Chapter 34 snippet

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“How in the hell did I let you talk me into this?”

Kate ignored Loving’s comment as she piloted the fighter. Bundled up in thick, white, artic clothing, they were ready to make their move. After showing her where the hidden compartment was, she had watched as the security chief loaded up a pair of rifles onto the craft.

When they had reached the hanger bay, it had freakishly avoided being damaged. With the auxiliary power functioning, the force fields were still up and everyone worked normally. If it hadn’t been for her trip to Engineering, she would have sworn that nothing was wrong with the ship.

She worked the controls as the maneuvered around the single moon. Flicking a switch, she watched the world around her shimmer slightly. Behind her, Loving let out a groan while she fidgeted in her seat.

“Damn, Kate! I feel like I have bugs crawling on my skin!”


“Yes, I do! It started when you hit that field!”

Closing her eyes for a moment, she took in what her friend had said. This was just another example, she mused, of how she didn’t have the sensations of normal people. For four years she had flown this fighter and never once felt what she was talking about. The only explanation was the fact that most of her body was cybernetic instead of flesh and blood.

“I’ve never felt it,” she said.

“How can you not? It’s about the drive me nuts?”

“You know how,”

Loving was about to say something when what she said clicked. An uncomfortable silence fell over them as Loving realized what Kate was missing. The ability to feel even the simplest things physically was something everyone took for granted. However, it was something that Kate couldn’t experience anymore, and she found it making her solemn.

“I’m sorry, Kate,” she said. “I didn’t know…”

“Not many do,” she said, bitterness creeping into her voice. “And some throw it in my face regardless.”

“That wasn’t my purpose,”

“I know it wasn’t,” she said.

She turned her attention from the security chief to her flying. On her heads up display, the weapons emplacements glowed. Those were going to have to be her first priority, she thought, otherwise if they penetrated their stealth screen it was game over.

With a flick of a finger, she brought her targeting and weapons systems on line. If Loving had thought her flying was crazy before, she chuckled, then she would hate what was coming up! Smiling at the challenge ahead, she lined the fighter up for the descent.

And my God have mercy on their souls
, she thought, eyes narrowing, because I certainly will not.


“Sir,” the base commander said. “There’s something strange on the sensors.”

Albright was pacing the room as he thought of what Almir’s next move would be. Without a doubt she was going to try to make a move on the base, but how? The sensors that Intelligence had placed on the base would pick up any attempt by her to make a landing. Plus, with her ship damaged like it was, there was no way she was going to be using it to make the attack either.

Knowing her it will be something sneaky, devious and all around nasty, he thought, turning to face the commander.

“What is it?”

“Our sensors detected a momentary object in motion before losing it again, sir,”

“Let me see,”

He could feel his stomach dropping to his feet at the pronouncement. Almir was too damned smart for her own good, he mused. If there were a way of sneaking in undetected, she would either figure it out or have it in her back pocket!

The screen before him switched to an image of the skies over the base. As he watched, an intermittent blip appeared then disappeared. Rubbing his chin, he thought about it for a second. Could she possibly be using what he thought she was? He certainly wouldn’t put it past her for sure!

“Commander, I want you to switch the sensors to penetrate a Stealth screen.”

“A Stealth Screen?”

“Does Captain Almir still posses her fighter?”

“According to our files she does,”

“Does your files also tell you that it was outfitted by Intelligence?”

“No they don’t…wait a second! She’s using an Intelligence Stealth Screen!”

“Good work, Commander! Now tune those sensors to the band we need! Let’s see what she’s up to.”

He found himself wanting to tap his foot impatiently while waiting. Almir was coming, and he needed to think of a plan for dealing with her. Everything he had counted on didn’t take a possible escape into consideration.
Damn it to hell, why couldn’t he have expected her to survive again?

As he watched, he found the intermittent blip changing on his screen. It slowly took the form of a fighter and he could see it clearly. Smiling ever wider, he chuckled at the sight. So, he told himself, you wanted to try to sneak in here, eh? It now looks like the joke is on you, Almir!

“Commander, lock missiles on target.”

“Yes, sir,”

“You may fire when ready.”
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