I had always liked flying at night. I could look above me to see the moon and all the stars as the deep hum of my engines filled my ears with the sound of flight. It felt more like a perfect silence if both engines were working right. They were working perfectly that night.
An order came over the radio. All orders are the same.
I never learned very much about the constellations, but I had been flying years enough to name my own. Nobody was ever with me to correct the names. I saw Re-Re off to my left. Re-Re was my second-cousin Renaldo's nick-name. The seven stars formed a human-like body going up for a lay-up in basketball. Renaldo was back at the college getting an education because he was so good at basketball. My skills had always been limited to doing what I was told.
The Drum constellation sat a few degrees above Re-Re, and I called it Drum because it looked like one of those ancient tribal drums that get exhibited in museums. I didn't have to have a good reason for what I called my contellations.
I heard the tone and pushed the button.
Man, those stars were beautiful that night; a million points of light in the black sky. The explosion broke the silence of my perfect flight. About a million people lived down there; a million points of darkness in a dark world.
I flew my machine straight up. I wanted to chase the stars, but the blast chased me. If only the fire had finished the job. I was saved by luck, fate, or just the 28th Search and Rescue Brigade. They took me to the Command Center to meet her, and I shook hands with our highest ranking official.