The Betrayal Chapter 25 snippet
Working with her controls for the landing, Kate let a curse escape under her breath. This was one time, she thought, that she would kill to have had her original fighter again. Sitting on the bottom of a lake on Selvior, it had been equipped with a cloaking screen that hid its Fleet origins. This one did not, which was going to make it stick out like a sore thumb.
Nothing I can do about it now, she thought as her fighter started to enter the upper reaches of Haven’s atmosphere. I knew I should have had it installed when I took delivery of this fighter! However, with the **** happening after Selvior I never had the time...
If there was one thing that she never took for granted while flying, it was atmospheric penetrations. The only thing that was expected about them was the fact that they were full of unexpected problems. Sometimes, she thought, you could have one landing that was smooth as a baby’s bottom. Then another time you could have one where you thought your own fighter was going to crash around you, no matter how hard you tried to keep it from happening.
This was one of these problematic penetrations, Kate discovered, where every bit of her ability was needed to guide her fighter to a landing. Grunting with effort, she had both hands full controlling her fighter’s landing, and the amount of power necessary. Who would have thought that such a peaceful looking world would be so energetic in its atmosphere?
For such a quiet solar system this planet sure
has a overly active atmosphere, Kate thought as she was thrown forward against her harness. The main computer disengaged the thrusters while firing up the air breathing turbines, causing the cockpit to fill with their reassuring whine. Why couldn’t it have a nice quiet landing path?
Working to get the nose pointed downwards to help with the flight, Kate watched gray, oily looking clouds race by the canopy. Was this all there was to see, she wondered as she looked over her controls. Ever since she had started her penetration, there had been nothing but clouds. There had to be more to this planet then a perpetual case of Seattle on steroids!
With one last shudder, her fighter penetrated the clouds and emerged into open sky. Keeping one eye on her computer while descending, she looked for some sort of landing beacon. Without a beacon, there would be nowhere for her to land, and Kate didn’t particularly care to repeat Selvior. Feeling her stomach tighten in stress, she kept an eye out for is as she descended towards the coordinates Intelligence had given her.
I don’t think Fleet will give me another fighter if I crash this one, she thought as she spotted a town in the distance. If anything, they’re probably rooting for me to die in the crash!
The navicomp started to chirp to get her attention, and she looked at its screen. Pursing her lips into a tight smile, she noted the presence of a beacon finally. It certainly had taken long enough, she thought, any longer and anyone trying to land her would have crashed first!
Working air currents was tricky enough when one flew a fighter full time; it was even harder when you were just a part-time pilot! Lord only knew, she mused, when the last time she had tried this was. Beta Scorpii had been a lucky break for her since it had no atmosphere!
Clicking her tongue in concentration, she found the tricks she had learned in flight school coming back to her. A smile crossed her face as she used the updrafts and downdrafts to her advantage, the spaceport appearing before her. Just like riding a bike, she thought, it always comes back once you have to do it again!
The fighter cut through the air, flying as if on a wire, as it descended on the spaceport. Smiling to herself, she wondered what the smugglers would think of flying like this! They’d probably be impressed, she told herself with a chuckle, once they got past the shock of a Fleet fighter being in their hanger bay!
Kate could feel the all the smugglers eyes on her as she landed her fighter without a bobble. Powering her engines down, she slowed to a stop on the landing pad. Whether they liked it or not, she thought, she was here to take care of business, and they would just have to get used to it.
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