The Hunted Chapter 33 snippet

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The first pings of the active sensors on Wales reached them while still a half an hour out. With the advanced Electronic Warfare equipment on her fighter, and the use of the stealth screen, the system didn’t make Kate worry. However, it showed a serious lack of effort put into the planetary defenses that caused her to pause.

Yes, the system was blanketed with early warning drones, but why limit the planetary system to such a short range? It didn’t take much effort to avoid the drones-especially if you know where they were. A comet, or other celestial body that could cloud sensors would work wonders. Kate was willing to bet that Ferini used the same approach she did to reach Wales under cover of stealth.

Either way, with the equipment built into her Intelligence-built fighter, no one was going to detect their arrival. However, none of that would make Kate feel any better until they were on the ground. With a defensive missile launcher on the grounds of the retreat, it was entirely possible that Ferini could detect them.
If he did…then the possibility of taking a missile was greater then she wanted to reflect on.

Just keep your mind on the job at hand, she told herself. This is difficult enough without you trying to think on sidetracks that aren’t necessary!

“Kate,” Thad said. “You’re computer is detecting the planetary sensors scanning us.”

Of course they were, she reflected, and had been for the past couple of minutes. Provided Thad didn’t touch anything, Wales HQ wouldn’t pick anything up. This was why the M-22 had been chosen, and upgraded, by Intelligence. The ability to infiltrate the airspace of any planet without being detected was a priceless weapon in the case of war.

And I’m sure someone will find a way to use it also, she thought with a frown.

“We’ve got the best equipment Intelligence could buy,” Kate said, “Doesn’t your fighter have this equipment too?”

“Nope,” he said. “Mine is a slightly older model then yours. It’s supposed to be upgraded soon.”

“Now I now why you flew my ship to Necko,” A smile crossed her face despite the effort to keep it back. Thad could be so transparent at times!

A silence fell over the cockpit and both of them let it linger. The knowledge of what was ahead made silence preferable to small talk. Who knew if either agent would be alive this time tomorrow and that weighed heavily on them.

I certainly wouldn’t put much faith in our being alive tomorrow, Kate thought.

Despite the attempts Reyes made to build up their confidence, it wasn’t working. Two agents, even specially trained ones like they were, didn’t have high odds against thirty plus enemy combatants. If they did manage to pull it off, the Alliance had better be giving them medals!

Kate noticed a freighter on her scanners, and she changed course accordingly. While the stealth screen could make the craft invisible, it left some distortion in space. If someone were to get close enough, they could tell that the fighter was under stealth and be able to report it to Planetary HQ.

What Wales lacked in early detection equipment, they certainly made up for in orbital defenses. Kate arched an eyebrow at the sheer number of automated platforms. If someone had managed to slip up on the planet, they were certainly in for a rude awakening once they arrived!

“Thad,” she said after noticing something on her scanner. “Do you see something I’m not?”

“I don’t see it either,” he said.

“Ferini’s ship must be on the surface,” she said. “And there’s no way to use active sensors to detect it because that will give away our position.”

“I’m sure its there,”

“So am I,” Kate said. “The only downside is we’re going to have to land a ways away from the compound to keep from having our turbines heard. Unfortunately, the stealth screen can do nothing for noise.”

“Given how large the forests are,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll have much trouble traveling.”

“Trouble no,” Kate said. “Time lost, yeah.”

“Sometimes you can’t get what you want,”
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