The first rocket-truppen shot in on a tail of fire, matching speeds with the S-1 airplane so that he could touch down on its back. Spikes in his boots and gloves dug into the airplane’s hull so that he could scamper across the fuselage like an insect. His head darted side to side, his thin limbs wobbled but carried him forward swiftly. He wore all black, but his mask’s round, bulging lenses and proboscis-like gas filter glinted in the night.
Kate threw open the side hatch and launched herself out and then straight up, spinning as she rose to face the unwelcomed boarder. She stalled her rocket pack at just the right instant so that she hovered in front of him, an angel in silver and brown reflected in his lenses.
He unclasped his cloves and went for his submachine gun; she already had hers out. The blast caught him square in the chest, swatting him away from the plane with such force that his spiked boots remained behind, lodged in place by their own spikes.
The recoil pushed Kate back and away from the S-1. She allowed gravity to cradle her for a moment before flattening out and slamming the throttle all the way open. Instantly, the force of the acceleration pressed against every inch of her skin. It squeezed her lungs and compacted her stomach into a tiny ball. The bitter wind pierced her jacket, and the air whistled against her helmet so loudly that she could hardly hear herself scream in delight.
Flight. True flight. Power, speed, freedom—this was her first test of the rocket pack, and she was now soaring higher than an eagle and faster than a hurricane.
Two lances of tracer fire probed the night around her, bringing her back to the problem at hand. She performed a tight roll and glanced back to see the two other rocket-truppen on her tail, guns blazing. It was time to see how her rocket pack compared to theirs.