was asleep on the sofa when we entered. Ernie got out the gas canister, and while Shane and Blue Streak made sure the house was empty, Ernie and I put on our gas masks, and then the canister was opened.
The gas slowly formed a mist about a foot long as it poured out of the green canister. This gas was first introduced in 1986, and designed by the CIA as a replacement for the truth serum drug that had to be injected. It is controlled by them for special use only, and still remains a National Security Secret to this day. Fears of it being used on certain political leaders in high office in the US to expose the truth, that may not always be a smart thing to do, will insure it never will get released to the public. National Security will not let that ever happen.
Once a person inhales it, it quickly penetrates the frontal lobe area of the brain (through the bloodstream), where the decision process is made. It prevents the rerouting of the logic system in the brain which is engaged when someone is trying to tell a lie.
After about 30 seconds, we removed our masks, and then proceeded with our questioning. What we found out we were not expecting. Mr. Martin was in his mid 30's, worked as a junkyard employee all his life. He was approached by a man driving a Mustang, and calling himself Delbert (Bubba) Gillis. He offered Mr. Martin $3000 to put a Cobra engine in a Corvette he had obtained under questionable means. Then the plan was to paint it, show it, and race it. The plans included loosing races, leaking oil at the shows, and always keeping the hood closed, except during Ford shows.
As the questioning continued it was apparent that a master plan, known as "Operation Discredit" was actually not from Mr. Martin himself, but from this guy named Bubba. After we gathered the rest of our information, we let Blue Streak take over. Blue Streak was trained by the CIA back in 1980's on the art of brainwashing. He was a master. It took him less than ten minutes. As we left he was chuckling, and we wondered why. Later he explained that he actually implanted in this Mr. Martin's mind that every time he got up close to an engine compartment with a Ford engine in it, he was to puke his guts out all over the engine. "It ought to come in handy at the Mustang show next week! We all laughed aloud as we headed home.
Back at headquarters we reported in to the General. He approved the air strike, and also directed us to continue the search for a guy named Delbert (Bubba) Gillis. As he holds the key to this whole mystery. "Bubba Gillis"
Bubba was busy working when we first ran across him. We had been searching for over 3 weeks to trace him down. With the help of Yahoo, on the internet, we were able to actually get his address. Then we followed him to his work. He was a mechanic, as we had guessed. He worked in the third bay of a Ford dealership, in Norfolk, VA. It was a small dealer, called Rusty's Ford. I had rented a Ford Tempo and brought it in for service in order to get a closer look at Bubba.
The service writer asked me what the problem was, and I told him just tune it up, it didn't have a lot of power. He drove the Tempo over to the third bay, and Bubba looked at the work order. The service writer came and got me in less than 30 minutes. With him was Bubba. Bubba wore a torn dark blue uniform, with simply two initials "DG" above the right pocket. His red hat was turned sorta crooked, and it reminded me of a comedian years ago. He told the crowd there were three positions for a hat to be worn in the south. He put the hat on normal and said this is forward. Turning it around so the bill is in the back, he called this reverse.
Then with a pause he put the hat back on forward, and then twisted it toward one side. This is "locked!" Well Bubba had his hat on locked, Racer Dan guessed with an inner smile. Then Bubba told me he had bad news. The engine on the Tempo had 12,300 miles on it, and it was out of warranty. It was shot! Bubba continued, telling me all of the things he found wrong. The rings were leaking oil, and although it was normal to have some leakage, mine was too much. The total estimate was for $2680.
I walked back to the third bay with Bubba, and while we talked, I noticed a decal on his tool box. I recognized it immediately, as the C5 Corvette logo. It had a red circle around it, and a red bar painted through it. I asked him what that was, and then I found out what Bubba was up to.
He looked around to see if anyone else was listening, then he told me that he was part of a counter group, supported by FMC. There are over 50 members total, and together they work to make sure that the Ford Mustang has a leading edge over the Corvette. That emblem is our logo, he continued. After a few minutes, he asked if I might be interested in joining his group. They called themselves Team DTC, which stood for "Discredit The Corvette."
I thanked him for his offer, and told him I would consider it. I thanked him for his estimate, and drove the near new Tempo out of the garage and back to Hertz.
As the rest of the group picked me up, one of them was laughing. I asked what was funny, and the Tall Cool One was holding a snapshot. It was of me in the Tempo. Then he said "We figure you would pay good money to keep this off the net. Don't you?" The rest of the gang continued to howl as I tried in vain to save my reputation by grabbing the photo. Then I responded "At least I washed my hands after I turned it in, OK?"
The General responded to our scrambled message in less than 5 minutes. He told us to head back to the base, and regroup. There will have to be another mission to address the DTC group, which we had uncovered.
Meanwhile, "Operation Anti-Oil-Slick" was progressing.
The Junkyard Warrior and Carl were preflighting the Yellow C5 fighter jet in the "Indoor Junkyard" in North Carolina... Carl was a qualified pilot in his own right, but before qualifying for the C5, a "check ride" with a senior pilot was required.. Carl looked at the posters of the damaged aircraft adorning the walls, and couldn't believe that he was about to fly in the same aircraft that was in the photos.
"Don't worry, Carl, I've flown this baby lots of times, and never had a piece fall off." the new pilot giggled nervously and walked over to the corner of the hanger and lifted the cover from the older plane in the corner "What's this?" he innocently asked... The Warrior looked up from the maintenance panel on the Yellow jet, and replied, "Well, some of my friends like to fly older warbirds, for the nostalgia, I guess... so I figured I'd tinker around with that old C4 variant in my spare time..." It was crashed in a Las Vegas air race last year. The tail fins clearly showed the aircraft serial number, LT5110. The black rose paint was covered in a thick dust, and the nose stood out with the different shade of purple on it. "It'll be done in the next couple of months."
Carl lowered the cover and stared at the rack of spare LT5 engines and parts on the wall... "At least you can keep it running, I heard parts for those were hard to get." The Junkyard Warrior let out a soft chuckle and closed the access panel to the port LS-1 power plant.
"All done, suit up, its time to fly" The clock on the wall read 22:30...
Carl and the Warrior strapped on the urban camouflage nomex G-suits and gloves and entered the low slung cockpit and strapped into the comfortable leather ejection seats. The doors shut, the Junkyard Warrior fired up the twin LS-1s..The soft whistling sound changed to a slightly irregular low idle, until the throttles were applied. The coded transmitter in the cockpit opened the earthen wall behind the plane, and the sleek Yellow ship glided gracefully out of the hanger.
The helmet heads up display showed the twin LS-1s to be happily performing to expectations, the newer export parts, combined with the new calibration had added another 15% to the power band, which made the jet much more responsive on takeoff, and the Warrior used this opportunity to "initiate" the new pilot, he slammed the throttles to the max as he was approaching the end of the taxiway, and did a U-turn at the end of the turn, and rocketed down the runway. The Z-rated Goodyear Runflats howled with protest as the ground speed indicator showed 300MPH, and immediately yanked the C5 fighter vertical and experienced that rare feeling of a seven G takeoff.
Carl wasn't protesting enough, so the Warrior put the jet into a series of corkscrew like rolls on the way up, and finally levelled at 30K feet. "Wow, that was fun" Carl said., and the Warrior made a mental note to show him a night landing without the landing lights.
The DTC (data transfer cartridge) programmed the Integrated Command Processor (ICP) in the jet to visit the small Virginia junkyard a short twenty minute flight away... The jet was already on a descending approach as soon as they had levelled off, and Carl was busy working the weapons computer through the infrared display's in the helmets.
The Junkyard Warrior noted the other C5 pilots on the long-range radar leaving the area, and gave Carl the green light to unsafe the weapons. The Jet buffeted slightly passing through 10,000 feet as the turbulence disrupted the airflow over the yellow wings, but the ship was mostly undisturbed Carl was fiddling with the targeting computer as the ship continued to descend. The weapon of choice for this mission was the standard Sparrow missile, modified for the C5 squadron by the skunk works.
The junkyard in the Virginia suburbs was now visible on the map displayed in the dash of the C5 fighter Jet, and the weapons screen, with its much higher resolution was already focusing on the "Corvette" in the open garage door. The cross hairs finally lined up on the "Power by Ford" blue oval sticker on the rear window.
"FOX ONE, FOX ONE" yelled Carl nervously, and the solid rocket motors of the missiles ignited and streaked away from the jet. The Junkyard Warrior followed the missiles visually and on the screen when the quiet Virginia Junkyard erupted into a flaming mushroom in the evening sky. The entire garage collapsed, and one very large flaming piece, later identified as a 460 block, embedded itself into a tree next to a Mustang.
Carl took over the controls and flew the jet back to Tara field, where the rest of the squad was waiting. Carl fought off the urge to show the rest of the Squadron exactly what kind of tricks he has learned flying these birds, and elected to keep a "low profile" for at least one night. He knew the time will come, and he will be ready.
The landing Carl did was picture perfect, and the whole crowd was on the strip waiting for the two Squadron members to return. On the big screen in the debriefing room they had watched the whole event unfold, thanks to the help of the RSL (remote satellite linking) camera just installed last week on all of the jets.
The gang almost knocked down the two of them in excitement. Shane handed the guys a beer, and they all lit up their victory cigars. They all sat out on the runway swapping tales and lies, until the sun started to peak its' red face into the morning sky.
As they walked through the hanger to leave, a message came across the scrambler ... from the General. It said:
But, everyone in the group knew that this mission was just the beginning. There was much work to be done. Team DTC, obviously set up to discredit the Corvette, was now a real threat, and a force to be reckoned with. Somewhere, out there in the mass of rusting Fords across the country, set a group of people that must be found, and converted. This may take some time, and a lot of help, but it has to be done! And what better group to take this challenge on than the C5 Fighter Jet Squadron. Sworn to uphold the name of the Corvette, and the National Corvette Museum, it will no doubt be very busy for a while.
The saga continues...