The missile arced into the cloud banks sharply. Shedding Machs like water, it slowed from its cruise speed to strike velocity. The satellite linkup was still (thankfully) live and satellite visuals picked out the target and the missile throughout the EM spectrum. A stream of data flashed through my HUD as the missile made millisecond decisions about wind interference, target movement and ETA. At an altitude of 5000, it slowed to Mach 3 in preparation for the strike.
“Get down, missile incoming! Brace for overpressure!”
“Negative, heavy fire.”
“Rescind combat orders! Disengage, 5 seconds remaining!”
Covering a kilometre a second, the missile streaked downwards out from the cloud banks, a growing spark in the sky as it dived vertically down. Behind me, men scrambled to get away from the blast zone. I slowly backed off, holding the target designator firmly locked onto the hulking machine. The kinetic-only missile crushed it into the dirt, heat dissipation manifesting as an explosion of searing overpressure.