Chapter 19Mature

Up in the air…

An aircraft roared through the skies of Galileo. The pilot circled the floating kingdom with risk of being shot down. That risk had to be taken. There was a desperate search for others amongst the levitating mountain. This silver colored craft bore the red lion head emblem that represented Apalia. Not much time could be wasted on lingering. An abrupt pull up higher into the clouds for cover was the only option for now.

“Damnit! I know I told everybody to keep in contact! Fucking shitheads! They’re gonna get themselves killed!” shouted a frustrated fighter pilot.

Many on the recovery team didn’t understand why in the world Brunson would send Samantha out by herself. Then again, it wasn’t as if she didn’t have her own means of keeping herself safe and out of sight. The Apalian military afforded her one of their own aircraft. Sam was one of the best pilots to ever fly in the skies.

Samantha preferred this craft because of speed. She wasn’t worried about stealth since half of the world had the technology to spot her in the air anyways. The paint job was done in metallic paint. Its front nose was built like a spear to symbolize its offensive purpose. On the very tip of the spear were two bullet hole shaped openings. Behind the arrowhead appearance was a slender body and bird shaped wings holding a payload of missiles.

This thing wasn’t built to conceal its presence. It was made to be seen. Most of the time enemies would run in the sight of this heavily armed machine. Anywhere from thirty to forty compact biometric seeking missiles could be found on the craft. Even the sound it made which was that of a supersonic screech was meant to scare.

“Jango 4 this is Jango 6. Are you out there?” she asked over her radio. One of her sleeves to her fully black fighter pilot attire got caught in the push knob controls. “Shit! Goddamn it! The most advanced fighter known to man and they can‘t make these fucking levers smaller? Leave it to Bay 3 to fuck something up,” she cursed in frustration. Nobody was contacting her and she didn’t know why. The onboard radios could broadcast and receive messages from around the world. There was no excuse for no communication.

Her helmet’s mouth piece was broken. She realized this after she got her sleeve caught on another knob and had to take off her helmet to free herself. “You shitting me? Those assholes from Bay 3 don’t know how to fix shit! I told them it was broken. Fuck me. Everybody’s out there blind. I got a fucking 7743 Sawblade and they‘re blind. Out-fucking-standing,” she said to herself.

As advanced as the Sawblade was the craft still needed a power source. Sam would have to land soon and find water. Fortunately, water would be easy to find when she was flying over and ocean. Most of the fuels of old were outlawed for being used as power sources. Using water to fuel jets was common where Samantha came from. That was the only reason why Apalia hadn’t lost a war in over a hundred years. Their jets had an unlimited amount of power due to the use of water. Because of this the Apalian airpower could fly all the time without interruptions.

“That’s a good spot,” she whispered. “Navis, plot a landing line at ten o’clock. Need some water,” she said. A mechanical voice responded with, “Affirmative. Plotting line.” An orange line appeared on Sam’s helmet visor. She placed the helmet back on her head despite how useless she thought it was with a dead mouthpiece.

The Sawblade hovered over the ocean above Galileo. She was three miles from the kingdom which was a safe range to not be blown out of the sky. The bottom of the jet opened up. A few gears clicked. After the sound show a rubber hole descended from the belly of the blade. Water was being sucked up into the jet.

Sam fell asleep. It took a while to get the water into the jet and filter out all of the pollution. The water had to be pure. She woke up to the sound of an incoming message. “Sam! We need help! They got Kory! Sam? Sam?! Are you there? Fuck! This thing isn’t working!” a voice shouted.

The pilot straightened herself up in the chair and pressed a blue button on the side of her helmet. A visual display appeared on the visor of that helmet. Shiva was trying to contact her. She couldn’t talk back because of the broken mouth piece. Shiva would never know if Sam got the message or not. “Shit! Come on! Work! Damn! All this fucking dust and sand must’ve fucked this thing up. We’ll never catch that damn light train without air support,” Shiva admitted.

Any sign of a continuing transmission was gone. Velencia must have turned off the head visor. Sam had all the information she needed. A few minutes later the jet was fully powered and ready to fly. The pilot’s mechanical right arm gripped onto the joystick and pulled the craft up into the sky. She reached to the right of her in the cockpit and shoved the thruster grip forward. A boom shot across the sky with the blazing acceleration.

“I’m coming Kory. Just hang on,”

She was pushing the engines as far as they could go. Every mach slapped her in the face. Her brain went into full computer mode and then back to human every once in while when the forces were getting too strong. While Sam still considered Velencia and Jack to be enemies that were helping her she had an affection for Kory. Her feelings mostly came from the death of her own son. William was born with Ripper’s disease. It was a condition common in newborns after the year 2144. Sponsorship didn’t guarantee immunity to the illness. She had to watch as her son slowly died. His body deteriorated.

“I knew I should’ve kept him with him. Got more than enough room back here,”

A whole hour passed. Xiu Xhang was still thirty minutes away. Sam knew shortcuts. She knew how to get places fast due to her multiple tours of war. Her eyes were scanning the skies along with her onboard radar. By now, any light train that might’ve been in Shiva’s area made some kind of traveling progress.

She got an idea. Light trains would always leave an aerial residue of skin cells. “Rip scan,” she said as a command to her computer. The helmet’s visor came to life. Stream trails of light appeared on the screen. She could follow the path to her target. This kind of technology was normally used to track targets that were on foot. Therefore, the path was scattered but narrow enough to be followed.

Finally, she made some progress. The light train was in sight. All she had to do was either force it to go down or get onboard. Samantha was pretty good at both tasks. “Open the hatch,” she commanded. The computer didn’t comply. “Pilot Isenk I will not put yourself nor this flight at risk,” said the computer. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I kinda figured. Gotta do this the hard way then,” she said.

An old trick Zach showed Sam would be useful here. He told her that her arm was much more than an offensive weapon. She morphed her limb into an automatic machine gun. Her left arm reached up and grabbed the cockpit shield’s latch. Once she was ejected out of the craft the shield could be used to protect her from hostile weaponry and to withstand some of the g-force. With her mind Sam popped out a few of the wires in her arm and forced those wires to extend further. The wires penetrated the joystick controls.

“Danger, security breach in the cockpit. Auto shutdown in progress,” the AI announced. Sam smiled. Her plan worked. If she could fool the computer into thinking it was being hacked or tampered with it would automatically eject her from the cockpit.

The cockpit shield was released. Sam was launched up into the air. She didn’t have a parachute. She wouldn’t need one. The wires to her arm retracted as soon as the shield came loose. A harphoon morphing came in the place of the machine gun arm. She launched the anchor and line. The light train dragon roared in pain when it was struck in the rear by the harpoon.

Sam pulled herself in. She grabbed on tight to the scaled surface of the dragon. This beast was going so fast that she had to force her mind to go computer. Remnants of her personality and her goals was all the computer mind focused on. She only went to this stage just to keep herself from being knocked out by the speed.

There were no doors to this creature. Instead, there were holes that could open and close only if the dragon wanted them to. Sam needed to get in. Her arm changed into a circular saw. She used the bright yellow hair on the dragon’s back to pull herself to the base of the beast. A hole was sawed in the middle of the light train. Sam squeezed into that hole with blood from the dragon covering most of her body. A heavy gust attempted to suck her right back out of the hole. She used the cockpit shield to cover up the exposure and plug the breach.

Once inside Samantha reached for her utility belt. She pulled out a flashlight and turned it on. Despite the fearsome appearance this light train had a rather luxurious inside. There were marble floors. Display cases filled with Chinese styled golden dragons were everywhere. Leather couches littered the place. Her mind went back to human.

“Damn, not bad,”

There were two doors in the room. Both were at opposite sides of each other. Sam would have to make a decision. The computer side of her mind would’ve picked the path of least resistance. However, Sam thought smarter. She needed to eliminate whatever threats she might face. If she ran into hostiles at one end but not the other and Kory happened to be at the other end she may put the boy at risk of being harmed. She needed everybody inside the dragon to believe that there were more than just one person inside.

Sam morphed her arm into a grenade launcher. Without a second thought she blasted the door that was furthest away from her. She planted her back against the wall holding the entry way closest to her. Her eyes stayed fixed on her damage across the room from her. What came out of the pathway was something Sam didn’t expect to see; old enemies.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said. Three men ran into the room with handguns that looked like black bananas. All of them were dressed in loose fitting black attire with shirts wrapped around their heads. She knew who they had to be. If one man was dressed like this then she wouldn’t have been worried. But all three looked the same. “Sky pirates!” she thought.

Quickly she ran towards one of the display cases. She knew these guys would be easy to deal with. The reputation of the sky pirates was that of a group of feared rebels. However, Sam knew better. None of these rogues could shoot very well. In fact, she probably could have stood still and had a good chance of survival. Still, Sam didn’t want to risk it.

Laser rounds were being fired into the display case she took cover behind. She was ducked down behind the bottom portion of the case which was steel. Sam let her arm do the talking for her. She morphed it into another automatic rifle with a longer barrel. The business end of the weapon slithered around the corner of the case. She opened fire.

“Shoot the bitch! Don’t hit the walls!” shouted one of the pirates. By now the rogues assumed a defensive position behind the doorway they entered from. This was the kind of firefight Sam didn’t like to engage in. She wanted her ammo brawls to be short and to the point. Her idea of trying to shoot at every foot she could from behind the case was a failure due to the cover these men now had.

Another morph later her arm became assembly of circular aligned barrels. She sighed. “Guess I gotta get up close and personal,” her mind figured out. A humming noise came from her forehead. Sam needed to get rid of the human in her and let the machine take over. Her right eye rolled forward in its socket. In place of a pupil was a green orb that shined bright.

The cyborg rushed from behind the corner with the shotgun held up at waist level. Her eye presented multiple vision arrays in her wired mind. Even while running forward her targets were being acquired. Red X symbols appeared on all three of the men. Blast after blast emitted from the firearm. No matter how much these pirates tried to hide from the rifle fire the shells dropping from Sam’s arm drilled penetrating slugs into the walls of the doorway.

Sam snapped out of her computerized blood lust. She was shocked at the amount of damage she inflicted. Dismembered body parts lay everywhere. “I would say sorry but I guess it’s a little too late for that,” she thought. “Need to find Kory. Two ways to go though. Hmm…” she pondered. “Oh course! I’m such a fucking idiot!” she exclaimed.

Her eye would be used again. The green ball could trace rip scans just like her helmet. Physical energy conservation was the only reason why she used the helmet instead of her own vision. She was hot on the trail from where the pirates came from. Her eyes darted towards a sign reading, “Ball Room.”

She thought she couldn’t move fast enough. Her boots tapped against the marble floor. The running would tire her and prevent her from utilizing her more powerful arm weapons. A simple assault rifle had to be her weapon of choice since it was easy to morph and not as costly in stamina. Her back planted itself against next to the door that she assumed to be the ball room.

The door was kicked open with the standard issue Apalian fighter pilot boot. Samantha froze in her tracks. She couldn’t believe what she saw. The mechanical clicks of firearms seemingly had no end as a sea of pirates turned to face her with guns drawn.

There stood the Galileon assassin with her arm around Kory. “So nice of you to show up Captain Isenk. Or is it former Captain? No matter. Your title means nothing. You fell right into my web little insect. Time to go to sleep,” the six armed women said. Sam’s vision went dark as she felt the butt of a rifle slam into the back of her head.

she thought to herself. Her eyes caught the sight of a tank filled with water in the center of this part of the dragon. There were great white sharks in the tank. The animals were thought to be extinct hundreds of years ago. They could be the last of their kind. That was more reason for Samantha not to take down the dragon but to simply extract Kory and get out of this creature.
she reminded herself. Her head turned to see the gunner’s seat behind her. Sam didn’t trust Shiva or Dunn. She especially didn’t trust them with a kid even if the child belonged to them. Both of them were too irresponsible to be parents as far as she was concerned.
she thought to herself. It wouldn’t take much time to travel to Xiu Xhang with this speed. She had already hit mach one. The forces were always difficult for Sam to deal with due to parts of her body being mechanic. Most of her comrades thought that since half of her brain was nothing more than a machine that dealing with the g-force would be easy for her. However, the metal in her often malfunctioned whenever she went to these speeds. Sam was only an exceptionally good pilot in combat. Long distance travel wasn’t her love.

The End

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