Maybe Hubbard meant aurora?
The explosion worries Jonnie, since the bombs weren't supposed to go off for another ten seconds, when they'd be on Psychlo. But... the firing started minutes ago, but since it's a "slow firing" it takes an hour to complete, right? So Jonnie set the bombs to go off somewhere between being on Earth and Psychlo?
Fretting that any moment "Psychlo armament from the home planet could still appear in the sky and crush them," Jonnie hurries to see the next phase of his plan kick off. Scots in camo hurry out of concealment and into position, and then...
Yay! There went the battle planes! Sixteen of them had been manned, each with a pilot and copilot. They had hidden in the planes all night. Keys to them had been placed on each seat.
So, what's worse here? The fact that the Psychlos left their warplanes just sitting in the open instead of in a secure hanger, and had no guards or anyone to notice a bunch of Scots camping out in the craft overnight? Or "yay!"?
While one fighter circles overhead and secures the main minesite, the fifteen others rush off under radio silence to attack the other Psychlo bases on Earth. I guess the Psychlos' communications were sabotaged by the humans, because the alternative is that Jonnie is counting on the ones in Colorado to decide against calling for help.
...wait, how would these Psychlos summon reinforcements from the home planet anyway? They have to teleport their messages around, and - ah, screw it.
Something's awry. There's supposed to be four planes left over on the airfield (why would you not sabotage the planes you aren't going to use? Why would you leave something for the enemy to take off and fight you with?), but Jonnie sees only three. Then he notices that one of the morgue's walls has been knocked down by a coffin! Terl has escaped! And Windsplitter's gone lame from all the rushing about!
So Jonnie sprints back into the compound, dodging blast rifle fire that decides to obey the law that enables heroes to walk briskly through firefights without even a graze. He jumps in the nearest plane, where there's a moment of what passes for tension in this book as Jonnie fumbles with the keys, then he starts the engine and is immediately two thousand feet up in the air, looking for Terl. Below him two bazooka teams and four assault rifle groups move in on the minesite.
See, there's a battle now! So it's exciting! It took us 374 pages, but the humans and aliens are finally shooting at each other! Next chapter even has a dogfight! What more could you want?!
Back to Chapter Three