The flying wing’s turrets riddling her captured Messerschmitt with bullets. The controls shuddered violently in her hands for a moment, and then even more violently as the engine burst into bright flames and dark smoke.
“I only wanted to borrow your airplane,” she said as if the Nazis could hear her. “If you want it back so badly, I’m happy to return it.”
Kate nosed the plane upwards and slightly to starboard, and then she bounced herself out of the cockpit, happy to leave the confinement behind in favor of the open skies.
She zipped away on her rocket plume while the gun turrets hammered at the Messerschmitt. The fighter plane shed more flames and more scrap metal. One wing tore free. A fuel cell exploded. But the airplane’s momentum carried it forward, right into the flying wing. It crashed through with a fierce red flash and a collision so loud that Kate felt it in her stomach more than hear it with her ears. With the speed of gravity, the scattered fragments of the fighter plane and the two jagged halves of the flying wing plummeted down to be swallowed by the storm clouds below.
A faint buzzing sounded in Kate’s ear, alerting her that her fuel was nearly spent. Whatever she did next, she would have to do it fast. She had lost her Tommy gun, so she drew her trusty Mauser pistol. It wasn’t the best weapon for a dogfight, but it was better than nothing.
She allowed herself to freefall while she scanned the night for her enemies. The final rocket-truppen was spiraling in place, watching his mother ship go down. Kate opened her throttle for one quick burst, intending to get in close enough to make her pistol worth using. Not for the first time that night, the poor depth perception of her single good eye made her misjudge the distance and put on too much speed. He spun to face her just as they slammed together.
The impact knocked the breath out of both of them, but the Nazi was quicker to recover. He held her right wrist tight with one hand as he brought his other fist up into her ribs. She wheezed and the world went red, and then he slammed an elbow into her helmet and her red world became white.
The two tumbled through the air, and her vision was filled with his mask’s bug-eyes and bulbous nose. With him gripping her wrist, she couldn’t twist her pistol in at him, and when she attempted to bring her knee up into his groin he turned his hips to deflect the blow. He was lean, but he still outweighed her by at least 30 pounds, and he knew how to fight in close quarters. Kate realized she would never be able to win this mid-air grapple, nor could she break his grip to get away.