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Creation Date: January 28th, 2009 11:59 PM
Kilgs Kilgs is offline
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  #7 New April 9th, 2009 11:15 PM
“Approaching the ship, ma’am.” Kim’s voice snapped Seriva out of her thoughts. She nodded and had Kim confirm their ETA with the ship. The trip had been short but silent, not common amongst this group, she noted. A look backwards showed Kestrel and Kite both staring out of the canopy to their sides. Their charge was tugged in safely against one of the rear brackets. Normally, the entire group would have been laughing and joking as the post-op excitement flooded through them and needed release. The sobering mood in the aircraft was a reminder that this mission had been a little different.

Her eyes hung over the black bag. The mission was the reason. Tonight they had stopped an assassination on one of the most hated women in the Imperium. The Margrave and her political party were responsible for spreading a message of hate and intolerance throughout the systems. They had incited riots, caused deaths and could even be traced to burned cities… Messilla, for one. Seriva shook her head and glanced over at Kestrel. His face held no expression but she noted his jaw was tight with tension. For him, more than any of the others, the Margrave and tonight’s mission would have held no feelings of satisfaction. He was too business-oriented to let it show but she knew that a careful watch of him would be required.

“This is Eagle’s Nest, you’re on our sensors. No sign of pursuit.”

The voice calmed some of Seriva’s nerves as Kim answered the comm. In a few moments, she could feel the descent of the aircar through the clouds. The moment where they broke cloud cover was instantaneous and Seriva noted that they were traveling at max speed through the sky. Kim was also quiet as she steered the car further towards the waters below them as if she had adopted the mood of the operations crew without effort.

The aircar plummeted down at terminal acceleration until Kim hauled up on the servo stick and the airfans began to whine with the pressure of fighting the planet’s gravity. The waters below them raced up to meet them and Seriva tore her eyes away from the window in order to stem the nervousness at their altitude. The vast ocean of New Batu stretched below them and their passage disturbed the surface enough to throw spray on the canopy. The ocean swept around the small planet and took up over 90% of the surface blocking in the two main continents. However, the ocean, as it was locally called, was nothing more than a big lake with an average depth of only 200m. There were fissures and rifts that dropped further but the water-logged planet was little more than a big swamp in most places. The low depths contributed to plant and substrate buildup in numerous places all over the globe. It resulted in a makeshift islands and swamp hummocks all over the surface, little oases of life and muck.

That had made it possible for the No Cause For Regret to shake its way into the planet’s atmosphere and touch down in one of those areas. The sensors flickered momentarily and Seriva double-checked them. Only a ghost of an image had flickered for a moment on the sensor display and it was straight ahead. The Regret had shut down all principal systems and the aircar’s rigged net had likely only gotten lucky.

Seeing Kim’s look of concern, she shook her head. “Just an after-image of home.”

The pilot nodded and spoke quickly. “Touchdown in 1 minute, people. Secure yourselves.” There was a brief flurry of checked harnesses and Kestrel had been the one to check on the Margrave, Seriva noted. Then they were shooting towards a dark speck on the horizon.

A little less than a minute later, the aircar slowed and the entire landscape illuminated at the touch of a button. Floodlights in the front and below the car lit up the boggy island before them and the craft drifted upwards as it skirted the tops of bog trees and vines. It was only a matter of moments before the lights illuminated a spot of black floating in the swamp before them.

“This is Eagle’s Nest, illuminating.”

The blackness festooned itself in a series of lights, boarding and landing, as it powered up the basic systems. The No Cause For Regret lay hulldown in the swampy water and covered in vines and netting. It was immense from Seriva’s point of view although much of it lay beneath the surface of the water. Over a third of it projected out of the water and they had spent several days covering it with foliage and disposable netting in case of a fly-over by planetary forces. The lights were peripheral but they allowed Kim to guide the fast transport to the side of the ship. A rectangle of red light beamed out from inside the ship as the side airlock opened and a figure appeared. The aircar shook a bit as Kim guided it slowly in to hover alongside the narrow doorway.

“Move, people.” She held the controls steady but the aircar still swung a bit as her passengers began to move about the interior of the vehicle. Seriva levered herself out of the main chair and popped the canopy, Victov’s hand stuck through the opening a moment later and she grabbed it. The man’s jerk added to the boost from her legs and she launched into the space alongside him.

She looked up at him and held her thumb up. With the hoverfans this close, the whine was almost deafening and she knew speaking would only waste time. Victov nodded his head at her hand and pushed her back into the ship as he went to help the others. Seriva made her way into the interior of the ship, stopping off at the small ready-room that was off the main passage. She kept the harness on for now but deposited the more expensive and mission-specific of her items. Goggles, SMG, cable line and the other tools went into her locker. She kept the Valera handgun on her hip. There was no need to be careless. The earbud remained in place as well, the team made a point of staying in contact at all times. The mission wouldn’t be over for several more days.

With a hissing click, the locker was closed and she turned to see the Kestrel and Kite carrying the ‘package’ down the hall and past the ready-room. They were headed for the staterooms. She keyed her comm.

“Status check on River.”

“River is unloaded and readying dispersal.” Kim’s voice was tinny with the airlock still howling with the turbofans. A downshift in the whine got her attention. A glance down the corridor showed Victov helping Kim through the airlock. The aircar was slowly drifting away and down from the ship. Kim made her way into the ready-room as Victov sealed the airlock.

“River is dispersed. We’re scrubbed.” Kim reported in as she walked past Seriva and gave her a thumbs-up. The tall frame of Victov was right behind her. Seriva’s eyes caught his and his eyebrows shot up as he regarded the younger pilot’s feet. Kim refused to wear footgear on the ship, she had kicked them off as soon as she stepped into the ready-room. Victov shook his head and smiled as she headed out to her stateroom. The pilot’s gear was minimal and the sloppy woman usually tossed it all in her room until someone made her put it back in place. The younger woman had an odd sense of proper placement for her gear but it tended to go along with her penchant for creativity.

The ship’s speakers cracked for a second and the Captain’s voice was heard throughout the interior.

“Prepare for lift-off.”
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