The engine of her fighter plane stuttered, coughed, and began streaming smoke. Karen Cyneas, ace pilot in the military air division, cursed. Fighting with the controls, she banked left, steering away from the rocky cliffs that jutted out from underneath the floating island of Rynne. Passing through a cloud bank, she grappled with the control wheel, the muscles in her arms straining to lift the nose of her aircraft. Dials whirled out of control and lights began flashing on her console.
“Come on, baby! Come on!” she coaxed soothingly. The engine hiccuped, stalled, coughed again and spluttered back to life.
“Don’t you do this to me you son of a bitch!” she screamed. The wind roaring past her whisked the shout away. Plummeting down towards the waves a sickeningly far ways below, Karen re-evaluated her sneaky plan to explore the restricted sectors beneath the island and cursed even harder.
Wrenching the steering controls, she managed to tip the nose of her plane skyward again. Still streaming smoke and curses, she made her way back towards the airfield. Her engine only stalled once more on the return trip, but every hack and hiccup from her machine caused her heart to jump into her throat.
The men were ready with hoses when her wheels bumped back onto solid ground. She killed the engine, and as she coasted towards the garage she could smell burning rubber. Karen was still cursing when her feet hit the ground. Continue reading