And the fun begins.
The words had barely left the captain’s mouth when, suddenly, the floor tipped beneath Leta’s heels and her whole body went sliding with it. Instinctively her hand shot up to seize a metal pipe above her head while her widened eyes shot from the radar screen and to the wide bay window.
Leta was finding it harder and harder to believe her eyes. Above Fiearius’ head, through the smudged glass, the view of the Fall’s End docks was beginning to lower out of sight. What had once been a landscape view of other immobile, sleeping ships in the bay was now shrinking and shrinking, replaced by the tops spires of city buildings and low clouds and —
Three four, no — six other small fighter ships. Just as the radar had warned. Just as Leta already knew.
“Border guards,” said Leta. She choked in her throat. “We won’t get far.”
With that, the metal bar she grasped unexpectedly lurched in her hand. In fact, the whole ship did, as if the entire machine flinched in protest. Was this a normal take-off, she thought hysterically, or had they just been hit? The only answer she got was from the captain, who shook off the impact like a dog throwing water off of his coat. Steadying himself, he seized the controls once more and muttered to the dashboard, sounding amused, “You got my attention, baby, relax.”
Too stunned to speak, Leta stared wide-eyed at the back of the captain’s head a moment longer before hastily pressing through the cabin, using the wall for support before collapsing into one of the passenger seats and grabbing the seatbelt around her waist. Corra did the same beside her, but with much more grace. “Told ya this is the best seat in the house,” she said, surprisingly cheerful.
“He’s nuts,” Leta groaned. “They won’t let us go anywhere.”
Beyond the window, the city shrunk into miniature and in seconds disappeared entirely. Now there was only the blurring light zooming past the windows, as if they were shooting through a dark tunnel. On either side of the window, slipping in and out of sight, the fighter ships whipped soundlessly. Leta fixated her eyes on the dancing birds, the swerving of the Dionyian’s bulk, the unending vibrating of the metal floor and the walls that shook like thunder.
Acid churned in her stomach.
Somehow, the captain was not alarmed by the storm raging through the ship’s walls. Grasping the clutch with one hand, he used the other to punch a switch in the dashboard. Apparently, it was the intercom, as he said “What are we lookin’ at, little brother?” A second later the wall speaker crackled to life.
“They’re Orion F-Class Fighters,” came Cyrus’ voice from the wall. “G Series, looks like they’ve got the 650W upgrade modul–”
“Not helping,” Fiearius interrupted, his voice remarkably even even as he seized a gear so roughly that the entire cabin tilted left, a motion that somehow didn’t seem to phase him even as Corra clutched onto the seatbelt and Leta was nearly tossed out of her seat.
Her stomach was still doing sickly somersaults, her hands clutching the armrests, when Cyrus’ annoyed voice responded, “They’ve very fast, small and can shoot a lot.”
“I can see that,” Fiearius replied, pulling the ship in another harsh, sudden angle that sent a shelf of broken ship parts crashing into Leta and Corra’s heads. Over the tumbling crash of metal upon metal, Fiearius suggested thoughtfully, “Talk to me about shields.”
“Their weapons shields can withstand a blast up to–” Cyrus began, but was cut off.
“You know the weapons shields aren’t what I was talking about,” said Fiearius, and even though the pressure in her ears was suffocating by now, Leta was suddenly stricken with alarm at the malicious lilt in the captain’s voice.
“Tell me about their impact shields, little brother,” he mused again.
Reluctantly, as though it was painful, Cyrus recited, “Due to the superior speed and size of the Orion F-Class as well as the self-sustained pilot ejection unit, all auxiliary power modules are routed into the weapon shields.” He took a deep breath and sighed. “Impact shields were dropped from the design.”