After an accident allowed surgeons to reconstruct her face with Barbie in mind, Misty Cordell focused on proving to herself she's much more than a pretty face, even joining the Medusas, the first all-female Special Forces team. But when she saves a handsome pilot, it's a good thing she knows that looks can be deceiving. Because Gregorii Harkov isn't who he says he is.
As Greg and Misty run for their lives from an unknown enemy, they hardly know whether to trust one another, let alone anyone else. Can they find their way through the layers of deception to the only truth that matters?
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August 01, 2007
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Excerpt from The Medusa Affair by Cindy Dees
Misty Cordell powered back the throttles smoothly, and the hurtling T-38 jet slowed obediently. It might officially be a training aircraft, but it was originally designed as a supersonic fighter and was still one hot jet. She touched the stick between her knees and the narrow nose dipped into a descent.
"Snake 51 departing flight level three-seven-zero for ten thousand feet," she announced to Anchorage Center.
"Roger, Snake 51. You are cleared for approach to runway 31 at your final destination."
Her destination being a classified Special Forces training facility in western Alaska, both she and the controller were prohibited from naming it over the radio. Its optimistic sobriquet was Camp Green.
"How are you doing, sir?" Misty asked her back-seat passenger--and boss--General Hal Wittenauer. "Great. Any chance you could throw in a barrel roll or two on the descent?"
"I'm afraid that's against regulations."
He chuckled, a metallic sound in her helmet speakers.
"Since when have regulations ever gotten in your way?"
Misty smiled into her oxygen mask. When indeed? "Remember the M-1 maneuver I showed you--where you tense up your legs and abdominal muscles to hold blood up in your head so you don't pass out?"
"Yeah," he grunted, appropriately tensed.
She eased the T-38 into a lazy, tubular roll. The jet floated upside down easily over the top of the roll, then the g's loaded up as they scooped out the bottom side of the barrel roll. Her arm felt tremendously heavy and the painfully tight as a blood-pressure cuff. She glanced at the g-meter. 5.9... 6.1... Better not pull any harder than that. She'd hate to knock out her boss.
She eased the plane out of the maneuver. Her g-suit was just finishing deflating when a frantic voice burst over the radios. It was garbled, unintelligible. Sounded agitated.
The air traffic controller snapped back, "Unknown rider, unknown rider. Identify yourself now or you will be shot down."
Whoops. A foreign jet too close to U.S. airspace perhaps? More jumbled chatter from the unidentified plane.
"Say again," the air traffic controller ordered with a certain amount of exasperation.
The male voice transmitted again, this time more clearly. Misty started. That was Russian! The international language of aviation was English. Every pilot was required to speak it on the radios. But this guy was definitely transmitting in Russian. She turned up the volume, listening intently.
She transmitted urgently, "Anchorage Center, this is Snake 51. Your unidentified aircraft says he's a military aircraft defecting from Russia. He's been shot. Is requesting clearance to land and an ambulance to meet him. He says he's bleeding badly."
"Roger, Snake 51. Can you relay for me in Russian?"
"Tell him we've got him on radar. Ask him what type of aircraft he's flying so I can tell the boys in the bunkers not to shoot him down."
Misty keyed her microphone and said in Russian, "Russian aircraft, I have relayed your message. Say type of aircraft, please."
A pregnant pause stretched out. Finally, the scratchy voice replied, "I am a MiG 55."
Misty's jaw dropped inside her face mask. She'd never heard of such a plane! A new fighter prototype? And it was defecting? Sweet.
Apparently, the air traffic controller needed no translation of that one. He replied, "Snake 51, tell the MiG he's cleared to land at your destination. If you could relay the ILS frequency to him and give him any assistance he needs to set up and fly the approach, that would be appreciated. Tell him an ambulance and fire trucks will be waiting for him at the end of the runway."
The next fifteen minutes were busy ones for Misty, keeping ahead of her own jet and talking the wounded Russian pilot through the Instrument Landing System approach to Camp Green. Worrisome was the way his voice was getting weaker and how he seemed to be struggling to focus on the task of flying his plane. He didn't say any more about his injuries or refer to any further bleeding, but from her first aid training, he sounded on the verge of passing out.
She transmitted, "Still there, Russian jet?" "Yes," he replied grimly. "Stay with me. You're almost there. Do you have the field in sight?"
"What's your altitude and airspeed?"
He relayed the numbers to her, albeit sluggishly. It sounded as if he was fighting for all he was worth to stay conscious and concentrate on flying.
"Is your gear down and locked?"
"How about your flaps? Are they configured for landing?"
"Are you on glide slope?"
"Uhh, I'm high."
"Power back a little and push your nose down."
"I know how to fly," came the snapped response. Excellent. That sounded a little more alert. "Let me know when you've stabilized on course and on glide slope."