It was a hot day in the Nevada desert.
Slowly in the distance, a dot trailing smoke came closer.
Above a faint jet engine sounded, no more than a whisper.
The sun was at its highest, burning mercilessly down.
An omen of coming events?
The dot was now a vehicle, an old yellow school bus.
Bars covered the windows.
Hands poked out of the gaps, as if asking for solace.
Rumbling along at twenty miles per hour, the bus eventually stopped.
Level ground arced out miles around it, leaving the vehicle naked.
Rusty hinges creaked and the front and rear doors slowly opened.
Nothing happened for a few seconds.
Then three dozen hardened criminals sensed freedom and left in a riot of arms and legs.
Some ran almost falling, others staggered unable to grasp that they were ‘free.’
Up above the jet engine was louder now, diving down upon its target.
With sudden ferocity the F-20 Tigershark opened fire with twin 20MM cannons.
TAT - ATAT - TATA - TAT! roared the guns.
Shells kicked up sand, bounced off rocks and exploded across the bus.
In a hiss one tyre burst, the bus leaned drunkenly over.
A small fire started inside.
Several men were sprawled on the ground, red blood soaking in.
Other prisoners now knew what was happening:
They ran for their lives as the jet curved round to re-attack.
It dropped a cluster bomb at a group of fifteen prisoners.
POP - POP - POP - POP! went the small bomblets when the case opened.
Most were killed outright, sliced and diced by anti personnel bombs.
One or two had arms and legs blown off, they moaned for their mothers.
A small hill gave cover for four men.
Rolling down range, the fighter came in.
The pilot selected rockets.
WHOOSH - WHOOSH - WHOOSH WHOOSH! screamed the 80MM explosive rockets.
Like the cluster bomb, they were area weapons and the complete hill was blanketed.
Nothing survived the wicked explosions except drifting smoke.
Another gun run hit three men running over the open desert, cutting them down.
Two more men stood their ground and told the F-20 pilot to fuck off.
The pilot saw their raised fingers.
His remaining cluster bomb soon sorted them out.
Now it was time for his ‘dumb’ bombs.
Three tumbled free, aimed by computer, and hit the yellow bus.
BOOM - BOOM - BOOM! spoke the 750lb bombs.
A cacophony of sound and violence tore the smouldering machine apart.
Six men who had doubled back and hid inside or under it were blown to Hell.
With only a few cannon shells left of air to ground ordnance, the pilot spotted a lone figure.
A dive, a burst, a kill and it was over. Too easy!
Climbing back to altitude, the Tighershark went in search of his only airborne target -
a Boeing 747 full of 500 murderers.
Like the old school bus, it was remotely controlled with no crew.
Two Sidewinder missiles would take care of this beast and his underwing drop tanks were still half full.
Happily the merc pilot grinned. This line of work was fun and paid well.
And it got rid of scum.