It was a sunny day and a few clouds were seen floating across the blue sky. I had reached 20,000 feet when my friend, Mike, reached me by radio.
"Hey Dean, after this test flight, why don't we take the girls out for dinner?" he said. Mike and I are the test pilots for a jet-fighter company and often got access to many jets that were later sent to the USA Army.
"Why not," I said, doing a loop mid-air as Mike laughed from the radio. Mike was currently madly in love with our boss's daughter, Allison, and would do anything to get her attention.
"Okay boys. Heads-up. Drone experimentation will begin in 10 seconds!" our boss, Mr Hayley, spoke to us.
"Game on!" I replied, activating the thrusters to gain full speed. Outside, I saw Mike's fighter jet aligning with mine. Grinning from the cockpit, he waved at me.
"Drones approaching in T-minus 20 seconds," Mike said.
On the radar I saw two drones approaching us. If the drones knocked us from the sky, they would replace jets in the air force.
"Scatter!" I said and banked to the right as the drone zipped past me.
"Yeahaaa!" Mike yelled as his drone caught up behind him.
"No way," I mumbled as I manoeuvered past the clouds and mountain tops. "Boys, if you fail, we're out of business," Mr Hayley reminded us from base. "Roger that, sir," I said, dodging a mountain. Down below was endless desert without any signs of life. "Mike, how are you doing?" I asked as I increased speed. "The drone is right behind me," Mike said through gritted teeth.
"I'm going to try a new manoeuver," I said and pulled my toggle up, starting to gain altitude.
"Dean! Are you mad? You know what happens when we climb too high! " Mike yelled.
"Unless you want to lose your job, go ahead," I said as I watched the altitude meter going up. When I had reached 30,000 feet, I could see the stars in space. I looked behind me as the drone slowly got frozen by the low temperature outside. Finally, its engine failed and it plummeted to the earth.
"Yeah, take that!" I yelled just before my thrusters stopped functioning. "Oh no!" I groaned as my jet fell downwards. "Dean, what's happening?" Mike demanded. "My thrusters malfunctioned. Back-up systems failing," I said frantically, punching every button on my screen. The altitude meter was dropping as I plummeted towards the earth.
"Eject! " Mike yelled.
"It's all jammed up!" I pulled at the handle of my ejection gear but it remained stuck.
"Home base. We have an emergency here. Dean has lost his thrusters and is losing altitude," Mike radioed our base. "Come on," I groaned as I pulled at the ejection gear. Just before I crashed, the handle came loose and I was propelled towards the sky just to see my jet burst into a ball of flames.
I spiraled down towards the ground, smashed into the dirt and passed out. I awoke to find myself in hospital with a broken arm and ribs.
"What were you thinking?" my boss shouted at me in the kindest way he could.
"I was trying to save the company," I mumbled.
"You could have cost us the company," Mike said softly.
"It's too late now," Mr Hayley said, leaving the ward. "Your little stunt there managed to shut down the drone program. At least you get to keep your job."
"So, what did I miss?" I asked after Mr Hayley had left. Mike started telling me all the details.