Then she caught sight of something flapping in the air next to the fist that held her wrist. It was his flight control device.
Another elbow slammed into her helmet, but as it did, her left hand was already in motion. She dropped her own flight control, letting it dangle by the short cord wound through her jacket while she reached over to seize his. She cranked the throttle to maximum.
He shot away from her in a bright red flash, flailing for his flight control as he went. It would only take a moment for him to recover, but she was quicker: one burst from her pack put her on the same trajectory. She stretched her arm out in front of her, peered down the sights of her pistol, and pulled the trigger as quickly as she could.
Two, three, four shots. Even with two good eyes, it would take a miracle to hit his fuel tank.
Seven, eight, nine shots. She was about to give it up as hopeless when the rocket-truppen exploded, an instant bonfire against a black backdrop.
Kate was battered and bruised, and she had one bullet left. The buzzing in her helmet was a constant now: her fuel tank was nearly dry. When it was empty, she would fall like a rock. And there was still one more fighter plane.
She aimed herself directly towards him, stretching her pistol out in front to aim as carefully as she could. Her red hair licked at the edges of her helmet’s visor. Somehow it had come loose and now it streamed out behind her, a flaming red trail to match that from the rocket pack.
The Messerschmitt pilot saw her coming. He might have had her right in his sights, but he didn’t fire. He bobbed its wings three times—the aviator’s signal for surrender—and wheeled back towards his base.
A minute later, Kate’s rocket pack sputtered on the last drops of its fuel as she passed through the side door of the S-1. Clem and Dr. Scott exploded into applause as she set down in the cabin. Even Reggie took his hands off the stick long enough to clap.
“How did you do it?” Dr. Scott gasped. “How did you drive off an entire squadron?”
Kate whipped off the helmet, allowing her red hair to cascade down over her shoulders.
“Let’s just put it this way,” she said. “They just got aced by Kate Boone: Daredevil Pilot!”